Classic Cheesecake Recipe
This Classic Cheesecake Recipe is super smooth, creamy, and topped on a homemade graham cracker crust. This post also includes a lot of helpful tips to get the perfect cheesecake every single time, plus different topping options to really make this recipe your own!
Do you love cheesecake? I’ve always been a huge fan of cheesecake, so much so that I always opt for it over a traditional birthday cake each year for my birthday.
So today, I wanted to share my favorite cheesecake recipe with you! This is by far the best cheesecake recipe I’ve ever made and it is incredibly smooth, creamy, and delicious.
And if you’ve ever felt intimidated when it comes to making cheesecake, I promise it’s not too difficult. I’m sharing everything you need to know like how to make the graham cracker crust, how to prevent cracks, and tons of tips that I’ve learned over the years. I’ve also included several different topping options for this cheesecake so you can really make it your own!
How To Make The Graham Cracker Crust
To make this easy cheesecake recipe, you’ll start with a homemade graham cracker crust. If you’ve never made one before I have a simple tutorial for how to make a graham cracker crust here. Here’s how I make my graham cracker crusts:
- Combine crushed graham cracker crumbs and sugar: If you want to make this recipe a little easier you can use store-bought graham cracker crumbs and skip crushing them yourself!
- Stir in melted butter: Use your hands if you need to for this step, all of the graham cracker crumbs should be moistened.
- Press it into a springform pan: I like to use the bottom of a measuring cup to firmly press it down into the pan.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes then set it aside to cool slightly
Ingredients For The Filling
Once you’ve baked the graham cracker crust, you’ll gather your ingredients for the filling.
- Cream Cheese: The most important component to a good cheesecake recipe is the cream cheese! You will need 32 ounces of full-fat cream cheese for this recipe, which is equal to four 8-ounce blocks. Just be sure to use the blocks of cream cheese and not cream cheese spread in a tub.
- Sour Cream: The sour cream helps break up the heaviness of the cream cheese and creates a creamier filling. When it comes to the sour cream, I suggest sticking with the full-fat version too.
- Granulated Sugar: There’s one cup of granulated sugar in this cheesecake, it’s the perfect amount to sweeten it but still maintain the tanginess!
- Pure Vanilla Extract: There’s also a couple of teaspoons of pure vanilla extract in this recipe which adds a beautiful vanilla flavor.
- Eggs: You’ll also be using four large eggs in this recipe. I suggest lightly beating all of the eggs in a small bowl, then mixing them in on low speed at the end until just combined.
How To Make The Filling
To make the cheesecake filling, you’ll start by beating your cream cheese until it’s nice and smooth. Then, mix in the sour cream until well combined, stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl too. Next, mix in the sugar and pure vanilla extract until fully combined.
Once the first four ingredients are mixed together, set them aside and lightly beat your eggs. I’ve found that mixing the eggs in one at a time incorporates a little too much air into the cheesecake filling. Too much air = cracks in your cheesecake. To avoid this problem, lightly beat them and then mix in the beaten eggs on low speed until just combined.
After you’ve mixed in the eggs, I suggest using a rubber spatula to turn the filling a few times and make sure everything is well combined.
How To Prepare The Water Bath
After you’ve mixed up the cheesecake filling, you’ll set it aside and prepare your water bath. Why use a water bath? It adds moisture to the oven and allows the cheesecake to bake evenly, reducing the chances of it cracking. Here’s exactly how I prep my pan for a water bath. I have a visual of what it will look like in my pumpkin cheesecake post too.
- Wrap the springform pan in foil
- Place the pan wrapped with foil into an oven bag (this acts as extra reassurance to prevent water from leaking into the pan)
- Fold the oven bag down the sides of the pan (like the picture above!)
- Pour the cheesecake filling into the springform pan and smooth it out
- Tap the pan on the counter a couple of times and use a toothpick to remove any air bubbles in the filling
- Pour 1 inch of boiling water into a large roasting pan
- Carefully place the wrapped springform pan into the roasting pan
Bake The Cheesecake And Let It Cool In The Oven
The final step is to place the roasting pan with the cheesecake in the oven to bake for 60-65 minutes. You’ll know the cheesecake is done when the edges are set and the center is still slightly jiggly. Then, turn the oven off, crack the door, and let it sit inside for another hour to finish baking and gradually cool down.
