The Best Classic Cheesecake Recipe

Updated on March 16, 2016
Classic cheesecake with a blueberry topping
Classic cheesecake with a blueberry topping

Classic Gourmet Cheesecake Recipe

Just imagine: You’re having a get-together with your family and friends. Dinner was excellent and everyone is happily content. As your guests are talking and sharing laughs, you bring out a cheesecake that looks just like it came from the Cheesecake Factory.

Everyone oohs and aahs, their mouths watering as pieces are cut and passed around. You hear exclamations of how delicious the cheesecake is, so silky, so creamy. Your friends wonder where you bought the cake. Now imagine the looks of astonished delight as you reply simply, “I made it."

The best part is, it’s not hard to make! Follow the steps and you’ll have a beautiful homemade cheesecake.

How to Make the Best Classic Cheesecake Recipe:


  • 2 Cups ground graham crackers
  • 1/4 Cup butter 
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar


  • 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese (Philadelphia is my favorite, Trader Joe’s cream cheese comes in second)
  • 1 ¾ Cups sugar
  • Zest of one small lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 ½ Tablespoons flour
  • 5 large eggs

Sour Cream Topping

  • 2 Cups sour cream (Knudson is my favorite)
  • 5 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

The Final Touch: Creating Your Gourmet Cheesecake

  • 1 jar of your favorite jelly (The classic flavors are strawberry or raspberry. However, blackberry, blueberry and boysenberry will also be delicious.)
  • 2 baskets of your favorite fresh berries (You can use all one type of berry or a combination.)

Baking the Best Classic Cheesecake Recipe

  1. Unwrap the packages of cream cheese and let them sit on the counter. Place the (un-cracked) eggs in a bowl on the counter to bring them to room temperature too.
  2. Make sure the rack is in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 350°
  3. Assemble your 10-inch springform pan so the bottom of the pan is upside-down.


  1. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a big bowl.
  2. Pour the melted butter over the crumbs.Mix with your fingers or a fork until crumbs stick together.
  3. Once the cheesecake crust is mixed up, put it into your springform pan. Press it into the bottom of the pan so it forms a hard base. Keep pressing the crumbs along the sides, about halfway up the pan.
  4. Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes in the oven (at 350°). Transfer to a rack to cool.

Making the Filling


  1. Put the room-temperature cream cheese in the mixer and beat till creamy.
  2. Add the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat until smooth. Now is the time to taste it. If you love lemon, add a little more. If you want it sweeter, add a sprinkle of sugar. Just add a little at a time and always taste it.
  3. Add the flour and beat it in.
  4. Crack the eggs into a bowl. Gently add one egg at a time to the cheesecake filling. Beat each egg until just blended. Stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl between each egg.
  5. Pour the filling into the crust. It should not be filled higher than 3/4 up the sides of the pan. If you have a little extra batter, read on for ways to use it.
  6. Bake the cheesecake about 60 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes before adding the topping. You’ll know it’s done when the outer 2 inches is puffed and slightly browned. The center will still look slightly wobbly, like jell-o. It’s okay if you see cracks in the cheesecake. The topping will cover them.

Sour Cream Topping

  1. While the cheesecake is baking, mix the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl.
  2. After the cheesecake has cooled for 10 minutes, drop spoonfuls of the sour cream topping over the cake. Spread it over the entire cake with the back of the spoon.
  3. Bake the cheesecake for another 7 minutes, until the topping is set.
  4. Remove the cheesecake from the oven
  5. Run a knife around the edges of the cheesecake and then let it cool on a rack before putting it in the refrigerator.
  6. The cheesecake can be made 2-3 days ahead, but the flavor is best 1 day after baking it. To keep it from getting bumped into, keep it in the spring form pan until you're ready to serve your cheesecake. When you wrap it with plastic, don't let it touch the top or it will smudge it.

A beautiful gourmet cheesecake
A beautiful gourmet cheesecake

The Final Touch

Creating Your Gourmet Cheesecake

  1. Wash and pat dry the berries.
  2. Melt the jelly in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cool until it’s lukewarm.
  3. Remove the from the springform pan. Run a hot knife along the sides of the cheesecake, around the edge of the pan. Unlatch the pan and gently remove it from the cheesecake.
  4. To remove the base of the springform pan from the cheesecake, use a long thin knife and gently slide in under the bottom of the cheesecake, between the pan and the crust. Be sure you keep the knife against the pan. Once you’ve completely separated the cake from the springform pan, gently slide it on a serving dish.
  5. Fold a damp paper towel into a triangle and run it along the edge of the serving dish, removing all crumbs.

