Perfect Cheesecake Recipe (VIDEO)
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!
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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!
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.
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
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.
- Combine crumbs together with melted butter and sugar and stir until moistened.
- Press the crumbs into a 9″ springform pan, going up the sides slightly.
- Bake in the center of the oven at 350˚F for 8 minutes then cool to room temperature.
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.
How to Bake a Cheesecake in a Water Bath:
- Boil a pot of water. Boil more than you think you’ll need to ensure you have enough.
- Place 2 large sheets of heavy-duty foil on the counter (use the extra-wide foil to go all the way up the sides).
- 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).
- 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.
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!
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!
Perfect Cheesecake Recipe
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
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 and chill in the refrigerator overnight to fully set before slicing.
Nutrition Per Serving
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.