New York-Style Cheesecake

Tested & Perfected Recipes

With this recipe, a creamy, gorgeous, crack-free New York-style cheesecake is totally doable, even for beginners!

New York-style cheesecake is my husband Michael’s favorite dessert. In fact, the first time I met my future mother-in-law almost 20 years ago, she told me that the way to Michael’s heart was through his stomach, and that whenever she wanted him to do anything as a child, she bribed him with a slice of cheesecake. A traditional lady she may be, but I got the message loud and clear: learn to make a good cheesecake!

I’ve shared several cheesecake recipes with you — an Italian-style ricotta cheesecake, a pumpkin cheesecakecheesecake bars, and even Baileys cheesecake marbled brownies – but never an authentic New York-style cheesecake.

Truth be told, New York’s take on cheesecake can be a little intimidating to make. Though the ingredients are simple, you have to worry about the water bath leaking into the cake, the surface cracking, and over or under-cooking. But after baking umpteen cheesecakes over the years (for birthdays and such, not bribery!), I’ve found that with the right recipe and a few pointers, a creamy, crack-free New York-style cheesecake is totally doable, even for beginners.

What you’ll need to make new york-style cheesecake

how to make new york style cheesecake

Before we get to the recipe, you’ll need a nine or ten-inch springform pan and 18-inch heavy-duty aluminum foil. The springform pan features sides that can be removed from the base, so you can release the cheesecake easily without having to flip the whole pan over (this would be a disaster with a cheesecake!).

Springform pans, however, are notorious for leaking. Since a cheesecake bakes in a water bath, the foil prevents the water from seeping in during baking. Please do not attempt to use standard 12-inch aluminum foil —  you can’t have any foil seams on the bottom or sides of the pan. I can tell you from experience that no matter how well (or how many times) you wrap the pan, if there are seams exposed to the water, the water will find a way in.

If you’d like to try another technique that doesn’t require wrapping the pan in foil, get more guidance here.

how to make new york-style cheesecake

How to make new york-style cheesecake

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Next wrap the springform pan with one large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, covering the underside of the pan and extending all the way to the top. Repeat with another sheet of foil for insurance. Spray the inside of the pan with nonstick cooking spray.

how to make new york-style cheesecake

Make the crust: In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and salt.

how to make new york style cheesecake

Stir until well combined.

how to make new york style cheesecake

Press the crumbs into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, until set. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

how to make new york-style cheesecake

Make the batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and flour. Flour might seem like an odd addition, but a little starch prevents the cheesecake from cracking as it cools.

how to make new york-style cheesecake

Beat on medium speed until just smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to be sure the mixture is evenly combined.

how to make new york-style cheesecake

Add the vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt; beat on low speed until just combined.

how to make new york-style cheesecake

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed until incorporated, scraping the bowl as necessary.

how to make new york-style cheesecake

Mix in the sour cream.

how to make new york-style cheesecake

Make sure the batter is uniform but do not over-mix.

how to make new york-style cheesecake

Pour the batter on top of the crust.

how to make new york-style cheesecake

Set the unbaked cheesecake in a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes about one inch up the side of the cake pan. The water bath (also called a bain marie) regulates the temperature and keeps the cheesecake baking at an even, low heat. The steam created by the water bath also protects the cheesecake from drying out and cracking.

how to make new york-style cheesecake

Bake until the cake is just set, 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes (the cake should not look liquidy at all but will wobble just a bit when the pan is nudged; it will continue to cook as it cools).

how to make new york-style cheesecake

Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and set it on a wire rack. Cool the cheesecake in the water bath until the water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove the springform pan from the water bath, discard the foil, and transfer the cheesecake to the refrigerator to cool for at least 8 hours or overnight.

how to make new york style cheesecake

Remove the sides of the springform pan. You can serve the cheesecake right from the base of the springform pan. Or, if you dare to transfer it to a serving platter, run a long, thin spatula between the crust and the pan bottom, and then use two large spatulas to transfer the cheesecake to a serving dish. Slice with a sharp knife, wiping the knife clean between slices. Serve with berry sauce, if you like.

