The Best Cheesecake

We’ve created the cheesecake of your dreams – rich, dense and creamy with a buttery, not-too-sweet graham cracker crust. Easy-to-follow instructions ensure a smooth, crack-free top every time.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 10 hr 30 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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Ingredients

Crust:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (see Cook's Note) 

2 tablespoons sugar 

Pinch fine salt  

Cheesecake:

Four 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups sugar 

1 cup sour cream  

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract 

4 large eggs, at room temperature 

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.
  2. For the crust: Put the butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl, cover with a paper towel and melt in the microwave in 10-second increments. Brush a 9-inch springform pan with some of the melted butter.  
  3. Stir together the remaining butter with the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan, taking care to get the crust evenly to the edges. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool. Place the pan on a large sheet of foil and wrap up the sides. Place in a roasting pan. 
  4. For the cheesecake: Beat together the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until just combined. Mix in the eggs by hand, one at a time, until just combined. (Take care not to overmix or the cheesecake will puff up and crack.) Pour the batter evenly over the crust, smoothing the top. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come about halfway up the sides of the foil-wrapped springform pan. Bake until the outside of the cake is set but the center is still slightly loose, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.  
  5. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan to a cooling rack. Run a knife around the edge and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours.  
  6. Run a knife around the edge of the pan once more and unlock to unmold the cheesecake. Transfer to a serving platter or cake stand and smooth the edges with a knife. 

Cook’s Note

If making the graham cracker crumbs yourself, pulse about 13 graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground.