Baking · Desserts

New York Cheesecake

My guiltiest of guilty pleasures is cheesecake. I find it completely irresistible. It is the one dessert I absolutely cannot say no to. There are lots of cheesecake recipes floating around on Bakerlady, but I’ve never posted the classic New York Cheesecake recipe I absolutely adore. It’s from America’s Test Kitchen, who I always turn to for great tested recipes that turn out perfectly the first time, and every time. The secret to a great New York style cheesecake that’s dense with a suede texture is lots and lots of cream cheese and a low and slow baking method.

First we make a graham cracker crust. Bake it until golden, then set it aside to cool while you put together the filling.

First up, the cream cheese. A boat load of it. You’ll need five 8 ounce packages for this recipe. Two and a half POUNDS of cream cheese. Make sure it is well softened. I generally leave mine out overnight to be sure it’s all the way room temperature. Nothing will give you more headaches making a cheesecake than cream cheese that’s still cold. Cut it into cubes before getting started.

Then blend it until smooth. Don’t whip it, you don’t want air getting in there. Use an electric mixer on a medium low-speed.

Then add some sugar and blend again. Again, don’t beat it like crazy, just a low(ish) blending. If your cream cheese is the right temperature, you don’t need a lot of power to make it creamy.

And finally eggs. Mucho eggs. You aren’t reading the recipe wrong. You’ll need 6 whole eggs plus 2 additional yolks. Get it all blended together until completely smooth.

Then, we’re going to use a little secret to keep our cheesecake from getting too friendly with the side of the pan. Butter.

Yup, brush that melty deliciousness all along the sides of your pan, being careful not to disturb your crust. I find the only way I don’t spaz out and mess the grahams up is to start right where the crust ends and brush upward. Away from the crust.

Then pour your filling in. This cheesecake starts out at a smoldering 500 degrees, then the temperature is turned down 10 minutes in. All the way down to 200° – and then cooked for another hour and a half. Dry. No water bath. Do not open your oven. Don’t. Do. It.

When it comes out, immediately run a knife around the edge of the pan. This ensures the cheesecake won’t stick to the edge and crack as it tries to pull away when it’s cooling.

Boom. Velvety, creamy perfection.

The butter on the edge not only keeps sticking from occurring, it also creates a glorious outer rim of golden baked cheesecake. Yum, yum, yum.

This can be eaten just as is. Plain, simple and delicious. Or, kick it up a little with a simple strawberry topping.

I made this to bring to a dinner party, and since one of the hosts cannot eat fruit (she’s allergic to fructose…how horrible would that be?), I left the strawberries on the side. Which worked really well. It was a dessert poor Amber could eat and the rest of us just spooned strawberry deliciousness on top. Seriously, EVERYTHING has fructose in it.

I don’t think there is a more perfect dessert than a rich, creamy cheesecake topped with fresh sweet strawberries. Love. Enjoy!


Print Recipe for New York Cheesecake

New York Cheesecake
from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Cookbook

8 whole graham crackers, broken into 1-inch pieces
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled. Plus 1 extra tablespoon butter for brushing on pan
3 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, cut into chunks and softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
6 large eggs

For the crust: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325°. Process the graham cracker pieces in a food processor to fine, even crumbs, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the melted butter and sugar over the crumbs and pulse to incorporate. Sprinkle the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan. Press the crumbs firmly into an even layer using the bottom of a measuring cup. Bake the crust until fragrant and beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Let the crust cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

For the filling: Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 500°. Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until smooth, 1-3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beaters as necessary.

Beat in half the sugar and salt until incorporated, 1-3 minutes. Beat in the remaining sugar until incorporated, 1-3 minutes. Beat in the sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla until incorporated, 1-3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks and eggs, two at a time until combined, 1-3 minutes.

Being careful not to disturb the baked crust, brush the inside of the prepared springform pan with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Carefully pour the filling into the pan. Bake the cheesecake for 10 minutes.

Without opening the door, reduce the oven temperature to 200° and continue to bake the cheesecake until the center of the cake registers 150° (about 1 1/2 hours).

Transfer the cake to a wire rack and run a knife around the edge of the cake. Let the cheesecake stand until just barely warm, 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Chill until ready to eat. Serve as is or with Strawberry Topping.


