How to Make a Perfect Cheesecake

Learn 10 secrets to achieving a perfect cheesecake every time!

how to make a perfect cheesecake 1 680x1024 How to Make a Perfect Cheesecake

The perfect cheesecake should be:

- smooth

- creamy

- melt in your mouth with every bite

- with no crack

- with no crumbling crust.

It has to look fabulous and taste absolutely amazing.

It took me few years and many, many cheesecakes to finally learn all the secrets to creating the perfect one each and every time. Mind you, even if there is a crack or crumbling crust – your cheesecake will still be delicious. But if you are committing your time and money to such a time consuming and decadent dessert – might as well make it perfect.

Have you ever had a pleasure of baking a cheesecake and pulling out a no-crack-top beauty out of the oven? It’s like angels sing and confetti is flying around you! Definitely a baking success worth bragging about and showing off!!

Because cheesecake is made for a show. You can hear the flutter of hearts, the oooh’s and ahhh’s when presenting a perfectly baked cheesecake. And what happens after a first bite is a pure bliss! It should make you weak in your knees! It should be smooth and creamy and literally melt on your tongue.

~~~~

NOTE: I am using photos of my chocolate cheesecake as an example. You can make a vanilla cheesecake by simply skipping the chocolate in the recipe on the bottom of the post.

~~~~

So what are the secrets to a perfect cheesecake? Well, let’s go through all 10 of them. I promise, it’s easier than you may think!

1. Baking the cheesecake in a water bath. This is the secret to a no-crack top! It will require you to add about 5 minutes to a preparation time but it is so so worth it. Line the springform pan with two sheets of aluminum foil and place the pan in a roasting pan. Boil 2 cups of water and when the cheesecake is ready for baking, pour enough water into the roasting pan to come up at least an inch up the sides but not too high so it won’t go over the foil and flood your cheesecake. You can refill the water after first 40 minutes of baking.

how to make a perfect cheesecake 3a How to Make a Perfect Cheesecake

2. Always use a springform pan. I can’t imagine trying to get the cheesecake out from a regular cake pan or a pie pan. It would be a mess! A springform sides help you release the cake from the pan so you can show off the cake and also perfectly slice it. I like to bake cheesecakes in my 9″ pan. In my opinion, the 8″ pan is great for no-bake cheesecakes and desserts (like this Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake) when you want a tall showstopper. The 9″ pan decreases the chances for under-baked cheesecake and cracked top.

springform pans How to Make a Perfect Cheesecake

3. Preparing the crust and cream cheese filling in the food processor. This is your secret for a perfect flat crust and smooth filling. Preparing the cookie crust in a food processor prevents from big chunks of cookie in it. It will make it harder to make a uniform and flat crust that comes of easily of the pan with a slice and not brake.

crust How to Make a Perfect Cheesecake

The food processor is absolutely crucial in making the creamy and smooth filling for the cheesecake. It will mix all the ingredients perfectly without any chunks of cheese or unmixed eggs. If you are making a chocolate cheesecake, it will help you to mix in the chocolate evenly so there are no streaks in the batter.

filling How to Make a Perfect Cheesecake

I used my new KitchenAid 13-cup Food Processor in making the crust and filling shown above. You can check out my post and the review of the machine, here.

4. Cream cheese to eggs ratio. If you look at all the great cheesecake recipes, you will notice that the cream cheese to eggs ratio is 1:1. Which means that if you are using 3 8oz. packages of cream cheese – you should use 3 eggs. This is your secret to a perfectly rich, dense and creamy cheesecake!

5. Perfect cookie crumbs to melted butter ratio and pre-baking the crust. This is your secret to a perfect flat crust that will come of in one piece when slicing the cheesecake. You do not want half the crust from your piece to be stuck to the pan. You want the crust to be perfectly flat (no hills) to make an ideal base for the filling. For every 1 and 1/2 cups of cookie crumbs (traditionally graham cracker crumbs, but also gingersnaps, Oreo’s, even Ritz crackers!), you should use 1/2 cup of butter, melted. I highly recommend this ratio for 9″ cheesecakes. In years of experimenting, I find it to be perfect. It’s not too much to be stuck in the corners and enough to make a sturdy base for your filling. Pre-baking the crust for 7 to 8 minutes, will harden it enough which prevents it from crumbling while slicing the cake.

