This classic Cheesecake is a tall, ultra-creamy, New York-style cheesecake. Baking with the water bath method is the secret to ensuring the perfect rise with a level top and no cracks.

This is a make-ahead, freezer-friendly dessert that is well-loved by all of our family and friends. Watch the video tutorial and you will be a pro in no time!

Classic slice of cheesecake on a plate with cherry topping

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Watch the Cheesecake Recipe Video:

If you have never made a homemade cheesecake, you are in for a treat. We love this homemade version even more than the original Cheesecake Factory cheesecake in taste and texture. Top a slice with homemade Cherry Sauce or even Strawberry Sauce and it’s a winning combination!

About Cheesecake:

Cheesecakes are essentially rich cheese and egg custards baked over a graham cracker crust. It’s not technically a ‘cake.’ The creamy and decadent texture of cheesecake is irresistible and all you need is a short list of basic ingredients: cream cheese, eggs, sugar, a bit of sour cream, and vanilla. The 3-ingredient crust is even easier.

Homemade cheesecakes are surprisingly easy to make and require very little active time. Your mixer does most of the work and the hardest part of the process is waiting for it to bake, cool, and chill overnight. It’s also one of the best parts about cheesecakes – they are a make-ahead dessert and also freeze well.

Ingredients for cheesecake with cream cheese, eggs, sour cream, sugar, vanilla, graham crackers and butter

What Does a Water Bath do for a Cheesecake?

In searching for the perfect cheesecake recipe, we wanted to completely eliminate cracks, shrinkage, overbaking, and browning. We adapted our original (no water bath) Cheesecake recipe slightly, so if you enjoyed that one, you’ll completely fall in love with this one. Here’s why a water bath works so well:

  • The center and edges of the cake cook at the same rate
  • Steam moisture protects the top of the cake
  • Gentle, even rise with minimal shrinkage and no more cracking!
  • The cake is ultra-creamy all the way to the edges
  • More forgiving and less likely to overbake

perfect slice of cheesecake that has been baked in a water bath

Our Favorite Cheesecake Crust:

A cheesecake crust is easy peasy with only 3 ingredients: graham crackers, sugar, and butter. You can pulse the crumbs in a food processor or blender, or put them in a sturdy Ziploc bag and roll with a rolling pin until fine crumbs form. They are also sold as crumbs to save time.

  1. Combine crumbs together with melted butter and sugar and stir until moistened.
  2. Press the crumbs into a 9″ springform pan, going up the sides slightly.
  3. Bake in the center of the oven at 350˚F for 8 minutes then cool to room temperature.

Step by step how to make a cheesecake crust with graham crackers

Tips for Making the Best Cheesecake:

Our best tip is to not rush the process of making or cooling the cake. Each step is important for making the perfect cheesecake. Read through this advice before starting your cheesecake and be sure to watch the video tutorial.

  • Make sure cream cheese is at room temperature so you don’t end up with lumps of cream cheese.
  • Beat cream cheese and sugar until completely smooth. This step is your last chance to ensure a smooth batter.
  • Use the paddle attachment to avoid over-mixing.
  • Scrape the sides of the bowl and the attachment frequently to ensure the mixture is smooth.
  • Reduce speed when adding eggs.
  • Bake until the cheesecake looks set and the center wobbles slightly when you tap the pan.
  • Always chill your cheesecake before serving, or it will be soupy in the center.

Step by step photos how to make a cheesecake filling

How to Bake a Cheesecake in a Water Bath:

  1. Boil a pot of water. Boil more than you think you’ll need to ensure you have enough.
  2. Place 2 large sheets of heavy-duty foil on the counter (use the extra-wide foil to go all the way up the sides).
  3. Fold the foil up the sides of the pan ensuring there are no rips or holes. Fan the foil out slightly at the tops to keep the rim clear for rising and to block any boiling water from splashing into the pan (don’t worry if a little water gets in).
  4. Pour cheesecake filling into the foil-lined springform pan and place into a deep roasting pan. Fill with 1 1/2 to 2″ with water. It should be about halfway up the side of the springform pan.

