Cheesecake, like risotto, is a dish that gets a bad rap for being hard to make and easy to mess up. Tips and tricks abound for making it “right” — avoiding cracks, a crumbly crust, or any number of other non-perfect things that can happen to cheesecake.
This particular version is almost foolproof and VERY delicious, with one rule: take your time, and let this process happen over two days. Properly cooling and chilling a cheesecake is one of the most important steps to ensure that it sets properly and slices cleanly.
Two more tips: Let the cream cheese get SUPER soft before starting this recipe, and wipe your knife between slices for tidy, unnecessarily Instagrammable slices. Enjoy!
Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping
Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 75 minutes
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 8oz. packages cream cheese, full fat, very soft
- 5 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cupsugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups sour cream, full fat
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare a springform pan with cooking spray and/or parchment, see notes below.
In a small bowl, combine the crust ingredients: melted butter, sugar, and graham crackers crumbs. Press the crust mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan, pushing a little bit of the crust up the sides if you’d like (this is a personal aesthetic choice, go where the spirit leads you).
Separately, mix the filling ingredients (cream cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt) with a mixer on medium speed until combined and very smooth. For the cream cheese mixture over the crust.
Bake the cheesecake for 55-70 minutes (see note on timing) until just barely jiggly in the center. While the cheesecake bakes, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla for the topping.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes (leave the oven on). This is an important step to let the cheesecake naturally deflate.
After 10 minutes, spread the sour cream topping evenly on the cheesecake. Return to the oven and bake the cheesecake for 10 minutes more, then carefully remove from the oven.
Let the cheesecake cool on the counter in the pan (do not unclip or remove the pan’s top section until ready to serve, to allow the cheesecake to set properly) for at least 2 hours, and then move to the fridge for at least 4. Anyway, let it cool on the counter for several hours and then put in the fridge overnight.
Slice, serve, devour. You did it!
dessert recipes:Cinnamon Pastry Bites: Barely baking, but it still counts.
Recipe Notes + Tips and Tricks:
How To Tell When Cheesecake is Done: Depending on the diameter of your springform pan, your cheesecake may need more or less time to cook. The cheesecake will be done when it is slightly jiggly in the center, but not rippling or very liquid-appearing. For 9-inch springform pans, the initial bake time will be 60-70 minutes. For wider pans (which make a cheesecake that isn’t as thick) check the cheesecake beginning at the 50-minute mark. (I have had someone ask me before how to know how large your personal springform pan is and, I, um, well, measure it.)
TALK Greenville: One pan, full meal and endless variations with this sheet pan recipe
Springform Pan Size: I love a tall cheesecake, and usually make this recipe in a 9-inch pan. However, the 10-inch size can be a bit more manageable, and the cheesecake will cook a bit faster, but still, take your time in the cooling and refrigerating.
Parchment Paper: I place a piece of parchment paper over the disc (bottom) of the springform pan, then clip the top (collar) section over the disc AND the parchment. This allows for easier removal of the collar, and the cheesecake can slide (with the parchment paper) onto any platter you like for easy serving.
Room Temperature Ingredients: Having the eggs and cream cheese at room temperature will ensure a very smooth, creamy filling. I get them out first thing in the morning if I know I’m going to make this cheesecake, then let them sit out for at least 3 hours to warm up and soften.