This strawberry cheesecake has a light and creamy base topped with a delicious strawberry topping made of fresh strawberries and lemon juice! Read on for detailed tips on how to make the best strawberry cheesecake! This recipe is a variation on this New York cheesecake.
This strawberry cheesecake is a wonderful combination of rich, creamy New York cheesecake and bright, homemade strawberry sauce! It makes the best summertime dessert and is perfect for using those fresh, ripe, seasonal strawberries.
Strawberry cheesecake is also great for bringing to a potluck and is a stunning dessert for Thanksgiving and Christmas, making it a superb dessert for the holidays.
The homemade strawberry topping is the highlight of this cheesecake! It includes both puréed and halved strawberries to make a vibrant, bright red sauce that's thin enough to pour but thick enough to stay on the cheesecake.
The halved strawberry pieces create a beautiful presentation and add texture to this topping. It's a striking sauce that can be added to plenty of other desserts, not just cheesecake.
Tips for the best strawberry cheesecake
Ingredients for Strawberry Cheesecake
Cheesecake Filling Ingredients
- Graham crackers - Use a food processor to make crumbs or place the crackers in a resealable bag and crush them with a rolling pin or a kitchen mallet.
- Cream cheese - Use softened full-fat cream cheese. My preferred method is to microwave them on 50% power for 20 seconds at a time.
- Sour cream - Use full-fat sour cream for the best flavor. For a silkier, softer version replace half the sour cream with heavy cream.
- Eggs - I recommend room temperature eggs for easy mixing.
- Sugar - Use fine, granulated sugar that quickly dissolves in the batter.
Strawberry Topping Ingredients
- Strawberries - Use fresh, ripe strawberries. Half of the strawberries are puréed to create a smooth, viscous sauce. Halve the other half or cut them into big pieces to add texture.
- Sugar - Use fine granulated sugar. Start with less and adjust with more if needed.
- Lemon juice - Use fresh lemon juice. It adds the perfect amount of brightness to the sauce.
- Cornstarch - A bit of cornstarch slightly thickens the strawberry sauce to give it the perfect pouring consistency to top this cheesecake.
Strawberry Cheesecake - Step by Step Photos
- Prepare the graham cracker crust by making graham cracker crumbs in a food processor. Add the melted butter, sugar, and salt and process one more time to create a consistency similar to wet sand.
- Next, press the crumbs into a springform pan that's lined on the bottom with a parchment paper round and then double-lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Make sure to firmly press on the bottom and side crust. Finally, bake for 8 to 10 minutes and then set aside.
- Add the softened cream cheese, eggs, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer to create a smooth, creamy batter that's free of lumps.
- To remove air bubbles, mix for 1 to 2 minutes at the lowest speed. This will push up large air bubbles that can create cracks. Once they reach the surface, pop the air bubbles.
- Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust and bang the pan several times on the counter to remove large air bubbles.
- Place the springform pan in a larger roasting pan and fill it with a few inches of hot water. This is called a water bath or baine marie and allows the cheesecake to bake at an even, consistent temperate while creating a humid environment. This prevents the cheesecake from drying out and cracking.
- Bake the cheesecake for 75 minutes and then turn off the oven, leaving the cheesecake inside.
- Open the oven door slightly and let the cheesecake slowly decrease in temperature for one hour. Afterward, remove the cheesecake from the water bath and remove the foil. Once it reaches room temperature, lightly cover and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours to overnight.
Removing air bubbles and placing the cheesecake in a water bath should prevent any cracks from forming, as you can see from the photo below. But don't sweat it if your cheesecake cracks. There's a delicious strawberry topping waiting to cover up any cracks so no one will see them!
Strawberry Cheesecake Topping - Step by Step Photos
- Cut half the strawberries in half and set them aside. Purée the remaining half and mix in the cornstarch, sugar, and lemon juice. Then, add it to a pot and heat over medium-high heat until it reaches a boil and thickens.
- Add the halved strawberry pieces and gently stir to combine.
- Taste and adjust with more lemon juice or sugar, depending on the sweetness of the strawberries. For a thinner sauce, add 1 teaspoon of water at a time while keeping in mind the sauce thickens once cooled.
- When no longer hot, top the cheesecake with the strawberry topping while reserving extra sauce for serving on the side.
