Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with Brownie Crust

I often feel like cheesecakes are some great secret in the baking world. They always look and taste so impressive, yet are so simple to make. So, I guess that secret’s now out of the bag.

With National Cheesecake Day on the horizon this week (July 30th!), I knew that there would need to be a cheesecake celebration here on BoB. I thought it only fitting to celebrate one of my favorite desserts with a couple of my favorite flavors – chocolate and dulce de leche!

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with Brownie Crust | Bake or Break

The crust is simply a variation of my basic brownie recipe baked right in a springform pan. Then, the cheesecake filling is a fancied up with some dulce de leche. After many other considerations, I decided that the perfect thing to top off this beauty is even more dulce de leche. So, I made a simple whipped cream flavored with a bit more of it.

I’ve been very fortunate in my baking adventures in that I’ve had very few cracked cheesecakes. However, if your cheesecake does crack, the dulce de leche whipped cream is the perfect way to hide any imperfections.

Rich dulce de leche cheesecake sits atop a brownie crust, and it's all topped with whipped cream flavored with even more dulce de leche!

As always, I used PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese for my cheesecake baking. It’s been the only cream cheese I’ve used for many years. It’s made with fresh local milk and real cream. All that freshness goes from the farm to fridge in just six days. (And, don’t forget that original PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese has no preservatives.)

My taste testers and I agree that this is one of our favorite cheesecakes ever. It’s so rich and creamy and really just amazingly delicious. I feel confident that I’ll be making this one again and again!

For more cheesecake recipes, browse the Recipe Index.

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with Brownie Crust

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 35 minutes

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with Brownie Crust


    For the crust:
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the filling:
  • 24 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup prepared dulce de leche
  • For the whipped cream:
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dulce de leche
  • chocolate shavings, for garnish


To make the crust:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.

Place chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat at half power in microwave in 30-second increments until butter has melted and chocolate melts when stirred. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

Combine sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add chocolate mixture, mixing until combined. Add flour and salt, mixing just until combined.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs. Set pan on a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

To make the filling:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Add dulce de leche and mix until combined.

Pour batter onto cooled crust in pan. Spread evenly.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 200°. Continue baking for 2 hours.

Turn off oven. Remove cheesecake from oven and gently run a knife around the edges of the pan. Return cheesecake to oven. Leave cheesecake in oven for 2 hours.

Then, cover loosely and refrigerate overnight.

To make the whipped cream:

Place cream in a large, cold mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat at medium-high speed until the cream begins to thicken.

Sprinkle sugar over the cream. Whisk until combined. Add dulce de leche.

Continue beating until you can lift the whisk out of the whipped cream and a peak that curves downward forms in the cream. This should take 4 to 5 minutes.

Spread whipped cream over cheesecake. Garnish with chocolate shavings.


Disclosure: I have been chosen by Kraft Foods to be a spokesperson for PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese. I have been provided with compensation for my time. All opinions written are my own. For more cheesecake inspiration, be sure to visit www.creamcheese.com.

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  1. Loving that brownie crust! This cheesecake is a babe!

  2. Linda July 28, 2014 Reply

    Jennifer, that looks amazing and a perfect one for a National Cheesecake Day (deserves its own day!!). I can’t wait to try it. Still working my way through a few of your recent ones using berries and cherries. Those are so amazing right now it is hard to focus on recipes without fruit. Thanks for another great one!

  3. Tracy | Pale Yellow July 28, 2014 Reply

    This looks heavenly! It’s hard to go wrong with a brownie crust and dulce de leche filling!

  4. Pamela July 28, 2014 Reply

    How do I make the dulce de leche part? Do you buy it? Thanks!

  5. Chandana July 28, 2014 Reply

    How does one make dulce de leche?

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry July 28, 2014 Reply

      I’ve not made it, Chandana. I usually buy it prepared. It’s usually found near the condensed milk.

    • Linda July 28, 2014 Reply

      I tend to find it more in the ethnic section with the Hispanic foods.

  6. Lori July 28, 2014 Reply

    I’m not sure if my stores dulce de leche either, but it sounds like we could substitute with caramel if needed.

