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Learn how to make the perfect Cheesecake with this simple & classic recipe for a creamy and smooth cheesecake in a homemade graham cracker crust. Lots of tips and helpful hints that will help you make this decadent dessert recipe in your own kitchen.
I’ve included tons of information below to show you how to make perfect cheesecake with the right ingredients, a simple water bath, a cooling trick, and tips for success.
What makes a cheesecake perfect? Temperature, baking time, and ingredients you use play a part. But the texture of the cake also affects how tasty it is. I have lots of tips and helpful hints below that will hopefully help you make a really good classic cheesecake.
Cheesecake has been a favorite dessert recipe at my house. I make it at least once a year for my husband’s birthday ♥️
I have no shortages of cheesecake recipes like this no bake snickers cheesecake, this lemon cheesecake pie, layered chocolate raspberry cheesecake delight dessert, and this perfectly creamy and tart key lime cheesecake.
What You’ll Need
Using the correct ingredients is important for this recipe. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make cheesecake and some helpful suggestions that will yield the best results.
Graham Cracker Crust
- Graham Cracker Crumbs – You want finely ground crumbs for this crust recipe. You can either put some whole graham crackers sheets inside a food processor and pulse until crumbs or you can buy graham crackers crumbs at the store and measure it out.
- Butter – You will need some melted butter for the crust and softened butter that you can spread into the springform pan. I use salted butter but unsalted butter can be used if that’s what you prefer.
- Cream Cheese – Use the name brand cream cheese (Philadelphia) in this recipe. I promise that the texture and richness of the cheesecake will be better with the name brand stuff. Also, use full-fat cream cheese. The lite cream cheese has less flavor and more water in it so it’s not as thick and therefore won’t yield a rich and luscious cheesecake.
- Granulated Sugar
- Cornstarch – I have experimented lots with different recipes and it wasn’t until I added cornstarch that I realized it was the ‘secret’ to a perfect cheesecake. Cornstarch helps to hold the cheesecake together, it makes it easier to cut and slice, and it helps to prevent cracks on top once it’s baked.
- Sour Cream – Helps to balance the sweetness and it provides some creaminess.
- Large Eggs
- Egg Yolk – Just an extra egg yolk is all you need. Discard the egg whites.
- Vanilla Extract – Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Frozen Raspberries
- Granulated Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
How To Make The Perfect Homemade Cheesecake
Here are the instructions, step-by-step, for how to make cheesecake. There are several steps but it will yield delicious results.
Preparation : Preheat the oven and prepare a 9-inch springform pan by spreading 1/2 tablespoon of softened butter inside of it. Use tin foil to make a plus (+) sign and then lay the pan in the middle and bring up the tin foil around the sides of the pan. This will help insulate the cheesecake during baking to help it cook evenly all over. And it will protect the cheesecake from the water bath.
Crust : Combine the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs. Press into the prepared springform pan and press it in tightly. You can either put the crust on the bottom of the pan only or up the sides slightly like in the pictures above.
Cheesecake : Add the softened cream cheese, sugar, and cornstarch into a mixing bowl and blend until it’s smooth and combined. Make sure the cream cheese is softened enough so there will not be lumps of it in the batter. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract and blend again until combined. Add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating after each addition. Pour the cheesecake batter into the springform pan on top of the cooled crust.
Bake : Transfer the pan to a water bath (use a cookie sheet or baking dish filled with 1/2-inch of water) and cook for 50-60 minutes. It’s done cooking when the edges are puffy and the center is set but it might still “jiggle” and look like barely set jello. It will firm up as it cools. Turn off the oven once it’s done cooking, leave the cheesecake inside with the door tilted open, and let it sit for 1 hour. This helps prevent cracks on top.
Cool & Refrigerate : Let the cheesecake cool completely and then cover it and let it refrigerate for at least 12 hours but preferably for 24 hours before cutting and serving.
Tips For Success
Here are my helpful, no-fail tips that will yield a perfect cheesecake at home in your own kitchen.
- Water Bath : A water bath makes a big difference in how the cheesecake turns out. Don’t skip it! A water bath helps the cheesecake cook gently while also creating a steamy enviroment so the surface does not dry out, which will results in no cracks.
- Tin Foil : This may seem unnecessary but it helps the cheesecake cook evenly while in the oven and protects it from the water bath so no water slips into the crust.
- How To Tell When It’s Done : The cheesecake is done when the outer edges are slightly puffier than the middle, and the middle looks like barely set jello, so it may still seem jiggly. But that’s good cause you don’t want to overcook it.
- Ingredient Tips : Use full fat cream cheese and sour cream in this recipe. It’s also best to use the name brand (Philadelphia) cream cheese. It provides a thicker and more velvety texture.
- Cooling Cheesecake : When it’s done cooking leave the cheesecake inside the oven, turn off the oven, and then slightly crack the door open. Leave it like that for 1 hour. This helps the cheesecake cool gently instead of taking it from a hot oven right to a lower temperature. Take it out and let it cool completely at room temperature. Once cooled, cover it, and then refrigerate for at least 12 hours but preferrably for 24 hours for best results, or even up to 2 days before serving. This step is important because instead of a flan-like texture you will end up with a velvety and creamy texture after the refrigeration time. So plan ahead when making this.
