Tall and creamy cheesecake: Everyone needs a classic New York cheesecake in their kitchen repertoire and this one – made consistently without a giant crack through the center! – totally fits the bill.
For updated photos, recipe write-up, and my 11 biggest tips for how to make the best cheesecake, check out this post: Tall and Creamy Classic New York Cheesecake.
To kick off this holiday season, I was in search of the perfect cheesecake recipe. I’ve made a couple different varieties in the past, like this brown sugar apple cheesecake, this Oreo cheesecake, and this pumpkin swirl cheesecake.
But until now, I’ve yet to come across a plain cheesecake with the “wow factor” that makes me want to make it my go-to cheesecake recipe.
The issue for my finding an awesome cheesecake recipe has always been where to look.
There are hundreds and hundreds of different cheesecake recipes out there – which one would I choose? I decided to not waste any time sifting through tons of recipes on the internet and I went straight for Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours.
Many of the recipes I’ve made from Dorie’s most recent book have turned out wonderful, including the aforementioned Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake so I figured I’d give her plain cheesecake a shot too.
The Best Cheesecake Ever.
This was hand’s down the best plain cheesecake I’ve ever made. Ever.
It was creamy, light, and just so flavorful that I probably could have eaten half of the cheesecake in one sitting. This was the type of cheesecake that just melts away in your mouth.
The type of cheesecake that you want to linger on your taste buds forever.
The type of cheesecake that is the perfect for a kick-ass strawberry topping (see recipe below).
I followed the recipe and instructions exactly as Dorie wrote them and had no issues at all with this tall and creamy cheesecake. And after this being the 2nd Dorie cheesecake I’ve made using a waterbath, I’m totally sold on the technique, even if it is a little time consuming to set up.
How to Make a Waterbath
To make a simple waterbath for your cheesecake, follow these easy steps:
- Place a 16-inch piece of extra long (18-inches wide) heavy-duty aluminum foil on a work surface. (If you only have regular aluminum foil, lay 2 16-inch pieces out in a criss-cross pattern/perpendicular and proceed with the steps below.)
- After you press the crust into your springform pan, place the pan in the center of the foil
- Tightly pull the foil up around the sides of the pan in the foil so that no pockets exist that could allow water to seep in between the foil and the pan. If the foil breeches the top of the pan, fold it down on the outside of the pan or cut it off
- Bake your crust and make your cheesecake filling according to the recipe instructions
- Set a large roasting pan out on the counter. Fill a teapot with water and bring to a boil
- Set the wrapped springform pan in the center of the roasting pan
- Pull the center rack of your oven out to its furthest setting
- Set the roasting pan on the rack then slowly pour the boiling water into the roasting pan. Try not to pour near the springform pan to avoid splashing water near the foil.
- Slowly and gently return the rack into the oven
2019 Update: In all the times that I’ve made this cheesecake over the past 11 years, we have yet to be let down by this recipe. It is still my go-to recipe and we still adore it!!
So trust me when I say that you will never be sorry for making this tall and creamy cheesecake!
More Cheesecake Recipes
If you love eating cheesecake, let me also point you in the direction of my salted caramel apple cheesecake, this peppermint cheesecake, and this Samoas cheesecake tart.
The apple cheesecake is a fall favorite, the peppermint is of course, perfect for the holiday season, and the Samoas cheesecake has a no bake filling with a cookie crust. They’re all amazing!!
Tall and Creamy Cheesecake
Everyone needs a classic New York cheesecake in their kitchen repertoire and this one - made consistently without a giant crack through the center! - totally fits the bill.
For the crust:
- 1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tbsp sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake filling:
- 2 lbs (four 8oz packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 ⅓ cups sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 ⅓ cups sour cream or heavy cream, or a combination of the two
For the strawberry topping:
- 1 ½ cups frozen strawberries, thawed
- ½ cup strawberry jam
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp orange juice
To make the crust: Butter a 9-inch springform pan - choose one that has sides that are 2 ¾-inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter left over) - and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil.
Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. ( I do this with my fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs over the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don't worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach slightly above or below the midway point on the sides. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven. (The crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.)
Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350° F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325° F.
To make the cheesecake batter: Put a kettle of water on to boil. Put the foil-wrapped springform pan into a roasting pan that is large enough to hold the pan with some space around it.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at a medium speed until soft and creamy; about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat for another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition - you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.
Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that there is nothing left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the rim of the pan. (If you have a pan with lower side and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or a small soufflé mold.) Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into it to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, at which point the top should be lightly browned and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. It should jiggle slightly when you wiggle the pan. Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.
After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster - be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.
When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours; overnight is better.
At serving time, run thin, hot knife around the interior edge of the pan and remove the sides of the springform pan. Set the cake on a serving platter, slice, and serve.
To make the strawberry sauce: In a small saucepan, stir all ingredients together over medium-low heat. Cook until jam has thinned out and strawberries begin to breakdown, about 10-15 minutes. Turn heat down to low if mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.
The most important hint I can give here for making the perfect cheesecake (which this is), is to make sure your ingredients are at room temperature. Cold cream cheese will yield a lumpy batter and when made as instructed, the batter should be silky smooth without any traces of lumps.
cheesecake adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan | strawberry sauce is a Smells Like Home original
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Baking: From My Home to Yours
Honey Maid Graham Cracker Crumbs, 13.5 Ounce
Wilton Aluminum Springform Pan, 9-Inch Round Pan for Cheesecakes and Pizza
Reynolds Wrap Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
KitchenAid 6 Qt. Professional 600 Series Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer
Spring Chef Cooling Rack - Baking Rack - Heavy Duty, 100% Stainless Steel, Oven Safe, 12 x 17 Inches Fits Half Sheet Cookie Pan
That is one *gorgeous* cheesecake! Beautiful job… so much so that I’m craving a slice! 🙂
This looks amazing! I’m so excited to get a springform pan (hopefully!) for Christmas so I can make this. YUM.
wow, that first picture is just BEAUTIFUL! i can’t wait to make this later in the month for TWD now 🙂
Holy smokes that cheesecake looks awesome. I’ll give it a shot and hope it looks half as pretty as this!
This looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it.
Creamy and dreamy! YUM!! Looks delicious!
It looks sooo great..!! How did you not get cracks in your top? Mine had a few fissures..it did not change the taste at all but wow yours is visual perfection. Love it!
[…] a few of my cookbooks and decided that Dorie’s has been fairly neglected since the dreamy cheesecake I miracuously discovered at […]
[…] strawberry sauce […]
Can I make the crust go up the side of the cake without ruining the recipe. I am making it for a friend’s birthday party and she just loves the graham cracker crust all the way up the side of the cake.
Definitely! I’m pretty sure the amount of crumbs/butter in the recipe allows for the crumbs to run up the side. I always have trouble with that which is why I just made a bottom crust.
OMG! I tried the recipe and it’s great! Nice creamy texture. When I was growing up, family used to make cheesecake that was huge and tall. If my spring form pan was taller I think this would be close to what they made. They used the kind of pan for Angel Cakes.
Thanks for the recipe and the Tips are 100% useful!!
[…] to the dinner aside from the stuffed mushrooms (post coming soon!) we brought for an appetizer, the cheesecake we brought for dessert, and the caramel corn (also coming soon!) we brought to snack on during my […]
[…] and getting everything ready to bring down to Long Island for Christmas Day (including my frozen cheesecake that never made it down for Thanksgiving dessert). So I set my mind to make these buns during my […]
This is the best cheescake I’ve ever made. And I’ve made hundreds! I’ve sctually made it two times now. The first didn’t crack, not even a little, but my second one did. It’s all good. I made a nice blackberry topping for it, and no one was the wiser! Thank you.
Ruth: So glad you love it! It’s definitely our favorite one and I haven’t tried any other cheesecake recipes in all these years because my family loves this one so much. Thanks for coming back to comment about how it turned out for you!
This Cheesecake looks delicious! I would love to use it, but I am making ‘mini cheesecakes’ in muffin cups. Do you think it will work out the same? Any thoughts on cooking times? would I still use the water bath? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Erica: With them being so small, you don’t need a waterbath because there won’t be issues with the centers cooking unevenly. I would suggest baking them for 12 minutes then check them for doneness. They might need a few more minutes but you’ll know they are done when the centers are just about firm and only a tiny bit jiggly. Hope that helps!
I am sad to say, it was a total disaster! Every single one fell! Not sure what happened
Erica: It sounds like they needed to be baked longer. I’m sorry they didn’t work out for you.
I would normally agree, but they fell while in the oven
Thank you so much!!!
