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The best Classic Cheesecake recipe with a sweet graham cracker crust and incredibly rich filling with a hint of vanilla and lemon. Amazing!

This Classic Cheesecake recipe was originally published on September 26, 2012.  In fact, this was the very first recipe we published here on A Family Feast!  Over the last 2-1/2 years, our photography skills have improved quite a bit and we felt that this post was long overdue for an update.  And – considering how delicious this Classic Cheesecake recipe is, we also wanted bring this recipe out of the archives and reshare it with those of you who may not have known about A Family Feast back in 2012.   Enjoy!

Whenever the mood strikes and I’m craving a classic cheesecake, this is the recipe that I dig out. This incredibly decadent cheesecake gets its richness from cream cheese, ricotta cheese, sour cream and butter (oh my!) – so it’s best reserved for those occasions when counting calories and fat grams isn’t a concern!

The best Classic Cheesecake recipe with a sweet graham cracker crust and incredibly rich filling with a hint of vanilla and lemon. Amazing!

This classic cheesecake also requires a very slow cooking process – it’s baked first in a water bath (see how-to instructions here) for an hour with the oven set at 325 degrees, then left in the oven for another two hours with the heat turned off.  Don’t be tempted to open the oven door during those two hours…the slow cool-down, along with the moisture in the oven from the water bath helps prevent the top of the cheesecake from cracking.  The baking process is quite time-consuming, but worth the delicious results!

By the way – here is our original photograph from September 2012.

The best Classic Cheesecake recipe with a sweet graham cracker crust and incredibly rich filling with a hint of vanilla and lemon. Amazing!

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Classic Cheesecake

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings


A delicious and decadent classic cheesecake recipe with a sweet graham cracker crust and a sweet cream cheese filling with a hint of vanilla and lemon.


For the crust

  • 11/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling

  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 11/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs (beaten and added one at a time)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 stick melted butter (8 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  1. To prepare the crust, combine graham cracker crumbs and 3 tablespoons sugar in a bowl. Stir in the 6 tablespoons melted butter until thoroughly combined. Pour mixture into bottom of a 10-inch round springform pan and press firmly to the bottom and approximately 1/2 inch up the sides. Chill in refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put a large pot of water on to boil – this will be used for the water bath.
  3. To prepare the cheesecake filling, mix the sour cream, ricotta, and softened cream cheese together in a large bowl, combining well. Then add the remaining ingredients one by one in the order listed above – mixing well after each addition – sugar, eggs, flour, cornstarch, melted butter, vanilla, and lemon juice. Once mixed, pour into prepared springform pan with graham cracker crust.
  4. Wrap the bottom of the pan in a large single sheet of aluminum foil making sure that the sides of the pan are fully covered by the foil. This is done to prevent the water bath from leaking into the bottom of the springform pan. Place the springform pan in a baking pan large enough to hold the springform pan and also large enough to allow for water to surround the springform pan. Add about an inch of hot (almost-boiling) water to the baking pan so it surrounds the pan. (See our How to Bake Using a Water Bath.)
  5. Bake in a 325 degree oven for one hour. After an hour, turn off the oven heat and leave the cheesecake in the oven for two additional hours without opening the door of the oven. After the two hours are up, remove from the oven and the water bath and let cool.
  6. Refrigerate uncovered overnight or for at least 4 hours before serving. To remove from the pan, wet a large knife with warm water and run the knife blade around the edge of the cheesecake before loosening the outer ring of the springform pan. (If necessary, clean and rewet the knife as you go around the cheesecake to ensure a clean edge.) Serve with fresh strawberries or other topping of your choice.

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  • Rose | The Clean Dish wrote:

    You can’t go wrong with classic cheesecake!! Yours looks just PERFECT.
    I have some old posts that need updating, I’ve been working on that lately myself! It’s fun to look through the archives 🙂

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Rose! I’ve been going through all of my old posts – some make me smile and some make me cringe! Our photos and writing have definitely come a long way! 🙂 Have a nice holiday!

  • Angie | Big Bear’s Wife wrote:

    The new photos are just gorgeous!! Cheesecake like this is just the best, isn’t it!

  • Marjory @ Dinner-Mom wrote:

    That is one gorgeous cheesecake! It always my first choice when I need to be indulgent…and I love that you have frozen it with success!

  • Cookin Canuck wrote:

    It took me a long time to fall in love with cheesecake, but now I can’t resist a piece, classic or otherwise. This looks so good!

  • Kirsten/ComfortablyDomestic wrote:

    A good cheesecake is never a bad idea. Love your new photos!

  • Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) wrote:

    There is nothing better than a good, classic cheesecake!

  • Lana | Never Enough Thyme wrote:

    My all time favorite. I’d choose the classic cheesecake over almost any other dessert I can think of!

  • Angie wrote:

    I have yet not to crack a cheesecake. But I don’t think I’ve ever done a recipe that baked for 2 hours. Can’t wait to try this recipe and get a cheesecake without cracks!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Angie – Definitely use the water bath method when baking a cheesecake – the moisture in the oven will help prevent the cracks! Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • The Food Hunter wrote:

    Your cheesecake looks spectacular

  • Cindi wrote:

    It’s just the two of us, do you know does this cheesecake freeze ok?


    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Cindi! Yes! We’ve frozen it ourselves (it does make a fairly large cheesecake) and it thaws beautifully! I hope you enjoy the recipe!

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