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Classic New York Cheesecake

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Think making cheesecake is a challenge? Think again! This foolproof recipe delivers a cheesecake so dense, rich, and creamy, it rivals those from New York’s most beloved delis—and it’s easy enough for beginners to master.

Classic New York Cheesecake

Cheesecake has always been my husband Michael’s absolute favorite dessert. I remember when I first met my future mother-in-law over 20 years ago, she told me the key to her son’s heart was through his stomach—and he could be persuaded to do just about anything for a slice of NY cheesecake. Luckily, having just graduated from culinary school, I had a little advantage when it came to both winning his heart and perfecting my cheesecake! Now, I know that making cheesecake can seem a little intimidating. It’s a custard dessert that requires careful baking in a water bath to prevent cracking and achieve the perfect consistency. But don’t let that daunt you. With a few pointers and a tried-and-true recipe, which I’m happy to share with you, even beginners can whip up a dense, rich, creamy (and crack-free) cheesecake. This is a tradition-worthy dessert that rivals the best NY delicatessens. Who knows, maybe it will even help you win over someone special!

“I made this for my family at Christmas time and everyone LOVED it! I had never made a cheesecake before. The instructions were simple and easy for beginners. I am now tasked with making this for birthdays and holidays!”

Rebekah

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

how to make new york style cheesecake

This 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.

Cream cheese is the key ingredient, so I recommend using a good brand, like Philadelphia. Though it is used most often as a spread for bagels (or a schmear), cream cheese is used to make many wonderful desserts, like my no-churn key lime pie ice cream, berry trifle, and cream cheese frosting.

Flour might seem like an unusual addition—not all cheesecake recipes incorporate it—but it’s the secret to success. A little starch helps prevent the cake from cracking and also makes the filling lighter and fluffier.

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 an electric mixer for whipping up 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

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Classic New York Cheesecake

Think making cheesecake is a challenge? Think again! This foolproof recipe delivers a cheesecake so dense, rich, and creamy, it rivals those from New York’s most beloved delis—and it’s easy enough for beginners to master.

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

  • I’ve made many cheesecakes and this one is great. Perfect lemon flavor for all who ate it. Blackberry sauce to accompany. Followed recipe to a T, guests loved it all and repeatedly said so.

    • — Mike on February 28, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hey! Would I be able to substitute the sour cream for plain Greek yogurt?

    • — Emily on February 17, 2024
    • Reply
    • Sure, Emily, that’s fine – enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 18, 2024
      • Reply
  • This recipe is delicious and easy to follow. I made my first cheese cake off this recipe and I love it.

    • — Crimson on February 17, 2024
    • Reply
  • I absolutely love this recipe! I get soooo many compliments! I’m a military spouse stationed in Spain, sour cream is hard to find sometimes, I substituted Creme Fraiche, imo the Creme Fraiche gives the cheesecake a better flavor. Quick question, how can I adjust this recipe to make Mini Cheesecakes??

    • — Angela on February 16, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Angela, So glad you like them, particularly with the creme fraiche tweak! Mini versions of this will work. You’ll need to reduce the baking time by a lot but it’s hard to say by how long without knowing the size the mini versions will be. I’d just keep a really close eye on them. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on February 16, 2024
      • Reply
  • I halved the sugar and it was the perfect amount! I dont think the flour is a good idea, you can definitely taste it – i would rather have a cheesecake with cracks in it that has the right texture. If I try again I would leave it out completely. So as is the recipe is pretty average and needs some tweaking. I loved the lemon taste and the recommended berry sauce was an excellent addition!

    • — Ruth on February 14, 2024
    • Reply
  • Texture good, but overall too sweet with 2 cups of sugar. I’d reduce, especially if you like a little bit of the tartness of cream cheese. I’d go down to 1-1.5 cups of sugar. Normally I love lemon and citrus but there was a bit too much of that as well. I’d skip or just do 1 tsp and half a zested lemon at most.

    • — Steve on February 12, 2024
    • Reply
  • hi! i’m living in italy, and all the italians keep requesting i make them ny cheesecake. however, i can only find a spreadable version of cream cheese, and i’m worried that it will change the texture. do you maybe have any tips?

    • — avi on February 11, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Avi, While I think the cheesecake will work with the tub cream cheese, I’m not sure if any tweaks would be necessary. Not having tried it myself, I’m uncertain what the difference in the end product will be. If you do try it, I’d love to hear what you think!

      • — Jenn on February 12, 2024
      • Reply
  • This recipe was awful! I spent 4 hours total working on it and I wasted 30 dollars worth of ingredients. I wrapped the bottom super tight like she said to, but the water still leaked in and ruined the bottom. And it wasn’t authentic at all!

