How To Make A Cheesecake

CHEESECAKE 101: Everything you need to know about how to make a simple and delicious cheesecake, and how to create your own variations.

Cheesecake 101 Everything you need to know about how-to make a simple and delicious cheesecake and how-to create your own variations.Cheesecake is one of the most beloved dessert around the world. With so many variations to suit your taste buds, I can certainly see why this heavenly dessert is so popular. This is my first recipe and tutorial post, so something new for me. My goal is to show you how easy it is to create your own cheesecake recipe by first demonstrating how to make a simple cheesecake and then how to create your own variations.

Cheesecake 101 Everything you need to know about how-to make a simple and delicious cheesecake and how-to create your own variations.The basic recipe I’ll be sharing is a simple cream cheese based recipe with sour cream. It has a smooth, velvety texture and creamy vanilla taste with the perfect balance of sweetness. I don’t fuss with twice-baking and I don’t fuss with a water bath, I just keep it simple and amazingly delicious. If you’re just interested in the recipe for the cheesecake you see in the photos, please scroll to the end of this post.

Cheesecake 101 Everything you need to know about how-to make a simple and delicious cheesecake and how-to create your own variations.So, let’s start with the baking temperature. The general rule is 325°F for a dark non-stick springform pan, and 350°F for a silver springform pan. I prefer to bake at 325°F. It takes a bit longer, but I find it bakes more evenly. My recipe is also based on a 9″ springform pan because it’s the most common size.

how to make a cheesecake-1To make the crust, mix 1 to 1&1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs with 3-4 tbsp of melted butter, depending on how thick you want it to be.

how to make a cheesecake-2My recipe ratio is 1 pkg (250g/8oz) of cream cheese to 1 large egg to 1/4 cup sugar to 1/4 cup sour cream.

So, for a small/thin cheesecake, I would use 2 pkgs of cream cheese, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup sour cream.

For a medium size, which is what I made in the pictures, I used 3 pkgs of cream cheese, 3 eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, and 3/4 cup sour cream.

For a large size, use 4 pkgs of cream cheese, 4 eggs, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup sour cream

For an extra large/thick cheesecake, use 5 pkgs of cream cheese, 5 eggs, 1&1/4 cups sugar, and 1&1/4 cups sour cream. Easy math right?

All ingredients should be at room temperature. Start by mixing the cream cheese and sugar until combined, add eggs, one at a time, then add the sour cream and mix until smooth.

how to make a cheesecake-3Baking time is generally 40-50 minutes for a small, 50-60 minutes for a medium, 1 hour – 1hour & 10 minutes for a large, and 1hour & 10 minutes – 1hour & 20 minutes for an extra large/thick cheesecake. Approximately 10 minutes extra per pkg of cream cheese.

The cheesecake is done when the center is almost set. I usually take my cheesecake out when the outer edges looks dull and there is about 2-3 inches of the center that still looks wet. Because a cheesecake is so dense, the centre will continue to cook while cooling. There’s a very fine line between a perfectly baked cheesecake and an overbaked one, but I never stress over this. If, for some reason I get distracted (by my kids or my blog) and I overbake my cheesecake to the point where it cracks when cooling, well, I just throw on some toppings and no one will ever know. 🙂

Now, let’s get creative and go through some ideas on how-to customize your cheesecake.

Crust: You can use any kind of cookie or cracker crumbs. My favorites are Oreos, honey graham crackers and gingersnap cookies. Add some lemon zest, or spices for more flavor. Add some finely chopped nuts for some crunch.

Filling: Melt some semi-sweet chocolate or white chocolate into the batter (about 2 oz per pkg of cream cheese). Add some citrus zest, flavored liquor, vanilla extract, spices or extract of any flavor. Swirl some jam into the batter. You can also omit the sour cream if you want a firmer cheesecake or replace it with ricotta cheese, coconut cream, or canned pumpkin if you like.

Topping: I always top my cheesecake because I think it makes it look prettier and adds flavor. My favorite is what you see in the pictures, sweetened sour cream and beautiful fresh fruit. You can top your cheesecake with anything you like or have on hand. Some ideas are whipped cream, jam, chocolate ganache, caramel sauce, pie filling, chopped up candy bars etc. You get the idea.

how to make a cheesecake-4

Cheesecake 101 Everything you need to know about how-to make a simple and delicious cheesecake and how-to create your own variations.So, I hope you found this post helpful. Let me know what kind of recipe you come up with and email me some pictures. I can’t wait to see what you create!

Fresh Fruit and Sour Cream Topped Cheesecake

  • Servings: one 9inch cheesecake, serves 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


1&1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

4 tbsp melted butter

3 pkgs of cream cheese, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

3 large eggs

3/4 cup sour cream

For Topping

3/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups fresh fruit


1) Preheat oven to 325°F. Mix the graham cracker crumbs together with the melted butter and press onto the bottom of a 9″ springform pan.

2) Using a handheld mixer, blend cream cheese and sugar until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing in between. Then add sour cream and blend until smooth. Pour over crust and bake for 50-60 minutes or until edges are lightly brown and center is almost set.

