We cracked a cheesecake, but it’s my fault. So let me tell you how to NOT do that and why you should totally make a cheesecake this year instead of just a pie for the holidays. I know, take deeeeep breathes, I never direct away from pie, God’s greatest creation, but this one is worth it!
A slice of swirled pumpkin cheesecake on a plate with a fork. The rest of the cheesecake is in the background.
These are all our tips and tricks for making a flawless cheesecake:
  1. Always use room temperature cream cheese and eggs.
    • Cream cheese that has been brought to room temperature won’t get clumpy and will be smooth and creamy which is exactly what you’re after with cheesecake. Eggs that are at room temperature distribute more evenly through the cheesecake mixture which is crucial to the structure of the cheesecake (i.e. crack free!). The egg’s fat is more easily emulsified at room temperature as well.
  2. Do not over-mix!! I know it’s satisfying, but stop beating as soon as the ingredients come together. The eggs are mixed in just until it’s smooth otherwise they will release air when baking and crack your cheesecake.
  3. Always use a springform pan in a water bath to gently cook the pie so that it won’t burst and crack. See sections below all about water bath baking.
  4. NEVER open the oven door until it’s done and then crack it once done and turn off the oven. A change in temperature cracks a cheesecake almost every time, so slowly acclimate it to a new temp over 1 hour of resting in the cracked oven.
  5. THE MAIN CULPRIT? Over-baking!! A cheesecake should still wobble in the very center which will go away as it cools and sets. Baking until it’s solid is asking for a crack.
  6. Once room temperature, wrap in plastic and refrigerate up to 12 hours. The longer the better vs recipes that say 2 hours in my opinion.

So cheesecakes might be a little high maintenance, but good golly, they are worth it! One bite of that creamy luscious slice and you’ll forget how temperamental she was to make!

An aerial photo of a whole cheesecake on a white serving platter with dollops of whipped cream around the edges with a slice of lime in each dollop and a pile of triple berry sauce in the middle with a dollop of whipped cream on top

What is a Water Bath?

Baking in a water bath is simply adding a pan of hot water to the oven while baking foods like cheesecakes that are prone to cracking from the heat of the oven. A water bath adds moisture to the oven which helps the cheesecake bake evenly without the outside getting overcooked.

How to Make a Water Bath

Grab a 9×13 baking dish and pour 3 cups of boiling water into it. Place the cheesecake on an upper middle rack in the oven and the baking dish with boiling water on a bottom rack. Actually, put the baking dish into the oven first and then pour the boiling water into it. It is much easier that way rather than trying to move a baking dish full of boiling water across the kitchen without spilling and burning yourself.

Lemon Curd Cheesecake Tart ohsweetbasil.com

How Do You Know When a Cheesecake is Done?

In the case of cheesecake, a little jiggle in the middle is ok as long at the sides are set. Most of our full cheesecakes bake for 50-60 minutes. Every oven is a little different so I always start at the low end of the suggested time and then check it every few minutes after. Once the sides are set, turn the oven off, open the oven door and let the cheesecake sit in the oven. This allows it to finish baking and set without cracking.


So which one of the cheesecake rules did I break that resulted in my cracked cheesecake? It was #4. Ugh! I had to get out the door and didn’t have time to let set up in the oven. But it was fine! It wasn’t pretty, but we topped it with some stabilized whipped cream and still tasted dang good!

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