The Best Cheesecake Recipe

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Learn how to make the best cheesecake with this melt in your mouth recipe! Follow these simple tips to ensure your cheesecake turns out light, creamy, and free of cracks every single time.

A slice of cheesecake topped with fresh berries and a fork taking out a bite.

The Best Cheesecake Recipe

It’s no secret, I love cheesecake. Who doesn’t? I love the process of making it.

But, even more than that, I love eating it. I can’t resist a thick, creamy cheesecake full tangy vanilla flavor on a buttery graham cracker crust.

Nutella cheesecake is by far my most favorite cheesecake. It’s wildly popular! If you end up making it then, I suggest also giving this cappuccino cheesecake and butterfinger cheesecake a try!

I often get asked what my secret is when it comes to making cheesecake. So today I’m sharing my favorite tips and tricks for cheesecake perfection.

I’ll discuss each little step, every ingredient, and how to avoid those pesky cracks.

Choosing a cream cheese

When it comes to cheesecake the most important ingredient is, of course, cream cheese. I have found that a high-quality cream cheese yields the best texture.

Personally, I like to use Philadelphia, but any good quality cream cheese will do. And make sure it’s full-fat. Cheesecakes are not meant to be “light”.

The best cheesecake topped with fresh berries on a white plate.

Building the cheesecake filling

This cheesecake recipe contains 4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, but that’s not the only thing a cheesecake needs.

Most of my cheesecake recipes call for heavy cream, but today I’m using sour cream. Sour cream offers a tang that cuts through the richness of the filling and makes one velvety cheesecake.

I also add 4 eggs to hold everything together. It’s important not to whip too much air into the batter once the eggs are added.

Excess air in the eggs will cause the filling to rise during baking. As the cheesecake cools, it will deflate. This is what causes those ugly cracks in the top.

I like to mix all the ingredients, minus the eggs, with a mixer. Then, lightly beat the eggs with a fork and gently fold them into the batter using a silicone spatula.

It works like a charm every time.

Always use a water bath

A water bath creates steam inside the oven which helps cook the cheesecake without drying it out. It’s a method I swear by but it can be tricky.

I get so many emails from people who ruined their cheesecake because water seeped into the pan.

The trick to keeping the water out is to wrap the pan in aluminum foil that is extra wide. Look for 18-inch wide heavy duty foil. For an extra layer of protection, you can also set the pan inside an oven bag.

Fill a roasting pan with a few inches of boiling water, set the cheesecake in the center, and put the whole thing in the oven.

Use this free download to get a printout of how to properly use a water bath and prevent leaks.

Cooking and cooling the cheesecake

Always cook cheesecake on the lower third rack of the oven. This helps keep the top from getting too brown before the cheesecake has cooked through.

And cook the cheesecake just until the outer edge has set, but the center is still jiggly.

Another way to ensure your cheesecake remains free of cracks is to allow it to cool gradually. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door closed for 1 hour.

Remove it from the water bath, run a knife around the outside edge to loosen it from the pan, and let the cheesecake cool to room temperature.

The best cheesecake slice on a plate with a fork taking out a bite.

Always plan ahead

Cheesecake needs to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours for it to finish setting up. I prefer to let my cheesecake chill overnight. The texture seems to turn out best this way.

So be sure to allow ample time to make and chill your cheesecake before serving it. You will be disappointed if you cut into the cheesecake too soon.

If you take these steps into consideration, I promise you will have the best cheesecake you’ve ever had!

Tips for making the best cheesecake recipe

  • Begin with room temperature ingredients. Set the cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs out on the counter 30 minutes prior to making the recipe.
  • Don’t incorporate air into the eggs by beating them in with a mixer. Instead, gently fold the eggs in at the very end by using a silicone spatula.
  • For the creamiest cheesecake texture, be sure to use a water bath.
  • After the cheesecake bakes for an hour, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake sit inside for another hour.