    • — Anna on February 11, 2024
    • Reply
  • The best cheesecake I’ve ever had. I made it for my husband’s birthday. He doesn’t care for lemon zest, so I left it out and it was still perfect. This recipe taught me how to correctly make a cheesecake. I had no idea you were supposed to use a water bath. Follow the instructions, don’t over mix and you will have the creamiest, most decadent cheesecake ever!

    • — Rebecca on February 9, 2024
    • Reply
  • Definately new york style and delicious! I will be making this for may family in years to come.
    We do love lemon, so we tweaked the amouts of zest and lemon juice to make it more lemony. But not necessary, just personal preference. I highly recommned this receipe.

    • — Jaqueline on February 7, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Can I use cornstarch instead of flour? If so, is the measurement same as flour?

    • — Anita on February 6, 2024
    • Reply
    • Yes and yes. 😊
      Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 6, 2024
      • Reply
  • I made this cheesecake and followed the recipe EXACTLY. It is easy to make. The texture is perfect and it is tasty. BUT . . .

    it tastes nothing like a New York Classic Cheesecake if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s a recipe for a Lemon Cheesecake. If you don’t like lemony desserts, don’t make this, or forget the zest and cut the lemon juice in half. It’s still a great recipe and it’s delicious, but the word “lemon” should be in the title.

    • — Sandra Taylor on February 5, 2024
    • Reply
  • I make meals for active duty service members in Okinawa, Japan at the request of their parents.

    I get a lot of requests for cheesecake and I use this one EVERY TIME! I get raving compliments every time.

    Thank you so much for an easy to follow recipe with all the tips!

    • — Alyssa McCord on February 3, 2024
    • Reply
  • H Jen I just made this for the second time. Took it out the oven and when I just took off the foil there was a residue of what looked like melted butter on the base of the foil. Could this be from the base of the cake? I’ve never had this before.. The cake is for a birthday celebration tomorrow so am a little anxious. Don’t want to take off the sides of the pan yet before cooling in the fridge. Hope there are no nasty surprises tomorrow. Have you come across this before? Thanks

    • — Andrea on February 3, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Andrea, Typically I’d keep the ring on while refrigerating it, but in this case, I’d remove it to give the bottom a little space to dry out.

      • — Jenn on February 3, 2024
      • Reply
      • Thank you so much for such a quick response! Fingers crossed 😃

        • — Andrea on February 3, 2024
        • Reply
  • Hi Jen – I’ve just made this cake for the second time. Its just out the oven cooling but when I gently removed the foil, butter has been seeping out from the bottom.. Guessing this is from the base. Just letting this cool before putting in the fridge. Not experienced this before.. Dyou think itll be ok???? It’s for a big birthday celebration tomorrow soI’m a little nervous. Thanks

    • — Andrea on February 3, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Andrea, I do think it will dry out in the fridge and should be okay. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on February 3, 2024
      • Reply
  • Can I make this cheesecake in a 9 x 13 inch pan?

    • — Libda Miller-Hunhoff on January 30, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Libba, I would suggest this recipe instead. It’s essentially this cheesecake in bar form. (You’ll need to double the recipe as it’s for an 8 x 8-inch baking dish.) Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 31, 2024
      • Reply
      • Omg this was awesome! My dad used to make me cheesecake for my birthday and it was the best, this came out just like his. It really was easy. I usually make individual mini cheesecakes during the holidays and summer bbqs but now that I’m not afraid to make a big one I think I’ll do that from now on. Thanks

        • — Keri Bond on February 1, 2024
        • Reply
  • I made this recipe recently for Christmas for a lot of people and it was a big hit, it came out perfect! I would like to make it again, but this time it would just be for my family (me, my wife and 2 young kids), so this recipe would be too much. Is there a way to cut the ingredients in half to make a thinner cake? For instance, using 2 blocks of cream cheese instead of 4? If so, I assume the cooking time would be reduced as well?

    • — Tom on January 27, 2024
    • Reply
    • Glad it was a hit! I’ve never tried it, but I think you could cut this in half (but I’d keep the same amount of crust – if you were to cut that in half, I’d be concerned it would be too thin). The bake time will be different, but I’m not sure by how much so keep a close eye on it. Please Report back if you try it!

      • — Jenn on January 30, 2024
      • Reply
  • What is the ingredients ratio you forgot to add

    • — Carlita Rivera on January 25, 2024
    • Reply
    • It sounds like you are just looking at the portion of the page that has the pictures with some instructions above. If you scroll down a bit to under the pictures, you’ll find the full recipe. Alternatively, at the very top of the page, to the right of the recipe name, you’ll see an orange/red button that says Jump to Recipe – if you click on that, it will take you directly to the recipe. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on January 25, 2024
      • Reply
  • I made my first cheesecake today following a crustless recipe. It was missing the taste of lemon zest and juice. I want to try this recipe but I would like to know if this recipe can be made crustless.

