This is the best cheesecake recipe ever! We’ve been making this homemade cheesecake for over 15 years and it never fails. It has a classic cheesecake flavor and the texture is so creamy.
The recipe uses simple ingredients and it’s worth every bite. It will become your favorite cheesecake recipe! Sharing everything you need to know for how to make a cheesecake below!
If you have as big of a sweet tooth as we do, you’ve probably tasted a cheesecake before (or a hundred of them!). It’s a hugely popular dessert that’s been enjoyed for thousands of years. In fact, the first recipe was written down way back in 230 AD, showing that our love of cheesecake definitely isn’t new!
If you’re looking to make one for friends, family, or just for you, this is one of the best cheesecake recipes out there. This is by far the best cheesecake recipe and every time we make it everyone agrees!
Why We Love this Recipe
- This recipe has been our go-to cheesecake recipe for years. It’s also the base recipe for other recipes like our blood orange cheesecake and peanut butter cheesecake. We’ve even added caramel swirls over the top, yum!
- The cheesecake filling is made with just 6 simple ingredients you can find at your local grocery store.
- This is a beautiful cheesecake, but the best part is the rich and very creamy flavor and the buttery graham cracker crust.
How to Make Homemade Cheesecake
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
You’ll need a few supplies to make this cheesecake:
- Large Bowl
- Electric Mixer with Paddle Attachment
- Spring form Pan
- Shallow Baking Pan or Large Roasting Pan
- Rubber Spatula
- Aluminum foil
Cheesecake Ingredient Notes
Graham Crackers – Honey Maid is perfect for this recipe. You can actually buy crumbs or make your own in a blender.
Granulated Sugar – This is used to sweetened the crust and the cheesecake.
Unsalted Butter – To hold the crust together.
Cream Cheese, room temperature. We use the classic Philadelphia cream cheese for this recipe.
Vanilla Extract – Adds extra flavor to this classic cheesecake.
Eggs – Use organic eggs when possible. They also must be at room temperature.
Heavy Cream. Adds to the flavor and creates the most creamy cheesecake! We can’t imagine this recipe without it.
Directions for Cheesecake Filling
The full directions are in the recipe card below.
Prepare – Turn the oven to 325 degrees and boil some water in a pot or kettle for later. Make the crust and press it into a spring-form pan. Wrap the pan in foil.
Mix – Beat soft cream cheese on medium (about 4 min until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides. With the mixer running, add sugar and salt and continue to beat for another 4 mins.
Add Eggs and Heavy Cream – Beat in the vanilla and add eggs one at a time, beating full after each addition. Reduce speed to low speed and add heavy cream.
Pour Over the Crust – Pour batter on top of the crust, leaving a little room at the top for the cheesecake to rise. We usually have a little batter left in the bowl that we discard.
Water Bath – Place the foil-wrapped pan in a larger roasting pan and pour boiling water around the edges, halfway up to the springform pan, kind of like when you’re baking a soufflé.
Bake – This recipe bakes for 1 hour and also sits for 1 hour in the oven First, bake until the top of the homemade cheesecake is very light brown. Turn the oven off, prop the door open with a wooden spoon and let the cheesecake sit in there for 1 hour.
Let it Cool – Take it out and let it cool at room temperature, then place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Traditional Graham Cracker Crust
Check out our guide for more information on making the best graham cracker crust.
- In a blender or food processor, pulse the graham crackers until they become crumbs.
- Add the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt in a bowl and stir. Add in the melted butter and mix together.
- In a buttered, round springform pan (this is super important to use) press the crust down in an even layer. We use a 9″ springform pan.
- Wrap tinfoil around the bottom of the outside pan, and bake the crust for 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
Tips for Making the Best Cheesecake Recipe
Cream cheese must be room temperature and soft. If it’s not, there will be lumps of cheese in the cheesecake. If you need to quickly get the cheese to room temperature, remove it from the packaging and tinfoil, add it to a bowl, and microwave it for 1 min until super soft.
All of the ingredients should be at room temperature.
Use high-quality ingredients for the best results.
Always bake in a water bath, it’s the best way method for baking a cheesecake and doesn’t take much time to do. More on how to do this is below.
Let the cheesecake cool in the oven while the door is propped open.
Why Baking in a Water Bath is GOOD
You do not need to be scared of baking your cheesecake in a water bath! This is a simple and classic method for making a moist cheesecake and it’s just a few easy extra steps. This way of baking will always yield a much better, super moist, and delicious dessert. It’s not as scary as it seems either!
We suggest wrapping the springform pan with tin foil (bottom and sides) really well. Do this when you bake the crust first. Then, leave the pan wrapped well the entire time, even as you pour the batter over the crust.
Position a roasting pan in the middle rack of the oven. Set the uncooked cheesecake, still wrapped in foil, in the middle of the roasting rack, then pour the boiling water around the pan. Shut the oven and bake. This way you don’t have to move the pan with boiling water.
When the cheesecake is baked and cooled in the oven, you can remove the tin foil. It’s okay if some water comes out of the bottom of the foil when you remove it. Just let the excess drip out, your cheesecake is not ruined. Let the cheesecake rest for another 3- 4 hours in the spring form pan on a wire rack.
