Science of the Recipe: Instapot Cheesecake

Yields: 6 Servings Difficulty: Medium Prep Time: 22 Mins Cook Time: 28 Mins Total Time: 50 Mins

This food blog is by Oliver Iyer and Dylan Suplick.
See this Recipe at a Glance.

This guide will show you how to make a delicious cheesecake in an instapot! We will also look at the chemical processes involved in baking this recipe. Pressure cooking is a great alternative to baking a cheesecake in your oven and is much easier than dealing with a troublesome water bath while still retaining all the moisture.

Image Credit: Dirks, S. Picture of Instapot Cheesecake.


0/11 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
  • Batter


0/13 Instructions
    The Crust
  • Ground Graham Crackers
  • Mix Crust Mixture (Ground Graham Crakers, brown sugar, and salt)
  • Mix in Melted Butter - The butter serves as fat in the cheesecake mixture. The butter weakens the structure of the cheesecake and gives it some moisture from the oil. This makes a nice crumbly crust. Considered to be a tenderizer. (1)
  • Line Pan
  • Form Crust
  • The Batter
  • Mix Sugar Mixture (Cornstarch, sea salt, and white sugar) - The sea salt acts as a flavor enhancer and a leavening agent. The corn starch acts as a structure builder and thickening agent. Finally, the sugar acts as a flavor enhancer as well as a structure weakener. The sugar elevates the temperature for protein coagulation and creates a tender texture.
  • Whip Cream Cheese - By whipping the cream cheese, air is being mixed into the ingredient. This helps to turn the thicker cream cheese into a lighter base for the batter.
  • Add Sugar Mixture and Cream Cheese to the Stand Mixer - Cream cheese has an acidic pH level and serves as fat within the cheesecake. The cream cheese is a structure weakener and gives moisture to the cheesecake. (2)(3)
  • Add sour cream and vanilla extract - Sour cream has an acidic pH level and lowers the pH of the recipe which allows for substances that work in acidic conditions to react with the sour cream. It also helps moisturize the cheesecake without thinning the batter and contains fats that are structure weakening. The vanilla extract adds a vanilla flavor to the recipe. (4)
  • Mix in eggs - Fun fact: Cheesecake is custard. A 4:1 Liquid to egg mixture is critical to making a custard. Eggs also act as binding agents and help build the structure of the cheesecake. While mixing the proteins become unraveled and stretched out. This causes the proteins to line up because the hydrophilic ends are attracted to water in the egg white and the hydrophobic ends are repelled and attracted to the air in the pockets. (5)
  • Pressure Cooking
  • Pour batter over crust into the pan
  • Pressure cook cheesecake in a pan for 28 minutes - Cheesecake typically requires a water bath when cooked conventionally in the oven. Pressure cooking in an Instapot accomplishes the same result. By setting the cheesecake pan on a wire rack with water underneath in the Instapot, the steam produced will delicately cook the cheesecake in the same way as an oven. (6)
  • Cool, Chill, and Serve!


This recipe was adapted from here.

(1) Beyond Flavor: The Science of Butter | Institute of Culinary Education
(2) Gray, E. Function of Sugar in Baking https://www.baking
(3) Cheesecake 101 - Article 101#:~:text=Without%20starch%2C%20cheesecakes%20are%20creamy&text=Without%20starch%2C%20cheesecakes%20rely%20on.
(4) The science of sour cream cream/48763 (accessed 2022 -04 -07).
(5) medinabake. What Is the Purpose of Eggs in Baking? | Medina Baking
(6) 3 Surprising Dishes You Can Make in an Instant Pot | America’s Test Kitchen can-make-in-an-instant pot?incode=MASAD00L0&ref=new_search_experience_1 (accessed 2022 -04 -07)