As a cheesecake baking novice, and cheesecake tasting connoisseur this recipe is fabulous! Not quite as brown on top as the picture, but fabulous nonetheless. Also, no cracks!! Thanks!!
Anita: Thanks for letting me know how it turned out for you. This is our absolute favorite cheesecake recipe and I’m so glad you loved it. 🙂
This was the best cheesecake ever…..I made it for the holiday weekend, and the family absolutely LOVED IT. They were looking for more after it was gone, so they can’t wait for the next holiday for this delicious treat…This recipe does not disappoint…DELICIOUS!!!
OMG!!!! this is the best cheesecake ever…if you follow the recipe to the dot you will have a perfect cheesecake. I have never made a perfect cheesecake first time ever. The flavor just wonderful, smooth creamy not to rich and best of all perfect shape did not sink did not crack…This is defiantly my favorite recipe going in the box for sure. Thank you so much it was a big hit at my house.
yum. Yum.. YUM!!!!!!!
I am a cheesecake person. I am always asked to make them for events. Yours…? simply delish! I modified a bit with some of my secrets for my “flavor” but the texture was divine!!
Used this recipe to bake my very first cheesecakr & it turned out beautifully! Color was just like the pic with no cracks. I don’t own a springform pan so I used a non-stick push pan instead & it released without a problem! This went so fast that I’m going to make another one. Great recipe!
I started making it but didn’t really time everything out well. What will happen if I can only refrigerate it for two hours?
This is probably late but it may not be completely set after only 2 hours in the fridge. I strongly recommend refrigerating this cheesecake overnight.
This cheesecake turned out just like the one
in the photo. I have already made this twice
and it is delicious and creamy.
The only thing I did differently is wrap plastic wrap
around bottom of pan and then aluminum foil to keep
the condesation from making the crust soggy.
Thanks for a great recipe!
Really creamy and loved that it actually tasted like cheesecake. I made in cupcake pan with sugar cookie crust since I was out of graham crackers. It got the ok from my pops for Father’s Day
Hi! Your cheesecake looks amazing! May I know the amount of sour cream and amount of heavy cream you used? Thank you!
Hi! Your cheesecake looks amazing! May I know the amount of sour cream and the amount of heavy cream you used? Thank you so much!
Thanks! I estimate about half of the total amount for each. It doesn’t have to be a perfect split between the two – just as long as it is close and equals a total of 1 1/3 cups. Hope that helps!
Well THIS is just awesome! I think my husband would die if this cheesecake was placed in front of him! So happy to hear one of my all-time favorite recipes is making other families happy too – great job and thanks so much for coming back to tell me how it turned out. 🙂
So great to hear! I imagine using all heavy cream would be perfect too – I started out with half heavy cream and half sour cream when I first made the recipe and have been slightly nervous to change the ingredients fearing that I’ll screw up the cheesecake. ha!
Hi Susette! My apologies for not responding sooner but I wanted to make sure I responded, especially if others have the same question in the future. The cheesecake will keep very nicely in the fridge for up to 2 days, tightly wrapped, before serving. After that, it’s still amazing but the crust loses some of its “oomph” and gets a bit soggy.
Am I able to add different flavors to the cheesecake or will that change it. Have you ever made it anything but plain
I’ve only ever made this recipe as a plain cheesecake but you can absolutely add flavors. Lemon or orange – or blood orange! – zest would make a citrusy cheesecake. About 2 oz of melted bittersweet chocolate will make a chocolate cheesecake (although my go-to for chocolate cheesecake is Fine Cooking’s triple chocolate/chocolate lover’s recipe). You can swirl jam into the top before baking – or in the center of the cheesecake! Adding flavored extracts is an easy way to add different flavors too! I have a bunch of other cheesecake recipes on the site too (apple, pumpkin, oreo, espresso) which you can find here: http://www.smells-like-home.com/category/cheesecake/
What size of Springform pan. I have 3 sizes, small medium and large. They nest inside of each other.
Hi Emily, Measure the diameter of your pans. You’ll need a 9-inch pan for this recipe.
This looks so good! I want to add caramel to the filling. Would that mess up the consistency? I prefer to put the caramel inside instead of on top.
Hi Lauren! Do you mean mix it completely into the cheesecake batter or just swirl it around the batter before baking. If you’re going to mix it in, I would cut back on the sugar a little – maybe by 1/4 cup. I think either way would work nicely but PLEASE come back to let me know how it works for you! Caramel cheesecake sounds AMAZING!
best recipe ever!!!!