6. The addition of flour and Greek yogurt. It may sound strange, but you do want to add a little bit of flour and some Greek yogurt (or sour cream) to your batter. It will help with the smooth texture and perfectly creamy end result. I usually use only 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour in my cheesecakes. When it comes to Greek yogurt, I love baking with and always choose Chobani. I use 2% plain for my cheesecake.

chobani and flour How to Make a Perfect Cheesecake

7. The oven temperature. Go low and slow. The cheesecake needs time to bake. Do not hurry it! It’s not cookies. Bake your cheesecake in 325 degrees instead of 350 degrees or 375 degrees. It will prevent it from over-baking and burning the top. You need to adjust time to the size of your pan. I usually bake my cheesecakes in 9″ springform pan for 1 hour and 20 minutes in 325 degrees. In my opinion the 8″ springform pan is better for no-bake cheesecakes. Otherwise, bake the cheesecake until no longer wiggly in the center.

8. Cooling the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour after baking with door slightly open. After the timer beeped on your stove to inform you that the baking time has ended, turn the oven off, open the door and stick a wooden spoon in it to leave it slightly open. Leave the cheesecake in the oven in this conditions for 1 hour. This is another secret to a no-crack top!

9. Loosening the sides with a knife, yet not taking the ring off. After the cheesecake has cooled in the oven for 1 hour, slide a knife around the sides to loosen them up. Do not take the springform pan ring off. Chill the cake in the pan. This is your secret to no-crack top and sides!

10. Chilling, chilling, chilling! 6 hours to overnight. Chilling the cheesecake is absolutely crucial. This is your secret to a perfectly smooth, dense and creamy texture! I always try to plan ahead while making a cheesecake for any occasion so I can chill it overnight. It makes a huge difference!

Phew! We covered them all. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section. I know many of us bakers have our favorite ways to bake but these are mine. I am not saying that other recipes are wrong, I am just sharing my tips for creating what is a perfect cheesecake in my opinion. I hope my list of secrets will be at least a guide. Hopefully my photos show the perfection of my cheesecake. icon smile How to Make a Perfect Cheesecake

cheesecake slice 2 How to Make a Perfect Cheesecake

The recipe below is for a chocolate cheesecake, also featured topped with raspberry sauce, here. You can easily skip the chocolate to make a vanilla cheesecake. Use other cookies for the crust. Add whatever toppings your heart desires. Have fun!

How to Make a Perfect Cheesecake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: 1 9" pan

how to make a perfect cheesecake 1 680x1024 How to Make a Perfect Cheesecake

I am giving away my secrets to creating a perfect cheesecake: rich, smooth, creamy and melt-in-your-mouth cheesecake. Recipe: CrunchyCreamySweet.com original.

Ingredients

    for the crust:
  1. 1 1/2 c finely crushed chocolate graham crackers
  2. 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  3. 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
  4. for the filling:
  5. 3 8oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
  6. 1 c granulated sugar
  7. 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  8. 1/2 c Greek yogurt (I used 2% Plain Chobani) or sour cream
  9. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  10. 1 Tbsp milk
  11. 3 well-beaten eggs
  12. 2 4.25oz. dark or semi-sweet chocolate bars, chopped, melted, cooled to room temperature (I used Hershey's Special Dark) (optional)

Instructions

    prepare the water bath:
  1. Wrap a 9" springform pan in aluminum foil and set in a roasting pan.
  2. Boil 2 cups of water. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  4. to make the crust:
  5. Place graham crackers in food processor and process until finely crushed.
  6. Add sugar and melted butter and process on low until all comes together.
  7. Press the crust into a 9" springform pan.
  8. Bake for 7 minutes in preheated oven.
  9. Set aside.
  10. to make the filling:
  11. Place cream cheese in food processor and process on low. Process for 15 seconds. Increase the speed to high and process for 5 seconds until smooth.
  12. Add sugar and process on low until combined.
  13. Add flour, yogurt, vanilla and milk and process on low until smooth.
  14. Add eggs and process on low until completely incorporated.
  15. If making a chocolate version: Add cooled, melted chocolate and process on low just until combined and the filling is uniform color. No white streaks should remain.
  16. Pour the batter over baked crust. Tap the roasting pan on the counter few times (gently) to release any air bubbles from the batter.
  17. Place the pan with the springform pan in the oven. Pour enough water into the roasting pan to come at least 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan but not over the foil.
  18. Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes. Replace water after first 50 minutes of baking.
  19. When the times is up, turn of the oven leaving the cheesecake inside for one hour. Leave the oven door slightly ajar.
  20. Cool the cheesecake completely on the counter.
  21. Refrigerate overnight.
  22. Top with desired toppings (fresh fruit, sauce, ganache, glaze, frosting, chopped candy, etc.)
  23. Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 5 days in closed container.

