The Best Cheesecake Recipe

4.85 from 157 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:

 

4.85 from 157 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




320 Responses
  1. Karen P.

    5 stars
    Okay! When Lauren said this was the best, she is CORRECT!!!! No cracks, creamy and smooth! I made it with a chocolate cookie crust, topped with fresh raspberries. This is truly THE BEST CHEESECAKE!!!! Thank you Lauren! I’ve started following you and can’t wait to try more recipes!

  2. Deanna

    The flavor is great. But mine cracked right down the center, I don’t know what i did wrong, followed the recipe to a T…

    1. Lauren

      What kind of oven do you have? Convection, gas, electric? Where in the oven did you put your cheesecake? Lower rack? Upper rack?

  3. Lydia Tetzlaff

    5 stars
    Yummmmm!!!!! I followed the directions exactly, and this is amazing! So simple, and so rich. I mad a blueberry compote and some homemade fudge sauce for folks who wanted to dress it up a bit, but it is great all alone.

  4. Sheryl

    I would like to make this recipe and bake in individual 3.4 ounce bake cups.
    How long would you recommend baking?

  5. Rebecca DeRienzo

    Trying this for the first time, but I need to make two cheescakes! I have a 9″ and a 10″ springform pans. Any idea how to increase the recipe for the 10″ pan and how to adjust the baking time? Thank you!

  6. Caroline

    I’m excited about my first cheesecake especially after reading all the reviews. It’s in the oven. My only concern is cook time. So many things need a shorter bake time in my oven. Idk if it’s altitude or what. I just don’t want it to overbake.

    1. Lauren

      Hi Shay, can you answer a few questions for me? I’m trying to figure this out too! What kind of oven do you have? Gas? Electric? What brand of cream cheese did you use? Did you have any lumps in the batter? What rack in the oven did you bake it on? Did you open the oven door at all while baking? Are you at high altitude?

  7. Angela W

    5 stars
    This recipe is absolute perfection! Take the time to bake this cheesecake—you will NOT be disappointed. I took mine to a family gathering and everyone licked their plates. Thank you so much!

    1. Lauren

      Hi Angel, I’m so sorry that’s what happened! Let me try to help you troubleshoot: What kind of oven do you have? Gas? Electric? Convection? Where in the oven did you bake the cheesecake? Lower rack? Middle rack? Did you open the oven at all while baking? Also where do you live? Are you high altitude? What brand of cream cheese did you use?

  8. Kathy

    5 stars
    Lauren, this recipe is absolutely perfect. I have made it twice and followed your directions precisely. I thought I was just lucky the first time — but twice!! I am ecstatic to not see any cracks when complete. I got bold and added the zest of one lemon the second time. Thank you for sharing with all the details and tips. My husband and family also send their compliments. This is a very rich cheesecake and meant to be shared. Love the wow’s and the smiles!

  9. Kris

    5 stars
    This is the first cheesecake I have ever made and it was a total hit with my family. So much so, it was just requested from my husband for Father’s day!! Love this recipe!!!

  10. Kris

    5 stars
    This is the first cheesecake I have ever made and it was a total hit with my family. So much so, it was just requested from my husband for Father’s day!! Love this recipe!!!

  11. Beth Clancy

    5 stars
    This recipe came out perfectly. I, too, dislike having to use a water bath. I think that, even if the springform pan is well-wrapped with foil, condensation occurs and can make the crust a bit soggy. I’ve done the pan within a pan technique and that does work well, but it still requires that you play around with boiling water. This is so much easier … and it’s the prettiest cheesecake that I’ve ever made. Thank-you!

  12. Lesley

    5 stars
    I’ve made a few cheesecakes in my life but this is hands down the best recipe ever. It’s time consuming but otherwise very simple and easy. Thick, moist, delicious. I will never make any other cheesecake ever again. I often don’t leave recipe reviews, but this was too good not to. 💯👏🏼🙌🏻🙌🏻

  13. Andrea

    5 stars
    I have had the pleasure of making this twice now,, following the recipe completely. It is amazing! Ive made a ton of different cheesecakes over the decades, and this is by far the very best. The low and slow method, 7 simple ingredients, etc. It all works in harmony!! Thank you so much for doing the work in the lab, and sharing with the world!

  14. Wanda

    5 stars
    Best cheesecake ever! Five star restaurant quality. I follolwed the directions to the letter — zero cracks, super creamy, and delicious! As good, if not better, than the Cheesecake Factory!

  15. Santasha

    5 stars
    Definitely the best cheesecake recipe ever. I’ve made it twice now, perfect both times and a hit both times. Creamy not to heavy, no cracks and so easy to follow. Love love loved it.

