The Best Vanilla Cheesecake Recipe

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

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This really is the Best Vanilla Cheesecake Recipe! It’s light, creamy, luscious, and perfect topped with fresh berries.

whole baked vanilla cheesecake on cake plate with berries around.
Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients Needed:
  2. How to Make Baked Vanilla Cheesecake
  3. Baked Vanilla Cheesecake FAQs
  4. Tips and Notes
  5. Serving Suggestions
  6. More Cheesecake Recipes You’ll Love
  7. The Best Vanilla Cheesecake Recipe

You know, I actually can’t remember the last time I made a baked cheesecake. I make No-Bake Cheesecake, and Mini Baked Cheesecakes, but a whole baked cheesecake?! Seems like a lot of work, right?

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.

What?!

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!

Ingredients Needed:

ingredients needed for baked cheesecake on white background.
  • 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

What is the difference between a baked and unbaked cheesecake?

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.

What temperature should cheesecake be baked at?

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.

Why are cheesecakes baked in a water bath?

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!

How to store:

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!

slice of baked vanilla cheesecake with whipped cream and berries on white plate.

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!
slice of baked cheesecake on white plate with whipped cream on top.

Serving Suggestions

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

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The Best Vanilla Cheesecake

4.52 from 70 votes
This really is the Best Vanilla Cheesecake Recipe! It's light, creamy, luscious, and perfect topped 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

Ingredients

Crust!

  • 2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • cup butter melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Filling

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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!

Notes

*This recipe has updated since the original version, reducing the sour cream to 2 cups from 3 cups. It is still rich and creamy, but this should help with any problems readers may have had with it being too soft. We like a soft cream cheesecake. If you like a dry, firm cheesecake, this is not the recipe for you. 
*There should never be a problem with having too much batter. Please measure your Springform pan and ensure it is at least 9″ across. If you are using a smaller pan, you can bake the leftover crust and filling in muffin cups for about 20 minutes.

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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Comments

  1. Liz says

    I am making this recipe for family xmas to share. I am going to use the 250 g cream cheese. How many do I need to buy?. I am going to use Greek yogurt is that 2 cups for Greek yoghurt.? And will I get a soft cheesecake and not a dry cheesecake? With this combination? What do I use in place of Graham crackers as I live in New Zealand. We don’t have Graham crackers.

  2. Liz says

    I am making this recipe for family xmas to share. I am going to use the 250 g cream cheese. How many do I need to buy?. I am going to use Greek yogurt is that 2 cups for Greek yoghurt.? And will I get a soft cheesecake and not a dry cheesecake? With this combination?

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Liz, it’s 3 packages and it is 2 cups Greek yogurt. This makes a creamy, luscious cheesecake! Hope you enjoy it!

  3. Kathleen says

    Hi Ashley! Can this cake be baked in a convection oven and do you have any idea how long and what temp?
    Thanks!!

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Kathleen, I don’t have a convection oven but my best guess is yes you can. It will likely cook faster but I would bake it at the same temperature. Hope this helps!

  4. Janet Fowler says

    I keep reading everyone’s comments and wonder why they are using your recipe? Sorry if they change it then why don’t they write their own. You obviously have made this recipe and it turns out well because you follow it. I write my own at times and sometimes they are good. Sometimes they are a mess. So I suggest that if you are going to make this follow correctly what is printed. Thank you for providing an easier recipe for cheese cake, cheaper than my 6 cream cheese 6 egg version. Will try this for my next cake.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Micah, sorry to hear you had trouble with the recipe. The center only sets after it sits in the oven, and chills completely. It is soft and not stiff like most cheesecakes, but it will set after its thoroughly chilled. You could even try baking it just a little bit longer. All oven are different so it may just need a little more time.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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 🙂

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!!

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Patricia, I think you are misreading what I said. The recipe card is always the recipe that is correct. What you are referring to is a comment from 2019 where a typo was found. As I said in that comment “the recipe is as the recipe card says”. So the recipe you made today was posted correctly. Hope this helps!

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