The Best Homemade Cheesecake

The Best Homemade Cheesecake – get the secret for the lightest and fluffiest cheesecake ever!

The Best Homemade Cheesecake - get the secret for the lightest and fluffiest cheesecake ever!

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I’ve been making this cheesecake for years. The recipe came from a parent when my Mom taught school. This is truly The Best Homemade Cheesecake recipe on the planet! Chicken Legs says this is the best dessert that I make. He said other desserts are good, but this is the best!

What makes it so great? It is super light and fluffy. How does it get that way? The egg yolks are beaten in with the cream cheese and then the whipped egg whites are folded into the batter. That makes all the difference.

 I took this cheesecake down to my parent’s house for Christmas. I hadn’t made it in a long time, and I won’t be waiting so long to make it again. It tastes amazing! The cheesecake can be made ahead of time and frozen until you are ready to serve it.

The Best Homemade Cheesecake - get the secret for the lightest and fluffiest cheesecake ever!

slice of cheesecake on a plate

The Best Homemade Cheesecake

Yield: 12 people
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 35 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
The Best Homemade Cheesecake – get the secret for the lightest and fluffiest cheesecake ever!

Ingredients:

Crust

  • cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 Tbsp sugar
  • cup melted butter

Filling

  • 3 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • cups sugar
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Crust

  • Combine all ingredients and press against sides and bottom of 9-inch springform pan. (I use a measuring cup to do this – works great!)

Filling

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together cream cheese, sugar, 4 egg yolks, lemon juice and vanilla.
  • In another bowl, beat 4 egg whites until stiff and creamy. Fold egg whites into cream cheese mixture. Pour into crust in the springform pan.
  • Bake for 35 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour with the door closed.
  • Freeze several hours before serving. Remove from freezer and remove from pan before allowing the cheesecake to thaw.

Notes:

It is very important to freeze this cake. It won’t be fully set if you don’t freeze it.
You can refrigerate the cheesecake overnight, if you don’t want to freeze the cheesecake.
Either way – it MUST chill before serving.

Steph

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Comments

  1. Hi! I have made this cheesecake recipe for a long time and every time I make it, it cracks right down the middle. Is there anyway to prevent this?

  2. Hi Steph….quick question. I have a gas oven with convention bake and regular bake. Which one should I use? And how do I remove it from the pan after it is frozen. I did line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Thanks.

  3. I love this recipe!!! It is a fan favorite in the house and for my neighbors who have also been gifted a cheesecake. I actually made this recipe at first as is but put it in two circle cake pans (I think they are 9 inch) instead of a springform, cooked exactly as it says and it worked perfectly. Springform obviously also works fabulously but nice to have options!!

  4. I have made the so may times in my electric oven and has turned out great. Just got a gas oven and the middle wasn’t set up.

  5. I have made this recipe many many times. I follow the directions to the letter & the cake comes out great every time.!it’s become a family favorite & feels elegant to serve to guests.

  6. I made this recipe with my granddaughter this past week! It was delicious!!! We followed the recipe exactly as written. We put it in the freezer for 2.5 hours and then moved to the refrigerator and served as dessert for our dinner! This is a keeper!!!!

  7. Hello, I’m about to make this and need to know if you put the Springfold pan inside of the water in the other pan? It doesn’t say. Thank you.

  8. CREAMY! I HAVE CUT MY SUGAR TO 1 AND 1/4 CUP AND I USED BROWN SUGAR FOR THE BASE. GREAT TURN OUT!🤩🤩🤩

  9. How much should the cake jiggle when the 35 mins is up? Trying to get a feel for when it will be appropriate to let the hour begin as the first time the cake was a bit underdone in the center after setting in the oven and the second time it was over done on the edges. Depending on how much the cake jiggles when the 35minutes is up should help me determine when it will be set just right after the hour. Thanks!

