This Classic Cheesecake is sheer perfection – it’s light and creamy, with a crisp crust, and luscious strawberry sauce on top. Cheesecakes really are easy to make at home, and I’ll walk you through the entire process to ensure success each time you bake this!
Quick disclaimer about this cheesecake recipe – it does require a water bath, BUT there’s no need to be intimidated by that! I used to be by this method of baking cheesecake, but it really is NOT hard at all! I’ll walk you through the whole thing. And, you’ll be staring face-to-face with this Queen of the Dessert world soon enough!
What ingredients are in Homemade Cheesecake?
You’ll need just a few simple ingredients to make this Classic Cheesecake!
For the Crust, you’ll need:
- Granulated Sugar
- Graham Cracker Crumbs
For the Cheesecake Filling, you’ll need:
- Cream cheese
- Granulated Sugar
- Sour Cream
- Vanilla Extract
Super simple ingredients, and a short ingredient list make this recipe a huge win!
Just look at that creamy texture! Let’s get started!
How to Make the Perfect Classic Cheesecake:
First, stir together graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar for your crust. Press that into a greased springform pan. Bake this for 8 minutes to help set it up so that it can hold all the batter once you pour that in later.
Once it’s cooled enough to touch, wrap the bottom of the pan in foil. A springform pan should prevent any leaks but the foil is solid added insurance against that.
How to make perfectly creamy Cheesecake Filling:
The filling might be the place where people have the most issues. There are two things you need to know to achieve perfect cheesecake.
1) Your cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs must to be at room temperature or your batter will be lumpy! Leave these things out for about 15-30 minutes before starting, depending on how warm it is in your home.
2) Do not over mix your batter! This will cause your cheesecake to deflate as it cools, resulting in that puckering effect on the sides. However, it will still taste good if this happens (trust me, I made that mistake at Thanksgiving, of all times, and everyone still loved the cheesecake).
The taste shouldn’t be affected if you make either of these mistakes, so don’t panic too much if it does happen on your first attempt.
The photo below shows what the cream cheese will look like once you’ve creamed it.
And, here’s what it looks like once you’ve creamed in the sugar.
Finally, here’s what the finished batter will look like once the vanilla, sour cream, and eggs have been added. You may notice that there are a few tiny lumps in the batter – that’s perfectly fine! That’s normal and will not affect the finished cheesecake. If your cold ingredients weren’t brought to room temp first, you’d have a batter that would look much more lumpy and sort of curdled.
Pour this batter into your pan with the pre-baked crust and then smooth it out gently.
Now, you’re ready to bake the cheesecake in a water bath!
How to Make a Cheesecake in a Water Bath:
A water bath is so simple! All you need to do is boil a pot of water. Position the cheesecake on a rack in the middle of your oven. Pour boiling water into a roasting pan and place that on the rack below your cheesecake. This method is foolproof because there’s no possibility of water leaking into your cheesecake this way! I have had water leak into my cheesecake before, which is why I now love this method.
How to Bake a Classic Cheesecake:
Bake your cheesecake for 88-91 minutes as directed in the recipe. This may seem like a long bake time but it’s very normal for cheesecakes. Once the cheesecake is done, turn the oven off, crack the door open, and let it cool in the oven for 1 hour. Then, take it out of the oven and out of the roasting pan. Remove the foil carefully and let the cheesecake cool to room temperature. Cover it, and chill in the fridge at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.
Voila! A perfectly creamy cheesecake – guaranteed.
How to make the Strawberry Topping:
Now for the fun part! You can top this cheesecake however you like. Strawberry sauce is super classic topping – and it takes about 5 minutes to make. Just slice some strawberries and heat them in a pot on the stove with sugar, a little lemon juice, corn starch, and a little vanilla.
After a few minutes, you’ll have this sweet, dreamy sauce! Let it cool at room temp or quickly cool it in the fridge until it’s thick enough and cool enough to pour onto your cheesecake.
Alternate Cheesecake Toppings:
Cheesecake is a light, yet fairly rich dessert, so you can stretch this recipe to yield about 16 slices! It’s perfect for a party or family gathering. Or honestly, just plain eating with you and whoever you live with because what’s a dessert serving size??
Mother’s Day is coming up, too, and I bet your mom would love this decadent dessert!
Happy Baking and Happy Mother’s Day, whatever that may look like for you! ❤️ I hope you’re able to connect with an important woman in your life, whatever that looks like.
More Cheesecake Recipes to love:
Cheesecake Bars with Blueberry Topping – Creamy cheesecake bars are topped with a sweet blueberry sauce.
Pecan Pie Cheesecake – This cheesecake has a crisp graham cracker crust, a perfect layer of creamy cheesecake, and a buttery, caramely, pecan topping!
Mini No-Bake Apple Pie Cheesecakes – The crust and filling are no-bake, and these mini treats are topped with apple pie filling and salted caramel sauce.
Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and leave a comment!
Classic Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce
For the Crust
- 1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 5 TBSP salted butter, melted
- 2 TBSP granulated or cane sugar
For the Cheesecake Filling
- 32 ounces cream cheese, at room temp For best results, don't use the tub kind or fat free
- 1 and 1/2 cups granulated or cane sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temp
- 1 cup sour cream, at room temp For best results, don't use low fat or fat free
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Strawberry Sauce/Topping
- 1 lb strawberries, quartered Can use fresh or frozen - no need to thaw if using frozen
- 1/3 cup granulated or cane sugar
- 3 TBSP water
- 1 TBSP corn starch
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of lemon zest optional, but good
- splash of lemon juice optional, but good
- Make the Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 inch springform pan with nonstick spray and make sure the bottom is securely fastened. Stir together crust ingredients and press into prepared pan and up the sides a bit (see photos above). Bake this for 8 minutes. Set aside. Keep the oven on at 350.
- Make the Cheesecake Filling: Remember that your cold ingredients need to come to room temp before you start or the filling won't turn out. In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened cream cheese until nice and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar and mix until just incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each until just incorporated. Add the vanilla and sour cream, and mix until just incorporated. (See photos above for what the batter will look like). Pour the batter over the baked and cooled crust, and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Prepare the Water Bath + Bake: Get out a roasting pan and set the rack aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Set the springform pan with the cheesecake on a rack positioned in the center of the oven, and place the roasting pan on the rack below. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan. This is the best way to do a water bath - no possibility of leakage into your cheesecake!Bake for 88-91 minutes. When done, the cheesecake will have only a slight wobble in the center, and a toothpick inserted into the edge will come out clean, and will have a bit of thick batter when inserted into the center. Turn off the oven and crack the door open. Let the cheesecake cool in the oven for 1 hour before removing it.
- Cheesecake Cooling: Once the hour is up, remove the pan from the oven. It should be cool enough to handle. Remove the foil and set the springform pan on a cooling rack to continue cooling. Let cool completely at room temp, then cover well with foil and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 2 days before removing from the pan and serving.
- Make the Strawberry Sauce: Stir together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl, making sure the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Add this and remaining sauce ingredients to a pot on the stove over medium heat. Stir, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Once simmering, cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. It will thicken more and more the longer you let it cool. Store in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to use.
- Serve + Store: Once cheesecake has chilled, remove it from the springform pan and serve with the strawberry sauce! Keep leftovers, well covered, in the fridge for up to a week.
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