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

  • Franky
    September 28, 2020

    Hi Natasha,

    Can this be made in an aluminum pie pan so that it can be easily gifted to a relative?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      September 29, 2020

      Hi Franky, I haven’t tested it that way but it would overwhelm an aluminum pie pan and would need some modifications.

      Reply

  • Audrey
    September 28, 2020

    Hi Natasha
    Can I make the crust go up the sides? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 28, 2020

      Hi Audrey! That could work! I would love to know how you like this recipe testing that!

      Reply

  • Carla
    September 26, 2020

    Oh my!! This was incredible! A big hit with my family! I served with a topping bar so everyone could pick caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, nuts, whipped cream, etc.
    The only thing that went wrong for me was the top browned. But it still tasted great!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 27, 2020

      THat’s a great idea! I love that! Thank you for sharing this wonderful review Carla!

      Reply

    • SUZAN NAJARIAN-KOJOIAN
      September 28, 2020

      My first attempt the top went dark too, so the second time I made it, I lowered the rack, and there was very little browning. I am making it now for the 3rd time, and lowered the rack even more. I think it will take care of the browning.

      Reply

  • Helen Panta
    September 26, 2020

    Hi Natasha,
    I have tried many of your recipes and had compliments on every single one.
    Thank you for sharing, you’re the best!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 27, 2020

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Helen!

      Reply

  • Pam
    September 24, 2020

    I have been making cheesecake for a long time, but saw your site and decided to try yours. It was amazing. So many compliments. The best ever!!!!!!! Thank you.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 24, 2020

      Fantastic and love it! Thank you for your excellent review, we appreciate you sharing it with us, Pam.

      Reply

  • Ruth
    September 20, 2020

    Amazing work with the recipe Natasha!! I love your recipes! My cheesecake on top turned out a little browner than yours. It was still delicious though😃

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 20, 2020

      I’m glad you loved it, Ruth!

      Reply

  • R.K
    September 19, 2020

    I tried this cheesecake and it was delicious! Lovely texture

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 19, 2020

      I’m so happy you enjoyed that!

      Reply

  • Diana
    September 16, 2020

    It says 12 whole crackers & also graham crackers ??? I was confused , is this 2 types of crackers

    Reply

    • Natasha
      September 16, 2020

      Hi Diana, I mean 12 individual graham cracker cookies (rectangular shaped).

      Reply

  • Karine Rosario
    September 14, 2020

    Hi Natasha! What does sour cream do in the cheesecake? Can i replace it? Or just drop it?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 14, 2020

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

      Reply

      • Tin Martinez
        September 24, 2020

        Hi, Natasha! Can I use turbo broiler/ halogen oven to this recipe? Thank you.

        Reply

        • Natasha
          September 24, 2020

          Hi Tin, I’m not familiar with that type of oven or what modifications are necessary for baking with such an oven. You might google that one.

          Reply

  • Lois
    September 6, 2020

    Hi I love your shows and your children are so cute. I made this cheesecake and thought I was doing everything right. However instead of baking it at 225 instead I baked it at 325.when I took it out I removed the cake from the water bath right away trying to save it. It’s cooling now I wonder if I should scrap it and start over? What do you think?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      September 7, 2020

      Hi Lois, a water bath cheesecake is pretty forgiving. If it sets, I definitely would still proceed with chilling and enjoying it.

      Reply

  • Rebecca
    September 5, 2020

    Hi Ms Natasha

    I made this recipe of your’s and it is my first time doing this cheesecake recipe and it was amazing!!it wasn’t perfectly perfect but i did my best!!Thank you and Godbless

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 5, 2020

      I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for this great review Rebecca!

      Reply

  • Riitta
    August 27, 2020

    Hi Natasha,
    how much is there fat in the sour cream you use?
    Can ”candi buisquits” be used instead of graham buisquits?
    Thank you😀

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 27, 2020

      Hi Ritta, I haven’t tried using candi biscuits yet to advise. You might have to do an experiment but please share with us how it goes. I’m also not sure about the fat content, but you can check that out in the nutrition label of the sour cream that you will be using.

