Vanilla Cheesecake

Why I love this cheesecake

  • Ingredients and process are simple and does not require an *actual* water bath. 
  • It’s smooth and creamy but dense and rich, like a classic cheesecake.
  • The recipe can be adjusted to make different sizes, from a small batch 6 inch cheesecake to a large 10 inch cheesecake. 

Ingredients & substitutions

  • Cream Cheese: make sure to use the full-fat brick cream cheese. I prefer the Philadelphia brand. 
  • Sugar: I used granulated sugar but this recipe works with light or dark brown sugar as well, it will just slightly darken the color and alter the flavor.
  • Sour Cream: I’ve tested this recipe with equal amounts of sour cream and greek yogurt several times and have never noticed a difference.  Plain yogurt should also work fine, just make sure it’s unsweetened.
  • Eggs: Use large, room temperature eggs.
    • If you’re in a pinch, place them in hot water for 5-10 minutes. 
  • Vanilla: I recommend vanilla bean paste or actual vanilla beans. If you’re in a pinch, pure vanilla extract works well too. 
  • Crust: I’ve used graham crackers and biscoff cookies (speculoos cookies) interchangeably in this recipe. Graham crackers are more classic, biscoff has a more fall(ish) cinnamon-y flavor. 

Guided Instructions

Step 1: Prepare your pan by removing the edge of the springform pan. Place a sheet of parchment paper onto the bottom of the pan so that it hangs off the edge. Then attach the side of the springform pan back to the bottom, so the parchment paper should be secure between the two pieces. Lightly spray the sides of the pan with baking spray.

Step 2: Make the crust by placing the graham crackers in a food processor and pulsing until you have fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse until it’s evenly distributed. Spread the crust into the prepared pan, coming all the way up the sides. Use a ½ cup measuring cup to make the bottom smooth and the corners sharp. 

Step 3: Make the filling by creaming the room temperature cream cheese with the sugar, until it’s smooth, creamy and glossy. Make sure there are no chunks of cream cheese left.

Step 4: Add the sour cream, vanilla, and salt and cream until it’s completely smooth. Then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed, just until each one is combined. 

Step 5: Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 300F (148C) for 45 minutes. Then turn the oven off and use a knife to release the cheesecake from the edge of the pan. Let the cheesecake rest for 15 minutes in the oven with the door halfway open. 

Step 6: Cheesecake should still have jiggle in the center, let it cool on the counter for a few hours before transferring to the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight. 

Tips to get the perfect bake without a waterbath

  • Weighing your ingredients with a digital scale is always recommended.
  • Bake the cheesecake at a lower temperature than normal for a longer period of time. Bake until the edges are set and the center is still jiggly. 
  • Use a knife to release the cheesecake from the edge of the pan after baking. The cheesecake will shrivel a little as it cools and if it’s stuck to the edge of the pan, that will make it crack in the center.
  • Allow it to rest in the oven for another 15 minutes so that it can cool slowly to prevent cracking. 
  • Allow the cheesecake to chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight) so that it sets fully. 

How to flavor this base cheesecake recipe

I use this vanilla cheesecake recipe as the base for other cheesecakes. I have a biscoff version where I swap the graham crackers for biscoff cookies and add in 2 cups of biscoff cookie butter.

The cookie butter can be replaced with peanut butter to make peanut butter cheesecake or nutella for nutella cheesecake. 

Top it with fresh strawberries, blueberry topping, cherry topping, raspberry topping, rhubarb jam, caramelized white chocolate ganache, salted caramel sauce or chocolate ganache.

How to adapt the size of this cheesecake

I tested this recipe in 4 different sizes. It’s pretty straightforward to adjust to whatever pan size you need. The featured recipe is 1 full batch (2 of cheesecake baked in an 8 inch pan).

  • If you need a double batch, you will just double all of the ingredients. 
  • If you need a 1.5x batch, you will increase the ingredients by 1.5x. So instead of 2 bricks (16oz) of cream cheese, you’ll use 3 bricks (24oz), instead of ½ cup (120g) sour cream, you’ll use ¾ cup (180g), instead of ⅔ cup (133g) of sugar, you’ll use 1 cup (200g) and instead of 2 eggs you’ll use 3, etc. 
  • If you need a half batch, you will just cut all the ingredients in half.

The amount of cheesecake you’ll need for each size pan:

  • 10 inch pan: 2 batches – bake for 60-65 minutes, rest in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • 9 inch pan: 1.5 batches (also works with a double batch if you want a taller cheesecake) – bake for 50-55 minutes, rest in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • 8 inch pan: 1 batch (also works with 1.5 batches if you want a taller cheesecake) – bake for 40-45 minutes, rest in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • 6 inch pan: 1/2 batch – bake for 30 minutes, rest in then oven for 10 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I use if I don’t have a springform pan?

