This Philadelphia Cheesecake recipe is the creamiest cheesecake you can make and is perfect for any special occasion. This classic cheesecake recipe is made even creamier thanks to a slow oven bake time and a water bath. It still has the classic Philadelphia cheesecake ingredients along with a crunchy graham cracker crust that is so easy to make. Enjoy this creamy cheesecake as is or with your favorite toppings like fresh fruit, whipped cream, or berry sauce.
This classic good old-fashioned Philadelphia cheesecake is for me, the ideal cheesecake. A crunchy graham cracker crust, a super creamy cheesecake filling, and just the right amount of sweetness.
If you love this type of cheesecake, then you are going to LOVE this recipe. This cheesecake is the classic Philadelphia cheesecake filling but with a few modifications, including a thicker crust and a much creamier filling.
This cheesecake recipe is my own tried and true recipe of baking the cheesecake in a water bath at a high temperature for 15 minutes and then at a low oven temperature for the remaining portion of the baking.
By cooking the cheesecake this way, the texture stays really creamy and will not dry out.
Anyone can make this cheesecake. If you are a beginning baker, you can make it. If you are an advanced baker, you will thank me when you see how creamy this is and without having to use sour cream.
If you prefer an even simpler cheesecake recipe, maybe my mini cheesecake bites which are also made with Philadelphia cream cheese and a graham cracker crust, is for you.
I do hope you give this full-sized classic cheesecake a try!
1. Philadelphia Cream cheese: As the name Philadelphia cheesecake name suggests, Philadelphia cream cheese is one of the main ingredients in this cheesecake recipe. I like to use 3 blocks of Philadelphia cream cheese for this recipe because it makes a better cheesecake-to-crust ratio in each bite! Its smooth and velvety texture lends itself perfectly to creating the creamy base of the dessert.
2. Granulated Sugar: To add sweetness, granulated sugar is added to the cream cheese mixture. The amount can be adjusted according to personal preference, but it is essential for balancing out the tanginess of the cream cheese.
3. Eggs: Eggs are an important component as they help bind all the ingredients together and give structure to the cheesecake when baked. They also contribute to its smooth and silky texture.
4. Graham cracker crust: A traditional Philadelphia cheesecake always has a buttery graham cracker crust at the bottom. This is ground-up graham cracker, melted butter, and a little sugar combined. This adds the perfect crunch and base for slicing and serving the cheesecake.
5. Vanilla extract: To enhance flavor, I like to use pure vanilla extract which gives a subtle hint of sweetness and goes so well with the cream flavors in the cheesecake. If you like working with vanilla bean paste, you can certainly use that as well.
How to make Philadelphia Cheesecake (step-by-step photos)
This Philadelphia cheesecake recipe is such a foolproof easy cheesecake and I will give you all the instructions you will need to create this delicious old-fashioned Philadelphia cheesecake at home.
Preparing the Graham cracker crust
Start by preheating your oven to 425 F. Add graham crackers to a food processor and mix on high speed until it is fine crumbs. In a mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until well combined and just a little moist. Press the graham cracker mixture onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Pre-bake the crust for about 3 minutes then let cool.
Make the cheesecake filling
To make the filling, in a separate large mixing bowl, beat softened cream cheese until smooth using an electric mixer on medium speed. Gradually add granulated sugar while continuing to mix until well combined. Next, beat in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla extract.
Bake the cheesecake
Baking a full-sized cheesecake that comes out smooth and creamy without any cracks on top is easy if you use a water bath. Don't be afraid if you have never done this. The steps are simple and I have listed all of them out for you below and in the recipe!
1. Preparing the Pan: - Start by preheating your oven. Take your springform pan (or cake pan that you are using), and tightly wrap it with aluminum foil. Ensure that there are no gaps in the foil to prevent water from seeping into the cheesecake.
2. Setting up the Water Bath: - Place your wrapped springform pan into a larger roasting pan or baking dish. The pan you use should allow space around the sides of the springform pan. Now place this in the preheated oven before filling it with hot water.
3. Adding Hot Water: - Boil water (I like to use a tea kettle for this) then carefully pour the hot water into the pan (around the edges of the springform pan) about 1 inch up the sides making sure not to splash it.
4. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes and then lower the heat to 250 degrees and continue baking until the center barely jiggles when you shake the pan, about 40-45 minutes more.
5. When done allow cheesecake to cool. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and then carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath and allow it to cool fully on a cooling rack. Do not remove the outer piece of the spring form pan. You do this after the cheesecake has been refrigerated.
6. After refrigerating the cheesecake, take a sharp knife and gently go around the edges of the cheesecake.
7. Gently release the outer part of the spring form pan which will release the cheesecake.
In our house, we love eating this classic cheesecake just the way it is but that does not mean toppings are not welcome 🙂 Here are some ideas!
- Blueberry sauce. We love using our homemade blueberry sauce for this cheesecake. This is our version of blueberry pie filling.
- Berry sauce. Our easy homemade berry sauce is like a berry compote but better.
- Caramelized apples. If you like apple cheesecake this topping is for you.
- Homemade Strawberry Sauce. Fresh cherries or cherry sauce are classic on top of cheesecake. If you have cherry pie filling this works perfectly!
- Classic cranberry sauce or sugared cranberries. For the Thanksgiving holidays, I love adding these to the top of the cheesecake.