- Don’t Open The Oven!
There are several ways you can serve cheesecake.
- Serve it plain, which is till amazing with its creamy texture.
- Top each serving with some freshly whipped cream.
- Make the raspberry sauce (in the recipe below) and serve it that way. This is how we love it! You can also use a different frozen berry in place of the raspberries if you prefer.
- You can also drizzle some chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, or butterscotch sauce over a slice.
- You can even make it really easy and use some canned pie filling for serving.
How Do I Store a Cheesecake?
- Cheesecake can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Leave it in the springform to hold its shape and make sure you cover it with saran wrap. Be sure and leave off any toppings. Add toppings when serving.
What Do I Do If My Cheesecake Cracks?
- I’ve never had my cheesecake crack with this recipe but if for some reason it does simply cover the top of the cheesecake with something to hide it. Like a can of pie filling. Chocolate ganache. Whipped cream. This way the crack will be hidden and no one will ever know.
Can I Freeze Cheesecake?
- Yes you can freeze a cheesecake. Bake and cool completely according to recipe instructions (this includes the 12-24 hour cooling time). Once done, wrap the cheesecake in a double layer of saran wrap and then a double layer of tin foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to eat it, transfer the cheesecake to the fridge and allow to thaw overnight. Do not freeze the cheesecake with toppings on it.
Here are a few supplies that you will need to make this cheesecake recipe. These are an affiliate link, meaning that if you purchase, I will make a very small percentage from the sale. As always, I appreciate the support for the free recipes I post. I will only recommend things that I personally own and love! Promise.
Springform Pan : You need a 9-inch springform pan to make cheesecake. A 10-inch will also work if that’s what you have, but the cheesecake will be slightly thinner.
Mixing Bowls : I love love these mixing bowls. I recommend them to everyone I know. They have a rubber grip on the bottom so they won’t slide around and they stay in place!
Hand Mixer : I prefer to use a hand mixer when I am baking. I feel like it’s easier to control and see how combined your batter is. I have this inexpensive hand mixer that I love because it comes with a storage container.
Cookie Sheet : You will need a cookie sheet, with high sides on it, for the easy water bath. I use this one. Plus this cookie sheet is the best one for making perfect cookies on because it bakes evenly and prevents bottoms from getting too browned.
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1½ cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
- 5 tablespoons butter melted
- 1/2 tablespoon softened butter for the pan
- 4 bars (8 oz each) full-fat cream cheese softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 bag (12 oz) frozen raspberries divided
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Preheat the oven to 350°F 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 slightly.
- 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 tightly.
- 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.
- 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 a water bath. * For the water bath use a cookie sheet filled with 1/2" hot water. Place the tin foil lined sprinform pan with the cheesecake batter inside, into the water bath. Picture in post for a helpful visual if needed.
- 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 Jello) when you gently shake the pan.
- When the cheesecake is done cooking, 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 the cooled cheesecake 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 whatever 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. Pour a spoonful over each slice of cheesecake.
Did You Make This Recipe?
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Did you love this recipe?
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Thank you for the nice recipe.
You’re welcome Liz. This was one of my favorite posts to write. We love cheesecake 🙂
This recipe looks so delicious! Stopping by from Freedom Fridays.
Thanks so much Anita! I love freedom fridays and all the good stuff you find there 🙂
Cheesecake is one of my all-time favorite desserts. I totally agree that Philadelphia is the best cream cheese out there. Thanks for all the other tips on how to get a perfect cheesecake…so helpful.
PS – Hope to see you at my first link party next Wednesday. #WelcomeHomeWednesday
I will put it on my calendar! I love new link parties.
Thanks Erin 🙂 I do love Philadelphia cream cheese! And thank you for your sweet comment.
Can you use a sugar substitute like Truvia ?
I have not done that so I am not sure. I think it’s an equivalent substitute when doing that, but again, I don’t know for sure.
Yummy and mouth watering..all those pictures asking me to try this recipe right now..your recipe is awesome and I hope I will enjoy it..thanks for sharing
I’ve made this cheese cake 4 or 5 times and it’s the best one I’ve found by Far! I dought there is one better.
Awww, thank you! I love hearing this.
My wife’s birthday is next week and she has been specifically asking me to bake her a cheesecake. I appreciate the tip you shared on how cornstarch is used to hold the whole thing together. I think it would probably be best for me to just buy her a cheesecake because everything that I bake tends to get burnt.
Loved all the little (but important( tips! They all made sense and helped to make a perfect cheesecake for hubby’s birthday! He absolutely LOVES homemade New York cheesecake!! Many thanks & kudos!!
How long do you suggest I bake this if I use a 4” mini springform pan? I have 4 mini springforms and intend to divide the batter evenly among them. Any suggestions on how long it might take to bake? Thank you!
I would just set the timer for 20-30 minutes and then check it after that. Not sure of the exact time but I am guessing it would cook in at least half the time of the larger sized pan does in the recipe.