Safety Tip: Use oven mitts to transfer the roasting pan in and out of the oven for safety and transfer slowly to avoid sloshing.

Instructional photos showing wrapping a pan in foil and baking cheesecake in water bath

Pro Tip: How to Cut a Cheesecake:

Cheesecakes can get ugly fast if cut the wrong way. To get clean professional looking slices, dip a long knife into very hot water (I pour hot water in a tall mason jar). Once the knife warms up, wipe with a paper towel and slice through the cheesecake. For best results, dip and wipe your knife between slices.

Our History with Cheesecake!

We are major cheesecake fans over here. For years, we have perfected our cheesecake recipes with everything from No-bake Cheesecake to Mini Cheesecakes and even Pumpkin Cheesecake.

Classic Cheesecake on cake platter with slice removed

Print the Recipe below then head to the grocery store to stock up on ingredients. This is bound to become your new favorite Cheesecake Recipe!

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Perfect Cheesecake Recipe

4.95 from 413 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Slice of cheesecake on a plate topped with cherry sauce
This classic Cheesecake is a tall, ultra-creamy, New York-style cheesecake. Baking with the water bath method is the secret to ensuring the perfect rise with a level top and no cracks.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Resting Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 10 hours

Ingredients 

Servings: 12 people

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, from 12 whole crackers
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar

For the Cheesecake:

  • 2 1/4 lb cream cheese, room temperature (4 1/2 packages, 8-oz each)
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

Instructions

How to Make Cheesecake Crust:

  • Crush graham crackers into crumbs. In a medium bowl, combine crumbs together with melted butter and sugar and stir until moistened.
  • Press crumbs into a 9" springform pan, going up the sides slightly. Bake in the center of a conventional oven at 350˚F for 8 minutes then cool to room temperature.
  • Place 2 large sheets of extra-wide heavy-duty foil on the counter. Set the springform pan in the center and fold the foil up the sides of the pan ensuring there are no rips or holes. Fan the foil out slightly at the tops to keep the rim clear for rising.

How to Make Perfect Cheesecake:

  • Preheat oven to 450˚F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine cream cheese and 1 1/4 cups sugar. Beat on medium/high speed for 5 minutes until completely smooth, scraping down the bowl and attachment as needed.
  • Reduce speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, letting them incorporate between each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.
  • Reduce speed to low and add 1/4 cup sour cream and 1/2 Tbsp vanilla and mix just until incorporated. Pour batter over the foil-wrapped springform pan with your cooled crust.

How to Bake Cheesecake in a Water Bath:

  • Boil a pot of water (boil more than you think you'll need to ensure there's enough). Set your cheesecake pan in a deep roasting pan. Pour hot water around the edges about halfway up the sides of the springform pan (1 1/2" to 2" of water).
  • Carefully transfer cheesecake to the center rack of the oven and bake at 450˚F for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 225˚F and without opening the door, bake additional 60-75 minutes or until center of cheesecake wobbles slightly when you tap the pan.
  • Remove cheesecake from the oven and let it rest in the roasting pan with water for 45 minutes then transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Cover pan with plastic wrap, being careful that it doesn't touch the surface, and chill in the refrigerator overnight to fully set before slicing.

Notes

For best results, be sure to bake in a conventional oven (not convection).

Nutrition Per Serving

510kcal Calories34g Carbs9g Protein39g Fat21g Saturated Fat192mg Cholesterol378mg Sodium176mg Potassium1g Fiber27g Sugar1454IU Vitamin A112mg Calcium1mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Perfect Cheesecake Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
510
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
39
g
60
%
Saturated Fat
 
21
g
131
%
Cholesterol
 
192
mg
64
%
Sodium
 
378
mg
16
%
Potassium
 
176
mg
5
%
Carbohydrates
 
34
g
11
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
27
g
30
%
Protein
 
9
g
18
%
Vitamin A
 
1454
IU
29
%
Calcium
 
112
mg
11
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheesecake, cheesecake recipe, water bath cheesecake
Skill Level: Easy/Medium
Cost to Make: $$
Calories: 510

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

We can’t get enough of this classic cheesecake recipe. It bakes up beautifully and you can’t beat the flavor and creamy whipped texture. Make this and you will get recipe requests.