Add the fruit just before serving; otherwise your cheesecake will turn to mush. You have two options when decorating your mouth-watering cheesecake.

  • You can place the fruit on the top of the cheesecake in a decorative pattern before cutting. Drizzle the fruit syrup over the cake.
  • You can also wait until after you’ve cut the cheesecake to add the fruit. Place a heaping spoonful of berries on the side of the cheesecake and drizzle the fruit syrup over the cheesecake.

Your guests will be amazed and floating towards culinary heaven!

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Amber 2 years ago

        This cheesecake is pretty good. I wanted to try it because it had lemon zest which I have heard is "athentic" for cheesecake. I looked for any critiques or changes in the comments sections but did not see any, so here are mine:

        1) The crust is too crumbly, it needs an extra tablespoon of butter (at least). I also didn't think it needed a whole 1/4 cup of sugar, and so I halved that.

        2) Be careful of overcooking. I took the crust out at 7 minutes. I took the cake out at 50 minutes. I'm sure my oven is off, but it's a common problem to be aware of.

        3) I made it without the sour cream topping in the test run. It was really good but for Christmas I'm going to try the topping. I just feel like it needs some sort of cream because of the lemon. However, my chef friends say it is not traditional to use a topping. I'll let you know how it goes.

      • Marie Nixon profile image

        Marie Nixon 3 years ago from Villa Park, Illinois

        There is a typo in the Sour Cream Topping ingredients The last ingredient is listed as 1 teaspoon sugar. That should be 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. BTW, my cheesecake turned out beautifully.

      • profile image

        Acasiagus 5 years ago

        Это еще и красиво!

      • profile image

        hi 5 years ago

        hi i luve your cheesecake

      • profile image

        James 6 years ago

        This is definitely the best cheesecake I have ever made and quite possibly have ever had!

      • profile image

        Julie 6 years ago

        I have lots of extra filling and don't know what to do with it!! Help???

      • profile image

        Erik M 7 years ago


      • profile image

        kiki 7 years ago

        lol love it

      • profile image

        raz 7 years ago

        Can't wait till I make mine. It looks amazinggg

      • profile image

        Jamey 7 years ago

        Thank you for the great recipe and especially for the careful descriptions. I do have one question that no one else seems to have asked. You say to "read on" for ideas on what to do with any extra filling batter, but I didn't see anything about that. What are some suggestions?

      • profile image

        freddydabaker 7 years ago

        Ace recipe--the cream cheese initial topping with the berry secondary is exquisite! I'm making one for my employment depends on you...and I'm not worried about it. Best I found on the web.



      • profile image

        Caroline 7 years ago

        Well, usually I stick to the food network for all my cooking needs. but yesterday when i went on a search for reese's cheesecake and couldn't find a good enough recipe anywhere! I stumbled across your classic cheesecake recipe. So far so good. I made a few extra/optional things. If all goes well and it's a hit I will let you know.

      • profile image

        hjk 7 years ago


      • Youngcurves19 profile image

        Youngcurves19 7 years ago from Hawaii

        YUMMY!!! thanks thanks thanks for sharing! AWESOME recipes

      • Support Med. profile image

        Support Med. 7 years ago from Michigan

        Thanks Leoni, made the change.

      • profile image

        Leoni 7 years ago

        He said its meant to be

        5 x tablespoons of sugar and

        1 x teaspoon of vanilla extract.

        Making this very soon, can't wait!!

      • Support Med. profile image

        Support Med. 7 years ago from Michigan

        This recipe is beautiful. Thanks!

      • profile image

        Tabbatha 8 years ago

        i have a question i made this cheesecake today and when i took it out of the oven and i was letting it cool it collapsed i made it just how you said and i know it was done im not sure what went wrong do you know?

