Inside: Get a deliciously easy cheesecake recipe (no sour cream) made with simple ingredients. A perfect dessert for guests or a regular ol’ weeknight.
When it comes to cheesecake, are you Team Soft & Smooth or Team Rich & Dense?
I’m Team Rich & Dense myself. To me, the best cheesecake is very cold, rich, and sweet with a buttery graham cracker crust.
This classic cheesecake recipe with no sour cream is also simple enough for first time cheesecake bakers to make.
Equipment you need for this cheesecake recipe
- 9-inch Springform pan: A springform pan is a round pan with sides and bottom that detach. The sides are usually held on with a latch.
- Hand mixer or standing mixer: You’ll use this to blend the filling.
- Food processor (optional): This makes it quick to prep the graham cracker crust. I actually use my mini food chopper for this job. But you can also place the graham crackers in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin or mallet instead.
Ingredients you need for the graham cracker crust
- Graham crackers: I use regular graham crackers, but chocolate would be good too. You’ll need 9 full sheets.
- Sugar: Use white sugar here, and feel free to use less for less sweetness.
- Melted butter: This helps the crust hold together and gives the crust a rich flavor and texture.
Ingredients you need for the cheesecake filling
- Cream cheese: Use regular, full-fat cream cheese. I prefer the Philadelphia brand (FYI: as much as I love ALDI, I’m not a fan of their store-brand cream cheese)
- Eggs: Use large eggs here.
- Sugar: Use white granulated sugar.
- Vanilla extract: I prefer real vanilla extract, but imitation works too.
- Lemon juice: Fresh gives the best flavor, but bottled is fine too. If you like your cheesecake very lemony, grate some of the lemon zest and blend into the batter too.
How to make the graham cracker crust
Pulverize the graham crackers in a food processor (or by hand by placing them in a plastic bag and smashing with a rolling pin or mallet) until they become graham cracker crumbs. Add the sugar and melted butter and process or stir until blended. I like to use my mini food chopper for this (if you use this, you’ll just need to process half the crumbs, then add the rest of the graham crackers and process them all together).
Dump the graham cracker crumb mixture into your 9-inch springform pan (with the sides locked on). Press crumb mixture onto the bottom and up the side of the springform pan about an inch using your fingertips (or with the bottom of a small glass or measuring cup).
Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
How to make the cheesecake filling
In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer or stand mixer until soft. Then add the ingredients one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat the mixture for five minutes, until it’s light and fluffy.
Pour the cheesecake batter into the baked crust and return to the oven. Bake for 35 minutes or until the sides look set but the middle is still wiggly. The top may brown slightly, and that’s okay. Just don’t over-bake, or it will be dry.
Let the cheesecake cool completely on a wire rack, then cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until very cold.
When ready to serve, remove the sides of the pan, cut into slices with a sharp knife, and serve with whipped cream, fresh fruit like strawberries, chocolate or caramel sauce, or another favorite cheesecake topping.
How to make homemade whipped cream
- Chill a glass bowl, beaters, and whipping cream in the refrigerator until very cold.
- Place 1/2 cup whipping cream and 2 teaspoons sugar in the glass bowl and beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form (when you lift your beaters out of the cream, the cream should be shaped in peaks that hold their shape, not drip off).
- Serve whipped cream immediately or store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days (it won’t hold its shape beyond that).
Questions about cheesecake
How do you store leftover cheesecake?
The easiest way I’ve found is to put the sides of the springform pan back on, then cover the pan with foil or plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator.
How long does leftover cheesecake last?
Keep leftover cheesecake refrigerated. For best results, eat leftovers within 3-5 days.
Is this recipe considered a New York cheesecake?
No, New York-style cheesecake is typically made using sour cream and/or heavy cream.
Help! My cheesecake cracked while baking.
To prevent cracks, bake your cheesecake in a water bath (called a “bain marie”). This involves wrapping the bottom and sides of the pan in aluminum foil and then setting it down inside a bigger pan (such as a roasting pan) and pouring in about an inch of hot water. Here are instructions for creating a water bath from Taste of Home. The water bath allows for a gentler bake.
Full disclosure: I’m lazy and don’t do this, which is why you’ll see little cracks in mine. This doesn’t bother me. If yours cracks, you can always cover it up with a big dollop of homemade whipped cream and a pile of berries!
Recipe card for Easy Cheesecake (No Sour Cream)
- 9 sheets graham crackers
- 1 cup white sugar (divided)
- 5 tablespoons butter (melted)
- 2 eight-ounce blocks cream cheese (softened to room temperature)*
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place graham crackers in food processor and process until you get small crumbs (or place graham crackers in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin or mallet). Add 1/4 cup sugar and melted butter and process or stir until blended.
- Dump crust mixture into a 9-inch springform pan (with the sides on) and pat with your fingers or the bottom of a glass or measuring cup, bringing the crust up about an inch on the sides. Make sure the crust is even across the bottom.
- Bake crust in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
- While crust is baking, place cream cheese in a medium bowl and beat until fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Add remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar and beat well. Add vanilla and lemon juice and beat well. Scrape sides of bowl with a rubber spatula then beat mixture for five minutes, until soft and fluffy.
- When crust is out of the oven, pour filling into crust. Smooth out the top with your spatula. Return to the oven and bake for 35 minutes. The edges will look set, but the middle will still be jiggly. The top may be a little bit browned.
- Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until cold.
- Slice cheesecake with a sharp knife and add a dollop of whipped cream, berries, or chocolate or caramel sauce to each piece.
*I prefer using Philadelphia brand cream cheese (original, not low-fat)
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 451Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 123mgSodium: 331mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 1gSugar: 31gProtein: 6g