You’ve decided to make a cheesecake from scratch. Congrats! Not only is this cheesecake recipe without sour cream EASY to make, but it’s also creamy, sinfully delicious, and is the best cheesecake recipe you could ever have imagined.
Why Doesn’t This Recipe Need Sour Cream?
Before I can answer that question, we need to ask a different question. Why do most recipes call for sour cream?
- Sour cream is a staple ingredient in most cheesecake recipes because it adds tanginess and allows for a creamier overall texture.
- We’re going to compensate for the missing sour cream-provided tanginess by adding a 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice to the filling.
- Regarding texture, I prefer the lighter, airier texture that comes from using heavy cream instead of sour cream.
- And to ensure that this cheesecake sets up well and for the best results, we’re going to use cornstarch as a thickening agent.
A Brief History of Cheesecake
When one thinks of cheesecake, one most likely envisions New York cheesecake. However, the truth is…regular cheesecake wasn’t invented in New York. Nay, cheesecake actually hails from Ancient Greece!
Just picture Aristotle taking some much-needed “me-time” in the Acropolis in Athens, eating a piece of cheesecake while contemplating math and philosophy.
The cheesecake we know and love didn’t really make its entrance until the mid-1800s, here in the US, when some brilliant soul decided to add cream cheese to the recipe.
Other countries and cultures have made cheesecake their own by adding different cheeses such as feta, ricotta, and some weird Italian cheeses we can’t pronounce, all of which result in varying texture and flavor.
Types of Cheesecake
New York Style Cheesecake: This is the classic cheesecake recipe we all know and love and is what’s most often served as desserts at restaurants.
No-bake Cheesecake: I’ve never made this myself, but it’s really easy and tasty from what I hear. Check out this no bake cheesecake recipe to learn how to make this simple recipe.
5 Perfect Cheesecake Tips & Tricks:
My top 5 pieces of advice for the perfect cheesecake are as follows:
- Avoid overmixing your cheesecake batter.
- Pre-bake your graham cracker crust for 10 minutes.
- Let the cheesecake cool in the oven once it’s done baking.
- Cool a second time at room temperature for an hour.
- Use a water bath
Do I Really Need a Cheesecake Water Bath?
If this is your first time making a cheesecake, you might be overwhelmed by the idea of using a water bath. Don’t be frightened! Water baths are simple to implement and play a key role in cooking cheesecake.
Why? The steam that comes off the water slowly and evenly lifts up the batter as it bakes and prevents sagging or cracking as the cheesecake cools.
If you don’t have a large roasting pan to set your spring-form pan in, you can use a large baking sheet pan filled with hot water and set it on the rack beneath the cheesecake.
What Toppings Should I Use on My Cheesecake?
The tartness of cheesecake is best complimented by a sweet sauce and fresh fruit, which is why you seldom see a naked cheesecake. I use a simple raspberry or blueberry reduction as my top two…toppings.
Some alternatives to consider are:
- Any fresh fruit reduction (aka, compote)
- Peanut butter sauce
- Chocolate ganache
- Homemade whipped cream
- Espresso (chilled)
Here is a collection of my very own 19 Easy DIY Cheesecake Topping Recipes.
How Do I Store My Cheesecake?
Before storing, make sure you’ve brought your cheesecake to room temperature by the methods mentioned below.
To ensure your cheesecake doesn’t soak up any odors in your refrigerator, make sure you seal it in an airtight container before storing it.
I’d suggest wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or using a Tupperware pie container. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freeze your cheesecake for up to 4 months. Be sure to thaw overnight before serving!
How to Make Cheesecake Without Sour Cream:
- 9-10 inch spring-form pan
- Large roasting pan
- Stand mixer (optional)
- Hand electric mixer (optional)
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Tin foil
First, Make the Buttery Graham Cracker Crust
This delicious crust is made with a mixture of simple ingredients: melted butter, sugar, and crushed graham cracker.
Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 full sheets, each sheet has 4 mini rectangles)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Feel free to buy whichever graham crackers are the least expensive. You may use flavored graham crackers as well, such as chocolate, cinnamon, etc.
If you can’t find graham crackers, 1.5 cups of digestive biscuits make a great alternative.
Step 1: Take the bag out of the box and mash them with your hands or a rolling pin. The easiest way to prep your graham crackers is to crush them in the bag they come in.
Step 2: Mix the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter in a medium bowl using a spoon or a rubber spatula. The consistency you’re going for is sandy and thick.
Step 3: Grab your 9-10 inch spring-form pan and begin packing in the mixture. Use a measuring cup with a flat bottom to help pack down the bottom and sides of the crust. Make the crust as compact and tight as humanly possible against the bottom and the sides of the pan.
Step 4: Pre-bake the graham cracker cheesecake crust for about 10-12 minutes at 300 degrees.
While your crust is baking, you can begin working on making the cheesecake filling!
How to Make the Cheesecake Filling
We’re going to make the best cheesecake filling ever with the following ingredients: cream cheese, granulated sugar, heavy cream, cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla beans.
Note: Bring the cheese and eggs up to room temperature before you begin. This will ensure a creamy cheesecake with an even texture throughout. Leave your eggs and cream cheese on the counter for 2-3 hours.
