Cheesecake Recipe

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Dessert is probably my favorite course of every meal. One thing I look for pretty often at restaurants is cheesecake. Not every restaurant offers it, so I’ve learned to make my own for when the craving strikes.

This cheesecake recipe is fairly simple. It has easy-to-use ingredients and a foolproof way to bake it using a springform pan. There are also some tips and tricks for avoiding common cheesecake mishaps so that you can enjoy this dessert without having to leave your house or pick up a menu!

Slice of cheesecake being served with blackberries

Ingredients

Cheesecake Ingredients

Here is everything you need to make this original cheesecake recipe.

For the Crust

  • 1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs – about 12 sheets
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter – melted
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

For the Filling

  • 32 oz. (four blocks) cream cheese – softened
  • 1 ¼  cup sugar
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

Tip to Avoid Cheesecake Cracks

The best tip to avoid a cracked cheesecake recipe is to cook it in a water bath. I know this can seem daunting and sounds like it could be a potential mess, but it really is the best way.

Not only does a water bath allow for the cheesecake to cook slowly and evenly, but it also provides moisture in your oven to prevent cracking, which happens when the cheesecake is too dry, or the edges cook too quickly.

For tips on keeping the water bath mess-free, keep reading!

Instructions

Here are the step-by-step instructions for creating the perfect cheesecake recipe. 

The cream cheese, eggs, sour cream, and lemon juice should all be at room temperature. This creates a smoother cheesecake filling without lumps.

Step 1 – Make the Crust

Preparing cheesecake crust

Preheat the oven 350°F (176°C). 

Use a food processor to pulverize the graham crackers into fine crumbs and then stir in the melted butter, sugar, and salt. 

Pour the mixture into an 8” or 9” springform pan and use the bottom of a cup to press it evenly into the bottom and corners. 

Bake the crust for 8 minutes, remove it, and set it aside to cool.

Step 2 – Prepare the Filling

Preparing cheesecake filling

Turn the oven down to 325°F (160°C) while you prepare the filling.

Add the cream cheese and sugar to a large bowl, and using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream it until smooth. This will take about 90 seconds.

Pour in the vanilla extract, lemon juice, salt, and sour cream and mix until incorporated and creamy.

Next, add the eggs one at a time. Only mix until it is incorporated and then stop. Do not overmix the filling.


Set the filling aside.

Step 3 – Wrap the Pan and Pour the Water Bath

Cheesecake ready to bake in a springform pan wrapped in foil

Wrap the bottom of your springform pan that contains the crust in one solid sheet of aluminum foil, folding the edges as necessary up the sides. 

Bring a kettle of water to a boil. I boil an entire kettle to make sure I have enough. You’ll place your springform pan in a roasting dish and will want about 1-inch of water. So prepare enough.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust, and then place the foil-wrapped springform pan in your roasting pan.

Once your water is boiling, place the roasting pan with the cheesecake in your oven with the rack slid out, so you don’t burn your arm. Slowly pour the boiling water into the bottom of the roasting pan until it comes just 1-inch up the sides of the springform pan. 

Carefully slide the oven rack back into place and close the oven door.

Step 4 – Bake the Cheesecake and Cool

Cheesecake cooling after being baked. The top has the creamy cheese part and the bottom the crust

Bake for 60 minutes at 325°F (160°C) and then check on the cheesecake, baking for up to 75 minutes if necessary. When it’s done, the center will look almost set. It will not look wet, but it will still jiggle when you wobble the pan.

After the cheesecake is done, remove the entire roasting pan from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the water bath for another 45 minutes.

Once it has cooled for 45 minutes, remove the pan from the water bath and take off the foil. Use a knife to gently scrape around the edges so the crust doesn’t stick.

Keeping the cheesecake in the springform pan, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it in the refrigerator overnight.

Once cool, you can remove the springform pan by sliding a knife around the edges and slowly unlatching the pan.

Slice of cheesecake on a plate with the rest of the cheesecake in the background

To serve it, unlatch the springform pan and gently remove it from the sides of the cheesecake. Keep reading for my tips on cutting the perfect cheesecake slices. 

Top with your favorite toppings, or enjoy it as is! I like to sprinkle a few blackberries on it or top it with drizzles of chocolate and caramel.

Cookware Used 

Springform Pan: A springform pan is the best option to get a perfectly cooked cheesecake that you can serve in one piece to guests. The sides and bottom are two separate pieces, making it easier to remove the cake before cutting it.

Roasting Pan: I use a roasting pan for my water bath because I like the large size and the handles for easy maneuvering. But you could also use any baking dish or cast-iron skillet that will safely fit the springform pan.

Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer: Using an electric mixer is the way to go for a creamy and smooth cheesecake filling.

