The Best Cheesecake Recipe

4.86 from 155 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 155 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




312 Responses
  1. Scott weber

    5 stars
    Okay I’ve made many cheesecakes over the years and this recipe I made with my three-year-old grandson.i had pulled up a bunch of pictures of cheesecakes on my phone,and had him pick one. He pointed to this one and said “this one Papa “. So we made it ! will have to say it is the best ,the perfect best cheesecake I have ever had or made and now every time I make this I’m going to think of my grandson Theo ! So thank you Lauren.
    PS
    Matter of fact I’m making the cheesecake right now again while I’m texting this 5-star review.

  2. lolita lacuesta

    5 stars
    I want to try your recipe, Lauren. But, I note there is no preparation done to the springform pan. No buttering and flouring? Thank you,

  3. Jeff

    5 stars
    Absolutely the best cheesecake recipe ever. Turns out picture perfect every time. And tastes so good I didn’t even share the first time. Thank you for the great recipe.

  4. Daniela

    I know this might be a stupid question but I always have a hard time transferring the cheesecake from springpan to other serving plate without crumbling the crust and making a mess. Any idea on what’s I’m doing wrong? Thanks

  5. Debbie

    Having baked in restaurants and bakeries all of my adult life, I make over 30 kinds of cheesecakes, this recipe intrigued me. My grandson is throwing a party tomorrow and I made this for him. It’s now in the stage of having the oven door cracked to let it cool slowly for an hour. Looks kind of jiggly in the middle but, hey, it’s still going to be in the oven for another hour. I’m optimistic about this. Smells great. Before I washed the bowl I admit, I licked some off of my finger. Yummm

  6. Patty Cascisa

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe for cheesecake.
    My daughter and I made 2 this morning and we were thrilled to see how beautiful the cakes came out of the oven . Neither one had a single crack or blemish on the surface. They were perfect!
    I was so excited over your recipe that I sent it to my sister-in-law along with a picture so that the next time she makes a cheesecake she can avoid all the unnecessary steps that are found in most recipes.
    GREAT RECIPE!!!
    Thanks again for sharing

  7. Zada

    5 stars
    Made it in the morning to enjoy in the evening. Made a little raspberry sauce for just a drizzle on top. A rare silence at the dessert table. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Rebecca

    5 stars
    My family goes crazy over this recipe! Each time I make it (a lot!) they say it’s the best I ever made! However, we have a large family and there are times I wish the recipe could be made a little bigger. I have a 10” pan … is there a formula where I could increase the ingredients to fill up the pan w/o changing the perfect taste of this one? Thanks for reading!

  9. AJANTHI

    Silly question to ask? But how dark should cheesecake be after baked in oven? Thinking maybe my temperature might of been up too high 😬

    1. Lauren

      It isn’t supposed to get any color. Where in the oven did you cook it? If it was closer to the top, it will have a tendency to darken much quicker.

  10. Jenafer

    5 stars
    I made this substituting with dairy free and gluten free ingredients and it came out fantastic!! Thank you so much for a great recipe!! 🙂

  11. Cindy Muschany

    Lauren, I will be making this as the bottom layer of a two layer wedding cheesecake for my son and his fiance. This can be made in a 10″ springform pan, correct? Will any of the cooking times need to be changed? I am excited and thank you for the recipe.

    Cindy

  12. Dezria

    5 stars
    Let me first say, I have made other cheesecakes. But as the title of this recipe suggests…THIS
    WAS THE BEST CHEESECAKE I EVER HAD. I used crushed Oreos and Chips Ahoy for the crust and the topping. I’m gonna end up eating this whole thing by myself. So super silky and fluffy. Thank you.

  13. Yvette

    I absolutely adore this recipie. If I were to add peanut butter and crushed up chocolate bar pieces after the addition of the eggs would I get the same results?

  14. Sue M

    5 stars
    I made this last week for my mothers birthday. I followed the recipe and it was the best cheesecake I have ever made! Very delicious and easy.

