This was a big week for my favorite pressure-cooking kitchen companion: can you believe that among all the super-sales on Prime Day, Instant Pot was the #1 top-selling non-Amazon-device item in the US? That means the cult following surrounding this multi-talented multi-cooker just grew by 215,000, and there are flocks of new fans that are just getting to know its time-saving/energy-efficient/flavor-boosting abilities. Welcome aboard, amigos! Let’s share recipes and celebrate with cheesecake.
In Instant Pot’s dessert repertoire, cheesecake is the unexpected star. What makes the pressure cooker such a good tool for this job? The high-pressure steam in the sealed vessel cooks the dense filling evenly, while the moist environment helps prevent the surface from drying and cracking. It’s the perfect storm for cheesecake perfection!
While I enjoy traditional cheesecakes on occasion, more often my cravings draw me to something not quite so staggeringly heavy. I like contrast in desserts, and need a little tang to cut through richness. A typical cheesecake of this size uses 1 pound (2 blocks) of cream cheese. I doctored my dessert by balancing just half a block with 1.5 cups of whole milk Greek yogurt, resulting in a cheesecake that’s still very rich but with a lighter, soft, silky texture. As written, the cheesecake is lightly sweetened, which is how I prefer it – but I don’t forsee any issues with increasing the sugar if you like your desserts to be sweet-sweet-sweet.
The nutrient profile will obviously vary based on the specific products you use, but I estimate that compared to a similar 8-slice cheesecake made from cream cheese only, my recipe has about 100 fewer calories per serving, with both total and saturated fat decreasing by about 40%.
(Don’t get the wrong idea… I’m not preaching stale ideas about the evils of fat – and also please realize that there’s still a substantial amount of it in this treat. This is just a tasty dessert that happens to apply a little moderation to a generally extreme food.)
Before you get started, proper bakeware is key. After dishing out my recommendations for the most useful Instant Pot accessories last holiday season, I ended up benefiting from the comment section because my best-ever blog-following big sister knows exactly how to pick the best gift. Full disclosure, sis: I had to exchange the very cool glass/silicone springform you picked out because it wasn’t quite small enough to fit in the Pot. Don’t miss this detail, shoppers: 7 inch maximum! But no worries, I downsized to this basic tin-coated steel pan, and have been quite satisfied with its performance. (Amazon affiliate link)
This baseline recipe is simply flavored with a touch of vanilla, so consider it a blank canvas for all of your wildest fruity/chocolatey dreams. Happy experimenting!
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[Instant Pot] Greek Yogurt Cheesecake
Almond Crust Option:
- 1 cup (80 grams) defatted almond meal (I use dried pulp leftover from homemade almond milk)
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) salt
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil melted
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Graham Cracker Crust Option:
- 6 oz. graham crackers or your favorite cookies to yield about 1 1/2 cups of crumbs
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 4 oz. regular (not low-fat) cream cheese softened
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 large eggs
Start with the crust:
- Almond Crust Option:
- In a large bowl, stir together the almond meal, cornstarch, salt, melted coconut oil and maple syrup. Prepare a 7-inch springform pan by lightly coating it with oil, then spread the almond mixture onto the bottom, pressing firmly into an even thickness.
- Graham Cracker Crust Option:
- Crush the cookies/crackers into fine crumbs, using either a food processor or a ziploc bag to crumble by hand. Stir in the melted butter, then press the mixture onto the bottom of a 7-inch springform pan, pressing firmly and spreading the crust about halfway up the sides of the pan (the bottom of a drinking glass works well for this job).
Then, make the filling:
- Combine the softened cream cheese, Greek yogurt, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl, and whip together until very smooth. Then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined.
- Pour the filling into the springform pan, being careful to fully cover the crust around the edges (if any crumbs are exposed, they can become soggy from the moisture in the pressure cooker).
- Place a trivet rack into the pressure cooker, and pour in 1 cup of water. Place the cheesecake on top of the trivet and close the lid. Set the valve to sealing position, and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes (on the Instant Pot, select “Manual” and use the default setting).
- After the cooking time is up and the pressure has released naturally, open the lid and use the trivet handles to lift out the pan. If water has settled on top of the cheesecake, gently blot any excess with a paper towel. Allow the cheesecake to cool on a rack at room temperature for 1-2 hours, then transfer it to the refrigerator to chill completely (at least 4 hours).