This easy cheesecake recipe truly makes perfect cheesecake every time! Each slice has the creamiest, smoothest cheesecake paired with homemade graham cracker crust. The perfect bite! Plus, I’ve included tons of step-by-step instructions with photos so you can make the best cheesecake every time. This is truly the last cheesecake how-to you’ll ever need!
This cheesecake recipe includes a water bath with detailed instructions, but you might also like my favorite No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe!
The Perfect Cheesecake Recipe
Cheesecake is one of those recipes that can be intimidating. For so many years I avoided this classic dessert. Anything that is finicky or requires a little care falls outside of my baking comfort zone. But I am here to tell you how to make cheesecake, and if I can do it, you can too!
My Perfect Cheesecake Recipe is pretty foolproof if you follow the easy steps. There is nothing complicated about this recipe, which is just the way I like it. What you will end up with is the creamiest cheesecake ever, with a buttery, delicious graham cracker crust. What’s even better about this recipe, is once you’ve tried it, you will see that it’s totally open to be adapted. You can change the crust, mix in fun things like cookie dough, or swirl it with caramel or fudge. It’s the last cheesecake recipe you will need. Update – I even created a CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE based on this recipe after so many requests, so make sure to check that out, if chocolate is your thing!
Let’s get started!
How to Make this Easy Cheesecake Recipe
The first thing you will need to do before you make this recipe is take all your ingredients out a few hours before you plan on making your cheesecake. The way to ensure the cheesecake will bake perfectly is for everything to be at room temperature! I know this can be annoying, but trust me…I want you to succeed!
How to Make Graham Cracker Cheesecake Crust
For this classic cheesecake recipe, we are sticking with the standard graham cracker crust. Make sure your graham cracker crumbs are finely ground. You can use a food processor or blender to do this.
Then mix your crumbs with melted butter, granulated sugar, and a little kosher salt.
Press this into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9- inch springform pan. I use the bottom of a glass to do this step. A springform pan is a necessity when making cheesecake. The sides are easily removed and your cheesecake will be perfectly intact.
I like to pre-bake my crust. I have found that pre-baking lends a crispier, sturdier graham cracker crust. It only bakes for 8-10 minutes, and you can also do this step in advance!
How to Make the Best Cheesecake Filling
Like I said, make sure that all of your ingredients are at room temperature. Not only will this ensure it bakes perfectly, it will also prevent your cheesecake batter from being lumpy. If you try and mix the filling up with cream cheese that isn’t quite room temperature, you will get lots of lumps. A few lumps is perfectly fine, too many lumps will change the texture.
Another huge tip is to NOT over mix the cheesecake. Over mixing will incorporate too much air into the filling and cause it to crack as it’s baking. Over baking will also cause cracking too, but we will get to that in a minute.
You will need 4 packages of cream cheese for this cheesecake recipe.
Just spread the cheesecake filling on top of the crust and smooth it out using a spatula or an offset spatula.
How to Bake a Cheesecake
And then you’re going to want to 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!
Then find a baking pan that is bigger than your cheesecake pan and fill it about 3/4- inch deep with very hot water.
I use my half sheet pan, but you can use any shape pan, as long as your spring form pan fits inside!
Baking the cheesecake in a water bath is another aid in preventing cracks. It also insulates your cheesecake for more even baking. The water ensures that the outside of the cheesecake won’t bake too quickly!
Now, carefully place your cheesecake into the oven and allow it to bake for 60 -70 minutes. Check it at 60 minutes. 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.
But please, if you do get a little cracking, all is not lost! This is when you break open a can of cherry pie filling and turn that cheesecake into a cherry cheesecake!
How long do you have to chill a cheesecake?
Allow the cheesecake to cool at room temperature for about an hour. THEN cover the pan with foil and it will need to chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight.
When you’re ready to enjoy your hard work, remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator. If any condensation has built up on top of your cheesecake, just take a paper towel and dab the moisture off.
Then slice it and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Tips for the Best Cheesecake:
So what have we learned today?
- Pre-bake your crust!
- Make sure all your ingredients are room temperature
- Don’t over mix your cheesecake!
- Line your pan with foil!
- WATER BATH!
- Don’t over bake!
- Don’t skimp on chill time!
I hope this tutorial has helped you and you feel extra confident in your next cheesecake adventure! This easy cheesecake recipe will be one you make for years to come. Once you’re comfortable making this homemade cheesecake recipe you can get fancy and add your own flavors and add-ins!
This easy cheesecake recipe truly makes perfect cheesecake every time! Each slice has the creamiest, smoothest cheesecake paired with homemade graham cracker crust. The perfect bite!
- 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
- 4 (8 ounce) packages Cream Cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- In a large bowl mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter, granulated sugar, and salt together evenly. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of 9-inch springform pan.
- Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Set aside while you make the cheesecake.
- 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.
- Turn the mixer to low and add the sour cream and vanilla; mix well, scraping sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until mixed. Don’t over mix. Pour the filling over crust and spread evenly.
- Double wrap the bottom of the springform pan with foil, sealing it tightly to prevent water from getting into the pan.
- 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.
- Bake for 60-70 minutes or until the center is almost set. The center will still jiggle while the edges will be set.
- Carefully run a knife around the rim of pan to loosen cake. 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.
- Release the sides of the springform pan before slicing.
Store airtight, refrigerated for up to 5 days.
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