Desserts

Tempura Cheesecake Recipe

Oh my, it’s a cheesecake fry!

Claire Onidi By
Claire Onidi
Passionate about food and pastries since always, Claire spends most of her time in the kitchen to develop new recipes. She is French but lived many years abroad.
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Updated June 24, 2022

For a decadent dessert, try tempura cheesecake! While it may sound complicated, it’s actually an easy treat that will impress your guests.

Tempura Cheesecake Recipe

What is a tempura cheesecake? It’s simply a regular cheesecake that you freeze and then deep-fry!

But this oil bath is where the magic happens. When the tempura cheesecake emerges, the inside has softened and the outside has crisped. And it tastes like warm cream puffs.

The idea for tempura came to Japan from Portugal in the 16th century, and from there it took off. And while it’s normally used for veggies, meat, or seafood, the technique works for sweets too.

Tempura cheesecake is easy to make at home because the simple batter has only 3 ingredients: flour, ice water, and egg. And if you use a store-bought cheesecake, this dessert is even easier.

Of course, you can also make your own cheesecake at home with cream cheese, mascarpone, and any other fillings you like. That will taste amazing, too.

So, start freezing your cheesecake and heating your oil for this magical dessert!

The Best Ingredients for the Best Tempura Cheesecake

Cheesecake

You can use any type of cheesecake for this recipe, homemade or store-bought. But since it’s the basis of the dessert, make sure it tastes good on its own!

You could even use leftover homemade cheesecake cut into small pieces. This would make delicious fried cheesecake bites.

The most important thing for preparing the cheesecake is to make sure it’s frozen well. It needs to be very cold and solid to stand up to the boiling oil.

Flour

My recipe uses regular all-purpose flour for a crunchy coating. In fact, most batters for tempura use wheat flour.

You can buy special tempura mix at the grocery store, but you don’t have to. This flour usually has a lower gluten content for a lighter texture, and sometimes it has baking powder as well.

If you want to avoid gluten altogether, you can use cornstarch or rice flour instead. You’ll still get a lovely coating.

Ice Water

Cold tempura batter gives you the crispiest coating. To achieve this, use ice water in your mixture.

If the batter is warm or at room temperature, it will absorb oil as it fries. So at the end, your tempura cheesecake will be a soggy mess.

Egg

Egg is the binder for your tempura cheesecake batter, and it’s a common ingredient for breading and deep-frying.

For the tempura batter, keep the ratio of liquid (water/egg) to flour at 1:1.

Oil

For deep-fried cheesecake, you want to use a neutral oil with a high smoke point. Therefore, the most common ones are canola or vegetable oil.

Historically, Japanese chefs used sesame oil or tea seed oil for frying tempura. And some specialty shops still do because these oils make the tempura very crisp and light.

Since vegetable oil is cheap and easy to find, that’s what I’ve used in this recipe.

Helpful Tips for the Best Deep-Fried Cheesecake

Don’t Mix Ahead

For the crispiest coating, you want as little gluten activation as possible in your batter.

Gluten is the protein in wheat that gives bread its chewy texture. But for deep-fried tempura cheesecake, you want crunch, not chew.

To prevent the gluten strands from forming, make the batter at the last minute before frying. That way, the gluten won’t have time to activate.

Make Small Batches

Another way to prevent gluten formation and chewiness is to work in small batches. That way, the batter won’t sit around while you make the first few batches of tempura.

Don’t Overmix

As well, don’t overmix the batter. Mixing helps the gluten strands form (like kneading bread), so you want to work the batter as little as possible.

Traditionally, Japanese chefs use chopsticks to mix the batter, and they only stir it for a few moments. This leaves some lumps, which help give the fried tempura its characteristic texture.

Use Ice

As I mentioned above, you want the batter to be really cold so that it doesn’t absorb oil as it fries.

To do this, you can add ice to the batter with the water. Or, you can place a bowl of ice underneath your mixing bowl of batter, and this will help keep it cold.

Don’t Use Breadcrumbs

Tempura batter is always made with flour, not breadcrumbs. Japanese chefs do use breadcrumbs (called “panko”), but only in certain recipes.

Dishes with breadcrumbs are called “furai,” and they are typically Japanese versions of western dishes.

Control the Temperature

Getting your frying oil to the right temperature (and keeping it there) is one of the keys to good tempura. In general, you want the oil to be between 320 to 350 degrees F (160-180°C).