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New York-Style Cheesecake

With this recipe, a creamy, gorgeous, crack-free New York-style cheesecake is totally doable, even for beginners!

Servings: 8 to 10
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour 55 Minutes
Total Time: 2 Hours 25 Minutes, plus at least 8 hours to cool

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, from 12 whole crackers
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Filling

  • 32 oz (four 8-oz blocks) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon packed lemon zest, from 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Special equipment: 9- or 10-inch springform pan; 18-inch heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Berry sauce, for serving (optional)

Instructions

For the Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and set an oven rack in the lower middle position. Wrap a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with one large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, covering the underside and extending all the way to the top so there are no seams on the bottom or sides of the pan. Repeat with another sheet of foil for insurance. Spray the inside of the pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Make the crust: In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and salt. Stir until well combined. Press the crumbs into an even layer on the the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, until set. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Set a kettle of water to boil.
  4. Make the batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and flour together on medium speed until just smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to be sure the mixture is evenly combined. Add the vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt; beat on low speed until just combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed until incorporated, scraping the bowl as necessary. Mix in the sour cream. Make sure the batter is uniform but do not over-mix.
  5. Check to make sure your oven has cooled to 325°F, then set the cheesecake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour the batter on top of the crust. Pour the boiling water into the large roasting pan to come about 1 inch up the side of the cake pan. Bake until the cake is just set, 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes (the cake should not look liquidy at all but will wobble just a bit when the pan is nudged; it will continue to cook as it cools). Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and set it on a wire rack. Cool the cheesecake in the water bath until the water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove the springform pan from the water bath and discard the foil. If necessary, run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the cake to make sure it's not sticking to the sides (which can cause cracks as it cools), then cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to cool for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  6. For serving: Remove the sides of the springform pan. Serve the cheesecake right from the base of the pan; or, to transfer it to a serving platter, run a long, thin spatula between the crust and the pan bottom, and then use two large spatulas to carefully transfer the cheesecake to a serving dish. Slice with a sharp knife, wiping the knife clean between slices. Serve with berry sauce, if you like.
  7. Make Ahead: The cheesecake can be made and stored in the springform pan in the fridge, tightly covered with plastic wrap, up to two days ahead of time.
  8. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cheesecake can be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, place the cake in the freezer briefly, unwrapped, to firm it up. Then double-wrap it tightly with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw in the refrigerator the night before you plan to eat it.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (10 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 659
  • Fat: 43 g
  • Saturated fat: 24 g
  • Carbohydrates: 59 g
  • Sugar: 49 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 11 g
  • Sodium: 464 mg
  • Cholesterol: 233 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Made this cheesecake for Christmas for the first time. It is foolproof. No cracks! Creamy decadent and the lemon zest is refreshing. I am making it for my daughter’s 30th Birthday in few weeks as this is what she requested. I’m amazed how easy this recipe is. No bakery cheesecakes for me anymore. Ty!
    Denise

    • — Denise R on January 24, 2021
    • Reply
  • This cheesecake was fantastic! I’ve made cheesecake a few times now but it was always just missing something. I tried your recipe and I was a bit skeptical about the lemon but I’m so glad I tried it! It was by far the best cheesecake I’ve ever made. My husband always has to drench his cheesecake with topping but with this he loved it plain. Thank you so much for the delicious recipe. I will most definitely be making this again and again!

    • — Laura on January 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen
    I’d like to present this cheesecake while at a dessert buffet…would you pour the berry sauce over the whole cheesecake or should I rather do a different topping?

    • — Chaya Kurz on January 21, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Chaya, I’d probably offer the sauce on the side so that people have the option to put it on if they’d like (or not). 🙂 Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on January 21, 2021
      • Reply
  • I made this for a friend’s birthday and this is hands down The.Best.Cheesecake.Ever! This will be the only NY cheesecake I ever make. Thank you!!!

    • — SCmamabear on January 18, 2021
    • Reply
  • So delightful ! Always a little nervous to try a cheesecake recipe out of fear of disaster & trying new things. Amazing. Turned out so good, no cracks, very decadent. Only addition was a splash of cinnamon to the crust recipe. We ended up adding a fresh strawberry compote on top. Already sharing the recipe to friends & family. A must try, no fail cheesecake !

