I have been dreaming about making this Nanaimo Cheesecake ever since I made these Nanaimo Bars a few months ago.

I basically took all the goodness of a Nanaimo Bar and married it with a cheesecake. And you better believe it’s the most delicious cheesecake you’ll ever consume.

Nanaimo Cheesecake


Nanaimo (pronounced Nuh-Nigh-Moe) is a city in British Columbia, Canada. That is where the Nanaimo Bar recipe was originated long ago.

The bottom layer of this cheesecake is a combination of cocoa, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and walnuts. It’s everything you would find in the bottom of the original bar, but made into a crisp and tasty cheesecake crust.

Nanaimo Cheesecake

I made the actual cheesecake portion with a standard vanilla cheesecake base, but I added some vanilla custard powder to the mix. That is an essential part of making a Nanaimo Bar, so I made sure to include it in this cheesecake.

It gives the cheesecake a super creamy texture that just melts in your mouth.

Nanaimo Cheesecake

The chocolate ganache that finishes off the top is also an essential element in a Nanaimo Bar, so I couldn’t leave it out of this Nanaimo Cheesecake. It adds a little bit… ok, a good amount… of sweetness to the top.

Overall, this Nanaimo Cheesecake is divine, delicious, decadent, and ultimately… perfect.

Nanaimo Cheesecake

I’m going to share a secret with you. Because a lot of you had the issue of a cracked cheesecake when you made my Pumpkin Cheesecake. There is a way to make your cheesecake look flawless even after it’s gotten a horrendous crack in it.

And yes- even this cheesecake had a rather large crack on top! But, it was easily fixed using this nifty trick!! Then I was able to pour the heavenly chocolate ganache over top without it seeping into the cheesecake. Watch –

Just make sure you have your cheesecake fully chilled before attempting to fix the crack. My crack was much larger than the one in the video and I was still able to fix it. 🙂

Nanaimo Cheesecake

I made this Nanaimo Cheesecake this past weekend and I had some girlfriends over for a little girl’s  night in, everyone just loved it.

I know you’ll love it too!


Nanaimo Cheesecake

Nanaimo Cheesecake is everything you would find in the  original bar, but made into a crisp and tasty cheesecake crust.

  • Author: Shawn
  • Prep Time: 30 min.
  • Cook Time: 1 hr. 10 min.
  • Total Time: 1 hr. 40 min.
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


For the Crust:

  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes

For the Cheesecake

  • 4 (8oz) bricks of cream cheese, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp vanilla custard powder

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the Crust:

  1. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, walnuts, coconut, cocoa powder, and sugar in a food processor and process until fine crumbs. Pulse in the vanilla and melted butter until moistened. Press into the bottom and a little up the sides of a 10 inch springform pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, but keep oven on.
  2. Place a 9×13 baking dish on the bottom rack of your oven and fill with warm water.

For the Cheesecake:

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating in-between, and scrape down sides of bowl occasionally.
  2. Add the sour cream, sugar, vanilla and vanilla custard powder. Mix until smooth. Pour onto the prepared crust. Bake on the rack above the pan filled with water for 1 hour.
  3. Turn off the oven, crack it open slightly and leave in oven for 1-2 hours. Remove from oven and let come to room temperature completely. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge to chill for 2 hours. Fix any cracks, if necessary.

For the Ganache:

  1. Place the chocolate chips in a bowl, set aside. Heat the cream in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, then pour on top of the chocolate chips. Let sit for 30 seconds, then whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly, then carefully pour on top of the cheesecake. Refrigerate again until set. Enjoy!

Keywords: Nanaimo, cheesecake

About the author

Shawn is the Owner and Creator of I Wash You Dry. She loves to create and share simple, family-friendly recipes. Mom to 5 adorable children and dwells in the desert of Southern Utah.
114 Responses
    1. Bill Baker

      Sharon. I would think just leaving the nuts out and it would be fine. I have made regular Nanaimo bars without the nuts with no problems.

  1. Elke

    I live in Comox, an hour away from Nanaimo,
    I just made this for a party tonight,
    if the filling tastes as good cooked as it done on the spoon last night
    it will be a winner 🙂

    1. Carol Farndon

      Way to go Elke, I live in Victoria, also an hour away from Nanaimo and I can’t wait to give this a try…I bet it was successful tonight!

  2. Carol Farndon

    Hello, I was very surprised to see your recipe for Nanaimo Cheesecake, a friend posted on Facebook earlier today. I just had to check it out, as I wondered how on earth you had come across the Nanaimo Bars recipe in the first place. Glad to see you have visited our neck of the woods and have come up with this wonderful cheesecake recipe.

    Nanaimo Bars have been a part of my life since I was a little girl, over 60 years ago. My mother always made them for birthdays, as well as other celebrations. I continue the tradition with my family.

