Classic Cheesecake Recipe
Today I’m excited to how you how to make the Best Classic Cheesecake Recipe ever! It’s smooth, creamy and easy to make – yes, even though it’s cooked in a water bath. Learn how to make cheesecake the traditional way and enjoy the best cheesecake of your life!
This is my favorite classic cheesecake recipe, but if you’re looking for a no-bake alternative definitely try my recipe for The Perfect No Bake Cheesecake!
AN EASY CLASSIC CHEESECAKE RECIPE
I am a big fan of cheesecake and it’s no secret around here. I have a plethora of cheesecake recipes, but not a classic, easy one like this. Why? I don’t know, but we are fixing that today!
This Classic Cheesecake Recipe is as straight forward as it gets for a baked cheesecake. The vanilla cheesecake filling sits in a delicious vanilla wafer crust and is the perfect base for any number of toppings. In fact, one of the best things about this cheesecake is that you can make it and serve it with so many different things. Everyone can pick their favorite topping and everybody’s happy!
HOW TO MAKE CHEESECAKE
So let’s get started and talk about how to make this cheesecake. You’ll want to make sure you have a springform pan handy. The removable sides make it much easier to remove the cheesecake from the pan after it’s done baking and cooling. Unlike a regular cake, you aren’t going to want to flip this baby upside down.
You should also have another pan that’s larger than the springform pan handy. This cheesecake is going to need a water bath (which we’ll talk more about later), so you’ll need a bigger pan to put the water into.
Also, leave yourself plenty of time. While putting everything together is pretty easy and simple, it can take a little time and you do need about five to six hours for the cheesecake to cool and firm up once it’s baked.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST CHEESECAKE CRUST
Every great classic cheesecake recipe starts with a great crust and in this case, we are using a vanilla wafer crust. I personally love the flavor of the vanilla wafer cookies, but if want to use a graham cracker crust, I’ve got you covered there too. This Graham Cracker Crust recipe is easy to swap out.
Regardless of what you use, the process is the same. Grind up those cookies so you have fine crumbs. You don’t want any big chunks or it’ll disturb the ability of your crust to hold together well.
Next, you’ll add a touch of sugar and some melted butter to the crust and stir everything together. Add the crust to your springform pan and press it into the bottom and up the sides. You can make the sides as tall as you like. There’s really no wrong way to do it. There’s plenty of crust here to make a nice bottom and sides. I like to use a cup with straight sides or a measuring cup to press the crust in firmly and get good corners.
Once your crust is in the pan, you’ll want to bake it for about 10 minutes. That will ensure that it stays sturdy when you slice into it later.
HOW TO MAKE CHEESECAKE FILLING
Next up is the filling of the cheesecake. You want to use room temperature cream cheese to prevent a lumpy cheesecake. I also recommend the full fat stuff for the creamiest cheesecake!
Add some sugar and a little bit of flour to the cream cheese and combine it all together. The flour is a nice little touch to give you a creamier textured cheesecake that isn’t quite so dense. Then you’ve got your sour cream, vanilla and eggs. The sour cream adds great flavor and creaminess and is a must!
When mixing all the ingredients together, you want to be sure to use a lower speed setting and not over mix. It can add more air to the batter, which can lead to cracks. One of cheesecake’s biggest enemies is cracks, so let’s avoid them and steer clear of excess air bubbles.
Add the batter to the crust and it’s time to bake it!
HOW TO BAKE A CHEESECAKE WITH A WATER BATH
I know water bath can seem like a dirty word with cheesecakes, but it really is the best way to go. You’re going to get a more creamy cheesecake that doesn’t crack, brown around the edges or fall in the center while it cools. When you put so much time into a dessert, you don’t want any of those things to happen.
One of the biggest problems people encounter with water baths is leaking. Springform pans are unreliable and aluminum foil easily gets tiny little tears it in when you’re wrapping it around your pan. I have a fantastic little trick I use to keep water out of my cheesecake and it works every time. I use a crock pot liner bag! The best! See exactly how I set it up in my tutorial for a leak-proof water bath.
Once you have your water bath set up, pop the cheesecake in the oven. It should bake for a little over an hour. You can tell when it’s done because the edges will be set, but the center few inches will still be jiggly. It might not seem like it’s fully baked, but that’s ok! One of the other important parts of a perfect cheesecake is to let it cool gradually (and finish baking).
