One of the very first things I learned to make in my mother’s kitchen was her classic New York-style cheesecake recipe. I don’t know where her recipe originated, but I do remember many special events, gatherings, and family meals included this tucked away in the refrigerator chilling until after dinner. To this day, this has remained my all-time favorite dessert.
New York Style Cheesecake
There are as many cheesecake recipes out there to try as their are chocolate chip cookies. Everyone has the same basic ingredients but slight tweaks to the process or measurements make it unique. I follow the same basic recipe that my mom shared with me as a teenager and am never disappointed. While you may be intimidated by making a cheesecake, you shouldn’t. This is one of the easiest to prepare desserts and the flavors and texture are always perfect when you follow this recipe.
What’s the Difference Between New York Style and Regular Cheesecake?
The basic difference between a New York and regular cheesecake is in the difference in the amounts of actual cream cheese in the mixture. For a traditional New York style cheesecake, you have a much higher ratio of cream cheese and may or may not actually include any sour cream or heavy cream.
A regular cheesecake is often much heavier in whipped cream, heavy cream, and sour cream with less cream cheese added to the batter. It ends up with a more fluffy and light texture versus the traditional thick and dense texture of a New York style cheesecake.
Can I Add Mix In’s to New York Cheesecake?
I’ve made hundreds of these in my lifetime. Perhaps, in my 25 years of cooking, I have maybe even made over 1,000. To say I have tried a ton of flavor combinations is obvious. This basic recipe is simple to adapt with add in’s if you desire.
When adding mix-in’s to your cheesecake batter, you need to consider the addition of liquid more than any other factor. Things like swirls of fresh fruit can be great for flavor but may mess up the texture and cook time of the cake.
If you choose to add a fruit option to the cake, I recommend making a fruit puree and mixing it into a small amount of the batter than using the swirl method. This will add hints of the fruit flavor without altering the entire recipe. It can also prevent the flavor from overwhelming the palate.
For those who want to add different spices like cinnamon, apple pie spice, or pumpkin pie spice, the addition is simple. I suggest 2-3 teaspoons of spice for a cake this size, but you can always start with less and add more in a second cake if desired.
When adding things like chocolate to the cake, you can add in unsweetened cocoa powder to the mix or even use the swirl method mentioned before by mixing it only in a select amount of the batter. Of course, my favorites are to melt semi-sweet chocolate and mix in with 1/3 the batter, add a swirl, then top it with shaved chocolate before serving.
How Can I Prevent Cracks on My Cheesecake?
One of, if not the biggest complaint I read about making cheesecake is how it cracks and creates an uneven surface. The best prevention I have found is to make the cheesecake in a bain marie. This is a water bath for those who are not familiar with the term.
Fill a larger baking dish with 1″ of water. Wrap your springform pan with aluminum foil along the bottom to prevent any leaks. Place the pan into the water bath and bake as directed. This steam will keep the top moist but not overly wet so that it doesn’t crack and cooks perfectly.
Another tip that has been mentioned is to make sure you bring the cheesecake to room temperature before adding to the refrigerator to chill. By trying to chill it too fast, it can cause the top to crack or cave in more than you would prefer.
What Toppings Should I Serve with Cheesecake?
Personally, I love my cheesecake plain. I’m not against fruit toppings. It’s just been my experience that the richness of this recipe doesn’t need any addition. If you prefer a topping, you can go add one. I grew up with fruit pie filling as an option on cheesecake. It was easy, affordable, and tasty.
Now, I prefer to make a homemade fruit compote or chutney to serve with cheesecake when possible. A few pieces of fruit cooked down and macerated turn into a delightful addition to cut the richness of this cake.
You can also use shaved chocolate, a variety of syrups, crushed nuts, or even a simple chocolate ganache if desired.
What Type of Pan do I Need for Making Cheesecake?
The traditional method of making cheesecake is to use a springform pan. This allows you to easily remove the cake from the pan without damaging the exterior of the cake. I use a traditional 9″ springform pan when making my cheesecake in the oven.
If making this in my Instant Pot, the size pan will depend upon the size pot you have. For my 6-quart Instant Pot, I use a 7″ springform pan. I have been able to tightly fit the 8″ springform pan in my 8-quart Instant Pot. I recommend going with what you feel most comfortable with for your unique electric pressure cooker.
- Cream cheese
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Lemon juice
- Lemon zest
- Sour cream
- Heavy cream
- Graham crackers
- Brown sugar
How to Make a Graham Cracker Crust
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly spray the inside of your springform pan with non-stick spray and then place a strip of parchment paper around the outer edge forming a ring barrier between the inside of the pan and outside edge. This step is not necessary but helps when removing the cake to prevent sticking.
