Sour Cream Cheesecake

Total Time:
2 hr 31 min
25 min
6 min
2 hr

8 to 10 servings


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Brush some of the melted butter around a 9 by 3-inch cake pan. Adhere parchment to the bottom and the sides.

In a small bowl, combine crumbled graham crackers, the remaining melted butter, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the parchment-lined pan. Place remaining crumbs on a sheet pan and bake both the crust and the remaining mixture for 10 minutes. Cool. Reserve additional crumb mixture for sides.

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat sour cream for 10 seconds. Add the cream cheese and sugar and mix on low for 30 seconds and then turn up to medium. Scrape the bowl.

In a separate container, combine vanilla, eggs, yolks, and heavy cream. With the mixer on medium, slowly pour the liquid mixture in. When half of it is incorporated, stop and scrape. Continue adding the mixture until the rest of the ingredients are incorporated. Once completely combined, pour into the cooled crust.

Lower oven temperature to 250 degrees F. Place cheesecake into a preheated water bath, in the oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and open the door for one minute. Close the door for one more hour. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place in the refrigerator for 6 hours to completely cool before serving.

When ready to serve, place the entire cake pan into a hot water bath for about 15 seconds. Unmold onto a cake round or serving dish. Take the remaining graham cracker mixture and press into the sides of the cake.

To slice, place your knife into a hot water bath and wipe dry each time you make a pass through the cake.

