Cheesecake is always the right answer when you’re looking for a delicious dessert to serve family or guests.
Making cheesecake can sometimes feel overwhelming. Maybe even frustrating and stressful too. But you never want your dessert game to suffer all because you’re too afraid of making cheesecake, and once you make it a couple times you’ll wonder what the fuss was for. Making deliciously, creamy cheesecakes should never have a bad reputation. Thankfully, I’ve mastered the art of cheesecake-making so you never have to live without it. I’m sharing a few of my favorite tips for making the perfect cheesecake every time but you can get the rest of those tips here.
Room temperature all the things. For a perfectly smooth cheesecake without lumps, the cream cheese, eggs and sour cream must be at room temperature. Similarly, you want to bring the cheesecake to room temperature after cooling and before serving.
Just say no to cracks. There are a few ways to avoid cracks in your cheesecake and achieve that smooth consistency we all want.
- First, using a tablespoon of cornstarch in your cheesecake batter firms it up, giving it less of a chance to form cracks.
- Second, baking the cheesecake in a water bath creates steam and keeps the cheesecake from drying out in the oven. A dry cheesecake is sure to form cracks. Wrap your springform pan in foil to prevent leaks and then place it in the middle of a roasting pan that has a couple inches of hot water in it.
- Lastly, don’t over mix, overbake or cool too fast. If you over mix, you will let air into the batter. If you overbake or cool too fast, cracks may form.
Let the cheesecake do its thing. I have a habit of being impatient and opening the oven for a peek at how things are going but when it comes to baking cheesecakes, that’s a big no-no. If you let any steam out of the oven, you risk cracks forming or the cheesecake actually sinking in. The whole ‘toothpick in the middle to see if it’s done’ thing is also a big no-no here. A cheesecake is done when the outer rim looks set but the middle jiggles when you gently shake the pan. It will continue to cook from the residual heat while it cools on the counter.
If all else fails, make the best of it. In the event you do happen to see cracks or something else goes wrong (like you didn’t grease your pan and can’t get the cheesecake out), don’t fret. The cheesecake will probably still taste delicious! Just add some sour cream or another topping to cover up cracks and/or grab a fork and dig in.
As the saying goes, “slow and steady wins the race”. Be mindful of the time it takes to make the perfect cheesecake and plan accordingly. To give you an idea, a cheesecake needs to bake for an hour, needs to cool for another hour on the counter, chill for four hours in the fridge then come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before slicing. Making cheesecake may appear as a test of patience but I promise it will be worth the wait.Print
Graham Cracker Crust
- 12 full-sheet graham crackers, crushed
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 3 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease the springform pan and wrap the outside of the pan in foil. Set aside.
- In a bowl, mix crushed graham crackers, melted butter and sugar. Transfer to the pan and press evenly into the bottom using the bottom of a glass. Place the crust in the oven and bake for 10 minutes until the crust is slightly brown around the edges. Remove from oven and let it cool.
- In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch and salt until combined and creamy. Stir in sour cream and vanilla then mix until combined. Add one egg at a time and stir to combine. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl and mix until smooth, creamy and silky.
- Pour the cheesecake batter over the cooled crust. Transfer the springform pan to the middle of a large roasting pan. Carefully fill the roasting pan with about an inch of hot water. This will help the cheesecake remain creamy without cracks. Bake the cheesecake until set at the edges but still a bit jiggly in the middle when you shake the pan, about 55-60 minutes.
- Remove cheesecake from oven. Let the cheesecake cool completely on a cooling rack. This step is crucial for achieving the perfect cheesecake. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to 72 hours. Add toppings, if desired. Slice and serve!