New York Cheesecake Recipe

This New York Cheesecake recipe creates a creamy, rich, and indulgent baked dessert. Make it for an impressive holiday dessert!

A slice of cheesecake on a pie server, being lifted out of the cheesecake.

Welcome to the April Bake-Along! This month we’re tackling one of my all-time favorite desserts!

Cheesecake is one of my great loves. In the past, I’ve given you recipes for brownie cheesecake, Oreo cheesecake, fig almond cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake, and peanut butter fudge cheesecake (among many, many others).

Now it’s time to share the ultimate cheesecake recipe with you – a New York-style cheesecake. No fancy embellishments, just a humble graham cracker crust with a sky-high cheesecake filling.

This is a cheesecake purist’s dream.

Slices of cheesecake on the springform pan, cut away from the whole cake.

Is cheesecake difficult to make?

Some people feel that making a homemade cheesecake is time-consuming. But the truth is, it doesn’t require very much hands-on time, and the results are absolutely, 100% worth it!

The graham cracker crust is incredibly quick and easy to make, and you’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make the cheesecake filling.

For many recipes, the most important part of the process requires baking it in a water bath. This helps to ensure an even bake and it reduces the risk of cracks forming on the top of the cake.

The great news is, you won’t need to use a hot water bath to make this recipe!

What’s the difference between regular and New York cheesecake?

Almost every style of cheesecake has a base of cream cheese and eggs. The difference between regular cheesecake and a New York-style is, one bakes in the oven, while the other has a no-bake filling.

The process may be a little easier for a refrigerator cheesecake, but the consistency isn’t nearly as creamy and rich as that of a New York cheesecake.

This cheesecake is everything you would expect from a phenomenal New York-style cheesecake: it’s creamy, tangy and melt-in-your-mouth fantastic.

There are two variations of New York-style cheesecake…

The first relies on either heavy cream or sour cream in the batter to give it a richer flavor and a denser texture.

The second variation is one in which a mixture of sour cream, sugar, and vanilla is combined and spread on top of the almost-baked cheesecake, then returned to the oven to finish baking. The version I’m sharing with you here is the former; sour cream is mixed into the batter and creates a wonderfully decadent cheesecake.

Graham crust ingredients prepped + mixed + pressed into springform pan.

Baking Method Revised and Updated

Many of you may be familiar with this recipe in its original form that was published in 2013; that recipe required you to start the cheesecake at 500 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 200 degrees for the remainder of the baking time. I’ve received a total mixed bag of comments and reviews over the years, from it turning out perfectly to people saying the cheesecake was completely burnt and cracked on top. I couldn’t figure it out because every time I had made it in the past, it was never an issue.

So, I re-tested it (in a newer-to-me oven). And it burned… and cracked. I was stumped after so many successful runs with it, so I did a ton of reading and research.

As it turns out, ovens all vary in the amount of time it takes to drop in temperature, and in this particular recipe, we’re dropping 300 degrees. If your oven drops temperature quickly, then you likely would not have a problem. However, if an oven takes a long time to drop, then it’s baking at a higher temperature for too long, which results in a too-dark and cracked top.

Since a slightly toasted top is characteristic of a New York cheesecake, I wanted to figure out how to make this work. As it turns out, Cook’s Illustrated also re-visited this recipe and flipped the order of baking, STARTING with 200 degrees and getting the cheesecake finished that way, then a quick few minutes in a 500-degree oven to get that little bit of color on top.

This also provides another benefit – if you like a purely pale cheesecake without any color on top, you can completely skip the last step of browning, no other adjustments needed!

Three step-by-step photos of mixing cheesecake batter.

How to make New York-style cheesecake:

Complete instructions for making this delicious New York cheesecake recipe are in the recipe card, at the bottom of this post, but here’s a quick recap:

  1. Pre-Bake the Crust: A graham cracker crust is given some extra body with the addition of flour and is baked until fragrant, then cooled while the filling is prepared.
  2. Make the Cheesecake Filling: Cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and eggs are mixed together into a wonderfully smooth filling.
  3. Bake Low and Slow: The filling is poured over the crust and baked at 200 degrees F until it reaches 150 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, which will take anywhere from 2 hours 15 minutes to 3 hours.
  4. Brown the Top: Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees F and pop the cheesecake back in for a few quick minutes to get that golden toasted look on top.
  5. Chill: The cheesecake must cool to room temperature (about 3 hours) and then go into the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, but overnight is best!

Topping Ideas

While a fabulous cheesecake can absolutely stand on its own, sometimes it’s nice to dress it up a bit when serving it to others. I have included a recipe for a fresh strawberry topping with the recipe below, and here are some other ideas:

Photos of cheesecake batter prepared in mixing bowl then in springform pan.

Notes and Tips

  • To make this New York cheesecake recipe, a springform pan is essential. The pan will give height to your cheesecake, and because the outer ring is separate from the base, the sides stay smooth when you release it after cooling. Also, it’s impossible to get a baked cheesecake out of a regular pan without it falling to pieces.
  • An instant-read thermometer is the absolute best way to ensure your cheesecake is done but not overdone. We’re looking for 150 degrees F; the cheesecake will continue to cook as it cools and baking to this internal temperature will give you the most amazingly creamy cheesecake. If you do not have an instant-read thermometer, gently shake the pan – you want a circular area of about 2 inches in the center to still jiggle slightly.
  • As mentioned above, you can skip the browning step completely if you’d like.
  • If you DO plan on browning, be sure to keep a close eye on it because it will brown quickly. I found that it even darkened a shade or two after cooling, so keep that in mind, as well. Err on the side of removing it earlier rather than later.
  • A thoroughly chilled cheesecake is best! While 6 hours is the minimum, overnight is even better. (Which is awesome, because cheesecake is the ultimate make-ahead dessert!)
  • Storage: Keep the cheesecake wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze the Entire Cheesecake: Chill overnight in the refrigerator, wrap in plastic, then wrap in foil and place in a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
  • To Freeze Slices of Cheesecake: Wrap each slice individually in plastic wrap, then place in a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, or at room temperature for approximately 45 minutes.

