New York Style Cheesecake

This is Vito’s Mom’s recipe for New York Style Cheesecake.  She was the “Cheesecake Queen” and was asked many times by family and friends to bake one for their special occasions, to which she never refused nor would she accept any payment for her efforts.  We make it often, substituting stevia for the sugar in the recipe to cut down on carbohydrates; the resulting cheesecake is identical in looks and taste to the traditional recipe using sugar. There are two “must-do” items in this recipe: 1) use a 9” or 10” spring-form pan, preferably with a non-stick coating, and 2) after baking, leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door propped open and the heat turned off for 1 hour to rest.

While many recipes call for using a bain marie or water bath when baking a cheesecake, we find it cumbersome.  For most home bakers, it is difficult to execute properly and if you get a leak between the spring-form pan and the bain marie, you have a soggy disaster on your hands.  While the water bath method is supposed to result in less cracking of the top crust, that has not been our experience.  That said, we actually like some light cracking in the cheesecake’s top crust; it adds character and the small crevices serve as wonderful reservoirs for any fruit sauce topping you may choose to use or not.

Mom would often provide a fruit topping at the table when serving her cheesecake.  To our taste, this New York Style Cheesecake is just perfect without any additions, but if you prefer one, prepare a topping using seasonal fruit, either fresh or cooked down and cooled prior to serving.  For a tropical twist, try our Grilled Pineapple NY Cheesecake recipe.

New York Style Cheesecake

Prep Time: 1 hour, Total Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes Yields One 9 or 10-inch cheesecake of 8 servings

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  • 4 8-ounce packages Cream Cheese, do not use low or no fat cream cheese
  • 6 Eggs
  • ¾ cup Sugar or Stevia
  • 1 pint/16 oz/2 cups Sour Cream
  • 2 Tb Corn Starch
  • 2 Tb Vanilla Extract
  • Finely grated zest of 1 Lemon* (optional but strongly recommended)
  • Unsalted butter at room temperature for the spring-form pan


  1. Let cream cheese soften at room temperature for an hour before using.
  2. Remove the softened cream cheese from its packaging and place in a large mixing bowl. Zest one lemon and reserve, if using.
  3. Separate the egg yolks from the whites.  Reserve the egg whites separately.
  4. Add the egg yolks to the softened cream cheese along with the sugar or stevia, sour cream, corn starch, vanilla extract and optional lemon zest.  Using an electric hand-mixer, mix until well-blended; the batter will not be entirely smooth.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease the spring-form pan generously with the unsalted butter.
  6. Add the egg whites to a separate bowl, preferably a copper one-ring bowl designed for beating egg whites (see picture).  Beat egg whites, using an electric hand-mixer with the whisk attachment, until stiff peaks form.
  7. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold half the whipped egg whites into the batter until lightly combined, then fold the remaining whipped egg whites into the batter taking care not to overly mix the batter.
  8. Pour the batter into a well-greased 9” or 10” inch spring-form pan slowly and give the pan a gentle shake to evenly settle batter in the pan.
  9. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees F on a centered rack in the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes at which time the cheesecake’s center will appear firm and the top a deep golden-brown color.
  10. This step is mission critical! Turn off the oven, pop the oven door open a few inches, most ovens have a catch in the door mechanism to permit this, and let the cheesecake cool in-place for a minimum of 1 hour. Do not remove the cheesecake from the oven.  There will be some settling as the cheesecake cools which is normal.
  11. Remove the cheesecake in the spring-form pan and baking sheet from the oven and set the baking sheet aside.  Place the spring-form pan on the counter and run a blunt-tipped knife around edge of the cheesecake to release it from the pan and allow it to continue to cool for 30 minutes.
  12. Using the lever, release sides of the spring-form pan and use the blunt-tipped knife once again to release any spots of the cheesecake’s sides which may still be stuck to the pan. Remove the spring-form pan sides and allow the cheesecake to continue to cool completely.
  13. This recipe will yield 8 servings; you can cut thinner slices but we don’t recommend it as they will likely fall apart when serving.  We enjoy New York style cheesecake on its own without any fruit sauce.  If you do want to serve New York style cheesecake with a sauce, serve it on the side on the plate or allow guests to add their own or not.

New York Style Cheesecake

*Notes: You can substitute orange for the lemon zest if you prefer.