There is nothing that compares to a classic New York Cheesecake. This cheesecake has a smooth, silky, thick, and creamy texture with a sweet cookie crumble crust. Enjoy this cheesecake plain or top it off with a homemade strawberry topping.
I’m not even sure how to recommend one of my cheesecake recipes over another, so I will let you choose and browse all my cheesecake recipes.
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What is New York Cheesecake?
New York Cheesecake was made popular by the iconic Junior’s Restaurant and Bakery in New York City. It differs from the classic cheesecake in its ingredients and therefore, texture.
Classic cheesecake is very simple and basic, it’s made with cream cheese, eggs, and sugar. New York Cheesecake includes an addition of heavy whipping cream and sour cream. This created a dense, rich, and smooth texture of the cheesecake.
One slice of this thick, silky smooth cheesecake will be enough to fill you for a week, as any perfect New York Cheesecake should.
Even though I keep the cheesecake filling true, I do make cheesecake crust out of graham crackers. Junior’s cheesecake has crust made out of sponge cake. This is where I cheat and make cookie crumb crust out of graham crackers. Partially because I really like the taste and partially because it’s so much extra work to create a sponge cake crust.
5 Star Review
“I made this with your strawberry sauce and it was absolutely divine! All our guests raved about how delicious it tasted! Thanks for sharing the recipe!!“
Cream Cheese – don’t try to make the cheesecake “lighter” by using anything other than the original, full fat cream cheese. It will change the texture. Use full fat, original cream cheese and make sure to take it out of the refrigerator 30-45 minutes before starting to bake.
Heavy whipping cream – white it’s best to use heavy whipping cream, you can use half and half but do not go any less fat than that. Note that half and half is thinner than heavy whipping cream so use about a tablespoon less.
Eggs – take the eggs out of the refrigerator 30-45 minutes before cooking to let them warm up to room temperature.
Graham cracker crumbs – if you can’t find graham cracker crumbs at the store, you can get regular graham crackers and pulse them in a food processor until they blend into crumbs. (See GLUTEN FREE notes in Recipe FAQs.)
See recipe card for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
Strawberry Topping Ingredient Notes
Strawberries – it’s best to use fresh strawberries but if you absolutely have to, you can use frozen strawberries. Just make sure to thaw them completely. You don’t need to drain off the juices from the bag, just omit all or most of the water from the recipe.
Lemon juice – it’s always a good idea to use fresh lemon juice rather than bottle. It is quite a difference in flavor.
See recipe card for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
How To Make New York Style Cheesecake
To make this cheesecake, you will need a springform baking pan, large roasting pan, and a mixer.
Before making the cheesecake, prepare the pan by wrapping outside of the pan in aluminum foil. Many springform pans, especially ones that have been used quite a bit, have a chance of leaking water inside. Wrapping the springform in foil will help keep water out.
Although, there is a chance that a small amount of water will leak in, this will NOT ruin the cheesecake.
Combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, vanilla extract, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and mix very well.
Spray inside of the springform pan with some cooking spray, making sure you get the sides too. Spread crumb mixture in the bottom on the prepared springform (1). Use the bottom of a measuring cup to evenly press the crust over the bottom and a little up the sides (2).
In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape sides and bottom on the bowl and beat for another minute. Pour in sugar while beating and add eggs, one at a time. Beat it until smooth. Stop to scrape bottom and sides of the bowl.
Add sour cream, vanilla extract, and heavy cream and beat, still on medium-high speed, until all mixed very well. Lower the speed and beat in corn starch. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for a few more seconds to make sure everything is evenly mixed.
Transfer batter into the springform (3) and spread in evenly (4).
To bake the cheesecake:
Preheat oven to 325°. Place a large roasting pan into the oven and place cheesecake springform inside the roasting pan. Carefully add hot water to the roasting pan, about half way up the side of the spring form (5).
