How to Make Perfect New York Cheesecake

Yield: 12 to 16 sevings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook: 9 hours

My favorite recipe with all the best tips and a step-by-step video for making a perfect New York cheesecake. Best of all, there’s not water bath required!

 

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: I cannot get enough of the lightly sweet and tangy filling alongside the fresh and tart raspberry sauce. So good.
Texture: The texture is a food paradox. It’s simultaneously rich, dense, and decadent, yet fluffy and velvety and ultra creamy.
Ease: The hardest part is having enough patience to make this recipe! Definitely delayed gratification, every step is pretty simple just a little time consuming from start to finish.
Appearance: This New York-style cheesecake has that deeply golden brown crust which perfectly compliments the bright filling and colorful topping.
Pros: Great staple recipe to have.
Cons: Not even remotely diet-friendly. Sorry!
Would I make this again? Yes, next time I’ll use a higher quality thicker springform pan that can handle the high heat period without burning the crust. I’ll also double up by placing the springform pan on top of another pan to further shield the crust from the high heat.

How to Make Perfect New York Cheesecake

Over the years I’ve gotten quite a few questions from you guys about cheesecake, and I can understand why there’s confusion. Cheesecake is such a ubiquitous dessert, you can find it at most restaurants and bake shops. Yet there’s about ten trillion ways to make it. I usually like to make cheesecake bars because it takes out a lot of the guess work and is just quicker and easier, but there’s nothing quite as impressive as a towering cheesecake. Especially when there’s no cracks! But how do you accomplish that? Do you use a water bath? What’s a springform pan? Do you bake at a super low temperature? Do you turn the oven off and let the cheesecake cool inside the oven? When is a cheesecake done baking? These are all questions I’ve asked and experimented with different recipes and techniques to find the answers.

The recipe I’m sharing today is my favorite New York-style cheesecake. It’s super tall, ultra rich, and has that browned crust that screams New York cheesecake to me. Best of all, there’s no water bath required. I love that part because water baths can be rough. Many of us don’t have a deep pan large enough to put our springform pan into and if we do, the water is likely to leak into our cheesecake and create a soggy watery mess. The method I’m sharing today is a bit strange but really easy. Just be prepared to buy an outrageous amount of cream cheese.

Basically the method behind this recipe is to start the cheesecake out in a scorching, blazing hot oven for 10 minutes then turn it down super low. This allows us to avoid a water bath while also avoiding cracks, underbaking, or overcooking. In addition to the outrageous amount of cream cheese, there are also a ton of whole eggs and some egg yolks to make sure our cheesecake is rich and velvety. The sour cream in the recipe enhances the tangy flavor and creamy texture. Don’t forget the lemon juice, it helps cut through the richness of the cheesecake for a lovely fresh, tangy bite. Also be sure not to overmix the batter, mix only until smooth! Many of the questions I get asked about cheesecake is how to tell when it’s done baking. It’s not like regular cake where you can stick a cake tester in and immediately know if it’s done, it’s much more elusive than that. So if you struggle with baking cheesecakes to creamy perfection, use an instant-read thermometer to bake it to 150°F. Then you know it’ll be perfect.

Watch the video to see how to make my perfect version of cheesecake!

How to Make Perfect New York Cheesecake

How to make
Perfect New York Cheesecake

Recipe By Tessa Arias, Handle the Heat
Yield: 12 to 16 sevings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook: 9 hours

Ingredients

For the crust:
18 whole graham crackers (2 sleeves)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
2 1/2 pounds (five 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, cut into chunks, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 large eggs plus 2 yolks, at room temperature

For the topping:
1 (12 ounce) package frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed OR 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions

For the crust:
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray and place the pan on a larger rimmed baking sheet.

In the bowl of a food processor process the crackers and sugar until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Use the bottom of a measuring cup, glass, or ramekin to press the crust mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of the pan. Bake until fragrant and golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

For the filling:
Increase the oven temperature to 500°F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese at medium-low speed until it is softened. Add the salt and sugar and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla and beat on low speed until combined. Add the eggs and yolks, one at a time, until combined, moving slowly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and baked for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 200°F and continue to cook for 1 1/2 hours, or until the cheesecake reaches an internal temperature of 150°F.

Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool until just warm, 2 1/2 hours. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the topping:
In a small saucepan combine all of the topping ingredients. Heat over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and puree using an immersion blender or standing blender until smooth. If desired, strain out seeds. Allow to cool before pouring over the cheesecake.

Adapted from The Science of Good Cooking

About Tessa...

Tessa is a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. She loves to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. She's on a mission to make the world a more unapologetically DELICIOUS place. Tessa lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

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31 Responses to “How to Make Perfect New York Cheesecake”

  1. #
    Chloe @ foodlikecake — March 19, 2014 at 4:56 am

    I’ve always wanted to know how to make cheesecake! I should make this one soon 🙂

  2. #
    Cassie — March 19, 2014 at 5:11 am

    I love your videos, Tessa. My husband’s favorite dessert is NY-style cheesecake. 🙂

  3. #
    Kathi @ Deliciously Yum! — March 19, 2014 at 8:58 am

    I don’t think it can get any more perfect than this. Thanks for the awesome video, too! Can’t even tell you how much I love the fact that there’s no water bath required 🙂

  4. #
    Gaby — March 19, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    I would take this as dessert anytime, my favorite!

  5. #
    Gary — March 19, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    To me one of the things that distinguish NY style cheesecake is it tend to be denser and in looking at recipes I’ve always assumed at least one reason for that is they often have a small amount of flour in the batter. Maybe you’re not using it here because you’re cooking it at a lower temp which might effect the taste or setting of flour?

    • #
      Tessa — March 20, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      No flour here mostly because there is SO much cream cheese and so many eggs which lend a rich texture.

  6. #
    Irishgal12 — March 19, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    One of best tips for no cracks, is to run a sharp knife around the perimeter as soon as you take it out of the oven. Cheesecake will shrink as it cools and if the sides a stuck to the pan, cracks will form.

    • #
      Tessa — March 22, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      Great tip!

  7. #
    jkranjski — March 21, 2014 at 6:33 am

    When do you remove the springform???

  8. #
    Claire Gallam — March 28, 2014 at 7:05 am

    This is absolutely incredible!! I love this.

  9. #
    Lisa HZ — March 29, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    When do you remove the springform pan? And, FYI my cheesecake cracked while cooking in the oven. Oh well…

  10. #
    Jennifer — August 21, 2014 at 3:52 am

    I just started doing baking lately and was wondering what brand of spring form pan do you recommend?

  11. #
    Cyndie — October 4, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Tessa,

    Twenty years ago I was going to a seminar in New York and my boss said “You have to bring home a New York Cheesecake. They are frozen and you can find them in any corner grocery store.” (He’s from the South, me, Chicago and we live in Baltimore.) I did find it and it was exquisite. What stood out about them was your Texture description of fluffy and velvety and ultra creamy. Whenever I order New York Cheesecake in a restaurant or bakery around here they are just dense and boring. I have never had one as good since.

    I was in New York yesterday. Every corner grocery I visited never heard of these and looked at me like I was some deranged tourist. Even my neighbor, who accompanied me and who lived in New York in the 70’s, never heard of these.

    Any idea if there was some common recipe back then? Do you know anything about this and do you think your recipe fits the bill? I don’t remember that cheesecake having a crust on the top–it has been a long time. There may have been a thin sour cream topping but it was certainly overwhelmed by the “fluffy and velvety and ultra creamy of the base”.

    Any comments for me? I truly hate to cook and bake, and could afford to lose more than a few pounds, so I really don’t want to try the myriad of recipes I find on the web.

  12. #
    George in Quito — January 9, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    So, there I was sitting in my kitchen reading my email while waiting for my New York cheesecake to come out of the oven. I opened your email and had to laugh. Mine’s the standard plain one with the sponge cake crust. But I decided to cook down a kilo of strawberries for a glaze.
    I got my recipe from Junior’s in Brooklyn, and it hasn’t let me down in years. But your recipe looks interesting. I plan to try it. I’ve had a lot of fun with quite a few of your recipes. Thanks for sharing!

