The Best New York Cheesecake

LAST UPDATED: Apr 14, 2020 | PUBLISHED: Mar 04, 2013 | By: Julie Blanner

The best New York Cheesecake recipe  – it’s creamy, dreamy and insanely delicious! It’s an irresistible and easy cheesecake that is perfect for any and all special occasions in your life. Don’t skip this one – I’m going to walk you through it step by step! 

The best cheesecake recipe - it's creamy & dreamy! It's an irresistible and easy cheesecake recipe perfect for any and all occasions.

New York Cheesecake is rich, creamy, incredibly smooth and dense. It’s made with cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream. Lemon or vanilla add a nice, subtle flavor.

This recipe is special to me because it was my aunt’s, who I love and miss dearly. I’m always careful to document my recipes because it’s a great way to carry on a little taste of those who are no longer with us.

Making old family recipes always brings back great memories and gives us a sense that they are still present in some little way. This is truly the best cheese cake I’ve ever eaten – I hope your family loves this cheesecake as much as ours!

A slice of new york cheesecake on a white plate.

A Memorable New York Cheesecake Recipe

My aunt was the ultimate hostess, always making you feel at ease in her home. Sure, she was a great cook, but she was the epitome of Maya Angelou’s quote:

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

That was the key to how she treated people in her home. Isn’t that what being a great hostess is truly all about? I hope you keep that in mind as you’re scurrying to clean your home preparing for guests you’re hosting.

A slice of New York cheesecake on a white plate, drizzled in strawberry sauce.

I like to give a lot of detail in my recipe posts to guide readers through any questions. If you’re just here for the printable recipe, feel free to click “jump to recipe” right under the title of this post and you’ll head straight there!

What is New York Cheesecake?

New York style cheesecake stands above other versions with several distinct (and delicious) differences.

  1. Whereas other cheesecakes (like Chicago style) tend to form a crust on the exterior, New York cheesecake does not. 
  2. This style of cheesecake is extremely rich with a smooth, creamy density. 
  3. Where Italian cheesecake uses ricotta cheese, New York cheesecakes require full fat cream cheese.
  4. New York style cheese cake is tall and flat on top.
  5. California cheesecake is a totally different kind – it’s light, creamy and very sweet.

New York Cheesecake Ingredients

This is what makes New York Cheesecake stand above the rest!

Cheesecake Crust

  • Graham Cracker crumbs (crushed graham crackers) – The classic ingredient for cheesecake crust. I like to pulse them in my food processor for a super fine crumb.
  • Melted Butter – Salted or unsalted, your preference. Take it over the top with brown butter.
  • Sugar – I use white granulated sugar, but you can also use brown sugar for a more caramelized experience. Your choice!

Cheesecake Filling

  • Cream Cheese – Completely softened for smooth, luxurious texture. You can learn how to soften cream cheese here.
  • Sugar – White granulated sugar to sweeten this decadent dessert.
  • Vanilla – Vanilla extract adds a hint of flavor, but you can mix it up with your favorite extract. Try almond or even lemon extract for different flavor enhancements.
  • Eggs – Hold this delicious dessert together.

New York Style Cheesecake Topping

  • Sour Cream – This tangy, creamy addition takes your New York style cheesecake up a few notches. Some recipes require heavy cream here, but we love the tangy twist of sour cream.
  • Sugar 
  • Vanilla

How to Make New York Cheesecake

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine crust ingredients and spoon into greased 10″ springform.
  3. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Add eggs until well blended {but don’t over mix to avoid cracking}.
  5. Pour cheesecake mixture over graham cracker crust.
  6. Prepare your water bath: place your baking pan on the bottom rack of your oven. As you’re preparing your cheesecake, get your pot of water boiling over the stove. You’ll pour this into the baking pan once you’re ready to bake.
  7. Bake 1/2 hour. Remove and allow to cool for a 1/2 hour while preheating the oven to 475 degrees.
  8. Mix and spread the topping onto COOLED cheesecake.
  9. Bake 8-10 minutes or until slightly tan. *It’s okay if it doesn’t look solid-it will solidify in the cooling process. It will never be a golden brown color! 
  10. Allow to cool completely before removing the outside of the spring pan and refrigerate.

Tips for the BEST Cheesecake Results

Take it Step By Step – Don’t let cheesecake intimidate you. If you take it step by step, it can be one of the easiest and most rewarding desserts you’ll make. Believe me, it’s worth it!

  • Use HIGH QUALITY ingredients. Full fat cream cheese is important – cheesecake is not the place to skimp around for health reasons! 
  • Preparing your pan is very important. Read below for more details about springform pans. It’s a very important part of the whole process and allows a beautiful release.
  • Don’t Over Mix – Don’t over mix the batter as it will cause cracking. This means stay on the lowest setting for your mixer! Extra air from too high of speeds for too long = cracks.
  • Bring cream cheese to room temperature – It’s best to let it sit out on the counter rather than softening it in the microwave. However, I’ve got an entire post dedicated to softening cream cheese if you’re in a hurry! 
  • Learn all about the water bath and why it’s important below. This is a can’t-skip step! 
  • Baking time varies oven to oven. If you know your oven runs a little hot, make sure to watch your cooking time! 

