Death by Chocolate Cheesecake
Filed Under: Cheesecake | Chocolate | Dessert

Death by Chocolate Cheesecake

October 2nd, 2023
5 from 15 votes
5 from 15 votes

Insanely decadent Death by Chocolate Cheesecake features chocolate in FOUR forms: chocolate cookie crust, double chocolate cheesecake filling, with a chocolate ganache topping. It doesn't get better than this! Download my free Ultimate Cheesecake Guide here!

Yield: 16 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook: 1 hour

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Absolutely packed with chocolate flavor and the perfect balance of sweetness.
Texture: Rich, creamy, smooth, and fudgy with a hint of crunch from the crust.
Ease: No water bath required! There are a few steps involved, and you will dirty some dishes, but it’s nothing you can’t handle!
Pros: Crowd-pleasing, can be made ahead of time, and will satisfy any chocolate craving.
Cons: Positively decadent!
Would I make this again? Yes, I make this cheesecake frequently!

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Death by Chocolate Cheesecake is a true chocoholic’s dream come true!

whole chocolate cheesecake covered in thick, rich ganache

Life without chocolate would be no life at all. As a total chocolate lover, I strongly believe that! I enjoy at least a bite of chocolate basically every day.

This Death by Chocolate Cheesecake recipe is for true chocolate lovers only. It’s the definition of chocolate decadence.

There’s chocolate in FOUR forms: chocolate graham cracker crust, double chocolate filling (both cocoa powder and melted chocolate), and a chocolate ganache topping.

If you’ve ever muttered, “This is too rich and chocolaty” in your life, then this may not be the recipe for you.

Besides the delightful chocolate flavor, the texture in this recipe is simply incredible. You get that perfect contrast of a slightly crunchy yet buttery crust, rich and smooth filling, and fudgy ganache topping.

I made this cheesecake for Father’s Day this past weekend and everyone loved it! You can serve alongside fresh strawberries or raspberries to really complement the chocolate flavor.

a slice of cheesecake with a bite taken out

How to Make Death by Chocolate Cheesecake

Chocolate Cookie Crust

This Death by Chocolate Cheesecake recipe calls for 15 “full size” chocolate graham crackers, meaning the entire rectangular sheet of graham cracker. This should weigh 225 grams or 8 ounces. If you’re using pre-ground crumbs, it should be 1 cup crumbs.

You could also make an Oreo cookie crust if you’d prefer! Simply swap in 30 (340 grams) standard whole Oreo cookies (NOT double-stuffed) and reduce the butter to 4 tablespoons (57 grams).

How to Make Creamy, Smooth Cheesecake

  1. Be sure to use high-quality full-fat bricks of cream cheese. It really makes a difference!
  2. Whatever you don’t, don’t use cream cheese that’s meant for spreading on a bagel.
  3. The cream cheese should be completely softened to room temperature. If it’s too cold, it won’t mix thoroughly and you’ll end up with little bits and pockets of unblended cream cheese throughout your Death by Chocolate Cheesecake.
  4. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature too.
  5. Beat the cream cheese well before adding any other ingredients.
  6. You’ll also want to routinely scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl, even if you’re using a paddle attachment that scrapes as it blends.

Baking Cheesecake without a Water Bath

There is no water bath required for this recipe! I decided to skip that hassle because even if some cracks form, we’re covering the cheesecake with thick chocolate ganache, which will hide any imperfections.

To prevent cracks without the need for a messy water bath, we’re using the oven door trick for this Death by Chocolate Cheesecake. Once the cheesecake is almost done baking, turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside. Crack the oven door just slightly to allow the oven to lose some of that heat. The key to preventing cracks is to prevent any dramatic changes in temperature, as this will cause cracks to form! If you want more tips for baking cheesecake without cracks, check out my free Ultimate Cheesecake Guide.

That’s why it’s also important to allow the Death by Chocolate Cheesecake to cool to room temperature completely before chilling. When it comes to cheesecake, it’s always better to err on the side of underbaking than over-baking. The edges should be set and dry, but if the center is still slightly wobbly or jiggly that’s fine. The residual heat will continue to cook the cheesecake even once it’s removed from the oven.

In my online baking class The Magic of Baking, I go in-depth in this concept and others so that you can know with confidence when something is truly done.

a closeup of a slice of death by chocolate cheesecake

What’s the Best Pan for Chocolate Cheesecake?

