The Best Cheesecake Recipe

This easy cheesecake recipe truly makes perfect cheesecake every time! Each slice has the creamiest, smoothest cheesecake paired with homemade graham cracker crust. The perfect bite! Plus, I’ve included tons of step-by-step instructions with photos so you can make the best cheesecake every time. This is truly the last cheesecake how-to you’ll ever need!

This cheesecake recipe includes a water bath with detailed instructions, but you might also like my favorite No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe!

Picture of the Best Cheesecake

The Perfect Cheesecake Recipe

Cheesecake is one of those recipes that can be intimidating. For so many years I avoided this classic dessert. Anything that is finicky or requires a little care falls outside of my baking comfort zone. But I am here to tell you how to make cheesecake, and if I can do it, you can too!

My Perfect Cheesecake Recipe is pretty foolproof if you follow the easy steps. There is nothing complicated about this recipe, which is just the way I like it. What you will end up with is the creamiest cheesecake ever, with 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, mix in fun things like cookie dough, or swirl it with caramel or fudge. It’s 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!

Let’s get started!

How to Make this Easy Cheesecake Recipe

The Perfect Cheesecake Recipe...creamy, simple and PERFECT!

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!

How to Make Graham Cracker Cheesecake Crust

The Perfect Cheesecake Recipe...creamy, simple and PERFECT!

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.

The Perfect Cheesecake Recipe...creamy, simple and PERFECT!

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.

The Perfect Cheesecake Recipe...creamy, simple and PERFECT!

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!

How to Make the Best 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.

The Perfect Cheesecake Recipe...creamy, simple and PERFECT!

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.

The Perfect Cheesecake Recipe...creamy, simple and PERFECT!

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.

The Perfect Cheesecake Recipe...creamy, simple and PERFECT!

How to Bake a Cheesecake

And then you’re going to want to 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!

The Perfect Cheesecake Recipe...creamy, simple and PERFECT!

Then find a baking pan that is bigger than your cheesecake pan and fill it about 3/4- inch deep with very hot water.

The Perfect Cheesecake Recipe...creamy, simple and PERFECT!

I use my half sheet pan, but you can use any shape pan, as long as your spring form pan fits inside!

Baking the cheesecake in a water bath is another aid in preventing cracks. It also insulates your cheesecake for more even baking. The water ensures that the outside of the cheesecake won’t bake too quickly!

Now, carefully place your cheesecake into the oven and allow it to bake for 60 -70 minutes. Check it at 60 minutes. 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!

How long do you have to chill a cheesecake?

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.

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.

The Perfect Cheesecake Recipe...creamy, simple and PERFECT!

Then slice it and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

The Perfect Cheesecake Recipe...creamy, simple and PERFECT!

Tips for the Best Cheesecake:

So what have we learned today?

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

I hope this tutorial has helped you and 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!

 

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Perfect Cheesecake

  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 80 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: serves 12 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description:

This easy cheesecake recipe truly makes perfect cheesecake every time! Each slice has the creamiest, smoothest cheesecake paired with homemade graham cracker crust. The perfect bite!


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
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 eggs, room temperature

Instructions:

Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. 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.
  3. Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Set aside while you make the cheesecake.

Cheesecake

  1. 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.
  2. 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. Pour the filling over crust and spread evenly.
  3. Double wrap the bottom of the springform pan with foil, sealing it tightly to prevent water from getting into the pan.
  4. 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.
  5. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until the center is almost set. The center will still jiggle while the edges will be set.
  6. 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.
  7. 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, homemade cheesecake recipe, how to make cheesecake, how to make a cheesecake, classic cheesecake

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The Best Cheesecake Pin

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?

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258 Responses
  1. Katie

    Delicious! My first cheesecake ever and my family said it was the best they’d had. I added about two teaspoons of lemon zest to the filling.

  2. Chu

    Success! I haven’t baked in about 20 years, baking is not my forte, this recipe was very easy. Luckily my wife has mixer which I think makes everything so easy. This will be my go to cheesecake recipe. Great instructions!!

