Savory Herbed Goat Cheese-Hot Pepper Cheesecake for the Holidays

Savory Goat Cheese-Hot Pepper CheesecakeThere's a 1970s party food that I am addicted to. It's called Red Sauce.  It contains ketchup and Worcestershire and onions and peppers and honey and some other Items. You cook them all together, chill it and then pour it over a block of cream cheese. And then you stand right next to the Spot where the red sauce is, and you eat it all.  You might have to make Mean Faces at other hapless party-goers lest they try to swoop in and Have Some.

And sometimes when you're at home alone and maybe have some red sauce and cream cheese in the fridge and maybe have some crackers in the cabinet, you sit in front of the television and spear pieces of cream cheese with your knife. Then you dunk them into the jar of red sauce. Then you put That on a cracker and shove it into your face. If you run out of crackers, you just omit that step and shove the red sauce-coated hunk of cream cheese directly into your Gaping Maw.

I tell you this as my very long way of saying I Heart Cream Cheese with Tangy-Spicy Items on it.

I met another pour-over-a-block-of-cream-cheese sauce when I went to a Christmas party about 20 years ago. It was called Jezebel sauce. It was a miracle.  Pineapple jelly, horseradish and black pepper. Sounds kinda hinky, but dang is it good over cream cheese!

Savory Goat Cheese-Hot Pepper CheesecakeBut now, I am Grown. I don't sit on the couch and shove red-sauce coated Morsels of Cream Cheese into my face. We now have a divan.

I am still in love with tangy-spicy and cream cheese. And in honor of my Purchase of some Uncle Gary's Gourmet Peppers and Pepper Jelly (I bought two jars of each), I decided to shove both of those ingredients into a savory cheesecake.

Friends, I am here to inform you that it Came to Pass that I made the cheesecake two evenings ago. And then I unmolded it yesterday. And then I ate a Very Lot of it.  On crackers, mostly.

Savory Goat Cheese-Hot Pepper CheesecakeIf you are a fan of tangy-spicy on cream cheese on crackers, this cheesecake is for you.  It only contains a few ingredients and is very simple to make. And with its Jaunty topping of bright red pepper jelly, it would make a perfect Holiday Smackerel for a party. Or for Just Because.  If you have a Christmas tree shaped mold, make it in that--that would be The Cutest!

A quick word about Uncle Gary's. The peppers are brined in a sweet-hot brine that is ridiculously good.  If you make this with a different brand of pepper, just know  that it won't taste like mine. And mine was awesome. So, if you'd like to try some Uncle Gary's, you can order here.*

The recipe makes one 6-inch cheesecake, so scale up if you'd like to make more.  Or bake in 2 6-inch pans because it's a really nice size to set out for a party.

Savory Goat Cheese-Hot Pepper Cheesecake

Savory Herbed Goat Cheese-Hot Pepper Cheesecake
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-16
Sweet, spicy and savory: a perfect combination on a cracker or crusty bread.
What You Need
For the Cheesecake (Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature).
  • 8 oz package cream cheese
  • 4 oz herbed garlic goat cheese (or other soft, young chevre of your choice)
  • 2 oz sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 3.5 oz Uncle Gary's Gourmet Peppers, well drained and rather finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • several grindings of white pepper
For the Topping
  • ⅓-1/2 cup Uncle Gary's Gourmet Pepper Jelly, well-stirred
What To Do
For the Cheesecake
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Prepare a 6" cake pan by lining the bottom with a circle cut from parchment or non-stick aluminum foil. Spray the sides of the pan with pan spray. Set aside.
  3. Have a 9" or 10" pan ready for a water bath. Bring a kettle of water to the boil and keep hot.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese and goat cheese together until completely smooth. Scrape the bowl as necessary.
  5. Mix in the sour cream, egg, chopped peppers, salt and white pepper until well combined. Scrape the bowl as necessary.
  6. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and smooth the top.
  7. Put your filled pan in the larger pan and set them both on the middle rack of your oven.
  8. Quickly pour in the hot water to come about halfway up the side of your baking pan.
  9. Center the 6" pan in the water bath if necessary and bake for 35-40 min or until the cake is firm.
  10. Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool. When cool, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight until completely chilled.
To Top and Serve
  1. Run a thin knife around the sides of the cheesecake pan and unmold on the serving platter of your choice.
  2. Pull the pan away--you may have to do a bit of jiggling--and peel off the parchment or non-stick foil.
  3. Spread an even layer of Uncle Gary's Pepper Jelly on top of the cheesecake and serve with crackers or crusty bread.
  4. Stand back.
Other Stuff to Know
If you are not serving this within a day or two, you may want to add a level Tablespoon or two of corn starch to the cheesecake mixture. This will bind up any extra liquid and keep your cheesecake from weeping. I omitted this step and even two days later, I'm not having a weeping problem from the cake. It's just some insurance if you think you need it.

