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The Best Easy Cheesecake Recipe

This Easy Cheesecake Recipe comes out perfect every time, with a luscious, creamy filling in a graham cracker crust! Plus my tips for how to make the BEST cheesecake, even if it’s your first time.

The Best 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 cheesecake ever with step-by-step instructions.

The end result is a creamy cheesecake in a buttery graham cracker crust. And once you’ve mastered this easy cheesecake recipe, you’ll see that it’s totally open to be adapted. You can change the crust or mix in fun things like cookie dough, caramel, or fudge.

I hope this tutorial has helped you feel extra confident in your next cheesecake adventure! This truly is the best cheesecake recipe and will be one you make for years to come.

Craving more cheesecake? Check out my mini cheesecakes, sour cream cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake, and no bake cheesecake too!

Why You’ll Love This Homemade Cheesecake

Here are a few reasons I truly believe this is the best cheesecake recipe out there.

  • Perfect for beginners. There’s nothing complicated about this recipe, so even if you’ve never made a cheesecake before you’ll be able to follow along just fine. Plus I have lots of tips below as well.
  • Only a few ingredients. There’s just a handful of ingredients in both the crust and the filling. Most of them are pantry staples too!
  • Easy to customize. Once you have this base recipe down, you can experiment with different variations. You can also add fun toppings, like chocolate sauce or cherry pie filling.

What You’ll Need

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:

  • Graham crackers – Crushed into crumbs for the graham cracker crust.
  • Butter – Helps to hold the crust together.
  • Sugar – Used in both the crust and the cheesecake filling.
  • Salt – Balances the sweetness in the crust.
  • Cream cheese – Be sure to use full-fat cream cheese. Reduced fat does not have the same consistency and can make the filling runny.
  • Sour cream – Adds the classic cheesecake tanginess to the filling.
  • Vanilla extract – For flavor.
  • Eggs – Help to hold the cheesecake filling together.
A slice of creamy cheesecake being lifted on a spatula.

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!

  • Prepare the pan. Double wrap the bottom of your pan with foil, ensuring the layers are overlapped to prevent water from getting into the pan. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Make the crust. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and salt. Press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
  • Bake the crust. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly golden. Set aside.
  • Make the cheesecake filling. Mix the cream cheese and sugar on medium until smooth. Turn the speed to low and add the sour cream and vanilla. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the eggs one at a time, until just mixed. Pour the filling into the crust and spread evenly.
  • Add the water bath. Place the springform pan in another large pan. Fill 3/4″ inch deep with very hot water.
  • Bake. Bake the cheesecake for 60-70 minutes, until the center is almost set. Run a knife around the rim to gently loosen the cake.
  • Cool. Cool the homemade cheesecake at room temperature for an hour, then cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
  • Enjoy. Release the sides of the springform pan before slicing.

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

Intimidated by the water bath portion of this easy cheesecake recipe? Don’t be! It’s actually super simple!

  • Wrap the pan tightly with foil. 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!
  • Set the springform pan in a larger pan. Once you’ve added the cheesecake filling to the pan, you’ll want to place it in a larger pan. I use my half sheet pan but you can use any shape, as long as the spring form fits inside.
  • Add water. Pour very hot water into the larger pan. Just make sure to not pour it higher than the foil! 3/4 inch is the sweet spot for me.
Finished homemade cheesecake ready to be served.

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! It only takes a few extra minutes and ensures you have a sturdy crust that won’t get soggy.
  • Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. This includes the eggs, cream cheese, and sour cream. Room-temperature ingredients will combine much easier, which will result in a cheesecake flipping without lumps.
  • Don’t over mix your cheesecake. This is one of the most important tips for making a homemade cheesecake. Over mixing will incorporate too much air into the filling and cause it to crack as it’s baking.
  • Don’t skip the water bath. It’s not as hard as you think and it’s essential for helping your cheesecake cook evenly.
  • Don’t open the oven. Resist all temptation to open the oven before the 60 minute mark, as you want all the hot air inside to cook the cheesecake.
  • Avoid overbaking. The cheesecake should still be a bit jiggly in the center. Overbaking can cause the cheesecake to crack.
  • Don’t skimp on chill time. And don’t go straight to the fridge either. You need to let your cheesecake chill for at least an hour at room temperature before covering and refrigerating.
A close up of a slice of cheesecake being taken out of the whole cheesecake.

Homemade Cheesecake FAQs

How do I know when my cheesecake is done baking?

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.

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!

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!

Cheesecake Topping Ideas

Now, don’t get me wrong – you can enjoy this cheesecake exactly as it is. And it will be absolutely delicious! But if you want a little something extra, here are a few ideas:

  • Chocolate syrup
  • Caramel sauce
  • Fresh berries
  • Cherry pie filling
  • Fruit compote
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Peanut butter sauce
Close up of a fork cutting into a slice of cheesecake.

Proper Storage

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 Homemade 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 of layers of plastic wrap, plus a couple of 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.

More Cheesecake Recipes to Try

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Picture of a slice of homemade cheesecake

Easy Cheesecake Recipe

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

Description

This Easy Cheesecake Recipe comes out perfect every time, with a luscious, creamy filling in a graham cracker crust! Plus my tips for how to make the BEST cheesecake, even if it’s your first time.


Ingredients

Scale

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

  1. Double wrap the bottom of the springform pan with foil, sealing it tightly to prevent water from getting into the pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. In a large bowl mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter, granulated sugar, and salt together evenly.
  4. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of 9-inch springform pan.
  5. Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Set aside while you make the cheesecake filling.

Make the 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.
  3. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until mixed. Don’t over mix.
  4. Pour the filling over crust and spread evenly.
  5. 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.
  6. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until the center is almost set. The center will still jiggle while the edges will be set.
  7. Carefully run a knife around the rim of pan to loosen cake.
  8. 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.
  9. Release the sides of the springform pan before slicing.

Notes

Store airtight, refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 372
  • Sugar: 23.2 g
  • Sodium: 244.8 mg
  • Fat: 27.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 27.2 g
  • Protein: 4.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 119.1 mg

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

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460 comments on “The Best Easy Cheesecake Recipe”

  1. This is by far the best cheesecake..light, perfect everytime..
    I just put water in a pan on the bottom of the oven..works great.. Have served this with cherry filling, homemade caramel sauce and also blueberry pie filling…ty ty ty

  2. This cheesecake is easy and so so good! It’s what I make my husband every year for his birthday. It’s what I make for special occasions and some holidays. I share the recipe with people that are intimated by cheesecake recipes.

  3. i have made this cheesecake again and again and it never fails me, i love the instructions being accompanied with visuals as well as the formatting of each helpful tip. Thank you so much for posting this my boyfriend and I have never had a funner experience baking cheesecake for his mothers birthday (its sort of become an annual tradition thanks to this!)

  4. I make this all the time & have for YEARS! The best creamy cheesecake. My preference in cheesecake textures for sure.

  5. Absolutely love this recipe! How would I be able to make it a pumpkin cheesecake? I’m afraid to mess it up!

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