Bake for 85-90 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the oven door half way. Let cheesecake rest for 10 minutes and take it out of the oven (6). Take off the foil wrap off the pan.
Let it rest for 10 minutes on the counter and then gently run a butter knife between sides of the cheesecakes and the springform to carefully separate it. (You don’t actually have to take the cheesecake out of the pan until ready to serve.)
Cool cheesecake for an hour and then cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
How To Make Strawberry Topping
Strawberry topping is the most classic and beloved topping for a simple New York Cheesecake. It is also incredibly simple to prepare and only takes about 15 minutes.
Wash strawberries and chop them into small pieces.
Preheat a sauce pot over medium heat. Add diced strawberries, water, and lemon juice. Let it cook for a couple of minutes and stir in sugar and vanilla. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring often.
Take off heat and let it cool to room temperature before adding topping to cheesecake slices.
To store the topping, transfer cooled topping into a storage container with a lid and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Baking in a water bath technique is called “bain-marie.” This technique is done to prepare delicate desserts like crème brûlée, custards, and cheesecakes. The main reason for using a water bath for these desserts is to keep direct heat away from baking dish.
Because these desserts are heavy on the cream and eggs, if not baked evenly and slowly but exposed to direct heat, it would not be baked uniformly. The outside will be overdone and inside will still be gooey. Water bath ensures even baking throughout the whole dish by keeping layer of protection between the baking dish and oven heat.
Without the water bath, cheesecake will be sagging in the middle, is likely to crack, and most importantly, it will be overcooked on the outside and under-cooked on the inside.
Cheesecake is technically done by making it ahead of time since it need several hours to chill. You can bake the cheesecake one day and then store it in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Make sure to cover it air-tight while storing!
Do NOT add frosting, or topping, or decorations to the cheesecake until you’re ready to serve it. (Prepare frostings right before adding it to the cheesecake.)
The only part of this cheesecake that contains gluten is the graham cracker crust. Use gluten free graham crackers and pulse them into crumbs to create a gluten free crust. Remaining ingredients should already be gluten free but double check the labels and nutritional information.
BEFORE BAKING: Separate the springform side and bottom part. Then, take the bottom part of the pan and lay it down on a sheet of parchment paper. Use a pencil to trace around the bottom of the pan. Keep in mind that the circle will need to be just a little bigger than the bottom of the pan.
Cut out the circle you traced. Put the springform back together. Spray the springform with cooking spray and fit the parchment paper circle on the bottom.
AFTER BAKING: When you are ready to take the cheesecake out, make sure to use large, hard spatula. Have the serving dish or the cardboard cake circle ready.
Carefully slide the spatula in between the parchment paper and the bottom of the springform pan. Gently pull the cheesecake off of the springform and right onto the serving dish. Keep them side by side, and make sure you don’t tilt the cheesecake pan!
Make sure to store the cheesecake in the refrigerator and covered air-tight. Properly stored, cheesecake should last up to 5 days.
I recommend simply storing it in the same pan it was baked in, covered tightly with plastic wrap or another air-tight wrap you prefer to use. Remember to cover it tightly after every single time you take out a slice!
How To Freeze Cheesecake
You can freeze cheesecake right on the bottom of the springform pan or you can take it off the pan and transfer it onto an aluminum foil covered cardboard.
Once cheesecake has been cooled to room temperature, run a butter knife along the inside of the springform pan to separate the cheesecake from the pan. Place the pan with cheesecake in the freezer and freeze for about an hour.
Then, carefully take off the side portion of the springform. At this point, you can either keep the bottom of the springform with the cheesecake or transfer it onto a piece of thick cardboard cake holder covered with aluminum foil.
Wrap cheesecake and the bottom of the pan with plastic wrap, in 2-3 layers. Then, wrap the whole thing with aluminum foil. As an added protection from air, you can place the whole things in a large, zip-lock freezer bag, but that’ not necessary.
Make sure to date and label before placing cheesecake back in the freezer.