Once the hour is up, you can remove the cheesecake and let it cool completely at room temperature before refrigerating it. The cheesecake will need to be refrigerated for 5-6 hours before you can slice into it, so I suggest letting it chill overnight.
How To Prevent Your Cheesecake From Cracking
There’s nothing worse than spending the time making a cheesecake and then ending up with a huge crack down the middle. Here are a few ways to avoid any unnecessary cracks in your cheesecake:
- Don’t overmix the eggs: It’s best to lightly beat the eggs first, then mix them in on low speed until just combined. This will keep you from mixing extra air into the filling and prevent any large bubbles or cracks in the cheesecake.
- Bake the cheesecake in a water bath: You don’t want to skip this step! The water bath adds moisture to the oven and allows the cheesecake to bake evenly.
- Don’t overbake the cheesecake: I find that 60-65 minute at 325°F is the perfect amount of time to bake this. The edges should be set and the center will be slightly jiggly.
- Avoid sudden temperature changes: Another cause of cracks in cheesecakes or sinking is due to sudden temperature changes. To avoid this, you’ll let the cheesecake cool in the oven with the door slightly cracked for one hour after it’s finished baking.
Different Topping Options
You can top this cheesecake with just about anything that you like, but here a few of my favorite options!
- Strawberry Sauce
- Lemon Curd
- Chocolate Ganache (using a 1:1 ratio)
- Salted Caramel Sauce
- Homemade Whipped Cream
- Blueberry Sauce
- Stabilized Whipped Cream (holds up for several days!)
- If you want to make this recipe a little easier, you can use store-bought graham cracker crumbs and skip crushing them yourself.
- Before making the filling, place a large pot of water on the stove to boil for the water bath.
- Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature before getting started. This will ensure a much smoother and creamier cheesecake!
- Lightly beat the eggs, then mix them in on low speed until just combined.
- Before baking the cheesecake, tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring any air bubbles to the top. Use a toothpick to remove any large air bubbles and smooth out the top.
- Make sure to let the cheesecake cool in the oven for one hour, then cool completely at room temperature. It will need to chill for several hours, but overnight is even better!
Classic Cheesecake Recipe
For the graham cracker crust:
- 1 and 1/2 cups (180 grams) crushed graham cracker crumbs
- 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake filling:
- 32 ounces brick-style cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (230 grams) full-fat sour cream room temperature
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs room temperature
To make the graham cracker crust:
- Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Combine the crushed graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Add the melted butter and mix until all of the crumbs are moistened.
- Scoop the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan and firmly press it down into one even layer. Bake at 325°F (163°C) for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly while you make the filling.
To make the cheesecake filling:
- Set a large pot of water to boil for the water bath before getting started with the filling.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese on low-medium speed until smooth. Add the sour cream and mix until fully combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Then add the granulated sugar and pure vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
- In a separate small mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the beaten eggs to the mixing bowl with the cheesecake filling and mix on low speed until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to turn the filling a few times to make sure everything is fully mixed together. Set aside.
- Wrap the springform pan with the pre-baked graham cracker crust in aluminum foil, then place into a large oven bag. Fold the oven bag down the sides of the springform pan.
- Pour the cheesecake filling into the springform pan and smooth it out into one even layer. Tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to bring any air bubbles to the top, then use a toothpick or skewer to remove any large air bubbles and smooth them out.
- Add the boiling water you started before the filling to a large roasting pan until it is about 1-inch deep. Carefully place the wrapped springform pan into the roasting pan.
- Transfer the roasting pan with the cheesecake to the oven and bake at 325°F (163°C) for 60-65 minutes or until the edges of the cheesecake are set and the center is still slightly jiggly. Turn the oven off, crack the oven door slightly, and allow the cheesecake to cool in the warm oven for 1 hour.
- After the cheesecake has cooled for 1 hour in the oven, remove it from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, cover tightly and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 5-6 hours or overnight. Run a thin knife around the outside of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan, carefully release the springform pan, then slice into pieces, serve, and enjoy!
love cheesecake and plan to try this one, however, I have a question. I want to half this recipe and wondered what size springfoam pan to use if I did that. Also what size pan do you use for the full recipe. look forward to your response.
I would probably use a 6-inch springform pan if you cut the recipe in half. I use a 9-inch springform pan for the full recipe.
