All the tips & tricks for how to make a cheesecake! Perfectly cooked, no cracks, and not too sweet. You can make your own perfect cheesecake right at home that’s so impressive, with my tips and helpful hints.
How to make a cheesecake
I first posted this recipe for the perfect cheesecake in my first year of blogging. I have made it countless times since then and because we love it so much, I knew I had to update the post and republish it.
Original post and recipe is below. Enjoy friends 🙂
Tuesday was my husband’s birthday! You know those sayings that go “you know you’re old when……” Well I am pretty sure our new one is “you know you’re old when you celebrate your 32nd birthday at Chuck e Cheeses”!
Yes. That’s what we did. Forget going out to a nice romantic dinner. We went and played games, danced with Chuckie, and collected tickets. It was a good time and the kids said “thanks dad for letting me celebrate your birthday here.” Awww ♥.
I only make cheesecake once a year which is always on my husband’s birthday. He loves cheesecake. It just happens to be his favorite dessert.
I also only make it once a year because, I mean, 2 pounds of cream cheese (yikes!), butter, sour cream, and a sweet raspberry sauce! As much as I would like to, I couldn’t eat that every day or even every week. So, once a year I go all out and make a decadent cheesecake because it’s his favorite. And I love him ♥.
Tips & tricks to get no-fail, no crack, perfect cheesecake
THE CREAM CHEESE
Please, please, please use Philadelphia brand cream cheese. I am NOT getting paid to say that, there is no motive for me saying that besides that it is the very, very, best! I’ve tried making cheesecakes with the generic store brand and it never comes out as creamy and thick as when I use the name brand. Spend a couple extra dollars and buy the Philadelphia brand. Trust me, it will be worth it.
I have experimented and tried lots of different cheesecake recipes. It was not until I tried adding some cornstarch that I realized what I had been missing. Cornstarch will help hold the cheesecake together, make it easier to cut through and get clean slices, and it helps prevent cracks on top of the cheesecake. Trust me, you need cornstarch.
A WATER BATH
I have always skipped this step when making cheesecake because I figured it was necessary and thought it was too much work and I just wanted to get the cheesecake in the oven and be done. But, it literally takes 2 minutes extra and really makes a big difference. A water bath helps cook the cheesecake gently while also creating a steamy environment so the surface does not dry out. Which, in turn, provides additional protection against cracking on top of the cheesecake.
I took a picture of the water bath so it can make more sense. You basically just wrap the springform pan in tin foil, place it on a cookie sheet or large roasting pan, and then fill with just a little but of water. Like maybe 1/2″ of water.
COOKING & COOLING THE RIGHT WAY
There are certain things to look for when deciding if your cheesecake is done. The outer ring of the cheesecake should look puffy, be slightly firm, and may even have some lightly golden brown spots. The middle should still be “jiggly” like barely set Jell-O and be pale still.
When your cheesecake is done, DO NOT take it out of the oven to cool. Instead, leave it in the oven and turn off the oven, and open the oven door just slightly and leave it like that for 1 hour. After 1 hour, take out the cheesecake, remove from the water bath and let cool completely.
Then refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 2 days. This step is really important. Instead of a flan custard-like texture (pre-chilling) it will have a smooth, creamy, and velvety texture after chilling.
Be sure to plan ahead so the cheesecake has time to sit in the fridge for at least 12 hours, but preferably 24 hours before serving it.
Tips & Tricks for Perfect Cheesecake
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 tablespoon softened butter (for the pan)
- 4 bars (8 oz each) cream cheese (very softened)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk (only the yolk, discard the whites)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 bag (12 oz) frozen raspberries, divided
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the oven rack in the lower-middle position.
- With your fingers spread the 1/2 tablespoon butter in the bottom of a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan and up the sides.
- Take 2 pieces of tin foil and make a + sign with them. Place your springform pan in the middle and then bring up the tin foil and tuck in around the pan.
Make the crust
- Combine melted butter and graham cracker crumbs in a bowl. Stir together until the mixture resembles wet sand. Press the crust into the bottom of the springform pan. You can either leave the crust on the bottom only or bring some up the sides of the pan as well. Use a glass cup or measuring cup to press the crust down.
- Bake the crust for 8 minutes. Let cool completely while you prepare the cheesecake.
- Combine the softened cream cheese, sugar, and cornstarch in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld mixer). Mix on medium-low speed until the mixture is creamy, like thick frosting, and no lumps of cream cheese remain. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Add the sour cream and vanilla to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed until combined and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Beat in the eggs and the yolk one at a time. Wait until the previous egg is just barely mixed into the batter before adding the next one.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Stir the whole batter a few times by hand, being sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl, to make sure everything is incorporated. The finished batter should be thick, creamy, and silky.
- Pour the cheesecake batter over the cooled crust and spread evenly. Transfer to the water bath. A cookie sheet or large roasting pan filled with 1/2"-1" hot water. At this point the spring-form pan should still have the tin foil on it. Place it all in the water on the cookie sheet (see picture in post).
- Bake for 50-60 minutes. The cheesecake is done when the outer ring of the cheesecake looks slightly puffed and set, but the inner circle still jiggles (like barely set Jell-o) when you gently shake the pan.
- When the cheesecake is done, turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside, with the door just slightly left open, and let sit and cool for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, take out of the water bath, and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
- Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 12 hours, but preferrably 24 hours.
- When ready to serve, cut into slices and serve with the raspberry sauce (recipe below) or whatvever topping you want.
- In a saucepan, over medium heat, stir together 1 1/2 cups of the frozen raspberries, sugar and water. Heat the mixture to boiling, stirring often. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and add the vanilla extract.
- In a small cup, combine the cornstarch and two tablespoons of water. Mix well. Pour into the boiling raspberry mixture. Stir and boil over medium-low heat for 4 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and mix until the butter has completely melted.
- Allow the mixture to cool for 15 minutes. Add the last of the raspberries and stir to combine.
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