You baked a cheesecake. Congratulations. It's going to be delicious. But you finish baking, and then...you need it cold, right? So what to do? Can you just stick it in the fridge?
Cheesecake is meant to be eaten chilled. And the fridge is a good place to chill it. So put it there...but just not right away.
Wait an hour or two first.
We've got all your cheesecake-chilling questions covered.
Let's take a look.
Why do I need to wait before chilling my cheesecake?
Maybe you're thinking, Why can't I just take it out of the oven and stick it in the fridge? Here are two reasons why not to do that:
1. If you pull a cheesecake straight out of the oven and throw it in the fridge, the rapid cooling will cause condensation of water inside the cake. Ugh.
2. And, of course, sticking anything hot into the fridge will warm your fridge faster than the fridge can cool itself. This is bad for the appliance, and bad for any perishables you're keeping in there.
How Long Should Cheesecake Cool Before I Stick It in the Fridge?
Like most things in life, there's no hard and fast rule for this. But an hour or two should be sufficient.
Obviously it depends on factors such as the temperature at which you baked it, and the temperature of your room. But once it's cooled to "room temperature," you're good to go.
A gradual cooling will prevent the formation of condensation on the cake, and keep it from becoming soggy. So put that cheesecake in the fridge, but give it a little time first. An hour or two should do the trick.
Steps to Cooling a Cheesecake
The best way to cool a cheesecake is to let it sit for a while after pulling it out of the oven. Possibly on this little nifty kitchen device (which most people in the 21st century have) called a cooling rack – so named for exactly that purpose. Handy, no?
1. Leave it on a wire "cooling" rack for 1-2 hours.
2. Wrap it in plastic wrap.
3. Stick it in the fridge.
Should I remove it from the pan before cooling?
Removing a cheesecake from the pan is one of the notoriously difficult tricks of baking, enough that there are whole articles on it. However, you should not remove it from the pan before it has cooled. The cooling time is necessary to "set" it.
Can You Cool a Cheesecake Quickly (Without the Fridge)?
You can actually use a portable fan to direct hot air away from the cake and replace it with cool air. This will reduce the cooling time by about a third (~33%).
Can I Put Warm Cheesecake into the Fridge?
As mentioned above, you shouldn't. It'll ruin the cheesecake with condensation and mess with your poor fridge. Don't, please.
But if I'm about to board a transcontinental flight in an hour, and I won't be back for two years, and I don't want to leave it out for the bugs?
In that ridiculous scenario, sure. Stick it in the fridge. But, in that case, why exactly did you bake a cheesecake?
Can I Leave Cheesecake Out Overnight?
Like stuffing a warm cheesecake in the fridge, this is a bad idea. Because cheesecake contains milk products, it's susceptible to bacteria and other nasties.
After baking, leave it to cool for a few hours at least, but six hours at most. Don't leave it out overnight.
Can I Freeze Cheesecake?
If you want to preserve it...then yes, cheesecake can be frozen, but you'll botch the texture just a little. Denser cheesecakes freeze better than lighter, whipped ones.
However, the freezer is also a handy way to chill it more quickly.
Using the freezer to speed up the chilling process
With this method, while you don't want to freeze it, per se, the freezer is a handy option if you don't have time to wait several hours for your cheesecake to cool in the fridge.
BUT DO NOT PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE OR FREEZER BEFORE IT COMES TO ROOM TEMPERATURE.
Before placing the cheesecake in the freezer, wrap it with plastic wrap. Wrap it tightly to prevent "freezer burn."
And don't wait for it to freeze all the way. Take it out after an hour, and enjoy it chilled.
Our Favorite Cheesecake Recipes
Here are some yummy cheesecake recipes to get you inspired:
Feeling in a Fall mood?
For when you want to let that sassy side shine.
For coffee lovers and lovers of alliterative wordplay.
For when the pie isn't enough.
In the fashion (as above) of making two desserts in one.
Also great if you're lactose-intolerant.
So you've gone and baked a cheesecake from scratch – yippee. Just make sure you know what to do with it afterwards. After baking, you need to give your cheesecake 1-2 hours to come to room temperature, and then chill it in the fridge. Do NOT leave it out for more than six hours, or overnight. And don't stick it straight into the freezer either.
With a bit of patience, your cheesecake will be so delectable that friends will be begging you for more.
Just follow the directions!