      Reply

      • Jess
        November 5, 2020

        Can’t his be made ahead of time and frozen until ready to eat?

        Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          November 6, 2020

          Yes, this is a great make-ahead dessert and it freezes 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

  • Marcelle
    August 23, 2020

    I was super excited to have friends over so I could have an excuse to make this cheesecake. I was busy trying to multitask and didn’t check if the foil was secure enough, end up with little water in the pan, my crust was ruined! The top part was still good. Oh so good!!! Did not serve to the people coming over… they got strawberries for dessert 😂 .
    Me … in the other hand…
    I made some more crust, trashed the soggy bottom, add perfect looking top to the new crust and eat almost half cheesecake by myself 😂 ( had to freeze the other half to not eat all in a day)
    Thank you again for another delicious recipe!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 24, 2020

      Oh no, lesson learned though! I’m sure you’ll get it right and perfect next time.

      Reply

  • Chris
    August 13, 2020

    Hi Natasha! I made this last night and it is perfectly smooth and level like you said! My only disappointment is that the outer edge is slightly golden brown. I only cooked at 225 for 60 minutes before I checked it. Any ideas to keep the top an even color?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 14, 2020

      Hi Chris, 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

      • Christopher Kerins
        August 20, 2020

        Interesting. I did do a water bath with 1 1/2″ of boiling hot water. Maybe my oven is just hotter than the digital readout?

        Reply

      • Christopher Kerins
        August 20, 2020

        FYI I just used your #natashaskitchen on my instagram if you would like to see the color on the top. Great recipe! It was delicious!

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          August 20, 2020

          I can’t wait to see it! Thank you for sharing that Christopher!

          Reply

  • Roberta
    August 12, 2020

    I did not see the accompanying recipe for the cherry topping on the cheesecake. Please include.

    Reply

  • Meenu
    August 11, 2020

    Hi Natasha! That cheesecake looked perfect! Can you let me know if yoghurt will work instead of sour cream?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 11, 2020

      Thank you! Plain Greek yogurt is a good alternative for sour cream. I haven’t tested it in this recipe but it should also work.

      Reply

  • Ammara
    August 10, 2020

    hi natasha. love ur recipes. i m going to try mking cheesecake for the veyr first time. i want to ask that i have an 8″ springform pan. and i want to make half the recipe. will it be ok in an 8″ pan or should i change the pan or make the full recipe?
    appreciate ur help.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      August 10, 2020

      Hi Ammara, I haven’t tested it that way so you will have to experiment. If you do make a half recipe, keep in mind it will probably bake faster.

      Reply

      • ammara
        August 13, 2020

        thanks. for now i m planning to make full recipe as it is my first time with the cheese cake. hopefully it will come as expected. will try making half next time

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          August 13, 2020

          I hope you enjoyed that!

          Reply

  • Mariam
    August 8, 2020

    How to transfer the cheesecake onto another plate without breaking it? Should I put butter paper under the biscuit crumbs layers?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 8, 2020

      Hi Mariam, 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

  • suzanne
    August 7, 2020

    Could I use the same recipe to make keylime cheesecake ? How much keylime would I need to add ? 😅😅

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 7, 2020

      Hi Suzanne, I haven’t tried that to advise of the measurements. If you do an experiment, please share with us how it goes.

      Reply

  • Melissa Lim
    August 5, 2020

    If I want to bake a small cake, I shall half everything stated in the recipe right?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 5, 2020

      Hi Melissa! That’s right! Simply halve the recipe.

      Reply

    • Lana
      August 6, 2020

      Hi did you try to half the amount if yes what is the cooking time for the half of the amount?
      Thank you

      Reply

    • Daphne
      September 27, 2020

      My first time making a water bath cheesecake. I have done it the other way the no bake. I followed everything to a T. So I hope it turns out good. I will put a picture on Facebook tomorrow when it sets. Thank you again.

      Reply

      • Natasha's Kitchen
        September 27, 2020

        Sounds good, Daphne. I hope it comes out awesome! Please let us know how it goes, we would love to know.

        Reply

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