If you don’t have a springform pan, you can use a regular cake pan. I recommend spraying it with baking spray and lining it with these precut parchment liners.
I like to use the 10 inch round liners in a greased 8 inch pan so that it comes up a little higher and you can remove it from the cheesecake from the pan easier.

What if I can’t find Biscoff cookies?

Sometimes biscoff cookies can be hard to come by. If you find any speculoos cookies, those will be the most similar. If you can’t find speculoos cookies, gingersnaps are probably you next best and then cinnamon graham crackers.

How to warm up ingredients quickly?

If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to let your ingredients come to room temperature (aka me everyday), place the cream cheese (with the packaging) and the eggs in a large bowl of hot water for 10-20 minutes.
You can also microwave the sour cream for 10-15 seconds.

Why did my cheesecake crack?

If your cheesecake does crack, it’s usually for 1 of 3 reasons.
– It’s over-baked, which means it dried out a little bit.
– It cooled too quickly which means it didn’t have time to set properly.
– It stuck to the sides of the pan and pulled on the center of the cheesecake.
Make sure to check out my pro tips on baking without a water bath above.

How to store cheesecake

To refrigerate, cover the cheesecake with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to a week. Serve cold or bring to room temperature 1-2 hours before serving. 

To freeze the whole cheesecake, wrap it in plastic wrap and then wrap it twice in aluminum foil (or place it in an airtight container big enough). 

To freeze slices, place them tightly in an airtight container and then place the container in a freezer bag, squeezing out all the excess air. Bring them back to room temperature by thawing at room temperature for a few hours before serving. 

Thanks so much for reading today’s post, if you have any questions just comment down below. Make sure to leave it in the comment section because I can’t answer in the rating section.

If you make my cheesecake recipe, I’d love it if you left a star rating for me. If it’s less than five stars, please leave a comment with the rating so I know why! 🙂

As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!

Love, B

Yield: 8 inch cheesecake (8-12 servings)

Vanilla Cheesecake

three layers of vanilla cheesecake stacked

My vanilla cheesecake recipe that can be adjusted to fit different size pans. It’s smooth and creamy but dense and rich at the same time.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 9 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 pack (124g/8 full sheets) of graham crackers
  • 2 Tbsp (25g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (56g/4 Tbsp) salted butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling

  • 16 oz (2 bricks) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (133g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

Instructions

Graham Cracker Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C) and grease and line an 8 inch pan with baking spray and parchment paper.*
  2. Place the graham crackers in the bowl of your food processor and turn it to full speed, until the graham crackers are finely ground.
  3. Add the sugar and the melted butter and pulse until the butter looks evenly distributed.
  4. Dump the crumbs into the prepared pan and use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to press it down evenly, coming up only halfway on the edges.**
  5. Bake the crust for 5-10 minutes, while you prepare the filling.

Cheesecake Filling

  1. It's important that everything is softened to room temperature. If you need to, place the cream cheese (with the packaging) and the eggs in a bowl of hot water for 5-10 minutes and microwave the sour cream for 10-20 seconds.
  2. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a hand mixer). Turn the mixer to low speed and stream in the granulated sugar. Mix for 1-2 minutes, scraping the edge of the bowl every so often to make sure the mixture is smooth and there are no chunks of cream cheese left.
  3. Add the sour cream, vanilla and salt and mix at low speed, until they're fully combined.
  4. With the mixer still at low speed, add the first egg and mix just until it's combined. Then add the second egg. Scrape the edge of the bowl well and give it one more good mix. Make sure to get smooth out any visible chunks and don't increase the speed so you don't incorporate air.
  5. Reduce the oven to 300F (148C) when you remove the crust.
  6. Fold the batter a few times before pouring it over the crust. Place the cheesecake on the bottom rack of the oven and place another pan full of hot water next to it.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes. The edges of the cheesecake should be set but the center should still be jiggly.
  8. Turn the oven off and pull out the cheesecake just slightly so you can reach it. Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake so it can release from the pan and prevent cracking as it cools. Put the cheesecake back in the oven and leave the door halfway open for 15 minutes.
  9. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.
  10. Top with salted caramel sauce, fresh fruit, compote, chocolate sauce, etc.

Notes

*if you're using a springform pan, remove the sides, place the parchment on the bottom of the pan, leaving an overhang, and then clip the sides back to the bottom of the pan.

*if you're using a regular cake pan, I recommend using these precut parchment liners with an overhang. If not, then just line it with a regular sheet of parchment, leaving an overhang so you can easily remove it from the pan.

**if you want a thicker crust that comes all the way up the sides of the pan, increase the amount by 1.5x.

  • For a 6 inch cheesecake, use half the recipe; bake 30 minutes, rest 10
  • For a 9 inch cheesecake, use 1.5x the recipe; bake 55 minutes, rest 20
  • For a 10 inch cheesecake, double the recipe; bake 65 minutes, rest 25

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 386Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 125mgSodium: 333mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 0gSugar: 19gProtein: 6g

Nutrition information may not be fully accurate.

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