  16. Amy

    I haven’t tasted it yet but… When I finished the baking time on 250 it was still VERY runny in the center. Should I have taken it out then? I thought perhaps my oven temp was off because there was absolutely no color at all (slightly golden edge?) and it was still very runny. So i increased the temp slightly and cooked it a bit longer. Of course it cracked 🙁 should it have been removed like it was? I kinda suck at this lol

  17. Beth

    5 stars
    Truly delicious cheesecakeand not a complicated recipe at all. This is now my go to recipe for cheesecake. Thanks Lauren!

  18. donna m.

    5 stars
    I chose Lauren’s cheesecake recipe because of all the high praise in the comments as well as NO WATER BATH! But I had only made one attempt at a cheesecake previously and the cracked result and bland flavor broke my spirit. Well, I’m back!

    I followed the instructions step by step and can’t believe the perfect result I got. I would’ve sworn it was a professionally made dessert if I hadn’t made it myself. I had one small, happy accident. I misread the granulated sugar amount as 1.5 cups instead of 1.25 and I worried that the final result might be too sweet. Not at all! I think I’ll make it with 1.5 cups of sugar going forward. Lauren, I can’t thank you enough for such a perfect recipe!

  19. Jenn

    I would like to try this recipe but wanted to incorporate a coconut cake layer in the middle.. how would you recommend doing so? Thanks in advance.

  20. Gina Damon

    5 stars
    This was a wonderful cheesecake. I made two slight alterations that I wanted to share. First I used the zest from one lemon and two tablespoons of lemon juice from the lemon. It brightened the flavor amazingly and did not change the cooking time or the texture, the little bit of extra moisture did not affect the baking at all. I’ve tried this twice, two weeks in a row with the same outcome, pure perfection. The second thing I did was instead of graham cracker I used crushed Ginger Snaps, I’ve doubled the crust because my family loves crust but I used the same ratios that were listed in your recipe, and they played off the lemon flavor so well. It was probably the best cheesecake I’ve ever made I’ve been making cheesecakes for 30 years. this is now my only cheese cake recipe.

    1. Lauren

      If you use the recipe card, there’s a function to cut the recipe in half. And yes, you can still use an 8″ pan, it’ll just be short.

  21. Al

    5 stars
    This recipe is great. Easy to understand. I am current at the part where the oven is turned off and the cheesecake is in there a half hour before I crack the oven door. So far though……..FREAKING AWESOME!!!!

    1. Lauren

      I’m experimenting with the oreos right now…I’ve gotten cracks! So, it will taste delicious, but I worry that you may get cracks.

  22. Kiara

    4 stars
    Loved the recipe everything was wonderful about it the only let down is that my cheesecake did have a massive crack right down the middle however I blame that on being my first time baking a cheesecake. Does anyone who has experience making cheesecakes have any advice for me in order to avoid the cracks next time? It would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Lauren

      I’m so sorry yours ended up with a crack! Can you double check the recipe and make sure you followed the steps exactly? Also, what kind of oven do you have? Gas, electric, convection? Are you at high elevation? Where in the oven did you bake your cheesecake? Did it come out of the oven with a crack or after cooling on the counter did it get a crack? What brand of cream cheese did you use?

  23. Rachael

    5 stars
    Hi Lauren

    I love your recipes and this one is no exception. Only thing for me was removing it from the base of the springform pan as I wanted to put it on a plate for my guests.

    Do you just grease it or do you use baking paper!

    Thanks again

    Rachael

  24. Faria Arshad

    Hi lauren! thank you for the recipe. Did you remove the cheesecake from oven when switched temperature from 325 to 250?

  25. Michael Mesenbourg

    5 stars
    I rarely rate and comment on recipes or really anything. So that alone should tell you how much I love this recipe. I’ve been making cheesecakes for quite sometime now and have never come across a recipe that is so flawless in its final state and consistently. First time I made it I didnt read through the cooking process. I was making one for the next day and I wanted to get it done so I started at about 11pm (oops). Little did I know that it would be about 130 am when I finally wrapped it up but it was well worth the time. Now I just make sure I have the time set aside to make it, even if that happens to be at 11 at night.

