Making a great cheesecake can be tricky, and not everyone has all the special pans and tools available to make it traditionally. Here's an easy-to-make, delicious cheesecake recipe anyone can do at home.
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs or 9 -10 whole graham crackers, crushed
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 5 1/3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Select a pie pan with an inside top dimension is at least 9 inches and at least 1 1/4 inch high sides. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
To make the crust: Stir together all of the crust ingredients, mixing until thoroughly combined. Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan, making a thicker layer on the bottom than on the sides.
To make the filling: Mix together the room-temperature cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the eggs and vanilla, again until smooth. Use a mixer at low-medium speed to avoid putting too much air in the batter. To avoid lumps, soften the cream cheese first.
Set the pie pan onto a baking sheet, which makes it easier to move and also protects the bottom of the crust from scorching. Pour the filling into the crust.
To bake the cheesecake: Place the cheesecake in the oven. Bake it for 20 minutes, then add a crust shield; or cover the crust with strips of aluminum foil. Bake for an additional 10 minutes (for a total of 30). A digital thermometer inserted into the filling 1 inch from the edge should read between 165°F and 170°F. The filling won't look entirely set in the center.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and set the pan on a rack to cool. Then refrigerate it, covered, until ready to serve.
Storage information: Store any leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for several days or freeze.
Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake--spoon seedless raspberry jam onto the top of the filling once it's in the crust before baking. Swirl around the top of the cheesecake, and bake as directed.
Fresh Fruit--top with fresh strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries for a fresh, light and easy topping.
Chocolate or Caramel--drizzle caramel or chocolate sauce across the pieces of cheesecake after cut and plated. You could even get creative serving caramel popcorn cheesecake. Top your cheesecake with buttered, salted popcorn and pour caramel on top for an eye-popping, unique treat.