  7. Francesca July 29, 2014 Reply

    Ummmm, this looks like heaven on a plate!!! My mouth is watering looking at it haha! Francesca

  8. Marla July 29, 2014 Reply

    Beautiful dessert, Jennifer! It would be perfect for my husband’s birthday next weekend. One question: Do you think the cake, without the whipped cream topping, could be made ahead and frozen without any adverse effects? If so, should I remove the outside of the pan before freezing. I’m thinking it would be just for a few days, then I would take it out the night before and let it defrost in the fridge overnight.

    Philadelphia cream cheese is the BEST. The very few times it was unavailable in the past, ie. the store ran out, I have tried other brands and never will again, as I regretted it. It’s just not the same result – Philly cream cheese all the way!

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry July 29, 2014 Reply

      Hi, Marla! Yes, you can freeze the cheesecake. It will freeze best if you’ve made it with regular (not fat free or low fat) cream cheese. I would chill in the refrigerator, then remove the outside of the pan, wrap it tightly and freeze. I’d give it a full day in the refrigerator to thaw.

  9. Marla July 29, 2014 Reply

    Thanks so much, Jennifer!

  10. This is the most amazing cheesecake I have seen in a very long time. I want to face plant right into it.

  11. Joanne August 1, 2014 Reply

    I’ve lucked out with many of my cheesecakes also, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to smother them in whipped cream! This looks fabulous.

  12. Isobel August 16, 2014 Reply

    This looks amazing, just wondering what setting the oven is? (Like fan forced etc). Thank you :)

  13. Cecilia September 10, 2014 Reply

    To make your own dulce de leche: This caramel sauce comes from Argentina and we have two methods to make it. One is a very long process in which you boil fresh milk, sugar and baking soda and stir the preparation constantly for hours. The other is long but you just let it cook on its own. Stovetop: This method takes a long time, but it allows for the most control over the consistency. Remove label from a 24 ounce can of CONDENSED milk. Pierce three holes in the formation of a triangle on top of can (this is critical to release the pressure from the heat or else the can may explode.) Place the can in a saucepan and fill the saucepan with water three-quarters of the way up the side of the can.

    Bring water to a simmer and keep it there for 3-4 hours or until desired consistency. For a thicker more syrup-like texture cook closer to 4 hours. When ready, use tongs to remove can, allow to cool slightly and pour dulce de leche in a bowl and whisk to smoothness. Let cool before storing. Good luck!

  14. Charlotte September 14, 2014 Reply

    Lovely recipe! I’d like to ask, how do you make the whipped cream so neatly spread over the top? What tools and method do you use? Thanks

  15. Emma September 29, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jennifer,

    I was wondering if it is a vital necessity to leave the cheesecake in the turned off oven for the second 2 hours? I really want to make this cake for my partners birthday this Friday, but will have to make it after work on Thursday evening. Short of going to bed in the early hours of Friday morning, I’m wondering if it’s possible to let the cheesecake cool after being in the oven for the first 2 hours and then put it straight into the fridge?

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry September 29, 2014 Reply

      Emma, I don’t recommend skipping that step. The residual heat from the oven will continue baking the cheesecake and prevent it from cracking.

  16. Rachel November 22, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jennifer!
    I was wondering if this could be made in a cupcake pan, instead of a spring pan?

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry November 23, 2014 Reply

      A muffin pan? You can, but they may be tough to remove from the pan. You might use liners in the cups to help with that.

  17. Kendall Stark November 29, 2014 Reply

    I remember when you posted this back in July, and knew it would be perfect for my husband’s birthday. I made this yesterday for the occasion and it was a smash hit! He always goes for cheesecake at restaurants and requests one for his birthday most years. We have plenty left over for the rest of the weekend!

  18. dena January 15, 2015 Reply

    How does the brownie crust not burn when you place it back in the oven with the cream cheese layer????

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry January 16, 2015 Reply

      Hi, Dena. The brownie won’t burn. The initial baking of the brownie is just enough to get it set so the cheesecake layer will stay separate. If you make it as described in the recipe, it will be just fine!

  19. Lucy June 8, 2015 Reply

    Have to say made this and it came out perfectly ( even after converting it all into English measurements!) just one question, how long will it keep in the fridge for once completed?

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry June 8, 2015 Reply

      Hi, Lucy! I’m glad you liked it! It should keep for at least 3 or 4 days if it’s kept covered and refrigerated.

  20. Lyusia August 29, 2015 Reply

    To make dulce de leche is just boil for about 2-3 hours condensed milk on low heat, occasionally adding water to keep jar in the water, other wise it will explode :(.

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