cheesecake featured image
This classic homemade, creamy cheesecake with a crunchy graham cracker crust is as close to perfection as you can get in a dessert.
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Table of Contents
  1. The Best Classic Cheesecake Recipe
  2. Why We Love This Homemade Cheesecake Recipe
  3. Ingredients / Shopping List
  4. Tips
  5. How to Make Classic Homemade Cheesecake
  6. What is a Water Bath for Cheesecakes
  7. What to Use as Toppings for a Classic Homemade Cheesecake
  8. Other Easy Cheesecake Recipes
  9. Classic Cheesecake Recipe

This classic homemade, creamy cheesecake with a crunchy graham cracker crust is as close to perfection as you can get in a dessert. Don’t worry, it is easy and I will walk you through making the perfect cheesecake step-by-step…even the water bath!

cheesecake hero image

The Best Classic Cheesecake Recipe

This classic homemade cheesecake is what dessert dreams are made of. In my personal opinion, there is just nothing that compares! I’m basically drooling on my keyboard just thinking about it. I can’t think of any other words to describe it, except for it is just so dang delicious!

I am going to walk you through step-by-step how to make the best homemade cheesecake and I promise it won’t be scary! If I can do it, anyone can!

If you’re looking for a peaceful day of baking in the kitchen, and a delicious, classic dessert then you have got to give this homemade cheesecake a try. It will change your life, you’ll never think about dessert the same way…. It’s just that darn good!

a slice of cheesecake with cherry topping

Why We Love This Homemade Cheesecake Recipe

  • Rich and creamy cheesecake
  • Homemade graham cracker crust (although you can use a store-bought one if you want to save some time)
  • Homemade is always better
  • Top with your favorites (cherries, strawberries, blueberries, crushed OREO or other candy)
cheesecake with cherry topping

Ingredients / Shopping List

  • Graham cracker crumbs
  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • Full fat cream cheese
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Eggs
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh fruit such as blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries.
  • Fruit syrups or pie fillings.
  • Chocolate, caramel 
  • Nuts (such as pecans)

Tips

  • Do not forget to grease the pan! Even the best New York Cheesecake will end up cracking if you don’t grease the pan. The cheesecake shrinks as it cooks. If any part of the cheesecake sticks to your pan as it cooks, it will pull from the sides and produce cracks in the middle.
  • Bake it low, and slow! You want to put this on a low rack in the oven and let it bake for the suggested 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • All mixing is to be done on low speed to prevent adding in any air bubbles.
  • It is super important that all ingredients listed above at room temperature, are actually at room temperature! It will change the consistency of your cheesecake filling and could completely change the final product if they are not mixed together at room temp.

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How to Make Classic Homemade Cheesecake

Tear two big pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil. Using a 9 inch springform pan, set the pan on the foil and bring the foil up around the sides of the pan. Repeat with the second piece of foil. This is to ensure no leakage from the water bath.

  1. Grease the springform pan very well with cooking spray.
  2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
    mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth
  4. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time beating slowly after each egg. Mix in the sour cream making sure it is mixed evenly.
    add eggs, vanilla and sour cream to the mixture
  5. Pour the filling into the prepared pan into the crust. Tap the pan a couple of times on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
    pour the batter into the springpan
  6. Place the cheesecake into the roasting pan until it comes up about one inch on the side of the cheesecake pan.
    place the spring form pan inside roasting pan
  7. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes up about one inch on the side of the cheesecake pan.
    PRO-TIP: This is called a water bath and we highly recommend doing this step! This will help your cheesecake bake more evenly.
    place water to the roasting pan
  8. Bake until the cheesecake is set. The cake should not look like liquid but will wobble just a bit in the pan when nudged. After the cheesecake has cooled, remove the cheesecake from the water bath.
    PRO-TIP: Run a knife with a thin blade around the sides of the cheesecake to make sure it is not sticking to the sides of the pan (which would cause cracks in the cheesecake as it cools).
    remove the cheesecake from the spring form pan
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.
    cheesecake

What is a Water Bath for Cheesecakes

A water bath, also known as a bain marie is a baking method for baking delicate desserts, like a cheesecake. The process involves placing the baking pan in a larger pan with boiling water. This will help the cheesecake to bake more evenly. This will also keep the cheesecake from drying out or possibly cracking.