  13. #
    ALICIA — March 14, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    i love it
    my family love cheese cake, this recopy was a hit for my self
    thank you so much

  14. #
    jessie — November 27, 2015 at 12:34 am

    I’ve been trying my hand at cheesecake recently and have been trying to avoid a brown top. Am I really suppose to brown it like that? Never had a genuine NY cheesecake, so maybe I’m doing it wrong!

  15. #
    Cindy — February 22, 2016 at 6:36 am

    How would I cook this in a convection oven??

    • #
      Tessa — February 23, 2016 at 10:46 am

      Haven’t tried that so I’m not sure. Can you just turn the fan off and follow the recipe with convention oven settings?

  16. #
    Brandon — April 29, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    I found there ws too much butter in this recipe and it caused my crust to be soggy

  17. #
    Stringer — May 2, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    I had problems separating the sixth egg yolk, so it all went in, added second yolk. I only had one cup of sugar, so added 1/2 cup of brown sugar to get the total. Noticed a lot of cracking on surface after about 40 minutes, sides stuck to spring form pan after chilling, even with the non-stick spray. It didn’t have the nice browning look of the picture. I think if I do this recipe again, I will cook for an hour at 350, and then turn up to 450 at the end to brown the top. I made this for a birthday cake, I don’t like cheesecake, but I thought it tasted very good, and considered a second slice. The recipe tasted very good, I just need to adjust the cooking method.

  18. #
    Maria — August 25, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    What can I use to substitute the sour cream?

    • #
      Tessa — August 25, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      Plain yogurt!

  19. #
    Eling — September 3, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    what about using a bowl of water under the spring pan to make sure the cheesecake doesn’t burn. Usually water in a bowl helps make the temp even all over.

  20. #
    Dave — September 5, 2016 at 10:54 am

    Is this an original recipe? I find it hard to believe that out of all the cheesecake recipes that I’ve looked at online, this one matches almost exactly with the America’s Test Kitchen New York Style Cheesecake recipe in their Cooking School and Science of Good Cooking.

    This link has the recipe from the Science of Good Cooking book (and gives the correct credit) http://www.browneyedbaker.com/new-york-style-cheesecake-recipe/ .

    I typically do not comment on random cooking blogs but given the rather blatant plagiarism of this recipe from the ATK one I felt I needed to comment. I have no issue if this recipe was ‘inspired’ by the ATK recipe but please give credit where it is due.

    P.S. This is an excellent recipe (definitely one of the best we’ve ever made).

    • #
      Tessa — September 5, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      Hi Dave, oh no! This recipe was plucked from my culinary school binder from years ago. I can’t quite remember which instructor it came from… the original paper itself was quite stained and messy. I’ll go ahead and research that book you mentioned to verify what you’re saying, and add in a line of credit if it’s needed. Sometimes I’m not sure of the origins of my culinary school recipes. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

  21. #
    Dave — September 5, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks for looking in to it. It is quite possible that whomever originally came up with this recipe or variant went on to work at ATK or was involved somehow in its creation (I’m sure quite a few recipes are like this). We had just made the ATK version this weekend and I came across your site looking for topping recipes. I was just a bit shocked to see how similar the ratios and techniques were between the two.

    I appreciate your willingness to look into the recipe’s origin. It certainly is our favorite recipe for cheesecake.

  22. #
    jorro — September 20, 2016 at 12:56 am

    I am not trying to be mean but that cheese cake looks totally burnt on the crust…..

  23. #
    Sandi — December 31, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    I agree, Jorro.
    Is there a reason the crust looks so overcooked? How can we modify the recipe to make sure that does not happen?

  24. #
    Dianne McNeely — June 12, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Wonder if you used a water bath if that would keep it from being burnt? It looks delicioius! I am going to try it.

  25. #
    bethany salomon — August 18, 2017 at 10:44 am

    I have a sour cream cheese pie recipe from a dear friend and it is very similar to yours. How to do the times vary if I use a 10 or 12 inch springboard pan? I think my family will love the raspberry topping as a change!! thank you.

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