Cheesecakes are rich, creamy, adaptable, and easy — really, what more could you ask for from a dessert? The only problem comes when you have to narrow down what kind you’ll be making: bake versus no bake, with or without sour cream, topped with berries or drizzled in chocolate. Clearly, the best solution is to try them all. Check out our sampling of cheesecakes in these eight recipes.
1. Lindy’s cheesecake
As Saveur explains, Lindy’s cheesecake is a classic recipe from Arnold Reuben’s pastry chef, who was hired by Leo Lindemann to recreate the dessert at Lindemann’s restaurant. Reuben claims to be the first person to serve cheesecake, so when you have a hankering for the dessert, this is the recipe you need to have at the ready.
- 1 cup flour
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved
- 2½ pounds cream cheese, softened
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1½ teaspoons orange zest
- 1½ teaspoons lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 whole eggs, plus 2 yolks
- ¼ cup heavy cream
Directions: For the crust, combine flour, butter, sugar, zest, salt, yolk, and vanilla seeds in a bowl; rub with fingers until dough forms. Form dough into two rounds; wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour. Press one dough round onto bottom of a 9-inch springform pan; pull off pieces from remaining dough and press around sides of pan. Set aside.
To make the the filling, preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, zests, and vanilla in a large bowl on medium-high speed with a hand mixer until smooth. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition, until smooth; stir in cream. Pour filling into pan and bake until top begins to brown, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and bake until just set, about 1 hour more. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. Remove cake from pan and cut into slices to serve.
2. Turtle cheesecake
This turtle cheesecake from Very Best Baking was a finalist in a “Share the Very Best” baking competition, and it is easy to see why. A classic graham cracker crust is combined with cream cheese and the dynamic duo of chocolate and caramel.
- 1¾ cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
- ⅓ cup butter or margarine, melted
- 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups (9 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels
- 2 tablespoons chocolate flavor syrup
- 2 tablespoons caramel syrup or ice cream topping
- ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
- ¼ cup semisweet chocolate mini morsels
Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and grease 9-inch springform pan. To make the crust, combine crumbs and butter in medium bowl. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of prepared pan.
For the filling, beat cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk in large mixer bowl until smooth. Add sugar, eggs, lime juice, and vanilla extract; beat until combined. Microwave 1½-cup morsels in medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on high (100 percent) power for 1 minute; stir. The morsels may retain some of their shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. Stir 2 cups of cheesecake batter into melted morsels; mix well. Alternately spoon batters into crust, beginning and ending with yellow batter.
Bake for 70-75 minutes or until edge is set and center moves slightly. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes; run knife around edge of cheesecake. Cool completely. Drizzle chocolate and caramel syrups over cheesecake. Sprinkle with nuts and mini morsels. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove side of pan.
3. Ricotta cheesecake with citrus-vanilla compote
Martha Stewart‘s ricotta cheesecake can be served with or without the citrus-vanilla compote – either way, it promises to be a winning dessert. This quickly put-together cheesecake spends most of its time baking, freeing you from spending hours in the kitchen.
- unsalted butter, room temperature, for pan
- ¾ cup sugar, plus more for pan
- 1½ pounds fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese, pureed in a food processor until smooth
- 6 large eggs, separated
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- finely grated zest of 1 orange or 2 lemons
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 red or pink grapefruit (do not peel), preferably organic, washed well
- 1 navel orange (do not peel), preferably organic, washed well
- ¼ cup water, plus more for pan
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved
- pinch of salt
Directions: For the cheesecake, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously butter and sugar a 9-inch springform pan (3 inches deep). Whisk together ricotta, egg yolks, flour, 6 tablespoons sugar, zest, and salt in a large bowl.
Whisk egg whites with a mixer on low speed until foamy. Raise speed to high and gradually add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, whisking until stiff, glossy peaks form, 3-4 minutes. Gently fold a third of the whites into ricotta mixture using a rubber spatula until just combined. Gently fold in remaining whites until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake until center is firm and top is deep golden brown, about 1 hour. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake; release sides to remove from pan and let cool completely. Serve with citrus-vanilla compote.
To make the compote, cut peels from grapefruit and orange. Cut pith from peels and slice into very thin strips. Slice fruit along membranes to release segments into a bowl. Squeeze juice from membranes into bowl; discard membranes. Pour cup juice through a fine sieve into a small bowl.
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Cook citrus peels for 1 minute; drain. Bring 1 cup water, sugar, and vanilla seeds and pod to a boil in a clean medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low. Add reserved juice and peels and the salt; cook for 2 minutes. Let cool completely. Discard vanilla pod. Toss syrup with reserved fruit.
4. Berry berry berry cheesecake
The name says it all in this recipe from 125 Best Cheesecake Recipes via The Baking Pan: You’ll pile berries on top of berries on top of berries for a dessert bursting with flavor (and berries). If all of that fruit is too much to handle, you can skip the garnish.
Vanilla cookie crust
- 1½ cup vanilla cookie crumbs (like Nilla wafers)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup fresh blackberries, crushed
- 1 cup fresh raspberries, crushed
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped small
- 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
- ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons milk (preferably whole milk)
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup whipping (heavy) cream
- 1 or 2 cups of mixed berries, such as blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries
- sweetened whipped cream
Directions: Prepare one 9-inch round cheesecake pan or springform pan with 3-inch sides; use a pastry brush to butter the sides and bottom of pan with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Make the vanilla cookie crust in a mixing bowl, combining vanilla cookie crumbs and melted butter. Stir until thoroughly mixed and mixture is crumbly. Pour the cookie crumb mixture into the cheesecake pan. Using the back of a large spoon or the flat bottom of a measuring cup or drinking glass, press the crumb mixture firmly and evenly across the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the freezer while preparing filling.