  15. Jackie

    5 stars
    I made this for my daughters boyfriends birthday celebration. I followed the directions exactly and it was bar none the best cheesecake any of us has ever had. I highly recommend this recipe. It’s worth every step in the process

  16. Patti Williams

    I would like to use this recipe to make mini cheesecakes in my cupcake pan.I need to make 24.Should I double the recipe? Do you think this recipe would work for the minis?

  17. Clifton

    5 stars
    This is my favorite cheesecake recipe, hands down! The only addition I make is adding a bag of melted white chocolate chips to the batter.

    1. Lauren

      As in the kind already pressed in the pie shell? If it is the kind in the pie shell, the filling would be way too much for that. You definitely need a high-sided springform pan for this cheesecake!

  18. Angela Gibson

    5 stars
    This is the most amazing cheesecake I’ve ever made. Thanks so much for the recipe. I’ve been using the recipe for about 6 months now, and I’ve done a couple variations and they are amazing as well. If you love Oreo you can make an Oreo crust and swirl some ground Oreo once you pour the cheesecake in the pan. For a keto friendly version I make a nut crust (walnut or pecan or a combo of both) and I use monk fruit as the sweetener.

    1. Lauren

      Hi Autumn, I’m so sorry this recipe didn’t work for you! Where do you live and what kind of oven do you have? I’m hoping to troubleshoot this recipe with you to see if we can make some adjustments and get you a crack-free, fully cooked cheesecake!

  19. Sarah

    5 stars
    This is a great recipe! The tip on incorporating the eggs, made a big difference, Ill be honest though, i added another egg and still used the bath, i just wasn’t brave enough risk burning the bottom, I’ve always used baths and not once have i had a problem . Overall, great recipe. Thank you!

  20. Melody Weier

    Lauren, I love this recipe. It’s the best cheesecake I’ve ever had. Having said that I have been asked by a friend to make this for her wedding cake. I need to make a 10 in 9 inch and 7 inch. Any suggestions on altering measurements for different sizes?

    1. Lauren

      Hmm….not really! Ha! Obviously the baking times will vary quite a bit based on the pans you are cooking them in. The 10-inch being taking the longest time in oven to bake. You might just have to do some experimenting 🙂 The 7-incher will probably be fine using the same baking times. The 9 and 10-inch pans will need probably 20-30 more minutes baking (but these are just guesses, so you’ll have to try these out!)

  21. Eliza

    Well, I am in the one hour phase of the oven off. The top of the cake is smooth, but very pale in color. I have made many cheesecakes over the years, and none have been this intense with the time management. This better be the best cheesecake I have ever had, because it has taken 4 times the amount of effort as any other! Will report back tomorrow; after it has sat out for multiple hours before going in the refrigerator to chill.

  22. Roxy Gonzalez

    5 stars
    I wish I could post a picture of how mine came out. Can we say, PERFECTION?! No cracks at all! It was a huge hit with my family and before they even finished they asked me to make this another one for next weekend! ‘Twas sublime!

  23. Eliza

    3 stars
    Beautiful top and crust (I added a little cinnamon to the crumb mixture). However, it is the most time consuming cheesecake I have ever made. The taste was not out of the world, just somewhere in the middle. What I gauge the perfection of a cheesecake on is the mouthfeel and the resistance you get from the fork after placing a bite in your mouth and pulling the fork out of your mouth. The more resistance, the higher the quality of the cheesecake (at least, this is what a French chef told me). This cake again came in right in the middle, meaning it was not like a cheesecake with gelatin (fluffy) or a high quality one (slow fork resistance). This may not be important to some of you, but it is how I judge a cheesecake. Enjoy!

  24. Tracy A. C. From Iowa

    5 stars
    Hi I love this recipe!! Made September 13, 2020 for my guy’s birthday! SO TASTY!!! EACH DAY ( 3days max) the cheesecake flavor and richness increased! Right now I am patiently waiting on a cheesecake in my oven. This time I used plain Oreo crust, added coco power to filling, thin layer of chocolate buttercream on top of cooled cake and crushed Oreo on top before serving! Yummy!

