Make this Classic Philadelphia Cheesecake Recipe made with creamy Philadelphia cheesecake filling. An original recipe that's easy to make and is smooth and delicious. You can't go wrong with this tasty decadent dessert.
We love a good cheesecake. Sometimes cheesecakes can be difficult to make and take time and practice. This Original Philadelphia Cheesecake Recipe is a simpler recipe to get your started with homemade cheesecake.
You can make this recipe for so many different occasions. We have made it for birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and just for a fun weekend dessert.
Try these tasty cheesecake bites for a fun variation.
New York Cheesecake vs. Philadelphia Cheesecake
The first difference is in the crust. Philadelphia cheesecake often has a graham cracker crust, while New York cheesecake is typically made with a sponge cake crust.
The filling is another area where the two types differ. This recipe has a lighter, creamier texture, while New York cheesecake is denser, smoother, and richer. The Philadelphia version is made with cream cheese and sour cream, while the New York version usually has heavy cream added for a thicker consistency.
Unlike other cheesecakes, this recipe has very simple ingredients. The ingredients used are all easily accessed and there aren't very many of them.
- Graham crackers- Use traditional graham crackers for this recipe. We suggest name brand, Honey Grahams because they have a better texture and taste. But off-brand also works.
- Salted butter-Salted butter is preferred to use. If you don't use salted butter, make sure to add a ¼ teaspoon of salt while making the crust. Because you are melting the butter, you don't have to soften it beforehand.
- Cream cheese-We suggest using only Philadelphia brand cream cheese as it give you the correct texture. Off-brand cream cheese is more watery and every time I have made a cheesecake with off brand it has been either lumpy or a little grainy or both. You will want to softened the cream cheese before using because it makes it easier to mix the other ingredients.
- Granulated sugar- Standard white sugar gives a sweet taste to the cream cheese.
- Eggs- To help get that cheesecake texture, mixing eggs and cream cheese together is the way to go. It will help give you that traditional light texture. Using room temperature eggs will help ensure the smoothest, creamiest results.
- Vanilla extract pure-Pure vanilla extract ties the cream cheese, egg, and sugar flavors together to make a smooth taste.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Philadelphia Cheesecake Filling and Crust
Use these process shots to help get the results you are wanting. The pictures can help with texture and be a visual guide for best results.
- Make the graham cracker crust and press it into the bottom of a spring form pan. Set aside as you make the filling.
2. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer add the softened Philadelphia brand cream cheese and sugar. You are going to add and whip one block of cream cheese at a time.
3. Mix until the softened cream cheese is well whipped. Make sure to whip for 2-3 minutes. Scrape the sides and add another block and repeat the whipping process.
4. Add the eggs and vanilla to the mixing bowl and whip for another 30 seconds until well combined. Add each egg, one at a time.
4. Pour the creamy smooth filling on top of the graham cracker crust prepared springform pan.
5. Bake for 70 minutes, or until the cake stays in place when pushed on. Once removed from the oven let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
Hint: It's very important to follow all of the cooling times, you don't want to rush the process. Make sure the cheesecake cools to room temperature. If you put it in the refrigerator too soon the texture will get messed up. Walk away and don't touch it for 3 hours.
Substitutions and Variations
We love switching things up when we're in the kitchen. Try any of these variations for something a little different.
- Oreo Crust- Instead of crushed graham crackers, make this an Oreo experience by crushing Oreos and making and Oreo Crust.
- Gluten Free- use gluten free graham crackers to make this dessert gluten free.
- Cream Cheese - We highly encourage Philadelphia brand. We use off brand ingredients often when making recipes but in this case we don't compromise because it changes the quality and texture of the cheesecake. We have recipe tested so many different kinds of cream cheese and none of them are as good. If you're going to take the time to make this dessert, do yourself a favor and use the right brand so you have the best experience. If you do use another brand, we recommend going with another high quality brand and not budget.