58 thoughts on “New York Cheesecake

      1. Part of your ingredients are wrong and your cook time and temp are backward
        recipe calls for 6 graham crackers NOT 8
        also DO NOT START at 500 degrees start at 200 degrees for 3 1/2 hours
        then rest the cake on the counter and turn the oven up to 500 degrees
        wait until the oven comes to temp and cook 4 to 12 mins until top is brown.
        if you start at 500 and turn it down to 200 your cake should be very burned
        the oven will not cool down fast enough.
        so start off low then finish at high temp
        re watch the episode….

      2. Hi Ed. I actually have a ATK cookbook that I got this recipe from, not from an episode. I have re-checked to make sure my recipe reads correctly on Bakerlady and it does. 8 graham crackers and a bake time for the filling that starts at 500 for 10 minutes, then without opening the oven door, drop the temp to 200 degrees for another 1 1/2 hours. Thanks for making sure I had it right!

      3. Neither of you are wrong. To it appears the stated method is best but because not everyone has a perfect oven at home Ed’s is the foolproof method.

        down to 200 degrees for the remainder of the baking time. Success with this method is dependent on the oven temperature falling at a very specific rate: too fast and your cheesecake will be soupy; too slow and it will be burned, cracked, and grainy.

        For success every time, we turned the conventional method on its head: We baked the cheesecake for about 3 hours at the lower temperature and then removed it from the oven while we heated the oven to 500 degrees. Finishing the cake at the higher temperature produced the proper appearance and texture, without the risk. A hybrid graham cracker/shortbread crust gave our cheesecake the classic flavor and the structure to withstand prolonged contact with the wet filling without turning soggy, for a perfect cheesecake every time.

  1. omgggg this looks amazing! I made cheesecake once and it cracked while I was baking it. Since then I have been too intimidated to try again. Your recipe looks like a no-fail though, and I think I’m going to have to try it soon enough 🙂

      1. I’m making this this weekend and just had a quick ?- 8 whole graham crackers means like the whole rectangle right?
        I’m so excited 😀 I’ll let you know how it goes!

  2. I really really want to make this for my husband’s birthday. He loves the stuff. I have never made a cheesecake before but I think your recipe is the one I shall attempt first! However, I don’t have an electric blender. 😦 I know I know, didn’t get it of my wedding registry so I’ll have to look into that. In any possibility can one do the stirring by hand? It’s a lot of work I understand but I am determined !

    1. You probably will not be able to get it smooth enough by hand. I’ve never had success with cream cheese blending with anything other than an electric beater. 😦

  3. Just made this last night for Christmas Eve and it was DELISH…only problem I had was that it didn’t seem set enough or “cakey” enough in the middle…the outer like 2 inches is heavenly but the very middle was a little more gooey than I like, but the taste is phenomenal…I probably just needed to cook it for an extra 15 mins or something but awesome and easy recipe!

    1. Hi, my cheesecake buddy told me to always use a water bath with any recepie for improved texture. Any problem with adding one here?

  4. Hi! I have made many cheesecakes before, but everytime I make one I can’t seem to get the cheesecake off the bottom of the pan without ruining it. Do you have any “tricks” I can try to easily remove it off the bottom of the pan? Thank you!

  5. I just found this recipe..wanted one from Americas Test Kitchen, but I don’t subscribe. I made this last night. I have to say I think baking at 500 is too high. My cheesecake got way too dark in just that 10 minutes. I’ve tested my oven temp recently, so I know it’s accurate. The center of the cheese cake did firm up nicely and I cooked it for exactly the 1 1/2 hours suggested. I tested the temp of the cake at 1 1/2 hours and it was 150. Upon cooling though the cake did develop a few cracks on the surface. I had high hopes for this recipe, bur I’ll still be searching for a better one.

    1. After baking my cheesecakes I make a sour cream sugar mixture, pour on top and bake an extra 10 minutes. It takes care of pesky cracks and also the top won’t look browned! Can be customized to taste but I think its 2c sour cream, 3/4 c sugar mixed well. Can add a pinch of salt and vanilla too 🙂

  6. Allergic to fructose? Probably fructose malabsorbtion, mabey even fructose intolerance. It would be pretty devastating to be allergic to fructose though.

  7. I have a convection oven. The top got brown really fast. I just reduced the temp by 25-degrees. I researched this online.
    Any suggestions? I have 56 minutes at 200 which I just reduced to 175.
    Thanks so much. This is my first baked cheesecake.
    Thank u for the recipe.

