This really is the Best Vanilla Cheesecake Recipe! It’s light, creamy, luscious, and perfect topped with fresh berries.
Table of Contents
But when I saw The Ultimate Cheesecake in the April edition of Canadian Living, I was intrigued. The recipe promised a perfect, crackless baked cheesecake with no water bath.
And so The Best Vanilla Cheesecake was born! It’s light, creamy, perfect…and it doesn’t require a water bath. Win!
The secret is loads of sour cream or yogurt and a low oven temperature. It is seriously luscious and perfect with all kinds of toppings!
- Crust: we’re making a simple homemade crust with graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar.
- Cream Cheese: use full fat blocks of cream cheese for the best texture.
- Granulated Sugar: all cheesecakes need a sweetener.
- Eggs: helps hold the cheesecake together.
- Lemon Juice: no, this is not a lemon cheesecake. You can’t taste it, but the lemon juice is necessary.
- Vanilla Extract: gives the Vanilla Cheesecake its flavor.
- Salt: cuts the sweetness and brings out the flavor.
- Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt: using sour cream will give a little more tang than yogurt will, but I love how it complements a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and some fresh summer berries. Choose whichever you prefer.
How to Make Baked Vanilla Cheesecake
This Vanilla Cheesecake takes a quick 20 minutes to prep! See the detailed recipe down in the recipe card.
- Make the crust: In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a greased springform pan, then bake at 325ºF until firm. Remove from the oven, then drop the temperature of the oven to 275ºF.
- Prepare the filling: In a bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth, then add sugar, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low until smooth, then add the sour cream.
- Assemble and bake: Pour the filling into the crust, smooth the top, then bake until the outer 2 inches are set. It will still be jiggly at this point! Do not worry.
- Cool slowly: Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake sit for 1 hour, then remove from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes on the counter. Carefully run a knife around the edge to loosen the cheesecake, cool to room temperature, then chill further in the fridge for at least 8 hours.
Baked Vanilla Cheesecake FAQs
Other than the fact that one is baked and the other isn’t, the main difference between the two is that a baked cheesecake contains eggs while a no-bake cheesecake does not. Because of this, a no-bake cheesecake tends to have a softer texture and very little structure. A baked cheesecake is still creamy and moist, but holds up a little better thanks to the eggs.
I bake my Vanilla Cheesecake at 275ºF for roughly 2 hours or until the outer 2 inches are set but the center is still jiggly. Please do not be alarmed — it will only be fully set when it is thoroughly chilled.
The purpose of a water bath is to help regulate the temperature of the cheesecake as it bakes for that perfect smooth and creamy texture. However, since we’re baking this one at a low temperature, there isn’t really a need for the water bath. Fewer steps for the win!
Finished cheesecake will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. It can also be wrapped tightly and stored in the freezer for up to 1 month. When you’re ready to serve, simply thaw it in the fridge and it’s ready to go!
Tips and Notes
- Pre-bake the crust. Pre-baking firms the crust up so it doesn’t get soggy once you add the filling.
- Don’t over-mix the filling. Over-beating the eggs will incorporate too much air and can result in cracks on the top of your cheesecake.
- Use a springform pan. A springform pan is the key to removing the cheesecake without damaging it.
- Make sure your pan is 9″ across. This recipe is designed for a 9″ pan. A different size will alter the baking time.
- If you use a smaller pan, you can adjust the time and bake the leftover crust and filling in muffin cups for about 20 minutes to make mini cheesecakes.
- Cool slowly! You’ll cool the cheesecake for 1 hour in the oven, set it out on the counter until it’s room temperature, then chill it in the fridge for at least 8 hours. Be patient. This time is essential to the perfect texture and no cracks!
- Cheesecake texture. We love a soft, creamy cheesecake, so that’s exactly what this one is. If you prefer a drier, firmer cheesecake, this may not be the one for you!
This Vanilla Cheesecake is absolutely delicious on its own, but you can also decorate it with a number of different toppings!
- Drizzles. Top it off with a drizzle of melted chocolate, fudge sauce, or caramel sauce.
- Fresh fruit. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, you name it! If your berries aren’t quite sweet enough, slice them and toss them in a bowl with a teaspoon of sugar. Let that marinate for 20 minutes until they start to release some of their juices, then add them on top of the cheesecake.
- Jam. Add a dollop of your favorite raspberry jam, strawberry jam, Strawberry Sauce, or lemon curd.
- Crunchies. Sprinkle on crushed candy bars, chopped nuts, crushed pretzels, or anything your heart desires.
More Cheesecake Recipes You’ll Love
Pin this recipe to save for laterPin this recipe to your favorite board
The Best Vanilla Cheesecake
- 2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- ⅓ cup butter melted
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 24 oz full fat cream cheese (3 8 oz or 250 gram packages)
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- 2 cups sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and lightly grease a 9″ 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. **DO NOT overmix. Overbeating the eggs will result in too much air which will result in cracks.
- 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 sit for 15 minutes before carefully running a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cheesecake.
- Let cool to room temperature before chilling in the fridge completely (chill at least 8 hours before serving), then remove from the pan and serve.
- Baked cheesecakes store perfectly in the fridge for a few days, and the freeze wonderfully as well!
Want to save this recipe?
Create an account easily save your favorite content, so you never forget a recipe again.
Tried this recipe?
Tag @thereciperebel or hashtag #thereciperebel — I love to see what you’re making!Tag @thereciperebel