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

  • Atlanta
    November 14, 2020

    Could you use a hand mixer or is the stand mixer with paddle an absolute requirement?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 14, 2020

      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

  • Linda
    November 10, 2020

    I made this cheesecake for a birthday. I was disappointed I guess it wasn’t cooked enough. I baked it the first fifteen minutes then turned heat down and cooked probably another hour and twenty minutes or so. When we cut it next day it was super soft and almost like it was melting. Tasted good but you almost had to eat with spoon. I’m sure it was operater error

    Reply

    • Natasha
      November 11, 2020

      Hi Linda, did you possibly use a smaller pan (which would make your cheesecake taller)? Also, did you start with boiling hot water in the pan? Lastly, you might check the temperature calibration of your oven since some ovens can run cooler. I hope that helps to troubleshoot.

      Reply

  • Ellen Forrest
    November 7, 2020

    What is the easiest way to get cc off bottom of springform pan to something else without tearing up the crusts?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 7, 2020

      Hi Ellen, we usually serve right on it; it may be possible to move once set, but sliding something thin – a spatula, maybe? Underneath that cake.

      Reply

      • Lucille
        November 13, 2020

        I don’t serve with the bottom of the spring form pan attached. Before baking, I line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. After the cheesecake has been refrigerated 24 hours, I flip it on to a flat plate, peel off the parchment paper, and then flip the cheesecake over on to the plate I am going to use for presentation. Works well. If the cheesecake is too soupy, try letting it cool in the oven with the heat turned off. This also helps the cheesecake cool without the top cracking.

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          November 13, 2020

          Thank you for sharing that with us, Lucille!

          Reply

  • skip torok
    November 3, 2020

    “Cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight to fully set before slicing.”

    Wait, What? I’m afraid THAT is NOT going to happen around here. Might get a few hours till I go to bed.

    How bad will it be if the next morning if a couple of sices are missing?

    I’ve placed your page into my favorites. Great stuff!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 3, 2020

      Haha! I know exactly what you mean! I’m so glad you’re enjoying our recipes!

      Reply

  • Aldyth Kougias
    November 1, 2020

    Hi Natasha,
    I just love watching you bake and trying your recipes. I would like to bake this for the holidays for some friends, but how do I get the cheese cake off of the bottom part of the spring form pan without breaking up the bottom

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 1, 2020

      Hi Aldyth, a tip that works well is to line the bottom with a ring of parchment paper so it transfers easier.

      Reply

  • Tamyee
    October 31, 2020

    Hi Natasha… I’m looking forward to making this… Would I be able to add fruit sauce to the cheesecake like a raspberry cheesecake or strawberry cheesecake??? Would it affect how long I leave it in to bake??

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 31, 2020

      Hi Tamyee, I have tried topping this with jam but I haven’t attempted a swirl or bake in fruit. If you happen to experiment I would love to know how you like that.

      Reply

  • Susie
    October 30, 2020

    Baked as directed but top of my cheesecake browned a bit while cooking for the 15 min in 450 oven . Why did this happen. Have made cheesecakes for years and tried this recipe. Did the water bath too. Followed recipe to a t . Never had this happen before . And it cracked too. I thought the water bath was supposed to keep it from cracking. So disappointed this happened. I think I will try it again sometime , but am going to stick to my moms recipe. Still would like to know why it browned on top and cracked ? ? ? Anyway I love your recipes and have made lots of them. Enjoy your website, and will try this again sometime. Thanks in advance for any response. Susie

    Reply

    • Natasha
      November 2, 2020

      Hi Susie, I haven’t had that happen but I am always happy to help troubleshoot. This could happen if you use convection bake settings or place the cheesecake too close to the top heating element. This can also happen if you set the oven to broil. I highly recommend reading through the post which addresses most issues with cheesecakes as well as watching the video to see where things may have gone wrong.

      Reply

  • Flor
    October 24, 2020

    Hi natasha I love all your recipes . They are delicious.I made this. cheescake and it was good .I bake it for 60min and followed your instruction my problem is some part of the cheesecake is little bit soupy .

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 24, 2020

      Hi Flor, was anything altered in the recipe by chance? Is your oven calibrated? Make sure you are not using the convection setting, we use a regular conventional oven. I wonder if the water got in.

      Reply

      • Flor
        October 25, 2020

        Thank u for your reply. I will try to bake this cheesecake again coz my husband loves it. You must be right probably the water got in to my cheescake coz everything is fine I follow exactly your recipe and my oven is okay. I will let you know how it goes time.thank u

        Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          October 25, 2020

          Yes, I would love to know how it goes.

