The Rebel Thanksgiving Cheesecake

Hello Everyone! Today is all about dessert. I am excited to share this one with you because I had never made a cheesecake before! Its reputation for being difficult has always deterred me. But for Thanksgiving this year, I want to do one dessert that was unexpected. We will have Pecan Pie, and Beth is bringing a pumpkin dessert, so this cheesecake will be the outlier. The rebel Thanksgiving cheesecake! This isn’t a pumpkin cheesecake, or anything Thanksgiving-y like that. Today we are talking about the classic Cheesecake. (But, I do have one little twist…)

I found this recipe on a blog called, Sally’s Baking Addiction; it’s a classic cheesecake recipe. The only part of it I deviated from is the cookie crust. Classic cheesecake calls for a graham cracker crust, but I wanted to do something a little more interesting, so I decided to go with a ginger snap base. I swapped the graham crackers for lightly sweet ginger snap cookies.

making the cookie crumbs

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and move the center rack to the lower-middle setting. Then, process the graham crackers or ginger snaps to a coarse crumb texture. Transfer to a separate bowl, and add four tablespoons melted butter and 1/4 cup sugar.

cookie crumbs

Once mixed, press into the bottom and sides of a springform pan. I used a heavy measuring cup to press the cookie mixture into an even, tight crust.

making the cookie crust

Bake the crust for 8 minutes. while it’s cooling, it’s time to make the cheesecake filling. It’s important to begin with room temperature ingredients to get a smooth mixture that you won’t be in danger os over-mixing. Apparently over mixing can create a deflated cheesecake in the baking process.

cheesecake ingredients

Cheesecake Filling

I have all my ingredients measured out because it all comes together rather quickly. We are adding each egg separately, so I like to crack them into separate ramekins. It’s just easier that way.

Using a paddle attachment, begin beating the cream cheese and the sugar on medium-high until the mixture is smooth and light. Then add the lemon juice, sour cream and vanilla. Mix until smooth, scrape down the sides, turn the mixer down to medium and add one egg at a time. Mix each egg fully before adding the next one. As soon as the third egg is fully mixed in, stop mixing.

pouring the cheesecake filling

Using a single sheet of tin foil, set the whole springform pan in the center and wrap the foil up the sides of the pan. This will protect it while it’s in the water bath.

Water Bath

For the water bath, you want about 1″ of boiling water in the bottom of your roasting pan. I used the rack that fits in my roasting pan to hold up the cheesecake pan. This isn’t totally necessary. If you don’t want the springform pan in the water, as an alternative, you can simply fill a sheet pan with boiling water and set it on the very bottom rack, below the cheesecake rack. We are looking to create a humid environment to prevent cracking and promote an even bake.

Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust and smooth the top with a silicone spatula. Set the whole thing in the roasting pan and add the boiling water.

prepping the water bath

Bake the cheesecake for 55-70 minutes, until the center is just set, but still jiggly when you shake the pan. Mine went the full 70 minutes! If it’s getting too browned on top, you can tent it with foil for the last half of the bake. Once it’s done, leave it in the roasting pan in the oven. Turn off the oven and leave the oven door open slightly. Let it cool like this for one hour. Then let it finish cooling on the counter until it’s at room temperature. Then, it goes in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

cooling cake
Here is my cheesecake after its 1 hour cool-down in the oven (switched off, with the door slightly open).

To remove the cheesecake, gently slide a sharp knife or an offset spatula around the inside of the springform pan. Then, release the outer mold. Use an offset spatula to slide under the cheesecake to release it from the bottom and gently slide it onto a plate or cake stand.

finished cheesecake

So, the Ginger Snap cookie crust is way more dense and crunchy than the lighter, crumbly texture of a graham cracker crust. The Ginger Snap crumb didn’t absorb the butter the way graham crackers would, so the crust is very butter forward. The result is no less delicious, but it is different. I think next time, I will reduce the amount of butter and maybe do a 50/50 ratio of ginger snap to graham cracker. Or, I will try blitzing candied ginger into a traditional graham cracker crumb. That said, I am very happy with this, my first cheesecake.

Cheesecake slice

The Rebel Thanksgiving Cheesecake

My plan for serving this on Thanksgiving is to slice it up and have a variety of toppings so that each person can decide how they want to top it. I will have Bourbon Orange Cranberry Sauce, Lemon Curd and Caramel Sauce.