  • This recipe requires a 10-cup, 9-inch diameter springform pan like this one.
  • Not all springform pans are made equally; you want one that’s both heavy-duty and sturdy.
  • Avoid putting your pan in the dishwasher as hand washing will extend the life of a springform pan.
  • Just because your pan is 9-inches in diameter doesn’t necessarily mean it has a 10-cup batter volume capacity.
  • Every brand may vary slightly, so be careful not to overfill your pan if yours has a smaller capacity!

How to Slice and Serve Death by Chocolate Cheesecake

The hardest part of this Death by Chocolate Cheesecake recipe is that you must let it chill for at least 4 hours before you slice and serve it! I usually like to let it chill overnight, just to make sure it’s completely set and I’m able to cut clean slices. Use a sharp knife and run it under hot water in between cuts for beautiful bakery-quality slices. Feel free to add some fresh whipped cream, if you like!

How to Store Death by Chocolate Cheesecake

Store Death by Chocolate Cheesecake in the fridge for up to 2 days. The longer it sits, the softer the crust will become. 

Can I Freeze Chocolate Cheesecake?

Yes, Death by Chocolate Cheesecake freezes beautifully! Place whole or individual slices on a baking sheet inside the freezer until firm. Wrap the cheesecake or each individual slice in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. To serve, defrost a whole cheesecake in the fridge overnight, or defrost individual slices in the fridge overnight, or at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

a slice being cut from the death by chocolate cheesecake

More Cheesecake Recipes:

More Chocolate Recipes:

5 from 15 votes

How to make
Death by Chocolate Cheesecake

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Inactive Time 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Insanely decadent Death by Chocolate Cheesecake features chocolate in FOUR forms: chocolate cookie crust, double chocolate cheesecake filling, with a chocolate ganache topping. It doesn't get better than this! Download my free Ultimate Cheesecake Guide here!


For the crust:

  • 15 (225 grams) full size chocolate graham crackers
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 8 ounces (227 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 24 ounces (680 grams) full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (21 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

For the topping:

  • 1 cup (170 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


For the crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. In the bowl of a food processor, process the cookies until you have 1 cup of finely ground crumbs. Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool slightly and maintain oven temperature while making the filling.

For the filling:

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chopped chocolate in 30-second bursts, stirring between bursts, until melted and smooth. Let cool.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar, cream, and cocoa powder and beat until well combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all cream cheese is being incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until smooth. Beat in the melted chocolate until just combined. Be careful not to overbeat.

  3. Pour the batter into the cooled crust. Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 50 minutes, or until the top looks slightly dry and the middle is slightly wobbly. Err on the side of under-baking. Turn off the oven and crack the oven door open and allow to cool for 10 minutes (this helps prevent cracking). Remove the cheesecake from the oven to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

  4. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours. Release the cheesecake from the pan onto a cake stand or serving plate.

For the topping:

  1. Place the chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream just until simmering. Pour over the chocolate chips. Let sit for 3 minutes before stirring until the mixture is melted and smooth. If needed, allow to cool and thicken. Pour over the cheesecake.

Recipe Video

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id="G6rAzVen" upload-date="2021-01-04T23:45:29.000Z" name="How to Make A Water Bath for Cheesecake" description="Here's how to make a water bath for baking cheesecake! This is the number one key to perfectly smooth, luscious, and creamy cheesecake that bakes evenly and without cracks." player-type="default" override-embed="default"]
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Keyword : centerpiece, cheesecake, triple chocolate

This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated with additional recipe tips. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    cara — September 26, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    Can you use a premade crust for this? I was going to be a store crust as I need to be able to travel with this!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — September 27, 2023 at 8:13 am

      Hi Cara! This cheesecake crust is super quick and easy to make. Feel free to use pre-ground chocolate graham crackers/Teddy Grahams/Oreos, if you can find them, to make the process even quicker. I don’t believe stores sell entirely premade cheesecake crusts, and we haven’t tried this cheesecake in a pie crust (which I believe would be far too shallow and also bake very differently compared to the recipe as written). This recipe should travel very well. Store inside a cooler, if possible, if your travel time is longer. I hope this helps! Happy baking 🙂

  2. #
    Carol Lange — August 29, 2023 at 7:45 am

    Can I use this batter for mini cheesecakes and simply adjust baking time?

