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Classic Cheesecake

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A crumbly graham cracker crust and silky cream cheese filling make this New York-style cheesecake a winner.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 12
classic cheesecake

Photography: Jonny Valiant

Source: Everyday Food, April 2009

Ingredients

For Crust

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus room-temperature butter for pan
  • 12 graham crackers (3-by-5 inch)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

For Filling

  • 2 1/2 pounds bar cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make crust: Butter a 9-by-3-inch springform pan. In a food processor, pulse graham crackers until fine crumbs form; add melted butter, sugar, and salt, and pulse to combine. Press crumb mixture into bottom and about 1 inch up side of pan. Bake until set, 12 to 15 minutes; let cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven to 325 degrees.

  2. Set a kettle of water to boil. Make filling: Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium until fluffy, scraping down side of bowl. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in lemon zest and juice, and salt. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down side of bowl after each addition. Beat in sour cream.

  3. Wrap bottom half of pan in foil. Pour in filling; place in a roasting pan. Pour in boiling water to come halfway up side of springform. Bake until just set in center, about 1 3/4 hours. Remove pan from water; let cool 20 minutes. Run a paring knife around edge; let cool completely. Cover; chill overnight before serving.

Reviews Add a comment

  • bigthumbpottery
    29 JUL, 2017
    This is my go-to cheesecake recipe. simple ingredients list and it makes an incredible dessert. Occasionally, i will stir in some warm raspberry jam right before putting it in the oven, but it is even better plain with fresh tart berries
    Reply
  • siberphun
    30 JUN, 2017
    i've nvr made a cheesecake before. making the first tonight. going to add crushed walnuts to the crust, a dark chocolate ganache, then a layer of salted caramel on top of that for a topping. won't matter if the top browns or not. found a way to make sure water won't seep into the pan (by accident no less) when i was searching for foil and a large enough pan. there was a pkg of reynolds hot bags in the drawer. they are ex lg, hd foil cooking bags. and the pan fits in it. plan on cutting it down to sz needed and reuse the rest when i bbq next time. will post update on results.
    Reply
  • maymaypdx
    26 MAY, 2017
    why does the cheesecake in the video have a browned top while the cheesecake in the image (and most cheesecake images) does not? I'd like to make sure the top is not browned.
    Reply
  • lsbenham
    24 MAY, 2017
    My nephew requested "plain cheesecake " for his birthday. I wanted to try the MS Classic recipe I'd seen on Martha Bakes. Everyone loved this cheesecake, even the "I hate cheesecake crowd". It was silky and delicious. I have made dozens of recipes, this will be my goto in future. Follow instructions explicitly. Use three layers of HD 18" foil so there are no leaks. I made MS ganache tart and this cheesecake to follow dinner for 20 people ... there was only 1 small piece of each left-over ... Yahoo!! Martha and Team !!
    Reply
  • aditi14022007
    2 MAY, 2017
    I made this and it turned out to be lovely!
    Reply
  • MS12388426
    4 APR, 2017
    Best recipe ever! I don't even cook it in water now! Everyone still loves it!
    Reply
  • seamonster74
    12 FEB, 2017
    Thank you Martha! I made this for my pookie pie for Valentine's Day. She loved it! Followed recipe to the letter. Perfect!
    Reply
  • ashtondanielle2
    3 DEC, 2016
    Tried this recipe and there ended up being lumps in it, no matter how long I stirred it. I don't know what happened, but I was really disappointed by this recipe.
    Reply
  • justinjustinst
    25 NOV, 2016
    It needs vanilla. Was it's omission a mistake? 2 t.
    Reply
  • MS11876216
    24 MAR, 2016
    I made this following every single instruction, watching Sarah Carey's marvelous video, and I am heartbroken. I bought huge heavy duty foil. I have examined it and there is still not a pinhole in it, but my cheese cake came out of the oven standing in an inch of water. I haven't cut it yet, but the bottom is obviously sodden. What is that, condensation? Why isn't it happening to everyone? (though I did see one other commenter having this problem) I am devastated, but not deterred. Advice please!
    Reply