Last Updated on December 28, 2021 by Guillermina
Today, we will answer a very common cheesecake-questions; “how long should cheesecake cool before fridge cooling and setting can happen?”
As you may know, cheesecake is a very delicate dessert and many people struggle to get it perfect. Most of the problems come in when people don’t cool their cheesecake correctly or for the right amount of time. Today, we will explore exactly how, how long, and where to store your cheesecake for the best possible results!
What Is A Cheesecake?
To better understand how cheesecake should be handled and stored, it is important to understand exactly what ingredients it is made from and how it is made.
A cheesecake is a classic and world-famous sweet dessert that originated in Ancient Greece. Cheesecake consists of either one or two layers. If you are making a two-layer cheesecake, the bottom layer is often some type of crust. This layer can be made from a pastry, crushed biscuits (like Graham crackers), or even be a layer of sponge cake.
The bulk of the dessert (the cheesecake part) consists of a creamy mixture made from some type of fresh cheese, eggs, and sugar. There are of course other ingredients that can be used, for example, flavoring ingredients (vanilla extract, lemon juice, spices, chocolate, etc.).
Cheesecakes can either be baked or unbaked. This is a crucial factor to consider when looking at how to cool cheesecake, how long to let cheesecake cool, and how to store it.
How To Prepare The Pan
Before jumping into exactly how to cool your cheesecake, we feel that it is important to cover the best ways to prepare your pan before baking the cheesecake. One of the biggest problems our readers seem to run into when making cheesecake (regardless of it being baked or unbaked) is that the cheesecake sticks to the sides of the pan.
Luckily, we have more than a few tips and tricks that you could try to prevent this from ever happening again!
Use Spring-form Cake Pans
We highly recommend, no, insist, that you use a spring-form cake pan when making your cheesecake. These are special pans that consist of a removable bottom. The way it works is with the help of a clasp. Once the clasp is loosened, the sides can be completely removed.
This will help prevent the cheesecake from having to be turned upside down to be removed.
Line The Pan
You should always line the sides and bottom of your spring-form cake pan with a non-stick product.
You can use any type of non-stick baking paper, non-stick baking spray, or alternatively, non-stick ingredients.
Especially when making a baked cheesecake with a crust, we like to use a mixture of butter and flour. Brush the entire pan with melted unsalted butter and lightly dust it with flour (or powdered sugar). This will help the crust brown while also keeping it from sticking to the sides.
How To Cool Cheesecake
First things first, while there are definitely thousands of no-bake cheesecake recipes out there, the majority of them aren’t made using any heat and naturally, they are also not baked. This automatically means that they do not have to be cooled once they are set.
So, when talking about how to cool cheesecake, it only applies to baked cheesecakes. Baked cheesecakes in general are extremely fragile desserts. They tend to fall flat, crack, and become lopsided when handles incorrectly. Most of these happen during the cooling process.
So, cheesecake should be baked very slowly to correctly set. The same goes for when it is cooled. Cheesecake doesn’t react well to sudden changes in temperature, which is why we like to use this method.
Cheesecake should be first cooled inside the oven. Once it has been baked, switch off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside for about another hour. This will ensure that it sets correctly and help prevent it from cracking.
Once the hour has passed, remove the cheesecake from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Continue cooling it at room temperature still inside of its spring-form cake tin.
How Long To Let Cheesecake Cool
Because cheesecake doesn’t like drastic and sudden changes in temperature, the way you are cooling it is a bit time-consuming, as you can see above.
First, you need to cool the cheesecake in a cooling oven for about an hour. This, again, will help it set and prevent it from cracking.
Then, once the cheesecake is removed from the cooling oven, it can be cooled at room temperature. You can leave it to rest on the counter away from any direct sunlight, breezes, or other contaminants. Allow it to stand for another hour.
Once your cheesecake has cooled at room temperature, you can place it inside the fridge to completely chill and set for another two hours.
Does Cheesecake Need To Be Refrigerated?
If anyone ever asks you, “does cheesecake need to be refrigerated?” the answer is a resounding yes! There are actually a few reasons that cheesecakes should be refrigerated and there are never any exceptions to this rule.
No-bake cheesecakes are specifically made to be set inside of the refrigerator – like jelly. It cannot be set at room temperature, or at the very least, will take forever to do so.
The same goes for baked cheesecakes. Even though they technically start setting when baked, when cooling they solidify and stabilize even further. But, when they really set properly is when they are allowed to rest in the fridge for another couple of hours.
The other equally important reason that cheesecake should be kept inside of the fridge is to help preserve and extend its shelf life. Cheesecake is made using fresh cheeses like cottage cheese or cream cheese. These cheeses have an extremely high moisture content. Moisture aids in shortening the shelf life of products.
You should still keep the cheesecake inside on an airtight container to prevent the cake from drying out but always keep it inside the fridge for as long as possible.
How Long Should Cheesecake Cool Before Fridge Cooling? Final Thoughts
As you can see, cheesecakes’ cooling period is quite lengthy. It needs to roughly cool for 2 hours before being placed in the fridge and allowed to further set. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask us in the comments below. You can even share your personal tips and tricks for making and cooling cheesecake.
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.