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 398 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

  • 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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