New York–Style Cheesecake

New York-Style Cheesecake Recipe

Made popular in the Big Apple in the 1920s by Jewish delicatessens, this New York-style cheesecake recipe identified by its graham cracker crust and smooth cream cheese filling. Baking the cake in a water bath allows the rich filling to cook at an even, steady heat, giving the cheesecake its signature creamy quality. For a slightly fluffier and drier version (which may crack as it cools), bake the cake directly on the oven rack at 300°F (149°C) until the center is softly set, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.–Barbara Fairchild

LC Oh My God, This is the Best Cheesecake Ever! Note

Remember that episode of “Friends” in which Chandler and Rachel steal their neighbor’s mail-order cheesecake–twice? It was that good. Just how good? “It has a buttery, crumbly graham cracker crust with a very light yet rich cream cheese filling…” moans Rachel before being silenced by a need to reflect for a moment before diving in for more cheesecake. That’s precisely the way we feel about this cheesecake, which makes us want to stop everything, help ourselves to another generously portioned slice, and just moan in bliss. Suffice it to say, our search for the perfect cheesecake recipe ends here.

Special Equipment: 9-inch springform pan

New York-Style Cheesecake Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 2 H
  • Serves 12

Ingredients

  • For the crust
  • 9 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces
  • 5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • For the New York-style cheesecake filling
  • Five 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

Directions

  • Make the crust
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C).
  • 2. Grind the graham crackers to coarse crumbs in a food processor or with a rolling pin and a resealable plastic bag. Add the butter and sugar and process or stir until the crumb mixture is well blended and begins to stick together.
  • 3. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom (but not the sides) of a 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Bake the crust until golden and firm to touch, about 25 minutes. Cool the crust in the pan on the rack. Wrap the outside of the pan with 3 layers of heavy-duty foil. Keep the oven at 325°F (163°C).
  • Make the New York-style cheesecake filling
  • 4. While the crust bakes, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until blended.
  • 5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing just until just blended after each addition. Then add the egg yolk, scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in the lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Sift the flour over the filling and beat on low speed just until blended. Scrape the filling over the cooled crumb crust.
  • 6. Place the foil-wrapped cake pan in a large roasting pan. Place the roasting pan on the oven rack, pulling the rack out slightly. Carefully add enough hot water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake the cheesecake in the water bath, rotating the pan once halfway through, until the center is softly set, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the roasting pan from the oven.
  • 7. Let the cake pan stand in the water bath for 5 minutes. Remove the cake pan from the water bath and transfer it to a wire rack. Using a sharp, slender knife, work around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Cool completely at room temperature. Cover and—here’s the hard part—refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days prior to slicing.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Eydie Desser

Mar 31, 2011

This New York-style cheesecake is sooooo good. Usually when I make a cheesecake with a springform pan, my cheesecake cracks and the crust gets mushy. Not this time. This recipe is foolproof. TIPS: Make sure to rotate your pan 180 degrees in the oven, so that the cheesecake bakes evenly. I didn’t do this, and one side of mine was golden, the other not—but both were still divine! The white sugar, cold cubed butter, and graham crackers resulted in a tender and utterly delicious crust. I’d like to have a thicker crust next time, as it was so caramel-y delicious as a foundation for the cheesecake.

Testers Choice
Melinda Hamby

Mar 31, 2011

Oh. My. Goodness. This is the best cheesecake I’ve ever made (and I’ve made quiet a few). My husband actually said this cheesecake tops even those at The Cheesecake Factory. I used cinnamon graham crackers for the crust, and the result was taste-bud bliss. The inside housed some of the creamiest cheesecake I’ve ever eaten. The top cracked only the slightest bit, but I think that was because I didn’t have enough water in the skillet holding the cake pan—the water level is very important! Overall, I recommend that everyone make this at least once.

