Cheesecake Recipe

This cheesecake recipe is for a rich and creamy cheesecake in a graham cracker crust. It has been tested for years and I have added all my tips to get perfect results every time.

This cheesecake recipe makes a rich and indulgent dessert surrounded by a graham cracker crust. This is my take on cheesecake and is one of the first recipes I ever tried making. I have tweaked it over the years to get it just right. Keep reading for all my tips on making a perfect cheesecake every time.

recipe for cheesecake

Cheesecake is set in a crust like a pie, looks like a cake, and has a texture similar to custard. Some argue about what type of dessert a cheesecake should classify as since it’s not technically any of these. I like to think it is in its own category of amazingness.

This recipe includes lots of vanilla, fresh lemon juice, and lemon zest for a perfect balance of tangy sweetness. My method will help you achieve an indulgent texture, a smooth top without cracks, all surrounded by a graham cracker crust that is almost a dessert by itself.

slice of cheesecake

I will admit to sneaking into my kitchen late at night to snag a bite of the crust from the cheesecake. So far no one knows it’s me 🙂

cheesecake bite

what ingredients will I need for this cheesecake recipe?

  • 7 – 8oz blocks of cream cheese
  • 7 eggs and 3 egg yolks (lots of eggs)
  • the zest and juice of one lemon
  • vanilla
  • granulated sugar
  • brown sugar
  • salt
  • flour
  • 18 whole graham crackers = 3 cups crushed
  • butter
  • heavy cream
  • boiling water
cheesecake ingredients

what equipment will I need?

  • A stand mixer or hand-held beater.
  • Durable silicone spatula (optional)
  • 11-inch springform pan
  • Large deep-sided pan or roasting pan (without roasting rack).

cheesecake recipe tips

  • #1 TIP Use good-quality regular full-fat cream cheese.
  • Have all the ingredients ready and at room temperature before mixing, especially the cream cheese, eggs, and heavy cream.
  • Before you start to mix, preheat the oven. The oven needs to be at 325 degrees F for the crust, then increased to 400 degrees F. before adding the cheesecake.
  • Use real fresh lemon juice with the zest, and a good quality vanilla.
  • Continuously scrape the sides of the bowl throughout all of the blending. Add eggs one at a time, blending well before each addition.
  • Wrapping the springform pan with two layers of large durable foil will help prevent water seepage from the waterbath.
  • Using a water bath and cooling the cheesecake slowly once it’s done will also help prevent cracks.
  • For the best results, the cheesecake will need to chill for at least 4-5 hours preferably overnight before serving to ensure it has had time to set properly.
best cheesecake

How to prevent the cheesecake from cracking.

Baking a cheesecake in a water bath creates a perfect atmosphere for the best results. The simmering water regulates the temperature and helps the cheesecake bake low and slow. You will have a custard-like silky cheesecake with a smooth top without cracks.

Along with a water bath, cooling the cheesecake slowly will also help prevent the top from cracking. This can be done by leaving it in the oven with the door cracked for at least 30 minutes after baking, then cooling it on the stove for 30 minutes before placing it in the refrigerator to set.

You can bake a cheesecake without a water bath, although you will risk cracking. You can skip this step if you don’t mind an imperfect cheesecake because it will still taste good.

Steps to making this cheesecake recipe:

  1. Mix the ingredients for the crust, when the crumbs hold their shape together it is ready for the pan.
  2. Spread the crust on the bottom and press up the edges until the inside is covered with crust. Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees F. Then let it cool and wrap the edges in foil.
  3. Place the foil-wrapped springform pan into the roasting pan.
  4. Begin to mix the cheesecake. Blend the cream cheese first to soften it, then add sugar, salt, flour, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  5. This is a thick and heavy batter, you will need a heavy-duty spatula to scrape the bowl while mixing to incorporate the ingredients properly.
  6. Add eggs one at a time while on low speed, then, add the heavy cream and mix until just incorporated.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan.
  8. Place the roasting pan with the cheesecake in the oven and add enough boiling water to the roasting pan around the cheesecake making sure to fill at least 1/3 full of water around the cheesecake.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 20 minutes then reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. and continue to bake for 90 minutes. Cool as directed. Once chilled for at least 4 hrs and set, serve with your favorite toppings.

What toppings Are best?

Top with whipped cream and your favorite fruit. Cherries are a favorite in my house 🙂 You can use fresh fruit such as cherries, strawberries, or blueberries. Canned or jarred topping will work too, anything goes no judgment here.

In the photos, I used fresh cherries only because they were in season. In this house, we are team cherries, I keep some canned cherry topping in my pantry for when they are not in season.

cheesecake topping

How to store cheesecake?

Cheesecake needs to be kept refrigerated until serving. Any leftover cheesecake needs to be refrigerated in an airtight container and can be kept for up to five days.

Can you freeze cheesecake?

Yes, you can freeze a whole cheesecake or slices in an airtight container and freeze for one to two months without any toppings. Let the cheesecake thaw in the refrigerator for 8-12 hrs before serving and keep refrigerated for 3-5 days once thawed.


Cheesecake Recipe

Print Recipe
A recipe for a seriously amazing cheesecake that the perfect indulgent dessert with lemon and vanilla surrounded by a graham cracker crust.
Prep Time:1 hour
Cook Time:1 hour 50 minutes
Set time:8 hours
Total Time:10 hours 50 minutes


  • 7 – 8 oz packages cream cheese
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 7 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 18 whole graham crackers crushed (1 1/2 cups crushed)
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter melted
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar


  • Take eggs and cream cheese out of the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for about 1 hr.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Add graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 3/4 cup brown sugar into a large bowl and mix it with a fork creating a thick crust mixture.
  • Press the crust mixture onto the bottom and sides of the springform pan and set and bake at 325 degrees F. for 20 minutes.
  • Once baked remove the crust fro the oven and let cool while you prepare the cheesecake batter.
  • Once the crust is removed from the oven increase the temperature to 400 degrees F.
  • Place cream cheese in the mixer bowl and beat on medium speed to smooth and soften the cream cheese. Add the lemon, zest, vanilla, sugar, flour, and salt into the cream cheese in the mixer bowl and mix on medium speed with the paddle attachment occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl.
  • Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and add the eggs one at a time.
  • Once the eggs are incorporated, add the heavy cream and blend until smooth.
  • Pour batter into the prepared springform pan.
  • Smooth out the top of the batter with a spatula and tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles.
  • Bring a few cups of water to a boil in a kettle, once boiling add the water to the roasting pan set in the oven.
  • Place the cheesecake on the cooling rack that is set over the roasting pan in the oven.
  • Bake the cheesecake at 400 degrees F. for 20 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes reduce the baking temperature to 300 degrees F. without opening the oven, and continue to bake for 1 1/2 hrs.
  • If you notice the top of the cheesecake browning, you may place a piece of foil over the top of the cheesecake to prevent more browning.
  • After one hour, turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake inside to continue to set in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it continue to cool on top of the stove for at leat 30 minutes.
  • Once it has cooled for at least an hour, set the cheesecake in the refrigerator to continue to set for at least 5-6 hours or preferably overnight before serving.
  • Top with your favorite topping and enjoy!
Course: Dessert
Servings: 10 Slices

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