To serve, dip a thin knife in hot water and wipe it dry. Warming the knife allows for smooth, even slices without dragging or tearing the cheesecake. Wipe off any excess and dip it in hot water again. Repeat for every slice. Serve and enjoy!
More cheesecake recipes
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs - See Note 1
- 2 ½ tablespoons butter - melted
- 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 8oz packages cream cheese - softened, see Note 2
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ⅔ cup sour cream - see Note 3
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ lbs strawberries
- 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
- 3 to 6 tablespoons sugar - adjust as needed
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of your springform pan with a parchment paper round for easy removal. Then, double wrap the pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- Use a food processor to make graham cracker crumbs. Alternatively, crush them in a resealable bag using a rolling pin or kitchen mallet. Mix the crumbs with the melted butter, sugar, and salt. It should resemble wet sand and hold its shape when pressed. Add the crumbs to the pan and firmly pat down to get an even layer on the bottom and sides. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.1 cup graham cracker crumbs, 2 ½ tablespoons butter, 1 ½ tablespoons sugar, pinch of salt
- Make the batter: Reduce the oven to 325°F. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the softened cream cheese, eggs, sugar, sour cream, vanilla, and salt until smooth and creamy on medium-high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom halfway through. Lastly, remove large air bubbles by reducing the speed to the lowest setting for 1 to 2 minutes.2 8oz packages cream cheese, 2 eggs, ⅔ cup sugar, ⅔ cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Water bath: Pour the batter into the springform pan and remove any air bubbles by banging the pan onto the kitchen counter lined with a kitchen towel. Put the springform pan into a larger roasting pan and add hot water a few inches up the side to create a water bath.
- Bake: Bake at 325°F for 75 minutes. Turn off the oven and use a wooden spoon to crack open the oven door. Let the cheesecake slowly reduce in temperature for one hour then remove it from the oven.
- Chill: Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and remove the foil. Once it reaches room temperature, loosely cover and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours to overnight.
- Halve about half the strawberries and set them aside. Purée the other half of the strawberries using a blender or food processor. Pour the purée into a pot and mix in the cornstarch, sugar, and lemon juice. Heat over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil.1 ½ lbs strawberries, 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch, 3 to 6 tablespoons sugar, 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- Turn off the heat and add the strawberry halves. Taste and adjust with more sugar or lemon juice as needed. If needed, add 1 teaspoon of water at a time. Note: The sauce will thicken as it cools.
Top with strawberry sauce and serve
- Add the cooled strawberry topping to the cheesecake, reserving some for serving on the side. Cut slices using a thin knife that's been dipped in hot water and wiped dry before each slice. Serve and enjoy!
✎ Recipe Notes
- Graham cracker crust - Reduce the amount by half if you only want a bottom crust with no sides.
- Cream cheese - Use full-fat cream cheese for best results. To soften, leave at room temperature or microwave for 20 seconds at a time at half power until soft (my preferred method).
- Sour cream - Replace half the sour cream with heavy cream for a softer, silkier texture. This will give you a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth cheesecake that's velvety soft. I highly recommend this for those who prefer soft cheesecakes over dense ones.
- Crust: Use a flat-bottomed measuring cup with straight sides to easily press down the graham cracker crumbs.
- Crack-free cheesecake: Cracks can form in cheesecakes due to air bubbles, over-mixing, and improper temperature. Avoid opening the oven during baking to keep the temperature consistent.
- Once it's finished baking, allow the cheesecake to rest in the oven with the door cracked for an hour to let the temperature decrease slowly. This prevents the cheesecake from collapsing and cracking.
- Once the cheesecake comes to room temperature, cover it loosely to prevent any condensation from dripping onto the cheesecake.
- Chill overnight for best results.
- Make-ahead for the holidays - Strawberry cheesecake can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.
The cheesecake base can be frozen for up to 1 month. I don't recommend freezing the strawberry topping as it gets watery when thawed. Thaw the cheesecake in the fridge overnight and add the strawberry topping before serving.
The strawberry topping can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for 3 days.
Yes, strawberry cheesecake can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for 3 days. Or you can freeze the cheesecake separately for up to 1 month and thaw in the fridge overnight. Add the strawberry topping right before serving.
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