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Learn how to make the best cheesecake with this melt in your mouth recipe! 
4.69 from 16 votes
Print Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 17 minutes
Chill Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 42 minutes
Servings: 20 servings
Calories: 353
Author: Jen Sobjack


For the Crust

For the Cheesecake

  • 32 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 and 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs room temperature, lightly beaten


Make the Crust

  • Move the oven rack to the lower third position and heat the oven to 350°F. Wrap the outer bottom of a 9-inch springform pan tightly with aluminum foil. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and about 2-inches up the sides of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool while you make the filling.

Make the Cheesecake

  • Reduce the oven temperature to 300ºF. 
  • In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and sour cream, beat until well combined. Add the vanilla, beat on low speed until smooth. Using a silicone spatula, gently stir in the eggs just until combined. Pour the batter over the prepared crust.
  • Fill a roasting pan with a few inches of boiling water and place the cheesecake in the center. Bake for 1 hour, or until the edges are set and the center is slightly jiggly. Turn the oven off, leave the cheesecake in the water bath in the oven for another hour. 
  • Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place it on a wire rack. Run a small knife around the outer edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan and leave it to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Remove the sides of the pan just before serving. Garnish with berries and/or whipped cream. The cheesecake will keep for up to 4 days covered and stored in the refrigerator.


Calories: 353kcal

Nutritional values here on my recipes should be used as a general guide only. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

Tried this recipe? Share it on Instagram!Mention @introvertbaker or tag #bakedbyanintrovert!

Nutritional values here on my recipes should be used as a general guide only. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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  • Jess

    Love love love this recipe! My only thing was I didn’t have a pan big enough for to fit the spring form in so I put a large pan on bottom with the water and turned another smaller pan upside down in that and put the cheesecake on top. It worked perfectly!

  • Justine

    Is there an easy way to use this recipe for a chocolate cheesecake? I made the original version about a year ago & it was amazing!

  • Judy

    Are you kidding me. If I had known cheesecake like this was this easily attainable long before now – I’d be twice my size! SO SO good. My mind is now whirling with creative alternatives (Oreo crust, fruit swirls, chocolate etc). My very first cheesecake and it was perfect! Thank you so much for the tips, recipe, and instructions. I wish I could leave pics of my yummy creation.

    • Jen Sobjack

      If your springform isn’t 100% leakproof, there may very well be water in it. Make sure to always use the heavy duty foil and fold it upward so there are no cracks or seams near the bottom for water to seep through.

  • Tamara Mashal

    Hi after leaving it in the oven for an hour cooling. I took it out and inserted a knife into the center, it did not come out clean, is this ok? Should I put it back in and bake it more? Darn it, I probably won’t hear back in time, I think I will just cook it more!

    • Jen Sobjack

      Hi Tamara! The knife trick doesn’t work with cheesecake since it is so creamy. A perfectly cooked cheesecake should jiggle slightly in the center when you gently shake the pan and should still be a bit shiny on top.

  • Melissa

    Hi Jen,

    I am making this recipe right now and took care to bring ingredients to room temperature as I read this is very important. The sour cream appeared to have separated a bit while coming to temp. I stirred it before adding, but this definitely seemed to prevent a truly uniform filling from forming, even with the stand mixer. The filling was a bit lumpy despite mixing and I didn’t want to overmix. Any thoughts? I proceeded anyway, so I will see how it comes out. Thanks!

    • Jen Sobjack

      I haven’t experienced any issues with getting the sour cream to incorporate. I would suggest making sure the cream cheese is perfectly smooth before adding the sour cream. Then keep mixing until it’s fully combined. You really can’t overmix until after you’ve added the eggs so don’t worry about that. Also, a few lumps of cream cheese in the batter won’t hurt anything. It will sort of “melt” in the oven.

      • Melissa

        Hi Jen,

        The sour cream “issue” didn’t seem to affect anything. I will say that even after 1 hour 10 min baking, an extra hour in the water bath and 4+ hours of cooling, the cheesecake was still a little “loose”. After a full overnight set, it was silky smooth. It was made as a gift and got rave reviews.