    Because I live so close to Nanaimo, it was very interesting to see how far these bars have traveled. No one, I believe, has ever found out where these bars came from and who was the first to make them, but with wonderful bakers, as yourself, to strive for even better recipes, they will continue to be served perhaps even world wide.

    Thank you for your hard work, I’ve just signed up for your inbox recipes…all the best to you and yours!

      1. Carol Farndon

        Thank you Shawn, I’m very sure I will…you have a wonderful web site and I look forward to seeing more of your recipes. Cheers for now!

  3. trini

    I felt like celebrating life this weekend so I ccoked up a storm and decided to also make this cheese cake this weekend. It was super. I had to make some adjustments though. Although I set the oven at 350 degrees the cheesecake was set within half an hour and the top was brown so I quickly turned off the oven ,opened the door a bit and left it there for two hours. I left it on the counter for another 2 hours and then refrigerated it over night .I also had to adjust the ganache too. I followed the recipe but the mixture was too runny, so I poured half of the mixture in a separate bowl and added another cup of chocolate chips to it. That was perfect. I used the other half on vanilla ice cream. That was heavenly.
    I live in the Caribbean so maybe that is why the first ganache mixture was a bit thin. But no love lost I got two for one. Topping for the cheese cake and ice cream. Great recipe my husband had two helpings. Thanks.

  4. wilma

    If you bake the cheesecake in a baine marie/ water bath it will not crack and dont mix it too much. I love nanaimo bars and will definitely try this cheese cake, it looks yummy.

    1. Hi Heather, I’m not sure on how much longer it would take. I would say to just keep an eye on it until the center is not jiggly. Then just let it cool like you would per the instructions.

  5. zoe

    This looks soooo delicious!
    I cannot wait to try it.
    Thank you for sharing the recipe 🙂
    Is it ok if I prepared it earlier and kept it refrigerated for 24 hours before serving? Or you think it will not taste as fresh?
    Another question.. is the water pan necessary? I have only one rack in the oven but I have a big pan that fits in the rack place, so can I pour water in that pan and fit it in the lower part of the oven or does it have to be the pan size you mentioned?
    Thank you 🙂

  6. vicki

    This looks fabulous! Recipe doesn’t say when to release from spring firm psn. Before refrigerator chilling or after?

    1. Hi Vicki, I like to keep the spring form on while it’s chilling in the fridge. I’ll run a knife around the edges just to make sure nothing is sticking and then carefully release the form. Cover it with the ganache and then I store it covered in the fridge with the spring form back on. I like to think this protects the cheesecake from anything bumping it in the fridge. Hope that helps!

      1. vicki

        Yes..thanks so much for the details! I haven’t made a cheesecake in years and remember the pan removal being the trickiest part. Looking forward to making this!

  7. Debbie

    This looks devine! I am going to try halving the recipe to make in my mini cheesecake pan for a treat size piece , it usually calls for 2 boxes of cream cheese and takes 15 minutes to bake

  8. I made this for desert for Christmas dinner…Everyone just loved it..of course those of us that are choco-holics loved it even more…actually have another one one in the oven as I type this…. DELICIOUS !!!!!!!

  9. Julene

    Do you think it would turn out just as tasty if I put mint flavouring in? Nanaimo Bars are a huge family favourite, though with mint in the middle. This looks like a really yummy spin on an old favourite though I’m not sure how the mint would be with cream cheese.

  10. If I don’t have a food processor, am I out of luck for the bottom layer? I make and love Nanaimo bars and can see how the traditional, chunkier bottom layer wouldn’t work as a cheesecake crust, but I’m stumped as to how to get the nuts and coconut small enough without a food processor.

    1. I think if you put each component (coconut, graham crackers, nuts) in a blender and processed it until it was a fine crumb and then mixed them all together with the butter and other ingredients it would work as well. If you don’t have a blender you could try putting the graham cracker and nuts in a zip close bag and crushing them with a rolling pin till they are a fine crumb. Then chop the coconut as best you can and then mix with the remaining ingredients. Hope that helps! 🙂

  11. Genevieve Morrone

    This is a seriously deadly cheesecake! It has made my family rave about it for weeks! I will definitely be making it every year!

  12. This recipe sounds fab. I think I’ve found my Christmas dessert. I’ve been using vanilla powder in my recipes for a while now and never thought to put it in cheesecakes, duh!! I use it in cookies, cakes, even pancakes and the flavor makes my recipes even better. Good thinking girl. I’m off to the store to get cream cheese. Thanks.

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Shawn Syphus Hi, I'm Shawn and I'm a busy mom of five; pretending to live on a budget. I love to cook, and explore new recipes, but they have to be quick and easy with as few dishes as possible.

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