  25. Shelley munger

    5 stars
    This is as good as it claims to be. Comes out absolutely perfect. Not too sweet, smooth and creamy with no cracks. Love it

  26. dominique lee

    i am a really strong baker and my sister just asked me to make her a cake with one layer red velvet one layer strawberry and one layer cheesecake. i was wondering if you know if this cheesecake could be used in the recipe without the crust. just the cake without the crust. will it fall apart?

    1. Lauren

      I would use the cheesecake recipe from this post: https://laurenslatest.com/pumpkin-cheesecake-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting/ . It is exactly what you’re looking for.

  27. Paula Snavely

    4 stars
    I was so excited to finally find a cheesecake recipe with no water bath. I followed the directions to a T! I still have massive cracks in my cheesecake. Maybe I need to check the temperature in my oven. I’m not too disappointed since this was a trial run just for my family. I’m not sure if I’d make this for others because of the cracking.

    1. Lauren

      Can you tell me what kind of oven you’re baking with and where in the oven you had it (bottom, middle, top). Trying to troubleshoot this recipe to figure why it cracks for some people and why it doesn’t crack for others.

  28. John Curry

    5 stars
    This is a phenomenal cheesecake! Chilled over night and that definitely makes a difference. I added a touch more Graham crackers and butter to the crust. I will definitely use this recipe from now on!!

  29. Sande

    5 stars
    Mine cracked for some reason. Not sure why. However it is delicious. Thank you for the wonderful recipe.
    Any ideas why it cracked

    1. Lauren

      As long as you’re using cream cheese that comes in airtight packages, you can stick the sealed packages into a big bowl of warm water to try to get there faster.

  30. Casey Clarke

    5 stars
    Easy and tastes absolutely phenomenal! I made this for my husbands birthday, he’s kind of a cheesecake snob and he says it’s the best cheesecake he’s EVER eaten, I would have to agree!

  31. Jill

    5 stars
    Believe me it is excellent! Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture. I went out to buy a springform pan – they only had Food Network, but it’s great. I followed the directions to a T and read all hints, pointers, etc before starting. The only thing I did differently was put a pan of hot water under the cheesecake while it baked. You do need to be home for quite a bit of time for this, but it was worth it! Served for my daughters birthday and everyone raved about it saying it was the best they’d ever had. We even had some for breakfast.😊 I served with blueberry and strawberry sauce. A little whipped cream would’ve been good, but that was an after thought.
    Today I’m trying the pumpkin cheesecake.

  32. Valerie

    Sorry about first post, read full description and know it’s creamy. I’m going to make it, sounds great and most cheesecakes are a treat dry or moist.

  33. Hector V

    5 stars
    So I am a guy who can’t cook and I certainly never baked a thing in my entire life but after being home bored with everything that’s going on in the world I decided I was going to try and make a cheesecake, randomly picked this recipe, followed the instructions without changing a thing and I couldn’t believe it, not only it looked like the expensive ones you get at a fancy restaurant, it tasted just as good, no cracks or any issues with it. My family thought I was lying after they saw it and tried it so I made it again… Same exact result. I myself can’t believe it. It is beyond delicious and if I can make it then I think anybody can. Thank you

  34. Sahara

    5 stars
    Since finding this recipe, I’ve made this Cheesecake at least a dozen times in the past 6 months. It’s always perfect and tastes better than any store bought NY style. It’s only cracked once, and that was my own fault for not using room temp ingredients.
    Thank you so much for satisfying my Cheesecake craving during this pandemic. ❤️

  35. Denise Young

    5 stars
    Hands down the best cheesecake recipe ever! This was my first cheesecake and it was so good my 88yo mother who eats very little, ate two pieces in one setting! I have since baked another one of your cheesecakes, but this time I just turtled it up a bit. Can wait to see my moms face when she sees this one! Yumm!

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