  10. Seriously, this recipe is SO good!! I made it for the holidays and used gingerbread cookies for the crust instead and also added a little gingerbread seasonings along with the lemon juice. My large family said it was the best cheesecake they’ve ever had!!

  11. I have made A LOT of cheesecakes and this one is hands down the best! Huge hit for Christmas and an even bigger hit with the husband. If I could give it more than 5 stars I would!

  12. I love this cheesecake, but my crust never goes all the way up the edges. I always have filling higher than the crust… how thin should it be?

  13. The first time I made it ,it was perfect and loved by all. I was asked to make it for Christmas. I made one exactly like the first one and it ran over the edges of the pan. Tried again and same thing. What do you think happened?

  14. Do you freeze it or put it in the fridge while it is still in the entire pan? or do you take the frame off and then put it in?

  15. I have just made this, but would like to know if you put this directly in the freezer or allow it to cool before freezing.

  16. When I decided to try my hand at making a homemade cheesecake, I tried different recipes, yes even the one on the inside of Philly cream cheese packages. I tried this one and guess what? I haven’t had the need to try another one. I’ve made this one several times and it’s come out perfect every time, even the time I forgot the sour cream! Thank you for making it so easy to make and impress!

  17. I have made this several times before. I have substituted half of the gram crackers with shortbread cookies and it is delicious! I always get compliments and requests to make it. 😊

  18. Hi! I am planning to do this but I’m confused about the cream cheese. Do you mean that 3 packages is equivalent to 8oz overall or each package should be 8oz? Please reply🙏🏻 Thank you!✨

  19. Actually the best cheesecake recipe I have come across. It’s delicate and creamy. A real crowd pleaser. A tip I have from making it many a times is ensuring cream chess is room temperature. Love your recipe

    1. I usually freeze it overnight. You can also refrigerate it overnight. The cheesecake MUST be completely cooled and chilled. You can try it at 4 hours and see how it works.

  20. This is the best cheesecake ever! And so easy to make. Better than any restaurant or bakery. I’m very impressed. I refrigerated it overnight and it was perfect the next day. It is creamy yet firm. Heavenly.

  21. This is my 4th time making your cheesecake. It is my favorite, go to cheesecake recipe that I finally wrote down just in case Pinterest ever fails me. I will use this forever, it’s the perfect consistency for my liking – smooth, creamy yet still fluffy, great flavor for plain or adding toppings, better than what I find living in NY! Just made it again to show off for my coworkers. Try it everyone!

  22. I’ve made this recipe many times – it is the best one out there! I always refrigerate it instead of freezing it and it still comes out fantastic every time.

  23. To share what I learned: Do not use the same mixer attachment in the egg whites that you used with the cheese mixture. Either the cream cheese or probably the lemon juice prevented it from getting peaks. I was able to scrape off some fluff from the top, but ended up having to dump it and got three new egg whites.

  24. This cheese cake is so delicious and so easy. I have had everyone that’s tasted it has said it is the best they have EVER had. Thank you Stephanie

  25. Delicious flavor, but I couldn’t get the fluffy texture described. No matter how long I beat my eggs they would stay foamy, so I thought it would be good enough. Any tips on how to get them fluffier next time?

  26. I’ve made this recipe at least 10 times now. It’s always a hit. This is my favorite recipe for cheesecake. I don’t think I’ll ever use another recipe.

  27. A lot of recipes for cheesecake u bake the crust for 10 min before adding the filling do u bake the crust before u add the filling in this recipe

    1. I made this as written and do not bake the crust first. Feel free to make this however you wish.

  28. Should it be somewhat firm after 35 mins of cooking? Middle is very loose …adding a few minutes of time but don’t want to overcook.

    1. It won’t be completely firm. It will continue to cook as it sits in the oven for an hour. It will also be firmer after it has chilled. It is essential to chill the cheesecake overnight.