    • — Courtney L on January 16, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this cheesecake today for my birthday. It was absolutely awesome. I don’t know how to add the picture.

    • — LJ on January 13, 2021
    • Reply
    • Happy Birthday (and so glad you like the cheesecake)! Unfortunately, the blog isn’t set up to receive pictures but if you’re on Instagram, you can share it there; be sure to tag me @onceuponachef!

      • — Jenn on January 14, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen!

    Happy New Year! Can I make this in a baking dish instead? And if so, what changes should I make?

    Thank you!
    Sandra

    • — Sandra on January 10, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Sandra, If you want to do that, I’d actually recommend these cheesecake bars. The recipe is essentially the same but intended for a baking dish. Hope you enjoy if you try them!

      • — Jenn on January 11, 2021
      • Reply
  • Have you ever been to New York and eaten the authentic stuff. Yours is NOTHING like it and besides the base should be sponge cake. Too many eggs, too much sugar.
    Yours is too sweet and tastes absolutely disgusting …nothing like the New York cheesecake. Please don’t call this a New York style cheesecake because it isn’t!
    Change the name as it is an insult to the real thing! BTW, it was so bad that I had to bin the whole thing. What a waste of money!

    • — Malou on January 10, 2021
    • Reply
    • Any recipe is adjustable. As it seems that you know so much about the actual New York cheesecake, why don’t you make suggestions instead of blaming someone else because it didn’t work for you? I do not like sweets and both my husband and my son would be the first to say it was too sweet if that was the case. If it was then I would adjust the next time. The recipe calls for only 2 cups of sugar. Cream cheese is not sweet but cheesecake is but again, adjust it to your liking. BTW the recipe said “New York “STYLE” Cheesecake. I love New York cheesecake and this is close enough. We are not professional bakers so this recipe is good enough.

      • — LJ on January 14, 2021
      • Reply
    • Hey Jen:
      I also have had New York Cheesecake IN New York.
      Once was enough.
      1st time I made your recipe, was for my husband’s birthday yesterday! Also made the sauce but doubled the strawberries and added a little vanilla to cooled sauce. Both cake and sauce are perfect in every way.
      8 people from 3 households all thought it was by far the very best cheesecake they had ever had!
      Thank you Jen for sharing this simple but wonderful, nicely textures and flavourful recipe!
      Go to cheesecake recipe!
      My husband is still going on about it today! Neighbours raved about it last night. Wonderful!
      It is really nice for me as well, to have a new-to-me recipe, turn out to be so amazing!
      Regards,
      kin

      • — Barbara Gene Yandle on January 17, 2021
      • Reply
    • Hey, Is there any way I can use 3 blocks of cream cheese instead of 4? I’m missing one and my mom can’t drive me to the store anymore lol

      • — Vee on January 17, 2021
      • Reply
      • Hi Vee, If you want to do that, I’d cut all the other ingredients by 1/4 as well so the ratios are correct.

        • — Jenn on January 18, 2021
        • Reply
  • I made this recipe gluten free by using gluten free graham crackers and gluten free flour, and it tasted amazing! The recipe was perfect and easy to follow.

    I would recommend including a tip about the bain marie, I attempted the recipe a couple times, using the correct length foil AND a slow cooker liner on the spring form pan, and still water got into the crust somehow. I think the easiest way to avoid this issue is having the water bath directly below the cheesecake in the oven versus placing the pan in the bath.

    • — Kristen T on January 5, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made this amazing recipe twice and it was a huge hit both times!!!

    • — Achini on January 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • If I’m using a 12 in pan how long should I bake ?

    • — Courtney on January 1, 2021
    • Reply
    • Courtney, Cheesecake is pretty finicky so I’m not sure I’d use a different size pan. If you do want to give it a try, it will definitely take less time in the oven, but I’m not sure by how much so keep a close eye on it.

      • — Jenn on January 5, 2021
      • Reply

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