Classic Cheesecake Recipe
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classic cheesecake recipe
Yields: 8 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 25 Mins Cook Time: 1 Hr Total Time: 1 Hr 25 Mins

This classic cheesecake is perfect, New York-style, smooth, extra creamy, bakes with no water bath with no cracks! We found the perfect classic cheesecake recipe that you will keep in your recipe book for life. Keep reading for our tips and tricks for how to get a perfect classic cheesecake.

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This classic cheesecake recipe is freezer-friendly, make-ahead, and turns out perfect every time. Making baked cheesecake can be intimidating at times, this is why we got all the best tips and tricks for the perfect classic cheesecake.

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If you love cheesecake recipes as we do, you should check out our mango cheesecake, Nutella cheesecake, Oreo cheesecake, and our Biscoff cheesecake. You will love all of these recipes!

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Other classic recipes we tested and perfected: chocolate cake, chocolate cupcakes, carrot cake cupcakes.

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Watch our video for how to make classic cheesecake:

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Why this recipe works:

  • There is no water bath involved.
  • This recipe uses super simple ingredients.
  • Turns out perfect every time!
  • Bakes at a low temperature helps to ensure that the cheesecake doesn’t crack.
  • This recipe is a make-ahead recipe, so it’s perfect to make the day before a gathering.
  • Everyone’s favorite dessert. I mean, who doesn’t like a classic cheesecake?
  • You can top this cake with any topping that you’d like, this step allows you to make this cheesecake your own!
  • This recipe comes together in under 40 minutes. (not including the bake time and the cool time)

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Classic cheesecake ingredients:

For the crust:

We make a simple 3 ingredient graham cracker crust, you will need:

Graham crackers- you will need about 1 ½ cup of graham crackers. If you don’t have graham crackers, you can use tea biscuits, vanilla wafers, and digestive biscuits.

Granulated sugar- the sugar will add sweetness to the crust.

Melted butter– melt the butter in the microwave on 30 seconds pulses, to make sure that the butter doesn’t boil up and explodes in the microwave (been there done that), or melt it on the stovetop.

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For the cheesecake filling:

The filling for this classic cheesecake uses a few simple ingredients:

Cream cheese- the most important ingredient in this recipe, is the cream cheese. Make sure that you are using full-fat cream cheese, for a cheesecake with no cracks, it’s important that you use full-fat cream cheese and make sure that it’s at room temperature.

Granulated sugar- you will need one cup of granulated sugar for this recipe. The cheesecake will be sweet, but not too sweet. One cup of sugar is the perfect balance of sweetness for this recipe.

Eggs- you will need 4 large eggs for this recipe. To get a perfect classic cheesecake, make sure that the eggs are at room temperature.

Vanilla extract- vanilla extract adds extra flavor.

Lemon zest- the lemon zest adds an aroma and a light flavor to this cake. Don’t worry, this cheesecake will not taste like a lemon cheesecake.

Sour cream- we suggest using full-fat sour cream for this recipe. The sour cream makes the cheesecake batter creamier and lighter.

Flour- you can either use flour or cornstarch. for a gluten-free filling, replace the flour with cornstarch.

Pinch of salt- helps to balance the flavors.

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How to make classic cheesecake:

Prepare a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, and preheat an oven to 180c (350f).

Make the crust: pulse graham crackers in a food processor until fine crumbs form. If you don’t have a food processor on hand, place the crackers in a Ziplock bag and smash the crackers with a cup until fine crumbs form.

Into a small to medium mixing bowl, add the graham crackers crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Mix with a spoon until the crumbs are coated with butter.

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Transfer the crumbs into a prepared 9-inch cake pan, pressing evenly and firmly into the pan.

Bake the crust in a 180c (350f) preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on the crust and make sure it doesn’t burn. Take the crust out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature.

Lower the temperature to 140c (280f).

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In a big mixing bowl, add the room temperature cream cheese and mix with an electric hand mixer until the cream cheese is creamy.

Add the sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and mix until the mixture is creamy and smooth.

Lower the hand mixer speed to low, and add each egg at a time. This step stops the cheesecake batter from overbeating. Overbeating can cause a weird cheesecake texture and stops the cake from cracking.

Add the flour (we suggest sifting the flour) into the mixture and beat it on medium speed until the mixture is just combined. Make sure you don’t overbeat the mixture.

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Pour the cheesecake batter over the crust, and release air bubbles by tapping the pan onto a flat surface.

Bake the cheesecake in a 140c (280f) for about an hour or until the edges of the cheesecake are set, but the middle is a bit jiggly.

