This is the easiest and tastiest New York cheesecake recipe! Creamy, rich, and smooth cheesecake with a graham cracker crust.
New York cheesecake
It’s about time this cheesecake recipe hits Sea Salt Savorings! When Levi and I were stationed in New York, we made it a point to try cheesecake every chance we had. There is no cheesecake like a New York cheesecake- this I can promise!
What is the difference between a New York cheesecake and a regular cheesecake? A regular cheesecake uses more heavy cream or sour cream to thin the batter, making it silky and light. New York cheesecake uses more cream cheese, making the batter more dense and creamy. This results in a thick, luxurious, rich cheesecake that will have you running back for seconds (and thirds!).
Now, I’ve made a few cheesecakes in my day, and I’m here to tell you that water baths are no more! I made this recipe super simple so anyone and everyone can make a perfect cheesecake- no cracking, no water bath, no fuss.
Of course, this cheesecake is completely customizable which is why I’ll be including all my tips and tricks to make this recipe your own. You will be blown away at how easy it is to make such a perfect cheesecake!
New York cheesecake ingredients
- Cinnamon graham crackers– Crushed cinnamon graham crackers are used to make the buttery and delicious graham cracker crust.
- Butter– Salted butter adds the perfect flavor and helps bind the crust.
- Dark brown sugar– Since dark brown sugar has more molasses than regular brown sugar, it creates a more rich, deep flavor.
- Cream cheese– Opt for good quality, full fat cream cheese since this recipe relies heavily on the flavor.
- Sour cream– Sour cream adds a little tang and thins the batter just enough!
- Eggs– Eggs not only help bind the cheesecake but add a rich layer of flavor.
- Vanilla extract– I love using my homemade vanilla extract because it has contains the little vanilla bean seeds!
- Salt– Salt adds just the right amount of balance to this recipe.
- Sugar– Granulated sugar is used to sweeten the cheesecake while maintaining that creamy, tangy flavor.
- All purpose flour– Flour is used to help bind the cheesecake filling.
Use room temperature ingredients
Room temperature eggs and cream cheese cream more smoothly when they are brought to room temperature. This step is very important for making this cheesecake recipe.
Letting the cream cheese come to room temperature also ensures you will not have clumps of cream cheese. You want the batter to be nice and smooth!
Leave the cream cheese out of the fridge overnight or you can pop it in the microwave in at 50% power for 20 seconds. To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, you can place them in a bowl in warm water for 10 minutes.
Use a springform pan
This recipe uses a springform pan. This allows the pan to be removed without compromising the form of the cheesecake. A regular cake pan will make it hard to cute and serve the cheesecake without making a mess.
Keep the oven door closed
Do not even think about opening your oven door. Keep the oven door closed for the hour it takes to bake, and the hour it rests in the turned off (but still warm) oven. It’s okay to turn the light on and take a peak through the closed door, though!
Make it your own
There are so many ways to add to this recipe and make it your own. Let’s start with the crust. You can make the crust from any kind of cookie that you like! Oreo’s, Biscoff cookies, Digestives, etc. all make really flavorful and delicious crusts. Simple sub out the graham cracker with your prefered cookie and continue with the recipe steps as you would.
You can add raspberry, strawberry, or blackberry purè on the top of the cheesecake and swirl it with a fork or toothpick before you cook it. This will add a little flavor and a beautiful color and design!
Lastly, garnish the cheesecake! You can keep it super simple and just add a few mint leaves on top or whipped cream. You could also keep it super classic and add cherry pie filling or sauce on top.
Tips to avoid cracking cheesecakes
There is nothing worse than working on a cake only for it to cool and crack. If you’ve ever made a cheesecake, you know the kind of heartbreak I’m talking about. What happens is that the edges of the cheesecake cook faster than the center while the center is still soft and undercooked. The edges will rise faster than the center, creating the cracks.
No worries, I have a bunch of tips on how to avoid this mess while still avoiding a water bath!
- Place your mixer on the lowest setting. You want to use your mixer on the lowest setting so it does not whip too much air into the batter. The more air that is introduced in the batter, the more chance you have of a cracked cheesecake.
- Get the air bubbles out. After you mix the cheesecake batter, take the mixing bowl out of the stand mixer. Wiggle the bowl back and forth a few times, then tap the mixing bowl on the counter for 30 seconds. Repeat this process a few times. Once you pour the cheesecake batter into the pan, do this same process, but make sure you do it lightly as to not break the crust.
- Low and slow. Cook your cheesecake at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time. This will allow the cake to warm up and then cook evenly.
