Savory Baked Salsa Cheesecake

Savory Baked Salsa Cheesecake

Cream cheese and sour cream are wonderfully versatile. Used in desserts or dips, they carry the day.

When I first thought of salsa in a cheesecake, my brain did a twisty thing trying to comprehend something that I only think of as sweet (cheesecake) with something that I only thing of as spicy (salsa). Then I figured it out — Oh. It’s like a spicy baked dip with salsa except that it’s made in a cheesecake pan. Cool.

Savory Baked Salsa Cheesecake

The really  cool thing is how great it looks when it is taken out of the cheesecake pan. It is perfectly formed, can be topped with salsa and sour cream and can be cut into wedges. I love that it can be made a day ahead and I love even more that in a world of a million dips, it is out of the ordinary.

The cheesecake base of cream cheese, sour cream and eggs can be taken in so many other savory directions.

  • Turn it into a Tuscan-style cheesecake with the addition of sun dried tomatoes + Italian herbs + roasted yellow peppers + onions + garlic + mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. I have some ideas for the crust, but they are not quite yet worked out.
  • Make a great herb cheesecake with your choice of fresh herbs + onions + roasted garlic + buttermilk (replace the sour cream?) + seasoning salt.
  • There is a great savory cheesecake with bacon rumbling around in my head, but I can’t give away ALL of my secrets now, can I?

If you were paying attention to the bulleted area, then it may have occurred to you that a savory cheesecake sounds suspiciously like a cheese ball. True. Except for the eggs and the facts that it has a crust and is baked in a springform pan, it really is a cheese ball. I am giving you so many secrets today. I hope that you are having some terrific “a’ ha!” moments.

Speaking of cheese balls, they comprise some of my all-time favorite appetizer/dip selections. I have two of them on this blog, Party Cheese Ball and  Ranch Cheese Ball (from my son’s in-law mom). There is a third cheese bally, dippy type of chip-n-cracker dunker that I really enjoy, Mexi Cheese Dip, but it defies categorization. Maverick.

Restaurant-style Homemade Salsa

The salsa for this recipe is easy to make, and in my personal private, biased opinion, is restaurant quality salsa. It comes together quickly in a food processor. Be sure to give it some chilling time so that the flavors can hold hands and come together for a kumbayah party before serving.

Savory Baked Salsa Cheesecake

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours, 35 minutes

Yield: 18 servings

This cheesecake is a fun break from the usual array of party dips and can easily be made a day ahead. Top it with homemade salsa (recipe included) or salsa of choice. Don't forget the dollop of sour cream! Note: The total time listed includes the prep, cooling and chill times.


    For the Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups finely crushed tortilla chips
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • For the Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
  • 2 eggs (room temp), lightly beaten
  • 2 cups (8 ounces, weight) pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • For the Homemade Salsa
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (remove seeds and membranes to reduce heat level if desired)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
  2. For the Crust:
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the finely crushed tortilla chips and the melted butter. Press into the bottom and 1/2-inch up the sides of the prepared springform pan. Place on a shallow rimmed baking pan and bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature or until slightly warm.
  5. For the Filling:
  6. Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and swirl pan to coat bottom evenly with oil. Add the onions and garlic. Lower heat to medium low. Cook, stirring frequently until onions are translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
  7. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sour cream just until smooth.
  8. Add eggs and mix just until incorporated. Add the pepper jack cheese, lime juice, smoked paprika, cumin and salt. Mix until well combined. Stir in the chopped cilantro.
  9. Pour mixture into the springform pan, spreading gently and evenly over crust. Bake for 40-45 minutes until center is hot and set.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to sit until cool. Leave the springform pan in place. Cover with plastic wrap or foil. Chill in refrigerator for at least 3 hours. May be chilled overnight.
  11. When ready to serve, remove springform pan. Slice cheesecake into wedges, top each with salsa and a dollop of sour cream. Suggested serving ideas: sturdy tortilla chips or crackers.
  12. For the Salsa
  13. Put the tomatoes in a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times to break up chunks. Add the onion, jalapeno and garlic. Pulse until salsa is at desired consistency. Add the cilantro, lime juice, salt, cumin and black pepper. Pulse 2 or 3 times to combine.
  14. Put in airtight, covered container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. May be chilled overnight.


Store-bought salsa can be used in place of the homemade salsa.

Savory Baked Salsa Cheesecake

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Pork Carnitas
Pork Carnitas
Taqueria-style Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken
Taqueria-style Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken
Black Beans for a Side Dish
Black Beans for a Side Dish


  1. Frank M says

    This looks and sounds great! I have made a seafood cheesecake before from a NOLA recipe, but this one I like!

  2. Heidi says

    i just discovered your blog and recipes today while Pinteresting. This cheesecake looks amazing. At what point do you remove the springform pan? Is it not necessary to bake it in a water bath? I am looking forward to trying your recipes.

    • says

      Hi Heidi. Thank you! To answer your questions, no this does not have to be baked in a water bath. The ingredient make-up is different than a traditional dessert-type cheesecake. The pan may be removed after the cheesecake has chilled in the fridge. Oh, and one more thing — any salsa will work in this recipe. You don’t have to use the recipe provided. 🙂 Happy cookin! ~Terri

  3. Tam says

    Hi, this sounds delicious…wondering when to add the coked onions? Are they for the filling, or the salsa? Thanks!

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