JOIN THE BEB BAKE-ALONG!

To tackle the New York cheesecake and bake along with me this month, simply do the following:

  • Make the cheesecake! I would love to hear what you plan to top it with, share in the comments below!
  • Snap a picture and either share it on social media (#BEBbakealong on Instagram or Twitter), upload it to the BEB Facebook group, or email it to me.
  • Check-in on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month to see everyone’s cheesecake and cheer each other on!

Slice of cheesecake on a plate with a fork.

If you make the cheesecake and love it, please take a moment to stop back and leave a review below; they help out fellow readers so much! Thank you! xo

New York Cheesecake Recipe

Servings 16 servings
Prep 1 hour
Cook 2 hours 15 minutes
Cooling and Chill Time 9 hours
Total 12 hours
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Michelle

This New York Cheesecake recipe creates a creamy, rich, and indulgent baked dessert. Make it for an impressive holiday dessert!

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 1
    cup
    graham cracker crumbs
    (7 whole graham crackers)
  • ½
    cup
    all-purpose flour
  • cup
    dark brown sugar
  • ¼
    teaspoon
    salt
  • 6
    tablespoons
    unsalted butter
    (melted)

For the Cheesecake Filling:

  • 40
    ounces
    cream cheese
    (at room temperature and cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • cups
    granulated sugar
    (divided)
  • teaspoon
    salt
  • cup
    sour cream
  • 2
    teaspoons
    lemon juice
  • 2
    teaspoons
    vanilla extract
  • 2
    egg yolks
  • 6
    eggs

For the Fresh Strawberry Topping:

  • 2
    pounds
    strawberries
    (hulled and cut into ¼-inch slices (about 3 cups sliced strawberries))
  • ½
    cup
    granulated sugar
  • Pinch
    of salt
  • 1
    cup
    strawberry jam
  • 2
    tablespoons
    lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and adjust racks to lower-middle and upper-middle positions. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

  2. Make the Crust: In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, flour, brown sugar, and salt. Pour in the melted butter over the mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until the entire mixture is moistened. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared springform pan and bake until the edges begin to lightly brown, 11 to 13 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

  3. Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees F.

  4. Make the Cheesecake Filling: Beat the cream cheese, ¾ cup of the sugar, and the salt on medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Beat in the remaining ¾ cup of sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beater. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla extract and beat on low speed until combined, 1 minute. Add the egg yolks and beat at medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, 1 minute. Scrape the bowl and beater well. Add the whole eggs two at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.

  5. Pour the filling over the crust and place the springform pan on the lower-middle rack. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack below to catch any drips. Bake until the cheesecake registers 150 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, 2 hours 15 minutes to 3 hours.

  6. Remove the cake from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees F (leave the rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack).

  7. Once the oven reaches 500 degrees, place the cheesecake on the upper-middle rack. Bake until the top is lightly browned, 3 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Run a paring knife between the cheesecake and the side of the springform pan, then allow to cool to room temperature, at least 3 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 6 hours but ideally overnight.

  8. Remove the sides of the springform pan and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

  9. To Make the Fresh Strawberry Topping: In a large bowl, toss together the sliced strawberries and the sugar. Let sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to combine.

  10. Process the jam in a food processor until smooth, about 10 seconds (or, whisk vigorously until the jam is completely smooth). Place the jam in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the jam is dark and no longer frothy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, then pour over the strawberries and stir to combine. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours (the strawberry topping is best served within 1 day of making it).

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes:

  • To make this New York cheesecake recipe, a springform pan is essential. The pan will give height to your cheesecake, and because the outer ring is separate from the base, the sides stay smooth when you release it after cooling. Also, it’s impossible to get a baked cheesecake out of a regular pan without it falling to pieces.
  • An instant-read thermometer is the absolute best way to ensure your cheesecake is done but not overdone. We're looking for 150 degrees F; the cheesecake will continue to cook as it cools and baking to this internal temperature will give you the most amazingly creamy cheesecake. If you do not have an instant-read thermometer, gently shake the pan - you want a circular area of about 2 inches in the center to still jiggle slightly.
  • As mentioned above, you can skip the browning step completely if you'd like.
  • If you DO plan on browning, be sure to keep a close eye on it because it will brown quickly. I found that it even darkened a shade or two after cooling, so keep that in mind, as well. Err on the side of removing it earlier rather than later.
  • A thoroughly chilled cheesecake is best! While 6 hours is the minimum, overnight is even better. (Which is awesome, because cheesecake is the ultimate make-ahead dessert!)
  • Storage: Keep the cheesecake wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze the Entire Cheesecake: Chill overnight in the refrigerator, wrap in plastic, then wrap in foil and place in a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
  • To Freeze Slices of Cheesecake: Wrap each slice individually in plastic wrap, then place in a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, or at room temperature for approximately 45 minutes.
Nutritional values are based on one slice of cheesecake.

Nutrition:

Calories: 448kcal
Fat: 32g
Saturated fat: 18g
Cholesterol: 178mg
Sodium: 347mg
Potassium: 149mg
Carbohydrates: 34g
Fiber: 1g
Sugar: 27g
Protein: 8g
Vitamin A: 1234%
Vitamin C: 1%
Calcium: 96%
Iron: 1%

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

Originally published in 2013, this has been updated to include a new recipe technique based on feedback and re-testing, new photos, a helpful video tutorial, and more in-depth recipe tips.

[photos by Ari of Well Seasoned]