Classic Cheesecake Toppings
This is a classic cheesecake recipe, so you can decide how you want to serve it and what toppings to use. We suggest seasonal toppings like fresh berries. You can also use any of the ideas below:
Cherry Pie Filling
How to Store a Cheesecake
Your homemade cheesecake should always be stored in the fridge to stop it from going bad. It’s best to let your homemade cheesecake cool before putting it in the fridge and wrapping it first. Try to get it as airtight as possible by following these steps:
- Place the cheesecake on a cake board or plate
- Wrap the cake in plastic wrap
- Ensure all of the edges are held down securely
If the wrap causes imperfections on the surface of your cheesecake, simply smooth it out with a spatula when you unwrap it.
Frequently Asked Questions
The first step in how to make cheesecake is choosing which type you want to make. Because, yes, there are different types. The most notable variation on regular cheesecake is the classic New York style, but are they really that different?
New York cheesecake has a few characteristics that make it different, but it’s the texture that really sets it apart. New York cheesecake is rich, heavy, and dense, and it’s almost impossible to start another slice after your first. Regular cheesecake is a lot lighter, and this all comes down to the ingredients.
A regular recipe uses smaller amounts of different cream instead of the heavy focus on cream cheese that New York cheesecakes are renowned for. It also contains more eggs and egg yolks, giving it a smoother texture.
Yes, you can definitely make cheesecake without sour cream! In fact, our recipe doesn’t use it at all. Instead, we use heavy cream which gives the recipe a sweeter, smoother finish and removes the sour cream tang.
A cheesecake should cool before you put it in the fridge. If you don’t let it cool, you can change the texture of the cake and end up with a soggy mess. To make sure it’s cooled completely, we recommend leaving it at room temperature for at least an hour while it’s still in the pan.
If you’re wondering about whether you can leave a cheesecake out overnight, hot or not, the answer is no. Because of ingredients like cheese, cream, and eggs, yours shouldn’t be left out of the fridge for more than six hours, and that’s a maximum. Leaving it out overnight could cause your cheesecake to go bad, which definitely isn’t ideal.
All types of cheesecake taste the best when they’re a little warmer than straight out of the fridge. Before serving yours, leave it to stand for around 30 minutes at room temperature. Trust us, it’ll transform your cheesecake!
How Long Should Cheesecake Cool Before Going in the Fridge?
If you don’t let it cool, you can change the texture of the cake and end up with a soggy mess. To make sure it’s cooled completely, we recommend leaving it at room temperature for at least 3 hours while it’s still in the pan.
Why Did My Cheesecake Crack?
The most common cause of cracks in a cheesecake is down to over-baking. It’s super easy for people to over-bake their cheesecake, but the trick is to take it out when it still looks a little undercooked. There should be an area of around 2 inches to 3 inches that’s still wobbly right in the center of the cheesecake when you take it out, which will solidify as it continues to cook out of the oven.
A water bath helps prevent cracks too, so if you’re baking it without a water bath, this will add to the cracking.
Other tips to stop cracks include:
- Letting the cream cheese reach room temperature before using it
- Not opening the oven door during baking
- Run a knife along the edge before it comes out of the oven to stop it from sticking to the sides of the pan
Can You Cook a Cheesecake Without a Water Bath?
It’s common to cook cheesecakes using a water bath (or a bain-marie) to get that creamy, smooth texture that everyone looks for. It generates moist heat, even heat, and prevents too much browning on the top. But do you have to use one?
Technically, no. You can cook it without a water bath but it will be trickier and it might not come out quite as evenly cooked. We’d always recommend using a water bath and, if you can, go for it!
Can You Freeze a Homemade Cheesecake?
Yes you can! After cooking yours using our baking tips, follow these steps to keep yours fresh for a month longer:
- Cool before putting it in the fridge to chill completely
- Cut the cheesecake into slices or leave it whole, it’s up to you!
- Put your cheesecake on a round of cardboard or leave it on the bottom of the springform pan.
- Wrap it first in plastic wrap and then in foil
When it’s time to serve, thaw it completely in the fridge before giving it a try. It should taste as though it’s freshly baked!
When to Serve a Cheesecake
Cheesecake is a rich and creamy dessert that is perfect for every occasion. It can be altered to use seasonal berries and different toppings. Here are some ideas when to serve a cheesecake:
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The Best Homemade Cheesecake Recipe
Graham Cracker Crust
- 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 6 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 32 ounces cream cheese, must be room temp.
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 large eggs, room temp
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
Graham Cracker Crust
- Add the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt in a bowl and stir. Add in the melted butter and mix together.
- In a buttered, round springform pan (this is super important to use) press the crust down in an even layer.
- Wrap tinfoil around the bottom of the outside pan up to the sides.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
- Turn the oven to 325 degrees and boil some water in a kettle for later
- Beat cream cheese on medium (about 4 min until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides. Make sure you scrape the bottom and sides to remove any clumps of cheese.
- With the mixer running, add sugar and salt and continue to beat for another 4 mins.
- Beat in the vanilla and add eggs one at a time, beating full after each addition.
- Reduce speed to low and add heavy cream.
- Pour batter on top of the crust, leaving a little room at the top for the cheesecake to rise.
- Place the foil wrapped pan in a larger roasting pan and pour boiling water around the edges, halfway up to the springform pan, kind of like when you’re baking a soufflé.
- Bake for 1 hour, until the top of the cheesecake is brown. Turn the oven off, prop the door open with a wooden spoon and let the cheesecake sit in there for another hour.
- Take it out and let it cool at room temperature, then place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.