  29. Hi, I want to make this cheesecake, however I want to make it 1 week before I need it. Does it keep well in the freezer for that long? Please let me know

  30. This is the most awesome cheesecake recipe EVER! I typically make 1.5 recipe which gives me 1 9″ and 2 6″ cakes. I’ve also make mini. Cheesecake tarts with this recipe. THANKS, Steph.

  31. This is a winner cheese cake!
    I am playing around with the times either to cook longer or leave it in the oven longer because once it is done cooking and being in the freezer. I take it out to thaw a little, when its time to cut the cake is melted…. Like the cheese did not cook in the middle. I am going to bake again for my mother on Mothers day and top it off with strawberry topping. Hopefully it all goes right and not liquidy.

    1. Maybe try cooking it 5 or 10 minutes longer. All ovens are different, so maybe in your oven it just takes a few extra minutes.

  32. This cheesecake has a great texture (halfway between dense supermarket cheesecake and fluffy Japanese style cheesecake) but is a little too sweet for me. Don’t get new wrong, it’s delicious and my family and I finished it within a week lol but I like my cheesecake a little tangier. It was really easy so I’ll definitely make it again, but with less sugar. Thanks for the recipe!

  33. Hello,
    Today is my birthday, so I made this amazing recipe! Can you tell me about how long I should freeze it, before serving? Thank you!

    1. Happy Birthday!!! Freeze the cheesecake for at least 3 or 4 hours to make sure it has cooled and has time to set.

  34. Just made this for my sister's birthday and liked it very much, however it is MUCH lighter than the usual cheesecake so if heavier is what you are expecting, you will be disappointed!

  35. Made this for Thanksgiving yesterday. It was my first time fixing cheesecake and followed the recipe exactly.. This has to be the best cheescake I have ever tried… My family absolutely loved it.. Thankyou so much ��

  36. I also agree with both comments above, I want to add baileys, but I also do not want to waste all the ingredients to just trial.
    Not sure if I should cut down on yogurt, maybe the vanilla. This is by far the best recipe I have found and really want to try it.
    I welcome advice from any baker out there!

  37. I’ve used this recipe before and LOVED IT! Thank you so much for sharing it!

    I do have a question though – have you tried this recipe with anything mixed in? I’d love to try swirling salted caramel throughout or something fruity. Do you think it would still have a good consistency?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. I haven't tried mixing anything into the batter. Sounds really good. I think it is worth a shot!

    2. Personally, I think it would not bake the same. Seems anything added to it would probably make it sink in thy middle… That's my take on this. I've made this cheesecake three times… This is the ONLY recipe I have followed step by step and each time has been perfect. And NO leftovers ☺️ Maybe drizzle the caramel… For me, I would not want to waste money and the time this takes to make, in hopes that a little tweak may or may not turn out…

    3. Just an update… it turned out great ???? I used probably 1/3 cup of salted caramel and swirled it on top after placing the filling in the pan. Baked exactly the same and it turned out perfect!

    4. Thank you SO much for the update, Katy! I am definitely going to add salted caramel next time I make this – sounds delicious!

  38. Hello.
    This is my go to cheesecake. It's the best one out there… If you follow the directions as written. No sub this or that. It comes out perfect every single time. The one thing I do is add some extra crumble to the top before baking. YUMMY!!

    My question is… Once it's thawed, can you refreeze any leftovers?

  39. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this cheesecake recipe!!! Since Halloween, I’ve made this cheesecake THREE TIMES!! The first time, for a Halloween potluck, my coworkers knew they were all my test bunnies. And since I’ve made others over the years, they were all willing. I was doubtful, trying something new and all. I needed their honest so that I could fix whatever needed. Well, the cheesecake was brought to the dessert table at 11ish. It was gone.. GONE by 2:30!!! I even shared your recipe with two… THREE other coworkers. THIS is by far my favorite cheesecake. As for my third one, it’s for my Mom’s birthday on Christmas Eve. I wanted to be sure I had that ready for her for her special day. Thank you for sharing the BEST CHEESECAKE ever recipe.

