New York–Style Cheesecake

This New York-style cheesecake is a classic: a graham cracker crust and a filling made from cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and lemon. Dense and rich.

A New York–style cheesecake in a springform pan on a wire rack with a dirty bowl, spoon, spatula, and paddle attachment lying beside it.

New York-style cheesecake was made popular in the 1920s in Jewish delis around Manhattan. But honestly, what we think of when we taste it is that episode of “Friends” in which Chandler and Rachel steal their neighbor’s mail-order cheesecake twice. Remember that? And how the cheesecake fell on the floor in the hallway of their apartment building and they grabbed forks and fell to their knees and started scooping it up while moaning. Suffice it to say, their search for the perfect New York-style cheesecake recipe ended. Just as ours does with this recipe. It’s that good.–Renee Schettler

New York-Style Cheesecake

  • Quick Glance
  • (14)
  • 20 M
  • 2 H
  • Serves 12
4.9/5 - 14 reviews
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Special Equipment: 9-inch springform pan

Ingredients

  • For the graham cracker crust
  • For the New York-style cheesecake filling

Directions

Make the graham cracker crust

Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C).

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.

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

While the crust bakes, in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until blended.

Beat in the eggs, 1 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. 

Spread the filling over the cooled crumb crust.

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. 

Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven. 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. Originally published March 31, 2011.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Oh. My. Goodness. This is the best cheesecake I’ve ever made—and I’ve made quite 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 tastebud 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! I recommend that everyone make this at least once.

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!

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.

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Comments

  1. My family thinks that’s the best! I made it with different crusts, but the filling is the best! Really, my son really can eat it “from the floor”!

    1. Laughs. That’s quite the compliment, Anastasia! We’re so pleased that your family loves it so much.

  2. Best cheesecake recipe I’ve ever used! It’s absolutely awesome and I refuse to use any other recipe!

  3. Nice flavorful recipe and cheesecake but not a true NY cheesecake to not mislead those who do not know NY cheesecake. The crust on any real NY cheesecake is not crumbled crackers but the sweet dough crust.

    1. Glad you liked it, Edward. The original crust is up for grabs, in a way. Junior’s used a spond crust, others something similar to a pâte sucrée, and others crushed crackers. Do you happen to have a verifiable source? That would be amazing!

  4. Well, I somehow ended up with a delicious NY-style cheesecake. As before the filling was a no-brainer and delicious. I had to change the baking method due to lack of a roaster and having difficulty with temps for high altitude. Also, I substituted in another one of your recipes – VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE, AND PALEO PIE CRUST, which was basically a no-bake nut and date crust – totally delicious and easy, Then checking alternate baking ideas on the Internet, I ended up using one that stared baking on very high temps, for me it was 480 degrees for up to 10 minutes until browning with dark spots, then letting it cool on top of the stove for 1/2 an hour, then baking at 330 degrees until the edges were set and the center a little wobbly. Because I was watching so closely, I don’t know the amount of time it took but somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes in a convection oven. I will be making it again! Also, I used an 8-cup round glass dish and a 4-cup one. It would have been better to use just the 8 cup and a 2 cup. One of my taste-tester friends lived in the East coast and knew all about NY style cheesecakes and that my latest effort was the best she’d had in all those years. Thank you for the wonderful recipes – filling and crust!

    1. Congratulations, Zoe! You have definitely perfected this cheesecake recipe with numerous variables. We love that you mixed and matched our recipes to get to the final product that passed all your taste testers.

  5. Thank you, Beth! Your suggestion for the parchment paper was a success – thank you! However, I tried to change too many things. The batter was absolutely delicious but I live at about 7500 ft which requires different baking temps and times plus I used glass baking dishes of different sizes. There was more air incorporated in the filling than I expected, must have beaten the filling too much, so I needed more baking dishes. Also I didn’t have a roasting pan but used my largest pot for the water bath with one of my dishes – that one didn’t crack but I didn’t cook it at a high enough temp – it didn’t crack as the others did and was solid on top but undercooked in the center. I will try again. When I used to make NY cheesecake decades ago I lived in Seattle (sea level) and wasn’t gluten-free or adverse to using aluminum pans. Sigh, baking was so much easier then and I was considered a really good baker! If I do succeed with this cheesecake I’ll let you know! If I were only in Seattle! 🙂

    1. You are dealing with a lot of different factors, Zoe, which always makes the precision of baking a true challenge. I love your attitude, though. You will get this figured out and when you do, please let us know. We always love to be able to offer tested high altitude advice. As well as advice on GF and different pan substitutions.

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