  3. Erlie

    Hi, i tried this recipe and it came out great, but brown and fluffy on top, and i followed the recipe completely, was my oven just too hot?

    1. Shelly

      Sounds like maybe you had it too close to the upper oven? If not, could just be the heat of your oven for sure. If you find this happening in the future, just lightly tent it aluminum foil to stop the browning!

    2. JoAnn

      made mine in a 10″. came out perfectly. I’ve made New York style cheesecake for many years. seen this recipe and decided to go with it. It is by far the best, creamiest I’ve ever had. I just followed her recipe to a almost T. I forgot to let the eggs get to room temperature.

    1. Shelly

      you bake the filling inside the crust. Step #2 of the cheesecake instructions says to pour the cheesecake over the crust 🙂 Hope this clears things up!

    2. misskimberley8@hotmail.com

      Hi Linda, Yes you understood correctly. The crust is cooked directly in the oven without the water bath. After pouring the filling onto the cooked crust the water bath is used from there. The water bath is to prevent the cheese filling from cracking by keeping the temperature even around the pan.

  4. Jenny

    Thank you for the recipe, that was easy to follow, and for all the pictures that help too!
    It turned out just right!
    The only difference – I used chocolate graham crackers for crust. Still perfect!
    I got a lot of compliments!

    THANK YOU for what you do!

  5. Ashly

    This was THE best cheesecake recipe I have found yet. It came out perfect, No browning on the top and it was so creamy. I also added this homemade caramel sauce on top -https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2016/09/easy-caramel-sauce-recipe.html
    and added sugar coated pecans – https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/13838/sugar-coated-pecans/ . It was such a hit with the family that I am making another one now only 2 days later because I only got 1 piece. Lol

  6. Mandi

    I just made this cheesecake for Thanksgiving and it was so freaking amazing! Hands down the best cheesecake ever and I am a huge cheesecake lover. The crust was so yummy…my MIL who is not a fan of crusts thought it was awesome. The cheesecake itself was perfectly creamy and not dense or dry like some cheesecakes can be. The directions and tips were really helpful and so easy to follow. Overall, this is the best cheesecake recipe, and I’m so glad I found it!!

  7. Laura

    Thank you so much for share this recipe ! I use it for Thanksgiving and it turned incredible, super creamy with the right amount of sugar !!! I really impressed everyone on the party ? but I said that all the congratulations are for you ?

  8. Ginafer

    Hi! I don’t currently have a stand mixer. Could I use a food processor? I have a hand mixer but lots of stopping and starting having to put it down.

  9. Megan

    I want to try this recipe, but do not have a springform pan, only basic round pans, will it still work or should I purchase a springform?

    1. Shelly

      I always recommend a springform pan with for cheesecake, as it makes it significantly easier to slice and serve, but it absolutely will work in a cake pan!

  10. Sarah

    This recipe was easier than I expected, I have always been intimidated by making a cheesecake. It was simple and dare I say fun to make? By far the most amazing and delicious cheese cake I have ever had!!

    1. Shelly

      Oh this made my day!! I used to be scared of making cheesecake too, but my hope for this recipe was to break it down and show you it was simple!

  11. Kelly

    I wanted to make a Snickers Cheesecake and came across this cheesecake recipe and decided this was the one I would try with a few additions. I followed the recipe but added pieces of Snickers candy bar to the filling once the filling was completely mixed together, I filled the crust half way with the filling then drizzled some caramel sauce on top and then added the other half of the filling and baked the cheesecake as directed. Once it was cooled I topped it with whip cream and more Snicker pieces. It turned out great! The cheesecake was pretty easy to make and tasted really good. I have tried other cheesecake recipes that were a lot more complicated and didn’t taste half as good. I highly recommend this recipe to anyone looking for a delicious cheesecake. Thank you for this recipe!