  40. This cheesecake is AMAZING! I absolutely love it and so does everyone who tries it – and they usually ask me for the recipe!

    Question – mine cracks every, single, time after I get it out of the oven to cool before I put in the freezer. I am following the recipe to the T. Any suggestions on keeping it from cracking. This last time I beat the egg whites even more and it cracked a little less but still cracked. Thoughts?

  41. I made this cheesecake a few months ago. I followed your recipe to the T, omg!!! It was the best cheesecake ever! I'm been thinking about it every since. I finally got all the ingredients to make it again . I'm soooo excited to make it again . Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe!!!

  42. I made this, and my husband who doesn't like cheesecake said that he liked this one. The only thing I did different was pre-bake my crust so it wouldn't fall apart and added parchment paper to my pan. Mine did crack down the middle, so I wonder if it was because the crust was warm from pre-baking. I'll bake everything all at once next time. Thanks for the yummy recipe!

  43. Hi, I've made this before and it's delicious. My family didn't want to wait and we dug in without freezing it. I want to try it again the right way and freeze it. Since it was a bit too soft the first time. My question is, do you freeze it in the springform pan? Any problems or tips from keeping it to stick?

    1. I froze mine in the pan, when it thawed. I removed the sides . Perfect , just dip the knife in water to slice

  44. I removed it after letting it rest for the hour and it still feels very jiggly and not done from the center. Will the freezing period fix that?

  45. I had made this recipe twice came out wonderful and we loved it. Making it again for my sons birthday and today baked for the 35 min @325 and then let sit in the oven for an hour. And when took it out it was still super jiggly in the middle and could tell it was not done. Put back in the over @325 for 15 min and rest in the oven again seems better but the top is now a little over done. Ever had that happen? Have you ever checked the cheesecake to make sure it is done at the 35 min mark to know if it needs to bake more?

  46. I thoroughly enjoyed this cheesecake. I messed up and put 1 tbs instead of 1 tsp of vanilla but it was still really good! Everyone loved it!

  47. I love this recipe! Cheesecake is my husband's favorite so I needed this. I just made it and put it in the freezer. How long can I leave it in the freezer? I was going to have guest come over tomorrow night, but plans got changed to the day after tomorrow.

    1. In all the times I’ve made the cheesecake, I’ve never had it crack. It could just be the differences in ovens. Not sure. Sorry!

  48. Help!My cheesecake has sunk in the middle! Why? I did everything according to instructions. Maybe I should have mixed all the ingredients together at the same time rather then creaming the egg yolks and sugar and then adding everything else….I would be really happy if I got your reply.Thank you!

    1. I’ve never had an issue with the cheesecake sinking. I’m not sure why that happened. I make the cheesecake exactly as written and never have any issues. It turns out just like the photo.

  49. I’ve made this over and over, and it turns out perfectly each time!!! Thank you for an amazing cheesecake recipe!!! We love it!!!

    1. I've only made this recipe in a springform pan. You can try lining a cake pan with foil and baking it in that. You might have some leftover filling.

    1. I've only made this in a springform pan. I don't think a cake pan would be deep enough and it will be harder to get out of the pan.

  50. Ok, i've made this twice now exactly as written. Everyone loved loved it and i get requests ro make it for my family members birthdays! Thanks so much for the easiest and best cheesecake recipe!!!!��

  51. Recipe came out great! First set of eggs white WOULD NOT get firm so I had to redo that step but the cheesecake came out great and tastes great as well! I cooked it for 35 mins as suggested then let it sit in the oven for an hour. I did not use a water bath although I saw many comments where it was suggested and the cheesecake still came out beautifully.