Just remember to take your time with your cheesecake. This is not the time to rush the baking experience!

The BEST cheesecake recipe | this recipe is incredibly creamy & especially dreamy when topped with a strawberry pinot reduction
The best strawberry topping for cheesecakes, ice cream, brownies & more | Strawberry Pinot Reduction via julieblanner.com

What is a Water Bath? 

A water bath is very simply a pan of water placed in the oven (on a lower shelf directly under something that is baking).  

To use a water bath you’ll fill a large enough pan with water, then place the baking dish, ramekins, etc into the pan of water.  The water should reach about half way up the pan. It may be easier to place the baking dish in the empty then add water.

Water baths are used for recipes that require a moist environment and a less aggressive heat for cooking.  Cheesecakes, custards and puddings are usually cooked in water baths.

A water bath method provides an even, slower heat source than the direct heat of an oven alone.

To prepare your water bath, simply place a large baking pan on the lowest rack of your oven. You can use a simple 9×13 baking pan or even a roasting pan- anything deep enough to hold some water. 

While you prepare the cheesecake, boil your water in a pot on the stove. When you’re ready to bake your cheesecake, you’ll pour this hot water into the pot in the oven.

What’s the Best Cream Cheese for Cheesecake?

Simply put: don’t skimp here. Yes, you can try to use a lower fat cream cheese. But it won’t be the same rich, creamy decadence you’re expecting.

Full fat cream cheese is the best option for cheesecake. If you absolutely need a substitution, you can also check out my printable baking substitution post to see if anything else you have on hand might work!

What is a Springform Pan? 

A springform pan features sides that can be removed from the base. The base and sides are separate pieces that are held together when the base is aligned with a groove that attaches to the bottom of the walls. When you’re ready to release your cheesecake, you will simply loosen the rings on the side of the pan – it works like magic! 

However, springform pans are notoriously leaky just by nature. I like to wrap mine in aluminum foil around the base. 

Lightly coat the entire inside with cooking spray and place parchment paper up against the sides. This not only helps you release your cheesecake, but it will add an extra layer of leak protection.

QUICK TIP: No springform? No problem! Line any baking pan with sheets of parchment paper. Instead of releasing the springs, you’ll lift your cheesecake out by the edges of paper peaking above the top of the pan.

Can you Freeze Cheesecake? 

Freezer Instructions: This cheesecake can be frozen (and retain flavor) for up to three months. To freeze, place the cake in the freezer briefly to flash freeze, unwrapped, to help it harden.

You’ll double-wrap it with aluminum foil or even plastic freezer wrap, or double wrap it in a ziploc style freezer bag. Double wrapping is important for freshness – you don’t want your cheesecake picking up flavors and scents from your freezer!

Thaw in the refrigerator for approximately 24 hours before you plan to serve your delicious cheesecake. I have used this freezer method before and it turned out perfectly!

Cheesecake Toppings

Classic New York style cheesecakes often feature a slight hint of lemon. Try adding a little lemon zest or lemon juice to your cheesecake.

The BEST cheesecake recipe | this recipe is incredibly creamy & especially dreamy when topped with a strawberry pinot reduction

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More Cheesecake Recipes

The Best Cheesecake Recipe

Julie Blanner
The best New York Cheesecake  – it's creamy, dreamy and insanely delicious! It's an irresistible and easy cheesecake recipe perfect for any and all occasions.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Cool 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 490 kcal

Ingredients
  

Cheesecake Crust

  • 2 cups crushed graham crackers approximately 1 box
  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Cheesecake Filling

  • 24 ounces cream cheese softened (4 packages)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 eggs large

New York Style Topping

  • 8 ounce sour cream
  • 3 teaspoon sugar white granulated
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine crust ingredients and spoon into greased 10″ springform.
  • Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  • Add eggs until well blended {but don’t over mix to avoid cracking}.
  • Pour cheesecake mixture over graham cracker crust.
  • Prepare your water bath: place your baking pan on the bottom rack of your oven. As you're preparing your cheesecake, get your pot of water boiling over the stove. You’ll pour this into the baking pan once you’re ready to bake.
  • Bake 1/2 hour. Remove and allow to cool for a 1/2 hour while preheating the oven to 475 degrees.
  • Mix and spread the topping onto COOLED cheesecake.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes or until slightly tan. {It’s okay if it doesn’t look solid-it will solidify in the cooling process.}
  • Allow to cool completely before removing the outside of the spring pan and refrigerate.

Notes

Tips:
  • Don’t let cheesecake intimidate you. If you take it step by step, it can be one of the easiest and most rewarding desserts you’ll make. Believe me, it’s worth it!
  • Don’t overmix the batter as it will cause cracking
  • Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature. It’s best to let it sit out on the counter rather than softening it in the microwave.
  • Don’t forget to use a springform pan, it’s a very important part of the whole process and allows a beautiful release

Nutrition

Calories:490kcalCarbohydrates:40gProtein:7gFat:34gSaturated Fat:19gCholesterol:161mgSodium:390mgPotassium:157mgFiber:1gSugar:32gVitamin A:1215IUVitamin C:1mgCalcium:101mgIron:1mg
Keywords New York Cheesecake
Did you Make This Recipe?Mention @JulieBlanner
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