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

  • Tammy
    August 3, 2020

    Delicious cheesecake! This was my first time ever making a baked cheesecake & WOW – extremely delicious.
    Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe & for all the other amazing recipes.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 3, 2020

      You’re welcome, Tammy! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe!

      Reply

  • Fatin
    August 3, 2020

    Hi Natasha, the cheese cake was great. How can I make banana cheese cake or strawberry cheese cake? Thanks

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 3, 2020

      Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it! You can check out my No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe or No-Bake Cheesecake with Strawberries.

      Reply

      • Fatin
        August 4, 2020

        How about with banana’s flavor?Should I add banana to the mix?

        Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          August 4, 2020

          Hi Fatin, I haven’t tried adding banana yet to advise how the result is going to be. If you will do an experiment, please share with us how it goes.

          Reply

  • Bianca
    August 2, 2020

    Hi I have a question about the crust! I’ve made it twice & the topping comes out great but my crust is literally stuck to the pan! When I move the cheesecake to a platter, all the crust comes off and I’m only left with the topping. How do I prevent this? Please help asap!! I use a Wilton non stick spring form pan

    Reply

    • Natasha
      August 3, 2020

      Hi Bianca, you might try compacting the crust a little less. Another tip that works well is to line the bottom with a ring of parchment paper so it transfers easier.

      Reply

  • Denise Ainsworth
    August 1, 2020

    Hi Natasha, I was wondering if using a regular hand mixer is ok when making this as I don’t have a kitchenAid stand mixer here with me. Thanks so much for the help. I love all your recipes an videos.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 1, 2020

      Hi Denise, a hand mixer will work but you might reduce the mixing level a touch so you aren’t adding too much air to the mix.

      Reply

  • Jessica G
    July 30, 2020

    Hi Natasha
    Love your recipes.
    I try to make this cheesecake. When I went to check on the cheesecake at the hour mark in the oven, I noticed my cheesecake had a crack at the top.
    Do you know why that happened?
    I followed the recipes directions.
    Could it be I used a convection oven?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 31, 2020

      Hi Jessica, it was probably due to the convection setting. We use a regular conventional oven.

      Reply

  • Randy Lane
    July 28, 2020

    Natasha. I started cooking about 2yrs ago and love it. Found your site one day and now you guys are my go to place anytime I want to try something new. All recipes turned out great so far…except my cheese cake. First time making a cheese cake. Followed the recipe to the word but found it was still runny in the middle after I had it in the fridge overnight. Any suggestions?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 28, 2020

      Hi Randy! I’m so glad you’re enjoying our recipes, that’s so great! I haven’t had this happen, I’m curious if it needed more time. Was anything altered in the recipe by chance?

      Reply

  • Cari G.
    July 28, 2020

    I made this for my Husband’s birthday and it turned out wonderful! It was my first time making a cheesecake! Thank you for sharing this recipe! Question, have you ever attempted to add chocolate chips? Like A chocolate chip cheesecake!?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      July 28, 2020

      I’m so glad it was successful! I haven’t tried that but you can experiment on that and share with us how it goes.

      Reply

  • Pritika
    July 27, 2020

    My first time trying one of Natasha’s recipes. The cheesecake came out perfect. No cracks and the only thing I altered was I used more graham crackers, butter and added a tablespoon of brown sugar for the crust. I wanted additional crust for the sides.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      July 28, 2020

      So great to hear that your first recipe was a success! Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

      Reply

  • Wilma
    July 24, 2020

    This is sooo good. I made it last night. The first time I do a cheesecake! I want to surprise my hubby with his favorite dessert.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 24, 2020

      I’m so happy you enjoyed that. Thank you for sharing that with us, Wilma!

      Reply

  • Sheila
    July 22, 2020

    What is best way to freeze this cheesecake recipe?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      July 22, 2020

      Cheesecakes are a make-ahead dessert and also freeze well. If you are freezing an entire cheesecake, simply wrap it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place it in an airtight container

      Reply

  • Nancy Montgomery
    July 18, 2020

    Is it possible to add white chocolate to this recipe and still have it come out the same as it does without it? I tried adding white chocolate to a different cheesecake recipe and it didn’t get firm in the middle. Thanks for your help. Btw, I have made all your cheesecake recipes and they are all fantastic. My great-grandchildren love the mini-carmel cheesecake bites.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 18, 2020

      Hi Nancy, to be honest, I don’t have a video on how to make a chocolate cheesecake but thanks for your suggestion, and if you so experiment with white chocolate please let me know how you like that

      Reply

  • Olesia
    July 15, 2020

    Natasha I did everything by the recipe but my cheesecake started to turn brown is there something I need to change or do? I’m scared it will burn

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 15, 2020

      Hi Olesia, The brown color should not effect the taste although with a water bath it should not turn brown. I recommend reading through the tips and comments in the comment section.