          Reply

  • Terri
    October 22, 2020

    Love your recipes Natasha..Simple and it’s ingredients that we all have in our kitchen.. and love your sense of humor.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 22, 2020

      You’re so nice! Thank you for the wonderful compliment, Terri!

      Reply

  • Sonu
    October 19, 2020

    Hi Natasha,

    Your cake recipes are classic ,easy and delicious.I bet your other recipes must be good too but I am vegetarian so I can follow only dessert recipes..

    I have made this recipe twice and it turned out awesome. Gonna bake one more coming weekend.First time I tried with half and gained the confidence with the full recipe. One of my friend commented “Best cheesecake ever”.I love your Russian Tiramisu cake recipe ,don’t even remember how many times i made that.. Thank you for your hard work ..keep it up

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 19, 2020

      Hello Sonu, I love reading good and inspiring comments so thank you for sharing that with us. So great to hear that making this cake was successful, I hope that you love every recipe that you will try!

      Reply

  • Aiman
    October 19, 2020

    I have made 4 of these cheese cakes… in 10 days!!! It’s simply amazing!
    However, what’s annoying me is that it’s always coming out a bit yellow & brown patches on top. Should I reduce the egg yokes? Cover the cake with foils while it’s in the oven? I have an electric oven

    Reply

    • Natasha
      October 19, 2020

      Hi Aiman, it could be due to hot spots in your oven. I also have an electric oven so I don’t think it’s due to the type of oven but likely hot spots or possibly your oven runs a little too hot. Also, avoid the urge to over-bake or bake at too high of heat.

      Reply

  • Anita
    October 17, 2020

    This cheesecake turned out delicious but my crust got soggy from the water even though I wrapped it really well. I’m not sure what happened…

    Reply

    • Natasha
      October 18, 2020

      Hi Anita, I wonder if the water got in. I love to use those extra-wide sheets and then double it just in case the foil tears.

      Reply

    • Sharon
      December 1, 2020

      Hi Anita,
      Same happened to me and I used 2 sheets of extra wide heavy duty foil with no seams or tears. Cake itself was wonderfully tall and light but the crust was disappointing as about 1/4″ of water was in the bottom between the foil and bottom of the springform pan, so when I saw that, I knew the crust would be soggy. I was careful pouring the boiling water in around the foil covered pan.
      I wondered if this is what caused me to have to bake much longer than recipe suggested. Tasted wonderful, crust disappointing :/
      Natasha, any thoughts?

      Reply

  • Ella
    October 15, 2020

    Hi Natasha! I tried this cheesecake and it turned out perfect!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 15, 2020

      I’m so glad you loved it, Ella!

      Reply

  • Subrina
    October 14, 2020

    Hi Natasha can this recipe also work if I want to make it into cheesecake cupcake too??and can I make it without the crust??thanks

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 14, 2020

      Hello Sabrina, I have not really tested that to advise. You might have to do an experiment on that one, please share with us how it goes if you try it! I also have a mini cheesecake recipe if you would like to check this out.

      Reply

  • Sittie Ibis
    October 14, 2020

    Hi Natasha, Im a big fan of your btw! Im planning to prepare this tonight for my husband birthday =P. hehe. i have question though, can i reduce the eggs to 3 or 4 maybe? will it have a significant impact on the taste otherwise i will just stick to you recipe. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      October 14, 2020

      Hi, it would probably affect the texture and prevent it from setting correctly.

      Reply

  • Brandi
    October 12, 2020

    I have followed the recipe to the T but the top got brown at only 7 minutes in. Will that affect the taste? How could i have avoided that? It cooked in the water bath S specified. Should i have covered it?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 12, 2020

      Hi Brandi, 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

  • Lana
    October 7, 2020

    It’s a perfect recipe I just made it it comes out great

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 7, 2020

      I’m so happy you enjoyed that!

      Reply

  • Ben Giannantonio
    October 6, 2020

    Looks like the way I make mine .
    Love all your recipes !
    Tip … try cutting it with dental floss . Unflavored of course , it really works !

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 6, 2020

      Thank you for sharing that awesome tip with me! I’m so glad you enjoeyd it!

      Reply

  • Lamonica Roberts
    October 6, 2020

    Where did you get the sheet pan your husband famous ribs where on?

    Reply

  • Jacky
    September 29, 2020

    BY FAR the most perfect cheesecake recipe ever. This is a must! It’s the right amount of sweet, creamy yumminess you will try and you won’t regret it. It was a huge hit and I will be making again and again. If you follow the instructions to a T you will have a cheesecake that looks just like Natasha’s 🙂 a true crowd pleaser!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 29, 2020

      Love it! That is such a sweet comment, Jacky. Thank you so much for your amazing review!

      Reply

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