This cheesecake recipe comes out perfect every time. It’s just the right combination of creamy, custardy, sweet, and a little tart. Yum!
Oh, hi. I love cheesecake. This recipe uses sweetened condensed milk for the perfect texture and doesn’t require the hassle of a water bath. It’s my favorite! Try topping yours with some butterscotch ganache!
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Cheesecake Recipe Ingredients
- Graham crackers – Try to get these smashed as fine as you can. It’s best to use a food processor. You can even buy them pre-crushed graham cracker crumbs these days!
- Sugar – Regular white sugar works great.
- Butter – I prefer salted butter. It makes a great sweet, with a touch of salty, combo.
- Cream cheese – You’ll want a full fat plain cream cheese for this. Make sure you’re not getting whipped cream cheese.
- Sweetened condensed milk – We use sweetened condensed ilk for our cheesecakes and it works wonderfully! Make sure to open the entire can with a can opener and scrape the insides with a spatula to get it all out.
- Lemon juice – just a small amount to add acidity.
- Vanilla extract – Use real vanilla extract for this recipe, not imitation vanilla extract.
- Eggs – Beat the eggs in slowly to avoid large air bubbles.
- Flour – A small amount of flour will help keep your cheesecake from sinking as it cools.
How do you make a classic cheesecake? (step-by-step)
⭐ First, combine crushed graham crackers, sugar, and butter and press into the bottom of a springform pan.
⭐ Then, beat cream cheese, pour in sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract.
⭐ Next, add eggs one at a time, then beat in flour. Pour filling into pan and bake. Allow cheesecake to set at room temperature, then in the refrigerator.
⭐ Finally, chill for several hours or overnight.
Scroll down to the printable recipe card toward the bottom of this article for ingredient measurements and detailed cooking instructions.
Can you make homemade cheesecake ahead of time?
Yes, in fact, cheesecake is really best after being thoroughly chilled. I strongly suggest making it at least a day in advance. but at the very least you want it to cool completely before cutting and serving.
Is a water bath necessary for a cheesecake?
A water bath is not necessary for cheesecake. Typically I do not use a water bath and have never run into issues.
If you prefer to use a water bath when cooking, you absolutely can.
Which is better baked or no baked cheesecake?
This is absolutely a matter of personal preference. A classic cheesecake recipe like this one will be slightly more dense and custardy in texture with a deeper complexity of flavors, while a no bake cheesecake is light and fluffy with typically brighter flavors.
What do I do if my cheesecake cracks?
Don’t stress! If your cheesecake cracks, top it with a some stewed apples, ganache, or a can of cherry pie filling! So easy and incredibly delicious.
Storage and leftovers
How long does cheesecake last?
Cheesecake will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to a month. Store in a sealed container for best results.
Can you freeze cheesecake?
You can absolutely freeze cheesecake. Allow it to chill completely in the refrigerator, then wrap it in plastic wrap twice, or plastic wrap then foil.
If you’re not going to use the bottom of your springform in the meantime, you can freeze it on that, or you can cut a cardboard circle to use. It can be frozen as a whole or in individual slices.
Tips for Making Cheesecake
✅ Allow ingredients for filling to come to room temperature before beginning.
✅ Tap the side of your pan with a wooden spoon to release any air pockets that may have been created when mixing.
✅ Use Sweetened Condensed Milk instead of granulated sugar for a smoother, creamier finish.
✅ When the cheesecake is finished cooking, the center should still be a little bit wobbly. It will firm up as it cools.
✅ Add the eggs one at a time and beat slowly to avoid creating large air bubbles in your filling.
✅ Don’t skip the flour – it will help keep the cheesecake from sinking or falling as it cools.
✅ To cut the perfect slice of cheesecake use a sharp smooth blade knife (not serrated) and swipe it with a small amount of vegetable oil or water before cutting. Slice in a single downward motion (not back and forth).
What to eat with cheesecake (serving suggestions)
We love to enjoy this recipe with a big family meal like apricot glazed spiral ham, air fryer roasted asparagus, and our classic prime rib recipe.
It goes great alongside other desserts like watergate salad, oreo fluff, and peanut butter blossoms!
More amazing cheesecake recipes
- Pumpkin spice cheesecake
- Homemade caramel cheesecake
- No bake cheesecake recipe
- Caramel apple cheesecake recipe
- Raspberry cheesecake cookies
- See all our cheesecake recipes!
Tools we love
- Springform pan – We use a 9 inch springform pan for this recipe. If you want to be able to remove your cheesecake from the pan, a springform is your best bet.
- Spatula – These ingredients are ooey gooey and sticky. You for sure want to be using a spatula to make sure you’re properly measuring and using all your ingredients.
- Electric mixer – You’ll want an electric mixer for beating the filling to the proper consistency.
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How to Make Cheesecake
- 1 ½ cups crushed graham crackers about 8-9 whole crackers
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup salted butter melted (about 5 tablespoons)
- 32 ounces cream cheese
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Combine crushed graham crackers, sugar, and butter until mixed well. Press into the bottom of a parchment lined 9 inch springform pan. I find that using the bottom of a flat glass works well to get the crust pressed in tightly.
- In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffier and increased in volume slightly, slowly pour in sweetened condensed milk while continuing to mix.
- Beat in lemon juice and vanilla extract.
- Reduce mixer speed to low and add eggs one at a time. Do not beat quickly as this will create air bubbles in the cheesecake mixture. Lastly, beat in flour.
- Pour filling into springform pan and bake on center oven rack at 300 degrees for 70 - 75 minutes. Center should still wiggle slightly when cheesecake is finished. It will firm up as it sets.
- Allow cheesecake to set at room temperature for one hour, then in the refrigerator at least three hours.
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