For the holidays or when guests come for dinner, I have to make the perfect cheesecake recipe. No one believes it’s made from scratch. They think I picked up a New York-style cheesecake from the bakery. But why would I do that when it takes only 9 ingredients I can pronounce to bake this one? Trust me, this is worth every bit of effort for your next special occasion!
Best Cheesecake Recipe
There are so many cheesecake recipes out there, but I think this is the best cheesecake recipe because it comes out so rich, creamy, and smooth, melting in your mouth with every heavenly bite. You can then feel free to serve it your way and theme it for a holiday or go for broke with a rich chocolate ganache!
Cheesecake Ingredients (Graham Cracker Crust above, Cheesecake below)
- Cream cheese – make sure you use the full fat version at room temperature so it comes out nice and rich!
- Sour cream – helps soften the cheese texture and adds essential moisture with just a hint of sourness
- Eggs – how else can you get that exquisite light and fluffy yet fully creamy and smooth texture?
- Sugar – for a balance of sweetness
- Lemon juice – the contrast of acidity is what brings the flavors together
- Graham cracker crust – the buttery and crunchy texture is the perfect match for that smooth and rich, creamy cheesecake filling
Easy Cheesecake Recipe
I used to think the only easy cheesecake recipe was one that was no-bake, but this baked cheesecake is just as easy. You’ll want to plan ahead to make it the day before you serve it, but your actual hands-on time with it is minimal and the rewards and abundant when you make this cheesecake.
How to Make Cheesecake
It all starts with a signature graham cracker crust. You could cheat and buy one ready-made but you might risk burning it. It’s better to make your own and pre-bake it. Then comes the filling. You’ll get it ready, taking care not to overmix it, then submerge your cheesecake into a water bath as it slowly bakes. Mostly, it’s about being patient and waiting so fill your time with other things and before you know it, your cheesecake is ready!
How to Make Cheesecake from Scratch
Making cheesecake from scratch is all about following the steps below. You only need 9 ingredients, most of which I’m betting you’ve already got on-hand. All you need is a springform pan, large mixing bowl, and a rubber spatula, plus time on your hands, and you can make this heavenly cheesecake from scratch.
Expert Secrets for Cheesecake Success!
The best advice for your cheesecake to come out perfectly is not to overmix it. As you’re creating your mixture, follow the steps and once you add the last egg, don’t overdo it. It’s ready to go!
The water bath is an essential component that cooks the cheesecake without browning the outside. It keeps the texture rich and creamy, exactly how you want your cheesecake so that with every bite, you can’t help but moan in delight!
What soft cheese is used for cheesecake?
These cheese that makes cheesecake legendary is none other than cream cheese. You can use your favorite brand as long as you use the full-fat version.
Can I leave sour cream out of cheesecake?
It depends on the recipe. This recipe calls for sour cream which will add a softening effect to the texture of the cream cheese while adding moisture.
What is the difference with New York cheesecake?
With regular cheesecake, the ingredients called for are heavy cream and sour cream. It results in a bit of a silkier and creamier texture. New York style is truly special because it’s heavy with cream cheese that gives it such a dense texture. The flavor comes from sour cream and lemon juice for a tang that is unmistakable.
Is cheesecake better baked or not?
It all depends on your preferences. When you bake a cheesecake, the texture is velvety, rich, and dense. No-bake cheesecakes tend to have a more light and airy feel to them.
What’s the best way to bake cheesecake?
If you’re going to bake a cheesecake, the best way is by using a water bath. This ensures it cooks evenly without cracking or drying out so you get that rich and wonderful texture.
How Long to Bake Cheesecake
With this method of making cheesecake, you will want to bake it in an oven preheated to 350F for a minimum of 55 minutes on up to 70 minutes. You’ll know it’s time when the center is almost set. Once it is, you’ll shut off your oven but leave the cheesecake in there in its water bath with the door slightly ajar so it can cool for an hour.
Why is my cheesecake browned on top?
If your cheesecake has browned on top, then it’s likely you’ve overcooked it. Always follow the directions to the recipe to have it come out perfectly.
I always carry a knife in my purse you know, in case of cheesecake or something.
Best Toppings for Cheesecake
You can put just about anything on top of your cheesecake. You can also leave it plain and have toppings on the side so that guests can choose their favorite way to enjoy it. I find this makes everyone happy. I always serve hot chocolate sauce, fresh berries, mixed berry coulis, warm caramel, sprinkles, and whipped cream though feel free to come up with whatever excites you too!
Can You Freeze Cheesecake?
Yes, freezing a cheesecake is totally fine. Plus, you can keep it in your freezer for up to a month. Freeze it whole or cut it up into slices. Cheesecake is probably one of the best make-ahead desserts because it freezes so well. Simply wrap it in plastic wrap to remove the excess air and then again in aluminum foil.
How to Reheat Cheesecake
In my home, we love our cheesecake chilled. But if you’d prefer it warmed or want to thaw a single piece from the freezer to indulge with, heating it for up to 20 seconds at a time should do the trick!
Classic Homemade Cheesecake Recipe
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 8 oz blocks of cream cheese full fat
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup sour cream full fat
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and granulated sugar with a spatula until combined into a coarse, sandy mixture. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-10 inch pan. Make sure the mixture is tight and compact in the pan. Prebake the crust for 7-8 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, beat the room temperature cream cheese and granulated sugar together on medium high speed with a handheld mixer until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon juice and beat until thoroughly combined. On medium speed, add in the eggs one at a time. After the final egg is mixed into the batter, stop mixing. Over-mixing is the number one mistake you can make with cheesecake!
- Prepare the water bath. Boil a pot of water, about 1 inch should coat the roasting pan you plan on placing your cheesecake in. While the water heats up, wrap the springform pan with aluminum foil and pour the batter on top of the crust. Place the pan inside the large roasting pan, then pour the hot water inside the pan and place in the oven.
- Bake cheesecake for 55 to 70 minutes or until the center is almost set. Turn off the oven and leave the door slightly open. Allow the cheesecake to rest in the water bath and cool for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, remove from the oven and water bath and let cool completely at room temperature. Then refrigerate the cheese overnight. The next day, loosen the cheesecake with a knife and use a knife dipped in warm water between each slice to ensure precise, clean cuts. Serve with mixed berry coulis and fresh berries, chocolate, or whatever you love on top!
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