Rubber Spatula: A rubber spatula will allow you to get every last bit of the cheesecake filling into your pan without wasting a drop. It’s also a great tool for smoothing the filling before baking.

Tips For a Mess-Free Water Bath

To keep the water bath mess-free, wrap your springform pan in a large sheet of foil before placing it in the water bath. This keeps any water from seeping into your pan. Only use one sheet; otherwise, with two, water will seep through the seams. I use extra-wide, heavy-duty aluminum foil for this.

Some home cooks also recommend placing a pan of water on the rack underneath their cheesecake instead of using a water bath. This should still allow a moist cooking environment, but may not cook as evenly as a true water bath.

Cheesecake Recipe Variations

This is a classic cheesecake recipe. But other versions are just as tasty and follow the same basic cooking principles.

New York Style Cheesecake

A New York style cheesecake is similar to my original recipe but has a richer texture. 

To make a New York style cheesecake, follow the recipe above, except you’ll use 40 oz. of cream cheese instead of 32 oz. 

You’ll also reduce the sour cream to ⅓ cup. And to make it extra decadent and delicious, you’ll use 5 whole eggs and an additional 2 egg yolks. This gives the New York style cheesecake its rich, creamy filling.

Bake the New York style cheesecake following the same instructions as the original cheesecake recipe above.

No-Bake Cheesecake

No-bake cheesecakes are a quick and easy alternative to a baked cheesecake recipe. They have the same flavors but don’t require eggs or baking time.

You’ll create the same graham cracker crust, but will instead use 24 oz. of cream cheese, 1 and ¼ cups of heavy cream, and omit the eggs completely. 

Swap the sugar in the filling for 1 cup of powdered sugar and reduce the sour cream to ⅓ cup. 

This cheesecake will set in the fridge, with no baking required!

Tip for Serving Perfect Cheesecake Slices

To create perfect slices when you cut your cooled cheesecake, try dipping your knife in warm water before cutting. After each cut, wipe the blade and immerse it in warm water before making the next slice.

Now, It’s Your Turn!

Slice of cheesecake being served with blackberries

Hopefully, these tips and tricks have given you the courage to try your hand at making a homemade cheesecake. The ingredients and preparation are simple, and using the directions above; you can whip it up with ease.

Though the cheesecake can be a little temperamental when baking and requires quite a bit of cooling time, the end result is more than worth it. This decadent, creamy, rich dessert makes a perfect holiday treat or addition to a fun potluck with friends.

Print

Cheesecake Recipe

Cheesecake is often seen as a hard dish to get right. Check out my cheesecake recipe for all the details you need to get it right!

  • Author: Beatriz Garcia
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 9.5 hours (of which 8 hours to cool & set)
  • Yield: 12 Slices 1x
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Ingredients

Scale

For the Crust

  • 1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs – about 12 sheets
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter – melted
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

For the Filling

  • 32 oz. (four blocks) cream cheese – softened
  • 1 ¼  cup sugar
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

Prepare the Crust

Preheat the oven 350°F (176°C).

Pulverize the graham crackers into fine crumbs, then stir in the melted butter, sugar, and salt. Pour the mixture into a springform pan and even sides and corners.

Bake the crust for 8 minutes, remove it, and set it aside to cool.

Prepare the Filling

Turn the oven down to 325°F (160°C).

Add the cream cheese and sugar to a large bowl, and cream with a mixer it until smooth.

Pour in the vanilla extract, lemon juice, salt, and sour cream. Mix until incorporated and creamy.

Add the eggs one at a time. Only mix until it is incorporated.

Set the filling aside.

Prepare the Cheesecake and Water Bath

Wrap the bottom of your springform pan that contains the crust in one solid sheet of aluminum foil, folding the edges up the sides.

Bring a kettle of water to a boil.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust, and then place the foil-wrapped springform pan in your roasting pan.

Once your water is boiling, place the roasting pan with the cheesecake in your oven. Slowly pour the boiling water into the bottom of the roasting pan until it comes just 1-inch up the sides of the springform pan.

Carefully slide the oven rack back into place and close the oven door.

Bake the Cheesecake and Cool

Bake for 60 minutes at 325°F (160°C) and then check on the cheesecake, baking for up to 75 minutes if necessary. When it’s done, the center will look almost set.

After the cheesecake is done, remove the entire roasting pan from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the water bath for another 45 minutes, then remove the pan from the water bath and the foil from the cheesecake.

Keeping the cheesecake in the springform pan, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it in the refrigerator overnight. Once cool, you can remove the springform pan by sliding a knife around the edges and slowly unlatching the pan.

To serve it, unlatch the springform pan and gently remove it from the sides of the cheesecake.

Tried this Recipe?

Let me know how you did on Twitter: @clan_kitchen

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