    • — Mickey on January 20, 2024
    • Reply
    • I wouldn’t recommend it — sorry!

      • — Jenn on January 22, 2024
      • Reply
  • I mostly followed the recipe, but following advice in the comments about lemon, I added just a tiny bit of zest and a squeeze of juice. It was just the right amount for me to get a little of that fresh taste, but not taste like a lemon cheesecake. I made it for my husband’s birthday and my family and I loved it! Creamy and smooth. I thought I saw in the comments about using an oven bag around the springform pan… I used a disposable crockpot liner so I had no worries about water getting in the pan. No cracks. A keeper!

    • — Andi Schwartz on January 6, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this cheesecake for my son’s 19th birthday and it was a hit! So creamy & delicious. Will definitely make this again. Thank you for your wonderful recipe.

    • — Running_Chickie on January 6, 2024
    • Reply
  • This is AMAZING!! I made this for a New Year’s Eve dinner and everyone LOVED it. In fact my son asked me to make it again and it’s just been 3 1/2 days. Half the family is from Long Island and they know New York Cheesecake. If I could give you 10 stars I would.

    • — Alli Strafaci on January 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • Wow!! My cheesecake turned out perfect!! Even the color on top after baking remained a nice white slightly yellow color. Not a single crack to be found!! ….And the taste? Absolutely delicious! So smooth and velvety. My fork cut through it like it was soften butter. I made one small change per the many reviews. I only used a 1/2 tsp of packed lemon zest. When reading the ingredient requirements, the 2 cups of sugar gave me a bit of a pause, but I took a leap of faith and went ahead with it. The taste and sweetness was spot on for me. Thank you for this great recipe.

    • — Chuck Sampson on January 2, 2024
    • Reply
  • I pulled up this recipe for my son who wanted to make a cheesecake because it had been a while since I made a cheesecake and didn’t want to give him wrong directions. I am so disappointed this cheesecake crumbled and was dry. Definitely not a New York cheesecake recipe and I grew up in New York. My family kept saying how my cheesecake was always so good. I have never added so much flour in a cheesecake recipe before and that is what I believe made it so dry. Will not be making this recipe again.

    • — Anita on January 1, 2024
    • Reply
  • This cheesecake is delicious. I served it with strawberry sauce and everyone loved it. The only change that I made was to bake it at 275 degrees for an hour and 45 minutes. The low temperature ensures a level top with no cracks.

    • — Kathleen A Reddy on January 1, 2024
    • Reply
  • I bake various cheesecakes all year long, but I had never made a NY style, so this recipe really saved the day! Just a tip for the water bath, instead of using foil for the bottom of the pan, I use an oven bag and then I just place the springform pan in it, then roll down the edges and then use a metal binder clip to tighten just below the rim. Water never gets in!

    • — Alisha on December 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • Let me start by saying everyone loved this recipe. Someone even said it was the best cheesecake they have ever had. This will definitely be my go to cheesecake recipe. That being said, the lemon was too much for me. The flavor was very prominent. The next time I make it I will cut the juice and zest in half. I will also cut the sugar in the crust by half as I also found it to be too sweet. This was my first time making a cheese cake and I followed the directions to the word. It turned out perfect. Thank you for a banger of a cheesecake recipe. A new holiday staple.

    • — Paul on December 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this twice now and it’s absolutely delicious!! Thank you thank you!

    • — Beth on December 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hands down, the BEST cheesecake recipe I’ve ever used. I made one for Christmas this year, and it was gone by the 26th. Made a chocolate version of this to try later.

    The recipe was so good, I got roped into making cheesecakes for my sister’s wedding next year! 1000% recommended—don’t change a thing!

    • — KB on December 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • Exceptional recipe, I am very grateful. even teenage family members really gushed

    • — Catherine on December 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • My husband RAVED about this cheesecake and the berry sauce! My other guests loved it too but Hubs made a huge deal shouting through the house about the BEST EVER! It was super easy and I followed your recipe exactly using all the pro-tips too!

    • — Tanya P. on December 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was my first time ever making a cheesecake and it turned out amazing. My whole family absolutely loved it, and I even had a family member originally from New York tell me that it lived up to a true new york cheesecake. Based off the comments I read, I completely left out both the lemon juice and lemon zest and the flavor was spectacular. Will definitely use this from now on as my go-to cheesecake recipe!

    • — Taylor on December 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • Very good

    • — M garry on December 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • Perfect cheesecake

    • — Nora on December 26, 2023
    • Reply

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