Instant Pot Cheesecake Recipe: Low Calorie, High Protein Cheesecake
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I’m still relatively new to the world of pressure cooking. In my short time with an Instant Pot, I’ve made exclusively savory dishes like crispy carnitas, healthier frito chili pie, and high protein sloppy joes, which were great by the way. The Instant Pot is undeniably fast and an extremely useful cooking tool, but I had a tough time wrapping my head around making desserts. A delicate dessert and loads of pressure just didn’t seem to mix in my mind. I was wrong! And this low calorie instant pot cheesecake is proof.
One of my biggest challenges in cooking high protein desserts is balancing the elimination of calories with keeping flavor and texture in a recipe. Remove too many calories, and a recipe ends up bland and rubbery. If you’ve tried high protein foods, I know you’ve experienced this.
A cheesecake is something that can be challenging because there’s really no strong flavor to make up for a mistake. Meaning, finding the right balance of fat and carbs with protein and calorie reduction is the key, and I think I’ve nailed it with this Instant Pot cheesecake. I’m obligated to say that, of course, so you be the judge.
High Protein Instant Pot Cheesecake Nutrition Facts
Before we get to the recipe, I’d like to take a second to highlight the nutrition breakdown for my Instant Pot cheesecake. Below you’ll see the nutrition facts for 1/8 slice of the recipe. I’ve also included the information with 1/3 fat cream cheese instead of fat-free cream cheese in case you have trouble finding it, but we’ll talk more about ingredients in a second.
- Per 1/8 slice (cheesecake only): 230 Calories | 22.6P | 23C | 5.3F
- Macros for 1/8 slice with 1/3 fat cream cheese (cheesecake only): 288 Calories | 19.1P | 21.3C | 14F
You can add any topping you like or just eat the cheesecake by itself, but I’ll include two recipes below for a White Chocolate Strawberry and Double Chocolate version. And of course, they’ll be lower calorie options as well. Here’s a look at the breakdown for a slice with the toppings.
- White Chocolate Strawberry slice: 282 Calories | 26P | 29.5C | 6.8F
- Double Chocolate slice: 285 Calories | 26P | 29C | 7.8F
Crazy good, right?
Okay, let’s get to the protein cheesecake recipe and how to make the different toppings.
Ingredients for Instant Pot Cheesecake
Let’s talk cream cheese. Like I mentioned above, I know some have trouble finding fat-free cream cheese in certain areas. So if you want to make this recipe with 1/3 fat cream cheese instead, that’s perfectly fine. It will add 60 calories per slice, but that’s not the end of the world.
This brings up another interesting point. I want you to love my recipes. If this is your first foray into making a healthier cheesecake, I would rather you use the 1/3 fat cream cheese and transition to fat-free. To me, the differences are tiny, but I’m accustomed to eating high protein desserts. For only 60 extra calories, I can almost guarantee you’ll love this Instant Pot cheesecake with 1/3 fat cream cheese. If you decide you’d like to eliminate more calories and make this on the regular, then roll with it. There’s nothing wrong with easing into things!
Outside of the cream cheese discussion, another key ingredient will be Greek yogurt. Most everyone is good in the hood with fat-free Greek yogurt, so I’ll just mention the plain versus vanilla decision. Greek yogurt and its slightly sour taste really contribute to the cheesecake flavor here but if you have an ultra sweet tooth, there’s nothing wrong with using pre-sweetened vanilla Greek yogurt. And if you’re using plain, you can still sweeten your cheesecake with something like stevia or a low-cal sugar alternative (I did).
For the crust, you’ll be making a standard graham cracker crust with a bit of added protein. If you like an extra tender crust, you may want to swap a bit of apple sauce for butter or graham crackers for protein powder (gram for gram). These will have a relatively tiny effect on the overall nutrition breakdown.
BEST PROTEIN POWDER FOR RECIPES
You can use any protein you’d like, but I usually recommend Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey and/or Dymatize’s Whey or Elite XT blended protein. They’re reputable brands that have been around forever.
The macros are with Gold Standard Whey.
If you’d like to learn more about the different types of whey protein and how to find the best value for protein, read this article.