Hi! Making this recipe for the first time for my husbands birthday. Smells so delicious! Just one question though, how do you get the cheese cake out of the pan for a better display once it’s completely ready to eat?
I typically line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, so it’s easier to slide off. I also slide a knife around the outside of the cheesecake to loosen it before I release it from the springform pan. Hope you enjoy the cheesecake!
I love this recipe! I have made it several times and it has always turned out with no cracks and loved by all who try it! All the tips were especially helpful. I have also cut this recipe in half before and made mini cheesecakes in muffin tins, and they turned out just as delicious! Thanks for sharing!
What is an oven bag ? Anxious to try this , I LOVE cheesecake!
Hi Debbie! They’re typically used for cooking meat, the bags help keep the moisture inside and prevent meat from drying out. I use Reynold’s oven bags, they’re usually by the slow cooker liners at the grocery store.
I am very disappointed that the oven bags weren’t in the ingredient list for this recipe. I live very far away from the grocery store and started my recipe just to realize that I wasn’t prepared with that. Next time I would like to know what I need before I get halfway through the recipe. thanks 🙂
The oven bag isn’t an actual ingredient, that’s why it’s listed in the instructions 🙂 You can use foil instead of the oven bag too.
Do you bake with almond flour and sugar substitute desserts?
I don’t, sorry! There are several blogs out there that do that I could point you to though 🙂
Hello! Is there any substitute for sour cream? It’s not available in my country
You could use plain Greek yogurt.
I’m living in turkey and i baked your cheesecake for my turkish friends they finish it in a short time from now on i have to bake it once a week?☺️? thanks a lot for this recipe
So happy to hear that, Natalie!
I never cared for cheese cake. Would try again and again but no. Then I found Live Well Bake Often. I absolutely love this recipe. Every one I’ve made it for says it’s the best they’re ever eaten.
So happy to hear that, Joy!
This recipe looks great! I only have 2 questions..
1. How much is the cream cheese in grams?
2. I only have cream cheese spread (not in a tube) in my country.. is it ok to bake with that?
It’s 906 grams of cream cheese. I haven’t tried it with the cream cheese spread, but I find that it just doesn’t work as well as blocks of cream cheese. The spread typically has other ingredients added to it to make it thinner.
Omg! This is the absolute best recipe I have ever made! And I luv the extra baking tips they give that I never used before! Luv, Luv, Luv it!!!! A+ for sure
So glad you liked the cheesecake, Tina!
This was the perfect texture!! Thank you. I also add a little lemon juice for extra zing!
Can you take it out of the pan before the overnight in the fridge? I need to make a second one but don’t want to ruin it
As long as the cheesecake is fully chilled, then yes you can remove it from the pan.
This is the first time I have ever made a cheesecake and it was delicious! Thank you for the clear instructions and tips to ensure success!
Enjoyed this recipe . My first cheesecake came out better than I expected with no cracking, lil browning and no water bath! Is there a way to make the texture a little more smooth and creamy and less curdle tasting ? That was my only downfall for my taste and how I like my cheesecake ? other than that a great recipe ! Thanks I’ll be using this as my base recipe to add with Mix ins and toppings ?
Sorry I missed your other comment! I was going to say it’s probably enough for two 9-inch pie pans. If the cheesecake was a little curdled, it’s likely that it was just overbaked. A water bath will help prevent that or you could try baking it for a little less time next time.
What a beautiful cheesecake!! Just wondering what tip you used to pipe these flowers on top?
Thank you, Charlotte! I used the Wilton 1M piping tip for the swirls on top.
This by far is the best cheesecake I’ve ever made. This recipe is unbelievable. I didn’t use boiling but cold water on accident and this still came out astonishing. Love this!
This recipe sounds delicious! I live in a high altitude area, would the temperature still be at 325 degrees for the 60-65 minutes?
Hi Paula! I’m really not familiar with high altitude baking, but King Arthur Flour has a great guide on their website for how to adjust recipes for high altitude.
My first ever cheese cake I baked from scratch. It was beautiful, tasty and no cracks. I used the water bath and follow all the instructions carefully. Thanks.
This is the best cheesecake I have ever had, including cheesecake from NYC’s famous bakeries! And it looked Beautiful – no cracks! Every one of your recipes that I’ve made has been perfect.
Thank you, Priscilla! So happy you’re enjoying the recipes!
