Pay de Queso or Mexican Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust

Creamy, velvety smooth, sweet and with a touch of chocolate flavor. This pay de queso or Mexican cheesecake is a delectable dessert that you must bake as soon as possible!

A slice of Mexican cheesecake called pay de queso on a brown plate with fresh berries.
Pay de Queso

Pay de Queso

Pay de queso is the delicious Mexican equivalent of cheesecake.

Though similar to but not exactly like cheesecake you may find in the United States, or in other parts of Latin America where it’s called tarta de queso, Mexican cheesecake too is made with a crumbly crust and uses cream cheese as the main ingredient.

Pay de queso is a very popular dessert in Mexican households and in restaurants and cafes around the country. It’s really no surprise because cheesecake is one of those classic desserts that’s popular all over the world. I mean what’s not to love, right?

If you know me, you know that I’m not a big baker – and when I do bake, I want the recipe to be easy and straightforward. We’re all busy people so I’m sure you’d agree with me. This cheesecake fits the bill perfectly!

Another thing you may know about me is that I love to put a special spin on the foods and desserts I make. Experimenting is how we can discover amazing new flavors that can change our culinary world.

Lately when I make Mexican cheesecake I’ve been adding an extra touch that elevates the pay to a whole new level of yumminess. Check out the ingredients list to see what that special extra touch is.

Why You’ll Love This Mexican Cheesecake


  • Mexican cheesecake is a decadent and creamy and smooth dessert that pairs perfectly with many Mexican dishes.
  • Pay de queso is very easy to make.
  • Cheesecake is a dessert that many people enjoy, so it’s perfect for all sorts of occasions.
  • This recipe has a touch of chocolate and chopped nuts which elevates the cheesecake to a whole new level of deliciousness. 

Is Mexican Cheesecake Vegan?

No amigos, sadly Mexican pay de queso is not vegan.

It’s a very heavy dairy and egg based dessert. I haven’t yet tried to make a dairy-free and egg-free version, but I hope to one day have one for you.

Small bowls filled with the ingredients for pay de queso or Mexican cheesecake.
Pay de Queso Ingredients

Pay de Queso Ingredients

Those with a nut allergy should omit the nuts.

  • Galletas Marias or Maria cookies: These are a simple wheat cookie that’s similar to a digestive biscuit. In Mexican cuisine we used them for all sorts of desserts to enjoy with milk or coffee. We’ll be using it to make the pie crust.
  • Nuts: Either walnut or pecan
  • Cacao Powder: For that chocolatey touch. Remember this is not the mix for making hot chocolate.
  • Brown Sugar: Either muscovado or dark demerara work great – piloncillo would be another delicious option. 
  • Mexican canela or Ceylon cinnamon
  • Vanilla Extract: Try to use the best quality you can get or homemade would be great too.
  • Butter: Unsalted but if you use salted you can omit the one called for later. 
  • Cream Cheese: I use Philadelphia cream cheese. 
  • Eggs
  • Evaporated Milk: I use Carnation brand. 
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: I use La Lechera brand.
  • Salt: I love using just a pinch of salt in desserts because salt helps accentuate other flavors. 
  • Fresh Seasonal Fruit: This is to decorate you can choose whatever you’d like. 

Ingredient Substitutions

If you can’t find the Maria’s cookies then you can use graham crackers or digestive cookies. Another option if you don’t want to make the pie crust from scratch, you can buy a chocolate graham cracker crust from the grocery store. But do note that the end results will not taste the same as written in my recipe. 

​Recipe Variations

Like any other foods, there are a lot of variations to this Mexican pay de queso. Below are some other ingredients you can experiment with another time, if you’d like. 

Some recipes use fresh lime juice and it does add a nice refreshing touch. But I wouldn’t suggested in my recipe because it wouldn’t combine well with the other ingredients. 

There is a version that uses queso fresco instead of the queso crema or cream cheese. I have yet to try it, but it looks so mouthwatering.

Here in Campeche, were I live, there is a cheesecake  that use queso de bola which is Edam cheese and it’s widely used locally – more on that another time. I bet you didn’t know that in Southern Mexico this was considered part of Mexican cheeses.

Anyway, this cheese pie is one of the BEST Mexican version of a cheesecake that I’ve ever had. La señora Roxy Lu from Campeche has an easy to follow recipe on her YouTube channel, Pay de Queso de Bola.

How to Make Mexican Cheesecake

Amigos, just like other traditional cheesecakes this pay de queso too is quite easy to make. It’s an easy dessert that’s perfect for dessert or parties.

Step 1: Make The Pie Crust

Heat oven to 350F, then melt the butter and then set aside.

Processing Maria cookies to make crumbs for cheesecake.

Use a food processor to crumble the Maria cookies, then pour them into a mixing bowl.

Next process the walnuts until fine then add to the bowl. Add the cacao powder, sugar, ground cinnamon, and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.

Mixing cookie crumbs with chopped pecans, cacao powder, cinnamon and melted butter in a small glass bowl.

