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The Best Vanilla Cheesecake Recipe

Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 35 mins
Servings 16

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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! Includes step by step recipe video.

whole vanilla cheesecake on white cake plate with smooth top

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.

piece of vanilla cheesecake on blue plate with whipped cream swirls and fresh strawberries in the background

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.

close up slice of vanilla baked cheesecake on blue plate with fresh strawberries on the side

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.

And 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!

Tips and Tricks for Making the Best Vanilla Cheesecake:

  • You will want a nice, deep 9-10″ Springform pan for this recipe. I’ve made it in both, and both work well. A 10″ pan will give a thinner cheesecake than pictured in the video, and will bake more quickly. A 9″ pan will give a nice high cheesecake but may need to bake a little longer. Whatever you do, do not use a 9 or 10″ regular round cake pan.
  • This is not a lemon cheesecake, so the lemon juice won’t make it taste like lemon. But it’s still necessary in the cheesecake!
  • Feel free to add different toppings to jazz it up: lemon curd, thinned out jam or jelly, fresh fruit, caramel or chocolate sauce, chopped nuts or pretzels — the options are endless!

Watch the recipe video down below and see how easy it is to make!

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The Best Vanilla Cheesecake

4.56 from 18 votes
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!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 35 mins
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 16
Calories 327cal



  • 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup butter melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  • 24 oz light (or regular) cream cheese 3 packages
  • 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 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.
  • 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, then remove from the pan and serve.
  • Baked cheesecakes store perfectly in the fridge for a few days, and the freeze wonderfully as well!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 327cal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 366mg | Potassium: 234mg | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 555IU | Vitamin C: 0.9mg | Calcium: 141mg | Iron: 0.8mg

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Janelle S says

    So disappointed, we literally threw the whole thing in the garbage. Followed the directions exactly but it was so soggy that nobody wanted it.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with the recipe Janelle. I know how frustrating it can be to make a new recipe and not have it turn out, so I wish it would of been a success for you.

  2. Heidi B says

    Huge hit in my family! Made as recipe written except didn’t use light sourcream. Then we individualized each piece the way we all wanted.

  3. Kay Smith says

    I’d like to attempt to make this recipe but use a mango purée to create a mango cheesecake. Any suggestions on recipe adaptations?

    • Ashley Fehr says

      You could use the same amount of Oreos (about 400 grams), crushed and stir in melted butter. You may want to use less butter as the frosting will help to hold the crust together.

      • Erin says

        Not bad but way to much yogurt. Came out very very soft almost mushy and you can really taste the tang from the yogurt. Probably won’t make it again. You should probably call this Greek yogurt cheesecake.

        • Ashley Fehr says

          Everyone has different preferences, and there’s definitely not too much yogurt. We prefer our cheesecake rich and creamy over dry and bland 🙂

  4. Gladys Salinas says

    Love this recipe!!! My whole family loves it. I was just wondering how I could make this recipe into an Oreo cheesecake ? Any tips?

    • Ashley says

      Hi. How do you mane the topping cream? Its not whipped cream right? Like one that would stay, even if its in room temperature?

      • Ashley Fehr says

        The topping is just whipped cream. It will last for some time at room temperature, but if you want it to last longer you can always add a bit of unflavored geltain.

  5. Dianna Avena says

    I’ve made this about three times now I looooovveee it my husband that doesn’t like cheesecake ate it and loved it too this is my go to cheesecake forever its so good thank you for the recipe its awesome.

  6. Nannette says

    This recipe is my family’s absolute favorite! I first made this cheesecake for Christmas 2 years ago and drizzled raspberry sauce on top (I use Fran’s Chocolates Raspberry Sauce), just a piece at a time on the serving plate. It is the part of Christmas dinner I can get everyone excited about! I used to also make an apple pie and sweet potato pie, but those are no longer eaten 🙂

    I use light cream cheese and 0%fat Fage Greek yogurt, making sure everything is room temp. I often top it all around the edge with fresh raspberries.

    Super simple and delish!!

  7. ava says

    Is it 3 cups or 4 cups sourcream? Ingredients list/recipe calls for 3 cups, yet your prequel raves of 4 cups – please clarify!

    Thanks so much!

  8. Katrina says

    I’ve made this four times and it’s AMAZING quality and SIMPLE! I use one package of grahams for the crust and 2cups Greek goghurt, 1cup sourcream.

    I get RAVE reviews with it and it’s so simple! I’ll be making two to take to church potluck next weekend and I was asked to make this for a teens birthday cake. Thank you for this recipe!

  9. Diane Vetroczky says

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe. I’ve always been intimidated by cheese cakes for whatever reason. BUT I am so happy I used this recipe as my first go around. It was a HUGE success with the family that I have made it about a dozen times in the last 6 months. I did mix and used 1 1/2 C sour cream and 1 1/2 C of greek yogurt and the family agreed that was the best of both worlds. My question is…I would like to add chopped andes mints to just the top of the cake, I don’t want them to melt but would like them to stick to the cake. When would you suggest adding them? As soon as I pull if from the oven before using the knife or after the hour it sits? I’m a cook rather than a baker and not experienced enough in the baking field.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I’m so happy you love this recipe Diane! I think you could add the chopped chocolates with some whipped cream on top after it’s cooled — if you add them while it’s hot they may just melt.

  10. Patsy says

    Ashley, could I use plain yogurt instead of Greek yogurt and still get a wonderful cheesecake? Will it make a difference? Thank you!

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I probably wouldn’t use regular yogurt unless it’s a very thick variety because you don’t want the cheesecake too soft. It is already pretty light and not very dense, so substituting the yogurt might not help it hold up well.

  11. amanda says

    hello there, i was wondering if i couldmake this in 6 inch pans and if i could , what would ypu, recomend for the baking time.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I think that would likely work just fine but I haven’t tried it, so I can’t say how long you would bake them. It’s probably best just to watch for doneness.

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