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,

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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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Beth
October 14, 2020 12:42 pm

Hello! Would it be okay to up the amount of sour cream to 1 cup for just a little more tanginess in the cheesecake, or would that throw everything off?

BakerGirl
October 1, 2020 5:17 pm

Hello. I am planning to make this cheesecake for tomorrow. From the looks of these reviews, it seems like a great recipe. I am wondering if I can try this with a 10 inch sprinform pan? I have done it in the past with cakes, but I know that cheesecakes can be finicky. Do I have to buy another pan for this? Thanks for taking the time for reading this! My family can’t wait!

Elizabeth
September 22, 2020 5:41 pm

Elevation tip on this recipe? In Colorado.

jerymae
September 17, 2020 2:11 pm

i tried this & im so thankful for your recipe but i think im not good at baking cos mine turned brown really quick at the top & my water bath started to boil (maybe i didnt put enough water?) but i turned off the oven with about 15 min in cos the top was turning super dark already and left it in there for another 20min. currently waiting for it to cool at the moment. and then gonna put it in the fridge. :’) wish me luck tmr i hope its not undercooked/overcooked CRIES

Katy
August 15, 2020 11:25 pm

I just made this cheesecake and it’s cooling. There was some water inside the foil but I am clueless as to how it got in there. I am hoping that it condensed in there during cooking. The cheesecake never seemed entirely “set” on the sides but it is nicely browned on top after longer than 70 mins in the oven (I checked at 50 because I have a small oven). The graham cracker crust is still quite crumbly, and not entirely set. Any suggestions or advice are welcome! We will see how this tastes tomorrow!

Last edited 2 months ago by Katy
Lisa
August 10, 2020 2:48 pm

This recipe turned out amazing! Can you suggest how I can incorporate cherries into the cheesecake as opposed to just on top? Will it change the texture if I do?

Carolina Aiza
July 22, 2020 10:31 pm

My first time baking a cheesecake, I love to bake but honestly always give me the impression that was very complicated… THANKS FOR YOUR RECIPE. I live in A little town in Mexico and it’s difficult to find a good cheesecake. Wen we go to USA we always ask for it in restaurants… Now I can bake my own. My family love it
Excuse me for my rusty english. But I find necessary to let you know. Thanks again.
Carolina.

Amanda Lord
June 25, 2020 5:03 pm

Okay, I was SUPER intimidated to make cheesecake. I had heard and seen horror stories of it being an absolute mess, and this recipe made it so incredibly easy, not to mention delicious. Each of my children had several pieces the first night, then we finished it off for breakfast. I’ll be back for you, cheesecake recipe <3

I also want to mention that rarely do I leave review, most things I make aren't great enough and aren't bad enough but this recipe was perfect!

Mitch B
June 22, 2020 11:39 pm

Hi! Is it possible to half the recipe? I’m concerned about how to half the egg

Lisa
June 18, 2020 11:06 pm

Hello, just wanted to let you know, I have an alternative to not having to use foil . I put my 9inch springform pan in a 11 inch cake pan. The cake pan replaces the foil. Then I put both pans in a roasting pan. The water is added to the roasting pan. No leaks or cracks.

N R
June 9, 2020 7:47 pm

I have made a terrible mistake. After my wife introduced me to cheesecake I decided to try my hand at making one. I followed this recipe to the letter and now she thinks I have been hiding expert baking skills. I have since made the recipe roughly two dozen times as it is requested for almost every occasion. I may have to fake my own death.

Etta Lanuti
May 30, 2020 5:44 am

I’ve been baking for over sixty years. One of the best secrets I learned was to use those ‘ oven bags ‘ , usually used to roast chicken, instead of wrapping my cheesecake pans in foil…never leaks. And I get to put my cheesecakes in water a full inch deep. Less cracks.

calisha
May 27, 2020 11:09 pm

Is the cream cheese 32 oz

Moe
June 21, 2020 9:25 am
Reply to  calisha

Yes 4 …8oz package equals 32 oz

Julia Wazeter
May 7, 2020 9:19 pm

Hello! I am excited to make this but I do not have a springform pan. Do you have any good alternatives? Perhaps a pie dish or a normal cake pan?

BabyGMorgie
May 1, 2020 10:24 pm

In the oven baking as I type! Quick question, do you leave it in the oven with the door ajar to rest for an hour like most recipes call for or take it out after the 60-70 min?!! Bringing it to a friend, want it to be perfect!!

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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