New York Cheesecake Recipe
Follow this classic New York Cheesecake recipe for a creamy, rich, and indulgent baked dessert. Serve it plain or with your favorite cheesecake toppings for an impressive holiday dessert!
Cheesecake is one of my great loves. Over the years, I’ve shared many, many cheesecake recipes including brownie cheesecake, Oreo cheesecake, fig almond cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake, and peanut butter fudge cheesecake.
Today, we’re taking a deep dive into the ultimate cheesecake recipe – New York style cheesecake with a classic graham cracker crust and a sky-high cheesecake filling.
The Best New York Cheesecake Recipe
This New York style cheesecake is:
- Rich and creamy
- Totally indulgent
- Sky high
- Easier than you’d think to make – no water bath!
- Great for holidays, birthdays, and celebrations
- A cheesecake purist’s dream
Is Homemade Cheesecake Difficult To Make?
While homemade cheesecake can be a little time-consuming and look a little intimidating (especially if a water bath is involved), it’s a great recipe for bakers of any level and doesn’t require very much hands-on time. Many cheesecake recipes also require baking cheesecake in a water bath to ensure an even bake and reduce the risk of cracks forming on the top of the cake, but you won’t need to use a hot water bath to make this recipe!
There are two parts to cheesecake – both simple to make with basic baking ingredients; a traditional graham cracker crust and ultra-creamy cheesecake filling.
If you’ve ever tasted cheesecake from scratch, you know the results are absolutely, 100% worth it!
What’s the Difference Between Regular and New York Cheesecake?
Almost every style of baked cheesecake has a base of cream cheese and eggs. The difference lies in the amount of cream cheese and the addition of sour cream.
“Regular” cheesecake is traditionally lighter and baked to pale perfection. For a classic cheesecake recipe (not New York style) try my Oreo cheesecake recipe. Simply omit the Oreo cookies for a plain version.
New York-style cheesecake is made with more cream cheese than regular cheesecake and also uses sour cream in the filling. It’s typically denser and richer and is sometimes browned on top. (Side note: another variation of New York cheesecake involves baking a layer of sour cream on top of the cheesecake at the end.)
Revised and Updated Cheesecake Baking Method
The Original Recipe: Many of you may be familiar with the original form of this cheesecake recipe that I published in 2013. That recipe required you to start baking the cheesecake at 500 degrees F for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 200 degrees F for the remaining baking time. I’ve received a total mixed bag of comments and reviews over the years – some readers comment that it turns out perfectly while others say the cheesecake was completely burnt and cracked on top. I couldn’t identify where to make changes to the recipe, because every time I made it, it turned out wonderfully.
So, I re-tested it in a new-to-me oven. And it burned… and cracked. I was stumped after making so many successful cheesecakes following this method, so I did a ton of reading and research.
As it turns out, the time it takes your oven to drop in temperature makes all the difference. All ovens vary in the amount of time it takes to drop in temperature, and in this particular recipe, we’re dropping the temperature by 300 degrees F. If your oven lowers in temperature quickly, you likely would not have had a problem. However, if an oven takes a long time to drop the temperature, the cheesecake bakes at a higher temperature for too long, resulting in a too-dark and cracked top.
The Updated Recipe: 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. START the cheesecake in an oven at 200 degrees F and finish the cheesecake at 500 degrees F for a few minutes to get that classic browned 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!
How to Make New York 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:
- Pre-Bake the Crust: Flour adds some extra body to this classic graham cracker crust. Pre-bake the crust until fragrant, then let it cool while the filling is prepared.
- Make the Cheesecake Filling: Mix together classic cheesecake ingredients (cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and eggs) into a wonderfully smooth filling.
- Bake Low and Slow: Pour the filling over the crust and bake at 200 degrees F until it reaches 150 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. This takes anywhere from 2 hours 15 minutes to 3 hours.
- 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 classic browned top.
- Chill: This is a must! Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature (about 3 hours) and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, but overnight is best.
New York Style Cheesecake Success Tips
Follow these tips and tricks for the best New York cheesecake:
- Springform Pan: To make this deep dish New York cheesecake recipe, a springform pan is essential. Using this pan will give your cheesecake height and, because the outer ring is separate from the base, the sides stay smooth when you release it after cooling. (It’s impossible to get a baked cheesecake out of a regular pan without it breaking apart into pieces.)
- Thermometer: An instant-read thermometer is the absolute best way to ensure your cheesecake is done but not overdone. The cheesecake will continue to cook as it cools, so we’re looking for 150 degrees F; 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.
- Browned Top: As mentioned above, you can skip the browning step completely if you’d like. If you DO plan on browning the top, be sure to keep a close eye on it because it will brown quickly. I find that it darkens a shade or two after cooling, so keep that in mind, as well. Err on the side of removing it earlier rather than later.
- Chill: 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!)
How to Store and Freeze Cheesecake
- 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 in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for about 45 minutes.
Topping Ideas for New York Style Cheesecake
While a fabulous cheesecake can absolutely stand on its own, sometimes it’s nice to dress it up a bit when serving to others (you could even set up a cheesecake topping bar!). You’ll find a recipe for fresh strawberry topping included with the cheesecake recipe below, and here are some other cheesecake topping ideas:
If you make this classic cheesecake recipe 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
For the Crust:
For the Cheesecake Filling:
- 40 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1½ cups (298 g) granulated sugar, divided
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup (76 g) 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 (99 g) granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup (340 g) strawberry jam
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 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.
- 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.
- Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees F.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove the cake from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees F (leave the rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack).
- 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.
- Remove the sides of the springform pan and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
- 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.
- 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).
- Springform Pan: 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.
- Thermometer: 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.
- Browing: 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.
- Chilling: 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.
Photography by Dee Frances.