  12. Mickie

    Hey,

    I never backed a cheesecake before and want to try out your recipe for my boyfriends birthday. I just have a little question: Is it 4 packages cream cheese a 8 oz or is it 8 oz cream cheese in total? I’m a little confused. Greets!

  13. Jessica

    Great recipe. Used a 7inch springform pan so i took changed all measurements to 2/3 of what you listed. Believe I overcooked mine ever so slightly but that was my own wrongdoing.

    Will try again.

  14. Cinnamon

    Hi Shelly,

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with us! I’m going to give it a try this weekend. Would you happen to have any recommendations for springform pans? I just bought a Nordic Ware one but after going down a rabbit hole about baking cheesecakes (this will be my first one), I’m curious to know if some pans yield better results than others.

    1. Shelly

      I love all my nordicware pans, so I don’t think you can go wrong there! The pan that I am using right now for cheesecake most often is my Williams Sonoma Goldtouch Springform pan. I like this one a lot because the base of the pan is raised a little higher, helping prevent any liquid getting to the crust!

      1. Cinnamon

        Hi Shelly, just checking back in to say that this recipe was amazing! I used a 10-inch, but when I make it again for Thanksgiving, I’m going to go with the 9. Thanks for sharing this with us!

    1. Shelly

      Nope, it will just be a little bit thinner. You should set the bake time for 10 minutes less and just check it, it shouldn’t vary too much!

  15. Michelle

    Do you have a recipe for a rainbow cheesecake? The ones I have seen are no bake and I’ve never made a no bake cheesecake before (besides the Jello box mix). Thanks!

  16. Cathy B.

    Made this for Father’s Day dessert! It was a hit! I didn’t have sour cream so I used nonfat Greek yogurt and it was delicious. Not too sweet, it was just right. My in-laws even loved it! Definitely keeping this recipe in my vault.

      1. Lorraine

        Please, how could I adapt this recipe to use my 10” springform pan because I don’t want the cheesecake to be too thin. I love the recipe but that’s the only size pan I have. I’d like to do this in a couple days. Thanks.

    1. Jessica

      Hi there! My 5 year old wants cheesecake for his birthday party. I made one large one for his candle cake, but wondered if I should alter the bake time for cupcake size cakes.

  17. Jo

    I used this recipe to make my first ever cheesecake and it was amazing! It turned out exactly as you said it would! I would like to make mini cheesecakes using this recipe, what would you suggest for the baking time if I were using 2.5” diameter tins?

      1. Carolyn

        I adjusted this recipe for my low carb diet. I replaced the Graham cracker crumbs with almond flour, and the sugar with a blend of xylitol, Erythritol, and stevia extract. I did 1/4 the recipe (to try it out) and divided it into a 6-cup silicone muffin pan, and dropped a blackberry in the middle of each one. I put the muffin pan inside a 9×13 Pyrex for the water bath, chilled it a few hours after baking, and they came out SO PERFECT! Seriously, you wouldn’t even know they were low carb. The taste and texture were amazing. Thanks for the great recipe and all the tips!

        1. Alicia

          Why don’t you find a way? Jeez. Ricotta and cream cheese are two totally different things. Would you try making a cheesecake with mozzarella?

          1. Angie

            Not sure if the original commentator will see this, but figured at least others will be informed (& hope encouraged).

            You CAN make a cheesecake with ricotta. Food network has a recipe thats not too bad. There are tons of substitutions, variations and combos out there. Some sound bizarre but are great. For those who aren’t “bakers” it can be intimidating however its not impossible. Best advice I was given when I first started baking was, take a day when you’re not under pressure for an event & play. Test things out, cut recipe down to smallest possible ratios of ingredients and try it out. It can be fun but most of all informative especially in understanding reactions of certain combos & textures, tastes etc. Who knows you may find you are good at it or that you enjoy experimenting and tweaking recipes.
            Good luck & Happy baking!