While you can make a cheesecake without a water bath, you won’t get the same results.

a slice of cheesecake on a plate

What to Use as Toppings for a Classic Homemade Cheesecake

You most definitely do not need to add any sort of toppings to this cheesecake. It’s a classic New York Cheesecake and it’s delicious as is. But, lots of people like to add some toppings to spice it up and enhance the flavors. Here are some suggestions.

  • Fruit: You cannot go wrong by simply adding some fresh fruit to a piece of cheesecake. Personally, I love to add fresh raspberries! They are my favorite. But, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, or strawberries will work, too! You can also add fruit syrups or pie fillings as well.
  • Nuts and chocolate: You can make your very own turtle cheesecake. To do so, you can add chocolate and caramel drizzle and some crushed pecans. 

The beauty is that you can add these toppings piece by piece, so each person can have their cheesecake however they like it!

cheesecake on a white plate

This is as classic as desserts get. There’s nothing that hits the sweet tooth quite like a homemade classic cheesecake. When you’re looking for a relaxing and therapeutic day in the kitchen, that will result in the world’s most amazing cheesecake, this is your recipe!

Other Easy Cheesecake Recipes

5 from 1 vote
cheesecake featured image

Classic Cheesecake

Serves — 12
This classic homemade, creamy cheesecake with a crunchy graham cracker crust is as close to perfection as you can get in a dessert.
Prep Time 3 hrs
Chill time 8 hrs
Total Time 11 hrs

Ingredients
  

Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter melted

Filling

  • 32 ounce (4 packages) full fat cream cheese room temperature
  • cups sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 6 large eggs room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream room temperature

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Tear two big pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil. Using a 9 inch spring form pan set the pan on the foil and bring the foil up around the sides of the pan. Repeat with the second piece of foil. This is to ensure no leakage from the water bath.
  • Grease the spring form pan very well with cooking spray.
  • Mix together the crust ingredients and press into the prepared pan.
  • Bake in the oven on the middle rack for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  • Start some water to boil on the stove.
  • In a large mixing bowl mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl as you go and the bottom to make sure it is all mixed in.
  • Add vanilla and beat on low speed until combined.
  • Add eggs one at a time beating slowly after each egg and scraping sides of bowl.
  • Mix in the sour cream making sure it is mixed evenly.
  • Pour the filling into the prepared pan into the crust. Tap the pan a couple of times on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
  • Place the cheesecake into the roasting pan and place the roasting pan into the oven on the middle rack.
  • Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes up about one inch on the side of the cheesecake pan.
  • Bake until cheesecake is set, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. The cake should not look like liquid but will wobble just a bit in the pan when nudged. It will continue to cook as it cools.
  • At the end of the one hour and 30 minutes turn off the oven and crack the oven door a bit (I mean like 1-2 inches is all) and leave the cheesecake to sit in the oven for at least an hour.
  • After the cheesecake has cooled for the hour (or more) remove the pan with the water and cheesecake from the oven and remove the cheesecake from the water bath.
  • Remove the foil from around the pan.
  • Run a knife with a thin blade around the sides of the cheesecake to make sure it is not sticking to the sides of the pan (which would cause cracks in the cheesecake as it cools).
  • Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Jenn’s Notes

Tips:
  • Do not forget to grease the pan! Even the best New York Cheesecake will end up cracking if you don’t grease the pan. The cheesecake shrinks as it cooks. If any part of the cheesecake sticks to your pan as it cooks, it will pull from the sides and produce cracks in the middle.
  • Bake it low, and slow! You want to put this on a low rack in the oven and let it bake for the suggested 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • All mixing is to be done on low speed to prevent adding in any air bubbles.
  • It is super important that all ingredients listed above at room temperature, are actually at room temperature! It will change the consistency of your cheesecake filling and could completely change the final product if they are not mixed together at room temp.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 521kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 180mg | Sodium: 414mg | Potassium: 178mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 1310IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 1mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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