Cheesecake slice on a plate with a fork and cherry topping

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • jacqueline marie mayo
    April 7, 2024

    Omg, Omg!!! This came out PERFECT!!! I am from New York and now live in Spain, and I have been searching for that NY Style textured cheescake and this is it!!!

    Reply

  • Debbie
    April 3, 2024

    This truly is the BEST cheesecake recipe I’ve ever made! I made a sour cream/sugar/vanilla topping – then placed fresh berries on top! Bomb!!!
    I made this for my husband’s birthday back in February and this one I am
    Donating to an auction for Veterans! The auction attendees bid on the desserts! Cannot wait to see what this brings in for this wonderful charity!!! Stay tuned!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 3, 2024

      That sounds amazing, Debbie! Thanks for sharing with us.

      Reply

  • Jaclyn
    April 3, 2024

    I had high expectations for this cheesecake because of the comments. So even with high expectations, the first bite stopped me in my tracks. It’s sooo good!! I’m so glad to have this recipe! I am at a high altitude and it took much longer to cook. I might turn my oven up to 250 next time. Something to think about if you’re also at a high altitude.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 3, 2024

      Hi Jaclyn! That’s wonderful to hear. Thank you for the feedback.

      Reply

  • Holly
    April 2, 2024

    This is the first cheesecake I ever made. I didn’t even consider myself a lover of cheesecake…until I tasted this! I had several friends who love cheesecake tell me mine was the best they’d ever tasted! Look no further for your go-to cheesecake recipe!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 2, 2024

      That’s so great! It sounds like you have a new favorite, Holly!

      Reply

  • M’Lou Thompson
    April 1, 2024

    All my family loved this so much that it will be a staple from now on! It *is* “the best cheesecake recipe!”

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 1, 2024

      Aaaw thank you I’m happy to hear that!

      Reply

  • C
    March 30, 2024

    Great, easy to follow recipe! It came out beautifully and just like the pictures. Love how descriptive the recipe was. And I really appreciate the measurements being in the directions so that I didn’t have to bounce back and forth between directions and ingredients list. I saw the comments about crust coming out mushy, try to flip upside down after chilling abit and put paper towels for a while and it’ll soak up a good bit of the moisture, and then you can follow up by broiling with bottom side up for a few minutes to return the crunch. GREAT recipe, thank you again!

    Reply

  • Amy
    March 30, 2024

    Can you convert to use a 7″ sprigform pan? Possibly just cut ingredients by 1/3?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 30, 2024

      Hi Amy! I think so, but I haven’t converted the recipe for different size pans so it would take some experimenting.

      Reply

  • Beth
    March 29, 2024

    Tasted fabulous and my family raved! I removed 1 star because my top browned a bit even though I followed the instructions to the letter. I’m making again for Easter- I accompany it with a wonderful mango puree from mangoes freshly frozen from my mango tree.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 29, 2024

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Beth! I’m so glad you all enjoyed it!

      Reply

    • Donna W
      March 30, 2024

      I am now the person that brings a cheesecake to every family function. We all absolutely love this cheesecake. I just made one for Easter tomorrow. Thank you!

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        March 30, 2024

        This really is the best cheesecake recipe! I’m so glad this is a family favorite!