How to Make an Instant Pot Cheesecake
This recipe may look intimidating at first with all the instruction, but it’s really as simple as mixing, pouring, wrapping things in foil, and pressing buttons.
As for equipment, you’ll need a 7″ springform pan and the Instant Pot itself, of course. I used the Lux60 model for this recipe. I believe Instant Pot makes a cheesecake pan especially for use with the Instant Pot, but you’ll be fine thanks to what I like to call the scroll method.
You can see in the image below that it’s going to be a tight squeeze into the Instant Pot. That means attempting to remove your cheesecake from the Instant Pot after cooking when it’s piping hot would lead to certain death or worse.
Have no fear, you can simply fold extra foil to form handles to easily lift the cheesecake out of the Instant Pot.
That’s really about it in terms of technical tips. Others might be:
- Be sure your springform pan is “closed” before adding ingredients.
- Press your crust up around the edges of the pan. You can see the space between crust and pan in the photo above. Use a spatula to really press the crust to the outer edges to ensure no cheesecake leaks through.
- Freeze crust while making your cheesecake.
- Be careful when removing the cheesecake from the Instant Pot. In the photo above, I’m demonstrating bare-handed after the cheesecake had cooled slighlty. Use caution!
- Don’t release the springform pan until your cheesecake has completely cooled after cooking.
- Run a knife around the edges after cooling if needed so you don’t rip the cheesecake in half when releasing the springform pan.
Okay, you got this. Here’s the full recipe.
High Protein Instant Pot Cheesecake
A simple recipe for a lower calorie, higher protein cheesecake with several variations for different nutrition needs and desired flavor profiles.
- 1 1/4 C (130g) Graham Cracker Crumbs or 5 large sheets, crushed
- 1/2 C (122g) Unsweetened Apple Sauce
- 2 Tbsp (28g) Light Butter room temp or softened
- 1 scoop (30-32g) Protein Powder vanilla
- 16 oz (452g) Fat-Free Cream Cheese room temp or softened
- 1 C (227g) Fat-Free Greek Yogurt plain or vanilla
- 4 large Eggs
- 2 scoops (60-64g) Protein Powder vanilla
- 1/4 C Stevia or 0-Cal Sweetener optional (if you're using vanilla Greek yogurt, you may not need sweetener)
Wrap the bottom of a 7" springform pan with aluminum foil. Be sure it's a single layer and avoid bunching the foil around the sides. Set aside.
Begin the crust by microwaving the butter and apple sauce together for 10-15 seconds or until you can stir evenly. In a separate bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs and protein powder together. Combine all ingredients and stir until you have a dough-like mixture.
Add the crust mixture to the springform pan. Using a rubber spatula or nonstick utensil, spread the crust out evenly across the bottom of the pan. Once you've made your crust, place it in the freezer while you make the cheesecake.
For the cheesecake, whisk the cream cheese and Greek yogurt together in a large bowl. (You can also use a hand mixer for this step.) Add the eggs in gradually, stirring in one at a time. Finally, add the protein powder and any sweetener should you need it.
Remove your crust from the freezer and add the cheesecake mixture on top. It should spread on its own, but you can use a spatula or spoon to ensure it's evenly distributed.
Cover the top of your cheesecake with foil. Again, be sure to not bunch the foil but cover fully.
Fold another long piece (~2 feet) of foil into a long rectangle or roll it up longways like a scroll, if that helps give a visual. You'll use this as a handle to easily remove the springform pan from the Instant Pot.
Add 1 C water to the bottom of the Instant Pot and insert rack. Place your "scroll" in the bottom of the Instant Pot on top of the rack, sides sticking out of the Instant Pot. Last but not least, insert the springform pan and cheesecake into the Instant Pot. Fold the ends of the "scroll" down before shutting the lid.
Cook the cheesecake on manual for 35 minutes with a 10-minute natural release.
Release the remaining pressure and remove your cheesecake using your handy dandy scroll handles. Be careful, as the handles, pan, and pot will all still be hot.
