Recipe: Swirl Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Walnut Crust

If you like cheesecake that isn’t too sweet or drowning in topping, this recipe is the one that you’re looking for. Compared to others, the cheesecake layer is thin and fluffy. I also like the use walnuts with my graham cracker crust because it gives it texture and contrast to the creamy cheesecake. Since jam or fruit preserves is swirled into the batter, you don’t have to worry about a topping! Plus it makes it less messy to transport or bring to a potluck.


The ingredients are easily found – graham crackers, walnuts, unsalted butter, a block of cream cheese, white sugar, an egg, vanilla extract, salt, and any jam or fruit preserve of your choosing. For this recipe, I used fig preserves since I needed to use it up.


First, you want to make the crust. Grind up the walnuts in a food processor until it becomes a fine crumbly texture (as pictured above). You don’t have to get it super fine, like almond flour, and some larger chunks will be okay. After you finish with the walnuts, put in the graham crackers and blitz it up to make crumbs. I like to do the nuts first then the crackers since it’ll knock loose all the bits of nut that stick due to the oils. The ratio I use is one part nuts to two parts graham cracker crumbs. If you want more nuts, or no nuts, feel free to adjust to your liking.


Once you have all the crumbs, add them into a bowl and mix in the melted butter. Put it into an 8-inch spring form pan and press the mixture flat along the bottom. If you don’t have a spring form pan, then you can use an 8-inch round cake pan. Using a 9-inch pan will make the layers too thin. Put it in the fridge to let it firm up.


While the crust is in the fridge, it’s time the make the cheesecake batter! With a hand mixer (and yes, that is a Hello Kitty hand mixer that I’m using), beat together the cream cheese and sugar. Then you add in the egg, vanilla, and salt. Beat it until well combined and fluffy.


Smooth out the cheesecake batter evenly over the crust. It’s okay if it’s not perfectly leveled because we’re going to mix it up anyway.


Add the dollops of jam or fruit preserves of your choice onto the top of the cheesecake batter.


Then take a butter knife and swirl the jam and cheesecake batter together. About halfway through this, I realized fig preserves kinda blend in with the cheesecake batter and doesn’t show up too well on pictures. In either case, swirl it so that the jam distributes around the batter, but don’t over mix!


Bake it in the oven for about half an hour, then let it fully cool before putting it in the fridge for a few hours. Then you can slice away and enjoy!

Swirl Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Walnut Crust


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup walnuts, finely ground
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 8oz. block cream cheese
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons of jam or fruit preserve, any flavor


  1. Place baking rack in middle of the oven and preheat to 350° F.
  2. Make the crust by combining the nuts, graham cracker crumbs, and melted butter in a bowl and mix with a fork until well combined.
  3. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a greased or nonstick 8-inch spring form pan (or 8-inch cake pan), packing it firmly and evenly.
  4. Place the crust in the freezer for 15 minutes or in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. This will help the crust keep its shape when you swirl the jam into the cheesecake batter.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and white sugar with a hand mixer until well combined. Then add in the egg, vanilla extract, and salt, beating until well combined and the batter is fluffy.
  6. Pour cheesecake batter over the crust and smooth it out so it’s evenly distributed in the pan.
  7. Dollop the jam or fruit preserve onto the top of the batter, then swirl it in using a butter knife.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes, until the edges are a golden brown and the middle is set and no longer shiny.
  9. Let it cool completely in the pan on the counter, then place it in the fridge for at least three hours.


If you want your cheesecake a little more sweet, feel free to dust it with powdered sugar or swirl more jam into the cheesecake batter. I would not recommend more than 4 or 5 tablespoons of jam total. If you’re allergic to walnuts, feel free to use another type of nut or use all graham crackers. This recipe can be doubled to make a 9×13 pan.

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