For the filling, place the crushed and chopped berries in a bowl together. Let the berry mixture sit at room temperature while preparing the rest of the filling. As the berries sit, they develop a juice. Sprinkle gelatin over milk in a small saucepan and let stand for 1 minute. Stir over low heat until gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, add the cream cheese and sugar and beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, 3 minutes. Slowly add the cooled gelatin mixture, continuing to beat the mixture, and then beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly and there are no lumps. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream until thick and stiff. Tip: The cream will whip easier if the mixing bowl and beaters are first chilled; place in the refrigerator to chill until ready to whip the cream. Using a large rubber spatula or balloon-type whisk, gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and then fold in the berry mixture, including all the berry juice. Pour the cheesecake filling into the chilled cookie crust. Cover the pan and refrigerate until filling is firm, 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Try to avoid having the covering touch the top of the cheesecake, as this may mar the surface.
If using the garnish, when ready to serve, run a hot knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. Place fresh mixed berries on top of cheesecake. Serve extra berries with individual slices along with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream if desired.
5. Mini cheesecakes
We can’t promise that making your cheesecake into smaller portions will help you eat less of it in one sitting, because these miniature portions from AllRecipes.com are so good that you run into a willpower battle when you try to contain yourself to just one. Garnish as desired.
- ⅓ cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 tablespoon margarine, melted
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1½ teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 6-cup muffin pan. In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and margarine with a fork until combined. Measure a rounded tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup, pressing firmly. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, then remove to cool. Keep the oven on.
Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla until fluffy. Mix in the egg. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the muffin cups, filling each until ¾ full. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan before removing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
6. Ultimate cheesecake
Tyler Florence’s Food Network cheesecake promises to be the “ultimate” variation, and judging by its reception, that moniker isn’t too far off from reality. Heaps of praise have been piled onto this cheesecake made with cream cheese and sour cream before being garnished with a blueberry-lemon topping.
- 2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 30 squares)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1 pound cream cheese, 2 (8-ounce) blocks, softened
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 pint sour cream
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 dash vanilla extract
Warm lemon blueberries
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a mixing bowl, combine the crust ingredients with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the crumbs into the pan and, using the bottom of a measuring cup or the smooth bottom of a glass, press the crumbs down into the base and 1 inch up the sides. Refrigerate for 5 minutes.
For the filling, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy for 1 to 2 minutes. Add sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. The batter should be well mixed but not over-beaten. Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
Set the cheesecake pan on a large piece of aluminum foil and fold up the sides around it. Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan; the foil will keep the water from seeping into the cheesecake. Bake for 45 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle (it will firm up after chilling), so be careful not to overcook. Let cool in pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours. Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Unmold and transfer to a cake plate. Using a spatula, spread a layer of the lemon-blueberry topping (see directions below) over the surface. Slice the cheesecake with a thin, non-serrated knife that has been dipped in hot water. Wipe dry after each cut.
Make the warm lemon-blueberry topping by adding those ingredients to a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes or so until the fruit begins to break down slightly. Leave to cool before spreading on cheesecake.
7. Espresso chocolate swirl cheesecake
Chocolate and coffee lovers, rejoice, because Bon Appétit, via Epicurious, has the cheesecake recipe you’ve been looking for. It can even be prepared three days before serving and stored in the fridge — assuming it will last that long without being devoured.
- 1 (9-ounce) package chocolate wafer cookies
- 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- 1 tablespoon water
- 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled
- 1 tablespoon finely ground coffee
- 6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- ¼ cup whipping cream
Directions: For crust, position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grind cookies in processor. Add butter and process using on/off turns until crumbs are moist. Press crumbs on bottom and 1½ inches up sides of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2¾-inch-high sides. Wrap outside of pan with aluminum foil.
To make the filling, in small bowl, dissolve instant espresso in 1 tablespoon water. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar and continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in espresso mixture, butter, and ground coffee beans.
Combine chocolate and cream in heavy small saucepan. Stir over low heat until chocolate melts. Pour half of cheese filling (about 2½ cups) into prepared crust. Drop 5 tablespoons melted chocolate mixture by tablespoons around edge of filling, spacing evenly. Use small sharp knife to swirl chocolate into filling. Carefully pour remaining cheese filling over. Drop remaining chocolate mixture by tablespoons into center 6 inches of filling, spacing evenly. Swirl mixtures together using tip of knife.
Bake cheesecake until edges are puffed and beginning to crack and top is golden brown, about 40 minutes; the center will not be set. Cool on rack. Chill overnight. Run small, sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Release pan sides. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Transfer to platter and serve.
8. Fluffy two-step cheesecake
A no-bake, light and fluffy cheesecake? Sign us up. Thanks to AllRecipes.com you’ll have cheesecake that is airy and requires the absolute minimum amount of kitchen prep possible.
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- 1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1 (9-inch) prepared graham cracker crust
Directions: In a large bowl beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Gently fold in the whipped topping. Spoon into the prepared crust. Refrigerate 3 hours, or until set.