The Best Cheesecake Recipe

4.86 from 140 votes

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This is literally the best cheesecake recipe ever. Seven simple ingredients. No water bath. No cracking ever. It is the only recipe you’ll ever need for classic, jaw-dropping, super creamy cheesecake. Follow my directions and it is simply fail-proof!

Friends, I have tested and re-tested this amazing Cheesecake Recipe to make sure it was the absolute best and we are there! I am thrilled to be sharing this recipe with you today. Not only did I test this recipe a bunch of times, but I also had 5 devoted readers test this recipe to double down my claim that this cheesecake doesn’t crack. Y’all, their cheesecakes looked just as good as mine did with no cracks! Every.single.one looked great. The cheesecake gods are smiling down on this recipe and I hope you love it as much as we all did.

cheesecake recipe

Why do cheesecakes crack?

There are several reasons why cheesecakes can get a grand canyon-sized crack down the center but through my recipe testing and research, I’ve found the main three reasons are: air bubbles, lumps in the batter and baking and cooling. Here’s how I’ve dealt and adjusted my recipe to ensure these three things don’t cause any issues:

  • Air bubbles: when you are using a hand or stand mixer, it has a tendency to incorporate air into any batter you make, not just cheesecake. Particularly after you add in eggs. When eggs get whipped, they hold that volume. So, we want to reduce the mixing time after we add in the eggs and remove any extra air bubbles. How do we do this? Crack all four eggs into a bowl and whisk with a fork before adding them into the cheesecake batter. Then, stir in the eggs last and mix until they are just incorporated. Then before pouring the batter into the graham cracker crust, tap the bowl on the counter for 30 to 45 seconds to remove as many air bubbles as possible.
  • Lumps in the Batter: using room temperature cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream makes everything incorporate easier, thus more of a lump-free batter. Also, be diligent in scraping the sides of the bowl. You want to ensure the cheesecake batter is lump-free before adding in the eggs.
  • Baking and Cooling: baking a cheesecake in a water bath helps moderate oven temperatures not only for baking but for cooling too. Since I hate water baths and think they should go die (see next section below), I had to MacGyver this whole cheesecake recipe to ensure it was baking at a lower oven temperature for a longer period and also cooling very slowly. Once baking is finished and the oven gets turned off, you’ll notice the cheesecake still spends over an hour in the hot oven, not only to help finish baking it (called carryover cooking) but also to cool it gently and slowly. This is what gets you that beautiful, crack-free top.

Looking for even more mouth-watering desserts? See here: Actually Perfect Chocolate Chip CookiesThe Best Homemade Brownie Recipe*AMAZING* Peach CobblerEasy Cannoli RecipeThe Best Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, and Ultimate Banana Pudding Recipe.

graham cracker crust

Why Water Baths SUCK

Cheesecake is a time-consuming, somewhat expensive dessert to make. I’d hate for you to wrap your springform pan in foil only to discover you didn’t wrap it well enough and now water is seeping into your cheesecake before it even hits the oven. That has happened to me a handful of times and I MAKE FOOD FOR A LIVING. It totally sucks. It not only wasted your time but it wasted that perfectly good food!

So, don’t give in to those other online recipes that call for water baths. Me and my five recipe-testing readers proved otherwise. You can do better.

Cheesecake Ingredients

Like I mentioned above, you only need SEVEN simple ingredients for this recipe. Only 7! This is a classic cheesecake recipe, so really it’s all about using the best ingredients and enjoying the simplicity of this thick, extra creamy cheesecake.

  • Graham Cracker Crumbs: Honeymaid is my favorite, but any brand is fine. You can grind your own or buy them as crumbs.
  • Granulated Sugar: to sweeten the crust and the filling.
  • Melted Butter: to hold the graham cracker crust together.
  • Cream Cheese: I like using the Philadelphia brand; I think it’s slightly tangier than other off-brands out there. Make sure you are using room temperature, soft cream cheese.
  • Sour Cream: adds an extra tang. This also needs to be at room temperature.
  • Vanilla Extract: for flavor since this is a classic cheesecake.
  • Eggs: needed for structure. Absolutely have these at room temperature and beat together before adding in.

cheesecake filling

How to make cheesecake

If you want to make sure your cheesecake doesn’t crack, please please please follow these directions as carefully as possible. Don’t be all Suzy-Homemaker thinking you can change this recipe however you like and still have it come out perfectly. I mean, maybe it will but I have tested this recipe as written so you can have success with this recipe as written. All the specific directions for this cheesecake recipe are in the recipe card below.