  • Danielle

    Can I make this in a normal pie dish? I don’t have a spring form. If I did would that prevent water from getting in without the need of foil or a bag?

    • Jen Sobjack

      You might be able to do that but there’s way too much filling for just one pie. You can also just make it as directed and set the pan of water on the rack below the cheesecake.

  • Dawn Flower

    Would you please help me when I make this cheesecake and put in fridge overnight , I used mc cities digestives but I always get liquid at the bottom , it’s not the water bath as I use a Pyrex oblong dish and it never gets into the Pyrex dish so could you please tell me what I’m doing wrong as I do follow every step precisely , don’t have a clue why and need help

    • Jen Sobjack

      Hi Dawn! The only time I’ve ever experienced liquid in the bottom of a cheesecake is when my water bath leaked. You say that can’t be the issue so I’m totally at a loss at what it is. Could it be the butter from the crust? Maybe the biscuits aren’t absorbing the butter well enough?

  • Maria

    Hi there! So I have never done a water bath before and I’m wondering if I could have some more instructions. What I’m getting from it is I should have a roasting pan big enough to put a springboard cake pan into with the cheese cake inside. Then put foil over it? Or over the cheesecake itself?

    • Jen Sobjack

      Hi Maria! You definitely want a pan large enough to fit the cheesecake inside. Step 1 of the recipe instructs you to wrap the bottom of a springform pan, the pan the cheesecake will go in. You’ll make the crust and filling then put the entire cheesecake in the roasting pan and fill it with an inch or two of hot water.

  • Deborah

    Hi, I am thinking of making your recipe for a ocean-themed 50th birthday party. I would like to dye the cheesecake blue (for water … crust being sand, etc.). Do you think it will work? I will be using gel food coloring.

  • Margaret

    I made this for my son’s 19th birthday, and it came out beautifully with no cracks eve though I forgot to reduce the temperature to 300. It’s just yummy! That was two weeks ago. Imagine that I’m making it again for his graduation from trade school with highest honors. I did find a shortcut…my springform fits in a large glass pie plate which successfully prevented water from leaking in without the expense of foil or a bag (necessity is the mother of invention. Thank you so much for the many tips and explanations…nobody else warn that over-beating eggs can cause cracks, just too fast cooking or too fast cooking. I truly appreciate the wonderful receipt and the excellent instructions. I’ve never posted kudos on a receipt in my life…they’ve typically failed to give this girl enough detail to succeed. Thank you!m Jen!!! 👍

  • Diana

    This is the best cheesecake! Your directions were spot on. I want to make a lemon cheesecake how would I incorporate lemons? THanks

    • Jen Sobjack

      I’m so happy to hear you love the recipe so much! I haven’t made this recipe as a lemon cheesecake before but I’m thinking you can add about a tablespoon of lemon zest and 1/4 to 1/3 cup of lemon juice. Since the eggs go in last, you can a little zest and juice at a time and taste as you go until you get the desired amount of lemon flavor. Then add the eggs and bake it.

  • Jewle

    Hi Jen
    Made my 1st chessecake yesterday & water leaked in past the foil. So I bought a round deep dish pizza pan to put the springboard pan in. Then will put the deep dish pizza pan into a larger pan & will put water in that larger pan. Thus keeping my cheesecake safe from getting wet (since it will be in a ‘boat’ so to speak). Will this work? I read above your suggestion to a commenter you can put large pan of water on lower rack so it creates humidity in the oven, so I am thinking (hoping) this will work too???
    Trying your recipe for my next cake, adding 2tbsp of flour to it. Is flour & corn starch the same effect for texture (1 better than the other)?
    Thank you for your advice

    • Jen Sobjack

      I haven’t tried the water bath this way but I’m assuming it will work okay. I like to set my cheesecake pan inside a large oven bag with the sides rolled down. I do this will all my cheesecakes to prevent water from leaking in. There’s also a free download in the recipe post with instructions on how to do this method. I’m not a fan of adding flour to cheesecake as it completely changes the texture and I’ve never used cornstarch in a cheesecake before so I can’t say if one way is better than the other.