3) Run a thin knife around the edges and let cool completely before topping or refrigerating.

4) Whisk sour cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread on top of cheesecake and decorate with fresh fruit before serving.

Cheesecake is best when chilled for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Recipe by Little Sweet Baker

You might also like:

White Chocolate Cheesecake

WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE. A smooth creamy rich white chocolate cheesecake over a honey graham cracker hazelnut crust.

No-Bake Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT CHEESECAKE. Oreo cookie crumb base with a smooth and creamy chocolate hazelnut cheesecake filling, topped with a chocolate hazelnut spread and Ferrero Rocher candies.This simple no-bake recipe is only 4 ingredients, mix, chill and Voila!


  1. Perfect. I was looking for the ratio /technical aspect behind it. Do you know what makes the cheesecake to rise? OR does it. My cheesecake came out very flat / Also had to do with the fact, I used only about 400gms of cream cheese in a 7in springform. Perhaps I should use 600gms-900gms to get a taller cheesecake.

    • Cheesecakes do rise a bit while baking, but will sink back down when cooling. What causes the cake to rise is probably from the air bubbles created when beating the batter and air bubbles expand when heated. The volume of cream cheese you used does make for a smaller cheesecake, so using more cream cheese will make for a larger cake and don’t worry if your cake cracks or sinks, thats what toppings are for:)

  2. huntfortheverybest says:

    it looks like a perfect cheesecake!

  3. What a great tutorial! Love how you broke all the measurements and cook times down. Thanks for sharing it on Merry Monday. Hope to see you again tonight.

  4. Wow, what a beautiful, gorgeous and simply perfect cake Lily!!! Really a masterpiece, and also really love the photos you took, super mouthwatering and appetizing! Thanks for bringing this to the Fiesta, and absolutely wonderful addition!

  5. Gorgeous cheesecake! Thanks for all the wonderful tips!

  6. This post came at a perfect time for me! I’m planning to make cheesecake next week and it’s been a few years since I made a proper cheesecake (the last time I made it it was in bar form) so I was gonna go on a search for some tips to make sure I get it right, I have bookmarked this post and will definitely be checking back here before i make mine. i just hope it looks half as beautiful as yours does!

  7. What a beautiful cheescake, Lily!

  8. Beautiful, beautiful cheesecake Lily 🙂

  9. Simply gorgeous!

  10. Thank you for sharing this classic cake! I like the fact that you give a “recipe ratio” ! very helpful!

  11. I forgot to tell you, LIly, today I happened to post mini NY cheesecakes on this same day you posted your NY large cheesecake! So we were on the same NY cheesecake wavelength today, you could say! 🙂

    • Great minds think alike! I do consider my recipe NY style, which to me, is the best, right? But I didn’t want to state that since there is no defined definition of a NY style cheesecake

  12. Lily, this recipe is spot on! Cheesecakes have been my favorite thing to make and this is a great NY simple and so good cheesecake recipe! I LOVE it! Of course, NY being my homestate, to me, nothing tops NY cheesecake! 🙂 I also like your tutorial… very tough to do, but your writing is excellent! Keep up the great work!

  13. I do love! love! cheesecakes! Beautiful! I’d like to have a huge slice please, Lily! 🙂

  14. Absolutely divine! Love your topping 🙂

  15. What a coincidence I am also preparing cheesecake today. Looks delicious:) berries making it extra special

  16. Your cheesecake is perrrfect, Lily! So beautiful! Thank you for this introduction to making cheesecake; I’ve never made one and am admittedly afraid of trying. But, you’ve eased my fears a bit and I may have to give it a go this summer. Happy Friday!

  17. Hi Lily, your cheesecake looks so lovely, and all of your detail and guidance is great, thank you so much! And thank for your bringing this to this weeks Fiesta Friday, I’m sure it will be VERY popular xx

  18. Cheese cake is my absolute favorite dessert. This one looks so delicious and pretty with the colorful berries. Perfect dessert for July 4th! I will have 2 slices please. 😉

    • Thanks, the colour of the berries just happen to match the festivities this weekend, here’s 2 slices for you, nice chatting!

  19. wow, what a beautiful dessert! I would like a piece, please:)

  20. Excellent instructions and an absolutely beautiful cake!

  21. Gorgeous photos! Cheesecake was always one of those dishes I’ve been afraid of. It seemed so complex and needy. But these a few weeks ago I decided to make the plunge, and found out it was so much easier than I thought! I made some orange cheesecake bars with a chocolate cookie crust, and man oh man was I praising God I finally decided to try cheesecake. Sooo good, and so much easier than I thought! I love your step by step instructions here. It’s so good to know the time and ingredient ratios!

    • I love chocolate and orange together, your cheesecake sounds delicious, what a wonderful idea, nice meeting you and thanks for shopping by:)

  22. Flawless! Standing ovation!


  1. […] got this cheesecake recipe from the wonderful Little Sweet Baker, last week she made a a very helpful cheesecake post it was perfectly timed for this week’s […]

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