The best cheesecake recipe

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Look no further for a creamy & ultra smooth classic cheesecake recipe! Paired with a buttery graham cracker crust, no one can deny its simple decadence. For the best results, bake in a water bath.

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Not a Plain Cheesecake Recipe

As much as I love cheesecake, I’ve never published a classic cheesecake recipe. There’s always been peanut butter cheesecake, blueberry swirl cheesecake, Snickers cheesecake, pumpkin swirl cheesecake, or Amaretto cheesecake. Plus more cheesecake in my published cookbooks. That’s a lot of cheesecake recipes without a single nod to where it all originates:classic cheesecake.

To me, classic cheesecake is creamy, rich, và smooth. My cheesecake recipe is not as dense as new york cheesecake, but it’s just as special. It’s thick, it’s velvety, and there’s no denying its decadence. When I imagine what Chandler & Rachel’s stolen cheesecake tastes like, it’s this!

While there’s a glaring absence of chunks, swirls, và sprinkles in this ivory crowned jewel, there’s nothing plain about it.


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Preparing my cheesecake recipe is rather simple—it’s baking the cheesecake that could result in a flop. Many factors are at play lượt thích the springform pan leaking, the surface of the cheesecake cracking, under-baking, over-baking, etc. I have plenty of tricks that will help guarantee classic cheesecake perfection, including determining when the cheesecake is done & everything you need to lớn know about a cheesecake water bath.


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How lớn Make Classic Cheesecake

You only need a few basic staple ingredients for this cheesecake recipe.

Block cream cheese: Four 8-ounce blocks of full-fat cream cheese are the base of this cheesecake. That’s 2 pounds. Make sure you’re buying the blocks of cream cheese & not cream cheese spread. There’s no diets allowed in cheesecake, so don’t pick up the reduced-fat variety!Sugar: 1 cup. Not that much considering how many mouths you can feed with this dessert. Over-sweetened cheesecake is hardly cheesecake anymore. Using only 1 cup of sugar gives this cheesecake the opportunity to balance tangy and sweet, just as classic cheesecake should taste.A little flavor: 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract & 2 of lemon juice. The lemon juice brightens up the cheesecake’s overall flavor & vanilla is always a good idea.Eggs: 3 eggs are the final ingredient. You’ll beat the eggs in last, one at a time, until they are *just* incorporated. Vì chưng not overmix the batter once the eggs are added. This will whip air into the cheesecake batter, resulting in cheesecake cracking và deflating.

And as always, make sure all of the cheesecake batter ingredients are at room temperature so the batter remains smooth, even, và combines quickly. Beating cold ingredients together will result in a chunky over-beaten cheesecake batter, hardly the way we want khổng lồ start!


How to Make a Graham Cracker Crust

Since classic is the từ khóa of the day, we’re sticking with cheesecake’s main squeeze: a graham cracker crust. I reduced the butter from my original graham cracker crust recipe by 1 Tablespoon. I find this crust remains a little more crunchy. Make sure you pack the crust in tight & pre-bake it lớn help prevent any sogginess.

You could use this Oreo cookie crust instead. No big changes necessary to the recipe below, but I vì chưng encourage you lớn lightly grease the bottom of the springform pan because Oreo crusts tend to stick.

I lượt thích to use the bottom of a small measuring cup to lớn smooth the crust mixture into the springform pan. Speaking of, you’ll need a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan. A springform pan has removable sides so you can safely release the cheesecake without having khổng lồ flip the pan over or struggle lớn cut the cheesecake inside the pan. Springform pans can leak if you’re baking the cheesecake in a water bath (more on that below!), but this particular pan is reliable. I haven’t had any leaking issues.


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How lớn Make a Cheesecake Water Bath

I promise a water bath is nothing complicated. All you’re doing is placing the springform pan in a roasting pan, filling it with hot water, & baking. What’s the point, you ask?

Cheesecake loves a humid environment. The steam from the hot water will lift the cheesecake up slowly và evenly, reducing the risk of cracks on the surface. Additionally, this slow & even baking method helps prevent the cheesecake from sinking back down as it cools. Taking a few extra minutes lớn prepare a water bath for this cheesecake recipe is well worth it.


Cooling & Chilling Cheesecake

Another way to help prevent cheesecake cracks is to initially cool it inside the oven. You can see me vì this in the clip below. When the cheesecake is done, turn the oven off, crack xuất hiện the oven door, & leave the cheesecake inside for 1 hour. A drastic and sudden change of temperature isn’t ideal for cheesecake—from hot oven lớn cool counter—so vị your best to control the environment by leaving the cheesecake inside. Does this make sense?

After the cheesecake cools in the oven for 1 hour, place it on the counter lớn cool. After it’s cool, chill it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or even overnight. There’s no greater demo to your willpower than those several hours you’re forced khổng lồ wait as the cheesecake cools down và then chills in the refrigerator. But every minute is completely worth it when you take that first luscious bite.

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For a quicker, easier alternative to making a classic cheesecake, try this cheesecake pie. Or if you want to lớn completely skip the baking & cooling process, try my no-bake cheesecake instead.


4 Success Tips for Perfect Cheesecake

To summarize, here are some tricks I discussed:

Do not over-mix the cheesecake batterBake in a water bathLeave cheesecake in the cooling oven for 1 hourCool completely at room temperature

Cheesecake Toppings

Enjoy your velvet-rich cheesecake as is or get a little fancy with a selection of toppings. I love cheesecake best with fruit, so I serve it with this simple raspberry sauce. Or you could vị trí cao nhất with homemade lemon curd, chocolate ganache, salted caramel, strawberry topping, or homemade whipped cream. Get creative or keep it simple. Either way, it’s going to impress. (And you’d totally eat it off the floor… Chandler và Rachel style.)

