Classic New York Cheesecake

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

Photo by Vladislav Noseek

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

Though the ingredients are simple, cheesecake can be a little intimidating to make. Because cheesecake is a custard, it needs to be baked gently in a water bath, and you have to worry about the surface of the cake cracking, as well as over or undercooking. However, with the right recipe and a few pointers, a creamy, crack-free, perfect NY-style cheesecake is totally doable, even for beginners. This is the only cheesecake recipe you’ll ever need.

What You’ll Need To Make A Classic New York Cheesecake

how to make new york style cheesecakeThis recipe makes a classic New York-style cheesecake with a buttery graham cracker crust and rich, dense filling made from cream cheese, eggs, sugar, sour cream, vanilla, a hint of lemon, and a few tablespoons of flour. The flour might seem like an unusual addition, but it’s the secret to success: a little starch helps prevent the cake from cracking and also makes the filling just a bit lighter.

Key Equipment

how to make new york-style cheesecake

You’ll need a 9 or 10-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 cake easily without having to flip the whole pan over (this would be a disaster with cheesecake). Springform pans, however, are notorious for leaking. Since the cheesecake bakes in a water bath, the foil prevents the water from seeping in during baking. If you’d like to try another technique that doesn’t require wrapping the pan in foil, you can place your springform pan inside a larger cake pan (see how it’s done here) or purchase a silicone wrap for your pan.

You will also need a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer for mixing the batter and a large roasting pan for the water bath.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Preheat the Oven and Prep the Pan

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

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

Step 2: Make the Graham Cracker 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

Step 3: Make the Cheesecake Batter

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and flour.

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

Step 4: Bake

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/humidity 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

Step 5: Cool

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’d like 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.

video tutorial

Photo by Vladislav Noseek

More Cheesecake Recipes

Classic New York 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

  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs, from 12 whole crackers
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ⅛ 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
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Special equipment: 9- or 10-inch springform pan; 18-inch heavy-duty aluminum foil (see Pro Tip)
  • 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. (If the cheesecake starts to look too golden on top towards the end, cover it loosely with foil.) 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.
  9. Pro Tip: Springform pans 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 (30cm) aluminum foil – you can’t have any foil seams on the bottom or sides of the pan. 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. Even when wrapped properly, you can occasionally get some condensation inside the foil. If this happens, don’t worry – the crust is likely just a bit moist around the edges. Simply remove the sides of the springform pan before refrigerating and let it dry out in the refrigerator.

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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Comments

  • Fabulous cheesecake recipe. It bakes up without a crack in sight, as pretty as it is delicious! We don’t care for graham crackers, so I did a shortbread cookie crust instead. Served with a fresh blackberry sauce. Five stars all day! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    • — Laurel (Chef Potpie) on August 14, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn – Would eliminating the lemon juice and zest alter the texture? Thank you!

    • — Sandy R. on August 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • No, it’s fine to omit it if you’d like. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 13, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hello Jenn, love, love, all your recipes. Could you or someone tell me the difference between regular cheesecake and New York style cheesecake? Thank you.

    • — Kathy Blackwell on August 10, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathy, so glad you like the recipes! The primary difference between this and the ricotta cheesecake is that because this one is made with cream cheese, it’s a little heavier and more dense than the ricotta version.

      • — Jenn on August 10, 2022
      • Reply
  • Delicious! I didn’t have enough water in the bath and it all evaporated about five minutes before it was done baking. I will add more next time. Also, rather than wrapping the springform pan in foil, I placed two overlapping foil on the bottom pan then placed the sides over the foil and snapped it shut. I then raised the foil up along the outside. Had no water intrusion.

    • — Lulu on August 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • This was my first attempt at making a cheesecake and I must say it was great, all my friends loved it. It tasted best after it had been in the fridge for about 24 hours. I can think of nothing negative to say about this recipe. Prep took way more than 30 minutes probably because I did it all by hand, no mixer. Cleanup took a while as well. Delicious!

    • — Fred Thomas on August 3, 2022
    • Reply
    • How do I correct the typos in my review?It tasted best after it’s been in the fridge for 24 hours.

      • — Fred Thomas on August 3, 2022
      • Reply
      • I just fixed it (and glad you liked it)!

        • — Jenn on August 3, 2022
        • Reply
  • This cheesecake has been the best recipe I have ever made.
    Our friends and family raved over the cake.
    Thank you for sharing your recipe and techniques.

    • — Kathy McD. on August 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • First time attempting cheesecake and this recipe made me look like a pro. Easy to follow because of the great instructions.

    • — Karen on August 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • I ran out of vanilla and substituted almond extract (being careful to only use half the amount). This cheesecake had tons of rave reviews and I make more than my fair share of cheesecakes. This is a recipe to bookmark. I always mix the ingredients by hand. Sometimes I cheat and warm up the cream cheese a little first to make the mixing easier. Instead of a “water bath” I put casserole pans filled with water on the rack just below the cheesecake. It helps to prevent cracking without all the fuss of the foil. I usually increase the graham cracker crust ingredients by 33 to 40%. It adds a little something extra, IMO.

    • — Debbie on August 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • This cheesecake is too eggy for me. I followed all instructions and still had cracking. I prefer one that uses less eggs and no sour cream in the batter. I like to add the sour cream on top the last 10 minutes of baking.

    • — Anona on July 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • This cheesecake is amazing tasting. It really is better than I have had in restaurants. It is very thick, so watch out! You will be tempted to eat more than your belly can handle…so less is more on this one. Or more than one small piece.😉 It kept in the fridge well, and I even had it for breakfast once or twice. It is a very approachable cheesecake recipe and great for anyone with 0 experience making cheesecake, like me! As long as you follow the directions exactly as they are, it will be exactly what you want it to be. 🍰❤️

    • — Andrea M on July 26, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this NY cheese cake 2 weeks ago. My daughter who is cheese cake snob, she couldn’t get over it, said it was the best cheese cake she has ever tasted. My daughter-in-law also wanted the receipe immediately. Will use this receipe forever, thanks for sharing it!

    • — Sandra Reardon on July 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • Would a sour cream topping work on this? If so, do you have a sour cream topping recipe?

    • — Terri on July 18, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure, a sour cream topping would work here. I don’t have a recipe of my own for one but this one looks good. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on July 18, 2022
      • Reply
    • Hi, I’m going to make this recipe; I’m not new to making cheesecake, and wanted to ask, would adding a fruit filling swirl be an issue? I used fresh cherries and made a filling/sauce to use inside, and later as a topping. Would this pose any issue in the baking? It’s not a thin runny sauce.

      • — Lorrie on July 22, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Lorrie, It should work but I’ve never tried it with this recipe so I can’t say with 100% certainty. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it.

        • — Jenn on July 22, 2022
        • Reply
  • Hi there, I am wondering if I can use 00 flour instead of regular white flour in the recipe since I have some on hand. Thanks for the recipe and any help!

    • — Paulina on July 14, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yep that should work. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 14, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this cheesecake exactly as the recipe states, it came out perfect, a little golden on top but still creamy and delicious . I had never made a 9 inch cheesecake before , only mini ones, but I will definitely use this recipe every time I bake one. Thank you Jenn.

    • — Mary on July 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • Yum

    • — Jign on July 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • I baked this cake twice now. Everyone who tasted it said it was the best cheesecake they ever ate.

    • — MsZonie on July 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • Love this recipe. I made a non-dairy version for my daughter and it was fantastic. My first cheesecake too. I followed the directions and made a few substitutions:

    4 (8oz.) Tofutti Vegan Cream Cheese, room temperature
    4 Eggs, room temperature
    1/2 Cup Tofutti Vegan Sour Cream

    I used 10 inch spring from pan and baked if for 90 minutes, rotated the last 30 minutes of baking and covered loosely with foil, baked on middle rack in convection oven.

    • — Patrick on July 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • I am not a fan of cheesecake, but my husband is, so I made this for him. I have never had cheesecake like this. It was so light and delicate and yet so rich and decadent. This recipe will become a staple in my repertoire. It would be easy to make a day or two ahead for a party.

    • — AnnSS on July 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have made it a few times…wonderful. Thank you for sharing

    • — Vki on July 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this twice and both times it baked around 1 hour. Be sure to check as it bakes!

    • — Eliza on July 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • I used zero sugar in the base but added some Bischoff cookies for a change of flavour…..I only used a 3rd of the sugar in the batter and substituted with light cream cheese and light sour cream and it was still exceptional 👌 Great recipe and easy to follow

    • — Will Newman-Graves on July 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, love your recipes!! I’m about to make my 1st cheesecake–your New York Cheesecake. So, question, is it possible to check the cheesecake for doneness with a thermometer? I’m worried I won’t take it out at the right time…

    Sincere thanks,

    Melting in Texas

    • — Sonja McMullen on July 1, 2022
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! Yes, you can use an instant-read thermometer if you’d like. Read more about it here. Hope it comes out well!

      • — Jenn on July 2, 2022
      • Reply
      • Ok, my 1st ever New York Cheesecake was a huge success!! I followed the recipe exactly, and it turned out so very, very good. It was beautiful and tasty, and it tasted even better the next day!! Thank you so very much Jenn!!!

        • — Sonja McMullen on July 8, 2022
        • Reply
  • How would one chocolatify this recipe?
    I can easily substitute Graham crumbs for Oreo. But what’s a good quantity for replacing vanilla and lemon with cocoa powder or straight up chocolate?

    • — Gabriel on June 30, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Gabriel, I don’t recommend tweaking this recipe to chocolatify it. 🙂
      If you have my second cookbook, I have a triple chocolate cheesecake recipe on page 271. If you don’t own the book, email me at jennifer@onceuponachef.com and I’ll send it to you.

      • — Jenn on July 1, 2022
      • Reply

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