      • Jewle

        Thank you for your response. I will let you know how the technique of the “boat” works. If it doesn’t, then I will do the large bag trick.
        Firmer texture vs creamy w the flour, gotchya, thanks.

  • Nilay

    Hi, I’m thinking of doing this cheesecake but I want to do it with cornstarch. If I add some to the original recipe will it be ok?

  • Alicia

    I love this cheesecake and made it for dessert over the holidays. I was just wondering if there was a way to change the flavor? Maybe a chocolate cheesecake, peanut butter, pumpkin? What do I need to do to the recipe to adapt it?

    Thanks for your help.

    • Jen Sobjack

      This is the same cheesecake base I use for all my cheesecakes. I’ve made a peanut butter, pumpkin, and Nutella version. I’ve yet to make a chocolate cheesecake but it is on my list of recipes for the year. Just follow the instructions for each of those recipes and use 1 cup sour cream in place of heavy cream if you wish. Enjoy!

  • Camelia

    I made this cheesecake for Christmas and it was definitely a hit. As I’m writing now I have another one in the oven because my husband fell in love with it. He requested another one. Thank you Jen for such a great cheesecake recipe!!!

  • Julia

    Hi Jen,
    I always follow your recipes and they are great! I have a question for you though, I don’t live in the US and I can’t get sour cream and wouldn’t know how to make it… could I replace it with heavy cream? If yes, what would be the quantity?
    Thanks so much and happy holidays!

  • Keith and Dani

    I have baked many cheesecakes. Somebody always comments how good they are. EVERYBODY comments this is the best cheesecake they have ever had! Thank you for sharing. Will be baking this one for the sixth time next weekend.

  • Ingvild Tangen

    Hey, this looks really good! Do you think it would turn out good if I added some raspberry sauce in it, to give it some flavor of raspberry? 😊

  • Caroline, Sweden

    I will try this one today. Other recipies often leave me with a grainy cheesecake, what do you think went wrong?

  • Michele

    I plan on making your cake tomorrow. It sounds amazing. I am confused though. In your commentary you say that you use 4, 8 oz. Pkgs of cream cheese but the recipe says 24 oz. Please let me know which it is. I would hate to mess it up! Thank you.

    • Jen Sobjack

      I haven’t frozen this cheesecake but I have frozen my Nutella cheesecake and image the result would be the same. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap before freezing and allow it to set out at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

  • Sifa

    Hi ,it looks amazing.I am planning to make it today but i cant take eggs.Is there a anyway to bakec it without egg ?can u pls tell me how to make it firm without egg/ or provide me a guideline for baking a eggless cheese cake.Particularly looking for baked one.Tks a lot.

  • Jennifer

    This recipe was absolutely wonderful! The comments I overheard from my teenage daughter and her friend as they ate it where “this is better than anything you can get in a restaurant, I think your mom could sells these, and this is the best cheese cake I have ever had”. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I think the whipping cream takes the cake over the top. It was light, creamy, and delicious. This is now my go to recipe!

  • Lizy

    I’m curious. I made my very first cheesecake today and used your recipe. Everything was going great until I let it set at room temperature. The graham cracker is very soggy and looks nothing like your picture. Will it change once I let it sit in the fridge overnight?

    • Jen Sobjack

      Did you bake the cheesecake in a water bath? If so, water could have leaked in. Always be sure to wrap the pan well with heavy duty foil. I also like to set a large oven bag around the base of the pan for added protection.

      • Lizy

        I did it exactly as your instructions stated. I do think water leaked inside. I tried it again the day after and half of the cake was good and half the cake was soggy at the bottom. I am going to keep trying until I figure out it out.