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    259 Reviews
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    Perfect. I made it with gingersnaps instead, but perfect. And the baking time is perfect. Just don't doubt it and go with it. Long and slow is the way to bake a cheesecake. You'll get the perfect colorless top, the even top (no sinking middle) and no cracks. It takes time to perfect such a perfect cheesecake, so give it time and let it bake on low, sit in oven, sit out for about a half an hour and then in fridge over night or at least 8 hours.
    I've read the reviews and an extra hour of baking time is NOT needed.Maybe set a little longer than 6 hours, but uhuh to extra cooking time. Follow recipe exacly as written. Only alteration was-my springform pan kept taking on water when I test-immersed, so I baked in a regular 9", insulated cake pan lined w parchment. Crust baked PERFECTLY, but I had to pull the extra crumbs on the baking sheet out early as they were toasting up more quicly than expected. Put the beautiful, uncracked cake into the fridge at 10:30 pm, Sat, UNCOVERED -this is key!If you cover it with foil or plastic it will create moisture and make the crust soggy. Brought to almost room temp for Easter Sunday dessert and then topped with 1/2 cup sour cream mixed w sugar and lemon and passed the extra crumbs. Outstanding. Not too dense. Not like New York where the fork will stand on its own which is also delicious. This version feels modern and not quite as sinful, but does not lack for flavor or decadence.
    It was so easy, I made 2 in 1 week! the only thing I would recommend is leaving it in the fridge longer than the 6 hours. I'd say at least 12 hrs, it gets thicker and more wonderful!
    This is a perfect cheesecake, lovely texture, delicious. I made this with xylitol(my husband is diabetic) instead of sugar, and it was just fine. I also made Alton's graham crackers (with coconut sugar) for the crust and they were so good. Thanks Alton...
    I was skeptical about the cooking method and time, so I was careful to follow to a "T" and it came out perfectly! I made this for a large xmas dinner and found out prior to cooking that my oven was off by 35 degrees! Now we always have an oven thermometer that we check. It tasted creamy, and not a chalky baked type cheesecake. Someone even said it was better than the Cheesecake Factory! Best recipe ever! Trust the method and check your oven!
    One word to explain this recipe...PERFECT!
    I have made this recipe several times, but the crust was always too thick where the bottom joined the sides. I was looking around and found a way to change that.  
    I use a spring form and do the sides with the crust at the beginning. I use a glass with a flat bottom to tamp the crust down and move it up the sides where I roll the glass around the make sure the gramcrackers made a solid side. I put heavy duty aluminum around the spring form in order to cook the cheese cake just as Alton Brown states. The spring form comes off the cheesecake perfectly and the sides are pre-crumbed. Other that this really simple change I make the cake just as is and it is wonderful!!!!!
    Seriously?? If a recipe includes a cooking time that is AN ENTIRE HOUR OFF, it's a bad recipe. I shouldn't have to read user comments to get the real baking time. Thanks, Alton Brown, for ruining my New Year's Eve party.
    It's not an hour off if made in water bath. It's only an hour off if you didn't follow those directions.
    Love Love Love this recipe, best I've ever had. There are a few changes that are NEEDED though.  
    1. Increase cooking time to 2 hours, let rest 30 mins after oven is turned off 
    2. Add zest of one lemon, it gives it a little extra flavor 
    3. Wrap the outside of your spring form pan in a couple of layers of tin foil to avoid leaking issues.
    Top-shelf cheesecake, as good as any and better than most I have ever tasted. Minor modifications: I reduced the vanilla to 1 teaspoon and added the zest of 1/2 lemon. The flavor is sublime, but most impressive was the texture. It came out firm and creamy, blonde on top and no cracks. I will DEFINITELY use this recipe again.
    "This was the dessert I made for my church's annual ladies candlelight dinner. There were 72 excellent cooks at that dinner and the 12 hostesses baked their very best desserts. How good was this cheesecake? Not only did it get rave reviews from everyone who tasted it but the six husbands stocking the buffet and doing dishes (and sampling all the desserts) tried to hide some of this one for themselves. "
    I've made a LOT of cheesecakes over the years and none of them compared to the creaminess of this one. I followed the directions almost exactly, but I added the zest of one lemon to mine, as I like a lemony flavor. I also baked mine in 4 oz Kerr canning jars and entered them in a county fair. .... won first place and $50 ! the recipe will make about 10 - 4 oz cakes. I only had room in a 9 x 13 roasting pan for 7 and the remainder of the batter I baked in a 6 inch springform pan. I'm going to invest in another 9 x13 pan, so I can do all the batter in the individual 4 oz jars. I put the crumb in the bottom of the jars and blind baked them prior to filling with batter. Also, if you have a FoodSaver, you can vaccum pack the 4 oz jars and freeze them. I cut out 5 x 5 inch squares of red and white checked fabric and put under the rings of the canning jars for presentation. Perfect desert for gatherings and NO MESS cutting the cake. .
    Sounds great! What was the baking time on these? It seems like the baking time should be adjusted. Thank you!
    my daughter just made started the process at 7pm watched video said about spring form pans leaking ok, so use a cake pan .. o gs how do we get it out now ? lol on us anyone help I just ruined the top thinking to flip out ?? and it got stuck to wax .. birthday tomorrow save me from having to rebake before daughter bf comes over..
    I hope you got it figured out by now, but I wanted to tell you that using a spring form and wrapping it with wide heavy duty aluminum foil stops it from leaking. Works perfectly.
    Loribell30- I was worried about the springform leaking, so I baked in a standard 9" cake pan. When it was ready to flip, I placed parchment sprayed with cooking spray on top with a cardboard piece placed on top of that. After placing a warm towel around the pan and scoring the edges of the pan with a knife, I flipped, then flipped again onto a cake pedestal and simply peeled back the parchment and the top and sides came out perfectly smooth. The sides don't really matter if you add the crumbs
    Why after 245 reviews do people still feel the need to mention that this is a good recipe? Without having to sift through a ton of reviews that all sound the same I will jump to what needed help. I thought the cook time wasn't enough and added an additional 30 minutes and let the cake sit for 30. No cracks and was perfectly cooked (conventional oven was used, some reviews mentioned 2 hours. As for some additional suggestions, I added lemon zest to the filling as well as searched the site for mixed berry toppings that can be used to spoon over the top. Overall a good basic recipe for cheesecake that needs some slight modifications.
