Updated: Jun 11, 2020
There are so many different types of cheesecake recipes out there. All of them call for the basic ingredients of cream cheese, sugar, and eggs (and vanilla extract). Some recipes include additional ingredients like sour cream, mascarpone cheese, and/or lemon juice. And the crust is crumbled cookie, butter, and sugar.
The most common crust is graham cracker.
There is also Oreo and some not so common crusts made with: Mikado, pretzels, nuts, potato chips, oats, muffin crumbs, crushed ice cream cones, crushed cereal, granola, coconut, ginger snaps, vanilla wafers, or other kinds of crushed cookies.
Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand has a great recipe! This is what I use, but I only do half the recipe in a 9inch store bought crust. Recipe below.
This recipe does not require a water bath!
Most cheesecake recipes require or highly suggest a water bath. A water bath is a pan with water in it that you put the cheesecake pan into to sit in while baking. This helps the temperature of the cheesecake bake more evenly.
Because this recipe is smaller and the shape of a pre-made store bought pie shell is smaller, it bakes quicker and does not need that extra protection of the water bath.
Classic- creamy classic cheesecake. Recipe below
Raspberry- swirl in some raspberry sauce
Strawberry- swirl in some strawberry sauce
Mixed Berry- swirl in a mixture of berry sauces
Peanut butter- mix in or swirl in some melted peanut butter
Peanut butter & Chocolate (shown above): just swirl in some melted peanut butter and melted chocolate using a toothpick
OREO- use an Oreo crust and crush some Oreos up and fold them into the cheesecake mixture
Just to name a few.
You can also do cheesecake brownies or a delicious
Red Velvet Oreo Cheesecake (pictured below)
TIPS & TRICKS
Soften your cream cheese! To make sure the cream cheese becomes silky smooth, you want to first make sure the cream cheese has softened. If you do not have time to leave it at room temperature to soften it, you can put it in a microwave safe bowl (do not leave it in the foil it comes in!) and microwave for 20-30 seconds.
Beat your cream cheese until it is silky smooth. You do not want any chunks because once you start adding your other ingredients, especially the eggs, the cream cheese will not smooth out. You can not over beat the cream cheese. So don't worry if it takes a while. Scrap the bowl every once in a while.
Type of Cream Cheese: You can use any brand of cream cheese. Just make sure it is full fat and not reduced fat. You need the fat to make the cheesecake creamy and have the right texture.
You want it to Jiggle! You want the center of the cheesecake to have a jiggle. If the edges start to brown you have baked it too long. You want it to where it starts to crust, but is only a very light brown. Don't worry about it not being cooked all the way! When things come out of the oven they have what is called "carry over cooking." This means they retain heat even after coming out of the oven. So when you pull the cheesecake out of the oven, it will still have heat within itself to finish cooking the center.
Brown and/or cracks: While I just mentioned that you want the jiggle, what happens if you don't have the jiggle? You get brown edges and/or cracks throughout the cheesecake. You might have one giant crack through the center or multiple throughout the entire thing. This indicates it was over-baked. The moisture starts to deplete the longer you leave it in the heat. Without the moisture, the cheesecake can't hold itself together. Don't worry, it is still edible. It just won't have that creamy taste and texture that is desired in cheesecake. Just throw some whipped cream on top and berries and no one will be the wiser (unless they are a trained chef).
Half Recipe for
Philadelphia Classic Cheesecake
Philadelphia Cream Cheese 2 pkg (8 oz each)
Sugar 1/2 cup
Vanilla 1/2 tsp
9 in Graham Cracker Crust
Preheat oven to 325F.
Soften cream cheese then beat in mixer until smooth. *See notes above
Add sugar and vanilla and beat until incorporated and smooth again.
Add eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated.
Pour mixture over crust.
Bake for 30 minutes. The outer edge will be slightly light brown and the center will be jiggly. *See notes above
Let cool completely before cutting into. Best if refrigerated for at least 2 hours before serving. *See notes above
Make your own crust!
Graham cracker crumbs 1 1/2 cups
Butter 1/3 cup
Sugar 3 TBSP
Melt the butter
Mix the crumbs and sugar together, mix in the melted butter, and then press into spring form pan.
That's it! No need to prebake. Just pour the cheesecake mixture over it and then bake. Super simple.
I am not sponsored by Philadelphia Cream Cheese. It is a preferred brand of mine, but you can use any brand of cream cheese. I just love this recipe and have not found one that compares to the taste, texture, and ease of this recipe.