The Best Easy Cheesecake Recipe

This Easy Cheesecake Recipe comes out perfect cheesecake every time! Make creamy, smooth cheesecake baked in a homemade graham cracker crust.

I’ve included tons of information that will show you how to make cheesecake using a SIMPLE water bath method that’s totally beginner friendly!

A slice of homemade cheesecake on a plate

Looking for a no-bake cheesecake? You might also like my favorite No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe!

An Easy Cheesecake Recipe Perfect for Beginner Cheesecake Makers!

Cheesecake is one of those recipes that can be intimidating but it doesn’t have to be. Making cheesecake at home can be super simple with the right technique and attention to detail. In this post I’m going to show you how to make the best old-fashioned cheesecake ever with step-by-step instructions.

There is nothing complicated about this recipe, which is just the way I like it. What you will end up with is creamy cheesecake and a buttery, delicious graham cracker crust.

What’s even better about this recipe, is once you’ve tried it, you will see that it’s totally open to be adapted. You can change the crust, or mix in fun things like cookie dough, or swirl it with caramel or fudge. It’s truly the last cheesecake recipe you will need. (Update: I even created a chocolate cheesecake based on this recipe after so many requests, so make sure to check that out, if chocolate is your thing!)

What’s in this Cheesecake?

Let’s start with a quick look at the ingredients for this cheesecake recipe. (See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for amounts.)

There is nothing complicated here! Simple ingredients often make the most amazing desserts. Here’s what you’ll need:

For the graham cracker crust:

  • graham crackers
  • butter
  • sugar
  • salt

For the cheesecake filling:

  • cream cheese
  • sugar
  • sour cream
  • vanilla extract
  • eggs

How to Make a Cheesecake

So are you ready to make cheesecake? I’m breaking down all the easy steps for you…Let’s do this!

A slice of creamy cheesecake being lifted on a spatula.

Step 1: Bring Your Ingredients to Room Temperature

The first thing you will need to do before you make this recipe is take all your ingredients out a few hours before you plan on making your cheesecake. The way to ensure the cheesecake will bake perfectly is for everything to be at room temperature! I know this can be annoying, but trust me…I want you to succeed!

A measuring cup filled with crushed graham crackers

Step 2: Make Your Graham Cracker Crust

For this classic cheesecake recipe, we are sticking with the standard graham cracker crust. Make sure your graham cracker crumbs are finely ground. You can use a food processor or blender to do this.

Then mix your crumbs with melted butter, granulated sugar, and a little kosher salt.

A bowl of graham cracker crumbs mixed with butter and sugar.

Press this into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9- inch springform pan. I use the bottom of a glass to do this step.  A springform pan is a necessity when making cheesecake. The sides are easily removed and your cheesecake will be perfectly intact.

A springform pan with graham cracker crust being shaped with a cup.

I like to pre-bake my crust. I have found that pre-baking lends a crispier, sturdier graham cracker crust. It only bakes for 8-10 minutes, and you can also do this step in advance!

Step 3: Make Your Cheesecake Filling

Like I said, make sure that all of your ingredients are at room temperature. Not only will this ensure it bakes perfectly, it will also prevent your cheesecake batter from being lumpy. If you try and mix the filling up with cream cheese that isn’t quite room temperature, you will get lots of lumps. A few lumps is perfectly fine, too many lumps will change the texture.

Cheesecake filling in a mixing bowl

Another huge tip is to NOT over mix the cheesecake. Over mixing will incorporate too much air into the filling and cause it to crack as it’s baking. Over baking will also cause cracking too, but we will get to that in a minute.

Cheesecake filling poured into a pan filled with graham cracker crust.

You will need 4 packages of cream cheese for this cheesecake recipe.

Just spread the cheesecake filling on top of the crust and smooth it out using a spatula or an offset spatula.

Homemade cheesecake in a springform pan ready to be baked.

Step 4: Bake Your Cheesecake

Baking the cheesecake is where most people start to feel intimidated. There are a lot of stories out there about how hard it is to make a cheesecake, mostly because cheesecake is traditionally baked in a water bath. But I’m here to tell you: baking a cheesecake in a water bath is EASY! You just have to follow my simple technique below.

Why are cheesecakes baked in a water bath? Because with cheesecake the goal is to bake it slowly and evenly without browning or cracking the top. A water bath lets you  insulate your cheesecake so that the outside doesn’t bake too quickly. It also helps keep the oven moist. End result: perfectly baked, moist cheesecake that is all kinds of creamy deliciousness!

How to Bake a Cheesecake in a Water Bath – Easy Method!

First, DOUBLE wrap the bottom of your pan in foil. You bake a cheesecake in a water bath, and the foil is just a preventative measure so water doesn’t leak in and cause your crust to get soggy!

