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Are any cheesecakes gluten free?

Cheesecake is a delicious dessert that traditionally consists of a crust made with graham cracker crumbs or cookies and a creamy filling made with cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and flavorings like vanilla or lemon. For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, enjoying cheesecake can be a challenge since traditional cheesecake crusts contain gluten. However, with some simple ingredient swaps, it is possible to make gluten-free cheesecake that tastes just as good!

What is gluten and why must some people avoid it?

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. For most people, consuming gluten is not a problem. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten triggers an autoimmune response that damages the small intestine. This can cause gastrointestinal symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. The only treatment for celiac disease is strictly following a lifelong gluten-free diet. Even small amounts of gluten can cause issues for those who are sensitive.

About 1% of the population has celiac disease. Many more are estimated to have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. For these individuals, avoiding gluten in foods like bread, pasta, baked goods, and even beer is essential to feel their best. Thankfully, with the rise in popularity of gluten-free diets in recent years, there are more and more gluten-free options available, including for delicious desserts like cheesecake!

What makes traditional cheesecake crusts contain gluten?

The crust is often what makes cheesecake off-limits for those avoiding gluten. Traditional cheesecake crust recipes call for ingredients like:

  • Graham cracker crumbs – Graham crackers contain wheat flour
  • Cookies like Oreos or chocolate wafer cookies – These contain wheat flour
  • All-purpose flour – Wheat flour

Any wheat, barley, or rye flour contains gluten, so standard cheesecake crusts are not gluten-free. However, there are several simple substitutions that can be made to create a tasty gluten-free crust instead.

Gluten-free crust options

Here are some of the most popular ingredients that can be used to make delicious gluten-free cheesecake crusts:

1. Gluten-free graham crackers or cookie crumbs

There are several brands that make gluten-free graham crackers or chocolate cookie crumbs that can be substituted 1:1 for traditional graham crackers in cheesecake crusts. Some good brands to look for include Kinnikinnick, Mi-Del, and Katz Gluten Free. Using gluten-free cookie or graham cracker crumbs is the simplest substitution. The texture will be very similar to a classic cheesecake crust.

2. Gluten-free flour blend

Gluten-free all-purpose flour blends are widely available in most grocery stores today. Popular brands include Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur, and Cup4Cup. These blends combine ingredients like rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, and xanthan gum to mimic the properties of wheat flour. Gluten-free flour can be substituted 1:1 for regular flour in cheesecake crust recipes, though you may need to add a bit more butter or oil to bind the dough.

3. Nuts

Finely ground nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts make a delicious gluten-free crust option. The nuts can be ground into a flour in the food processor and then mixed with sugar, butter, and a binder like egg to form the crust dough. Nuts give the crust a wonderful flavor and crunchy texture.

4. Dried Fruit

Like nuts, dried fruit works beautifully to make a gluten-free cheesecake crust. Grind dried fruit like dates, apricots, prunes, or figs into a powder and combine with other binding ingredients. The natural sweetness of dried fruit makes a tasty crust too.

5. Crumb crust shortcuts

There are some pre-made gluten-free cookie or graham cracker crumbs that can be purchased to easily shortcut making a crust from scratch. Brands like Mi-Del, glutino, and EnviroKidz make gluten-free chocolate cookie crumbs or vanilla wafer crumbs that just need butter melted into them to form the crust.

6. Gluten-free crust mixes

Lastly, there are pre-made gluten-free cheesecake crust mixes available from brands like Kinnikinnick and Kingdom Pets which contain a pre-mixed blend of gluten-free flour and flavors. Simply add butter and water or eggs and these mixes come together easily into cheesecake crust dough.

Tips for making gluten-free cheesecake crusts

When adapting a cheesecake crust recipe to be gluten-free, there are some important tips to keep in mind:

  • Press the crust firmly into the pan to prevent crumbling
  • Chill the crust thoroughly before adding filling
  • Use parchment paper to line the pan for easier removal
  • Opt for a shallow tart pan rather than springform if the crust seems delicate
  • Add xanthan gum to help bind the crust together
  • Mix in flax or chia eggs as a binder if the crust won’t hold together

With the right ingredients and a few simple binding techniques, even the most delicate gluten-free crusts can hold up beautifully to a rich creamy cheesecake filling.

Gluten-free cheesecake filling options

For the creamy cheesecake filling itself, there are just a couple minor tweaks needed to make sure it’s gluten-free:

  • Use gluten-free vanilla extract
  • If using a graham cracker crust, make sure the crumbs are gluten-free
  • Whip the filling with electric beaters instead of creaming by hand (prevents gluten cross-contact)

Otherwise, a classic recipe for baked cheesecake with cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla or lemon is naturally gluten-free. No need to modify the filling itself.

Gluten-free brands that make cheesecake

For those who don’t wish to bake cheesecake from scratch, there are several excellent brands that produce gluten-free cheesecake you can purchase:

Brand Details
Del Destino Foods Bake their cheesecakes in their own gluten-free facility.
Divvies Offer mini gluten-free cupcake cheesecakes.
Kyra’s Bake Shop Specialize in gluten-free, dairy-free baked goods including cheesecake.
The Cheesecake Factory Provide gluten-free crusts and certain gluten-free flavors.

These brands offer delicious gluten-free cheesecake so those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can also enjoy this classic dessert.

Example gluten-free cheesecake recipe

To give an idea of how to make gluten-free cheesecake at home, here is a sample recipe:

Gluten-Free New York Cheesecake


  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp sugar


  • 32 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1 tbsp gluten-free vanilla
  • 3 eggs + 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 1 tbsp sugar until combined. Press firmly into bottom of prepared pan. Refrigerate crust while making filling.
  3. In a large bowl using electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Mix in sugar, then gluten-free flour. Add vanilla. Mix in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in sour cream by hand.
  4. Pour filling over chilled crust. Smooth top.
  5. Bake for 60-70 minutes until center is almost set. Turn oven off and let cheesecake remain in oven another 30 minutes.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack. Chill in fridge at least 4 hours before serving.

This recipe results in a smooth and creamy gluten-free cheesecake with a crisp, crunchy crust!


In summary, there are definitely many delicious options for gluten-free cheesecake, from substitutions for the crust to brands that sell gluten-free cheesecakes. With the right ingredients and preparation methods, gluten-free cheesecake can taste just as amazing. People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity don’t have to miss out on enjoying classic cheesecake. Whether baking it yourself or purchasing it from a gluten-free company, there are more choices than ever when it comes to gluten-free cheesecake. With some simple ingredient swaps and adjustments, cheesecake can be just as tasty without the gluten!