Tomorrow is the main event and today we are starting all the prep and brining the turkey. If you’re still looking for a side or two, try my Fall Harvest Salad or Cornbread Andouille Dressing. I wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving! Take care and be well, see you soon! xo Kelly


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Dessert American
By Sally's Baking Addiction Serves: At least 12 slices
Prep Time: 45 Minutes Cooking Time: 55-70 Minutes Total Time: 7 Hours, overnight

A classic cheesecake recipe.


  • Cookie Crust
  • 1.5 cups Graham Cracker crumbs
  • 5 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • Cheesecake
  • 4 - 8 oz. Blocks of Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Full Fat Sour Cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 3 Large Eggs, at room temperature


Cookie Crust


Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.


With a food processor, process the graham crackers into crumbs. Pour into a medium bowl and stir in sugar and melted butter. Mix well.

Cheesecake Filling


With a paddle attachment on your mixer, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy.


Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon juice and beat until combined.


On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg until just combined.


After the final egg is incorporated into the batter, stop mixing.

Water Bath


Wrap the bottom of the springform pan in aluminum foil.


Pour 1" boiling water into a roasting pan.


Place cheesecake pan in roasting pan and place in oven.


Bake cheesecake for 55-70 minutes.


When it's done, the center will be slightly jiggly.


Let cheesecake cool in its water bath, in the turned off oven with the door slightly open for one hour.


Then let cheesecake cool on the counter top until it's room temperature, then place in fridge for at least 7 hours, or overnight.


To remove from pan, slide a knife around the mold and remove the mold. Then use an offset spatula to slide cheesecake onto serving plate.

Cheesecake slice
The Rebel Thanksgiving Cheesecake

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  • Arna
    November 25, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Looks like perfection. I love cheesecake, so I am saving this for a future dessert. Thank you!
    Have a wonderful holiday with your family. Arna

    • Kelly Djalali
      November 25, 2020 at 11:57 am

      Hi Arna, Thanks so much! You have a wonderful Holiday too! xo Kelly

  • Holly
    November 25, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Nice!!! You should be proud of yourself-no crack on your first crack! I have also tried using a shortbread cookie like Lorna Doone, which, to me, gave a lighter taste than graham crackers. I have made a pumpkin cheesecake with a ginger snap crust and it was quite tasty!
    Thanks for starting your own blog! I have tried several of your recipes, all with success.
    You go girl!

    • Kelly Djalali
      November 25, 2020 at 11:59 am

      Hello Holly, Thank you so much! Lorna Doone is a perfect cookie, I will have to try that. I really appreciate all your support – I am so happy that you have tried some of my recipes and enjoyed them! Have a lovely Holiday, take care, xo Kelly

  • Deirdre
    November 25, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    Looks delicious. I often use vanilla wafers, as well as ginger snaps. I use cold butter cut in pieces and add the butter and sugar to the cookie. Rum s in my food processor. It has worked well for me. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Kelly Djalali
      November 25, 2020 at 2:33 pm

      Hi Deirdre, Vanilla wafers sound delicious! I will have to try the cold butter method. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! xo Kelly

  • Kenzie McConnel
    November 25, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    It looks delicious Kelly. I use a coconut crisp biscuit ( sorry – cookie – I live in New Zealand) which gives a nice crunchy base that is not too solid and gives the resulting cheesecake a light coconut flavour.

    • Kelly Djalali
      November 25, 2020 at 4:11 pm

      Hello Kenzie, a coconut biscuit sounds like it would be fantastic! I will have to try that, thank you so much! xo Kelly

  • Sylvia Espinoza
    November 25, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    You had my attention with the title, “The Rebel Thanksgiving Cheesecake”! I love cheesecake. Baking one? That’s another story. Was amused by a stark difference in your baking instruction. A sweet elderly couple, both now gone, gave me their version, with strict instructions that it be followed to the letter. In writing, and orally, they’d stress not opening the oven door, but allowing the cake to sit, undisturbed, for two hours after baking time. “NO PEEKING” is written by hand right, as was the recipe. When the lady passed, he continued to bake cheesecakes as gifts to the servers at their favorite restaurant. Precious memory. Wish you and all the Blog Sisters a wonderful time to pause and be thankful for our blessings. All of you inspire me, and I thank God for you~

    • Kelly Djalali
      November 25, 2020 at 5:58 pm

      Thank you so much Sylvia! The whole process takes so long! The cooling and all…But so worth it! Thank you for sharing that story, it’s very touching. Have a wonderful holiday, Thank you again for your amazing support! I wish you the best, xo Kelly