Cheesecake in a springform pan wrapped with tin foil.

Then find a baking pan that is bigger than your cheesecake pan and fill it about 3/4- inch deep with very hot water. I use my half sheet pan, but you can use any shape pan, as long as your spring form pan fits inside!

A tin foil wrapped springform pan in a baking sheet with hot water.

Now, carefully place your cheesecake into the oven and allow it to bake for 60 -70 minutes. Don’t open your oven constantly. I know it’s tempting to see how the cheesecake is baking, but opening the oven can reduce the oven temperature and interfere with the baking process. Wait until the 60 minute mark before you check your cheesecake.

Here’s how to tell if your cheesecake is done baking once you check it: The outside should be set, while the inside should jiggle ever so slightly. This means it’s done. If you bake the cheesecake long enough that the center is set, it is over baked. Over baking ALSO causes cracking, which is what you’re trying to avoid.

But please, if you do get a little cracking, all is not lost! This is when you break open a can of cherry pie filling and turn that cheesecake into a cherry cheesecake!

Step 5: Chill Your Cheesecake

How long does it need to chill?

Allow the cheesecake to cool at room temperature for about an hour. THEN cover the pan with foil and it will need to chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight.

Finished homemade cheesecake ready to be served.

When you’re ready to enjoy your hard work, remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator. If any condensation has built up on top of your cheesecake, just take a paper towel and dab the moisture off. Then slice it and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

A close up of a slice of cheesecake being taken out of the whole cheesecake.

Tips for the Best Homemade Cheesecake

So what have we learned today? Here is a quick rundown of my tips for the best homemade cheesecake:

  • Pre-bake your crust!
  • Make sure all your ingredients are room temperature.
  • Don’t over beat your eggs.
  • Don’t over mix your cheesecake!
  • Line your pan with foil!
  • WATER BATH!
  • Don’t open the oven.
  • Don’t over bake!
  • Don’t skimp on chill time!

Cheesecake FAQs

How Do I Know When My Cheesecake is Done Baking?

When your cheesecake is done baking the outside will be set while the inside will jiggle ever so slightly. This means it’s done. If you bake your cheesecake too long it will look puffy or cracked.

What Do I Do if My Cheesecake Cracks?

All is not lost if you see a crack in your cheesecake! Usually this is just a cosmetic thing. To fix it you can top your cheesecake with whipped cream, or with cherry pie filling. The crack will be hidden and your cheesecake will still taste amazing!

How Do I Store a Cheesecake?

Cheesecake can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Keep it in the springform mold to hold its shape and cover it with saran wrap until you plan to serve it. Wait to add your toppings, if any, until you serve it.

Can I Freeze Cheesecake?

Yes! To freeze your cheesecake allow it to cool completely on the stovetop and set in the fridge. Then you can freeze it by wrapping it in a couple layers of plastic wrap, plus a couple layers of tin foil. Cheesecake will keep in the freezer for a few months. When you are ready to eat your cheesecake, transfer it to the fridge to thaw overnight.

Have Fun Making Homemade Cheesecake!

I hope this tutorial has helped you feel extra confident in your next cheesecake adventure! This easy cheesecake recipe will be one you make for years to come. Once you’re comfortable making this homemade cheesecake recipe you can get fancy and add your own flavors and add-ins!

Close up of a fork cutting into a slice of cheesecake.

More Cheesecake Recipes to Try:

Print

Easy Cheesecake Recipe

  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time Cook Time: 70 minutes
  • Total Time Total Time: 90 minutes + chill time
  • Yield Yield: 12 1x
  • Category Category: Dessert
  • Method Method: Oven
  • Cuisine Cuisine: American

Description:

This easy cheesecake recipe makes perfect cheesecake every time! It doesn’t get much better than creamy, smooth cheesecake baked in a homemade graham cracker crust.


Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs (about 15 full crackers)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Cheesecake

  • 4 (8 ounce) packages Cream Cheese, room temperature (32- ounces in total)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 eggs, room temperature

Instructions

Make the Crust

Double wrap the bottom of the springform pan with foil, sealing it tightly to prevent water from getting into the pan.Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter, granulated sugar, and salt together evenly. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of 9-inch springform pan.

Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Set aside while you make the cheesecake filling.

Make the Cheesecake

1. Cream ingredients together. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed, until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Turn the mixer to low and add the sour cream and vanilla; mix well, scraping sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until mixed. Don’t over mix.

2. Pour the filling over crust and spread evenly.

3. Setup water bath and bake. Place the springform pan into a larger pan and pour very hot water into the pan, until it’s 3/4- inch deep, careful to make sure the water level doesn’t come up higher than the foil.

Bake for 60-70 minutes or until the center is almost set. The center will still jiggle while the edges will be set.