Feel free to add chopped herbs, minced garlic or shallot, or some other savory mix-ins if you want, especially if you use a plain goat cheese. Mine was herby and garlicky, so I left well enough alone. For once.


I really hope you try this, especially if you were nodding your head in Understanding over the whole sitting on the couch thing. This is one Seriously Good Cheesecake, and I hope you enjoy it!

Take care, and have a lovely day.


*Other than being mutual fans on facebook, I have no business relationship with Uncle Gary's Gourmet Peppers and Pepper Jelly, nor was I asked to write this post. I'm sharing it because Uncle Gary's peppers are some of the best I've ever had, and I don't think I've ever eaten a better pepper jelly.



  1. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen says

    I heart this combination so much, and savory cheesecakes and anything sweet and spicy! It´s something Nigella would make on tv and then eat at night directly with her fingers, no crackers.

  2. Betty Ann @Mango_Queen says

    Oh wow, this sure is a fire up the holidays kinda cheesecake. It’s spectacular! You already had me at ‘goat cheese’, but after seeing the rest of the recipe, well, this is definitely getting on our holiday table. My family will devour this. Thanks for sharing this recipe, your kindness, support, friendship and the sweet blog visit, today. May you and your Beloved have a wonderful Holiday season, Jenni!

  3. Imane Daher says

    I love love love your goat cheese cake and bought the jelly and made it… Being a cheese lover I tell you it’s 5 thumbs up or more… LOOOOL.. Thank you for this wonderful recipe..

    • says

      OH wow, @google-6c63325a3898c5ebe174f647c3e9aec2:disqus ! I am so glad that you love it (I thought it was great, too, but I’m biased)! Thanks for taking the time to stop in and let me know; I really love to hear from folks who’ve tried recipes. Hooray for 5 thumbs up!

  4. says

    This is one of my favorite flavor combos, and such a great holiday twist! I’m wondering, what difference does turning it into a cheesecake make, vs simply blending the cheeses & flavorings, then molding that blend? Is it textural or something else? I’d love to do this in my small (6″ x 3″) holiday tree cake pans but they’re pretty shallow so they may not be great for a water bath. Knowing the difference would help me decide whether its better to go all the way with the water bath or do the molding.
    Anyway, thanks for the great recipe!

    • says

      That’s a great question, @facebook-1681236378:disqus . Honestly, I think you could probably just mix everything together, mold and chill. the lecithin in the egg will help to bind up some of the liquids, but short-term it shouldn’t be a problem.

      Texturally, once it’s baked, it seems a bit lighter and is pretty easy to spread straight from the fridge. W/o baking, you will probably want to let it sit out for at least a half hour before serving.

      Baked or “raw” (ha!) I think you’ll really like it. Enjoy, and have a very Merry Christmas!

  5. Sian of Tomorrowland says

    Hi Chef Jenni

    What’s the sub for Gourmet Pepper? Simply marinated capsicum? Or, pickled jalapeno? I found a jar of pepper jam (not quite pepper jelly) And, step #5, did you mean mixing in with the machine or just folding in with a spatula (concerned that the pepper will be totally crushed). Thank you and Happy New Year, Chef.

    • says

      Hi, Sianli! I think you can use your favorite marinated/pickled peppers. You may want to play with the amounts, so add a bit and taste before adding more. Uncle Gary’s Gourmet Peppers are sweet and hot, so it may be hard to find an exact match, but that’s the fun of it–yours in Tomorrowland will taste different but just as good as mine in Yesterdayland!

      As to mixing in, I did mince the peppers up pretty well first, so I just tossed them in the stand mixer. I think the pepper jam will probably work out Just Fine, too. Let me know what you think when you make it, and I hope you had a great Christmas! 🙂

      • Sian of Tomorrowland says

        It’s in the oven!! I’m so excited! I licked the paddle and it was nom nom : ))
        I put basil a lot of basil (dried, even though have heaps of fresh in garden) and garlic as I could only find plain chevre.


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