Best Cheesecake Recipe

Your complete guide to making the best cheesecake recipe. All of your questions are answered in this guide to homemade cheesecake.

If there’s one dessert that everyone needs to know how to make, it’s cheesecake. Rich, creamy, baked cheesecake that rivals any Cheesecake Factory pie out there.

This homemade cheesecake recipe does just that. It has amazing flavor due to cream cheese, sour cream and sugar. And it is extra creamy.

We’re giving you all the tips to make the PERFECT…the BEST cheesecake recipe to serve to family and friends.

white cheesecake with blueberry topping on a plate

What is cheesecake?

Cheesecake. What actually is it? And is cheesecake a pie or a cake?

Cheesecake is a dessert made with cream cheese, eggs and sugar. You’ll find a handful of other varying ingredients in different recipes, but we find this one the best!

Cheesecake bakes more like a custard so it is actually closer to a pie than a “cake”.

slice of plain cheesecake on a plate

The Best Cheesecake Recipe

There are several steps to making cheesecake, but we’ll take you through them slowly. Don’t worry. They are easy!

**Plan ahead and make sure the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs are at room temperature. This will help the ingredients cream together more smoothly.**

Graham Cracker Crust

  • Preheat the oven to 325º Fahrenheit.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar.
  • Press the cracker crumbs into the bottom of the springform pan.
  • Bake the crust for about 6 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the crust to cool completely.
  • Wrap the outside of the springform pan with two layers of foil. This will help seal the bottom so that water doesn’t get in.

Do you have to use a springform pan for cheesecake? If you have a 9″ round cake pan with 3″ tall sides, you can use that instead. Make sure you line it with parchment paper if you want to be able to serve clean slices.

graham cracker crust in a springform pan

Cheesecake Filling

  • Place the cream cheese in a large bowl. Use 22 ounces of cream cheese which is 2 8-ounce blocks and then an additional 6 ounces. The cream cheese should be at room temperature.
  • Use a hand mixer on low speed to cream the cream cheese until it is smooth. Don’t beat too much air into the cream cheese. Mix on low speed just until smooth and any lumps are out.
  • With the mixer on low speed, mix in the sugar and vanilla extract. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
mixing sugar into cheesecake batter
  • Mix in the sour cream and mix on low speed just until blended.
mixing sour cream into cheesecake batter
  • Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Use a hand whisk to gently whisk the eggs together to break up the yolks. Don’t whisk them too much. You don’t want them frothy.
  • Add the eggs to the cream cheese mixture and blend the eggs into the cream cheese mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix just until combined.
mixing beaten eggs into cheesecake batter
  • Pour the batter into the springform pan with the pre-baked crust.
  • Tap the pan on the counter 4-5 times. This will help bring any air bubbles to the top so that they pop. Allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes. Tap again if any more air bubbles surface. This will help your cheesecake have a nice thick texture.
  • Preheat the oven to 325º Fahrenheit.
cheesecake filling in a bowl

Baking Cheesecake in a Water Bath

Is it necessary to bake cheesecake in a water bath? Yes. If you want an even texture throughout and no cracks on top, use a water bath.

  • Heat 4 quarts of water on the stove or in the microwave until steaming but not necessarily boiling.
  • Pour about an inch and a half of water in a 10×15″ baking pan.
  • Place the wrapped springform pan into the water bath.
  • The water should come about halfway up the side of the pan. Pour in additional water if needed.
  • Place the cheesecake (in the water bath) in the preheated oven.
unbaked cheesecake in a water bath

How long to bake cheesecake?

  • Allow the cake to bake for 60 minutes. Do not open the oven.
  • After 60 minutes, turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to sit in the oven for another 5 hours. Don’t open the oven. Just allow the cheesecake to sit in the oven while the oven cools.
  • After 5 hours, remove the cheesecake from the oven and the pan. Remove the foil wrap.
overhead shot of cheesecake in springform pan

How long can you let cheesecake sit out?

You can leave cheesecake at room temperature for up to 6 hours. Then you’ll want to refrigerate it again. Cheesecake will soften as it sits at room temperature so if you like it firmer, be sure it is cold.

Do you have to chill cheesecake overnight before serving it?

Yes. In order to have the cheesecake fully set you’ll want to refrigerate it overnight. It’s worth the wait!

Can cheesecake be frozen?

Yes! Cheesecake freezes well.

If you are freezing the whole cheesecake, wrap it first in plastic wrap, then again in foil. You can freeze the pie for up to 1 month.

If you want to freeze the slices, wrap them in plastic wrap, then wrap again in foil or place the slices in a storage container.

When you are ready to serve the pie, allow them cheesecake to defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours. You want it to be fully defrosted before you unwrap the cake to prevent any condensation.

slice of cheesecake on a plate with toppings

Is cheesecake gluten free?

Yes! Cheesecake batter is normally naturally gluten free. You’ll just have to adjust the crust by using gluten free cracker crumbs or cookies to keep the cheesecake gluten free.

Best Cheesecake Toppings

This best cheesecake recipe is awesome just as it is, but if you are having a party, it is fun to serve some toppings alongside it!

Try one of our favorites:

bite of Creamy Cheesecake on a fork

Tools to Make Cheesecake

slice of cheesecake on a plate with toppings
slice of cheesecake on a plate with toppings

The Best Cheesecake Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Your complete guide to making the best cheesecake recipe. All of your questions are answered in this guide to homemade cheesecake.
Servings 12
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 6 minutes
Resting Time 5 hours

Ingredients
 

For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For the cheesecake:

  • 22 ounces cream cheese 2 ¾ blocks (room temperature)
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces sour cream plus 2/3 cup sour cream (room temperature)
  • 4 large eggs whisked, room temperature

Instructions
 

  • **Plan ahead and make sure the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs are at room temperature. This will help the ingredients cream together more smoothly.**
  • Spray a 9″ springform pan with cooking spray.

Make the crust:

  • Preheat the oven to 325º Fahrenheit.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar.
  • Press the cracker crumbs into the bottom of the springform pan.
  • Bake the crust for about 6 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the crust to cool completely.
  • Wrap the outside of the springform pan with two layers of foil. This will help seal the bottom so that water doesn’t get in.

Make the cheesecake filling:

  • Place the cream cheese in a large bowl. Use 22 ounces of cream cheese which is 2 8-ounce blocks and then an additional 6 ounces. The cream cheese should be at room temperature.
  • Use a hand mixer on low speed to cream the cream cheese until it is smooth. Don’t beat too much air into the cream cheese. Mix on low speed just until smooth and any lumps are out.
  • With the mixer on low speed, mix in the sugar and vanilla extract. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Mix in the sour cream and mix on low speed just until blended.
  • Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Use a hand whisk to gently whisk the eggs together to break up the yolks. Don’t whisk them too much. You don’t want them frothy.
  • Add the eggs to the cream cheese mixture and blend the eggs into the cream cheese mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix just until combined.
  • Pour the batter into the springform pan with the pre-baked crust.
  • Tap the pan on the counter 4-5 times. This will help bring any air bubbles to the top so that they pop. Allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes. Tap again if any more air bubbles surface. This will help your cheesecake have a nice thick texture.
  • Preheat the oven to 325º Fahrenheit.
  • Heat 4 quarts of water on the stove or in the microwave until steaming but not necessarily boiling.
  • Pour about an inch and a half of water in a 10×15″ baking pan.
  • Place the wrapped springform pan into the water bath.
  • The water should come about halfway up the side of the pan. Pour in additional water if needed.
  • Place the cheesecake (in the water bath) in the preheated oven.
  • Allow the cake to bake for 60 minutes. Do not open the oven.
  • After 60 minutes, turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to sit in the oven for another 5 hours. Don’t open the oven. Just allow the cheesecake to sit in the oven while the oven cools.
  • After 5 hours, remove the cheesecake from the oven and the pan. Remove the foil wrap.
  • Loosely cover the cheesecake and place it in the refrigerator to firm up overnight.
  • Serve the next day with your favorite toppings.

Notes

The calories shown are based on the cheesecake being cut into 12 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cheesecake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**

Nutrition

Calories: 464kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 162mg | Sodium: 343mg | Potassium: 170mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 1210IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 464
Keyword baked cheesecake, cheesecake recipe, easy dessert recipe
how to make cheesecake title image

About Julie Clark

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