Testers Choice
Steve Taylor

Mar 31, 2011

For many years, I’ve been thinking about making a cheesecake, but somehow it never happened until now. I bought my first springform pan on the way to the supermarket to get cream cheese and graham crackers. The results were delicious. I was so happy with how the cheesecake looked, and how evenly it settled in while cooling, that I was quite confident when I cracked open the pan at a potluck dinner this evening. Everyone jumped for seconds, devouring the luscious, creamy filling and the crisp graham cracker crust. I tend to think of cream cheese and graham crackers as I do of peanut butter: they aren’t things that I much enjoy on their own or would tend to keep around my house. But with a recipe like this, when you mix them with some sugar, a little heat, and a few other ingredients, you end up with a simple, classic, memorable dessert. I will come back to this recipe soon.

Testers Choice
Holly Z.

Mar 31, 2011

This is a cheesecake lover’s ultimate dream come true. The crust is just right—not too thick, but not too thin, either. The filling is rich, plush and creamy, tempting and commanding you to take bite after bite. My cheesecake baked in the exact time specified, coming out of the oven with a golden brown top, and a perfect center. There was not a crack to be found in the cheesecake, even after it fully cooled. I used a 12-inch cake pan to set my cheesecake into, filling it half full of water as directed. The cheesecake lovers voted this the best they had ever had. I wouldn’t change a thing in this recipe. It’s quick and easy to put together and it’s delicious just as written! TIPS: Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature, and that you have enough water in the roasting pan so it doesn’t run dry while in the oven.

Testers Choice
Susan Bingaman

Mar 31, 2011

Well, this is the kind of cheesecake I like. It’s simple and classic, and isn’t bogged down with fussiness. It’s super-rich, dense, and not at all fluffy. It also has the right amount of crust, providing a good base but not competing with the main event. This cheesecake is very easy to make, and I’d call it quick if it didn’t bake for over an hour, require cooling to room temperature and refrigerating! There was one teensy hiccup, however. I don’t know what “softly set” means, and I think another visual reference would be helpful. My finished cheesecake was a bit undercooked—or maybe that’s softly set?—in the center. That may make people nervous, but I’m the type of person who eats raw cookie dough, so it didn’t really bother me.

Comments
Comments
  1. Susan says:

    I just love cheesecake. I wish that cream cheese wasn’t so expensive in Canada. Now an 8 oz. package is around $2.49. This recipe takes 5 packages (sigh). Now I am craving cheesecake.

  2. I made this last week for my birthday party (I always make pizza and cheesecake). This is hands down the best cheesecake I’ve ever had, let alone made! My springform pan is 8.5″, and I didn’t change the recipe or baking time at all. When it came out of the oven, after I loosened the springform ring, it started the tiniest crack. So I reclamped the springform and it stopped without developing any further cracks. SO fantastic!

  3. kelley towle says:

    My son made this for me for mothers day and it is hands down the best cheesecake I have ever eaten! And it is not all that hard to make. My son is only 16 yrs old. He made some mashed strawberries cooked with a little sugar till it glazed to pour over the top. It was spectacular!

    • David Leite says:

      Kelley, someone’s a mighty lucky mother. On Mother’s Day, my mother insisted on cooking for me. (Who was I to resist?) 

  4. Kimberley W says:

    I decided to be brave and give this a try – my very first cheesecake, EVER! I’ve never even made one from a mix! Although I’m relatively good at baking, I was scared away from cheesecakes many years ago by a coworker who regaled me with the frightening tale of her first attempt at cheesecake. However, my dear foodie friend who’s guiding me along in my ongoing culinary education also defines himself as a “cheesecake purist,” and he recently had a run-in with some flavored cheesecakes that he pretty much loathed. So, I jumped in with both feet, er, hands to see if I could come up with a decent “plain” cheesecake he might enjoy. WINNER!!! The man knows his cheesecake, and he absolutely loved this one! And now that I know I can, in fact, make a decent cheesecake, it will be making regular appearances in my household! (Oh, and just so you know, when you’re taking the finished, chilled product out of the fridge, lift with your knees – the darn thing is heavy!!) :)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Terrific beyond words, Kimberley W! Love when a cooking experience empowers someone rather than the contrary. So tell us, what will you be making next?!