    1. So glad you enjoyed it!!! A water bath is totally unnecessary for this recipe. It never fails me!

  52. I love this cake and have made it several times. Have you ever done a chocolate version? I need to make a chocolate cheesecake and don't wanna do the whole water bath thing. I just don't want to add the chocolate if it will compromise the texture and lightness. Have you ever tried it?

  53. Is it just me, or does this recipe make more than fits into one pan? My 9.5 inch glass pan definitely doesn't whole the entire mix.

    1. The recipe is not for a pie plate. It is made to go in a springform pan. They are not the same.

  54. Do I need to allow it to cool before I place it in the freezer?
    Should I cover it with something before I place it in the freezer also ?

  55. Best recipe ever!!! I've looked too long for a good cheesecake recipe. I love that it is super fluffy and tastes light. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  56. Has anyone ever used a pre made graham cracker crust? I disn't have any graham crackers but has thowse. It made 2 and it is resting in the oven now. So we shall see.

  57. I really loved your recipe. I made this cheesecake last night it is very simple, but yet very tasty. Since I couldn't try it last night I had to have it for breakfast. Definitely I'll keep this recipe handy for when I get friends coming over the house. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  58. Well I made this cheesecake last night. Actually, I was searching for a good recipe to top off some brownies so I used this as my cheesecake layer for a 9×13" pan. I was happy to find the recipe came out to equal twice as much cheesecake as there was brownie. I am pregnant and have become very picky about my brownie to cheesecake ratio. However, my only complaint is when I pulled them out this morning to be cut up, I ended up ingesting somewhere upwards of 1,000 calories in cheesecake alone before I had even touched my first cup of coffee. This left me with heartburn and that unique sense of diet failure. I immediately cut up what was left into bars and threw them into a storage container in the freezer, hoping nobody would notice a quarter of the pan was somehow missing. We all know the pregnant lady is an immediate suspect. But I have a feeling once they get a taste I will have their complete understanding. The cheesecake was fluffy and creamy without being too dense. I did keep a pan of water on the bottom rack during baking and didn't end up having any cracks. I'm excited to give this recipe a try in an actual cheesecake pan! The fact that it is such an easy recipe is probably not a good thing. I have a love/hate relationship with super yummy things where the ingredients come together in less than 20 minutes. But regardless, now that I have it, I will certainly be making it again soon! Also, to address the "cracking" issue. The best thing I have found to prevent cracking with cheesecake is to keep the oven closed as to avoid temp changes. Keep the light on and give the door a jiggle or open ever so slightly and allow it to kind of slam closed to test the "wobbly" factor of the cake. When it looks right, just turn the oven off and leave it. Keep a water bath under it and allow it to cool for at least 2 hours in the oven before opening the door.

  59. This recipe is awesome. I made it for a family dinner and my father in law asked for the leftovers to be left for him. I followed it exactly and was a little nervous because I never baked a cheese cake before. It was perfect and everyone loved it. I topped it with a strawberry glaze made from jam. Thanks for this. Will be making it again, soon.

  60. i forgot to separate the eggs. hope is ok. the cake looks amazing regardless. ty for a nice and easy recipe stephanie. the next time i will separate and fold as recipe. that should be very soon.. ria

    1. It should keep in the freezer up to a month. It will take several hours to thaw. I usually leave it in the fridge all day and it is thawed by the evening.

  61. I think 35 minutes was too much to mine. It became a little brown on top. Waiting the last one hour of oven and the others five hours of freeze to try!!! At least, it smeels very good! Thanks for share.

  62. It was stated 3 (8oz) cream cheese. Do you mean 3 of 8 Oz cream cheese or just 1 x 8 oz (approx. 225g))

  63. This is wonderful! I made it a month ago to raving family members, and now am taking it tomorrow to school for our faculty dessert. Thank you!

  64. I have another question.Does anyone know how to cut cheesecake ? what to use? what kind of knife? When I cut mine it all sticks to the knife

    1. I have used an ordinary knife..if it sticks, run warm water over the knife and bing-bang-bongalong…Bob's your uncle!! DELUMPTIOUS!! 🙂

    1. A few hours before serving should be fine. I usually take it out the morning that I am serving it and refrigerate it until we eat.