    1. I wanted to update my comment. This cheese cake was great. I did learn that making cheesecake is very hard. If you follow these directions, it will be great.
      The top was a bit darker than the photos, but it was delicious.

  8. I have been making this cheesecake since 1972 when I found the recipe in a New Orleans cookbook. It is the BEST, the ONLY recipe worth your time and $$. I usually have to make two. We are a big family. Through the years, I have found that 1. you have to use a springform pan, 2. you have to use the recipe as written and 3. the cracks are for filling with the sour cream topping given above. It also freezes beautifully when cut into slices and wrapped securely and hidden in the back of the freezer. It thaws while shaving off slice by luscious slice working your way toward the back with your fork. Also I omit the lemon juice and vanilla and use DeSarrona amaretto and almond flavoring. Cherry pie filling is good on this when serving also. Good luck and do try it. Thanks Tanya for posting this.

  9. how do you make the strawberry topping? did I miss the link to recipe? can’t wait to try this!

      1. Thank you! I did end up finding it. Also… I baked my cheesecake and the top of it got burned. 😦 I forgot to put the cheesecake on the rimmed pan… here’s to round two! hubby just went to the store to get more ingredients… we are tenacious out here. 😉 so here’s my question.. should I bother turning the heat down since I burned my cheesecake top so bad? if I need to turn it down, how much should I do? 450? still for 10 minutes? or did it burn bc I didn’t put the cheesecake on the pan and leave it at 500 for ten minutes? or do I do 500 and just watch it and turn it down to 200 when it starts to darken?

      2. Sounds like maybe your oven rack is too close to the heating element. Ovens range so much that I’m not really sure how to advise you re: changing your temperature. I don’t think not having the pan underneath is why it burned. If you can move your oven rack lower, that’s what I’d suggest. Then try again at 500 for 10 minutes before turning it down.

  10. Am I blind, or how on earth do u make this graham cracker crust?? No one asks about it, and the recipes says NOTHING about how you go about making the crust. Any takers??

  11. I have made this twice now, and both times, it was a hit! My brother is asking me to make him an Oreo Cheesecake; and, I was wondering if I could use this recipe as a base. Would I be able to add in the chopped cookie pieces, and still use the same oven temps and cooking time? Thank you!

  12. I made it and it was great. The only problem was
    That I have a commercial oven so the 500 degree for 10 minutes burned the top. I cut the top off and added a sour cream topping. Other than that it was amazing

  13. My son ZB and I made this cheesecake for his girlfriend. Wynter loved it! I liked the crust on the outside. I thought we’d have at least half left over, but no! ZB is looking forward to making another one really soon! Thanks for posting 😈

  14. I have mini springform pans (4″), Want to make little NY cheese cakes. How would you change the recipe? Time baking and do you think I would get 4 cakes out of this recipe? Bought all the ingredients, husband can hardly wait.. Thanks.

    1. Hi Kath. You’d really need to keep watch on your cheesecakes as they bake (without opening the oven). Depending on your oven and pans, the bake time will vary. A quick internet search yielded me the suggested cook time of 40-45 minutes at 300 degrees. Hope that helps give you a starting point. Good luck!

  15. Well, I love ATK….but, I never have luck with cheesecake without a water bath…I made this cheesecake and sure enough…it cracked….😢😢😧

    1. Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that! I’ve seen a tip on ATK to run your knife around the edge every hour to ensure no cracking without a water bath. Hope yours still tasted delicious!

  16. Hi! I’m a cheesecake newbie, and I’m hearing a lot of people saying a water bath prevents cracking. Is there any reason I couldn’t do water bath with this recipe?

  17. Just wanted to say that I’ve made this cheesecake about a million times and each time it comes out just perfect! Not one crack. Thanks for the great recipe!

    A stress-baking medical student, xoxo

  18. I’ve made this a couple of times. The first time I removed the spring form too soon and it didn’t hold its shape (it still tasted delicious). So definitely need to leave it to set after removing from the oven. I did this for the second one and the cheesecake was PERFECTION! Amazing recipe

  19. Adding a raspberry or blueerry sauce to the bottom of the cheesecake enhances this quite a bit. Save some sauce to drizzle on top when serving. Perfectly cooked starting at 500 degrees and the turning down.

  20. I have made the Foolproof New York Cheesecake recipe from ATK a number of times, and it gets RAVE reviews. Is there a way to make 2 cheesecakes in smaller pans from this recipe? I would need to know what size springform pans to use, and how to adjust the baking time.

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