  3. #
    Deb — July 29, 2023 at 6:29 am

    Hi , recipe says Four forms of chocolate but I only see three . ?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — July 31, 2023 at 9:25 am

      Hi Deb! There’s chocolate graham crackers in the crust, chocolate + cocoa powder in the cheesecake itself, and more chocolate in the ganache topping. Let us know what you think if you give this cheesecake a try! 🙂

  4. #
    Ashley — June 24, 2023 at 5:25 pm

    Made this for my birthday, and it was fabulous! One of my favorite desserts I have ever made! Want to make again

  5. #
    Bridget — June 22, 2023 at 8:23 am

    Can you make this in cup cakes

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — June 22, 2023 at 9:23 am

      Hi Bridget! We haven’t tried that, but it should work okay! Alternatively, check out Tessa’s new cupcake-sized No-Bake Mini S’mores Cheesecakes 🙂 happy baking!

  6. #
    Jeff — June 9, 2023 at 4:59 pm

    Can part of it be frozen after making it? It’s a lot for two people.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — June 12, 2023 at 9:12 am

      Hi Jeff! Yes, cheesecake freezes and thaws beautifully, so just be sure to wrap slices well in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag or an airtight container, to prevent freezer burn. Thaw in the fridge overnight before serving. If possible, it’s best to freeze without the ganache topping, as this may lose its shine and weep a little upon thawing – but it won’t ruin the cheesecake’s flavor if you’ve already topped the cheesecake. I hope that helps. Happy baking! 🙂

  7. #
    Samantha — May 30, 2023 at 6:24 am

    I made this for my Memorial day picnic and it turned out delicious. Now I did have some baking issues it did crack on top even with me turning the oven off and letting it sit for 10 minutes. But it did not affect the taste and with the ganache on top nobody even noticed. Everyone raved about it!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — May 30, 2023 at 8:57 am

      Hi Samantha! So glad to hear that you enjoyed this cheesecake! Some ovens have trouble maintaining temperature evenly and will fluctuate throughout baking – which could be why your cheesecake developed a crack. Luckily, as you mentioned, the ganache hides it with this recipe! Tessa also has an article about using a water bath with a cheesecake – which pretty much guarantees a crack-free cheesecake. The article also mentions some water bath alternatives, if you prefer to bake without a water bath. Check out the article here. I hope that helps! Happy baking 🙂

  8. #
    Alice — May 21, 2023 at 1:16 pm

    Loved it!

  9. #
    Sonya — February 5, 2023 at 8:36 am

    Wondering if I could substitute a third of the cream cheese with marscapone. I have some in the fridge and would like to use it so it doesn’t go to waste. Thanks.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — February 6, 2023 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Sonya! We haven’t that, so we can’t say for sure how well that will work – but if you’re up for some experimenting, feel free and let us know how it goes 🙂

  10. #
    Kathy — December 23, 2022 at 1:35 pm

    Idk what I did wrong
    But majority of the middle didn’t bake at all. It was still liquified. The tips I got from google didn’t help at all. I’ve made so many cheesecake recipes before making Christmas deserts the day before Xmas dinner – bad idea

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — January 3, 2023 at 2:53 pm

      Hi Kathy! Oh no, that’s so strange! It’s so hard to say exactly what went wrong here without having baked alongside you, but here are a few ideas as to what may have happened:
      – How do you measure your ingredients? By volume (using cups), or by weight (using a digital kitchen scale)? When measuring by volume, it’s so easy to mis-measure ingredients (particularly flour) and throw off the entire chemistry of a recipe. Tessa talks about how to best measure ingredients to ensure accuracy every time, in this article here!
      – Your oven might be running a little cold, and you therefore perhaps simply needed to leave the cheesecake in the oven longer. Do you have an oven thermometer to check that? Check out Tessa’s article here about ovens, full of tips! If you don’t have an oven thermometer to ensure your oven is at the temperature it says it is, invest in one now! They are inexpensive and really help your baking so much! This oven thermometer is one of Tessa’s favorites.
      – Did you use full fat cream cheese bricks (not the stuff meant for bagels)? And did you alter any of the ingredient amounts (like cutting down the sugar). Any deviation from the recipe as-written could unfortunately change the chemistry of the recipe and therefore prevent the cheesecake from baking as it should.
      Hopefully something here helped, Kathy! Feel free to reach back out to us with any further questions – we are always happy to help!! 🙂

