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

4.94 from 417 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

  • Rob Zolock
    December 5, 2020

    Didn’t see recipe for cherry topping in your notes?

    Reply

  • Bonnie
    December 3, 2020

    Could you send me the link for the cherry topping and also do you have a raspberry one. I love all your recipe so delicious. Thank you

    Reply

  • Sharon Li
    December 1, 2020

    This is so delicious! I’ve made it twice and both times we manage to finish it in less than a week (quite a feat for a 9-inch cheesecake). My family also thinks that this recipe tastes even better than Cheesecake Factory’s cheesecake, which I think is the highest of compliments. The only issue I have with this is that the sides don’t come off clean. The second time I made it, I even buttered the sides, it was better, but still doesn’t come off as clean as in your video. I’m wondering if you have a solution to this problem?
    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 2, 2020

      Hi Sharon, a non-stick pan helps and also making sure it’s fully cool. If it still isn’t coming, off, running a thin spatula or knife around the edges will do the trick.

      Reply

  • Samiya
    December 1, 2020

    Hey natasha, love your recipes. I recently tried the cheesecake but there was something amiss. I think i messed up the temperature. It was getting brown from the top :/ help!!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 2, 2020

      Hi Samiya, it may turn slightly brown but it should not burn! 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, it’s great to make sure your oven is calibrated.

      Reply

  • Josh
    November 27, 2020

    Hi Natasha,
    Recipe came out great, no cracks and tasted wonderful, but I need some help. I chose to use gingersnap cookies instead and the crust stuck to my pan. Idk if I used too much butter or if the water from the water bath got into my pan even though I used a lot of foil to ensure that wouldn’t happen. Any suggestions? Thank you so much!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 27, 2020

      Hi Josh, I haven’t tried that with gingersnaps to advise but I can’t imagine that would be the culprit. Water will always find ways if there were any cracks or openings but with a quality pan that shouldn’t happen either. Without being there it is hard to say.

      Reply

  • Elena
    November 25, 2020

    Dear Natasha,

    Would it be ok to reduce the ingredients to half for an 18 cm pan? I bought everything today and will try it next weekend.
    Love youe receipes 😊

    Thank you,
    Elena

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 25, 2020

      Hi Elena, I worry a full recipe would overpower that pan but a half recipe may work! If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe.

      Reply

    • Prerna
      December 10, 2020

      Did you try half the ingredients? I was wondering the same and wanted to try a smaller one as well

      Reply

  • Brynn
    November 25, 2020

    Hi Natasha! I’m not sure what happened, I followed directions step by step, watched your video, and the top of my cheesecake burnt only 10 minutes into baking at 450. What could’ve gone wrong?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 25, 2020

      Hi Brynn, it may turn slightly brown but it should not burn! 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, it’s great to make sure your oven is calibrated.

      Reply

  • Manju
    November 24, 2020

    Hi Natasha! Have made this cheesecake multiple times following directions to the T! Tasted great every time but has brown spots on it. Is it my oven temperature?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 25, 2020

      Hi Manju, I couldn’t really tell as I was not able to see the whole process of how you made this but that never happened to me before. It could be due to air bubbles in the batter or an initial high temperature in the oven.

      Reply

  • Danna
    November 23, 2020

    Hi Natasha, I would like to know if I can use a cast iron roaster to bake the cheesecake? Please let me know. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Danna
      November 23, 2020

      What I meant is, can I use cast iron roaster for the water bath? Thanks alot.

      Reply

    • Natasha
      November 24, 2020

      Hi Danna, I haven’t tried that so I’m not sure how it would affect the bake time. You might google that for specific baking instructions.

      Reply

      • Danna
        November 24, 2020

        Sorry what I meant is can I use a cast iron roasting pan for the water bath? Thanks

        Reply

  • Josh
    November 23, 2020

    Hi there! Love your videos and content. I wanted to ask, if my oven is too powerful, should I lower the temperature when baking or still just follow the directions of the temperatures you put?
    Thank you! I appreciate it!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      November 23, 2020

      Hi Josh, I would reduce the temperature if you know your oven runs hot. Also, just to note this recipe is written for a conventional oven so if you have that option, I would avoid using convection.