  5. Audrey Hindes DiPalma says:

    I made this last year for my birthday and am about to make it again for my party this weekend. This is the only cheesecake for me!!! This year I have a friend with Celiac’s coming and I want to make this gluten-free. I got some gluten-free gingersnaps for the crust. Does anyone have a weight that I should go by for measuring the “9 whole graham crackers”? Suggestions for the tablespoon of flour in the filling? Thanks!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      We have a query out to our resident gluten-free recipe tester who’ll be back with you shortly, Audrey. I could make a few guesses, but would rather wait for her to weigh in…

      • Audrey Hindes DiPalma says:

        I just put it in the oven, swapping half the amount of flour for corn starch. I also read elsewhere that nine whole graham crackers = 1 1/4 c crushed graham crackers, so that’s how I measured the GF gingersnaps. At this moment it is snuggled in its bain marie, gently baking away…and I am crossing my fingers!

        • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

          Our fingers are crossed, too, Audrey. Your swaps sound quite reasonable…we’ll be waiting to hear how it goes!

          • Audrey Hindes DiPalma says:

            Success! 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch subbed in for the 1 tablespoon flour in the filling, and the GF gingersnaps were delicious (though I might increase the volume to 1 1/2 cups of crushed gingersnaps rather than just 1 1/4 cups). And the texture was spot on–no cracks!

            • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

              Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!

            • Brenda Carleton says:

              Somehow I missed this message until now but am so glad you made this so wonderfully and successfully! It is also so very kind of you to think so much of your friend. I have celiac disease and know I would really appreciate the gesture. It sounds like it was beautiful and delicious. Any leftovers? :-)

  6. E says:

    This was excellent. It tasted so, so good, one of the better cheesecakes I’ve had. I made the mistake of using a smaller (8-inch) springform pan, that made for an especially tall cake that ended up slightly undercooked. I halved this recipe and made it again, this time using mini-muffin pans to make bite-sized cheesecakes. As a shortcut, I blitzed chocolate Teddy Graham’s and butter in the processor for the crust. A bit labor-intensive but the end result was well worth the effort. Using the mini-muffin pans simplified the baking (no water bath) and reduced post-oven wait time before the indulging could begin.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      As E’s significant other, I can vouch for just how ridiculously good this cheesecake tasted—and just how quickly it disappeared. E first made it with our 11-year-old nephew, who grumbled when he was asked to help but not three weeks later was begging us to make it with him again. There were definitely moans all around the table as we tucked into it.

  7. M says:

    Is this supposed to get browned on top? Softly set is kinda vague for someone not used to make cheesecakes…

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi M, the cheesecake may be lightly golden on top and will jiggle ever so slightly. I would go by the timing in the recipe and make sure that your oven is at the correct temperature.

  8. Sandy says:

    I LOVE this cheesecake. It is a family favorite now. Any suggestions for making it into cupcake serving size? I have the foil cups that stand alone so I can put the water in the jelly roll pan, but how should I adjust my time?

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Sandy, I think this recipe would work as cupcakes but we didn’t run it through the testing process so I can’t guarantee it. You will definitely need to adjust your cooking time since the pan size is so much smaller, and I don’t think a water bath is necessary. I would use the visual clues given in the recipe and start checking the crust after 5-10 minutes, and the filled cupcake after 15-20 minutes. Hope this helps.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

*

Daily Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of our updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the first on your block to be in the know.

Preview daily e-mail

Weekly Subscription

Hate tons of emails? Do you prefer info delivered in a neat, easy-to-digest (pun intended) form? Then enter your email address for our weekly newsletter.

Preview weekly e-mail