Authentic New York Cheesecake is a tall, dense, and incredibly creamy style of cheesecake made with sour cream. The techniques used for mixing and baking this classic cheesecake create the best cheesecake that doesn’t crack, no water bath required!

Slices of New York Style cheesecake plated up with fresh strawberries

New York Cheesecake Overview

New York Cheesecake is an incredibly creamy and dense style of cheesecake that is a bit different from other cheesecakes due to the way it is baked and because we use sour cream and flour in the filling.

Perfect Cheesecake Without a Water Bath

One of my favorite things about a New York style cheesecake is that it is baked without a water bath, unlike many other cheesecake recipes. A water bath can be frustrating because the water can leak into the pan and ruin the cheesecake. 

New York cheesecake initially bakes in a very hot oven for a short period of time, then remains in a low temperature oven for the rest of the bake time. This baking method forms a skin on top of the cheesecake which sets the top in place, keeps the filling dense, and prevents cracking on top – all without a water bath! 

Slice of New York Style Cheesecake plated up with fresh strawberries


  • Cream Cheese is the key filling ingredient and provides the main structure and flavor for the cheesecake. Full-fat cream cheese is the best choice for the creamiest, most flavorful cheesecake.
  • Sugar sweetens the cheesecake filling.
  • Flour is used to stabilize the filling and keep it dense. A little goes a long way!
  • Eggs are the binding ingredient and help create a silky smooth texture.
  • Sour Cream adds a slight tang and creaminess to the filling.
  • Vanilla and Lemon Zest create the iconic classic cheesecake flavor.

How to Make New York Cheesecake

Before you start making the cheesecake, make sure the butter, sour cream, and eggs are at room temperature. Let them sit out for at least an hour or more before getting started. This is extremely important for the creamiest and best New York style cheesecake!

Step 1: Make the Crust

Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and sugar until well combined, then press the mixture into the bottom and a little bit up the sides of the springform pan. Bake the crust until it is set and slightly toasted.

Step 2: Prepare the Filling

Cream together the softened cream cheese, granulated sugar, and flour. This small amount of flour is unique to New York style cheesecake recipes and gives the cheesecake a little more structure.

Eggs being added to cheesecake filling

Mix in the eggs one at a time until they are well incorporated. The eggs will bind our cheesecake together and create a silky smooth texture. 

Sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla being added to cheesecake filling

Mix in the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Along with the lemon zest, the sour cream adds a bit of tang to the cheesecake. While totally optional, I think the zest adds the perfect flavor (and it won’t taste like a lemon cheesecake!).

Step 3: Bake the Cheesecake

Pour the cheesecake batter on top of the crust in the springform pan (no need to wait for the crust to fully cool). Place the filled pan on a sheet pan. The batter should come almost all the way to the top of your pan.

Initially bake the cheesecake at a really high temperature, then turn down the temperature and let it finish baking. This burst of high heat sets the top of the cheesecake while the low temperature will slowly cook it so it stays creamy and the top doesn’t crack. 

Step 4: Cool the Cheesecake

The most difficult part of making cheesecake is waiting for it to cool! Once the baking time is over, turn off the oven and keep the cheesecake inside with the door shut for about an hour. This ensures that the cheesecake doesn’t cool too quickly, further preventing any cracks from forming. 

Chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight!) before removing it from the pan and slicing it.

Step 5: Serve! 

Slices of New York style cheesecake plated up with fresh strawberries

While New York cheesecake is delicious on its own, try topping it with fresh strawberry sauce, hot fudge sauce, caramel sauce, or berry sauce (use any fresh fruit!).

How to Store Cheesecake

Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to 1 week. To freeze, freeze the cheesecake uncovered until solid. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. 

Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

  • It is super important to use room temperature ingredients before making the cheesecake filling. Room temperature ingredients ensure the filling has an incredibly creamy texture! 
  • When mixing the cheesecake filling, make sure to use the paddle attachment, not the whisk attachment. Cream cheese can separate if it is not beaten properly.
  • This cheesecake filling is enough to fill a 9 inch (23 cm) spring form pan all the way to the top. It won’t overflow because the initial blast of heat prevents it from becoming any taller.
  • Cheesecake is a great make ahead dessert recipe because it needs so much time to bake, cool, and chill. Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 6 hours before slicing so the filling has time to fully set.
  • With a simple graham cracker crust, this classic New York cheesecake is truly amazing on its own and makes for a great canvas for fresh berries, chocolate sauce, strawberry sauce, or caramel sauce!
  • For a flavorful twist, swap the traditional graham cracker crust for an oreo crust, shortbread crust, or gingersnap crust.


If you enjoyed this recipe, you might like to try another cheesecake dessert that’s perfect for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or any other special occasions.

Slices of New York Style cheesecake plated up with fresh strawberries
Yield: 14 Servings

New York Cheesecake

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 16 minutes
Chilling Time 7 hours
Total Time 9 hours 41 minutes

Authentic New York Cheesecake is a tall, dense, and incredibly creamy style of cheesecake made with sour cream. The technique for mixing and baking this cheesecake makes it truly the best!


For the Crust

  • 186 grams (about 12 sheets) graham crackers, or another type of crunchy cookie like a digestive biscuit or gingersnap
  • 50 grams (¼ cup) granulated sugar
  • 113 grams (½ cup, 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling

  • 904 grams (4- 8 ounce packages) full fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 300 grams (1 ½ cups) granulated sugar
  • 22 grams (3 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 240 grams (1 cup) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest


Note: It is extremely important that your oven is truly heated to 475°F/250°C before baking the cheesecake. An oven thermometer can help determine if your oven is heating hot enough. It usually takes at least 20 (sometimes longer) full minutes for ovens to reach a temperature this high. It is also essential that you do not open the oven door during the baking process. Letting out the heat can cause the cheesecake to not set.


  1. 1 ½ hours before preparing the cheesecake, set out the cream cheese (904 grams/ 4- 8 ounce packages), eggs (4 large), and sour cream (240 grams/ 1 cup) to come to room temperature. It is extremely important for a creamy cheesecake that your ingredients are not cold.
  2. You will need a 9 inch (23 cm) spring form pan for this recipe. Right before starting the crust, preheat your oven to 375°F/190°C and position your oven rack in the center position. (Do not use the convection setting if you oven has it for this recipe)

Prepare the Crust:

  1. Place the graham crackers (186 grams/ about 12 sheets) in a food processor and pulse until you have cookie crumbs. Alternatively, you can put them in a plastic zipper bag and use a rolling pin to roll back and forth until they are crumbs.
  2. Place the cookie crumbs in a medium bowl and mix with the granulated sugar (50 grams/ ¼ cup) and melted butter (113 grams/ ½ cup). Firmly press the crust into the bottom and about 1 inch (2.5 cm) up the sides of the spring form pan.
  3. Bake the crust at 375°F/190°C for 8 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool while you prepare the filling.

Prepare the filling:

  1. Increase the oven temperature to 475°F/250°C. It needs to be preheating for at least 20 minutes before the cheesecake goes in. 
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) combine the softened cream cheese, granulated sugar (300 grams/ 1 ½ cups), and flour (22 grams/ 3 tablespoons). Beat on medium speed for a full 6 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time while the mixer is running on low speed. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract (1 teaspoon), and lemon zest (1 teaspoon). Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all of the mixture is evenly combined. 
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. It will completely fill up the pan and then place the pan onto a sheet pan. Place the sheet pan on the center rack and bake for 8 minutes.
  5. Leave the door closed and reduce the oven temperature to 200°F/93°C  for 1 hour. Turn the oven off (do not open the oven door!) and leave the cheesecake in the off oven for 1 more hour.
  6. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let cool at room temperature. Move to the refrigerator and chill for at least 6-8 hours (or overnight) before removing the sides of the pan and slicing.


*Recipe adapted from The Baker's Manuel New York Style Cheesecake

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