        2. Angelikie

          I know your comment is over a year old so this may not even reach you but, have you tried a really long strain for the ricotta? I make cheesecake using “labneh” or extremely strained yogurt. You really can’t tell it’s not cream cheese….

  18. Nik

    I lost my go-to cheesecake recipe and was in a panic– I found this one, and it looked pretty standard, so I decided to use it. (I wanted to do some chocolate accents, so I added about 2Tbsp of dark cocoa to the crumb crust, and I made an “icing” of cream cheese, sour cream, a little lemon juice, and confectioner’s sugar… then had something “wet” to sprinkle chocolate shavings on top so they would stick. It worked out perfectly, and it was divine!

    I had never heard of using a water bath when baking a cheesecake, but I have generally been frustrated with how readily they crack when they cool… so I tried it. NO CRACK!

    I live by myself, so of course, I gave slices of this cheesecake to a bunch of my friends over the few days after I baked it… two people have asked me, “if it’s not a big-deal old family secret or anything, can I PLEASE have the recipe for this awesome cheesecake?”

    1. Linda

      Nik, I use chocolate graham crackers. Hard to find but I had luck at Walmart. I also tried chocolate ganache for a topping with this recipe. I used a bag of chocolate chips 3/4 mixed in the batter then for the topping in the microwave add 1/4 cup heavy cream when starting to boil remove add the rest of the chocolate chips staring constantly until dissolved.pour over COLD cheesecake refrigerate again about 30-45 min.. I personally love my raspberries so I paree 2 pints with 1/4 or 1/2 cup confectionery sugar and sugar to your liking. When ready to serve I drizzle raspberry sauce back and forth making small lines and put about a tablespoon beside the cheesecake on the plate for decoration with a mint leaf. absolutely delicious with this cheesecake recipe. Thank You Shelly for a delicious cheesecake recipe.

    2. Natalie

      Ohhh! What measurements did you use for your cheesecake icing? (If you don’t mind that is) I’m rebaking this cheesecake it’s really good.,

      1. Rebecca

        Do you have any suggestions how to make a chocolate cheesecake? Or lemon raspberry?

        This recipe was amazing – everyone loved it … and did like to try another flavor.

        1. Shelly

          For raspberry you can easily drop (by the teaspoon) about 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam into the top of the cheesecake before you bake it and swirl it gently into the batter! For chocolate, there are a few additional steps, but I am working on a recipe for that soon!!

      2. Lasitha

        Hi, I would like to try this recipe. I have a gas oven. So what should be the gas mark. Also I have an 8 inch pan. So do I have to adjust temp or bake for a longer time?

  19. Monica

    Wow, this looks utterly divine and I want to face plant it right now! I recently moved in with my new partner and he is allergic to egg whites. I adore making desserts but don’t anymore as everything contains whole eggs. Any advice on egg white substitutes so I can make this gorgeous cheesecake?

      1. Farouk Patel

        I only have an 8 inch springform pan. Would I need to adjust baking times. This recipe looks ace!

      1. Shelly

        Yes it will! Just be sure not to over-mix it, as the whisk attachments on the hand mixer can add more air into the mix than a paddle attachment, leading to the cheesecake cracking 🙂

    1. Cate

      This is by far THE BEST cheesecake recipe ever. I have brought this to many parties and every time I’m told that it’s the best cheesecake that they have ever had, no joke. Obviously I cannot take the credit when they tell me because I’m only following this amazing recipe you’ve created aha

      1. Shelly

        Awww thank you so much! I am really proud of this recipe and how it has (hopefully) taken the guesswork out of cheesecake!

    2. lourdes

      I know this is an old Post, but I make many different baked goods without eggs because my nephews have an egg white allergy. A great substitute is to use aquafaba (garbanzo bean water). Pour it out of the can and cook it down slightly and it’s a perfect egg white substitute (you can even use for merengue and macarons!). Add some oil to compensate for the yolk. Google these so you can get proper substitute measurements. Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

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?

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