Is cheesecake considered pie or cake?

Madeline Buiano
·2 mins read

Cheesecake is one of those impressive desserts that makes an appearance on menus at some of the best restaurants in the country, but the question persists: What exactly is the confection? Is it a pie, or is it a cake as its name implies?

The Best Cherry Dessert Recipes

To understand whether or not cheesecake is really cake, it’s important to understand what the no-bake dessert consists of. If it has a crust, cheesecake typically has a graham cracker base, on top of which there is a filling made of cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract.

If you choose to make the dish New York-style, one of the most iconic desserts in the country, then it’s typically served dense and without fruit. But there are many different variations of the dessert, including chocolate cheesecake, strawberry cheesecake, cherry cheesecake and more.

Like many great food debates, there are multiple theories. Despite its name, some argue that cheesecake is really a pie or even a tart. We’re here to weigh in on the popular argument.

To put the dessert into perspective, Merriam Webster defines cake as a “breadlike food made from a dough or batter that is usually fried or baked in small flat shapes and is often unleavened.” While pie is considered to be something with a custard-like filling that is served in a pastry shell, similar to the definition of a tart.

Cheesecake is not a breadlike food made from dough. It’s a dense creation made with a filling, served inside of a crust more — similar to the definition of pie. All things considered, cheesecake more closely resemble the structure of pies and tarts. But, don’t take our word for it. Oxford Reference defines cheesecake as a “flan or tart filled with curd or cream cheese.”

No matter what you want to call it, one thing seems to be evident: Cheesecake is not cake. In fact, we've even named cheesecake as New York’s most iconic pie. To see what the most iconic pie in your state is, check out our official list here.