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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 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 original 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 – a graham cracker cheesecake crust adds the buttery and crunchy texture that 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 recipe 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. Cheesecake does not have to be complicated, and this simple cheesecake recipe is meant to help you nail it on your first try!

Is cheesecake difficult to make?

Cheesecake isn’t very hard to make, though if you’ve never made it before, it may look difficult. With this recipe, it takes you through the steps one by one so you will make your first cheesecake from scratch and have it come out amazing.

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 do You 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 Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Cheesecake

  • Do not overmix! – 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!
  • Water bath is key – 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 between regular cheesecake and 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 cheesecake recipe 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 is the best temperature to bake cheesecake?

The best temperature for baking cheesecake is 350F. It requires patience and waiting, but this slower method produces some of the most amazing melt-in-your-mouth results ever.

How do I make sure my cheesecake doesn’t crack?

If you’re going to bake a cheesecake, the best way is by using a cheesecake water bath. This ensures it cooks evenly without cracking or drying out so you get that rich and wonderful texture.

What is the water bath method or cheesecake?

For a classic cheesecake recipe, you will prepare your cheesecake in a springform pan and then set this pan in a large roasting pan. This helps cook the cheesecake to that perfect, creamy texture.

Is a water bath necessary for cheesecake?

There are certainly recipes that create cheesecake successfully without a water bath. Some involve baking while others are no-bake versions. This classic cheesecake recipe is done with a water bath and requires it for your best results.

Can you make a cheesecake without a springform pan?

Yes, you can! Though for this cheesecake recipe, you should use a springform pan to help get it out of in perfect condition.

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.

Why is my cheesecake not creamy?

When making cheesecake, you should let your cream cheese come to room temperature. This way, it combines well with the other ingredients and leaves you with a creamy and delightful texture.

What makes a cheesecake dense or fluffy?

New York style cheesecake has a dense texture. With recipes that don’t use a water bath, you can create this density. For fluffy, it’s all about separating the yolks, adding them one at a time, and then whipping the whites and adding them in.

I always carry a knife in my purse you know, in case of cheesecake or something.

Best Cheesecake Toppings

Cheesecake toppings are where you can use your creativity and really add to the flavor profile. 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 Frozen 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!

Watch How To Make Cheesecake (Video)

Classic Homemade Cheesecake Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cool Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 379
This Perfect Cheesecake is a crowd favorite that always comes out super creamy and smooth. Its the ultimate classic water bath recipe that can be topped with whatever you love...berries, chocolate, puree, Mmmm!


Crust Recipe

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Cheesecake Recipe

  • 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!
Calories: 379kcal
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American


Calories: 379kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 784mg | Potassium: 332mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 440IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 365mg | Iron: 1mg

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Author Megan Miller

I’m a mom of two, food and wine lover, and recipe creation enthusiast. Good food brings families together. Which is why I’m devoted to sharing my best recipes that are simple enough for even the beginner cook that your family will love!

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