This baked matcha cheesecake is super smooth, creamy, and easy to make without a water bath. A layer of rich, fluffy green tea cheesecake sits on top of a crunchy gluten free graham cracker crust. The earthy flavor of matcha compliments the tangy cream cheese perfectly and is absolutely delicious!
Matcha is (obviously) one of my favorite ingredients to bake with, and it's perfect in a cheesecake! Its bright, grassy flavor profile pairs beautifully with the cream cheese and the cinnamon in the gluten free graham cracker crust.
If you're unfamiliar, matcha is a powder made of green tea leaves. Traditionally, matcha is consumed in East Asia and is drank during tea ceremonies in Japan. To this day, most matcha production still happens in Japan, with the highest quality matcha coming from Uji, Japan.
The history of matcha can be traced back to the Chinese Tang Dynasty in the 7th-10th centuries before it was introduced in Japan between the 10th and 13th centuries.
Matcha is an integral part of East Asian and Japanese culture. I've linked articles about the history (I linked to Wikipedia so you can reference their sources), cultural appropriation, and white-washing of matcha. Here are some of my favorite Asian creators you should support: Veggiekins, The Heirloom Pantry , Bee the Love.
My intention is always to spread awareness and appreciation for all cultures.
Why This Recipe Works
- Creamy cheesecake- The texture of this cheesecake is super rich and creamy.
- Graham cracker crust- The crust is gluten free and has a buttery texture.
- Green matcha- Because of the matcha powder, this cheesecake is green in color and has an earthy taste.
- Vanilla buttercream- There is a smooth vanilla frosting on top of the cheesecake.
Baked Versus No Bake Cheesecake
While they both use cream cheese, baked and no bake cheesecakes are completely different desserts.
No bake cheesecake is made without eggs and has a whipped, airy texture. Out of the two cheesecakes, it is the easiest to make and only requires to be set in the refrigerator.
However, baked cheesecake has the rich, dense, velvety texture that most people associate cheesecake with (think New York cheesecake or Cheesecake Factory). This is due to the eggs in the batter. Baked cheesecake is usually baked at a low temperature for a longer period of time in a water bath to keep it from cracking. Cheesecakes can be very finicky and a lot can go wrong. That's why I'm sharing my top tips with you so you can make a perfect cheesecake every time.
Here are some notes about a few of the ingredients used. For the full ingredient list, see the recipe card below.
- Gluten free graham crackers- If you aren't gluten free, use regular graham crackers.
- Cream cheese- My favorite is full fat from Philadelphia. Pull this, the eggs, and Greek yogurt out of the refrigerator 2 hours before baking.
- Greek yogurt- Use full fat Greek yogurt or skyr.
- Honey- I prefer clover honey but any light colored honey will do.
- Matcha powder- Choose an unsweetened, high quality culinary matcha powder as directed below.
How to Choose the Best Matcha Powder
Here are a few things to consider when choosing the best matcha for this recipe.
- Color- Matcha should a be a vibrant, almost neon green. If your matcha is yellowish, brownish, or dark green, it means that the leaves were not shaded properly or that it was made from old leaves. The best matcha will be bright and vibrant green.
- Texture- Matcha powder should be super fine and dissolve completely in hot water. It's normal for matcha to clump a bit, but if it is super clumpy, it's not good quality.
- Matcha grade- There are 2 main categories or grades of matcha: culinary and ceremonial. Ceremonial is the highest quality, intended only for drinking. Within the culinary grade, there are 5 additional categories: kitchen, premium, ingredient, cafe, and classic. For this recipe, I recommend a premium culinary matcha. Yes, ceremonial is absolute best quality, but you don't need to splurge here! To make sure the culinary matcha is high quality, reference the label, texture, and color. Also check to see if it comes from Uji, Japan.
Step by Step Instructions
Here are the steps to bake the matcha cheesecake.
