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Classic New York Cheesecake

ny cheesecake overhead shot

No water bath, 7 ingredients, and no cracking. Ever. This Classic Cheesecake Recipe looks gorgeous and tastes divine. With easy directions it’s fail-proof!

I’ve tested and re-tested this cheesecake recipe to get it absolutely perfect and by golly, I’ve done it. It’s tall and proud because, guess what, no water baths and no cracks! Take a peek below to see how AMAZING this cheesecake really is.

ny cheesecake overhead shot

Cheesecake Ingredients

First, let’s start out with simple ingredients. You only need seven of them and I bet you have them on hand already. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Graham Cracker Crumbs – my favorite brand is Honeymaid, but any other brand is fine. Buy them as crumbs or crush them yourself.
  • Granulated Sugar – sugar is used to sweeten the crust and the cheesecake filling.
  • Melted Butter – this holds the graham cracker crust together.
  • Cream Cheese – use room temperature, soft cream cheese. I used Philadelphia brand because it’s tangier than other brands.
  • Sour Cream – this also needs to be at room temperature. It adds extra creaminess and extra tang.
  • Vanilla Extract – a basic but versatile flavoring.
  • Eggs – these also need to be at room temperature and must be beaten before adding them in. Eggs are used for structure in cheesecake which is important to the no cracking factor of this recipe.

Why do Cheesecakes Crack?

Let’s talk about why cheesecakes crack in the first place, shall we? After all of my recipe testing and research I’ve narrowed it down to three main reasons. Air bubbles. Lumpy batter. Baking and cooling. Here’s how I’ve adjusted this recipe to handle all three issues:

  • Air Bubbles: when using any type of electric mixer, hand or stand, it adds air to the batter. This happens more easily after you add in eggs. This is because when eggs are whipped they have a tendency to hold that volume better than other ingredients. The trick is to reduce the amount of mixing after adding in eggs. To do this, crack all room temperature eggs into a separate bowl and whisk with a fork. In the batter, eggs will be added last and mixed just until incorporated. Then before pouring the batter into the graham cracker crust, tap the bowl on the counter for 30-45 seconds to ensure that as many air bubbles as possible are removed.
  • Lumpy Batter: using room temperature ingredients leads to a smoother batter, so set things out ahead of time so you are ready. Also, don’t forget to scrape the sides of the bowl. Before adding the eggs, the batter should be lump-free!
  • Baking and Cooling: I hate water baths with a passion (see below). Even though they are so helpful with regulating oven temperature they are a pain. So I’ve devised a way to bake cheesecake without a water bath. The secret is low and slow (kinda like hearty spaghetti sauce). Once baking time is over and the oven is off, the cheesecake still spends quite a bit of time in there. This is called carryover cooking and it not only cooks the rest of the dessert but it also ensures that it slowly cools down thus leaving it crack-free.

No Water Baths Here!

Skip out on the water bath when you make this incredible cheesecake recipe! Water baths are time-consuming and don’t always pan out. I’d hate for you to wrap your springform pan in foil only to discover that water leaked inside before it even reached the oven! I’m totally talking from personal experience and I make food for a LIVING.

So save your time and your frustrations. Join the water bath free movement, make this recipe!

What if I don’t have a springform pan?

Speaking of springform pans. What to do if you don’t have one? Invest in one, or borrow one from a friend.

The best springform pan to use for this cheesecake recipe is a 9-inch springform pan. You can fit this recipe into a 10-inch but it would overflow if put into an 8.

