Creamy cheesecake filling, a thick graham cracker crust, and juicy strawberry topping – this Strawberry Cheesecake is the perfect recipe. You’ll feel like a professional baker with this gorgeous dessert.
The Perfect Strawberry Cheesecake
I love the combination of a tangy cheesecake and sweet berries. This strawberry cheesecake is adapted from my favorite New York cheesecake recipe, and looks absolutely beautiful with bright red berries on top. It’s luxuriously creamy, but surprisingly not too heavy in texture. The crust is thick, crunchy and goes all the way up the sides of the pan – because it just might be my favorite part.
The recipe isn’t too difficult, but like any cheesecake recipe, it’s important to read all of the recipe tips and tricks for success.
For The Crust
The crust is thick, crunchy and the perfect complement to the cheesecake filling. You’ll mix together crushed graham crackers (I typically buy the crumbs that come in a box from the baking aisle), a little sugar and melted butter. Then the mixture gets pressed along the bottom and up the sides of your springform pan. The crust will bake on its own first for 10 minutes. This makes it extra crunchy and more sturdy.
Substitute for Graham Crumbs: for anyone outside of North America, I recommend using Digestive biscuits. You can skip the sugar if using Digestive biscuits, because they’re already sweetened more than graham crackers.
For the Filling
The cheesecake filling is creamy, decadent and luxuriously creamy. The keys to the perfect cheesecake texture are as follows:
- Use full-fat, brick-style cream cheese – no low fat, lite or spreadable!
- Sour cream lightens up the texture and makes it silky smooth.
- Bake your cheesecake in a water bath (more on that later).
You’ll notice that we’re adding a little fresh lemon juice and a little cornstarch (AKA cornflour) to the filling. The lemon juice helps to pick up the flavor (by no means it is a lemon-flavored cheesecake) to pair so perfectly with the strawberry topping. Then the cornstarch helps to bind the cheesecake together and reduces the chances of cracks.
Baking & Cooling the Cheesecake
This recipe is made in a water bath. This absolutely key for a creamy cheesecake that’s never gritty and minimizes the likelihood of cracking. Before making the crust, you’ll wrap the outside of your springform pan in aluminum foil at least 3-4 times so that all the seams are covered. After you’ve made the cheesecake filling, your unbaked cheesecake goes inside a large roasting pan. Pour about ½ – 1 inch of water into the roasting pan. The whole thing then goes in the oven to bake. The water keeps moisture as the cheesecake bakes and insulates the cheesecake from big swings in temperature which can lead to cheesecake cracks.
After the cheesecake is done baking, it’ll need to cool slowly (at room temperature) and then chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours prior to serving.
Strawberry Topping for Cheesecake
The topping I use for my strawberry cheesecake is a simple strawberry sauce that’s thickened with cornstarch. Adding a little lemon juice to the sauce complements the sweetness of the berries and the acid helps to bring out the juices. You’ll boil together chopped berries, sugar and a little lemon juice while gently stirring. Then to thicken up the sauce, you’ll add in the cornstarch dissolved in a little water.
Pro Tip: I like to chop the strawberries into thick slices/pieces to prevent them from getting too soft or soggy.
I don’t recommend using frozen berries. While they will work, I find they’re definitely more likely to get soggy.
More Cheesecake Recipes to Love:
- No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake – this recipe has a chocolate cookie crust and tastes almost like a strawberry milkshake
- Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberry Topping
- No-Bake Peanut Butter Cheesecake
- Cheesecake Bars
- 9-inch springform pan
- large roasting pan (big enough to fit the springform pan inside)
- 2 ½ cups graham crumbs*
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 24 ounces full-fat cream cheese* use brick style
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch AKA corn flour
- ¾ cup sour cream* I use 14% MF
- 3 large eggs*
- hot water for the waterbath
- 1 lb strawberries weighed before coring & slicing
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch AKA corn flour
- 2 tablespoons water
- Preheat the oven to 325F (160 C) degrees
- Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil. Wrap it at least 3-4 times so that the bottom and sides are covered, and that all the seems are covered.
Graham Crumb Crust
- In a medium bowl, stir together the crumbs and sugar. Then stir in the melted butter. It should feel like wet sand.
- Pour the mixture into the springform pan. Press the mixture down into the base and up the sides of the pan. It should go about ½ way to ⅔ up the sides of the pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep the oven turned on.
- In a very large bowl beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Mix in the lemon juice and cornstarch, followed by the sour cream.
- With the mixer on low, beat in the eggs 1 at a time until just combined. Stop mixing as soon as the eggs are incorporated.
Baking & Cooling the Cheesecake
- Place the springform pan (still wrapped in foil) in the middle of a large roasting pan.
- Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan and smooth the top. It may or may not come up higher than the crust at the sides (either is ok).
- Pour hot water into the roasting pan, so that there's about 1 inch (about 2 cm) of water in the roasting pan.
- Place the whole thing in the oven and bake for about 50-65 minutes, or until the cheesecake looks just set on top (except for perhaps in the very middle). If you give the pan a gentle nudge, the cheesecake should still wobble like jello but shouldn't wobble like a liquid.
- Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Gently trace around the sides of the pan using a thin, sharp knife to ensure that the crust doesn't stick to the pan. Let the cheesecake cool in the roasting pan until it reaches room temperature (about 1-2 hours).
- Take the springform pan (with the cheesecake inside) out of the roasting pan. Cover cheesecake (still in the springform pan) with aluminum foil and refrigerate for 6 hours for the cheesecake to set.
- Core the strawberries and slice into thick slices, or quarters.
- Place the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil with stirring or low-medium heat
- Add the cornstarch and water to a small bowl or cup to dissolve the cornstarch.
- Add the cornstarch mixtrue to the gently boiling strawberries and stir for about 3-5 minutes, or until the juices of the strawberries come out and the liquid starts to thicken.
- Remove the cheesecake from the fridge. Gently trace around the outside edges of the pan with a sharp knife again, and unclamp the outer ring of the springform pan.
- Carefully spoon the strawberry topping on top of the cheesecake. Or optionally, top each slice of cheesecake after cutting.
- Slice with a sharp knife. Make sure that you go all the way through the crust.
- A springform pan is needed for this recipe. You can use a 10-inch springform pan if you like - the cheesecake will just be thinner and the bake time closer to 45-55 minutes. There is too much batter for an 8-inch pan however.
- Graham crumbs can be replaced with Digestive biscuit crumbs. If using Digestive biscuits, you can omit the sugar.
- Do not use spreadable, whipped or reduced calorie cream cheese.
- The cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs should be room temperature before getting started. Take them out of the fridge about 30 minutes prior to getting started.
- Nutrition information is an estimate only and based on 1 slice, assuming the cheesecake is sliced into 14 equal pieces.
- Make -Ahead Tips: I always make my cheesecake the day before I plan to serve it and chill the cheesecake overnight in the fridge. Then make the strawberry topping the day you plan to serve. You can either make the strawberry topping immediately before serving, or make it earlier in the day and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Then top the cheesecake immediately before serving.
- Leftovers will keep covered in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you don't think you'll finish the cheesecake the day you plan to serve it, then I recommend topping each slice with strawberry topping, as opposed to the entire cheesecake. Keep leftover strawberry topping covered in an airtight container in the fridge.