  11. #
    Gayle Bernhard — November 24, 2022 at 1:34 am

    Absolutely the best chocolate cheesecake….one of my most requested desserts! Just made again for Thanksgiving & it turns out perfect every time. I’ve made a lot of different cheesecakes over the G years, & this beats every other chocolate cheesecake. And it’s so simple….one of the easiest! I always make a raspberry sauce to go with it. A little pool of sauce on the side & 3 or 4 fresh juicy raspberries on top , & you have an elegant dessert that everyone will think you spent hours on. Make it… won’t be sorry!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 28, 2022 at 9:59 am

      So thrilled to hear this, Gayle! Thanks so much for the comment 🙂

  12. #
    Theresa — November 12, 2022 at 12:17 pm

    I am making this for my daughter’s 14th birthday. Cheesecake is her favorite. It’s in the oven as we speak. Usually I make regular NY style cheese cake and add raspberry topping. Wonder if I could eliminate the extra chocolate topping and just use raspberry topping instead? Seems like it would pair well.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 14, 2022 at 12:00 pm

      That should work well instead if you prefer, Theresa! Let us know what you think about this cheesecake once you’ve given it a taste! 🙂

  13. #
    Terah — March 11, 2022 at 11:33 pm

    Wow! Just wow! This is the best chocolate cheesecake I’ve ever made! Simple (for a cheesecake- no water bath) yet so decadent. The only change I make is an Oreo cookie crust. 35 Oreos blended into crumbs, 5 tablespoons melted butter, press into bottom of springform pan and bake for 10 minutes. This looks and tastes like a professionally baked cheesecake. Most requested by my family. You gotta try it! Oreo crust recipe from:

    • #
      Emily — March 15, 2022 at 8:27 am

      So happy to hear how much you love this recipe! Thanks for the comment 🙂

  14. #
    Hez — January 24, 2022 at 12:16 am

    Hi just want to ask for this death by chocolate cheesecake recipe for 6 inch pan. Pleaseeeee.. Thank you!! I’m a big fan of yours

    • #
      Emily — January 24, 2022 at 3:31 pm

      Hi Hez! We haven’t tried making this cheesecake using a 6-inch pan, but it should work! Just know that you will have extra batter leftover and will have to alter the baking time. Other readers have had success baking them in a cupcake/muffin tin, so you could always use the remaining batter to make mini cheesecakes too! You’ll need to alter the baking time on them as well. Good luck!

  15. #
    Beth Steinmetz — November 25, 2021 at 7:03 pm

    I made this for Thanksgiving dessert. It was utterly fantastic. The smoothest texture I’ve ever achieved in a cheesecake! Thanks!!

  16. #
    Evey Mullaney — November 21, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    I love this cheesecake! I do need help with the recipe conversion, as I need to make this recipe in an 11″ springform.

    • #
      Emily — November 22, 2021 at 5:06 pm

      Hi Evey! We haven’t tried making this in an 11″ springform, so I can’t help with the conversion, but you will need to reduce the timing if you don’t adjust the recipe. Please let us know how it goes!

    • #
      Monica Carol Hatfield — December 22, 2021 at 8:22 pm

      O used an 11′ and followed the same exact steps and it turned out great..

  17. #
    Aashvi — July 29, 2021 at 10:11 am

    What can we replace in eggs with?

    • #
      Emily — July 30, 2021 at 9:59 am

      We don’t bake with egg substitutions, so we can’t say for sure; however, we’ve found them to be a necessary ingredient for this recipe. Good luck!

  18. #
    Angel Marie Lozano — March 29, 2021 at 1:04 pm

    Can I make any of your cheesecake recipes for easy to get. I want to give some cheesecake away for a wedding but I want them to be easy to get. No cutting. So in was wondering if I can make these in a cupcake tin? Or muffin tin?

  19. #
    Catherine King — February 10, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    So rich and chocolatey!!! Was a crowd pleaser!!

    • #
      Tessa — February 10, 2021 at 2:12 pm

      So glad to hear that!

  20. #
    Ana — January 26, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    Thank you, Tessa! I love this recipe so much! 🙂

    It can also be scaled down, as I have proven when I also made a 6-inch version alongside the 9-inch one.