Crush 2 sleeves Graham crackers until you have a fine powder. This will equal around 2 cups of crumbs.
Pour cracker crumbs into a large bowl along with granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and melted butter.
Stir the crust mixture until completely combined and all of the crackers are moistened.
Pour the crust mixture into the bottom of a springform pan and use a spoon or measuring cup to push the crust down and spread evenly along the bottom of the pan.
Place into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
How to Make a New York Style Cheesecake
Reduce the temperature of the oven to 325°F and place a 9″x13″ baking dish onto the bottom rack of the oven.
Bring 4-6 cups water to a boil on the stovetop while you prepare the cheesecake batter.
In a large bowl, beat the room temperature eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla until combined and light.
Add your room temperature cream cheese to a large bowl and beat slightly to soften more.
Pour in the sugar and beat together with the cream cheese until combined.
Add in the egg mixture.
Then the heavy cream then beat until smooth.
Fold in the sour cream until combined with the cream cheese mixture and no lumps are remaining.
Pour the batter into the prepared crust.
Place the springform pan with cheesecake mixture into the center of the waiting baking dish on the bottom rack of your oven.
Pour the boiling water into the pan around the cheesecake so that at least 1″ of water is around the pan.
Bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes.
Turn the oven off and crack the oven door. Allow the pan to cool for one hour in the oven with the door cracked.
Gently and safely remove the springform pan from the pan and cover loosely.
Allow to cool to room temperature if needed, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight before serving.
Remove the baking dish and pour out the water being careful not to splash hot water or burn yourself.
Dust with powdered sugar or top with your favorite fruit compote prior to serving.
More Great Dessert Recipes
- Delicious Homemade Banana Cheesecake Recipe
- Mini Cheesecakes with Almonds and Choco Bons
- Yummy Almond Cheesecake Recipe
- Oreo Cheesecake Bites
- Hazelnut Cheesecake Bars
- Fresh Strawberry Bread
- Chai Spiced Baked Apples with Vanilla Bean Gelato
- Creamy Indian Fruit Custard Recipe
- Banana Pecan Layer Cake
- No-Bake Peanut Butter Oreo Dessert
When baking, to create a richer vanilla flavor, I prefer to use either wholevanilla beans or vanilla bean powder. These both bring out a much more distinct vanilla flavor that is a perfect compliment to most baking recipes.
Ingredients for Crust
- 2 cups Graham crackers, crushed
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar, unpacked
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Ingredients for Cheesecake
- 4 8 oz blocks cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 tsp salt
How to Make a Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly spray the springform pan with nonstick spray;
- Line the inside outer edge of the pan with parchment paper;
- In a large bowl combine Graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and melted butter mixing until all crackers are moistened;
- Press cracker mixture into the prepared springform pan in an even layer;
- Bake for 10 minutes then remove and set aside to cool;
How to Make a New York Style Cheesecake
- Reduce the temperature of the oven to 325°F and place a 9"x13" baking dish onto the bottom rack of the oven.
- In a large saucepan, bring 4-6 cups of water to a boil while you prepare the batter;
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla together;
- Using a separate bowl, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until combined;
- Add in the cornstarch and salt to combine;
- Pour the egg mixture and heavy cream into the batter and mix until smooth;
- Fold in the sour cream gently until well mixed and no lumps remain;
- Pour the batter into the prepared crust;
- Place the springform pan into the baking dish on the bottom rack then pour the boiling water into the baking dish so there is 1" water around the springform pan;
- Bake at 325°F for 1 hour and 25 minutes then turn off the heat and leave the oven door cracked for one hour;
- After one hour, remove the springform pan from the bain marie and allow to cool until room temperature;
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours but preferably overnight;
- Safely remove the bain marie from the oven and discard the water;
- Serve with powdered sugar and a fruit compote as desired.
Serve this cheesecake plain or with your favorite fruit syrup or compote.
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- Instant Pot Duo Nova 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
- Hiware 7 Inch Non-stick Springform Pan
- Hiware 9 Inch Non-stick Cheesecake Pan Springform Pan
- Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
- Vanilla Bean Powder Pure Ground Raw Vanilla Beans 2 oz | Etsy
- Madagascar Vanilla Beans Grade A/B 10pk for Extract and | Etsy
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 584Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 170mgSodium: 429mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 1gSugar: 38gProtein: 8g