Cheesecake will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months.
To thaw frozen cheesecake, make sure to do it slowly. Place cheesecake from freezer into the refrigerator and slow-thaw overnight.
PRO TIP: No matter which cheesecake you are trying to freeze, make sure to freeze it WITHOUT topping or frosting. Toppings and frostings can be added after the cheesecake has been thawed.
Some Reader Favorite Cheesecakes
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New York Cheesecake
- 9-inch springform baking pan
- Large roasting pan
- Standing or hand-held mixer
- Silicone spatula
- Wide aluminum foil
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cups
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 32 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Strawberry Topping (Optional):
- 1 lb strawberries washed, stems cut off
- 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Before Preparing the Cheesecake:
- Preheat the oven to 325° and grease a 9 inch springform pan. You will need a large roasting pan that’s bigger and longer than the springform pan. (You can even use the aluminum foil disposable ones). If you are not sure about your springform holding up in water, you can wrap the outside of the springform pan in heavy duty aluminum foil from bottom up to the sides. Try to use a wide kind of foil so you would only need to use 1 solid sheet. (I recommend wrapping the outside of the springform in foil before adding the crust and cheesecake batter.)
- Although, there is a chance that a small amount of water will leak in, this will NOT ruin the cheesecake.
- Combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, vanilla extract, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and mix very well.
- Spray inside of the springform pan with some cooking spray, making sure you get the sides too.
- Spread crumb mixture in the bottom of the prepared springform, evenly pressing it over the bottom and a little up the sides.
- In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. I give it a good 2-3 minutes of beating to get is soft and smooth. Scrape sides and bottom on the bowl and beat for another minute.
- Pour in sugar while beating and add eggs, one at a time. Beat it until smooth. Stop to scrape bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Add sour cream, vanilla extract, and heavy whipping cream and beat, still on medium-high speed, until all mixed very well.
- Lower the speed and beat in corn starch. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for a few more seconds to make sure everything is evenly mixed.
- Transfer batter into the springform and spread in evenly.
Baking The Cheesecake:
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- Place a large roasting pan into the oven and place cheesecake springform inside the roasting pan. Carefully add hot water to the roasting pan, about half way up the side of the springform.
- Bake for 85-90 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the oven door half way. Let cheesecake rest for 10 minutes and take it out of the oven. Take the foil wrap off the pan.
- Let it rest for 10 minutes on the counter and then gently run a butter knife between sides of the cheesecakes and the springform to carefully separate it. (You don’t actually have to take the cheesecake out of the pan until ready to serve.)
- Cool cheesecake for an hour and then cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
Storing The Cheesecake:
- Cheesecake will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Store it in the original baking pan and make sure to re-wrap the pan with plastic wrap air-tight after each time you take out a slice. *See the post for freezing instructions
Strawberry Topping (Optional):
- Strawberry topping is the most classic and beloved topping for a simple New York Cheesecake. It is also incredibly simple to prepare and only takes about 15 minutes.
- Wash strawberries, cut off stems, and chop them into small cubes.
- Preheat a sauce pot over medium heat. Add diced strawberries, water, and lemon juice. Let it cook for a couple of minutes and stir in sugar and vanilla. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring often.
- Warm Ingredients – remember to pull the cream cheese and eggs out of the refrigerator 30-45 minutes before starting to bake to let them warm up. Prepare the ingredients you need before starting to bake.
- Water Bath: DO use the water bath technique, it does strongly affect the texture of the cheesecake.
- How To Tell If Cheesecake If Done: You can tell the cheesecake is baked when the edges are set and the center is slightly soft and jiggly. As it cools in the oven and on the counter, the center will continue to set more and become more firm. DO NOT insert a knife or toothpick into the center since that may cause the dessert to crack.
- Cooling: DO cool the cheesecake is three steps: 10 minutes in the turned off oven, on the counter, and chill in the refrigerator.