      Reply

  • Kevin Ternes
    July 14, 2020

    LOL. A beautiful goofball having FUN!
    WHAT is up with the waffle texture on bottom of the pan?
    HoW is the easiest way to transfer to any other container, disposable kind.
    I give them away anonymously for fun and smiles.
    Thanks! I enjoy the videos! Oh, and you and your antics.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 14, 2020

      Hi Kevin, most springform pans have bumps on the bottom of the pan, the bumps help keep the cake from sliding. I haven’t tried transferring it, we serve it right on the bottom piece. You are welcome to try sliding it off but I worry it may break apart. Thank you for the wonderful compliments, I’m glad you’re enjoying our recipes!

      Reply

      • Randee Collins
        July 19, 2020

        I have slid cheesecakes off of those bottoms to take them elsewhere. Run a long wide metal spatula underneath the crust, all the way around then push it onto whatever you want to serve it on, with a wide spatula. Easy does it 😉

        Reply

    • Sheila Martin Gay
      July 22, 2020

      Hi, I’ve used parchment paper n works great..

      Reply

  • Janina
    July 8, 2020

    Hi Natasha!

    I really like your recipes and I want to try out as many as I can.
    You use cream cheese in many of your recipes.
    I live in Germany and I want to get the closest to the original taste of your cake but cream cheese is not always cream cheese in Germany!
    Can you tell me which brand you always use?

    Thank you!

    Your fan, Janina

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 8, 2020

      Hi Janina, we usually use the Philadelphia brand or the Costco Raskas brand cream cheese. I hope that helps.

      Reply

      • Linda
        July 14, 2020

        Hi Natasha, I’m making the perfect cheesecake this is my second time. First one came out perfect my second one is still in the oven for 25 more minutes and is turning completely brown. I’m making it the same as the last one and have no clue why this is happening. Any ideas? Love your recipes.

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          July 14, 2020

          Hi Linda, The brown color should not affect the taste although with a water bath it should not turn brown. I recommend reading through the tips and comments in the comment section. Also, is it positioned in the middle of the oven?

          Reply

  • Patricia
    July 7, 2020

    I love this recipe! Do I need to change the cooking times if I use 2 – 4in springform pans?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      July 7, 2020

      Hi Patricia, I haven’t tested it that way so I can’t say for sure. I would go off of visual cues but the good news is, that even if you over-bake this cheesecake, it is very forgiving and will still taste great.

      Reply

  • Carol
    July 7, 2020

    Hi I’m Carol from Trinidad,
    I tried this recipe, my first time trying my hand at cheesecake so I proceeded cautiously. I decided to half the recipe for trial and error sake. The method is pure perfection. I may need a non stick pan and wider foil but the cheesecake still is perfect . Even better overnight Definitely making this again, it really is perfection!!! Thank you

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 7, 2020

      I’m so happy you enjoyed that. Thank you for sharing that with us!

      Reply

  • Faith
    July 3, 2020

    Hi Natasha! This is the FIRST time I’ve made a cheesecake and (of course) water seeped through. I double layered the foil and everything but I was wondering if you had a suggestion on what I could do afterwards to make sure it’s not soggy when serving. I’ve refrigerated overnight and still feels a bit soggy. I’ve read online that putting it in the broiler upside down works but I don’t want to ruin the pretty top. Any suggestions? Also, LOVE your recipes!! So delicious!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      July 4, 2020

      Hi Faith, make sure to use 2 of the wide sheets of foil. If foil is overlapping (as with using regular smaller rolls of foil), it will likely seep through.

      Reply

  • Fran
    July 2, 2020

    Hi Natasha
    Why does part of the white cheesecake edge go brown during the cooking stage. This has happened to me twice during the first 15 mins.
    BTW love the cheesecake.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 2, 2020

      Hi Fran, The brown color should not effect the taste although with a water bath it should not turn brown. I recommend reading through the tips and comments in the comment section.

      Reply

  • Tasmiah
    July 2, 2020

    Hi, Natasha. I was thinking of making the cheesecake for my brother’s birthday but I couldn’t get hold of any sour cream. Do you think I can substitute the sour cream with full fat Greek yogurt? If yes, then please write me the amount. Looking forward to your reply

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 2, 2020

      Hi Tasmiah, Plain Greek yogurt is a good alternative for sour cream. I haven’t tested it in this recipe but it may work.

      Reply

    • Daphne
      December 21, 2020

      Your recipe was perfect and by using the bain marie I didn’t get any cracks. I love seeing your videos along with the recipe.

      Reply

      • Natasha's Kitchen
        December 21, 2020

        So great to hear that, Daphne. Thank you for an awesome feedback!

        Reply

  • Elizabeth
    June 28, 2020

    This cheesecake is absolutely amazing! So far, I have made the tres leches and shrimp Alfredo recipes as well. Natasha’s recipes never fail! Always amazing. Definitely my “go to” whenever I want to get creative in the kitchen!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      June 28, 2020

      I am so happy that you loved the recipes that you have tried. Thanks for sharing that with us!

      Reply

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