Does Cheesecake Have Cheese? Here’s What You Must Know

Cheesecake can come in many appealing and sumptuous flavors. But does Cheesecake have cheese? The answer is yes, one ingredient that is always part of your recipe and that of your neighbors when making cheesecake is cheese. In fact, when you hear Cheesecake, you’d most definitely think about cheese.

What type of cheese is used in making cheesecakes? Why is it called cheesecake? Let’s take a look at these and more in this article.

Why is Cheesecake Called Cheesecake?

Cheesecake first originated from Greece and later became popular with the Romans with the conquest of Greece. The Greeks called theirs “Plakouss” and served them to athletes to boost energy.

They pounded fresh cheese patties into a paste, mixed with flour and honey, then shaped into rounds and baked on a heated stone. The result was a far cry from the delicious cheesecake we all know today but we have to give it to them as originators.

Conversely, the Romans named their “placenta” or “libum” and offered it to their gods in the temple. Placenta was baked on a pastry case or sometimes inside the pastry case.

Williams Lawrence paved the way for the modern cheesecake we know today. He created the first brand of cream cheese popularly known as the Philadelphia Cream Cheese in 1872.

In 1929, another man called Arnold Reuben mistakenly made the first cream cheese cheesecake that is now a hit today.

Is There Cheese in Cheesecake?

Certainly. Just as the name implies, cheese is a major Cheesecake ingredient. This time, it serves as a fresh, soft, and saltless filling. And there are many varieties of soft cheese that you can use depending on your recipe and how you’d like your cheesecake to come out or taste.

In the next outline, we will explore the types of cheese found in a typical cheesecake recipe.

SEE: Does Cheesecake Have Eggs

What Cheese is Used in Cheesecake?

You may wonder if you can use Parmesan or Gouda when making cheesecake. The standard recipe for cheesecake is a soft cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla essence and the aforementioned do not fall into this category.

Here are the varieties of cheese used in cheesecake recipes:

1. Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is the most common cheese used in cheesecake. It is fresh, soft, and extracted from cow milk and cream. Cream cheese can also be homemade. You basically need to add a liquid like milk and lemon juice to coagulate the milk into curds. After which you strain the cheese from the whey and blend thoroughly.

You can then pour the mix inside a container and store it in the fridge or use it immediately. The good thing about cream cheese is that it doesn’t age as long as it remains in the fridge. So long as it’s stored in the fridge, you can always use it for baking, cooking, or spreading on a slice of bagels anytime.

SEE: Easy Guide to Help You Freeze Cream Cheese Frosting

2. Ricotta

Ricotta originated from Italy; therefore, it is generally regarded as an Italian cheese. It is an Italian cheese made from the whey of sheep, cow, goat, or Italian buffalo milk. Basically, it is made from the watery liquid that is left over after cheese has been made.

Unlike cream cheese, ricotta requires reheating the leftover whey. The tiny bits of curd remaining after reheating are called ricotta. The outcome is a soft, moist, and grainy cheese that’s white, saltless, and less tasty.

Ricotta is a good alternative to cream cheese because of its low-fat content. In fact, if you’re seeking a healthier cheese option than cream cheese, ricotta is an option you want to consider. It can work for both baked and unbaked cheesecakes.

Although most American-made ricotta is made from whole milk, unlike the traditional and authentic Italian ricotta.

3. Quark or Cottage Cheese

Quark or Cottage cheese is the German variant of cheese. Although different regions have a way of making it, the traditional method involves warming the milk until it curdles. Then the cream is added later to adjust the fat content. Skimmed milk is the major ingredient used for quark.

Germans stir the mixture while heating so the curds don’t form a lump. This gives the cheese a yogurt-like texture and taste.

4. Mascarpone

Another Italian alternative to crème cheese is mascarpone. It is very similar to American cream cheese. No wonder it is regarded as Italian cream cheese.

The process of making mascarpone is the same as crème cheese. But mascarpone is made with full-fat heavy cream only, therefore, it contains more fat content.

To make mascarpone, the full-fat heavy cream is heated and the curds are separated from the whey. After that, the curd is whipped with citric or tartaric acid. The end result is a cheese with a smooth and velvety texture as well as a sweet and nutty flavor.

SEE: Manchego Cheese Substitute You Should Try Now

Is Cheesecake Really a Cake?

The question of whether cheesecake is really a cake is highly controversial, and a lot of people seem not to agree that cheesecake is cake. The thing is, there are all kinds of cakes that are made with delicate layers of meringue, marzipan, and all sorts.

However, technically, baked cheesecake is a custard. The flour required in cheesecake is only needed to stabilize the mix. The major recipe is dairy, egg, and sugar. That is why cheesecake does well when baked in a water bath, and becomes grainy when overbaked.

On the other hand, no baked Cheesecakes are made with gelatin. If your definition of cake is something made with flour, egg, sugar, and other ingredients, then cheesecake wouldn’t be a cake.

Whatever the case, what really matters is that cheesecake is yummy and a dessert that is loved by many.

SEE: How You Can Freeze Cake Batter to Extend Its Shelf Life


Is Cheesecake a pie?

Cheesecake includes crust, so one can refer to it as a pie.

Must you bake cheesecake?

No. It is not a must. No-bake cheesecake doesn’t involve baking.

What can you substitute for cream cheese in cheesecake?

Other tasty alternatives include ricotta, mascarpone, and cottage cream, among others.


Cheesecake is a creamy and sumptuous dessert with one or more layers. The thickest part of the layer is filled with fresh, soft, and unsalted cheese, as well as, egg, sugar, and pie crust.

The name certainly gives it away. So, yes, cheesecake has real cheese. Although, there are has been many attempts to come up with healthier recipes for cheesecakes due to the excess fat content in cheese. For instance, coconut milk and hummus are considered close substitutes to cheese but none of them give the sweet, divine taste that cream cheese gives.

Your best bet is to try to reduce your intake of cheesecakes, although it can be unintendedly addictive. If you find yourself indulging in cheesecake in an unhealthy way, then you may consider other healthier alternatives like hummus, sour cream, or the no baked Cheesecake.

Finally, you should read this “Is cheesecake bad for you” to know why you should stay away from cheesecake.

I hope this article was helpful. Thanks for reading.