    Ok...the 1rst one I made, I followed the recipe directions and only baked for 1 hr. After the 6 hrs in the fridge, I found a very UNDERBAKED cheesecake. So, Round 2, I followed the reviews and baked my cheesecake 2 hours @ 250. I then let it sit in the oven in the waterbath for another 1 hour. After sitting in the fridge this time, I had cheesecake PERFECTION! This cheesecake is the absolute BEST my friends and family have ever tasted. I'm originally from St. Louis and have had my share of cheesecakes on "THE HILL" and in fine dining establishments...but this recipe tops them all! The sweetness and texture are perfect! I do think this is one of the easier desserts that I have made. Anyway, it's wonderful and I will never use another recipe for this dessert. Why mess with perfection?
    I created an account with FoodNetwork just so i could write this review... hands down the best cheesecake i've ever had. My family constantly bugs me to make more, but the biggest feat was pleasing my meat and potatoes father who was born without a sweet tooth, who asked for a 2nd piece! Thanks AB your my Hero
    This is the best Cheesecake I have ever tasted. Very easy to make, just follow instructions step by step. Everyone always asks for us to bring this cheesecake for family gatherings. It has become a Birthday cheesecake also. Try it, you will never look for another Cheesecake recipe.
    Absolutely the best cheesecake ever - this will be my go-to cheesecake recipe from now on. Followed the recipe as written and it turned out great. Cooling slowly - key to keeping the top from cracking. I think Alton has developed the perfect basic cheesecake recipe - Thanks Alton!
    Although the recipe was good it was not what I was expecting. I had hoped to make a denser cheesecake and wished that the recipe instructions would have mentioned that the cheesecake would be light/soft or that we could bake it for 2 hours to get a denser cheesecake. I know that some reviewers commented on this, since I checked after the fact, but I can only read so many reviews before actually trying the recipe out and didn't see that the cheesecake was going to be soft.
    I have made this for family and friends for years and always a hit. I usually make 2 and add something to one for a different flavor - cocoa, coffee/kahlua, blueberries, get the idea. Doc has been riding me pretty hard lately so last week I tested this with low-fat sour cream and Neufchatel instead of cream cheese and turned out excellent. Also tried something new last Thanksgiving and used ginger snap cookies instead of graham crackers for the crust and everyone went crazy. They won't let me use anything else give it a shot. Next time I plan to try with crushed almonds baked in and probably almond extract instead of or in addition to vanilla. I'll post again and let you all know how that works out.
    this is cheesecake..with the sour and sweet, creamy rich texture. It is not light, but not overwhelming. I liked this recipe better than others, it's the traditional NY style. Got my fix! The cooking process is tricky, you really have to have the temperature right in the oven. The water bath prevents burning. I used a springform pan and it worked fine if I sealed it on bottom.
    The family loved this recipe! Though, there were some things I could have done a little better. For one, I didn't allow my cream cheese to get to room temperature, so I just put the entire mixture into a food processor to get rid of the lumps. Next time I'll either allow the cream cheese to sit out or just put it in the food processor by itself to see if it makes any difference. I also, used a non wrapped springform pan, I didn't have any issues.....this time. But next time I will wrap it in foil or use a regular pan, to save myself the worry. But overall, my baking experience was a good one.
    Net of reading nearly 200 comments and the so-called extra time in oven [option], I was very nervous about just having read these comments of such soon after my 1 hour + 1 hour rest had been completed (with a slight visual undoneness to the jiggle. However - do not be afraid... I bring you glad tidings [and] of great joy! ;  
    The Cheesecake was a hit and indeed done. It was extremely light, yet dense. Knifing it in slices was like cutting any other cheesecake. It didn't wilt in center (at tip of slice or anywhere else for that matter. It was not airy but light. 
    In any case, I felt so strongly to let you all know this cuz I was stressing out at the thought of bringing a half-baked cheesecake to my family's post-poned Christmas celebration and was extremely happy to know that recipe works "as-is" without extra time :. 
    This cheesecake is absolutely wonderful! I just finished baking my third one and will bring it to an out-of-town family gathering in two days! I brought the first two to holiday gatherings and received compliments galore! I made sure to let everyone know that the recipe is fron Alton Brown!
     I have a regular oven (one that is not convection and baked all three cheesecakes for two hours @ 250 degrees, turned the oven off, opened the oven door for one minute, and left them in the cooling the oven for anywhere between one to two hours.
     Thank you so much for sharing such a fantastic cheesecake recipe Alton!
    By far the best cheesecake I have ever made. I alter this basic recipe and add different things to make a variety of different cheesecakes. This one is always a crowd pleaser and has become a regular on my Thanksgiving dessert table.
    This is so deliciously excellent! Not a crack in sight like most other cheesecake recipes I have tried! I am so happy! The recipe turned out perfectly and I followed it (almost exactly - the only thing I varied was the cooktime, like the others. And this is why I rated "4" stars and not "5". I feel if I had not read the reviews, I would have cooked it in the oven for one hour vs the two hours that this cake actually needs (with one hour sitting in the oven. Thank you previous reviewers for that! You save my cheesecake! And thank you, Alton for a wonderful recipe. Best cheesecake ever!
    I used 24 oz of cream cheese and 1 cup of sour cream and it was awesome! I too did the 2 hrs then the 1 hour with the oven off. I also just put a pan of water underneath it on a lower shelf in the oven, rather than cooking it within a water bath.
    I agree with Chef. Very good flavors (especially if you add some lemon zest, but too fluffy for a cheesecake to get a 5 star rating. My next attempt I will try 24 ounces of cream cheese and only 1 cup of sour cream.
    the taste was good, but the texture was not what i was expecting. I also baked it for 2 hours, then let it stay in the oven for another hour and the consistency of it was comparable to the nobake cheesecakes from the box, very soft and light. It tasted good, so we had no problems eating it...but if you're looking for a more dense ny style cheesecake-this is not it!
    Perfect recipe! Baked it last night, had it for our dessert after lunch today, my husband loved it, and my friends asked for the recipe rite away as soon as they had the first bite!! Thank you, Alton!! 
    Oh, and i did too baked it for 2 hours and 1 hour plus after the oven off.
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