4. Loosen cake and cool before serving. Carefully run a knife around the rim of pan to loosen cake. Allow the cheesecake to cool at room temperature for at least an hour, then cover and transfer into the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight. Release the sides of the springform pan before slicing.


Notes:

Store airtight, refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Keywords:: best cheesecake recipe, homemade cheesecake, easy cheesecake recipe, how to make cheesecake, classic cheesecake, philadelphia cheesecake,

Want To Save This Recipe?

Save

Save

Save

Save


Pinterest image showing a collage of cheesecake photos.

Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

You might also like...

Share Your Comments

Want to share a photo of what you’ve made? Be sure to register or log in and then click the camera icon located at the bottom of the comment form.

369 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kelly
January 15, 2021 9:28 am

Made this for my stepfather’s birthday. Was yummy. I didn’t have a pan large enough for the water bath, so I placed one under the cheesecake. I also used a strip of damp paper towels wrapped in aluminum foil and wrapped around cheesecake pan as an insulated collar. Just make sure all of paper towels are wrapped several times in foil. Only two tiny cracks. Success. Thanks.

Jessica
January 10, 2021 8:13 pm

My husband loves when I make him this cheesecake and it always comes out beautiful!

Michele
January 9, 2021 2:12 pm

I’m going to try this today. Only thing I do not have a springform pan. I have a glass cake pan I have to use. How much do I reduce cook time. Its a 3qt glass baking pan.

Layla
January 5, 2021 7:55 pm

Hey! This is the first time I make a cheesecake, and it’s still in the oven, but so far it looks and smells amazing! Can’t wait to try it tomorrow!

Yuhan S
December 31, 2020 11:29 pm

I made it this afternoon and it was delicious! Very simple too. Totally recommended.

May T
December 27, 2020 12:47 am

I just made it tonight. It turned out great! However I think 3 eggs is a little too much, and using the egg white makes the cheese cake fluffy instead of being dense. Should we use the yolk only?

Grace
December 25, 2020 9:04 pm

I made this last night for Christmas today, I followed the recipe but I added 2 tsp lemon juice. It is great. I also made strawberry topping with frozen strawberries.

Sherri Hay
December 23, 2020 7:08 pm

Hi! I just made this cake, and it is cooling. The recipe says to put the knife arounds it when it comes out of the oven/before you let it sit there an hour to cool. However, I did that and now it doesn’t look very nice! The edges don’t look very neat now?! I’m sure it will taste great; I just didn’t know if I should run the knife around it after it cools?!!

Jessica
January 10, 2021 8:15 pm
Reply to  Sherri Hay

I never run the knife around it when I bake it and I’ve done this recipe multiple times and it turns out perfect.

Francesca Tiongson
December 20, 2020 7:36 pm

I burnt the sides a bit but I think that’s ok. I reduced the sugar to 3/4 cup rather than 1 cup and I think it ok still and turned out great. I used low fat cream cheese to at least lower the calories. Overall it’s great.

Becca
December 20, 2020 11:39 am

Hi Shelley
Sorry to ask but what temperature should my fan oven be for the water bath ,? Pls
Thank y

Annelise
December 15, 2020 3:52 pm

Also, Will a 9 inch springform pan work?

Annelise
December 15, 2020 3:49 pm

Is this recipe made for water bath? For my science fair I am doing which baking method produces a cheesecake with the greatest rise and the least amount of cracks. I will be testing a traditional cheesecake with a traditional method, water bath with a water bath method and New York with a New York method. I need to make sure that the recipe is made exactly for water bath not a New York just baked in a water bath like I’ve seen in several recipes. Thanks so much

Annette
December 8, 2020 11:13 am

I just took my cheesecake out of the oven. Should it be this color?

Veenas
December 1, 2020 5:11 am

Thank You for Sharing that Lovely, Easy Food Recipes. So Yummy !!! I Love it. I’ll Definitely Try it. Thank You.

Kelly
November 26, 2020 11:21 pm

I have made this recipe several times and it always taste great. It taste great the way it is but sometimes I tweak it depending on what my family is craving at the time. I always thought Cheesecake was difficult but this one is very simple to make. I use this as my main Cheesecake recipe but sometimes I add white chocolate chips to the batter and swirl seedless raspberry jam throughout on a chocolate graham crust. I have also used this recipe and added crushed up Snicker bars to the batter and drizzled caramel on after it cools with… Read more »

Shelly Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

Tips for Baking Success!

Cookies and Cups Newsletter Get 5 Baking Secrets That Will Change Your Life!

Delivered Straight to Your Inbox, For Free:

Recipes You’ll Love

This site participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn a small fee by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Ad Blocker Detected!

Advertisements fund this website. Please disable your adblocking software or whitelist our website.
Thank You!