How to Make Cheesecake

Okay, finally! How to make the best cheesecake you’ll ever eat. Follow these directions to a T for jaw-dropping, creamy cheesecake:

  1. Stir graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter together. Press into the springform pan. Bake for 7 minutes at 350 degrees then set aside to cool, that’s our graham cracker crust.
  2. To make the cheesecake filling, stir the softened cream cheese with sugar. Mix in vanilla and sour cream. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again, do this until there are no lumps.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk room temperature eggs together. With the mixer on slow add them to the cheesecake filling. Once the eggs are incorporated turn the mixer off. If lumpy, scrape the sides of the bowl again and mix by hand, we want lump-free batter folks.
  4. Tap the bowl on the counter for 30-45 seconds to remove any air bubbles. Pour batter into a springform pan. Smooth the top.
  5. Baked at 325 degrees, then reduce to 250 to finish cooking.
  6. Now with the oven off, let the cheesecake sit in the oven, door closed, for 30 minutes. Then crack the door open and continue cooling for another hour.
  7. At this point, you can remove the cheesecake from the oven and bring it to room temperature.
  8. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled. Cut and serve!
baked cheesecake

Topping Choices

If you just want a plain Jane cheesecake, congrats, you’re done! Devour away. But you could always add extra flavor by adding toppings! Here are a few ideas:

  • cherry pie filling
  • fresh berries
  • sauce (caramel, chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, etc.)
  • chocolate shavings
  • whipped cream
  • lemon curd
  • chocolate ganache
  • salted caramel sauce
  • cookies

Can you Freeze Cheesecake?

Plain cream cheese doesn’t freeze well, but when baked into, let’s say a cheesecake, it freezes beautifully. In short, yes, you can freeze cheesecake.

To freeze, simply unmold the cheesecake from the springform pan and place it into the freezer, uncovered, for about 4 hours. You want that bad boy solid. Next remove the springform bottom and wrap the cheesecake in two layers of plastic wrap or foil. Freeze for up to 3 months!

To defrost, unwrap, and transfer to a plate. Gently cover with plastic wrap and transfer the whole thing to the fridge to defrost. Cut into slices and serve!

More Cake Recipes to Try!

baked cheesecake

Classic New York Cheesecake

No water bath, 7 ingredients, and no cracking. Ever. This Classic Cheesecake Recipe looks gorgeous and tastes divine. With easy directions it’s fail-proof!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Cooling Time 5 hrs 37 mins
Total Time 7 hrs 7 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 523 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

For the Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter melted

For the Cheesecake Filling:

  • 40 ounces cream cheese at room temperature (five 8 oz. packages; 2 1/2 lbs total)
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • any desired cheesecake toppings

Instructions
 

  • Place oven racks in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  • Stir graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter together. The mixture should look like damp sand. Press mixture into the bottom and halfway up the 9-inch springform pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to make this easier. Bake for 7 minutes then set aside to cool.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  • To make the cheesecake filling, stir the softened cream cheese with sugar. Mix in vanilla and sour cream. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again, do this until there are no lumps.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk room temperature eggs together. With the mixer on slow add them to the cheesecake filling. Once the eggs are incorporated turn the mixer off. If lumpy, scrape the sides of the bowl again and mix by hand, we want lump-free batter.
  • Tap the bowl on the counter for 30-45 seconds to remove any air bubbles. Pour batter into the springform pan. Smooth the top.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduce to 250 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes.
  • Turn oven off but keep the cheesecake inside, with the door closed, for another 30 minutes. Then crack the oven door open and continue cooling for another hour before removing. The cheesecake should be slightly warm at this point. Bring to room temperature on the counter (3-4 hours) before covering with plastic wrap and chilling in the fridge.
  • Refrigerate until completely chilled (6 hours-overnight).
  • To serve, remove the springform pan collar. Decorate as desired. Dip a sharp knife in hot water, wipe off excess water, and slice. Dip the knife between each slice for super clean cuts.

Notes

Want a thicker graham cracker crust? Use 1 3/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs, 5 tbsp of sugar and 6 tbsp of melted butter. Press into pan and bake for 8 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 523kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 9gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 172mgSodium: 399mgPotassium: 191mgFiber: 1gSugar: 35gVitamin A: 1429IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 127mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cheesecake, cheesecake recipe, how to make cheesecake
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