If you’re really looking to lớn take your toppings to the next level, kiểm tra out my pecan pie cheesecake or caramel táo khuyết cheesecake pie.


How to Freeze Cheesecake

Cool the cheesecake on the counter before freezing. No need lớn chill it in the refrigerator.Freeze on springform pan: Remove the outer rim from the springform pan. Wrap the cheesecake with the bottom of the pan with a few layers of plastic wrap, then a final layer of aluminum foil.Freeze without springform pan: After the cheesecake has completely cooled, run a sharp knife underneath the crust to lớn release it from the bottom of the pan. Carefully slide it onto a parchment paper lined piece of cardboard or use a plate. Wrap it all in a few layers of plastic wrap, then a final layer of aluminum foil.Freeze for up khổng lồ 3 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
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Prep Time: 45 minutesCook Time: 1 hourTotal Time: 7 hours, 45 minutes (includes chilling)Yield: serves 12–16 1xCategory: DessertMethod: BakingCuisine: American
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Look no further for a creamy and ultra smooth classic cheesecake recipe! Paired with a buttery graham cracker crust, no one can deny its simple decadence. For the best results, bake in a water bath.


Graham Cracker Crust1 and một nửa cups (180g) graham cracker crumbs (about 12 full sheet graham crackers)1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar5 Tablespoons (71g) unsalted butter, meltedCheesecakefour 8-ounce blocks (904g) full-fat cream cheese, softened lớn room temperature1 cup (200g) granulated sugar1 cup (240g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (optional, but recommended)3 large eggs, at room temperature
Adjust the oven rack khổng lồ the lower-middle position and preheat oven to lớn 350°F (177°C).Prepare the simple water bath (see note): Watch my video tutorial below; the visual guide will assist you in this step. Boil a pot of water. You need 1 inch of water in your roasting pan for the water bath, so make sure you boil enough. I use an entire kettle of hot water. As the water is heating up, wrap the aluminum foil around the springform pan. Pour the cheesecake batter on đứng top of the crust. Use a rubber spatula or spoon to lớn smooth it into an even layer. Place the pan inside of a large roasting pan. Carefully pour the hot water inside of the pan and place in the oven. (Or you can place the roasting pan in the oven first, then pour the hot water in. Whichever is easier for you.)Bake cheesecake for 55–70 minutes or until the center is almost set. If you notice the cheesecake browning too quickly on top, tent it with aluminum foil halfway through baking. When it’s done, the center of the cheesecake will slightly wobble if you gently shake the pan. Turn the oven off and xuất hiện the oven door slightly. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven in the water bath as it cools down for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and water bath, then cool cheesecake completely uncovered at room temperature. Then cover & refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight.Use a knife khổng lồ loosen the chilled cheesecake from the rim of the springform pan, then remove the rim. Using a clean sharp knife, cut into slices for serving. For neat slices, wipe the knife clean và dip into warm water between each slice.Serve cheesecake with desired toppings (see Note). Cover & store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up khổng lồ 5 days.
Make Ahead Instructions: This cheesecake can be made the day before. It has khổng lồ chill for quite some time before serving. See step 5. Another way to make this cheesecake ahead of time is to lớn freeze it. Cheesecake can be frozen up lớn 3 months. See instructions in blog post above.Water Bath: Some readers have baked cheesecakes with a large pan of hot water on the rack beneath the baking cheesecake. In this manner, the cheesecake does not bake directly in a roasting pan of water. This is a wonderful alternative if you vày not own a large roasting pan or are nervous about your springform pan leaking. Simply place a large baking pan filled with 1 inch of hot water on the bottom rack of the oven.Room Temperature Ingredients: Bring all cold ingredients khổng lồ room temperature before beginning. Room temperature ingredients combine quickly and evenly, so you won’t risk over-mixing. Also, beating cold ingredients together will result in a chunky cheesecake batter, hardly the way you want to begin!Non-US Readers: Don’t have graham crackers where you live? Use 200g ground digestive biscuit crumbs (about 2 cups; 13–14 biscuits), 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar, và 6 Tablespoons (85g) melted butter. Pre-bake the crust for a bit longer, about 12–14 minutes. And from what I understand, spreadable cream cheese sold in a tub in countries outside of the US is a little different from the spreadable cream cheese in the US. It’s thicker, sturdier, & more solid và should be OK for this recipe. I have no experience with it, but this is what I’ve heard from other non-US readers. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!

Keywords: cheesecake


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Reader Questions & Reviews


Stephanie Mitchell says:
September 17, 2022 at
I made this recipe and absolutely loved it. I didn’t change anything but my springboard pan is bent and lets some water in. Has anyone tried it using a crockpot cake pan & baking it in the crockpot with water? I’m going to attempt it tomorrow. If so, how long did you cook it?Thanks!


Reply
Stephanie Mitchell
says:
September 18, 2022 at

I cooked it for 2.5 hours in the crockpot cake pan in 1.5 inches of water on high. Then I let it sit in the unplugged crockpot for 1 hour before cooling it on the counter. Once it was cool, I put it in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. The texture was light và fluffy. It was delicious và perfectly cooked. Great recipe, very versatile.