How to Make Cheesecake (with pro tips for the perfect cheesecake!)

5 from 6 votes
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Cheesecake is the ultimate indulgence; deliciously light and creamy and yet surprisingly simple to make! Learn how to make cheesecake with this easy to follow recipe, and it will be a favorite for years to come!

Fork with a cut of baked cheesecake and toppings for How to Make a Cheesecake.
Featured with this recipe
  1. Ingredients in the Perfect Cheesecake Recipe
  2. How to tell if cheesecake is done
  3. Favorite Toppings
  4. Pro Tips for Making the Perfect Cheesecake
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. More Cheesecake Recipes
  7. How to Make Cheesecake Recipe

Cheesecake is one of those decadent desserts that may seem difficult to get just right. But it doesn’t have to be. Once you have a basic recipe down you can create dozens of simple, sweet cheesecakes full of flavor and creamy texture. And because this recipe uses a graham cracker crust, there’s no need to fuss with a springform pan or water bath while baking or anything like that. All you need are a few tips on how to get that perfect, creamy cheesecake batter that bakes up beautifully.

Ingredients in the Perfect Cheesecake Recipe

For the best cheesecake recipe, you only need a few ingredients. Make sure all the ingredients are at ROOM TEMPERATURE before blending each one slowly together to create a creamy mixture. That’ll help cut down on any lumpy texture in your cake.

  • Cream cheese – you’ll need two blocks or 16 ounces, softened. Mix it at medium speed using the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer in a large bowl. Take time to scrape the sides of the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • Sugar – regular white granulated sugar
  • Vanilla extract –  just a half teaspoon vanilla is all you need
  • Eggs – let the eggs come to room temperature too, so they stir in well with the other ingredients.
  • Graham cracker pie crust – you can find these anywhere, or you can make your own graham cracker crumbs in a food processor or blender. Our homemade graham cracker crust is so delicious and really easy to make.
  • Optional: a splash of lemon juice adds a mild tart flavor that balances out the rich cream cheese flavor.
Cream cheese, graham cracker pie crust, sugar, eggs and vanilla to show How to Make a Cheesecake.

How to tell if cheesecake is done

To make sure your cheesecake is completely done but not overdone, give the pan a slight shake while it’s in the oven. It’s done if just a small circle in the center jiggles slightly. That center part will set up more as it cools. Never use a knife to check the done-ness in a cheesecake.

Baked cheesecake on a cooling rack to show How to Make a Cheesecake.

Favorite Toppings

With this classic recipe you can top it with anything you like! We love to drizzle our slices with cherry pie filling or raspberries and chocolate. But here are a few other ideas to get your taste buds dancing:

  • Blueberries (fresh or pie filling)
  • Strawberries
  • Caramel sauce
  • Nuts
  • Blackberries
  • Any kind of jam
  • Fresh peaches and cream
  • Candy bar pieces
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Cookie crumbles
Finished decorated cheesecake with fresh strawberries and blueberries on top to show How to Make a Cheesecake.

Pro Tips for Making the Perfect Cheesecake

  1. Always use room temperate ingredients. Set out the cream cheese and eggs a few hours before you start making your cheesecake. This will give you a smooth filling and decrease the amount of lumps.
  2. Do not over mix the eggs. This recipe calls for the eggs to be added one at a time and mix them in as slow as your mixer will allow. They just need to be incorporated into the cheesecake filling. Over mixing will cause more air in the cheesecake which can lead to a cracked top after baking.
  3. Use a cookie sheet for the bottom of the cheesecake. This recipe doesn’t call for springform pan or a water bath, but it is best to use a cookie sheet to prevent over baking the bottom graham cracker crust. Using a cookie sheet will also give you more stability moving it to and from the oven.
  4. Some recipes will call for an initial bake on the graham cracker crust before adding the cheesecake filling. There is no need to bake the crust in this recipe. If you are buying a pre-made graham cracker crust, it’s ready to use right away. If you are making a graham cracker pie crust, you DO NOT bake it before adding the cheesecake filling. It will brown the crust too much!
Slice of cheesecake on a plate with fruit for How to Make a Cheesecake.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cheesecake be frozen?

Yes! This dessert freezes beautifully and can be stored for up to three months. To avoid sticking, freeze the cake uncovered on a baking sheet first, then cover in freezer safe plastic wrap.

How long should I let cheesecake cool before putting it in the fridge?

Once the cake is baked, let it cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator. You can store it in the fridge for up to three days.

What temperature is best to serve this dessert?

Cheesecake tastes best at room temperature. So take it out of the fridge about an hour before adding toppings and serving.

Read More:33+ Easy Dessert Ideas

More Cheesecake Recipes

Full view of the top of a fruit decorated cheesecake.

How to Make Cheesecake

5 from 6 votes
Cheesecake is the ultimate indulgence; deliciously light and creamy and yet surprisingly simple to make! Learn how to make cheesecake with this easy to follow recipe, and it will be a favorite for years to come!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Refrigerate 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people

Equipment

  • Electric Mixer
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Pie Pan

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Mix softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Beat for at least 3 minutes or until there are no lumps of cream cheese. 
  • Slowly beat the eggs in – one at a time blending well between each one. Do not over mix.
  • Pour into crust. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 for 40 min.
  • Cool on the countertop or wire rack.
  • Once the cheesecake comes to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours before decorating or serving.
  • You can top it with anything you want.

Notes

Pro Tips for the Perfect Cheesecake
  1. Always use room temperate ingredients. Set out the cream cheese and eggs a few hours before you start making your cheesecake. This will give you a smooth filling and decrease the amount of lumps.
  2. Do not over mix the eggs. This recipe calls for the eggs to be added one at a time and mix them in as slow as your mixer will allow. They just need to be incorporated into the cheesecake filling. Over mixing will cause more air in the cheesecake which can lead to a cracked top after baking.
  3. Use a cookie sheet for the bottom of the cheesecake. This recipe doesn’t call for springform pan or a water bath, but it is best to use a cookie sheet to prevent over baking the bottom graham cracker crust. Using a cookie sheet will also give you more stability moving it to and from the oven.
  4. Some recipes will call for an initial bake on the graham cracker crust before adding the cheesecake filling. There is no need to bake the crust in this recipe. If you are buying a pre-made graham cracker crust, it’s ready to use right away. If you are making a graham cracker pie crust, you DO NOT bake it before adding the cheesecake filling. It will brown the crust too much!
  5. When you cut the cheesecake, start from the center of the cheesecake out.  Use a butter knife and dip it in water before slicing.  This will slice the cheesecake with clean-edged slices.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 365kcal

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About the author

Emily Walker

Emily lives in Meridian, Idaho, with her husband, Beau, a physician assistant, and her three incredible children: a son and two daughters. Travel is one of her favorite ways to experience new cultures and cuisines, and she has a love for all things Disney.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve always been intimidated by the idea of making cheesecake at home but your recipe made it so easy!! And it turned out great!

  2. These are all great cheesecake tips! Thanks for clarifying how to test for doneness, too – that can be tricky.

  3. 5 stars
    With all that deliciousness that I can see in your images, I have no doubts this cheesecake will become a favorite in any house! One of the best-looking cheesecakes I have seen lately – can’t wait to make it!

  4. 5 stars
    I think people get intimidated by making cheesecake, but this version is so easy, and it’s my favorite! It doesn’t get any better than the traditional cherry pie filling topping (in my opinion).