This Vanilla Cheesecake is super creamy and not as heavy as traditional baked cheesecake thanks to a good dose of sour cream or Greek yogurt — it’s soft and luscious and perfect with fresh berries!
So I actually can’t remember the last time I made a baked cheesecake.
I make no bake cheesecake all the time, and mini cheesecakes, and cream cheese stuffed coffee cakes… but a baked cheesecake? That’s at least 3-4 blocks of cream cheese (expensive!) and a few hours of baking, prepping, water bathing and coddling before refrigerating until thoroughly chilled. Not usually my idea of a good time.
But I do love a good baked cheesecake, and when I saw The Ultimate Cheesecake in the April edition of Canadian Living, I was intrigued. Could it be?!?! They also promised a perfect, crackless baked cheesecake with no water bath. That definitely spoke to this busy mom’s heart.
But I had to stay true to my rebellious ways and cut a few corners, and so even though my first cheesecake had one crack along the outer edge, my second cheesecake was totally smooth on top! I’m nearly convinced this has something to do with baking the cheesecake at such a low temperature.
I had never made a cheesecake with soooooo much sour cream. FOUR CUPS of sour cream baked in! The second time I made it, I used 0% plain Greek yogurt for a boost of protein. The sour cream or yogurt gives this cheesecake a more delicate, more luscious texture than any baked cheesecake I’ve ever had. I love that about this cheesecake recipe — some baked cheesecakes can be so thick and heavy.
Using sour cream in the cheesecake will give it a little more tang than using yogurt will, but I love how it complements a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and some fresh summer berries! Choose whichever you prefer — sour cream or Greek yogurt. If your berries aren’t quite as sweet as you like, simply slice them and toss them in a bowl with a teaspoon of sugar and let sit for 20 minutes until they start to release some of their juices. They will go beautifully with this cheesecake!
The Best Vanilla Cheesecake
This Vanilla Cheesecake is super creamy and not as heavy as traditional baked cheesecake thanks to a good dose of sour cream -- it's soft and luscious and perfect with fresh berries!
- 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 (8 oz) packages light (or regular) cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- 3 cups light sour cream (I used 5%) or 0% plain Greek yogurt
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and lightly grease a 10" Springform pan.
- In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Press into the prepared pan and up the sides about 1 inch up the sides. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until firm no longer moist. When done, reduce the oven heat to 275 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, prepare your filling. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla and salt and beat on low speed until smooth.
- Add sour cream and beat on low until combined.
- Pour into crust and smooth the top. Bake at 275 degrees F for about 2 hours or until the outer 2 inches are set but the center is still jiggly.
- Turn off the oven and let sit in the warm oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature before chilling in the fridge completely.
- Baked cheesecakes store perfectly in the fridge for a few days, and the freeze wonderfully as well!
More cheesecake love!
No Bake Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake from Beyond Frosting
No Bake Caramel Turtle Cheesecake from Sprinkle Some Sugar
No Bake Strawberry Milkshake Cheesecake from Life Love and Sugar