Notes

The total time does not include the cooling time. You need to let the cheesecake cool completely and then refrigerate it (preferably overnight) for the best results.

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://www.crunchycreamysweet.com/2013/09/03/how-to-make-a-perfect-cheesecake/
 How to Make a Perfect Cheesecake

pixel How to Make a Perfect Cheesecake

  • The Joy of Caking

    Looks perfect to me Anna! I am embarassed to admit I have never made a cheesecake because most recipes make such huge cakes. And I hate to experiment with a new dessert when I’m expecting a crowd because it would be my luck it would be a flop – lol…

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      I know what you mean. Cheesecake happens to be our very favorite dessert so experimenting was fun :)

  • http://www.averiecooks.com/ Averie Cooks

    WOW this is so helpful! Pinning! I dont make enough cheesecakes for basically all the reasons (problems) you laid out!

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      Oh yay!!! Thanks so much, Averie! And thank you for pinning!

  • http://www.wearenotmartha.com wearenotmartha

    The only thing more perfect than a cheesecake is a chocolate cheesecake! This looks seriously amazing. Thanks for the tips :)

    Sues

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      Agreed! Thanks, Sues! :)

  • Tutti Dolci

    Great tips, I haven’t made many cheesecakes but this makes it sound so easy!

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      Thank you, Laura!

  • Riverside Baking

    The other challenge is always getting it off the spring form base, any tips?

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      I found that the perfect ratio of cookie crumbs and butter for the crust and pre-baking the crust helps a lot here. Running a knife around the base (after you take the ring off) helps to get the perfect first slice! Hope this helps!

      • RhiRhiBC

        if you butter the pan, and sprinkle it with sugar, there is no need to run a knife around. It will come off all on it’s own.

    • Kathy

      I have found that if you cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of your pan, spray the pan then the parchment add your crust. When the cheesecake is cooled loosen it with an off-set spatula and you can even move it to a serving plate.

  • Lori Lange

    Great tips! So very helpful as cheesecake can be so tricky!

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      Absolutely! So glad my tips can be helpful! Thank you, Lori!

  • Mr. & Mrs. P

    Your tips are so informative!! Need to try them out the next time we make a cheesecake. Beautiful photos too!!

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      Awww, thanks, guys!!

  • http://www.a-kitchen-addiction.com/ Jessica_AKitchenAddiction

    Great tips Anna! That chocolate cheesecake looks so rich and fudgy!

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      It really is! Thanks, Jessica!

  • http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com Georgia The Comfort of Cooking

    Love your helpful advice in this post, Anna. I’ve never made a full-sized cheesecake, but I do love making cheesecake bars. Wonderful recipe, too!

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      Thank you so much, Georgia!

  • http://curryandcomfort.blogspot.com/ Curry and Comfort

    I am the queen of no back cheesecake for a reason… I need your tips!! :) Thanks for all this advise… I am definitely going to use it and make a real baked cheesecake soon. :)

    PS… I hate to bother you Anna…. but I would appreciate if you could please vote for my burger (you can vote 3x in a row a day until September 17th) It’s the Grand Slam Burger by Curry and Comfort. The link to vote is here: http://www.goodcook.com/index.php?main_page=burger_contest&category=all_beef

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      I would love to see it! Now off to vote!

  • Nancy

    Anna, you’re the best! Thanks so much, girl, for compiling this incredible list of cheesecake tips. I haven’t made a cheesecake in over 10 years, mostly because they intimidate me and it’d be super dangerous to have a giant delicious cheesecake lying around. I’m pinning this so that I can make gorgeous, glorious, perfect cheesecakes all winter long (I’ll need the extra padding since the weather’s cooling ;)

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      Sweet, Nancy! You can totally do it! xoxo

  • http://justforfoodies.blogspot.com/ Colette

    Flour and yogurt, that’s new to me. Can’t wait to test this, Anna. xo

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      Yay! Do let me know what you think, Colette!

  • http://www.bestofthislife.com/ Emily // The Best of this Life

    Great tips and secrets here! Thanks for sharing xo

  • Ashley – Baker by Nature

    This is such a wonderful post, Anna! So helpful, too. You’re a cheesecake queen! xo

  • Annie@NaturalSweetRecipes.com

    How incredible!!! This looks absolutely stunning. What a beautiful post and pictures!!!

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog

    The crack gets me every time. This is such a great tutorial. Thank you!