        • Jen Sobjack

          Wrap it in foil first. Then, set the cheesecake pan in a large oven bag (turkey size works best) and roll the bag down until it reaches the top of the pan. If water continues to leak in, you can omit the water bath altogether. Just place a large pan of water on the lower rack of the oven so it creates humidity while the cheesecake bakes.

  • Robyn C.

    This was the best cheesecake ever! Everyone had 2 slices and probably would have had more if they weren’t so stuffed.
    Thanks for the recipe, this is a keeper!

    • Jen

      You could use vanilla paste or scrape out the insides of a vanilla bean and use that. If you just don’t like vanilla, leave it out and add a little lemon zest.

  • Kate

    How would you make this to serve 80-100 people? It’s for a rehearsal dinner and the restaurant will let me bring in a special dessert. I’d be arriving approximately 1 hour before guests arrive. Would it need to be refrigerated until time to serve?
    Thanks for any advice! Also, I’d have to travel in a car with it for 3 plus hours.

    • Jen

      I have no experience in baking desserts to feed that large of a crowd. I wouldn’t know the proper ratio of ingredients or baking temperatures for a cheesecake that large. As far as transporting it, the cheesecake would need to remain cold and would need to be refrigerated until ready to serve.

  • Riley

    Hey, Jen! Do you have a super moist chocolate cake recipe? My Dad LOVES chocolate cake and I want to make him some. Cheers, Jen 😜😜

  • Stephanie

    Your cheesecake is DELICIOUS!!! It’s like love at first sight…or should that be love at first bite! It’s the BEST CHEESECAKE EVER!!! I originally made it for my mum and dad, but I think I might of eaten most of it myself! Trust me, if you make this cheesecake, your usual trip to the local bakery wpuld disappear before you know it! Miraculously, there’s still leftovers which I’m going to eat right now. Thanks soooooo much for the recipe, Jen. Toodles! 😄😄

  • Caroline

    I don’t know how to do a water bath for the cheesecake. Is it OK if I don’t use a water bath or is it compulsory? 😉

    • Jen

      I highly recommend the water bath. I explain how to do a water bath in the post and demonstrate it in the video located just above the recipe.

  • Eliza

    What is on the top? Please help! I’m making this for my Mum and cheesecakes are the only cakes she likes coz she hates sweets. 🙁

  • Katie

    what is on the top????? in the picture, the top of the cheesecake is orange-coloured , but in the recipe i didn’t see anything telling me to do something to the top. Please help!

        • Jen Sobjack

          It’s nearly impossible to do so I just cut the foil super close to the cheesecake. You can’t even tell it’s there! If you’re brave enough to try, you can use a spatula to lift the cheesecake enough to slide the foil out from under it.

      • Sal

        Thank you, do you think using parchment paper would work? My concern is cutting the cheesecake and having aluminum stuck on the bottom of the cake. Or am I over thinking it?

        • Jen Sobjack

          I don’t recommend parchment paper since the purpose of the foil is to keep the cheesecake dry while baking in a water bath. If you are concerned about the foil sticking to the cheesecake, just wrap the foil around the outside of the pan instead.

    • Jen

      I completely understand what it’s like to be married a huge cheesecake fan. My husband is a cheesecake snob and he absolutely loved this recipe! Enjoy!

  • Karen Squires

    Thank you Jen, my cheesecake always cracks! I will use your method next time I bake this. Way too warm right now in the Carolina’s to turn on the oven. Will have to wait for some cooler days. Cheers! Kary~

      • Marc

        Made a buffalo chicken cheese cake, added blue cheese dressing to the filling instead of heavy cream. Chilled then topped with warm buffalo seasoned shredded chicken. Crust was made with ritz crackers and nacho chip crust. Warm and pour extra Buffalo sauce over chicken before serving and top with extra crumbled blue cheese, serve with nacho chips and celery sticks on the side. Yummalisious!.
        Can substitute ranch for blue cheese and chopped carrots for crumpled blue cheese.