New York cheesecake is smooth, creamy, and dense and will satisfy all of your dessert dreams. Step-by-step photos help you learn how to bake this gorgeous cheesecake recipe. No-fuss and frills this cheesecake is a simple dessert your whole family will love.
Cheesecake recipes are no stranger to Confessions of a Baking Queen. I love them and my friends kind of always expect a cheesecake from me when we have a party. I've said it before but I'll keep saying it, one of the reasons I love cheesecakes is that you should really make it the day before you plan on serving it. Forces me to not leave things to the last minute when I am getting ready to host a party or attend one.
This recipe is for a New York-style cheesecake, which is nothing fancy, just a good old crunchy graham cracker crust with a thick, rich cheesecake filling and a gorgeous brown top. It's simplicity at its finest. No fuss and frills needed.
Some people say that a water bath is not needed for a New York Cheesecake but I don't find them hard to do and they always help me have a crack-free cheesecake so I do use a water bath, but it's not hard, I promise!
Let's get to the recipe.
What are the different types of cheesecake
You may be wondering what makes this a New York-Style cheesecake? Do all cheesecakes have the same ingredients? What makes them different?
A basic cheesecake recipe calls for cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and often vanilla.
This New York cheesecake is a tall baked cheesecake with all of those ingredients and the addition of sour cream. Some recipes may call for heavy cream instead of sour cream, but one of the two is needed. This helps create a smooth, denser, and creamier cheesecake texture. Traditionally this type of cheesecake is baked at a higher temperature and reduced but just like other things I cook, I prefer to cook it first and then brown it at the end. This helps control the amount of browning, we don't want to risk a burnt cheesecake. And since the cheesecake bakes for so long, you could easily burn it. I learned this tip from my friends at Cooks Illustrated.
A Chicago-style cheesecake is usually fluffier in texture and usually has a shortbread crust.
If you are looking for an egg-free cheesecake then check out my no-bake cheesecake recipe. It is lighter and fluffier in texture but just as creamy and delicious. Just don't expect the texture to be the same as a baked cheesecake.
Check out all my cheesecake baking tips here.
There are not too many ingredients for this cheesecake recipe.
For the crust you'll need:
- Graham Cracker Crumbs. You can buy crushed graham cracker crumbs or make your own by blending them in a food processor or placing the graham cracker sheets in a plastic bag and use a wooden rolling pin to crush the graham crackers. You could also use crushed Oreos, if using Oreos then I would omit the sugar.
- Granulated Sugar. Just a little bit to slightly sweeten the crust.
- Butter. We will need melted butter for the crust, this will bind the crumbs together. You can use salted or unsalted butter.
For the cheesecake batter you'll need:
- Cream Cheese. It is crucial that the cream cheese is completely softened to room temperature. You should be using the brick kind of cream cheese not the whipped kind. To soften cream cheese quickly place the wrapped blocks of cream cheese into a bowl of warm water for 8-10 minutes, you don't want to melt it completely. You could also cut the cream cheese into chunks and let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Sugar. You'll just need regular old granulated or caster sugar.
- Salt. Don't skip it!
- Sour Cream. This lightens the texture of the cheesecake batter. You could use full-fat Greek yogurt instead.
- Lemon Juice. I use fresh lemon juice, it provides a nice tang and very subtle flavor.
- Vanilla Extract. Use the real stuff, trust me!
- Eggs. You'll need lots of eggs. 5 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks to be exact. They also need to be at room temperature, to do this quickly place the whole eggs in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 minutes before cracking them.
I like the cheesecake as is but some Homemade Whipped Cream is a great addition.
Instructions for New York cheesecake
We'll start by making the crust. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan.
If you need to crush your graham crackers do so, see above in the ingredients section for different methods, then add the graham crackers to a bowl and mix in the sugar. Add the melted butter and mix until a wet sand texture is formed.
Use your clean hands to gently press the crust into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan. To set the bottom of the crust I use the bottom of a measuring cup to really pack it in tightly.
Bake the crust for 5-8 minutes to set the crust. It should just be golden brown in color, not too dark. Let the crust cool on a wire rack and reduce the oven temperature to 300F/ 149C. At this point, I put the kettle on to boil to use for my water bath.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or large bowl with a hand-held electric mixer beat the cream cheese for 3 minutes at low speed.
You want to keep the speed at a low setting so that you do not incorporate too much air into the batter. The mixture should be smooth with no lumps. If your cream cheese was not softened to room temperature then you will end up with lumps, and there is really no point to a lumpy cheesecake.
Next, add the sugar and salt then beat for another 2 minutes again on low speed.
Add the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl in between mixing to ensure everything is evenly combined.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, you don't want any sign of yolk left behind. You can add the two egg yolks together.
You should have a creamy cheesecake batter with no lumps and no signs of egg yolk.
Pour batter into the prepared pan and gently tap the pan on the counter to encourage any air bubbles to come to the top, use a toothpick to pop any bubbles.
How to make a water bath
Place the 9-inch springform pan in a 10-inch cake pan, then place the cake pan in a roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the cake pan. I like to place the pan in the oven and use a kettle to pour the hot water in then. This prevents ANY water from getting in the cheesecake and you don't have to wrap everything with foil.
Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes, the middle 3 inches of the cheesecake should jiggle just a little bit. I like to use my Thermapen MK4 instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature is 125-135F- keep in mind when you poke the cheesecake it will leave a hole. You can cover with fresh whipped cream or a few berries in the center to cover it. Cheesecake is normally baked to 150F, so stopping at this lower temp before you warm the oven up helps prevent you over baking it. Now when the cheesecake has reached the temperature/ stage turn the oven up to 500F/260C and leave the cheesecake in to continue cooking, this will darken the top of the cheesecake. The cheesecake can darken really quickly depending on the oven so I would start checking after 7 minutes or so, my cheesecakes usually take 15-18 minutes.
To me browning the cheesecake is what gives it that iconic New York Cheesecake look.
Turn off the oven and open the door but let the cheesecake cool in the oven for 45 minutes - 1 hour. Next, take the cheesecake pan out of the roasting pan and cool on a wire rack for another hour. Then wrap cheesecake with plastic wrap. Let the cheesecake chill in the fridge overnight or at least 6 hours.
When you are ready to serve, or prep it for a party use an offset spatula to gently loosen the sides of the cheesecake from the springform pan then release the sides.
If you want to transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate use an angled spatula to gently release the crust from the bottom of the pan then slide two spatulas underneath to move and support the cheesecake to the serving plate.
Store any leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Cheesecake is a great candidate for freezing. To freeze a whole cheesecake let it chill in the fridge overnight, as if you were serving it the next day, then wrap in plastic wrap twice, then foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw the cheesecake place it in the fridge overnight.
You can also freeze cheesecake slices. To do this the cheesecake should have already chilled overnight, slice the cheesecake slices and wrap in plastic wrap twice then place in a freezer-safe bag and stash for up to three months. To thaw the slices you can let them sit at room temperature for about an hour, depending on how large the slices are OR you can plan the night before and let them thaw in the fridge.
- Keep to the low speed when mixing the batter and do not over-mix the batter. Beating too much air into the cheesecake batter will cause it to rise more in the oven and crack.
- Baking the cheesecake in a water bath helps make the heat more even cooking environment for a long back time. It also helps create a moist cooking environment.
- Let the cheesecake cool in the oven than on the counter before transferring to the fridge to cool. If you transfer the cheesecake too quickly the shock of the temperature could encourage cracks to form.
- Let the cheesecake sit for 20-30 minutes before serving.
- To achieve clean slices take a glass full of hot water, clean tea towels, and a knife, each time you make a slice dip the knife in the hot water and wipe clean.
More cheesecake recipes
Everyone in my family loves cheesecake, so we've had it at many parties.
You can't beat my lemon curd cheesecake recipe, the tang from the curd against the creamy cheesecake is unbeatable!
For my fellow chocolate lovers, this Chocolate Cheesecake is thick, rich, and like chocolate dreams!
Lemon and blueberry are a match made in heaven, I am sure you will love this Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake recipe.
Be sure to check out all of my cheesecake recipes.
★★★★★ Please let me know if you make this recipe by leaving a star rating and comment below!Print
- 200 Grams (1 ½ Cups) Graham Cracker Crumbs
- 3 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
- 3.5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
- 32oz (2 lbs) Cream Cheese, completely softened to room temperature
- 300 grams (1 ½ Cup) Granulated Sugar
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 3oz (Scant ½ Cup) Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 5 Large Eggs + 2 Large Egg Yolks, at room temperature
- Optional: Homemade Whipped Cream Recipe
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C and grease a 9-inch springform pan then set aside.
- In a small bowl combine crushed graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar. Once evenly combined add melted butter to crumbs. Mix until a wet sand texture is formed. Press into the bottom and slightly up upsides of prepared pan. Bake for 5-8 minutes to set the crust. Let cool on a wire rack and reduce oven temperature to 300F/ 149C.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or large bowl with a hand-held electric mixer beat the cream cheese for 3 minutes at low speed. It should be smooth with no lumps. Add the granulated sugar and salt then beat for another 2 minutes on low speed. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla extract- mixing until fully combined. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is evenly combined.
- Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the final two egg yolks together. You should have a creamy batter with no lumps and no signs of egg yolk. Pour into the prepared pan and gently tap on the counter to encourage any air bubbles to come to the top, use a toothpick to pop any bubbles. Place 9-inch springform pan in a 10-inch cake pan- place cake pan in roasting pan and fill roasting pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the cake pan. I like to place the pan in the oven and use a kettle to pour the hot water in then. This prevents ANY water from getting in the cheesecake and you don't have to wrap everything with foil.
- Bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes, the middle 3 inches of the cheesecake should jiggle just a little bit. I like to use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature is 125-135F- but be careful when you poke as if you are not covering the top in whipped cream you will see the mark. At this point turn the oven up to 500F/260C and leave the cheesecake in to continue cooking, this will darken the top of the cheesecake. This cheesecake can darken really quickly depending on the oven so I would start checking after 7 minutes or so, my cheesecakes usually take 15-18 minutes.
- Turn the oven off and open the door but let the cheesecake cool in the oven for 45 minutes - 1 hour then take out of roasting pan and cool on a wire rack for another hour. Then wrap cheesecake with plastic wrap. Let chill in the fridge overnight or at least 6 hours.
- Use an offset spatula to gently loosen the sides of the cheesecake from the springform pan then release the sides. If you want to transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate use the angled spatula to gently release the crust from the bottom of the pan then slide two spatulas underneath to move and support the cheesecake to the serving plate. Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Prep Time: 25 Minutes
- Cook Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: how to make cheesecake, easy cheesecake recipe, new york style cheesecake