Open the oven door halfway, and let the cheesecake cool to room temperature for 1-2 hours. After the cheesecake is cooled, wrap the cheesecake with a plastic wrap tightly, and place the cheesecake in the fridge to cool completely for at least 5 hours.

Run a thin knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Carefully release the springform, slice, and enjoy!

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Classic cheesecake topping ideas:

  • Strawberry sauce
  • Cherry sauce
  • Caramel sauce
  • Fresh berries
  • Whipped cream
  • Chocolate ganache
  • Chocolate whipped cream
  • Blueberry sauce
  • Raspberry sauce

Classic cheesecake tips:

  • Make sure that you are using room-temperature cream cheese in this recipe, this step makes it easier to mix the cream cheese with no unnecessary lumps, we don’t want that.
  • Use a springform tin. We use springform tins for all of our cheesecake recipes. This makes sure that your cake will be easy to release from the pan.
  • Use high-fat cream cheese or the well-known Philadelphia cream cheese. Using full-fat cream cheese ensures you that your cheesecake will be stable and will not crack.
  • Let your cheesecake cool in the fridge for at least 5 hours. We know it’s very hard to resist eating this delicious cheesecake right away, but you have to let the cheesecake cool and set in the pan. We like to let the cheesecake sit in the fridge overnight.
  • For a smooth and creamy cheesecake, make sure that you are using room-temperature ingredients. Before you begin to make this cheesecake, make sure that your cream cheese is completely soft, and that your eggs are at room temperature.
  • Don’t overbeat the mixture! It’s really easy to overbeat the mixture, and that is one of the most common mistakes. To avoid overbeating your mixture, make sure that you lower the speed of the hand mixer and add each egg at a time.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently to ensure that you have a homogeneous mixture that has no cream cheese lumps.
  • Don’t open the oven door before the cake is fully baked or about to be baked! Drastic changes in the temperature of the cake while baking can cause the cake to collapse or to crack.

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Frequently asked questions:

How to cut a cheesecake?

Cutting cheesecake, the right way is very important. To get even and clean cheesecake slices, make sure that you are using a serrated knife. Our favorite way to cut cheesecake and cakes is by dipping a long knife into hot water, once the knife warms up, wipe off the excess water, and slice the cake. Dip and wipe the knife between every slice.

Can I use a graham cracker substitute?

Yes! People outside of America usually don’t have graham crackers. Don’t worry! You can use tea biscuits, vanilla wafers, and digestive biscuits.

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Yes! This recipe is really easy to turn gluten-free, simply replace the graham crackers with gluten-free graham crackers, or with gluten-free digestive biscuits. The second and last step to make this cheesecake gluten-free is to replace the flour with cornstarch.

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Can I freeze this classic cheesecake?

Yes! This cheesecake freezes great! to freeze this cheesecake, bake it according to the instructions, then cool it according to the instructions in the fridge. When the cake is completely cooled, you can freeze the cake covered in a few layers of plastic wrap or foil. This cheesecake will freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place the cheesecake in the fridge overnight.

How long will this cheesecake last?

This classic cheesecake will last for up to 4 days in the fridge.

How to decorate classic cheesecake?

We like to decorate the classic cheesecake with dollops of whipped cream around the edges of the cake. Another way to decorate the cake is to top it with your favorite toppings, like strawberry sauce, cherry sauce, blueberry sauce, caramel sauce, fresh berries, etc.

How to tell if my cheesecake is done baking?

Overbaking cheesecake is a common mistake that causes the cheesecake to crack or even burn. To avoid this mistake, you will know that your cheesecake is done baking when you see that the edges of the cheesecake are set, but the middle is a bit jiggly. Don’t worry! The middle of the cake will be set in the cooling process.

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More cheesecake recipes to try:

Nutella cheesecake- This no-bake Nutella cheesecake is rich in Nutella flavor, creamy silky smooth with a texture that is melt in your mouth delicious.  This no-bake Nutella cheesecake is extremely easy to make and requires simple ingredients.

Mango cheesecake– This no-bake mango cheesecake is made with an easy graham cracker crust, topped with a creamy, lightly sweet, and slightly tangy mango cheesecake filling, topped with a mango jelly that makes this cake not only impressive but delicious.

Oreo cheesecake This no-bake Oreo cheesecake is made with an Oreo crust, topped with creamy Oreo cheesecake filling, and topped with whipped cream dollops and more Oreos!

Biscoff cheesecake- This no-bake Biscoff cheesecake is made with biscoff cookie crust, topped with creamy biscoff cheesecake filling, topped with melted biscoff spread, and sprinkled with biscoff cookie crumbs.

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