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 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 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 cheesecake, and cheesecake bars – but this authentic New York-style cheesecake is my most requested.

Though the ingredients are simple, cheesecake can be a little intimidating to make. You have to cook the cheesecake in a water bath and worry about the water bath leaking into the cake, the surface of the cake cracking, and over or under-cooking. But after baking umpteen cheesecakes over the years, I’ve found 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 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, you’ll find some guidance here.

how to make new york-style cheesecake

Step-by-Step Instructions

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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Comments

  • Hi, can I use parchment circle paper inside of the springform pan under the crust if I am making it as a gift?

    • — Dena on January 26, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure – hope your recipient enjoys!

      • — Jenn on January 27, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Happy New year to you and your Family .And thank you for sharing your recipe and make me look fantastic 👩‍🍳 chef ,that’s what my husband complements me and his family at all time.the secret is I found your blog many years ago and I had both of your books .
    I made this last Christmas it was the best and the presentation was beautiful it amaze my family and they couldn’t believe I made it.question I want to make again for just two of us leaving in the house I like to cut the recipe into half. How long do you think I start checking and do I use 9 inch springform or smaller than that?
    And from your second book I made the triple chocolate cheesecake last New Year’s Eve. Ooh 😮 my goodness they are soo good. I want to cut the recipe as well for just two of us . Could you advice me ,
    Thank you so much
    Rose 🌹

    • — Rose on January 26, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Rose, happy new year to you, and thanks for your kind words about the recipes (and so glad you enjoyed the cheesecake)! Yes, you can halve the recipe; I’d use a 6 to 7-inch springform pan. Bake time will be less — I’d start checking it at 45 minutes. The modifications would be the same if you halved the chocolate cheesecake. 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 26, 2022
      • Reply
  • My son-in-law has requested a raspberry swirl cheesecake for his birthday. Would this recipe work if I swirled seedless raspberry jam through it?
    Thanks- love your recipes!!!!

    • — Diane on January 25, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Diane, I wouldn’t recommend swirling raspberry into the batter as cheesecakes are pretty finicky. You could definitely top it off with a berry sauce similar to this. Hope that helps (and glad you like the recipes)!

      • — Jenn on January 26, 2022
      • Reply
  • I would really like to make this for a friend’s Birthday (her request) only trouble is I will be away the day before we are supposed to meet. How long can I keep this in the fridge after I make it. I have time to make it Saturday her Birthday is Monday.

    • — Lynn on January 25, 2022
    • Reply
    • Saturday is perfectly fine, Lynn. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 25, 2022
      • Reply
      • Thank you! Love your site Jenn!

        • — Lynn on January 26, 2022
        • Reply
  • Hi! Do the eggs and sour cream need to be room temperature too?

    • — Miranda Wynne on January 21, 2022
    • Reply
    • No need to bring them to room temperature. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 24, 2022
      • Reply
  • This recipe looks great! I am planning on making a cheesecake for my partner’s birthday who unfortunately hates lemon anything – is it possible to bake without the lemon juice or lemon zest? Thanks!

    • — Cat on January 16, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure, Cat – it’s fine to leave out the zest and juice. Hope you both enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 17, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hey i have to make this but in my area sour cream isnt available.
    Can i use heavy whipping cream instead? Will it make alot of difference?

    • — Ahmed hassan on January 16, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Ahmed, Heavy cream may work, but it might alter the texture of the cake and cause it to crack. If you have access to Greek yogurt, I may try that instead. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on January 16, 2022
      • Reply
  • I make this cheesecake every year for my birthday. I follow the recipe exactly and it always comes out perfect. I will probably make this cake for the rest of my life, I look forward to it every year and people say it’s the best cheesecake they’ve ever had!

    • — Sarah on January 15, 2022
    • Reply
  • What pan is best to use, a 9 or 10in?

    • — Wendy on January 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Wendy, Either will work. My pan is 9.5 inches. 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 16, 2022
      • Reply
  • I just made this cheesecake for my brothers birthday, and I have to say that it was one of the best cheesecakes we’ve had. I don’t think we’ll be ordering anymore from anywhere else. Must try! Thank you for the recipe and the detailed instructions 🙂

    • — Priya Sharma on January 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made these 2 weekends in a row for birthdays, one with lemon and one without. They turned out beautifully! Thank you for such an easy recipe with great directions.

