Creamy & Easy Cheesecake Without Sour Cream

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Ah, cheesecake – who can resist the rich, creamy texture and the perfect blend of sweetness with a hint of tang? Not to mention the buttery graham cracker crust that melts in your mouth. But wait – what if you’re out of sour cream? Fear not! This Cheesecake Recipe Without Sour Cream is here to save the day. With a lineage tracing back to ancient Greece, cheesecake has evolved over the centuries into the perfect dessert that we all adore.

Why Skip the Sour Cream?

You might be saying to yourself, “Self…why go for a cheesecake recipe without sour cream in the first place?” Well, it’s a good thing to explore variations! Sometimes you might want a lighter texture, or maybe you don’t have sour cream handy. Using simple ingredients like heavy cream or Greek yogurt can be just as delicious.

Substitutes for Sour Cream

IN A WORLD…where you don’t have sour cream OR cream cheese, fret not. Simply replace sour cream it with an equal amount of Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or mascarpone cheese. If you’re using Greek yogurt, it’s best to use the full-fat version to ensure the texture and flavor are as close as possible to the original.

Here’s a simple sour cream substitution guide:

  • 1 cup sour cream = 1 cup Greek yogurt (full fat)
  • 1 cup sour cream = 1 cup cottage cheese (blended to a smooth consistency)
  • 1 cup sour cream = 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream = 1 cup mascarpone cheese

Please note this is a general approximation, and results can vary depending on the specific recipe and ingredients used.

How to Make Cheesecake Without Sour Cream

Here’s the step-by-step recipe. You can find the recipe card, further down.

Step 1: Create the Crust

No cheesecake is complete without its iconic base: the buttery graham cracker crust. Our best cheesecake recipe makes use of graham cracker crumbs. You can either purchase store-bought graham cracker crust or make your own. Let’s make our own.


  • 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


Place graham crackers in a food processor until you have a fine crumb. If you don’t own one, place the crackers in a plastic bag and go over them with a rolling pin. Mix the crumbs with melted butter, sugar, and salt, and press them into a springform pan.

Pop it into a preheated oven at 350°F for 10 minutes. Let it cool on a wire rack. While it cools, you can start on the cheesecake filling. You don’t need to “par-bake” this with ceramic pie crust weights, since graham cracker crust doesn’t rise when it’s baked.

Step 2: Make The Filling

Now onto the star of the show – the cheesecake filling! For this cheesecake recipe without sour cream, we’ll use softened cream cheese, heavy cream, and lemon juice instead of sour cream.


  • 4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups 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


Start by beating the cream cheese with a paddle attachment on a stand mixer at low speed. Gradually add sugar, then egg yolks, and finally, the heavy cream, vanilla extract, cornstarch, and lemon zest. Give everything a quick mix for about 10-15 seconds on low. The key here is not to add too much air to the batter. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl, ensuring a smooth texture. Pour the filling over the cooled crust.

Step 3: Bake

The best way to bake a perfect cheesecake is using a bain-marie, aka hot water bath. This prevents the edges of the cheesecake from cooking too quickly.

Setting Up the Bain Marie

First, place your springform pan inside a big roasting pan. Before we add anything, make sure to wrap the outside of the springform pan with 2-3 layers of tin foil. This keeps the water out during baking.

Now, boil a pot of water. You’ll need enough to fill the roasting pan about halfway up the side of the springform pan.

Pour your yummy cheesecake batter into the graham cracker crust and smooth the top with a spatula, butter knife, or wooden spoon.

Place the springform pan in the center of the roasting pan. Carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan, so there’s about 1 inch of water around the springform pan.

Time to bake! Pop this setup in an oven preheated to 325°F and bake for around 50-60 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the cheesecake hits 150°F.

That’s it! You’re on your way to a beautifully baked cheesecake with a silky-smooth texture, thanks to the bain marie. Enjoy!

Cooling Without Cracking

Once the cheesecake bakes, turn off the oven and leave the oven door ajar, letting the cheesecake cool slowly. This prevents the cheesecake cracks that happen due to sudden temperature changes.

Turn off the oven, crack open the oven door, and let the cheesecake cool for an hour before removing it from the oven.

The Final Act: Topping Your Cheesecake

Once your cheesecake is cooled, it’s time to add your favorite cheesecake topping! Fresh fruit like strawberries, or a classic caramel sauce, the choices are endless! My personal favorite is lemon curd!

Related: I recently posted about the top 19 Simple Cheesecake Topping Recipes.

Delectable Variations: New York and Crustless Cheesecakes

If you’re a cheesecake aficionado and looking to experiment with different textures or perhaps seeking a low-carb alternative, this section is your treasure trove. The New York cheesecake, known for its velvety texture, owes its richness to adding heavy cream. Let’s explore how you can whip up this classic delight and explore its close cousin – the Crustless Cheesecake.

New York Cheesecake

Imagine sinking your teeth into a slice of creamy heaven with a velvety-smooth filling and a crumbly buttery crust. That’s exactly what you get with a New York-Style Cheesecake. It’s extra thick and rich, thanks to lots of heavy or sour cream in the mix.

Crustless Cheesecake

Craving cheesecake but watching your carb intake? Here’s a simple tweak! Just omit the graham cracker crust and pour your filling into a well-greased pie plate or springform pan.

Storage Tips

Before you store your cheesecake, ensure it’s completely cooled. Wrap it in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, to avoid freezer burn. Place it in an airtight container and store it in the freezer.

Serving Tips

Use a sharp knife dipped in hot water to cut clean slices. Serve at room temperature for the best flavor.

Cheesecake Recipe Without Sour Cream

Cheesecake without Sour Cream

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. Ever.
4.28 from 11 votes
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 7 hours 45 minutes
Yield: 12 people


Graham Cracker Crust

Cheesecake Filling


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.

Cheesecake Filling

  • 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

Nutritional Information

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 520kcal, Carbohydrates: 60g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 108mg, Sodium: 374mg, Potassium: 85mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 50g, Vitamin A: 820IU, Calcium: 45mg, Iron: 2mg

The Golden Lamb provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician.

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What can I use instead of sour cream in a cheesecake recipe?

Greek yogurt or heavy cream are great alternatives.

How do I prevent my cheesecake from cracking?

A water bath and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven with the door ajar to prevent cracks.

Can I use store-bought graham cracker crust?

Absolutely! It saves time and still tastes delicious.

How do I know when my cheesecake is done baking?

It should still wobble a bit in the center when it’s done.

Can I make cheesecake without a springform pan?

You can use a regular pie plate, but removing the cheesecake is trickier.

Can I add different flavors to my cheesecake filling?

Definitely! Add chocolate chips, or swirl in some raspberry sauce for a twist.

Conclusion: The Cheesecake of Your Dreams

There you have it! Your very own Cheesecake Recipe Without Sour Cream, complete with a buttery graham cracker crust and a creamy, dreamy filling. Whether you choose lemon curd, fresh fruit, or another favorite topping, this is bound to become a cherished recipe. So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to indulge in a slice of heaven!

Check out my other popular recipes!

Avatar Of Kelsey Todd
Kelsey brings over 20 years of hands-on experience in the coffee industry, having honed his craft as a professional barista in both Seattle and Santa Barbara. He is an accredited member of The Coffee Association of America and holds an active membership in The Baristas Guild. Beyond his practical experience, Kelsey is deeply committed to the academic study of coffee history and its cultural impact. Outside of his professional pursuits, he enjoys quality time with his family and shares his extensive knowledge of coffee through insightful articles on this blog.

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