Alternatively, you can warm the cream cheese up in the microwave or a hot water bath for 10-15 minutes.
Cheesecake Filling Ingredients:
- 4, 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice (or lemon zest if you’re feeling up to it)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Step 1: Add the softened cream cheese and granulated sugar to a large bowl or your stand mixer and blend until completely mixed.
Step 2: Add the eggs, one by one.
Step 3: Add the cornstarch, heavy cream, and vanilla extract.
Step 4: Blend for 10-15 seconds on low speed using the paddle attachment. Don’t over blend.
Step 5: Prepare the water bath. Boil a large pot of water, making sure you use enough to leave at least 1 inch of water in the roasting pan. While the water is boiling, wrap the outside of your springform pan in two to three layers of tin foil to prevent water from seeping in during the baking process.
Step 6: Pour the cheesecake batter into the graham cracker crust. Smooth out the surface using a butter knife, spatula, or wooden spoon. Set the now-full spring-form pan into the center of your roasting pan. Pour the hot water into the roasting pan until you have at least 1″ of water.
Step 7: Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees, or until the internal temperature of the cheesecake has reached 150 degrees.
Turn off the oven, crack open the oven door, and let the cheesecake cool for an hour before removing it from the oven.
Depending on your oven, you may need to bake for a shorter or longer period of time. My suggestion would be to bake for an hour and then shake the pan gently. If the center of the cheesecake wobbles, you’re good to go.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How Do I Stop My Cheesecake From Cracking?
The main culprit behind cracking cheesecake is a sudden temperature change. If you were to transfer the cheesecake from the oven directly to the refrigerator or countertop, you’d end up with a cracked cheesecake.
You prevent the cheesecake from cracking by letting it gradually cool inside the oven. Once the cheesecake is done baking, crack open the oven door and leave the cheesecake alone for an hour or so.
Once the cheesecake is done cooling in the oven, transfer it to a wire rack on your countertop and cool for another 20-30 minutes.
Lastly, transfer it to the refrigerator and let cool for 4-5 hours or overnight.
What’s the Best Way to Cut my Cheesecake?
Once the cheesecake has cooled, take a knife and run it along the internal edges of the springform pan. Unlatch the springform and remove the pan. Cut the cheesecake into even slices using a sharp knife.
For super neat slices, wipe the knife clean and submerge in warm water before every cut.
There are some common pitfalls that people come across when trying to make cheesecake. I’ll do my best to answer them!
Why Is My Springform Pan Leaking?
This is common and can be avoided by making a tight barrier out of tinfoil or wrapping the springform pan in a baking bag. If you’re using tinfoil, make 2-3 layers of protection around the pan.
How Do I Avoid Underbaking My Cheesecake?
I have an older oven, so I have to be conscientious of the amount of baking time needed. I’ll often add 5 or 10 minutes to my recipes just to be safe.
Do the “wiggle test” on your cheesecake. To test if it’s done baking, gently shake the pan. If the center of the cheesecake wiggles a bit, it’s done baking. The center will set as it cools.
How Do I Avoid Over-Baking My Cheesecake?
If you’re not sure of your oven’s cooking ability, cook to the recommended time and then test the cake using the wiggle test mentioned above.
Cheesecake without Sour Cream
Graham Cracker Crust
Graham Cracker Crust
- Step 1: Take the bag out of the box and mash them with your hands or a rolling pin.
- Step 2: Mix the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter in a medium bowl using a spatula. The consistency you’re going for is sandy and thick.
- Step 3: Grab your 9-10 inch spring-form pan and begin packing in the mixture. Use a measuring cup with a flat bottom to help pack down the bottom and sides of the crust. Make the crust as compact and tight as humanly possible against the bottom and the sides of the pan.
- Step 4: Pre-bake the graham cracker cheesecake crust for about 10-12 minutes at 300 degrees.
- Step 1: Add the softened cream cheese and granulated sugar to a large bowl or your stand mixer and blend until completely mixed.
- Step 2: Add the eggs, one by one.
- Step 3: Add the cornstarch and heavy cream.
- Step 4: Blend for 10-15 seconds on low speed using the paddle attachment. Don’t over blend.
- Step 5: Prepare the water bath. Boil a large pot of water, making sure you use enough to leave at least 1 inch of water in the roasting pan. While the water is boiling, wrap the outside of your springform pan in two to three layers of tin foil to prevent water from seeping in during the baking process.
- Step 6: Pour the cheesecake batter into the graham cracker crust. Smooth out the surface using a butter knife, spatula, or wooden spoon. Set the now-full spring-form pan into the center of your roasting pan. Pour the hot water into the roasting pan until you have at least 1″ of water.
- Step 7: Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees, or until the internal temperature of the cheesecake has reached 150 degrees.
- Step 8: Turn off the oven, crack open the oven door, and let the cheesecake cool for an hour before removing it from the oven.
Your Own Notes
The Golden Lamb provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician.Love it? Pin it! Share on Facebook
Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Is this your new favorite comfort food? Do you hate it? Do you have any cheesecake recipe tips?
Check out my other popular recipes!