    • — Erica on January 9, 2022
    • Reply
  • This recipe resulted in a picture perfect & incredibly delicious cheesecake (I’m talking 5-star restaurant worthy)!

    I have a very limited amount of baking experience and had never made a cheesecake before, but I wanted one for Christmas dinner (ambitious I know). So, I followed the recipe exactly, including room temperature ingredients and the water bath. It resulted in a rich, smooth and creamy cheesecake, that was aesthetically perfect (not even a hairline crack). My guests were astounded; quite frankly, so was I.

    I topped this beauty with strawberry sauce (using the linked recipe for “berry sauce”). It was not only simple (strawberries, sugar & vanilla), but divine. I am officially over my attachment to cherry topping, which has been my favorite for 35+ years!

    I am going to start making this recipe every weekend from now on; it’s going to be my everyday dessert!

    • — Beverly on January 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi! could you half the recipe, and if so, what size pan should i use?
    Thank you for your recipe, it looks amazing!

    • — Macarena Cilloniz on January 5, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yes, you can halve the recipe; I’d use a 6 to 7-inch springform pan. Bake time will be less — I’d start checking it at 45 minutes. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 5, 2022
      • Reply
      • Thank you so much!

        • — Macarena Cilloniz on January 5, 2022
        • Reply
  • If I substitute the vanilla extract for rum extract do I have to tweak anything? I guess instead of a berry sauce a brown sugar/caramel one would work? Or some caramelized pineapple thing?

    • — Gabriel on January 4, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Gabriel, I’ve never baked with rum extract so I’m not sure if you’d need to change the amount. Instead of using rum extract, I’d just go with rum. And the sound of a brown sugar caramel sauce or caramelized pineapple to top the cake both sound like tasty options – hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 4, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi there,
    I’d love to try this recipe but my husband doesn’t like crust on cheesecake. Can I remove these steps and just make the cheesecake or would I need to tweak anything else in the cake part to make this work? Thank you!

    • — Katherine on January 3, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Katherine, unfortunately, I don’t think it would work to make this crustless — sorry!

      • — Jenn on January 4, 2022
      • Reply
    • I have made this crustless but not in a springform pan. Individual ramekins (if you have the set piece that comes with its own water bath pan and the ramekin holder) seems to work fine but if they’re porcelain ramekins, then they may not separate from the edges like they would in a springform pan. Cook time is less the smaller the ramekins are.

      • — Deserts in Dallas on January 15, 2022
      • Reply
  • I have successfully tried this recipe 2 times and put my own twist on it yesterday by making it cappuccino flavored. I subbed the lemon for around 1/3 cup espresso powder and used a chocolate cookie base! It turned out really really well and I just love how versatile this base recipe is.

    • — David T on January 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • Compared to other recipes this is absolutely a fool proof recipe – my only complaint is that I made this for lunch on New Year’s Day and there was not a slice left! The top was picture perfect and not cloyingly sweet like some other recipes I have made in the past. I must admit I enjoyed all the glowing compliments from my future son-in-law (a self confessed cheesecake snob) and will certainly make it again

    • — B Webb on January 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this for Christmas. It was such a huge hit with my family that I’m now baking cheesecake as the groom’s cake for a cousin’s wedding this spring. Thank you for this amazing recipe!

    • — Kailyn on January 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have made this recipe multiple times in the last 6 months for multiple occasions and every time it is called the best cheesecake they have ever eaten.

    • — Di Pina on January 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • Have made this 3 times now. First time it was a bit too lemony but still delicious. Second two times I reduced the lemon and my god, seriously the best cheesecake I have ever had. Thank you!

    • — Hannah on January 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • I want to make it but I don’t have any graham crackers. can I still make it?

    • — unknown on December 31, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi, If you have gingersnaps, you could use the crust from this recipe or you could make an Oreo crust. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on January 2, 2022
      • Reply
  • Using your recipe, how could I make a coffee cheesecake?

