New York Cheesecake Recipe

A true New York-style cheesecake has no crust. Which is not to say you can’t add one if you like, but let’s worry about that a little later on. This recipe is dense and creamy, just like a New York cheesecake is supposed to be. Note that the reason for the creaminess is not an abundance of cream cheese, but an abundance of sour cream, which serves not only to cut the fat content way down, but to introduce a very pleasant tang. I make this cake in a nine-inch springform pan, however if you’re the type of person that prefers your cheesecake very tall, you can use an eight.

1 lb. 2 ounces cream cheese
7 ounces sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 lb. 8 ounces sour cream (you can also use heavy cream, or any combination of the two)

Bring all ingredients to room temperature before you start. Set your oven to preheat at 350 while you line your pan with parchment paper (for more on that, see the post How to Prepare a Cake Pan for Baking under the Techniques menu). You’ll also need to have the elements of a water bath nearby: a shallow pan big enough to hold the cake pan, plus a tea kettle or pan of water set over heat. You’ll also need some tin foil to create a “boat” for the cake pan.

Now then, for the batter. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the cream cheese, sugar and salt and beat on medium speed for about four minutes until the mixture is light and creamy, scraping the bowl once or twice to make sure everything is combined. Beat in the vanilla, then, one at a time, beat in the eggs (again, don’t forget to scrape the bowl). Once you’re satisfied that everything is homogenous, turn the mixer down to medium-low and start adding the sour cream by scoops. Scrape and stir until all is combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Set the pan on cris-crossed sheets of tin foil and bring up the edges to form a “boat” that will prevent water from seeping in. Put the cake pan into the larger baking pan and place it on a center rack in the oven. Slide the oven rack with the pan out part way, and carefully pour in enough simmering water to come about half way up the sides of the cake pan. Close the oven door and bake for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and — without opening the oven door — let the cheesecake bake for one more hour as the oven cools. Take the cheesecake out of the oven (it should be slightly jiggly but not at all soupy in the center), cool it on a rack for another hour, then cover it tightly with plastic wrap and put it into the refrigerator overnight.

12 thoughts on “New York Cheesecake Recipe”

  1. Joe… you rock! See, this is the kind of thing they don’t teach in culinary school. Brilliant, the way you put a “fresh” crust on the bottom! With so many techniques in the world, I would like to try this one and add it to my repertoire of skills! Kudos, brother!

  2. Wow, I made this recipe yesterday for Easter dessert, and it was amazing. I was mildly concerned about the amount of sour cream – it seemed strange that there was more sour cream than cream cheese, but I’ve never liked how dense and heavy most cheesecakes are so I followed the recipe as published and it was perfect. So light and creamy, and the right amount of sweetness. I put a crust on after the cheesecake was chilled made of Annie’s bunny cookies. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. My pleasure, M!

      I’m not a big cheesecake fan either for the very reasons you describe. This is my favorite formula so far!


      – Joe

    2. Hey Joe
      I tried making the recipe, but the Cheesecake failed to set even after refrigerating overnight. What could be the possible reasons?

      Also could you please suggest some substitutes for sour cream, since it’s not that available in my region.


      1. Hello Ajf!

        That’s very odd. Where do you live if you don’t mind my asking? I assume you used the right number of eggs, plus a major brand of cream cheese, such as Philadelphia or something like that? And the cream? Tell me a little about it.

        We’ll get this worked out.


      2. Oh also, a good, thick yogurt (such as Greek yogurt) makes an excellent substitute for sour cream.


    1. Flour is there to guard against over-baking. Follow these directions and it shouldn’t be a problem!


      – Joe

  3. Hello,
    First, welcome back and thanks for your fantastic recipes and tutorials! I can’t speak for everyone but your site has become my first stop for old, new, weird and downright confusing recipes and techniques when I am turning my kitchen into a mad science lab. Your New York cheesecake recipe for example, is now the only recipe I will use, though I do like to play with the ratios of cream cheese and sour cream.
    My daughter is, of course, obsessed with the Frozen movies and I am; as the dutiful, loving, exasperated, Mother, trying to create such a themed party for her 5th birthday. We aren’t too big on the sweets, but she loves cheesecake, your cheesecake to be exact. My question, do you have any advice for using this recipe as a foundation for a mint cheesecake? Should I just add extract, creme de menthe? Thanks again!

    1. Hey Rebecca!

      Now that’s a feel good that’s going to last me all day!

      Sorry for the late reply. Either would work. Creme de menthe offers a richer flavor, but obviously too much of it might undercut the structure. I might try an experiment, such as seeing how much it takes to flavor a cup of sour cream. If it’s more than a tablespoons or so, I’d switch to the extract.

      Let me know how it goes!

      – Joe

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