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Cheesecake

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close up shot of a slice of Cheesecake topped with a cherry glaze on a plate
This classic cheesecake recipe can served plain or with your favorite toppings, like cherries. A graham cracker crust is filled with a rich and creamy filling before being baked and chilled.
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Table of Contents
  1. CHEESECAKE INGREDIENTS
  2. HOW TO MAKE THIS CHEESECAKE RECIPE
  3. STORAGE
  4. MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
  5. JUMP TO RECIPE

This cheesecake recipe is my family’s favorite dessert. Baked from scratch, a graham cracker crust is filled with a rich and creamy cheesecake filling before being baked and chilled (try our no bake cherry cheesecake recipe, too!) (try our no bake cherry cheesecake recipe, too!).

Try this Instant Pot cheesecake or pumpkin cheesecake as well.

close up shot of a slice of Cheesecake topped with a cherry glaze on a plate

CHEESECAKE INGREDIENTS

You’ll need:

For the Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

For the Filling

  • 4 (8-ounce) packages of full-fat cream cheese
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs
  • ½ cup sour cream

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

TOPPINGS: This classic cheesecake is such a basic recipe with simple ingredients — it’s absolutely delicious served plain, but you can also top it with a huge variety of tasty goodies. 

We love cherries, strawberries, lemon, chocolate, caramel, peanut butter, Snickers candies, Nutella, or even pineapple on our cheesecake.

HOW TO MAKE THIS CHEESECAKE RECIPE

For the Crust

STEP ONE: Preheat oven to 375°F.

STEP TWO: Tear two big pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Using a 9-inch springform pan set the pan on the foil and bring the foil up around the sides of the pan. Repeat with the second piece of foil. This is to ensure no leakage from the water bath.

STEP THREE: Grease the springform pan very well with cooking spray.

STEP FOUR: Mix together the crust ingredients and press into the prepared pan.

PRO TIP:

If you can’t get graham cracker crumbs, you can make your own by running graham crackers through a food processor or crushing them in a Ziploc bag with a rolling pin until they are fine crumbs.

STEP FIVE: Bake in the oven on the middle rack for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

STEP SIX: Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

STEP SEVEN: Start some water to boil on the stove.

For the Filling

PRO TIP:

Make sure all your ingredients are room temperature before mixing to help keep your filling consistency smooth and creamy. 

STEP ONE: In a large bowl mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl as you go and the bottom to make sure it is all mixed in.

PRO TIP:

Use the low speed on your mixer to help prevent adding air bubbles to your filling.

Cheesecake process shot of cream cheese and sugar being blended in a bowl

STEP TWO: Add vanilla and beat on low speed until combined. Add eggs one at a time beating slowly after each egg and scraping sides of the bowl. Mix in the sour cream making sure it is mixed evenly.

Cheesecake process shot of sour cream being added to mixture

STEP THREE: Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared pan on top of the crust. Tap the pan a couple of times on the counter to remove any air bubbles.

Cheesecake process shot of filling being poured on top of the cheesecake crust

STEP FOUR: Place the cheesecake into the roasting pan and place the roasting pan into the oven on the middle oven rack.

STEP FIVE: Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes up about one inch on the side of the cheesecake pan.

Cheesecake process shot of water being added to a pan surrounding the cheesecake pan

STEP SIX: Bake until cheesecake is set, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. The cake should not look like a liquid but will wobble just a bit in the pan when nudged. It will continue to cook as it cools.

PRO TIP:

Be sure to bake low and slow, rushing this recipe will lead to cracks on the surface of the cheesecake and a sad-looking cheesecake! 

STEP SEVEN: At the end of the one hour and 30 minutes turn off the oven and crack the oven door a bit (1 to 2 inches at the most) and leave the cheesecake to sit in the hot oven for at least an hour.

STEP EIGHT: After the cheesecake has cooled for the hour (or more) remove the pan with the water and cheesecake from the oven and remove the cheesecake from the water bath.

Cheesecake process shot of cheesecake on a cake stand

STEP NINE: Remove the foil from around the pan. Run a knife with a thin blade around the sides of the cheesecake to make sure it is not sticking to the sides of the pan which would cause cracks in the cheesecake as it cools.

STEP TEN: Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.

PRO TIP:

Use an extra sharp knife dipped in water between slices for beautiful, clean slices when you’re cutting to serve. 

HOW TO SERVE

Top your slice of cheesecake with any of your favorite toppings including fresh fruit, caramel sauce, hot fudge, or even pie filling. Add whipped cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side for an even more decadent dessert.

STORAGE

IN THE FRIDGE: This delicious cheesecake will keep in the fridge for up to five days. It’s a great option to make ahead of time and then serve without rushing. 

