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Hello Strawberry Cheesecake! The most glorious, delicious, classic dessert is here! This is a showstopper no matter who you serve it to or when you serve it. This recipe is a variation of The Best Cheesecake Recipe and is one of my favorites. It’s a thick and creamy classic cheesecake topped with fresh strawberries and homemade strawberry-vanilla sauce. It’s truly the perfect summer dessert.
Only 8 Ingredients
This recipe for Strawberry Cheesecake is made with very few ingredients when mixed together give you an amazing finished product. I do recommend certain brands because I have found the most success with them, but feel free to use no-name brands if you prefer them better or would like to save a few dollars. Cheesecake is notoriously labor intensive and expensive for dessert standards, but I try to streamline this process to make it as simple and straightforward as possible with the best ingredients.
Some Important Notes Before You Begin:
- I recommend using Honeymaid graham cracker crumbs and Philadelphia cream cheese for this recipe. These are the brands I use when testing all my cheesecake recipes, so I know your finished results will be good.
- Use a good quality vanilla extract when possible. Obviously if you only have artificial vanilla extract, use that, but I’d recommend a good one.
- Don’t forget to have all your ingredients at room temperature before you begin. Everything incorporates easily when it’s all the same temperature, giving you a smooth, thick cheesecake batter. I’m mainly talking about the cream cheese, eggs and sour cream.
- You will use two full pounds of fresh strawberries. I know that seems like a lot, but half is for the sauce and half is for the garnish. This is a strawberry cheesecake, after all.
That is it! While there is nothing HARD about this recipe, it does take some time. Do your best to follow my instructions for making the batter and baking and you too will have a gorgeous strawberry cheesecake, just like my pictures show.
How to Make Strawberry Cheesecake
I know there are a lot of steps, but following this method exactly will give you a big, thick crack-free cheesecake. And, don’t forget this list is just the bare bones of the recipe. The FULL recipe is in the printable recipe card below.
Make the Graham Cracker Crust
Start by stirring 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.
Do I have to use a Springform Pan?
The short answer is not necessarily, but I would highly *highly* recommend using one. The best baking pan for this cheesecake recipe is a 9-inch springform pan and I don’t have a suggestion for the 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 (I find that this is super easy when you are willing to share some of your strawberry cheesecake).
Can I use any other pan to make this Strawberry Cheesecake?
I have had great success making this strawberry cheesecake in a 9×13 pan and serving as cheesecake bars. None of the ingredients, directions, or baking times are changed. Simply just replace the springform pan with a 9×13. You will need more strawberries for garnish (about 1/2 pound), but that is the only change.
Make the Cheesecake Filling
Make the 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.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together 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.
Remove Air Bubbles
Tap bowl on the counter for 30-45 seconds to remove air bubbles. Air bubbles can contribute to why cheesecakes crack, so we definitely want to prevent that.
Bake, Cool, Chill
Pour batter into graham cracker crust, smooth the top and bake. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 250 to finish cooking. Let the 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. Remove from oven and bring cheesecake to room temperature.
Refrigerate Your Cheesecake
Once the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature, cover and refrigerate until completely chilled. The great thing about cheesecake is that its a wonderful dessert to make in advance because it stores so well in the fridge.
Make the Strawberry Sauce
Wash and hull and slice 2 pounds of strawberries. Reserve half of the berries for garnish.
Place the other half the berries, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes or until berries are very soft. Place into a blender and blitz until smooth. Refrigerate.
The homemade strawberry sauce recipe that makes this cheesecake quintessentially strawberry is only 4 ingredients. After you cook those ingredients together, you blend them until smooth. You will still have seeds! If you’d prefer the sauce to be seedless, strain out the seeds using cheesecloth.
After you strain the sauce, refrigerate until completely chilled before topping the strawberry cheesecake with it. After the sauce has chilled, it should thicken slightly.
Of course, you can definitely just buy strawberry sauce from the store if you’d prefer to not make it. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Slice + Serve Strawberry Cheesecake
To serve, top with the fresh berries and drizzle half of the strawberry sauce overtop. Slice strawberry cheesecake into pieces and serve with remaining strawberry sauce.
*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.
A Few Tips to Prevent Your Cheesecake From Cracking
There are several reasons why cheesecakes can get a giant 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:
- Make sure the batter is lump-free-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.
- Stir in the eggs last– 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.
- Tap the bowl on the counter to get rid of the air bubbles– 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.
- Cool it gently and slowly…without using a water bath- 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, 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.
Storing Strawberry Cheesecake
Like I mentioned above, cheesecake in general makes a great make ahead dessert because it does so well in the fridge and freezer!
In the Fridge
After your fully baked cheesecake has come to room temperature, refrigerate covered for up to 1 week.
In the Freezer
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.
Love Strawberries? Try these recipes:
- Strawberries and Cream Layer Cake
- Easiest Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
- Strawberry Shortcake
- Summer Strawberry Jello Pie
- Nutella Deviled Strawberries
- Strawberry Mint Limeade
If you loved this strawberry cheesecake, you’re going to devour these other strawberry recipes. The printable recipe card is below! Enjoy, friends! 🙂
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
For the Cheesecake Filling:
- 9" Springform Pan
- 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 the mixture looks like damp sand. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, press crust into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 7 minutes. Remove from the 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 the eggs have 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. It 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 the 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). Open springform pan and remove the collar.
- For the Strawberry Sauce, wash and slice 1 pound of strawberries and place into a small saucepan. Sprinkle in sugar and water. Heat over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook strawberries for 10 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour into a blender and blitz until completely smooth. Chill in the freezer for 10-15 minutes in a shallow dish.
- Wash and slice the remaining pound of strawberries and decorate the chilled cheesecake with them. (Pile them high!) Pour half of the strawberry sauce over top of the entire cheesecake.Cut into slices** and serve with remaining strawberry sauce.