- Whipped cream with some shaved chocolate or chocolate chips is great for chocolate lovers!
- Blackberry puree. We make a really thick and creamy blackberry puree when they are in season and it goes so well with this cheesecake recipe.
- If you want a more decadent cheesecake, a caramel sauce or bread pudding sauce drizzled over the top is amazing!
- Strawberry Sauce which I love making to make my strawberry cheesecake recipe.
You can also use fresh strawberries, peaches, raspberries, or your favorite fruit are all perfect toppings for this dessert.
These are my tips for making the BEST cheesecake.
Room temperature ingredients
You want to make sure you use all room-temperature ingredients for the best cheesecake. This will ensure the cheesecake is mixed evenly before baking and the texture of the cheesecake will be light and creamy after cooking.
After baking your cheesecake, let it cool completely at room temperature before transferring it to the refrigerator. This step allows the cake to set properly and prevents condensation from forming on the surface.
You can also cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap or aluminum foil before placing it in the refrigerator. Making sure no part of the cake is exposed to air helps ensure it will not dry out.
Homemade cheesecakes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days without issue.
You can also store the cheesecake in a container. If you go this route, an airtight container that is slightly larger than your cake will work best. You can also slice up and store the slices individually.
Difference between New York Cheesecake And Philadelphia Cheesecake
1. Cream cheese base: Both New York and Philly cheesecake have cream cheese as their main ingredient. Philadelphia cheesecake uses regular Philadelphia cream cheese, which results in a slightly lighter texture while New York cheesecakes use a combination of regular cream cheese and heavy cream and or sour cream for added richness.
2. Texture: One big difference between the two is their texture. Philadelphia cheesecakes tend to be lighter and fluffier due to using just cream cheese as its main ingredient. New York-style cheesecakes are a bit denser because of the addition of heavy cream, heavy whipping cream, or sour cream.
3. Sweetness level: Another difference between these two is how sweet they are. Philadelphia cheesecakes is a little sweeter than New York cheesecake.
4. Crust variation: The crust used for Philadelphia cheesecake is traditionally a graham cracker crust. Some recipes may use other cookie crumbs or pastry crust but Philadelphia cheesecake is always made with graham cracker crust.
This is my favorite cheesecake recipe because I think it is perfect as is and so creamy which is how we like our cheesecake. There are some great ways to switch things up, especially if you don't have all of the exact ingredients. Here are some ideas:
- Use a different brand of cream cheese if you can not find Philadelphia cream cheese. Just make sure to use full-fat cream cheese for this recipe.
- If you do not have graham crackers, you can use any type of biscuit cookie for the crust. Maybe vanilla wafers or crushed Oreos.
- If you don't want to make your own crust, you can buy an already-made graham cracker pie crust from the store.
The cream cheese filling is made up of cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Sometimes, depending on the recipe flour, sour cream and lemon juice can be added.
Yes. If you are making a cheesecake from scratch, using good quality cream cheese is very important. You also want to work with full-fat cream cheese and not low-fat or nonfat since the fat helps make the cheesecake creamy and holds it together.
More cake recipes
If you love this creamy cheesecake recipe, you may also like these:
The Best Philadelphia Cheesecake Recipe
- 1 9-inch spring form pan
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs You can pulse full size graham crackers in a food processor or smash them up well in a ziploc bag
- 3 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoon granulated white sugar If you like a more decadent dessert you can use brown sugar instead of regular granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt or 1/16 teaspoon regular salt
- 24 oz cream cheese at room temperature This is three full blocks of cream cheese. You should take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator about 1 hour before you are ready to use it.
- ¾ cup granulated white sugar - plus 2 tbsp this is ¾ plus 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pre-heat your oven 425 degrees
Making the graham cracker crust
- In a large bowl, add your ground graham crackers, melted butter, salt and sugar and mix well.1 cup graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoon melted unsalted butter, 3 tablespoon granulated white sugar, ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- Now pour crust into bottom of your spring form pan and press it down on the bottom.
- Place the crust in the pre-heated oven for 2-3 minutes then remove and let cool.
- In a large bowl, add your room temperature cream cheese, and sugar and mix really well.24 oz cream cheese at room temperature, ¾ cup granulated white sugar - plus 2 tbsp
- Now add the eggs one at a time and mix well.3 large eggs
- Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pour cheesecake filling into the springform pan over the pre-baked graham cracker crust.
- Take a large sheet of aluminum foil and place the springform pan on top.
- Now wrap the aluminum foil up the sides of the pan making sure there are no gaps.
- Place the cheesecake in a large roasting pan.
- Boil hot water. I like to use a tea kettle for this.
- Once water is boiling place the roasting pan with the cheesecake in it in the oven on the middle rack.
- Now pour the hot water into the roasting pan making sure that the water goes up the sides of the pan by 1 inch and gently slide the oven rack in to the oven and close the door.
- Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees and continue baking for about 40-45 minutes or until the VERY center of the cheesecake barely moves when shaken.
- Remove from the oven and lift cheesecake out of water bath then let cheesecake cool completely in the pan.
- Once the cheesecake comes to room temperature, place in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours or overnight to completely chill and set up. Do not remove from the pan yet.
- Once it is fully chilled you can run a sharp knife along the edge of the cheesecake and pan then remove the spring form mold.
- Top with your favorite toppings or enjoy as is. Keep refrigerated.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here
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