This Classic Cheesecake Recipe makes perfect cheesecake every time! It doesn’t get much better than creamy, smooth cheesecake baked in a homemade graham cracker crust. In this post I’ll teach you how to make cheesecake using a simple water bath method that is EASY and totally beginner friendly!
This cheesecake recipe includes a water bath with detailed instructions, but you might also like my favorite No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe!
You’ll Love This Easy Classic Cheesecake Recipe!
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.
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 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, 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!)
So are you ready to make cheesecake? I’m breaking down all the easy steps for you…Let’s do this!
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!
Step 2: Make Your Graham Cracker Cheesecake 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Step 4: Bake Your Cheesecake
How to Bake a Cheesecake in a Water Bath – Easy Method!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
Recap : Tips for the Best Homemade 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!
Once you’ve got the method down, try getting creative with these other cheesecake recipes:
- Sugar Cookie Cheesecake
- Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
- Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cheesecake
- Boston Cream Pie Cheesecake
- Smores Cheesecake
This Classic Cheesecake Recipe makes perfect cheesecake every time! It doesn’t get much better than creamy, smooth cheesecake baked in a homemade graham cracker 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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. Pour the filling over crust and spread evenly.
- Double wrap the bottom of the springform pan with foil, sealing it tightly to prevent water from getting into the pan.
- 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.
- 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.
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
Want To Save This Recipe?