This is the best cheesecake recipe. Smooth, rich, and creamy cheesecake filling is topped on a buttery graham cracker crust. Amazing with or without a fruit topping!
This post was originally published on Mar 24, 2014. It has since been updated to include helpful tips and information.
This recipe is my brother’s favorite. I made it once, and since then it has been requested over and over.
It is rich, creamy, and so hard to resist. Classic cheesecake is something I feel that every baker should try to make at least once in their lifetime. It does tend to intimidate some home cooks, but it shouldn’t!
Making a cheesecake can be simple. Just take your time, follow the basic tips and tricks in this post, and enjoy a beautiful cheesecake every single time.
And remember, if your cheesecake comes out with a cracked top… It just has character and still tastes delicious!
Ingredients for this recipe:
- Graham crackers– Classic grahams are best for this crust. Try not to use the ones with cinnamon and sugar.
- Cinnamon– Cinnamon adds a slight boost in flavor, but is optional.
- Butter– Butter is the binding agent or glue to your crust.
- Cream cheese– Opt for the better cream cheese brands in this recipe. The flavor is slightly elevated and extra delicious.
- Sugar– Granulated sugar, or white sugar, is best for this dish.
- Milk– Whole milk is my go-to, but you can always use a lower percentage.
- Eggs– Large eggs.
- Sour cream– Sour cream adds a slight tang to the filling that really sends things over the top!
- Vanilla– Use pure vanilla extract.
- All-purpose Flour
How to make a cheesecake from scratch:
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line or grease a 9 inch spring form pan. (For these pictures I used two tall 6 inch cake pans).
In a small bowl combine the graham crackers, cinnamon, and butter. Mix until you get a wet sand like mixture. Press into the bottom of your pan.
Cream the cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the milk followed by the eggs by hand. Make sure you scrape the sides of the bowl as you go. Once combined fold in the sour cream, vanilla, and flour. Pour into your prepared dish.
Bake for 1 hour. Turn off your oven and let the cheesecake rest until cooled to room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Topping ideas for this recipe:
Some of our favorite cheesecake topping ideas are:
- Cherry Pie Filling
- Blueberry Pie Filling
- Salted Caramel
- Candied Fruits
- Fresh Fruit
- Chocolate Sauce
Cheesecake Baking Tips:
- A water bath can help reduce cracks in your cheesecake.
- Use room temperature ingredients. Over mixing a cheesecake is one of the main in creating cracked tops. By using room temperature ingredients you are reducing the time needed to fully incorporate the ingredients.
- Do not over mix the batter. Like stated above, over mixing will cause big ol’ cracks in your baked cheesecakes. Be sure to mix carefully just until the ingredients are combined.
- As tempting as it might be, avoid opening the oven door. Opening and closing the door releases heat causing the oven temperature to fluctuate. This can cause uneven baking and… you guessed it… cause cracking.
- If all else fails, and you find yourself faced with a cracked cheesecake, top with fruit!
How to create a water bath:
- Start with a large pan, like a roasting pan, that has a bit of a lip or edge.
- Place your spring form pan that is filled with the cheesecake batter into a larger cake pan. Essentially, you are creating a barrier around you cheesecake to stop water from getting in. So if you have an 8″ spring form pan, place it into an empty 10-12 inch round cake pan.
- Place the spring form pan with the extra cake pan into your roasting pan.
- Transfer to the oven.
- Fill the roasting pan with warm water until it reaches halfway up the sides of your cheesecake, but not going over the outer cake pan.
- Bake as normal.
More Cheesecake Recipes:
- No Churn Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
- Banana Cream Cheesecake
- Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Even More Recipes You Will Love:
- Easy Cheesecake Bars
- Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
- Lime Cheesecake Bites
- Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bars