      • stevenswoman profile image

        stevenswoman 8 years ago from Ohio

        Hey this cheesecake sounds amazing! I made a chocolate/coffee cheesecake tonight for a playdate tomorrow. Tonight was my first time baking a cheesecake. I don't know how it is yet. I will find out tomorrow. I can tell that you enjoy baking this dish because you took the time to give it to the readers and your wording sounds like you fully enjoy the process and product. I am excited to make this. I want to bake it for Easter Sunday Dinner with my in-laws. I have one question though in the area SOUR CREAM TOPPING INGREDIENTS towards the says 2 cups sour cream, 5 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon sugar. In the directions to mix it together you mention vanilla what I am wondering is how much vanilla to put in??? Is it one teaspoon or five tablespoons? Thank you.

      • profile image

        erica 8 years ago

        what depth is the cheesecake pan? is it 3 inches high or 2 3/4 inches high?

      • profile image

        angie 8 years ago

        thankyou so much for this recipe!! i have now made it twice, and my family loves it! thanks again!!

      • profile image

        Don Barnes 8 years ago

        This is the recipe that I have been looking for, shared this cake at Thanksgiving and they asked where I got it. The best. Its so good that I din't need any topping. Many Thanks..

      • profile image

        amal 8 years ago

        # 5 Tablespoons sugar

        # 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

        I think its clear...

      • profile image

        natasha 8 years ago

        i have a question about the sour cream toppping.

        Is that originally in all cheesecake or can that be left out?

        & in the ingredients for the sour cream topping you listed sugar twice i know this must be a mistake but which one is vanilla extract?

      • akirchner profile image

        Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

        Oh that looks sooooo good! I absolutely love cheesecake and have been trying forever to perfect little mini-cheesecake as I seem to be the only one who wants to have one sometimes and a huge one would be WAY too tempting! Great recipe/hub!

      • profile image

        Phil 9 years ago

        Best I ever made thanks

      • bgpappa profile image

        bgpappa 9 years ago from Sacramento, California

        Great Hub.

      • profile image

        Dionne Larson 9 years ago

        I am so pleased with this recipe. My mother used to make a memorable cherry cheesecake, when I was a young girl, that was really good, but I never was able to duplicate the recipe. But now I have been able to redeem myself with this delicious recipe. I have made it a half a dozen times and have added and subtracted items, and it still comes out great every time. Never lasts long. The hubby asks, "When are you making that chessescake again?" My 11 yr old daughter loves to bake with me, too, which is making for some fond memories. Thanks Alexis.

      • profile image

        Dennis 9 years ago

        I made this for Thanksgiving and it came out delicious!!!!!! It was easy to follow and fun to do. Great recipe! Thanks!

      • profile image

        sandy 9 years ago

        I have spent a lot of time making different cheesecake recipes and this one, with the sour cream topping is the best by far. So moist and delicious you don't even need berries with it. Thanks! I'm adding this recipe to my collection!!

      • Karen N profile image

        Karen N 9 years ago from United States

        Looks delicious!

      • Blogger Mom profile image

        Blogger Mom 10 years ago from Northeast, US

        Yum!!!!!!!!!!!! I love love love cheesecake, but have never tried making one of my own. I think I'll give it a try! Thanks. =)

      • Alexis Froehlich profile image

        Alexis Froehlich 10 years ago


        I'm sad to hear about Bubbies! maybe this recipe will satisfy your Bubbies cheesecake cravings? :)

        Thank you for stopping by!

      • Alexis Froehlich profile image

        Alexis Froehlich 10 years ago

        Connie mmm

        I'm thrilled you liked it! Thank you!

        Does a chocolate cheesecake sound good? I'll put that up soon :)

      • profile image

        gredmondson 10 years ago

        I used to go to a restaurant in Pismo Beach, California, called Bubbies that made the best cheese cake I've ever tasted. I frequently asked for the recipe, but the owner always declined. Then, sadly, they closed. They should have shared that recipe! I'm hoping that yours is as good!

      • profile image

        Connie mmm 10 years ago

        Alexis-I made your "Best Classic Cheesecake" and it was fabulous!! It was also easier to make than I thought it would be.

        Do you have any cheescake recipes that I might try for Valentine's Day? Thank you!

      • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

        Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

        I will have to make my own I guess. I think this weekend will be a learning experience.

        regards Zsuzsy

      • profile image

        Nick 10 years ago

        Do you have any more delicious cheescake recipes?

      • Alexis Froehlich profile image

        Alexis Froehlich 10 years ago

        hahaha definitely not when a cheesecake is involved. I up the workout instead :)

      • Mark Knowles profile image

        Mark Knowles 10 years ago

        Awesome ! No low fat recipes here.