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BEST Classic Cheesecake

This cheesecake recipe is light and silky smooth. The easy instructions will guide you into making a fool-proof, impressive classic cheesecake. Pairs with every topping - chocolate sauce, jam, caramel - you name it!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Author: Lori Vaughn



  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs 11 sheets
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 6 TB melted butter
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon


  • 32 oz cream cheese cream cheese (4 standard 8 oz packages)
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 TB all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp lemon juice



  • Preheat oven to 350° F. In a food processor blend graham crackers (or mash in a plastic bag) until blended into fine crumbs. Combine sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Mix until evenly blended.
  • Press into the bottom and sides of a 9" springform pan greased with nonstick spray. Bake for about 8 minutes. Set aside.


  • Preheat oven to 325° F. Place a baking pan or roasting pan filled with about 1 inch of water in the oven while you prepare the cheesecake filling. The pan just needs to be large enough to fit your springform pan.
    (This water bath step is optional if you don't have a pan large enough. It just helps provide a nice slow, even bake & prevents cracks from forming in your cheesecake.)
  • Using a handheld or stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the room temperature cream cheese, flour, and sugar together until smooth and combined.
    (It's VERY important that the ingredients are at room temp to get a smooth, easy to mix, filling.)
  • Add the sour cream, vanilla, and lemon juice. Stir again on low speed until just combined. Then one at a time, add the 3 eggs + 1 extra yolk. Once it's combined, stop the mixer immediately. You do NOT want to over mix this. Over mixing can cause cracking.
  • Pour the batter into your prepared pan with the graham cracker crust. To do the water bath, wrap the bottom of the pan in aluminum foil to prevent water from leaking in. Gently tap the pan to remove any air bubbles, then gently set the springform pan in the water bath. The waterline should not be taller than the aluminum foil.
  • Bake for about 55-65 minutes. The center will be just slightly jiggly when it's ready, with the edges set. Turn the oven off, crack the oven door open, and leave it in there to slowly cool down for about 1 hour. (You can also leave it in there for up to 4 more hours if that's what ends up working in your schedule.)
  • Transfer it to the fridge and let it chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight. It's delicious and classic to serve plain, or feel free to add your favorite topping! (Ideas in recipe post above!)


Crust: You can easily prepare the crust in advance. Wrap in plastic wrap and store room temperature for 2-3 days or store in freezer for a couple of months.
Storing: Cover and store cheesecake in refrigerator for up to 5 days. 
Long term - you can freeze cheesecake! Don't freeze it with toppings, but you freeze just the cheesecake. Wrap it tight with plastic wrap (removed from springform pan) and then wrap it well in aluminum foil or in a large Ziplock bag if you have one large enough. Store flat. Keeps fresh for up to 3 months. 
Slicing tips: To make clean slices, wipe your knife before each cut.