  1. Start by making the graham cracker crust: stir graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter together and press into a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 7 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Set aside to cool.
  2. Make the cheesecake filling by stirring the very soft cream cheese together with the granulated sugar. Stir in the vanilla and sour cream. Scrape the sides really really well and stir again to ensure there are no lumps.
  3. Whisk eggs together in a separate bowl and slowly add to the cheesecake filling with the mixer on. Once eggs are incorporated turn mixer off. Scrape the sides really well to ensure a very smooth batter. If there are lumps, stir them in by hand.
  4. Tap bowl on the counter for 30-45 seconds to remove air bubbles.
  5. Pour batter into graham cracker crust, smooth the top and bake.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees, reduce heat to 250 to finish cooking.
  7. Let cheesecake sit in the hot oven with the oven closed for 30 minutes before cracking the door and letting it continue cooling for another hour.
  8. Remove from oven and bring cheesecake to room temperature.
  9. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled. Serve.

classic cheesecake recipe

Do I have to use a Springform pan?

The best baking pan for this cheesecake recipe is a 9-inch springform pan and don’t have a suggestion for an optional pan to use instead. You can definitely put this into a 10-incher, but definitely won’t fit into an 8.

Also, I know you can buy larger 9″x 3″ cake pans without the springform option, but just don’t see any good way to remove the whole cheesecake without ruining it. Moral of the story? Splurge and get the springform pan. Or find a friend and borrow one.

cheesecake recipe

Tasty Cheesecake Toppings

Since this is a very basic, beautiful, and delicious cheesecake recipe, try to find delicious toppings that will help enhance the flavor. Here are a few classic ideas:

  • cherry pie filling
  • fresh strawberries or raspberries
  • strawberry or raspberry sauce
  • chocolate shavings
  • chocolate sauce
  • whipped cream
  • lemon curd
  • chocolate ganache
  • salted caramel sauce

and for more ideas be sure to check out all of my other cheesecake recipes here!

cheesecake recipe

Can you freeze cheesecake?

Yes, you absolutely can! If you are a kitchen expert, you’ll know cream cheese by itself doesn’t freeze well but baked it does! Cheesecake is a perfect candidate for freezing! First, un-mold cheesecake from the springform pan. Place into the freezer uncovered for about 4 hours or until its mostly solid. Remove springform bottom and wrap the cheesecake well in two layers of plastic wrap or aluminum foil. It will stay good for up to 3 months in the freezer.

To defrost, simply unwrap and transfer to a plate. Cover gently with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge to defrost. Once defrosted, cut into slices and serve.

NY Cheesecake Recipe

Looking for a different type of cake? Here are some:

 

4.86 from 140 votes

*THE BEST* Cheesecake Recipe

This is literally the best cheesecake recipe ever. Seven simple ingredients. No water bath. No cracking ever. It is the only recipe you'll ever need for classic, jaw-dropping, super creamy cheesecake. Follow my directions and it is simply fail proof!
servings 12 servings
Prep Time 9 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 10 hrs 45 mins

Ingredients

For the Graham Cracker Crust:

For the Cheesecake Filling:

  • 40 ounces cream cheese at room temperature (5-8 oz. packages; 2 1/2 lbs total)
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • any desired cheesecake toppings