STEP 1: Prepare the graham cracker crust. Add the graham crackers to a food processor and pulse to a fine crumb. If you don't have a food processor, you can put the graham crackers in a plastic bag and smash with a rolling pin. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted coconut oil, and coconut sugar together. Then, pour the crust into a 9 inch springform pan and compact the crust, making sure it goes up the sides of the pan a little. I like doing this with a measuring cup as pictured. You don't need to pre-bake the crust.
STEP 2: Beat the cream cheese. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer and beat the cream cheese on high. Then, add in the matcha and beat again.
STEP 3: Add in the wet ingredients. Beat in the Greek yogurt, honey, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, crack 4 eggs and lightly scramble them with a fork. Mix in the eggs slowly on low.
STEP 4: Bake the cheesecake. Fold the cheesecake batter with a rubber spatula and bang the bowl against the counter to pop any air bubbles. Pour it into the springform pan and bake for 60 minutes. When it is done, the edges will be lightly browned and slightly puffy; they'll spring back when lightly touched. The center will be jiggly like Jell-O, but not soupy. The center will set while it cools.
STEP 5: Cool and chill the cheesecake. Let the cheesecake cool for 1-2 hours on top of the oven until it has reached room temperature. After 30 minutes of cooling, use a knife to release the crust from the pan. Then, let it chill the refrigerator overnight or for at least 6 hours.
STEP 6: Make the buttercream (optional). Before you serve the cheesecake, beat room temperature butter with a mixer until smooth and creamy. Then, add powdered (or confectioners') sugar, salt, vanilla, and milk. Beat on low for about 30 seconds and then on medium-high until smooth.
Decorating the Cheesecake
Prepare a piping bag with a large tip (I used Wilton 1M, which I also used to decorate my Prosecco cupcakes and apple cider cupcakes) and fill it with the buttercream. Then, pipe it onto the cheesecake. Do this by applying gentle yet firm texture to the piping bag, creating small swirls around the cake.
Additionally, you can dust the cheesecake with more matcha powder and add a honey drizzle!
Expert Baking Tips
- Make sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature before baking. This specifically applies to the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and eggs.
- Don't overmix the batter. We want the filling to be smooth without any lumps or bumps, but we don't want it to be mixed too much. Overmixing can lead to the formation of air bubbles that rise to the surface and cause cracking.
- If your springform cake pan isn't leak proof, cover the bottom with aluminum foil. This helps catch any leaks and, since we're skipping the water bath, won't make your crust soggy.
- Don't open the oven door. Doing this can reduce the heat and cause the cheesecake to bake unevenly. Keep an eye on the cheesecake, though, since a lot can happen quickly near the end of baking.
How to Prevent Cracks
Mixing the ingredients- The cream cheese, Greek yogurt, honey, vanilla, and matcha have to be thoroughly beaten before adding the eggs. It should be smooth and not have any lumps. Using room temperature ingredients and scraping the sides of the bowl encourages the filling to be smooth.
Slowly add the eggs- Before adding the eggs to the batter, scramble them a little bit in a bowl with a fork. Then, add each egg slowly while mixing the batter on low. If there is too much air whipped into the eggs, air bubbles could form and the cheesecake will expand and quickly sink while baking. Both of these things cause cracks.
Pop air bubbles- This is super important since we're making this cheesecake without a water bath! After you make the filling, firmly tap the bowl on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles. Then, pour the filling slowly and steadily into the springform pan from high above to remove any additional air bubbles. Air bubbles that rise to the surface and pop in the oven can cause cracks. If you can't get them all, that's ok. You can also pop the ones on the surface with a toothpick.
Bake at a low heat- Baking at a low temperatures prevents the cheesecake from rising too quickly. A rapid rise is a common reason for cheesecake cracks. Baking low and slow is key.
Cool gradually- When your cheesecake is done baking, let it cool for 10 minutes on top of the oven (make sure to turn the oven off). This is the warmest spot to let your cheesecake cool, allowing it to cool gradually instead of having a drastic temperature change. Blasting the cheesecake with cold air will cause cracks.