        Reply

  • David Maxfield
    March 23, 2024

    Made this several times ,the best cheese cake ever. Making it right now our friend requested blue berry topping sauce. Thanks far great recipes

    Reply

  • LeeAnn Morrell
    March 22, 2024

    I’ve made quite a few cheesecakes and this recipe is hands down the best! I have a request for a Berry swirl cheesecake, will be boiling down fresh berries and sugar for a compote, can you think of any baking instructions that would change with that addition?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 22, 2024

      Hi LeAnn! I’m so glad you loved this recipe. I haven’t tested adding any additions to this cheesecake, so I can’t say for sure. I’m sorry I cant be more help. Let us know how it turns out if your experiment.

      Reply

  • Rebecca
    March 20, 2024

    Mine was completely raw and I cooked for 15 min longer. I’m in Canada does altitude matter?

    Reply

  • Christina
    March 14, 2024

    I made this recipe, putting the cheesecake in at 450 made a brown crust on top.in just 15 mins Luckily I’ll have a cherry topping covering it. Not sure if I did something wrong here?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 15, 2024

      Hi Christina! I’m sorry to hear that. Did you skip any steps or make any substitutions?
      This recipe is written for a conventional oven on regular bake mode. Are you using a convection oven or setting? If so, it would require modifications.
      It sounds like the oven could be too hot. I would highly suggest investing in an Internal oven thermometer (Amazon affiliate link) to ensure your oven is heating correctly. Also- do not skip the water bath. It’s an important step and helps to prevent the browning on top.
      I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • anja
    March 6, 2024

    I used Allulose instead of sugar, you can check this web page for all sweeteners. https://mariamindbodyhealth.com/guide-to-natural-sweeteners/

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 6, 2024

      Thank you for sharing that with us, Anja!

      Reply

  • Robin Berrios
    March 5, 2024

    Best cheesecake EVER
    This is my 4
    3rd one I made in 3 weeks 😬🤷‍♀️😋😋😋
    EVERYONE loves it

    Reply

  • Susanna
    March 1, 2024

    Hi Natasha.
    I always come back to this recipe to make the best cheesecake:)
    Question about freezing it. How long can it stay frozen? and what is the best way to thaw it?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 1, 2024

      Hi Susanna! I’m glad you love the recipe. For best quality and taste, I like to use it within 2-3 months of freezing. You’d want to thaw it in the refrigerator because of the dairy products.

      Reply

  • Robert Perl
    February 29, 2024

    I made your cheesecake recipe and followed it completely. The cheesecake was delicious but the graham cracker crust was soggy. Any suggestions?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      February 29, 2024

      Hi Robert! It sounds like there could have been some water seepage from the water bath. To get a good seal, I like to use heavy duty foil. You may need to do more than one layer to help.

      Reply

  • Mel
    February 26, 2024

    I got water in my batter when pouring in my water bath!! Is it ruined??!! Is there anything I can do to fix this??!!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      February 26, 2024

      HI Mel, it depends on how much it is. If you are able to blot it out with a paper towel, I would do that. If it’s just a few drops, you can proceed and it will be ok (I’ve done that before)

      Reply

  • Brittany Cannelli
    February 25, 2024

    I have made this recipe for years and everyone loves it. I was wondering if you have ever had anyone made it crustless? And with a sugar substitute? I wanted to use allulose. It normally measures out the same as sugar. I’d love your thoughts

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 25, 2024

      Glad to hear that this has been your go-to recipe for a while now! I haven’t tried any sugar substitutions to advise, I have checked the comments and have not seen others try too. I haven’t tested making this crustless.

      Reply

  • Anne
    February 24, 2024

    Hi is there anything you can do about the ads? I don’t mind a few but there’s so much to the point where I can’t even be on the recipe, they keeping popping up and glitching and losing my spot in the recipe, it’s very frustrating.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 26, 2024

      Thank you for sharing your concerns and feedback, Anne. The only way we can continue providing free recipes is by having ads on our site so we are not able to remove those at this time. We find that most people would rather see the ads than pay to see the recipes. You should also be able to close the ads after it shows up for a while.

      I appreciate your feedback and I hope you love every recipe you try.

      Reply

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