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How to make Cheesecake

Mmmmmmm….cheesecake. It’s Mr. FG’s most favorite dessert, and he routinely chooses it as his birthday cake each year.

Incidentally, when my family and I had Mr. FG over to our house for the very first time ( almost 14 years ago) I just happened to make cheesecake, having no idea that it was his favorite.

That was probably a fortuitous start to our relationship. 😉

A cheesecake slice topped with cherries.

Cheesecake is not the most frugal dessert ever (a chocolate cake is almost always cheaper), but it is really yummy, and a homemade one is bound to be cheaper than a store-bought alternative.

Quite honestly, though, I’ve never even looked at the price of a frozen or bakery cheesecake, so I’m yapping on a topic I know nothing about (readers, can you help me out? How much does a prepared cheesecake cost?)

Anyways, homemade cheesecake is really not that hard to make, and I actually think it’s easier to make than traditional cake because it requires no frosting.

The recipe I’m sharing, from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, is for a dense sort of cheesecake, because dense is the way I prefer to have mine (light and fluffy is overrated when it comes to cheesecake, I think.).

A partially sliced cheesecake.

To ensure a dense, creamy cheesecake there are two important things to remember…first, don’t overbeat the batter after adding the eggs, and secondly, don’t overbake the cheesecake.

The center should be slightly jiggly when you take it out of the oven, and it’ll finish firming up as it cools.

To start, mix crushed graham crackers with melted butter. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that it’s cheaper to crush your own than it is to buy the pre-crushed graham crackers.

Graham cracker crumbs in a bowl.

Press the graham cracker mixture over the bottom and about 2 inches up the side of a springform pan.

graham cracker crumbs spread in a pan.

In case you don’t know, a springform pan is sort of like a traditional cake pan except that the sides are a ring that can be lifted off of the pan. This makes it much easier to slice the cheesecake.

A springform pan for cheesecake

My springform pan is nothing special and it works fine, but if you’re interested in snagging a good one, Cook’s Illustrated recommends this one. 

Hmm…maybe I need to put this on my Christmas list. Or, I could always use some of my Swagbucks for it.

(You can redeem Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards, and you can use those to buy almost any kitchen item under the sun. More info is in this post.)

Anyways! I digress.

It’s time to make the cheese part of the cheesecake.

First, combine softened cream cheese (the softened part is really important…don’t try this with cold cream cheese!), sugar, flour, and vanilla.

Cheesecake filling ingredients in a bowl.

Mix until it’s smooth and creamy.

Cheesecake filling ingredients, mixed thoroughly.

Add 2 eggs and an egg yolk and mix on low just until combined.

Eggs added to a cheesecake mixture

By hand, stir in 1/4 cup of milk.

Cheesecake filling

Pour into the graham cracker crust, and use a spatula to make sure the filling is even.

A cheesecake, ready to bake in a springform pan.

Place the pan into a shallow baking pan. This will catch any filling that leaks out of the springform pan. I forgot to take a picture of this, so here’s my finished cheesecake in the shallow pan. Just imagine it unbaked, ok?

A springform pan in a shallow pan for baking.

Anyways, bake the cheesecake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the center looks almost set when you gently shake the pan.

The cheesecake will look puffy when you take it out of the oven.

A just-baked cheesecake.

But as it cools, it will flatten out quite a bit. Worry not…this is normal and good (it makes for a nice dense cheesecake).

A finished and cooled cheesecake in a springform pan.

To help prevent cracking, 15 minutes post-oven, you’ll want to run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the sides from the pan. After another 30 minutes, you can take the sides of the pan off and let the cheesecake cool completely.

Warm cheesecake isn’t very good, so be sure to chill your cheesecake for 4 hours or so before you serve it.

I like to eat my cheesecake plain and unadulterated, but my husband and kids like to top it with cherry pie filling.

Cheesecake topped with cherry pie filling

Of course, you can top your cheesecake with anything you like…other flavors of pie filling, fresh fruit, fruit sauce, chocolate, to name a few.


Printable Cheesecake Recipe

1 3/4 cups finely crushed graham crackers
1/2 cup melted butter
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup milk

For crust, stir melted butter into crushed graham crackers. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of an 8 or 9 inch springform pan.

In a mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Add eggs and yolk all at once, beating on low speed just until combined. Stir in milk. Pour into crust-lined pan.

Place on a shallow baking pan to catch any leaks. Bake in a 350 F oven for 35-40 minutes or until center appears nearly set when shaken. Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes. Loosen crust from sides of pan. Cool for 30 minutes; remove sides of pan. Cool completely, then chill for at least 4 hours.

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G Kelly

Monday 31st of August 2020

This has to be easiest and best testing cheese cake I've every made. Love it!


Monday 31st of August 2020

I am so glad to hear that. Yay!!


Thursday 14th of August 2014

Hi there, Can I make these as cupcake sized cheesecakes/individual cheesecakes too? Michelle


Thursday 14th of August 2014

I haven't tried it myself, but I think it would work. I'd google to find a recipe for individual cheesecakes so you can figure out how long to bake them, though.


Sunday 4th of May 2014

I just made this, it's baking in the oven as we speak. The batter was delicious (I had to taste it, of course)! Looking forwards to the end result, with some bourbon glaze drizzled over it.


Thursday 27th of March 2014

I used this recipe like 5 or 6 times! It's perfect!!!! Thanks for sharing :)!!! I don't really like cheesecake but this one I do like. Lol


Saturday 7th of December 2013

Just used your recipe to bring to my parents for their Xmas party. It came out great, can't wait to eat. Looks so good I wish I made two, one for the party and one to keep at home. I did have one issue where I covered with Saran Wrap last night, still slightly warm, and this morning there seems to be some white marks. Has anyone heard of this happening? Is it from covering it while still warm and placing in the fridge? All that moisture?

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