    • — charrene p Bills on December 30, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Charrene, Cheesecake is pretty finicky so I wouldn’t tweak this to make a coffee cake. I think you’d have better luck if you looked for a recipe for one. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on December 30, 2021
      • Reply
      • I’ve been making a cafe con leche Cheesecake for years and lost the recipe. In searching for something similar I used this recipe and added instant coffee to the sour cream then incorporated to the rest of the cheese cake mixture. I did not add lemon to this recipe everything else left it intact. Came out perfect. Oh and for the crust I used Maria Cookies which are like digestive cookies.

        • — Jack on January 17, 2022
        • Reply
    • One idea — and this is a try at your own risk suggestion — is you could add a couple of teaspoons of *instant* espresso powder (NOT grounds) into the sour cream and stir that well until the granules are completely dissolved. Then you could add it to the entire mixture when the sour cream is called for. You might have to experiment to get the right level of coffee flavor but I think you could probably do this without disrupting the chemistry of the cheesecake setting.

      • — Angie on December 31, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, this is the second time I’ve made this recipe. The first time was great, this second time unfortunately some water from the bath got into it while cooling and the crust is now mushy on some parts, is there any way to save it? I made it for New Years Eve dinner at my in laws and I just really want it to be perfect. It’s currently cooling in the fridge.

    • — Erika on December 30, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Erika, Sorry to hear you got a little water leakage. I would remove the rim of the springform pan and let it dry out in the fridge for a while. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on December 30, 2021
      • Reply
  • This cheesecake recipe is spot on. The directions were easy to follow and it came out perfect. Rich and creamy.. my family loved it. Will bake it again and again.

    • — Kathi on December 30, 2021
    • Reply
    • Although I myself am not a fan of cheesecake, I made this for my fiancé who loved it. It turned out wonderful. He is very specific on what and how he likes his foods and he was full of compliments on the outcome. I see myself making this for years to come !! Thanks for sharing…
      Debby. 01/01/22

      • — Debby Thomas on January 2, 2022
      • Reply
  • Both my neighbor and I made this cheesecake for Christmas dinner and we’re just savoring the final bites on December 30th. It’s the first cheesecake that I have made with perfect results. I added more lemon zest than it called for so I wound up with a lemony cheesecake. Next time I’ll go easy on the zest because I love vanilla in front. But, overall, we agreed – this is fabulous cheesecake and will make every Christmas menu from here on.

    • — Lyn McCarty on December 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • All I can say is that this will be the recipe to follow for life!!! That lemon flavor was a complete game changer!!! I love it!!! Thank you for sharing your recipe with us!!

    • — Elida on December 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • So yummy!!! This was my first time making a cheesecake and it was a hit last night at Christmas dinner. Thank you for the yummy recipe.

    • — Alexandra on December 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this cheesecake (and berry sauce) for Christmas dessert and it was fantastic! It was the best cheesecake I ever had. It baked perfectly with no cracking. This will be my go to dessert for special dinners! Thank you, Jenn, for such a wonderful recipe!

    • — Debbie on December 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made it for Christmas this year and took it over my brother’s. It was the BEST Cheesecake I ever made!! I made a lot of them too. It’s truly a New York Cheesecake. Thank you!!! I did make the berry sauce a little different. I used frozen strawberries, put them on the stove with sugar, fresh squeezed orange juice and some Gran Gala, after that was cooked down I put it in the food processor and pulverized it. I put frozen cherries in the pot put the same ingredients over it and left them whole and I added the strawberry mixture to it, added some flour mixed with water to thicken it up a little. it was really good!!

    • — Barb on December 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made this recipe and it has a noticeable lemon taste. I utilized a fresh lemon for the recipe and followed instructions. Maybe I over packed the zest and got to much? Is this normal?

    • — Joseph Q Casson on December 26, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Joseph, It does have a slight lemon flavor; if it’s too much for you, it’s fine to reduce the lemon zest or leave it out.

      • — Jenn on December 26, 2021
      • Reply
  • I love NY cheesecake, but never made one – I decided to dive in and make one for Christmas.
    This recipe was easy to follow and it came out perfect, in looks and taste. I’ll never buy another store made cheesecake again – seriously good stuff.

    • — Denise Black on December 25, 2021
    • Reply

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