  26. Amber Hawk

    5 stars
    I’ve made 7 of these now in the last few months. People love them and I find they make great birthday presents. This recipe is so easy and delicious. The only thing I changed is i cook it for a couple minutes longer. Thank you for the easy step by step instructions. I’ve never been a baker and now I don’t even need to look at the recipe anymore. Thank you 💗👍

  27. sue

    5 stars
    I must say the perfect cheese cake no cracks I made mine with 1/3 less fat cream cheese. Trivia sugar I only used 1 cup for filling i used 2 cups of graham cracers (I love a good thick crust) I used margarine not butter i followed steps left everything out to get to room temp , I beat my eggs separately i even used a light sour cream and not one crack I i tapped the pan and yes I saw some tiny bubbles pop, wish I could share a picture im impressed havent had a piece yet since I made for my daughter for her birthday tedious but easy

  28. Trixie

    I would love to make this cheesecake, but a smaller one and in grams and dl measures! Can someone please translate??

  29. Kathy

    This is the first time I have ever made cheesecake and it was very easy. I do have a couple of questions. A gooey thick dark material ended up on the bottom of my oven and although there was no crack in the cake, my cheesecake sunk about 1 inch from the edge. I used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and trivia instead of regular sugar. Could this have resulted in my issues? It tastes great.

  30. Jessica

    5 stars
    This was my first time attempting a cheesecake. The recipe & instructions were perfection. This was one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever eaten & it was photo worthy.

  31. Gael Allegra

    4 stars
    I followed this recipe exactly and it had the biggest cracks in the top that I have ever had in any cheesecake I have ever made. And those recipes were also with no water bath. I have really deep 3/4 inch deep craters going all the way across the cake. So I don’t understand how this happened. It is still cooling, so it may still taste delicious, but it is not attractive. I do plan to cover it with cherry topping, so it will work. I live in Utah where it is very dry and so that may be a factor. But I have not had the large cracks when making cheesecake in the past. I do love how tall it got. It initially looked great. It looked fine for the first 2 cooking stages at the 2 temperatures , but it got the cracks while sitting in the oven for the 30 minutes with the heat shut off. I did not open the oven until you are supposed to crack it for the last 1 hour of cooling in the oven. Does anyone have any words of wisdom? I tried to send a picture but could not figure out how to attach it.

  32. Stephanie Bates

    5 stars
    Seriously insanely SPECTACULAR!!! Followed the recipe exactly and it is the most velvety, scrumptious cheesecake I have EVER had. It was so incredibly easy and what I consider fool proof. Throwing out all of my other cheesecake recipes.

  33. Lillian Albertz

    Hi! Making this recipe today for my husband’s birthday…do you know if I leave out 1/4 cup of sugar if it will cook differently or just allow for it to be more tart?

    Also, I’m cooking in higher altitude…would it make a difference if I put a pan with water in the oven (but not water bath)?

    Thanks!

    1. Lauren

      I haven’t tried it with any other measurements other than the ones as written in the recipe card so I can’t say whether or not it will be ok. My guess is the cheesecake would be ok, but it might crack. Higher altitude should not affect this recipe.

  34. Susan Scott

    I have a question? I live in Alburquerque ,at a high altitude. Do I need to bake this cheesecake in a water bath ?? Thank you, Susan

  35. Zazzy

    3 stars
    Tried this recipe exactly and there there was a BIG crack at the center of the cheesecake. Had to cover it with topping anyway, which I wasn’t planning. It’s cheesecake, so it was delicious, but the crack was disappointing.

  36. Sarah K

    5 stars
    We made the cheesecake yesterday and tried it today. It was so easy. Came out perfect and had great flavor! No crack! Smooth as silk on top. Next time I will increase the crust a bit.

  37. LE

    I love cheesecake! I love when the cheesecake is cracked. It gives it a rough look to it! 🙂 It is so yummy. I can’t wait to try this recipe. 🙂

  38. Allison Joe

    Hello,
    This cheesecake recipe sounds delicious and I’m planning to make it soon. Will you please advise a advised baking time using a 10″ spring form pan (all I have now).
    Thank you,
    Allison

  39. Daryl

    5 stars
    I totally agree. The BEST cheesecake!!!! I was not a fan of cheesecake. Every cheesecake I ever ate was always way too dry. and heavy. Even the famous Cheesecake Factory cheesecake was never a hit with me. I was skeptical when I see “Best” of anything. But I am glad I gave your recipe a chance. Well, I couldn’t stop eating it. It is the BEST!!! Thank you for all the tips and information on how to make it.

  40. Tess

    Hey Lauren,
    I made the recipe exactly as stated (baking times included) and j got a big ole crack down the middle 😩 what did i do wrong? I have noted our over does cook a bit on the quicker side (it’s a wolf all gas stove, so gas oven). Could that have been why?

    1. Lauren

      Possibly? Is it a wall oven or a duel fuel one in a range? Convection? Where in the oven did you have it baking? What stage did you notice the crack? Since you notice your oven tends to cook food on the quicker side, I would guess its convection. I’m SO sorry you had a crack!

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