  • http://bakingamoment.com/ Allie|Baking a Moment

    I don’t make cheesecake nearly as often as I should. Your tips are so useful and your photos are gorgeous! You’ve got me totally inspired! :D

  • SRR

    I just wanted you to know that I came across your blog when I was searching for a way to make the perfect cheesecake. I followed your steps and recipe exactly (minus the chocolate part) and my husband said it was definitely the best cheesecake he’s ever had! I didn’t get to try it since I made it for him to take to a Holiday luncheon at his work. This was only my second attempt at making one, and while the first one was good, I was disappointed when I pulled it out of the oven and it had cracked. After following your directions I was so excited to pull a perfect looking cheesecake out of the oven. Thanks for sharing these tips and recipe! I will definitely be making this again!

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      Oh how wonderful! Thank you so so much for letting me know! This totally made my day!

  • Humble Baker

    I doubled the recipe to make a taller cheesecake. Will I need to bake it longer?

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      I have never made a cheesecake with 6 packages of cream cheese but I would definitely recommend baking it longer. Add at least 30 minutes. What pan are you using?

      • Humble Baker

        9 inch spring form pan. It’s about 5 1 / 2 inches tall. I figured I would do the ‘shake’ test every 15 minutes or so?

        • CrunchyCreamySw

          Let the initial time go by before you open the oven to check on it. This way it won’t disturb the cake during rising. Definitely let me know how it’s going!

  • Dexter

    Bunch of thanks for this! All my clients are amazed by our cheesecakes after following this helpful guide. :D

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      So glad I could help! Thanks, Dexter!

  • TheStewie

    Hi, I have recently started making cheesecakes. After reading your tips, I can definately make a better cheesecake. Thank you!

    The hardest part I have come across so far is getting the bottom part of the pan off without tearing up the crust. Is parchment paper the answer?

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      Hi there! Yes, it can definitely make it easier. I do find my crust to be perfect and always comes off without crumbling. Thanks for the question!

  • CrunchyCreamySw

    Hi Maria! I recommend my recipe. It does not have an eggy taste. I’ve had a fantastic feedback from my readers who made this recipe. I think you are going to love it!

  • CrunchyCreamySw

    Hi Stephanie! I’ve made cheesecake bars with one 8oz. package of cream cheese, like these: http://www.crunchycreamysweet.com/2013/12/16/caramel-swir-cheesecake-chocolate-chip-cookie-bars/
    and I’ve added Greek yogurt/sour cream to the batter too, like in these: http://www.crunchycreamysweet.com/2013/12/14/red-velvet-cheesecake-bars-recipe/
    Let me know what you end up making! Thank you!

  • CrunchyCreamySw

    Hi! I would say cut the baking time in half if you are making half the recipe. Check the cheesecakes for signs of being done: the edges should appear set and the center should be slightly jiggly when you shake the pan. Let me know how it goes! Thank you!

  • Baking Beginner

    You didn’t mention how much yogurt to add

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      Hi Baking Beginner! The amount is in the recipe. Thanks!

  • Rita

    Hi, thank you for your wonderful tips on making a perfect cheesecake! Could you also please share your tips on removing the finished cheesecake from the metal pan bottom. my 2 cheesecakes have turned out perfectly, but when it comes time to remove them, some of the crust invariably sticks to the pan, even though i use a metal cheesecake lifter. Help! after all that work and a beautiful cheesecake, i HATE that it gets messed up moving it to the serving plate. (i usually freeze my cheesecakes overnight, rather than just chilling. that helps wonderfully when slicing, and i thought it would also help with removing it from the pan bottom, but so far, no luck.)

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      Hi Rita! One of my readers just left a comment with tips for getting the cheesecake out of the metal bottom. Kathy said: “I have found that if you cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of your pan, spray the pan then the parchment add your crust. When the cheesecake is cooled loosen it with an off-set spatula and you can even move it to a serving plate.” Let me know if this helps!

  • Rita

    thanks so much for your quick reply! i’ll try the parchment paper. i did try spraying the bottom and sides of the pan w/Pam for my second cheesecake, but the graham cracker crust was very soggy, and i think it was due to the Pam spray. it was still tasty, but not at all the same texture as the graham cracker crust on my first cheesecake (same crust recipe). so i’m a bit leery of the spray Pam where it touches the crust. but i’ll definitely try the parchment and spray the pan bottom then lay the parchment on it. i know it’s just a matter of trial and error until i learn to get my cheesecakes out of the pan beautifully! thanks again for your great recipes and so helpful tips!

  • Diba

    I love you tips. What if I wanted to make Oreo cheesecake can I use the same recipe but just add a few chopped oreos? Would it turn out ok?

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      Hi Diba! Yes! You can stir in chopped cookies, M&M’s, any candy really. Have fun! Thanks!