    My only concern is that my cheesecake looks a bit shorter in height compared to Tessa’s finished product. I’m not sure if I have over-mixed the filling, or if there’s not enough cheesecake. :-/

    Otherwise, it is really really yummy!

  21. #
    Marion — December 31, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Does the crust have to be baked or can it just be refrigerated and baked with the cheesecake

    Btw … I have made this twice now and the reviews are fab !!!

    • #
      Clyde B — December 19, 2021 at 12:20 am

      With Oreo cookie crusts, I freeze them for 20-30 minutes, no baking. I’ve found they become too hard when they’re baked twice. I always bake graham cracker crusts 8-9 minutes at 350 degrees.

  22. #
    Ellen — December 29, 2020 at 7:11 am

    Can you use a stand mixer instead of a hand mixer and why a hand mixer. I have made Oreo crusts baked and it comes out as hard of a brick . What am I doing wrong ?

  23. #
    Divya — October 15, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    Can this cheese cake be made without eggs too .

  24. #
    Nancy Peterman — July 5, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    Tessa, I would love to make this for my sisters for our birthdays (all September) as we all love chocolate and we all love cheesecake. Does it get any better? So the question is this: I am just getting the idea or nuance of flavor (Ok, what that means is I like intense flavor and sometimes overdo it!). I love 60% chocolate chips, but is that too much for this ganache? Would it be better with regular semi-sweet chocolate chips, or is it a matter of preference? Thank you for always responding to our questions!!

    • #
      Timothy L Hermans — September 19, 2020 at 7:58 pm

      Hi I see you didn’t get a reply to this so I can give you one.
      I like the dark 60% myself. I also use it four the filling. Oreo cookie crumbs for the crust.
      After you pour the ganache it should be kept chilled. Heating a knife slighty with a kitchen torch or under hot water will help cut though smoothly.
      Finish with a raspberry reduction and pair with a pint of Guinness…..

  25. #
    Kathleen — June 26, 2020 at 9:34 am

    When is the best time to add the ganache topping? Before the 4 hour (or overnight) chill, or after?

    • #
      H.P. — December 2, 2022 at 6:37 pm

      I have this same question. It’s not clear when it should go on in the recipe and about to start baking lol.

      • #
        Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — December 6, 2022 at 12:12 pm

        Hi there! The ganache should be added last, after the cheesecake has cooled completely and chilled at least 4 hours. I hope that helps! Let us know what you think once you’ve given this recipe a try 🙂

  26. #
    Angela — June 23, 2020 at 7:35 am

    Just to confirm, no water bath and cheesecake bakes at 325 degrees like the crust as well? Maybe I missed that part? Thank you!

  27. #
    Anna — April 15, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    I love chocolate cheesecake and have tried several recipes, but this recipe is by far my favorite. This chocolate cheesecake is so rich and decadent and is a chocolate lover’s dream. I love it! I used to be so intimidated to make homemade cheesecakes, but this recipe is so easy to follow and all of the tips are super helpful. If you love cheesecake and chocolate, then you will for sure love this recipe!

  28. #
    Tutu — February 13, 2020 at 7:40 pm

    Can this be made in an instant pot?

  29. #
    Riana Burnett — February 11, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    This cheesecake recipe is amazing! I made this about a month ago and added a layer of homemade salted caramel before the ganache, and it was SO GOOD.

    I made it again tonight (per a friend’s request) and I added a small dash of vanilla extract to it with the melted chocolate. I don’t get to try the finished product but the batter tasted pretty delicious. I’ll be added more salted caramel and the ganache once it’s out of the fridge. Thank you for this recipe!

  30. #
    Persis — December 20, 2019 at 12:02 am

    How do I test if the cheesecake is cooked completely ?

  31. #
    Gayla — October 24, 2019 at 6:12 am

    It took two days to make it but so good I shared it with my entire family. If you love real cheese cake you will love it. Am going to make it for Thanksgiving.

  32. #
    Sheila — August 25, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    What brand of chocolate do you use?

  33. #
    naomi — August 15, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    can this be reduced to half the recipe??????

  34. #
    Niccolia — February 17, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Made chocolate whip cream too. Added raspberries also. Was soo good and rich.

  35. #
    Sabrina — June 25, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    wonderful cheesecake recipe.and perfect for next dinner party since the chocolate seems to add a little more panache, or something, anyway, it looks good, so thank you

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