Equipment

  • 9" Springform Pan

Instructions

  • Place oven racks in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium sized bowl, stir graham cracker crumbs together with sugar and melted butter until well incorporated and mixture looks like damp sand. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, press crust into the bottom and half way up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 7 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  • In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix cream cheese 30 seconds 'til smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and add in granulated sugar, sour cream and vanilla. Mix again until incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again briefly.
  • Crack eggs into a liquid measuring cup and using a fork, beat until well scrambled. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the eggs into the cream cheese mixture and stop stirring once egg has been incorporated. Remove bowl from mixer and scrape the sides and bottom again, ensuring the entire mixture is smooth. If there are a few small lumps, try to fold in using the rubber scraper.
  • Once the batter is completely smooth and ready, tap the bowl on the counter for 30-45 seconds to remove as many air bubbles as possible. You should see them popping on the surface as you tap the bowl. Pour filling into the center of the graham cracker crust and gently smooth the top. Will be very full!
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Reduce temperature to 250 degrees and continue cooking for 45 minutes more. Once this time has elapsed, turn oven off and keep cheesecake inside for another 30 minutes for some carryover cooking without opening the oven door. Crack oven door to let cheesecake cool slowly for one hour before removing. At this point, cheesecake should be slightly warm. Bring cheesecake to room temperature on the counter (3-4 hours) before covering with plastic wrap and transferring to the fridge.
  • Refrigerate until chilled completely (6 hours to overnight). To serve, open springform pan and remove collar. Decorate as desired. 
    Dip a sharp knife into hot water, wipe off any excess water and slice. I like to dip my knife in water between each slice to get really clean-looking pieces.

Notes

If you would like a thicker graham cracker crust, use 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs, 5 tablespoons granulated sugar and 6 tablespoons melted butter. Press into the pan and bake for 8 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 573kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 194mg | Sodium: 469mg | Potassium: 192mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 1606IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert, Desserts
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cheesecake, Cheesecake Recipe, classic cheesecake, NY Style
Polaroid photo of granola bars

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Recipe Rating




285 Responses
  1. Barbara A McGee

    5 stars
    I have been following the same recipe for cheesecake for over twenty years. Yesterday I threw out the card! I always heard the term “melt in your mouth” but it hasn’t happened to me until I took my first bite of this cheesecake. I actually moaned! The very first time I didn’t have to fill in the crater in my cheesecake. I started a little late at night and had to stay up, but it was so worth following the recipe exactly.

  2. Lisa J

    5 stars
    This was such an easy recipe. I have never made cheesecake before but this was so delicious and no cracks! Thank you!!!

  3. Karla Solis

    5 stars
    Hands down THE BEST cheesecake ever!!!
    I am a HUGE fan of cheesecake and love tasting new flavors and different brands but had never made one before. I decided to make it 2 days ago and didn’t read the instructins carefully so I didn’t know that it would take so long to finally be ready, but it was so worth it! Everone in my family loved it, and I will definitely be making it again.

  4. Marie Feller

    4 stars
    Made the cheese cake as directed. I put the Graham cracker crust in the the oven once prepared. Set the timer and when I pulled the pan out there was butter all over the mat I had in the mat in the oven for food to drip on. Luckily only a small amount actually burned onto the oven itself. I have made many cheese cakes and have never had this happen before. After cleaning that mess up, I made the filling and everything went well there. No cracks in the cheese cake. The cheese cake looked nice. We went to eat it the next day and the crust was mushy. The cheesecake was lacking flavor. I had some strawberry’s from my garden that was frozen so I unthawed them and put them on top. I may try this recipe again. I’m not sure what happened with the crust.

  5. Diane White

    5 stars
    Made this for Easter and the only issue I had was the butter in my crust all melted out of the bottom of my springform pan. I have a feeling my son monkeyed with the pan beforehand. Otherwise, I halved all of the ingredients and used a 6″ springform pan. I did make a few flavor modifications, using Girl Scout Lemon Ups cookies for the crust, adding 1/2 c. prepared lemon curd to the filling, along with the zest of half of a lemon, and used Princess emulsion instead of vanilla extract. The flavor and texture were spot on perfect. As a pastry chef, I’m always looking to test new recipes and this is one I’ll keep using.

  6. Diane M Fletcher

    5 stars
    Never made a cheese cake before I followed this to the tee. I have never seen one this nice at the store. It is perfect. Thank You.

  7. DeAndra

    Hello Lauren
    What is the best way to transfer cheesecake from springform to cake board. I need to transport to a friend. Also do you have a recipe to add cherries etc.

