Try this Dutch oven cheesecake recipe

In a good way. Your campers will remember you as a cooking legend.

Styling by Angela Yeung

“Anything you can cook in your kitchen oven, you can cook in a Dutch oven.”

The first time I heard that, I thought to myself, “No way.” Now, one of my favorite things to hear someone say is, “There’s no way that came out of a Dutch oven!”

I have also discovered that adapting a recipe to the Dutch oven isn’t all that hard. A recipe that is normally cooked in a 9-by-13 baking dish fits well into a 12-inch Dutch oven. A dish that is cooked in a 9- or 10-inch cake or springform pan fits well into a 10-inch Dutch oven.

My all-time favorite reaction to something I adapted for the Dutch oven was when I tried baking a cheesecake. I know it’s hard to believe, but you can cook a cheesecake in a Dutch oven.

When people ask, “What’s for dessert?” you can reply, “Oh, I thought I’d just do something with cherries.”

Odds are they will walk away and tell the others, “We’re having cherry cobbler tonight.” I guarantee that when you take the lid off that Dutch oven and “cherry cobbler” turns into an honest-to-goodness cheesecake—well, just be ready to perform CPR on all the folks who pass out.

And one more warning: Be prepared to have people come up to you for the rest of your life and say, “Hey, aren’t you that Scout leader who made the incredible cheesecake in the woods?”

H. Kent Rappleye, past president of the Utah-based International Dutch Oven Society, is an Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow.

Dutch Oven Cheesecake

Start with a 10-inch Dutch oven preheated to about 325 degrees (13 coals on top, 7 coals below).

Crust

  • 1 package honey graham crackers, crushed (about 1¾ cup)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 5½ tablespoons salted butter, melted

Mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter.

Lightly spray the inside of the Dutch oven with baking spray. Press the crumb mixture inside.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Cheesecake

  • 5 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • Baking spray
  • Favorite cheesecake topping

Mix by hand cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla until well blended.

Add sour cream. Mix well.

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just blended. Pour over crust.

Bake for about 1 hour or until center is almost set.

Loosen cake from side of oven and let cool before serving with favorite fruit topping.

Serves: 12 to 16 slices

18 Comments

  1. I’ve used this recipe eight times now with consistent great results. I’ve also changed it up a little with stevia instead of sugar and used all low-cal ingredients with equally great results. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. OUTSTANDING! I have made it numerous times, people who don’t normally like cheese cake love it and have asked for more.
    I even make it at home in a 10″ cast iron skillet in the oven.
    I might suggest a slightly thicker crust which I multiply the items by 1-1/2 and it is just right, 2 times was way to much crust.
    Good Scouting.

  3. A friend made this for our families while camping last summer. It was really good cheesecake still slightly warm the night she made it, but if you can hold out, it was INCREDIBLE the next morning, cold and well set, for breakfast! Best cheesecake I have ever eaten. (Maybe being out in the woods at 8 am helped!)

  4. This is now my Boy Scout Troop and Venture Crew go to dessert! They love it! They love to switch it up, too! To save time on camp outs, I have them premake the cheese cake mixture and put it inside of a ziplock bag then inside another ziplock. They also premake the graham cracker crust. It saves dishes and time while camping out. We prefer it warm, but it is great for “breakfast” too! LOL! This recipe is consistent. Any problems we have ever had have been operator err, usually a new dutch oven trainee. 😉 We have changed it up many times, use cookie dough for the crust, used oreos for the crust, mixed in a can of pumpkin, cranberry sauce (not the gel), and nutmeg; added cocoa and peanut butter and topped with chunks of Hershey chocolate bars; added marshmello fluff and chocolate chips to the batter. So many delicious versions the kids have come up with! My personal favorite is straight up with strawberries and blueberries. But all the other twists are super yum! We have a pretty creative bunch and it helps that we all love to eat! LOL!

    • By the way, we use parchment paper and it can be lifted right out of the dutch oven to set onto a table for easier serving. Again, parchment paper is a godsend! You can quickly turn the DO around to use for another meal!

    • Thank you so much for saying that you can pre-make the cheesecake and put in Ziploc bag. We just got our Dutch oven and super excited to make this!

    • I keep everything the same except add one more package of Graham crackers, more butter and more sugar with it. Using the same amount of cream cheese works.

      • thanks for that tip. I just got a new dutch oven and really want to try this recipe during out next camp!

  5. I used this recipe at a Boy Scout winter camp this weekend for a Dutch Oven contest. It turned out great. Don’t know how it would have ranked as I asked not to be judged since the other entries were all submitted by scouts but the judges all said it was great. I used a 12″ oven with the same quantities of ingredients and it was perfect.

  6. I used this recipe this summer at camp for our “Iron Chef” night. The other Scoutmasters in our troop were requesting something different for dessert, so I asked for suggestions. Somebody said, “how about cheesecake?”, I think perhaps as a joke. I accepted it as a challenge. After a quick Google search on my Boy Scout smartphone, I found this recipe and decided that it looked very do-able.

    Needless to say, it turned out great, and everybody was amazed, (myself included)! Will definitely be using this one again, perhaps with some of the variations folks have posted above!

    Thanks for the recipe!

  7. I am a DO novice and I just tried this for the first to me today. Followed the recipe and instructions exactly. Used parchment and pre formed the crust on the parchment in the DO and removed it and then preheated the DO empty and then added crust. Pushed it down into the DO with a spoon. After 8 minutes I checked and the crust was beginning to burn so I added the filling. It did cook about an hour and looked nice but was browning on edges. How do you cool it while camping though.? Do you leave in the DO and put in the cooler? Do you bring a container and remove the cake and then put it in the cooler? This part I am not sure of particularly if not using parchment. I haven’t tasted it yet and will do follow up once I try it

    • i cheated when i did mine. I used pre made crust already in the foil pain. It took longer, but wasn’t bad. I let mine cool to where I could hold it, then I had either a towel or hot pads i put in our cooler over other food and just set it on those. Once it cooler enough, I put the plastic lid over that came with the pre made crust.

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