HOW TO COOL A CHEESECAKE
After that hour plus of baking, you’ll leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door closed for another 30 minutes. During that time, the cheesecake will continue to bake, but also begin to gradually cool. At the end of that time, it’ll be perfectly baked! Cool, right?!
You’ll continue to cool the cheesecake in the oven for another 30 minutes, but this time the door is cracked to let it cool even more. This slow cooling process helps to prevent cracks, so be sure not to skip it!
Finally, you’ll pop the cheesecake into the fridge to cool completely and firm up, about 5 to 6 hours. When it’s ready, take it out of the springform pan and serve it with your favorite toppings! I’ve got several listed in the recipe, but the options are endless!
TIPS FOR THE BEST HOMEMADE CHEESECAKE
Ok, so what do we need to keep in mind for our cheesecake?
– Use a springform pan
– Use room temperature cream cheese
– Mix the filling on low speed and don’t over mix it
– Use a water bath and use my secret trick to no leaks!
– Don’t over bake the cheesecake
– Cool the cheesecake slowly
For more help making the best cheesecake, check out my post on How to Make a Perfect Cheesecake.
CAN YOU FREEZE CHEESECAKE?
Generally speaking, cheesecake should be fine when frozen. This is a great cheesecake to freeze since it’s simple and there aren’t any toppings or anything complicated about it. Just make sure you’ve cooled it completely before freezing. Cover it well with a couple layers of clear wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. When you’re ready to use it, pop it in the fridge to thaw overnight.
HOW LONG DOES CHEESECAKE LAST?
If you freeze this cheesecake, it should be fine for at least a month. If unfrozen, it should be good in the fridge for about 5-6 days. Obviously fresher is better, but one of the things I love about cheesecake is that it makes a great dessert to prep ahead of time. It holds up really well in the fridge and doesn’t dry out or go bad quickly. Sweet!
THIS IS A GREAT BEGINNER CHEESECAKE RECIPE – TRY IT!
And that’s it! A simple, easy cheesecake recipe that you can use over and over, change up in all kinds of ways and serve with a multitude of toppings. Not only will you be able to make an amazing homemade cheesecake, but you’ll put The Cheesecake Factory to shame!
And once you’ve mastered this classic cheesecake recipe, you can venture out to other fun versions. I have many to choose from, but here are a few favorites you could try:
Classic Cheesecake Recipe
This is the Best Classic Cheesecake Recipe ever! It’s smooth, creamy and easy to make – yes, even though it’s cooked in a water bath. Learn how to make cheesecake the traditional way and enjoy the best cheesecake of your life. A simple recipe that comes out perfect every time.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Total Time: 7 hours, 55 minutes
- Yield: 12-14 slices 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
VANILLA WAFER CRUST
- 2 ¼ cups (302g) vanilla wafer crumbs
- ½ cup (112g) salted butter, melted
- 3 tbsp (39g) sugar
- 24 ounces (678g) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup (207g) sugar
- 3 tbsp (24g) all purpose flour
- 1 cup (230g) sour cream
- 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan with parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides.
2. Combine the crust ingredients in a small bowl. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan.
3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.
4. Cover the outsides of the pan with aluminum foil so that water from the water bath cannot get in (see how I prepare my pan for a water bath). Set prepared pan aside.
1. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F (148°C).
2. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and flour on low speed until well completely combined and smooth. Be sure to use low speed to reduce the amount of air added to the batter, which can cause cracks. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until well combined.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly to combine after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
5. Pour the cheesecake batter into the crust.
6. Place the springform pan inside another larger pan. Fill the outside pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. The water should not go above the top edge of the aluminum foil on the springform pan.
7. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. The center should be set, but still jiggly.
8. Turn off the oven and leave the door closed for 30 minutes. The cheesecake will continue to cook, but slowly begin to cool as well.
9. Crack the door of the oven for 30 minutes to allow the cheesecake to continue to cool slowly. This process helps prevent cracking.
10. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and water bath wrapping and refrigerate until firm, 5-6 hours or overnight.
11. Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and place on a serving dish. Refrigerate cheesecake until ready to serve.
12. Serve with your favorite toppings. Cheesecake best for about 5 days.
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