  8. Sherry

    Hello, I am really excited to try this! I was wondering if I could use sugar substitutes instead of sugar. This will be my first cheesecake. Thank you 🙂

  9. Nicolette Adran

    Question: When you place the gram cracker crust in the pan do you coat the pan with any butter or just put the crust mixture on a clean pan directly?

  10. Sharon

    5 stars
    Made this cheesecake for my family and it was absolutely wonderful…it even looked like yours and that’s a plus for me.😊 I only had a 9 1/2 inch springform pan so I had to decrease my time a little bit. Used vanilla wafers for the crust. This will always be my cheesecake recipe. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  11. Janice Coker

    5 stars
    I’ve never been able to make a cheesecake that didn’t crack. This one looks PERFECT! Haven’t tried it yet, made it for my sons birthday which is tomorrow. But my kitchen smelled great all day. Your instructions were perfect and easy to follow. Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to explore your other recipes! I will follow up with a taste review!

  12. Jenna R

    4 stars
    Gave this a shot today and have a HUGE crack in the cheesecake (still smells divine so it will NOT stop me from devouring). Everything else was incredibly easy to follow and it looked beautiful when I went to crack the oven for the last hour. Think the crack might have been too big, causing it to cool too quickly. Any idea how much you “crack” your oven? Mine had to be open about 4-5 inches as I have a self-close oven door. Would love thoughts!

  13. Marcy Barron Romano

    5 stars
    This by far has to be the “best” cheesecake ever! My daughter Melanie spent nearly a half day to prepare this amazing dessert. She topped it off with homemade whipped cream and it was insane!

  14. Judy Stocker

    5 stars
    I’m 66 and have probably made cheesecake 3 times in my life. Well, that just changed. I’ll be making this over and over! Who knew cheesecake could be so easy and so perfect? I followed the directions exactly and wouldn’t change a thing. I made both a mixed berry topping and a blueberry topping. I’ll try a strawberry topping next time. Thank you so much for a fantastic recipe!

  15. Teri

    5 stars
    Made this for a dinner party, half way through I realized that it needs to sit for 4 hours plus, time I did not have 🤨.
    I baked as directed but did not have time to let rest at room temperature, I took it out of the off oven placed into the freezer for about 30 min then transferred to refrigerator back and forth for almost 2 hours. I was worried to release it from the springform pan thinking it would be running inside and prepared to serve strawberries but it was perfect! Great recipe.. thank you !

  16. Sam

    5 stars
    I haven’t gotten to eat my cheesecake yet, as it’s still in its cooling stage in the fridge, but I can tell by the looks of it, it’s going to be delicious. 😋 This was my first cheesecake and I didn’t have a mixer, so I had to do it by hand- which is fine, except I couldn’t get all of the lumps out (which was probably my fault for not letting the cream cheese reach actual room temperature). But no cracks, looks spectacular, and I’m so excited to try it!

    My only “issue” is that I used a 10” pan instead of a 9”, and I’m a crust person, and there definitely wasn’t enough graham cracker crust for my liking. So, next time, I’ll just make a generous amount of it and discard what I don’t use (high probably won’t be much at all lol).

    Thank you! I’ll be making this again, for sure.

  17. Anna

    5 stars
    This is an amazing! I cut my filling in half because I did not have enough cream cheese. I did the same cook time and the same crust thickness. It is so good!

  18. Sonal

    5 stars
    Thank you Lauren!
    The cheesecake came out so well. It was my first time baking it. And was awesome. Thank you for the simplified recipe😊

  19. TP

    I love the recipe. It turned out so well. Is there any way to tweak this recipe to turn it into a chocolate cheesecake? Or so you have a recipe for a chocolate cheesecake? Thank you so much for all of your great recipes.

  20. Laurel Hinshaw

    5 stars
    I made this cheesecake for my dad over the weekend as he has been sick and requested a cheesecake. I have an old family cheesecake recipe but wanted to try something different and chose this recipe. Even though it did develop a crack in the middle of the cake about two inches long, it is the BEST cheesecake recipe I have ever tasted. It is definitely going to become my new family favorite cheesecake recipe.