Release the crust- After 10 minutes on the counter, run a knife around the inside of the springform pan to loosen the crust. The cheesecake will shrink while it cools, and doing this will help release tension.
- Melted, unsalted butter can be substituted for the melted coconut oil in the graham cracker crust.
- Brown sugar can be substituted for the coconut sugar in the graham cracker crust.
- Maple syrup can be used instead of honey to sweeten the cheesecake, but this will change the flavor slightly.
- For a more subtle matcha flavor, you can use 1 tablespoon of matcha powder instead of 2.
Instead of buttercream, you can top the cheesecake with fruit. Here are some ideas:
- Blueberries and blueberry compote or jam.
- Strawberries and strawberry jam.
- Raspberries and raspberry jam.
Frequently Asked Questions
To get a clean slice, heat up a very sharp knife by running it under hot water. Then, slice the cheesecake into triangles. Make sure to wipe off the knife after each cut with a paper towel.
Your crust is crumbly because there wasn't enough moisture to hold it together. Add more coconut oil the next time.
No worries! It happens to the best of us. You can cover the crack with fruit or another topping. You could also try running a spoon under hot water and then pressing it gently against the crack to warm the cheesecake up. Then you can press the crack back together.
I don't recommend it unfortunately!
Storing and Freezing
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can store the whole thing in a cake container or slices in smaller containers.
First, let the matcha cheesecake set in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight. Then, slice it up or leave it whole and store in an airtight container, plastic wrap, or bag. The cheesecake can be frozen for up to 2 months. Transfer the cheesecake to the refrigerator to thaw for a few hours before eating (or you can eat it frozen).
More Cakes & Pies to Try
Baked Matcha Cheesecake
Graham Cracker Crust
- ½ cup unsalted butter 1 stick
- 2 cups powdered sweetener powdered sugar or powdered monk fruit
- 2 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Prepare the Graham Cracker Crust by mixing the crumbs, coconut sugar, and coconut oil together in a large bowl.2 ¼ cup gluten free graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup coconut sugar, ⅝ cup coconut oil
- Pour the crust into a 9 inch springform pan and press firmly into the bottom and sides of the pan. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer, mix the cream cheese on high until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat in the matcha.24 oz full fat cream cheese, 2 tablespoon matcha powder
- Add Greek yogurt, honey, and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined, pausing to scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary.1 cup plain Greek yogurt, ⅔ cup honey, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Crack the eggs into a seperate small bowl. Gently whisk them with a fork until lightly scrambled. With the mixer on low, gradually add the beaten eggs until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl, making sure all the ingredients are well combined.4 eggs
- Use rubber spatula to fold the ingredients in a figure 8 motion, removing any air bubbles. Firmly tap the bowl on the counter a couple times to pop air bubbles. Then, pour the filling on top of the crust. Wrap the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil to protect against leaks. Pop any remaining air bubbles on top with a toothpick.
- Bake at 325F for about 1 hour. Don't open the oven while the cheesecake bakes. The cheesecake is done when the edges are slightly puffed and golden brown. The center will be jiggly like Jell-O.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and place on top of it. Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake cool on top of it for 15 minutes. Then, gently run a knife around the inside of the pan to release the crust.
- Let the cheesecake cool on top of the oven for 1-2 hours or until it reaches room temperature. Then, cover the top with plastic wrap and let it cool in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 6 hours.
- When you're ready to serve, release the springform pan and transfer the cheesecake to a cake stand.
- With a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Then add the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds to keep the powdered sugar from getting messy. Then, beat on medium high for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary.½ cup unsalted butter, 2 cups powdered sweetener, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ⅛ teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoon milk
- Using a piping bag fitted with a large tip, pipe the buttercream onto the cheesecake. Sprinkle with sifted matcha powder and add a honey drizzle. Leave cheesecake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.