Using a deep fryer is a good way to maintain this temperature. But if you’re just frying in a pot on the stove, consider using a thermometer.

Don’t Reheat

I don’t recommend to reheat fried tempura cheesecake as they’ll lose their crisp texture. It’s best to eat them while they’re fresh.

Tempura cheese cake

Tempura Cheesecake Recipe

  • Prep Time5 min
  • Cook Time15 min
  • Total Time20 min
  • Servings4
  • Yield

Level: Easy

Ingredients

For batter:



For frying and serving:


Equipment





Method


  1. Freeze Cheesecake

    First, make sure your cheesecake slices are frozen solid. If they’re not, put them in the freezer until they are

  2. Heat the Oil

    Pour vegetable oil into your deep fryer or a pot on the stove. Then, heat it up to 340 degrees F.

    (Don’t add the cheesecake until the oil has reached the right temperature.)

  3. Mix the Batter

    While the oil is heating, add the flour, egg, and water to a mixing bowl. Gently combine them with a fork or chopsticks.

    And make sure not to overmix! Also, try to keep the batter as cold as possible

  4. Dip the Cheesecake

    Take one piece of cheesecake and dip it into the batter, coating all sides. Gently shake off the excess batter, and don’t redip the piece.

    Repeat with the remaining pieces right before you are going to fry each of them.

  5. Fry the Cheesecake

    Add one or two pieces of cheesecake to the oil and fry them for 5-7 minutes. They’re ready when the outside is golden brown.

    The number of pieces to cook at a time depends on the size of your pot or fryer. Fry the cheesecake in batches so they don’t crowd each other and lower the oil temperature.

  6. Plate and Serve

    Remove the cheesecake from the fryer, and drain for 30 seconds on a rack or paper towel. Then, sprinkle the slices with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve.

    Enjoy perfect deep-fried cheesecake!

 

Another Way to Make Delicious Tempura Cheesecake

For more American-style fried cheesecake slices, you can use flour, egg, and breadcrumbs. This is the typical dredging method for dishes like chicken fingers or fried mozzarella.

To make this version of deep-fried cheesecake, use these ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups crackers or digestive biscuits (crushed finely); or breadcrumbs or panko

Place each of the ingredients in a shallow bowl or on a plate. Then, coat one piece of cheesecake in flour, dip it in the egg, and finally roll it in the crumbs.

Repeat with the rest of the slices, and then fry them the same way as for tempura cheesecake.

What to Serve With Tempura Cheesecake

Ice Cream

What’s the perfect companion for a warm dessert? Ice cream, of course!

Ice cream will melt slightly when you put it on your tempura cheesecake, and it’ll make the whole dessert even richer.

While you can always buy pre-made ice cream at the grocery store, it’s really easy (and tastier) to make your own.

You only need 4 ingredients, and you can prepare it the night before. Plus, this gives you the freedom to make whatever flavor you want!

Whipped Cream

Another classic topping is whipped cream.

Because it’s so light and airy, it complements the crispy tempura and dense, creamy cheesecake. And whipped cream won’t change the temperature of your dessert very much, if you want to keep it hot.

Whipped cream is also very simple to make – all you need is heavy cream and sugar! But you can also experiment with adding vanilla, maple syrup, or different extracts for some variety.

Sauce or Syrup

This option is the easiest of the three, and it’s really delicious! Just drizzle your favorite chocolate or caramel sauce, or strawberry glaze on top of the cheesecake pieces.

Tempura batter is very neutral, so it works well with whatever sauce you like.

And if you’re using flavored cheesecake, match the sauce to it. For instance, if you have a strawberry cheesecake, you might want to top it with strawberry sauce. But if you have a lemon cheesecake, you might want caramel or chocolate sauce.

Tempura Cheesecake - Pinterest

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
  • 730Calories
  • 56.4g Fat
  • 46.9g Carbs
  • 8.6gProtein
Show Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories730
% Daily Value*
Total Fat56.4g 72%
Saturated Fat16.1g 80%
Cholesterol111mg 37%
Sodium246mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate46.9g 17%
Dietary Fiber0.8g 3%
Total Sugars15.2g
Protein8.6g
Vitamin C4mcg 19%
Calcium51mg 4%
Iron2mg 13%
Potassium48mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.
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