  65. Yes, you can freeze them. I place mine in a gallon ziplock bag. It works great. Another topping is 1 pkg. sour cream, 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar, and cinnamon to taste. Whip together, pour on top of your cheese cake 5 minutes before done, and bake the rest of the way. OMG. It is so good. I bought 5" pans. My kids call them personal pan cheesecakes. 🙂

    1. Yes I baked it for 35min and let it set in the oven with the door closed for 1 hour. It has been in the freezer for two hours and it seems set now so I'm hoping when we cut it tomorrow it is cooked through. Fingers crossed!:-) It looks yummy!

  66. Hi Stephanie! Have you tried doing this without a crust? Would the baking time and instructions be the same? It's for my brothers birthday and he loves cheesecake but not so much the crust!

    1. I've never made with without the crust, so I don't really know how it will bake without it. I would assume it would bake the same amount of time, but I've never tried it.

  67. Wonderful flavor! I tried making as "mini" cheesecakes; but although I followed the recipe to the letter; every single one of them fell in the center – I had to improvise and fill in with fruit topping n chocolate swirls. They tasted wonderful but the "look" was very disapointing. What did I do wrong?

    1. Not sure. This isn't a mini cheesecake recipe, so you will just have to play around with it to make it work

  68. How do you remove it from the pan if it is a graham cracker crust?
    And after eating, do you put it back in the freezer or the fridge?

    1. I've never tried this with Splenda – I don't bake with Splenda, so I am not sure how it would turn out.

    2. Use the Baking Splenda. I really do not like the melting stuff, bleah… The baking splenda does have sugar, but not as much. Hey, it looks like sugar, so…it does hae a better taste and it is made for baking. I did use this when my hubs was sick. Prednesone made his sgar skyrocket.

    3. Use the Baking Splenda, it's the granulated kind. It is really good. Half the sugar, still has some, but much better than the "melty" stuff. Tried it in cheese cakes. Good.

  69. This looks very good. I have it in the oven right now. How long before serving do you take the cheesecake out of the freezer?

  70. Hi
    do you hv any photo to show the egg white became stiff and creamy? Or how long do we need to beat?

  71. Sorry, if I post twice…lost my preview on log in. Beyond "light and fluffy"…is this cake dry and crumbly or smooth and creamy? Smooth & creamy (just slimy, to me) seems to be the preference these days, and I can never find a recipe to make the older, dry style.

    1. I don't like those cheesecakes that feel like I'm eating a stick of butter either. This is creamy, but not slimy. So happy to have come across the recipe.

  72. Hi Steph. I have never made a cheesecake before and I am not a fan of lemon. Can I make this without the lemon juice?

    1. It doesn't have a lemon flavor at all. I've never made it without the lemon juice, but you can certainly try it.

    1. I have been making cheesecake for years. My daughter found this recipe and it was so good. Now I make it and it’s the best vanilla cheesecake that I have eaten.

  73. I've only recently realised that all the recipes that I had placed in my zip list are forever gone! What a disaster….and pinterest is too much. I tried it and forget it! So good luck with that…….they might just do a zip/zip too.

  74. Dear Steph, That is a beautiful looking cheesecake and I bet it is delicious!! I do love cheesecake.
    Happy and Blessed New Year. xo Catherine

  75. Oh I must try this! Cheesecake is my favorite dessert – with strawberries on top 🙂 I love that you can freeze it and have it on hand or ready for the holidays. I've made the Cook's Illustrated cheesecake and it was perfect, but this sounds a lot easier.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. I do out the cheesecake in the freezer while it is slightly warm. I have always frozen it, so I think it is required. You can eat it without freezing and see how it goes. I can't make any promises since I've never done it that way.

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