Last Updated on April 4, 2022 by Griselda M.
Can I eat cheesecake when pregnant? We’ll explore this much-debated question and dive deep into the do’s and don’t’s of choosing a safe option.
Cheesecake isn’t the safest option for pregnant women to eat. But, we will explain exactly why and how to avoid dangerous options.
What Is Cheesecake Made Of? – Can I Eat Cheesecake When pregnant?
So, when pregnant, you most likely have heard by now that there are a bunch of ingredients that you should stay away from completely. And, there is even a long list of some you should only consume when they have been processed in a specific way.
The large debate surrounding whether or not cheesecake is safe to eat for pregnant women is because of the dairy products it contains and the eggs.
Risk of consuming dairy and eggs while pregnant – Can I eat cheesecake when pregnant?
The keyword for these ingredients is “pasteurization“. This fancy word you have likely come across a few times. During this process, the milk and eggs are heated to ensure that any dangerous bacteria are completely killed off.
Dairy products and eggs contain a ton of harmful bacteria. Raw eggs, for example, contain Salmonella bacteria. This bacteria can cause severe food poisoning which can lead the death. Pregnant women and people with immune system deficiencies are especially vulnerable to this bacteria.
Dairy products on the other hand contain Listeria bacteria, which is equally dangerous.
For both these reasons, most milk products and eggs have to be pasteurized to reduce the potentially fatal risks.
Ingredients Of A Cheesecake And Choosing Safe Options – Can I Eat Cheesecake When Pregnant?
Below we will discuss each main ingredient used in cheesecake, and exactly how to choose a safe to eat option. This list will come in especially handy when you are making cheesecake at home.
But, if you are still unsure as to which ingredients to use or not, you can have a look at our list below on which cheesecakes are safe-to-eat during pregnancy. Rather buy the correct cheesecake from a trusted bakery than the risk it by making your own.
Cream cheese is the most common hero ingredient used. However, there are also some other popular types of fresh soft cheese available to choose from. This mainly includes mascarpone and ricotta cheeses.
Now, for the most part, cream cheese is almost always pasteurized. You can also have a look at the packaging itself – if the product is pasteurized or unpasteurized, by law the manufacturer has to disclaim it. Philadelphia cream cheese is a pasteurized product.
Now, some soft cheeses aren’t always pasteurized. This includes types like brie, Camembert, and queso fresco. You have to look for the “made with pasteurized milk” label before using it.
Eggs are extremely dangerous for pregnant women to consume. Mainly because it is often extremely difficult to determine whether or not they have been fully cooked.
So, when baking cheesecake, you always have to ensure that the cheesecake is completely cooked.
We would even recommend slightly overbaking the cheesecake to make one hundred percent sure there aren’t any risks involved.
Some cheesecakes also use other dairy products like milk, heavy cream, sour cream, or buttermilk. All of these will be fine to use as long as they have been pasteurized!
So again always check the label on the product, or make sure about the ingredients your baker has used to make the cheesecake.
Safe To Eat Cheesecake When Pregnant
If you are craving cheesecake while pregnant, fear not as many different kinds are completely safe to eat.
1. No-bake cheesecakes
No-bake cheesecakes are a delicious refreshing option of cheesecake that is safe to consume when pregnant. It doesn’t contain any eggs at all because it doesn’t undergo any baking or heating.
So, the only ingredients you have to ensure are pasteurized are the dairy ones.
2. Baked cheesecakes (Regular)
Regular baked cheesecakes always include the use of eggs. This is one of the reasons we are often asked “Can I eat cheesecake when pregnant?”
Again, as long as the baked cheesecake has been made using only pasteurized eggs and dairy products, and if it has been fully baked, it will be completely safe to eat.
3. Vegan cheesecakes
Vegan cheesecakes aren’t made with any eggs or dairy products. Instead, they are produced using plant-based cheeses and egg substitutes, like flax eggs.
The only thing to be wary of is whether or not you aren’t allergic to any of these ingredients, like cashew nut milk or almond cream cheese.
4. Japanese cheesecakes
These cheesecakes are extremely light and airy, while still being stuffed with flavor. They are made using cream cheese and folded in whipped egg whites. They are also baked, so again, make sure that it has been fully baked.
5. New York-style cheesecakes
This is a classic type of baked cheesecake that has reached world status. it is a delicious cheesecake made with a graham cracker crust and a slightly dense texture.
This cheesecake is unique because of its delicious tangy flavor, thanks to the addition of sour cream.
Cheesecakes To Avoid During Pregnancy – Can I Eat Cheesecake When Pregnant?
There isn’t a specific type of cheesecake to avoid eating when pregnant. The main two things to look out for are unpasteurized ingredients and under-baked cheesecake.
Always check the packaging of store-bought cheesecakes to ensure they only used pasteurized eggs and dairy products. You can even ask your baker to show you which ingredients they have used (if there isn’t any ingredients information on the item).
And, if you are baking your own cheesecake at home, always ensure the ingredients you buy are pasteurized too.
And, when it comes to baking cheesecake, we would recommend slightly overbaking it. Keep baking until about 1/2-inch in the center jiggles, not 2-inches like you normally would.
And, if you are buying cheesecake in a restaurant, check the consistency. it should be firm and have a uniform texture. The texture around the edges should be similar to that of the center.
Conclusion – Can I Eat Cheesecake When Pregnant?
So, when looking at the question “Can I eat cheesecake when pregnant?” the short answer is yes. But, as long as the ingredients are all pasteurized and the cheesecake has been fully cooked.
If you still have any questions for us, please don’t hesitate to ask and we will give you our expert opinion!
Can you eat cheese when pregnant?
Cheeses are dangerous or risky for women who are pregnant. However, this includes only cheeses that weren't made using pasteurized dairy products. If your cheese has been pasteurized, it is safe to eat during pregnancy.
Is cheesecake ok to eat when pregnant?
Cheesecakes are completely fine to eat during pregnancy, but only if it has been made with pasteurized cheese, eggs, and dairy products. This process kills all of the harmful bacteria that pregnant women are exceptionally susceptible to. The cheesecake should also be completely baked and not raw at all.
Lindy Van Schalkwyk is a culinary specialist with a background in Advanced Cooking, Advanced Pâtisserie, Media Communications and Nutrition. She has gained invaluable experience in the culinary industry having worked in some of the top restaurants in Africa in 2016 and 2017. Her expertise in nutrition has enabled her to develop recipes for special dietary needs. In 2018, Lindy began working in the Food Media industry, focusing on recipe development, recipe writing, food writing and food styling.