IN THE FREEZER: Cheesecake is an awesome dessert to pop into the freezer. To freeze, place the cooled cheesecake on a baking pan and freeze uncovered until it’s firm. Then, remove the cheesecake from the freezer and wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil, and place it inside a freezer bag. It will keep for several months like this. When you’re ready to serve, thaw it overnight in the fridge. 

close up shot of Cheesecake topped with a cherry glaze

With its smooth and creamy rich filling and delicious graham cracker crust, you’ll be craving this delicious classic cheesecake recipe. It will definitely be worth the time it takes to bake and chill this rich dessert.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What’s the difference between regular cheesecake and New York-style cheesecake?

A regular cheesecake is made with heavy cream and sour cream to thin the batter, which creates a silkier and creamier texture. New York cheesecake has lots of cream cheese, which is why it’s so dense and rich. For this easy recipe, we’re making the classic version of cheesecake.

How do you prevent your cheesecake from cracking?

To prevent your cheesecake from cracking, don’t overmix your batter as it will cause bubbles that will burst during baking, potentially causing cracks on top. Also, don’t overbake your cheesecake and once your cheesecake is finished baking, let it sit cooling in the oven for an hour. This also helps prevent cracking on the top of your cheesecake.

Can cheesecake be frozen?

This easy cheesecake recipe will freeze very well. Wrap the whole cheesecake or individual slices in plastic wrap and store them in the freezer in an airtight container. Thaw in the fridge overnight.

How to bake a cheesecake in a water bath?

Using a water bath will give you a moist, perfectly baked cheesecake. The water creates a moist cooking environment for the dairy and eggs to produce the creamy cheesecake texture. Place the wrapped springform pan in a large roasting pan, fill the pan with 1 inch of water and place in the oven. You don’t want any higher than 1-inch, or you risk water getting into the cheesecake.

How do I prevent the cheesecake water bath from leaking?

To prevent the cheesecake water bath from leaking, either wrap the pan in two layers of aluminum foil or place the springform pan in an oven-safe turkey bag or slow cooker liner bag and roll down the top of the bag. Place the wrapped pan inside the roasting pan and fill it with water.

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close up shot of a slice of Cheesecake topped with a cherry glaze on a plate

Cheesecake

5 from 2 votes
This classic cheesecake recipe can served plain or with your favorite toppings, like cherries. A graham cracker crust is filled with a rich and creamy filling before being baked and chilled.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 11 hours 15 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted

Filling

  • 32 ounces full fat cream cheese (Four 8-ounce packages) room temperature
  • cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6 large eggs room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream room temperature

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Tear two big pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Using a 9-inch springform pan set the pan on the foil and bring the foil up around the sides of the pan. Repeat with the second piece of foil. This is to ensure no leakage from the water bath.
  • Grease the springform pan very well with cooking spray.
  • Mix together the crust ingredients and press into the prepared pan.
  • Bake in the oven on the middle rack for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
  • Start some water to boil on the stove.
  • In a large mixing bowl mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl as you go and the bottom to make sure it is all mixed in.
  • Add vanilla and beat on low speed until combined.
  • Add eggs one at a time beating slowly after each egg and scraping sides of the bowl.
  • Mix in the sour cream making sure it is mixed evenly.
  • Pour the filling into the prepared pan into the crust. Tap the pan a couple of times on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
  • Place the cheesecake into the roasting pan and place the roasting pan into the oven on the middle rack.
  • Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes up about one inch on the side of the cheesecake pan.
  • Bake until cheesecake is set, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. The cake should not look like a liquid but will wobble just a bit in the pan when nudged. It will continue to cook as it cools.
  • At the end of the one hour and 30 minutes turn off the oven and crack the oven door a bit (1 to 2 inches at most) and leave the cheesecake to sit in the oven for at least an hour.
  • After the cheesecake has cooled for the hour (or more) remove the pan with the water and cheesecake from the oven and remove the cheesecake from the water bath.
  • Remove the foil from around the pan.
  • Run a knife with a thin blade around the sides of the cheesecake to make sure it is not sticking to the sides of the pan (which would cause cracks in the cheesecake as it cools).
  • Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Notes

TIP: If you can’t get graham cracker crumbs, you can make your own by running graham crackers through a food processor or crushing them in a Ziploc bag with a rolling pin until they are fine crumbs.
TIP: Make sure all your ingredients are room temperature before mixing to help keep your filling consistency smooth and creamy. 
TIP: Use the low speed on your mixer to help prevent adding air bubbles to your filling.
TIP: Be sure to bake low and slow, rushing this recipe will lead to cracks on the surface of the cheesecake and a sad-looking cheesecake! 
TIP: Use an extra sharp knife dipped in water between slices for beautiful, clean slices when you’re cutting to serve. 

Nutrition

Sodium: 494mg | Calcium: 133mg | Vitamin C: 1mg | Vitamin A: 1592IU | Sugar: 42g | Fiber: 1g | Potassium: 216mg | Cholesterol: 229mg | Calories: 625kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Fat: 42g | Protein: 11g | Carbohydrates: 52g | Iron: 2mg
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