The flavor and texture of a classic cheesecake is always better the day after you bake it, so planning ahead is part of the deal. Sometimes, like when you’re throwing a party and you need to check something off your list, it’s nice to make dessert way ahead of time.
Cheesecake is no small undertaking. Luckily, it’s perfectly suited for freezing, and a cheesecake in the freezer can feel like money in the bank. Thaw it out for a few hours and you have an instant, highly impressive dessert.
Here are the basic steps:
- Cool the cheesecake completely before refrigerating it.
- Chill the cheesecake thoroughly in the refrigerator.
- Cut the cheesecake into portions, if you like, or leave it whole.
- Place the cheesecake on a cardboard round.
- Wrap it well in plastic wrap, then foil.
- Freeze for up to 1 month for optimal flavor, 2 months is the max.
- Thaw in the fridge, on the counter, or in the microwave before serving.
Let's take a look at each of these steps in turn.
After you pull your finished cheesecake out of the oven, let it cool to room temperature before you refrigerate it. Then chill it thoroughly in the refrigerator before removing it from the pan, preferably overnight.
Why? A chilled cheesecake is firmer and pops out of the pan with little resistance.
A chilled cheesecake is also easier to slice. You get less goop on your knife and cleaner-looking slices. You don’t have to slice a cheesecake before freezing it, but it thaws faster and saves you a step later on.
Tip! If I’m freezing slices, I like to put small sheets of waxed paper between them so they separate easily. Here’s what you do: cut the waxed paper to fit, then slice the cheesecake. Insert the waxed paper, then put it back together as a round so there’s waxed paper between each slice.
Use a Cardboard Base
Coated cardboard rounds, the kind bakeries put cakes on, are handy bases for cheesecakes. They give you a sturdy foundation for freezing and transferring. If you’re only freezing half the cake, just cut the base in half. And if you don’t have any fancy pants cake rounds, cut your own cardboard to fit and cover it with foil.
Swaddle in Plastic, Then Foil
For an entire cheesecake (or half of one), wrap the whole round (or semicircle) in plastic wrap, then in foil. The less air comes into contact with your cheesecake, the longer it’ll last in the freezer. Then label and date it.
Storing in the Freezer
Most sources say after one month in the freezer, cheesecake begins to lose its quality. I’ve had well-wrapped cheesecakes frozen for as long as two months with no problems, but any longer than that is tempting fate.
What About Toppings?
It’s best to freeze cheesecake without toppings (such as sour cream or a fruit sauce). Garnish the cheesecake with topping when you serve it.
Freezing One or Two Slices
If you have a few leftover slices from a party, the same rules apply. Wrap them well in plastic wrap, then in foil. Or you can skip the foil, use just plastic wrap, and then pop the pieces in a plastic container with a snap-on lid. Label them and remember to enjoy them in within a month (or two, if you’re a boundary pusher like me).
How to Thaw Cheesecake
- Set it in the refrigerator overnight. You can remove the foil, but keep the plastic wrap on.
- Remove the foil and put the cheesecake on the counter for 2-4 hours (larger cheesecakes will take more time).
- Microwave individual slices for 30 seconds. (Don’t microwave a whole cheesecake, however. Or foil, for that matter!)
Psst...we have the best cheesecake recipe ever!
No, seriously. I made a bunch to test freezing methods, and I can vouch there’s a reason it’s called Perfect Cheesecake. Everyone in my co-working space went bonkers over this cheesecake, and they couldn’t tell it had been frozen.