Begin pouring in the melted butter and mixing until the mixture comes together. It should feel moist and bind together easily. If it’s too dry and not sticking together then you can add a little bit more melted butter or a little bit of cow’s milk to achieve the desired texture.

Pressing chocolate cheesecake crust into a glass pie dish.

Step 2: Press The Pie Crust Into Pie Dish

Add the pie crust mixture into a glass pie dish (or you can also use a buttered or line pie tin or springform pan) and use your finger to firmly press it into the dish. You can also use a cup to help you press the crust into the edges.

Make sure to create an even layer and go up the sides of the pie mold. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

Whipped cheesecake mixture in one bowl and beaten eggs in another bowl.

Step 3: Make The Cheesecake Filling

Add the cream cheese, vanilla extract, small pinch of salt if using, the evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk into a mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer on low speed begin mixing the ingredients until well combined – making sure that the cream cheese is completely broken down.

You can increase to medium speed in small intervals but try not to whip too much air into the mixture otherwise the cheesecake will deflate a lot once it cools down.

Crack the eggs into a separate bowl. Then lightly whip until well combined. Again being careful not to add too much air. Then lightly mix the egg mixture into the cream cheese mixture until well combined. 

A pay de queso or Mexican cheesecake ready to be baked.

Step 4: Bake The Pay de Queso

Next pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared pie dish. Make sure to use a spatula to get all the mixture from the sides of the bowl. Lay on a baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes or until set. The center of the pie should feel tender but firm. If the cheesecake begins to brown you can cover with aluminum foil to prevent browning too much.

Step 5: Cool

Once baked through, remove from the oven and allow to come to room temperature. Then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

A slice of Mexican cheesecake made with a chocolate crust and some blueberries, strawberries and raspberries on top.
Mexican Cheesecake

How to Serve 

Once the cheesecake is completely chilled then you can serve decorated with your favorite seasonal fruit. I love to use a mix of berries both for the pop of color but because their flavors pair perfectly with the creaminess and touches of chocolate.

This pay de queso pairs well with any of your favorite Mexican meals. It’s perfect for a special midweek treat or to serve for a dinner party or to take to a party and share with your friends and family. 

How to Store

Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days – if it lasts you that long! You can cover with plastic wrap to preserve it’s freshness and prevent other smells in your fridge from penetrating the cheesecake.

A slice of Mexican cheesecake called pay de queso on a brown plate with fresh berries.

Pay de Queso or Mexican Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust

Nancy Lopez & MexicanMadeMeatless.com
This pay de queso or Mexican cheesecake is a delectable dessert that you must bake as soon as possible! It's creamy, velvety smooth, sweet and has a touch of chocolate flavor. You're going to love it.
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican, Vegetarian Mexican Recipe
Servings 8 servings
Calories 665 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Pie Crust Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups ground galletas Marias
  • ½ cup walnut or pecan halves
  • ¼ cup cacao powder
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar like muscovado or dark dermera
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter

Cheesecake Filling Ingredients

  • 1 pack cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch salt optional
  • 12 oz evaporated milk Carnation
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk La Lechera
  • 4 whole eggs

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C and have a pie mold ready to use.
  • Melt the butter and set aside.
  • Use a food processor to crumble the Maria cookies and once ready pour into a mixing bowl. Next process the walnuts until fine then add to the bowl. Add the cacao powder, sugar, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
  • Slowly pour in the melted butter and mix until the mixture comes together. If needed add a little bit more melted butter to help the pie crust bind together. It shouldn’t fall apart when pressed together.
  • Add the pie crust mixture into a glass pie dish (or you can also use a buttered or line pie tin or springform pan) and use your finger to firmly press it into the dish. You can also use a cup to help you press the crust into the edges. Make sure to create an even layer and go up the sides of the pie mold.
  • Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Add the cream cheese, vanilla extract, small pinch of salt if using, the evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk into a mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer on low speed begin mixing the ingredients until well combined – making sure that the cream cheese is completely broken down. You can increase to medium speed in small intervals but try not to whip too much air into the mixture otherwise the cheesecake will deflate a lot once it cools down.
  • Crack the eggs into a separate bowl. Then lightly whip until well combined. Again being careful not to add too much air. Then lightly mix the egg mixture into the cream cheese mixture until well combined.
  • Next pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared pie dish. Lay on a baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes or until set. The center of the pie should feel tender but firm. If the cheesecake begins to brown you can cover with aluminum foil to prevent browning too much.
  • Once baked through, remove from the oven and allow to come to room temperature. Then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Serve chilled with fresh seasonal berries for a pop of color and taste. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

Please notice that you can slice the pie into 6 or 8 slices, depending on how big you want them to be. This is a thin pie so it’s up to you. 

Nutrition

Serving: 8servingsCalories: 665kcalCarbohydrates: 74gProtein: 13gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 18gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 416mgPotassium: 505mgFiber: 3gSugar: 48gVitamin A: 902IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 328mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and tag me on social media @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicanmademeatless!

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(Please notice that this article contains Amazon affiliate links, which may earn us a small commission if you make a purchase through them. Your support helps us continue to provide valuable content.)

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