  21. Stephanie

    5 stars
    This is absolutely AMAZING! My first cheesecake attempt and nothing about it disappointed! I am eager to try it again. I’d love to do it with a chocolate flavor if you have a recipe for that…

    Also, my mom LOVED this, she picked up a slice “curbside” during quarantine. I’d like to make her a small one for mother’s day. I have 4″ spring form that think would be a great size for her. Any ideas on cook times for that size?

    Thank you!

  22. Jennifer Little

    Hi! This cheesecake looks amazing! My husband wants a blueberry swirl cheesecake for his birthday. Do you think swirling blueberry compote/sauce into the batter on the top would mess it up? Would it still bake correctly?

    1. Lauren

      I’ve never tested this recipe with any extra add-ins so I don’t know if it would work. But you are welcome to try! I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, but who knows.

  23. DeeAnn Jones

    5 stars
    I’ve made this multiple times already and it’s turned out perfect every time. I’m making it today for my mom for Mother’s Day. Haven’t had a crack in one yet and tastes super professional like you paid $30+ for it.

  24. Alex

    5 stars
    Lauren, this is awesome receipe! I am on my second time following this receipe and I’m running short on chill time. I will only have time to chill it for about 3 hours. Do you think it will turn out okay? Should I put it in the freezer for a bit? Or do you think I should cut down on the counter cooling time?

  25. Missy

    5 stars
    I never leave comments but I had to jump on and say thank you!! This was amazing. We will never buy a cheesecake again.

  26. Kyle

    5 stars
    I’ve messed up plenty of cheesecakes in my day and I’m assuming this one is idiot proof because I’ve made it twice now without any cracks and it got rave reviews from my family. It’s so creamy and silky that I found myself taking thin slivers off it with my fork because I wanted the experience to last. Only change I made was baking the crust for 10 minutes instead of 7.

  27. Josselyn Jimenez

    5 stars
    OMG!! I did it and it is the most amazing cheesecake I ever ate. I followed the recipe exactly with all the suggestions and it didn’t crack. Its so creamy and smooth!! I am super happy. I didn’t have a springfoam pan so instead used a 9” cake pan and after leaving the cheesecake overnight in the fridge turned it over on a flat surface plate, gave a couple of hits to the pan to loose the cheesecake and came out in one piece. P

  28. Kiki

    5 stars
    I never leave comments on recipes, but I made this for Mother’s Day weekend and it was delicious! Loved that it was very easy to follow, there was no water bath needed, and it came out so great! Thank you for this awesome recipe. It will be me forever go to cheesecake recipe from now on!!

  29. Rafael

    5 stars
    Wonderful recipe my family loves it and now I’m some sort of cheesecake master. Thank you for the recipe. One question if I wanted to make mini versions from the batter in a 4 inch cake would the bake time still be the same. Once again wonderful recipe and thanks.

    1. Lauren

      Yes, you definitely wouldn’t have to bake these as long, but I’ve never tested it so I don’t have any times for you. If I were to guess, I might try halving all the times and see where that gets ya. But again, I’ve never tested this, so you are kind of going in blind!

  30. Cristina

    5 stars
    BEST cheesecake ever! This is my secret recipe for cheesecakes from now on! It’s thick and creamy and the method of using no water bath is fantastic and works! Only question is my crust didn’t come out too thick and it stuck to the pan I did put PAM baking spray so it wouldn’t stick…any suggestions?

    1. Lauren

      The pam probably made the crumbs stick because it made them wet. I’d recommend using the thicker crust amounts listed in the recipe notes and *not* spraying with pam next time! There’s enough butter in the crust to keep it from sticking.

    1. Lauren

      What kind of oven do you have? Gas? Electric? Convection? Also where do you live? Are you high altitude? What brand of cream cheese did you use?

  31. GeeGee

    5 stars
    This recipe is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. If you follow Lauren’s instructions exactly, you’ll have a perfect, no cracks cheesecake. If you’re a Suzy homemaker and want to add/deduct ingredients, this isn’t the recipe for you. Thank you Lauren!!

  32. Kara Branz

    5 stars
    This was my first attempt at a cheesecake. I followed this recipe exactly. It was AMAZING! Restaurant quality!

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