Yay!! Thank you! So glad you love it!!
Hi, as a first time cheesecake maker and novice cook in general, can you clarify a couple of the ingredient quantities for me please.
Is it 1 and 3/4 cups of biscuits, or just 3/4 of a cup.
1 and 1/3 cups of sugar or just 1/3 of a cup.
1 and 1/3 cups of sour cream or just 1/3 of a cup.
1 and a ½ cups of strawberries or just 1/2 of a cup.
I’m a 70 year old male, so I hope you cut me a little slack if the questions appear a little odd 🙂
The cake looks delicious, and I want to surprise my Daughter with it.
Ok, after looking a bit more intently, I think I’ve found the answers to my questions after reading other comments, I’ll let you know how I go, wish me luck :)))
Hi Ian! I hope you and your daughter love this cheesecake as much as we do! Please let me know how it turns out!
Should all the ingredients be room temperature
Hi Kellie! The cream cheese and eggs should definitely be at room temperature. The heavy cream and sour cream don’t need to be. Let me know how you like it!!
Can someone please put the recipe up in grams and mililiter?
Hi, you suggest sour cream or heavy cream, or a combination of both…what will be the differences to the cake if I use only sour cream or only heavy cream, or more of one than the other? Each ingredient must have a specific purpose to the cake?
Hi Gloria! The original cheesecake recipe instructed to use 1 1/3 cup of one or the other. I just always used both (2/3 cup of each). The first time I made this cheesecake, I don’t think I had enough heavy cream or sour cream in my fridge for 1 1/3 cups so I split them evenly and have done so ever since (10 years now, I think?). The sour cream boosts a little bit of the tangy flavor along with the flavor from the cream cheese, which we’ve always loved. Heavy cream doesn’t have much flavor so the sour cream does add some flavor. It’s really up to you which (or both!) to use. I hope you love this cheesecake as much as we always have (we’re working our way through one right now from Christmas dinner). Happy baking!
Thanks! Will more of heavy cream or more of sour cream make the cheesecake more”dense” and “thick” not as light? I am trying to make a typical NY style, dense cheesecake.
Hi Gloria, The heavy cream and sour cream work the same way. The sour cream adds a little tang of flavor, where the heavy cream does not. This is a fairly dense cheesecake (I definitely wouldn’t consider it to be light and fluffy) and it cuts like a dream but the slices aren’t like bricks of cheesecake either. If you’re looking for a typical NY cheesecake, I really think you’ll like this one.
Can this be made with out the crust?
Hi Genice! I’ve never tried it but I think it should work ok. I wouldn’t bake it in a springform pan though. The batter will leak all over. You could bake it in a 13×9 baking dish or in small ramekins for individual cheesecakes. Please let me know how this turns out for you! Happy baking!
I’ve made this recipe so many times it has become my go-to no matter if I want a plain cheesecake or to top it with something else. Then one Christmas, I was out of heavy cream and sour cream, so I decided to swap in some leftover homemade crème fraiche. It took this recipe to a whole new level. The cheesecakes I take to work functions always disappeared, but that year every single person asked me what I did differently because it was the best cheesecake they’d ever had. Even the people that didn’t like cheesecake that much tried it and asked me what I did! For anyone that wants to make crème fraiche google Food Wishes Creme Fraiche and you’ll find the video and recipe, very easy. Stop looking at other cheesecake recipes, this is the one!
Can I tell you how much I LOVE the idea of using crème fraîche instead of heavy cream and sour cream?! It sounds so decadent! I’m definitely going to give this a try the next time I make this cheesecake…which will probably be next week! Thank you so much for coming back to leave a review and your ideas, Meredith. I’m so thrilled to hear how much you’ve loved this recipe over the years!
I tried this recipe for the first time. I used a 9 inch springform pan with 3 inch sides. It rose way over the sides and went into the water bath. It went back down inside of the sides during the hour cooling process while still in the oven. What did I do wrong? thank you, Cheryl
Hi Cheryl, I’ve made this cheesecake more times than I can count over the years (20? 30?) and I’ve never had this happen. The only things I can think of is that maybe you grabbed the wrong size pan (this would happen with an 8-inch pan) or that you used 1 1/3 cups of sour cream AND 1 1/3 cups heavy cream instead of one or the other OR 2/3 cup of each (totaling 1 1/3 cups).