AMAZING! First time ever making a cheesecake, perfection! Only adjustment/addition I made was adding the “caviar” from a vanilla bean. It was truly the BEST my husband and I have ever had. Two thumbs way up.
Hello I would love to try this but I don’t have a spring form pan, can I use a normal metal cake pan or a ceramic pie plate in the water bath?
As long as it deeps enough, you can use a cake pan or pie plate. If it’s not very deep, you may need to make two cheesecakes or cut the filling in half. You could use a 9×13 pan too.
I don’t have a 9 inch springform pan. Would a 10 inch springform pan work?
Yes, that would be fine. You may need to adjust the baking time slightly though.
This cheesecake is SO DELICIOUS! We live in Munich, Germany and I managed to score 4 blocks of American Philly Cream Cheese, so I was really relieved when it turned out perfectly! I noticed that a few people have been asking about cream cheese spread and sour cream substitutes. The cream cheese spread sold at our local grocery store is Philadelphia brand, but it is NOT the same as the Philadelphia cream cheese that comes in the boxes – it is significantly thinner – so it would need to sit and strain in order to thicken before trying in this recipe. Also, I used ‘schmand” as my sour cream substitute and it was perfect. “Sauer rahm” would be far too runny and ruin the consistency. Lastly, we had some cookies called ‘Speculatins’ left over from the holidays here. They are a Dutch cookie sold at holiday time and sort of a cross between graham crackers and Biscoff cookies – that’s what I used for my crust and it was the best I’ve EVER had!
This is the best cheesecake I’ve ever made! It turned out perfect, my family said I need to make this again soon. Is there a way I can make this into a lemon cheesecake?
So glad you loved the cheesecake, Kathy! For a lemon cheesecake, you could double the filling in my lemon raspberry cheesecake bars (just omit the swirl) and use that for a full cheesecake. The baking time should be pretty similar to this one.
I love cheesecake, but I had never tried to make one before. I tried your recipe this past week for Easter. I followed your directions/recipe exactly and it was AMAZING! I was a little scared to try and make it, but I”m so glad I did. Your pictures and instructions made it so easy. I will definitely be making this again for special occasions. I also made the strawberry sauce and that was delicious as well. Thank you so much for the recipe.
So glad the cheesecake turned out great for you, Julie!
Made this for my mum’s birthday and now she says this is her favourite cheesecake recipe! I was wondering is the topping home made whip cream?
I made this yesterday…so delicious, it’s AMAZING! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I halved the recipe & made individual servings that could be frozen. It made 12-125ml mason jars with just enough room to top with fruit. I covered the jars with foil, baked at 325* for 20 minutes, in a cake pan with a boiling water bath, then topped with a fruit glaze…
2c blueberries or strawberries
1/3c orange juice or water
1 1/2 tsp corn starch
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
Bring oil orange juice or water, sugar & corn starch to a boil, add fruit boil 5 mins, remove from heat, stir in lemon zest & vanilla.
Oops…there’s no *oil* in the fruit topping, it was a typo.
I just made this cheesecake last night and wow its the best cheesecake I’ve ever made! I want to say thank you for the recipe. I have never done a water bath even though i know that, that is the best way to make a cheesecake, so this is my first water bath cheesecake. I have made cheesecakes before a few of them and usually they come out cracked and this one is just beautiful. I love plain cheesecake but also with fruit on tip so i have some cherry pie filling to put on top of desired. It is so delicious! Thanks again.
So glad the cheesecake turned out great for you, Sherry!
Hi. I am dying to try this recipe! I do not have any oven bags though and wondering if there is something else I could do instead?
Hi, Kaiti! You can cover the bottom of the pan tightly with aluminum foil. I would try your best to use one very large piece so that there’s no spaces/cracks for the water to get through.
Hi can I use a glass pan for the water bath
That would be fine just as long as it’s deep enough.
Can I give this a hundred stars? This is the best cheesecake I’ve ever made! The ingredients were so simple, the instructions so clear, and all of your tips helped to make the perfect cheesecake. I used a slow cooker liner which worked perfectly. I would love to make your strawberry sauce and whipped cream next time, but it is truly perfect the way it is. Thank you so much!
Thank you, Crissy! So glad you loved the cheesecake!
I used your recipes and baked my first homemade cheesecake and nailed it!! ☺️ They love it!!