This classic cheesecake is the perfect smooth and creamy cheesecake, with a buttery graham cracker crust. Plus tips to help you get the perfect cheesecake every single time. This cheesecake is rich, creamy, and irresistible.
A classic cheesecake may look plain, but it doesn’t taste plain. It’s rich, and tangy, and sweet, and perfectly creamy. This cheesecake can be made extra special topped with fresh whipped cream, or berries.
Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts, and this classic cheesecake is no exception. It’s the perfect rich and creamy cheesecake. It’s silky, smooth, and so creamy. It’s dense, but not too dense, and so decadent.
Paired with the perfect crunchy, and buttery graham cracker crust – this cheesecake is heavenly.
I made this cheesecake last year for one of our Thanksgiving desserts and everyone was raving about it. It was the most popular dessert by far and was the first gone of all our 7+ pies. I only wish I had been able to have more than one slice 😉
How to make the best Classic Cheesecake?
Start by preheating the oven, so you can bake your graham cracker crust. Mix together graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar till you have a nice sandy mixture. Then press it into the bottom and up the edges of a 9inch springform pan. Bake for about 10 minutes until the crust is lightly golden, and smells nice, and then let the crust cool as you make the cheesecake filling.
Cover the pan completely with foil, and place it in an oven bag tied around if the foil isn’t tight enough to keep the water from leaking in.
Mix the cream cheese in a large bowl (a stand mixer is best) until it’s nice and smooth. Add in the sugar and keep beating it. Then add in the sour cream, and vanilla extract. Add in each of the eggs one at a time, folding them in until they’re just blended in.
Pour the cream cheese filling into the prepared graham cracker crust, and smooth the top out evenly.
Place the cheesecake into a large roasting pan filled with 1 inch or so of hot water (to create a water bath). Bake the cheesecake until the center is almost set. A couple inches in the middle should still be a little jiggly. Turn off the oven, and open the oven door slightly (put a wooden spoon there if it won’t stay open by itself) and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 more hour. Then remove the cheesecake and let it cool to room temperature. Then cover the cheesecake it in and let it cool in the fridge overnight.
How to avoid cracks in your cheesecake?
- Bring all your filling ingredients to room temperature before mixing them, cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs.
- Don’t overmix the cheesecake once the eggs are added. To help with this, add in the eggs one at a time, and fold them into the batter just until combined.
- Cook the cheesecake in a water bath. Use a large roasting pan, or a deep cookie sheet with edges to hold at least 1 inch of water. (You can place the cheesecake on a rack in the roasting pan – still gets the moisture but less risk of it leaking into the crust. Or wrap it in a large oven safe bag)
- Don’t open the oven with your cheesecake is baking, you don’t want to shake it or cause any drops in oven temperature.
- Don’t overbake your cheesecake. It’ll have a couple inches in the center of the cheesecake that are still slightly jiggly when it’s done.
- Let your cheesecake cool slowly. First in the oven turned off and cracked, then at room temperature, then in the fridge for several hours (overnight for the best results).
- Lastly, if your cheesecake does crack, top it with lots of whipped cream, fresh fruit, or a berry sauce to hide them.
Tips for making the best cheesecake:
- Try the cheesecake with a different crust, Oreo is especially delicious. Other options are shortbread, gingersnap, etc.
- Make sure to use full fat cream cheese blocks, not low fat, and not cream cheese spread that you’ll find in the tubs.
- This is a great make ahead dessert because the cheesecake takes about 12 hours from start to finish, and is best with overnight chilling before serving.
- Top your cheesecake with fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, mango, etc), strawberry sauce, blueberry sauce, lemon curd, fresh whipped cream, chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, etc.
How to store cheesecake?
Cheesecake should always be stored covered in the fridge. The whole cheesecake can be wrapped and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Individual slices can be wrapped in plastic wrap, or on a plate and stored for the same amount of time.
You can also freeze your cheesecake. Make sure it is completely chilled, then wrap in in plastic wrap, then foil. It should stay good in the freeze for up to 3 or 4 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight, before slicing it up. Or shorter if you are thawing individually wrapped slices.
Add any toppings to your cheesecake when you’re ready to serve it.
This cheesecake is one of my very favorite desserts. I think I could eat it for any occasion, but it’s especially great for a summer bbq, Thanksgiving dessert, Christmas dinner, Easter dinner, honestly, I want it all year long – and I think you will too!
More cheesecake recipes:
- Blueberry Cheesecake
- No Bake Cheesecake
- Peanut Butter Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
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For the Graham Cracker Crust:
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 13 full graham cracker sheets)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 TBS melted butter
For the Cheesecake Filling:
- 32 oz cream cheese (4 blocks, softened)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 TBS vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs (room temperature)
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Crush up your graham cracker pieces in a blender or food processor till a nice fine crumb is formed.
- Mix the crumbs together with the sugar.
- Mix the butter into the crumbs until you have a nice crumbly texture like wet sand.
- Add the crumbs to a 9inch springform pan and press them evenly around the bottom and half way up the sides.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Let the crust cool slightly. Then wrap the pan with aluminum foil covering the sides and bottom completely.
For the Cheesecake Filling:
- Mix the cream cheese in a stand mixer, or large mixing bowl for a couple minutes until smooth.
- Add in the sugar and beat for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add in the sour cream, vanilla extract and stir until just combined.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition until they are just blended in.
For the Cheesecake Assembly:
- Bring a medium sized pot of water to boil.
- Pour the filling into the cooled crust, and smooth it out evenly over the top.
- Tap the pan on the counter a couple times to release air bubbles, then smooth the top out again.
- Add the cheesecake to a large roasting pan, and fill the pan with about 1 inch of the hot water. **
- Bake the cheesecake in the preheated oven for 60-75 minutes, or until the sides are completely set and the center is slightly jiggle.
- Turn the oven off and crack the door open slightly, leaving the cheesecake in the warm oven for 1 hour.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool completely to room temperature.
- Cover the cheesecake and place it in the fridge to chill for at least 6 hours, overnight is preferred.
- Run a thin knife around the edges of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan, then carefully release the springform pan.
- Cut the cheesecake into slices and enjoy, topped with whipped cream, fresh fruit, chocolate syrup, etc.