Here's how to make a water bath for baking cheesecake! This is the number one key to perfectly smooth, luscious, and creamy cheesecake that bakes evenly and without cracks.
cheesecake, water bath for cheesecake
Recipe byTessa Arias
1 high quality springform pan
1Larger baking pan, cake pan, sauté pan, or roasting pan
Wide heavy duty aluminum foil
Heat safe oven bag or slow cooker bag
Bake your graham cracker crust
Prepare your crust, press it into your springform pan, and bake as the recipe directs. Let cool completely. You can do this step first if it’s awkward to press the crust into the pan with the foil already wrapped around it. Also, the oven racks can pierce your foil wrapping which defeats their entire purpose.
Alternatively, you can wrap your pan in foil & bag before pressing in the crust if you don’t want to wait for the pan to cool down completely after baking the crust to prepare the water bath. It’s personal preference, either way will work.
Prepare your springform pan
To seal off the springform pan, place a large square of heavy-duty aluminum foil underneath the pan. You want the heavy-duty stuff that creates bigger sheets of foil to completely encompass the base of the pan. Gently fold the edges up and around the pan. Repeat twice so there’s three sheets of foil to ensure a waterproof seal.
OPTIONAL BONUS STEP: Place the foil wrapped springform pan inside the oven bag, if using. Roll down the oven bag and fold the top down so it’s flush with the edge of the pan.
Bring your kettle of water to a boil
A kettle is really the best option since you’ll avoid spills and splashes. If you don’t have one, bring your water to a boil in a pot then pour into a large glass measuring cup with a spout.
Prepare your water bath pan
Once your crust is cooled and your water is boiling, pour the cheesecake batter into the cooled springform pan. Place the springform pan inside your bigger water bath pan. Place both pans on the middle oven rack into the preheated oven.
Carefully pour the boiling water into the water bath pan, pouring only halfway up the sides of the springform pan. You want enough water that it won’t evaporate, but not so much that it’ll splash into your batter.
Bake as the recipe directs
When baking a cheesecake in a water bath, the directions are generally to bake at 325°F for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. The cheesecake is done when the top looks dry but the center still wobbles and jiggles like jello. It should not be liquidy at all.
Turn off the heat and crack the oven door to cool
This step is optional, but further helps to prevent cracks from forming. Turn off the oven, crack open the oven door, and allow the cheesecake to cool inside the oven undisturbed for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove the springform pan only
Carefully remove the springform pan from the water bath. Unwrap the foil and transfer it to a cooling rack. Run a thin-bladed flexible knife around the edge of the cake to make sure it's not sticking to the sides (which can cause cracks as it cools). Let the cheesecake cool completely to room temperature on the rack before moving to the fridge to chill.