- Do not open the oven door. Keep that oven door closed for at least the first 60 minutes. Opening the oven door will let in a rush of cool air into the oven and can affect the cheesecake and also lower the temperature of the oven.
- Let to cheesecake sit in the oven after it’s done cooking. When the cheesecake is done cooking, turn the oven off and keep the door closed. Allow the cheesecake to sit in the oven for another hour.
Cheesecake can be a rather finicky dessert to make. A crack in the cheesecake does not mean game over, it’s still delicious, just not as pretty. There are a few different reasons a crack can form.
Troubleshooting: Why does cheesecake crack
Air bubbles are the most common reason for cracking. Stand mixers and handheld mixers tend to incorporate a lot of air into the batter, no matter how slow the speed of the mixing is. Eggs also add a lot of air when they are whipped, which is why they are added to the batter last. Crack the eggs in a bowl, whisk until they are mixed well, then slowly add them to the batter while mixing. When the egg is incorporated into the batter, turn the mixer off.
Sometimes cheesecake can cook around the edges faster than the center can warm and cook. This will create uneven cooking and will cause cracks when the cake is cooling.
To avoid this issue, this cheesecake is cooked at a lower temperature, then is left in the turned off oven that is still warm ( this is called carryover cooking). This allows the cheesecake to slowly cook and slowly cool, making it less likely it will crack.
Bater that has lumps can really mess up any cheesecake recipe. Cold cream cheese will make a really lumpy batter, which is why it is so important to bring the ingredients to room temperature.
I like to place my cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs on the counter overnight so that everything is ready to go the next day when I want to bake.
When you are mixing the batter, be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl often to ensure there will be no hidden lumps when you pour the batter in the pan.
How to make New York cheesecake
- Make the crust. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the cinnamon graham crackers in a food processor and blend until they are fine crumbs. Pour in the butter and brown sugar, then blend until the mixture is well combined. The mixture will feel like damp sand. Place the mixture in the bottom of a springform pan, then use your hands to press the crust to the bottom and sides of the pan. Use a glass jar to help press and even the crust out. Bake the crust for 9 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Reduce the oven to 325 degrees.
- Make the batter. Place the cream cheese in a stand mixer on low speed and mix until it is creamed. Next, add the sour cream, then mix until it is well combined. Add the vanilla extract, salt, and sugar, and all purpose flour slowly and gradually while whisking the mixture until it is well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating each egg before adding the next. Mix until everything is just combined.
- Bake the cheesecake. Place the pan on a baking sheet. Pour the batter into the pan, then place it in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees, then bake for an additional 40 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the closed oven for 1 hour.
- Refrigerate the cheesecake. Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator while it is still in the pan. Let the cheesecake chill for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. Slice and serve when ready. Mangia!
More Delicious Desserts
- Easy Blackberry Cobbler
- Pumpkin Pie From Scratch
- Healthy Fresh Strawberry Soufflé
- Easy New Orleans Raspberry Filled Beignets
New York Cheesecake
- Stand mixer with whisk attachment
- 9" springform pan
- Glass jar
Graham cracker crust
- 1 1/2 cup cinnamon graham crackers about 15 graham crackers
- 6 tbsp salted butter melted
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 4 8 oz packs of cream cheese brought to room temperature
- 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream room temperature
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 5 eggs room temperature
For the crust
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the graham crackers in a food processor and blend until it is fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and sugar, then blend until everything is mixed well.
- Pour the mixture into the bottom o the springform pan. Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of the pan. Use a glass jar to press the crust against the edges of the pan. Press lightly around the edges of the top of the crust to better compact it. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a baking sheet and set it to the side. Reduce the oven to 325 degrees.
For the cheesecake batter
- Attach the whisk attachment to the stand mixer. Add the cream cheese to the mixing bowl and cream it on low speed for about 1 minute. Add the salt and sugar gradually to the mixer and mix until the sugar is well combined. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract. Sprinkle the flour into the bowl to prevent the flour from clumping.
- Add one egg at a time, allowing each egg to be fully incorporated before adding the next. Mix the cheesecake batter until everything is just combined. Remove the mixing bowl from the stand mixer and wiggle the bowl, then tap it on your work surface for 30 seconds to release air bubbles.
- Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan. Wiggle the pan and lightly tap it for 30 seconds to release any air bubbles. Place the baking sheet and pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven to 300 and cook for another 40 minutes.
- Turn off the oven when the cheesecake is done baking and allow the cheesecake to rest in the oven for 1 hour. Do not open the oven door. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to set and cool in the fridge for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
- Slice the cheesecake then top with whipped cream, fresh berries, and mint leaves. Mangia!
Nutrition values are estimates, for exact values consult a nutritionist.
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