Does it get better than a classic cheesecake? This New York cheesecake recipe has it all. It’s rich, dense, slightly tangy, and oh so creamy. Top with a fresh raspberry sauce or leave it plain and simple. Either way, it’s definitely going to be your go-to cheesecake recipe! This post is filled with cheesecake baking tips and tricks to ensure yours turns out perfect – just like a New York bakery.
New York Cheesecake recipe made simple
Yes, we all know cheesecake is the best but it’s also a STRUGGLE to make. They either turn out under baked, over baked, over mixed, or cracked on top. You can’t win. So I made it my mission to create a simple and delicious New York cheesecake recipe.
Follow along with my cheesecake baking tips and you’ll be a pro in no time. If you bake this cheesecake for your friends or family, they won’t believe it when they find out it ISN’T from a bakery. It’s just that good!
New York cheesecake baking tips
Patience is key when baking a cheesecake. Both the preparation, mixing, and baking are taken slow and steady. If you ever struggle with baking ANY cheesecake, not just this New York cheesecake recipe, you’ll find these tips very useful!
- Cream Cheese – Use high quality and full fat cream cheese because you can definitely tell a difference in taste and texture. I prefer Philadelphia full fat cream cheese bricks because they always leave me with a super rich and creamy cheesecake.
- Room Temperature – Any ingredient that needs to be refrigerated should be brought up to room temperature before you start. If you mix cold ingredients with room temperature ingredients, it can shock the batter and create lumps. It’s also much easier to mix in ingredients when they’re at room temperature, preventing any over mixing.
- Slow & Steady – When using an electric mixer, always run it on the lowest speed possible so you don’t whip any air into the batter. If you have tiny air bubbles all throughout the batter, heat will force steam out of those bubbles and the only way out is through the surface. This is one reason why you cheesecake may crack.
- Water Bath – When baking the cheesecake, we want a really moist environment. Besides air bubbles, enemy number 2 for cheesecake is dry heat. Moisture stops the cheesecake from drying out in the oven, thus preventing any cracks. Right before placing the cheesecake in the oven, place a roast pan on the bottom rack of your oven and fill it with boiling hot water. Then place you cheesecake on the middle rack of the oven and quickly close the door to lock in that steam.
- Cooling Process – Let the cheesecake slowly cool down by turning off the oven (after its baked) and crack open the door. This process allows a gentle heat the slowly bake the center of the cheesecake. This is how you achieve a really creamy and dense texture. This is also an extra step in preventing cracks as shocking the cheesecake with a drastic change in temperature can lead to a split surface.
Following these 5 steps will not only help you with this New York cheesecake recipe, but any cheesecake recipe. Just remember to keep everything low and slow, bring your ingredients to room temperature, and ALWAYS use a water bath.
What is the difference between New York cheesecake and regular?
Not all cheesecakes are created equal. Some are no bake, some are creamier, some are denser, some are loaded with mix-ins, and some are intentionally burnt. OK that last one is pretty unique…check out my Basque Burnt Cheesecake to see what I mean!
But for a New York style cheesecake, it has a couple characteristics that make it a stand-out cheesecake. One major sign of a good New York cheesecake is the texture. It’s dense, rich and heavy which is why it’s tough to have more than one slice.
The reason why it’s so rich is due to the amount of cream cheese used in the cheesecake. Regular cheesecake relies on heavy cream and sour cream to thin the batter and create a silkier, creamier texture. New York cheesecake is heavy on the cream cheese which is why it’s so dense and rich.
Extra cream cheese isn’t the only thing that makes New York cheesecake so special. It also includes extra eggs and egg yolks to provide and smooth consistency. The egg also helps to bind together the cheesecake, giving it that tight texture.
New York style cheesecake is also always baked and contains very simple ingredients. It’s a no-frills cheesecake that packs a punch in flavor and texture. The distinct flavor can be attributed to the bit of sour cream and fresh lemon juice, giving it a slight tang.
Equipment to bake a New York cheesecake at home
You might already have these tools in your kitchen. Baking cheesecake doesn’t require a ton of gear so if you’re missing something, it’s easily attainable.
- A spring form pan. This is an absolute essential so that the cheesecake is easy to remove.
- A deep baking dish or roast pan. This is for your water bath which prevents any cracks on your cheesecake.
- An electric stand mixer. If you don’t have one, you can also use an electric hand mixer but be very careful when mixing. Electric mixers tend to whip more air into the batter, so take it low and slow.
That’s it! If you make a sauce for topping, you will need a small sauce pan which most kitchens have. The most important thing is to have a spring form pan. You can’t make cheesecake without it!
New York Style Cheesecake: Frequently Asked Questions
1. The batter was over mixed thus creating tiny air bubbles all throughout the batter. Remember, low and slow when mixing.
2. Don’t skip the water bath! Make sure you pour in the hot water, place the cheesecake, and quickly close the door to prevent the steam from escaping the oven.
3. The sides of the springform pan were not completely covered. Completely cover the sides of the pan with parchment paper to prevent the cake from sticking. As it cools, the cheesecake shrinks. But if the cake is stuck to the sides, that tension will cause cracks in the center.
4. The cheesecake was exposed to a temperature shock. Don’t pull the cheesecake straight out of the oven when baked. Allow it slowly cool for an hour in the oven, and then cool at room temperature before placing in the refrigerator.
If your cheesecake does crack, don’t worry! It will still be delicious. If you want to cover it up, you can either top with fresh fruit, homemade fruit sauce (like the raspberry sauce in this recipe), or a sour cream topping. Mix 2 cups sour cream with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and spread it on top of the cooled cheesecake.
Yes, the only gluten ingredient in this recipe is the graham crackers. Simply replace them with your favorite gluten free alternative such as gluten free graham crackers or any gluten free crispy cookie.
I highly recommend sticking to the original recipe for the best outcome, but you can also swap the sour cream with 2% unsweetened plain Greek yogurt. You can also try plain unsweetened yogurt or heavy cream, although I have not tested these.
For more cheesecake recipes, check out my:
- Salted Caramel Cheesecake
- The BEST Classic Cheesecake
- Chocolate Cheesecake
- Basque Burnt Cheesecake
- Coconut Mango Cheesecake Bars
- Cookies & Cream Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
If you make my New York style cheesecake, make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram. I love seeing these recipes come to life in YOUR kitchen! To save this recipe for later, use the pin button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos listed in this post. Happy baking!