The center of your cheesecake should be a bit jiggly but not runny. If this is your first cheesecake, don't worry, it will finish cooking after removing it from the Instant Pot. Be sure to cover again after checking on it.
Set the cheesecake on a wire rack or on a safe surface to cool to room temp. Once your cheesecake has cooled, place it in the refrigerator for 4+ hours minimum before releasing the springform pan. (Use a knife to separate sides from pan before releasing if needed.) Add any toppings you like, slice into 8 pieces, and store in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
- Per 1/8 slice (cheesecake only): 230 Calories | 22.6P | 23C | 5.25F
- Macros for 1/8 slice with 1/3 fat cream cheese(cheesecake only): 288 Calories | 19.1P | 21.3C | 14F
- If you wanted to make a chocolate crust, add 3 Tbsp (15g) dark cocoa powder to the crust mixture. Add 1-2 Tbsp of apple sauce as needed. Or check out my Reese's Protein Cheesecake.
- To prepare without an Instant Pot, follow the same instructions but bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for around 45 minutes. Remove and cool to room temp before refrigerating for 4+ hours.
White Chocolate Strawberry Protein Cheesecake Recipe
When it comes to cheesecake flavors or toppings, white chocolate strawberry reigns supreme. I won’t hear any arguments otherwise. BUT, the picky eater in my house doesn’t like strawberries so I’ve also included a double chocolate recipe below.
If you like strawberries, make this.
White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Topping
A delicious, high protein topping for a cheesecake or other desserts.
- 2 Tbsp (28g) White Chocolate Chips or Baking Chocolate
- 1/2 packet (16g) Sugar-Free Fat-Free White Chocolate Pudding Mix
- 1 scoop (30-32g) Protein Powder vanilla
- 3/8 C (90mL) Unsweetened Almond Milk
- 1 C (210g) Strawberries frozen or fresh
If you're using frozen strawberries and they're unthawed, add them to a bowl and microwave for 60-90 seconds. There should be some juice from the strawberries running. Remove and slice strawberries into 3-4 pieces per strawberry. Set aside.
Melt chocolate in 1 Tbsp (15mL) almond milk for 10-15 seconds in the microwave. Stir well and set aside.
Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Once mixed, add the remaining milk and the melted chocolate. Stir until a thick mixture forms.
Add mixture to the top of a cheesecake and top with sliced strawberries and their juices.
- Entire recipe: 415 Calories | 27P | 52C | 12F
- 1/8 Recipe (add to 1/8 slice of cheesecake for totals): 52 Calories | 3.4P | 6.5C | 1.5F
Double Chocolate Protein Cheesecake Recipe
Okay, white chocolate strawberry is the bee’s knees, but you can’t go wrong with chocolate. I’m not one for participation trophies. Still, honorable mention here.
Double Chocolate Protein Cheesecake Topping
A balanced double chocolate topping for cheesecakes or other desserts.
- 1 scoop (30-32g) Protein Powder vanilla
- 3 Tbsp (15g) Unsweetened Dark Cocoa Powder
- 2 Tbsp (28g) Dark Chocolate Chips
- 1/4 C (60mL) Unsweetened Almond Milk
- 2 Tbsp (28g) Mini Chocolate Chips
Melt dark chocolate chips with 1 Tbsp (15mL) in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Stir well and set aside.
Mix protein powder and cocoa powder together in a small bowl, adding the remaining milk once mixed. Add melted chocolate chips and stir until you have a thick mixture.
Add this to the top of a cheesecake or any other dessert. If it's too thick to spread, add a bit more almond milk (maybe 2-3 Tbsp).
Finally, top with mini chocolate chips and enjoy!
- Entire Recipe: 436 Calories | 26P | 48C | 20F
- 1/8 Recipe (add to 1/8 slice of cheesecake for totals): 55 Calories | 3.3P | 6C | 2.5F
I mentioned my microwaveable protein cheesecake in the intro but if you’d like another delicious high protein sweets fix, check out my S’mores Protein Donuts!
And as always, if you try any of my recipes, I want to see your re-creations on Instagram. It lets me know you’re putting healthy recipes into action, and I love sharing your recipes to inspire others.