      Reply

      • Josh
        November 24, 2020

        Thank you so much! I appreciate it!

        Reply

  • Julia
    November 23, 2020

    Hi Natasha. What exactly is cream cheese? I’m in UK, where can I find it? Many thanks

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 23, 2020

      Hi Julia, Cream cheese is a soft white cheese and is sold in most major supermarkets. If you put “cream cheese” into the search engines of most UK supermarket websites, then you will find that they will bring up Philadelphia and soft white cheese

      Reply

  • Mandy
    November 23, 2020

    Is it possible to freeze this or not so much?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      November 23, 2020

      Hi Mandy, yes this 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

  • chandani deva
    November 21, 2020

    I love this recipe!! I followed this recipe perfectly and somehow my cheesecake was slightly softer than usual. I baked it for 70 minutes should I have baked it a bit longer? Or perhaps is it the moisture that made the cake softer than normal. My crust was also chunky and falling apart as I was slicing the cake. I did press down the crumb mixture into the pan as tightly as possible. Please help if you can!!!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      November 22, 2020

      Hi, make sure to pre-bake the crust which definitely helps for it to keep its form. Also, if your water isn’t hot in the water bath, you would need to bake longer for the cake to reach the correct temperature at the center.

      Reply

  • Cindy
    November 21, 2020

    Absolutely amazing cheesecake! My adult children can’t stop talking how it was the best they had ever eaten. It will now be on our Thanksgiving menu, along with Natasha’s turkey recipe! Love love the videos you provide, too!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 21, 2020

      That’s so great! It sounds like you have a new family favorite, Cindy!

      Reply

  • Saba Khan
    November 20, 2020

    My first time baking a cheese cake and it came out perfect. Topped it with Natasha’s strawberry sauce….Out of this world!!!! Wish I had an option to attach a pic to my review.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 21, 2020

      I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing your great review!

      Reply

  • Danica Zsairra Lozada
    November 20, 2020

    Hi! Should I half this recipe if im using a 7” pan or a conversion if you have any? Thank you so much!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 20, 2020

      HI Danica, I haven’t tried this in a 7″ to advise. I imagine this recipe will need to be cut to 3/4 or 1/2 of the recipe.

      Reply

  • Hilda Garza
    November 16, 2020

    Followed this recipe and the cheesecake came out delicious! My family said it tasted just like a restaurant cheesecake. Thank you for the pictures and the easy to follow steps!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 16, 2020

      That’s just awesome, Hilda! It’s one of our favorite recipes! I’m so glad you all enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Alisha
    November 15, 2020

    Hi Natasha,
    Can you please confirm the exact amount of cheese that is required for this recipe?
    Thanks

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 16, 2020

      Hi Alisha, please check this recipe card to see the complete list of ingredients.

      Reply

      • Alisha
        November 16, 2020

        Just to re-confirm for cream cheese measurement: “2 1/4 lb cream cheese room temperature (4 1/2, 8-oz packages).” I would need 8-oz of 4.5 packages? Really don’t want to go wrong on that.
        Thanks

        Reply

        • Natasha
          November 17, 2020

          Hi Alish, yes that is correct. If you use 8 oz packages, you want to use 4 1/2 of those packages.

          Reply

          • Alisha
            November 17, 2020

            Great thank you so much. Will definitely share with you soon!!

          • Natasha's Kitchen
            November 17, 2020

            Thank you and enjoy!

  • Shari
    November 15, 2020

    I made this with an Oreo crust and chopped Oreos layered in… it was AMAZING! A big hit my family! Thank you!!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 15, 2020

      I’m happy to hear that! Thanks for sharing that with us, I will try using Oreos too next time.

      Reply

  • Sandy
    November 15, 2020

    Can I substitute full fat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream? Thank you, sandy

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 15, 2020

      Hi Sandy, plain Greek yogurt is a good alternative for sour cream. I haven’t tested it in this recipe but it should also work.

      Reply

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