- Strawberry, blueberry, or cherry - Top with fresh cut berries for a strawberry, blueberry or cherry cheesecake.
- Oreo Topping- Make this Oreo inspired by adding crushed Oreos on top of the cheesecake.
- Oreo Style- If you want Oreos baked into the cheesecake, add 2 cups crushed Oreo into the mix and stir in before baking. Or you can check out our no-bake Oreo Pie.
- Chocolate or Caramel- Drizzle with chocolate syrup or caramel sauce before serving. Check out our homemade caramel topping for our favorite recipe.
Make sure to mix everything for the times listed. This will produce the smoothest creamiest cheesecake. It's also important to scrape down the bowl as many times as directed. This will again prevent lumps. Cheesecake is not the time to skimp on ingredients or steps. I promise if you follow these directions and use quality ingredients you will love your results.
Use Philadelphia Brand cream cheese, always! I have used many other types of cream cheese and none are as smooth in a cheesecake. Some end up a tiny bit gritty or grainy, some lumpy. If you're going to spend the time and money to make a cheesecake, make sure you are doing it properly with quality ingredients to yield the best results.
How to Serve
You can serve this our Strawberry Compote or Blueberry Compote Recipes. We found that the cheesecake easily soaks in liquid toppings, so if you wish to avoid this, dip into the compote instead of top it!
Make it fun fancy feeling night by serving it with Chicken Carbonara. Both the main dish and dessert feel fancy but are easy to make.
Storing Philadelphia Cheesecake
Store cooked cheesecake in an air tight container, or covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
This freezes really well. Make sure you freeze in an air tight container. When ready to serve, thaw in the refrigerator, or you can even enjoy frozen. Freeze up to 2 months.
Always use Philadelphia cream cheese when making cheesecake. If you are going to take the time and money to make a delicious and time consuming dessert, make sure you use quality ingredients.
Make sure you follow proper cooling times! If you rush the process you won't have the right texture.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with Philadelphia Cheesecake:
- 1 package graham crackers about 1 ½ cups, crushed
- ⅓ cup salted butter melted
- 32 ounce cream cheese 4 packages, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs large
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract pure
- Make sure cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature. If they aren't at room temperature, your cheesecake may be lumpy. Preheat oven to 325° F. Butter a 9" springform pan.
- Pour the melted butter into a bowl with the graham crackers and mix to combine. Press into the bottom of the buttered springform pan and slightly up the sides. Set to the side.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a large mixing bowl and electric mixer, beat together one brick of cream cheese and ⅓ cup of the sugar on medium low for 2-3 minutes. It's worth mixing it for the entire time; this is where silky smooth cheesecakes are created! Scrape down the edges and add another brick, then mix for 1 minute. Repeat for each of the last 2 bricks of cream cheese. Add the remaining sugar and beat one minute. Check process photos if a visual is desired.
- Scrape down the edges, then add one egg and mix on medium for 20-30 seconds, until combined. Repeat for each of the remaining 3 eggs, scraping and mixing after each egg. Add the vanilla and mix until combined. Scrape the sides and mix one last time. See photos above to check for consistency.
- Place the cheesecake batter on the graham cracker crust. Double wrap your springform in aluminum foil, or better yet place in a cheesecake moat or use a watertight springform pan. Bake for 70-85 minutes. The cheesecake should have a gentle wobble when you push on the pan. You want to hit that sweet spot where it's not super jiggly, and also not staying in place when pushed on.
- Let cool to room temperature on the counter for about 3 hours. Don't touch it! You need it to be completely cooled before putting the refrigerator or the texture will be ruined. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
- Top with your favorite cheesecake topping- caramel, chocolate sauce, raspberry topping, strawberries, cherry pie filling, blueberries and more!
- I always use and recommend Philadelphia cream cheese in all of my cheesecakes. It is worth the extra money and works better than any off brand cream cheese, including the nicer ones like Kirkland and Member's Mark. Your cheesecake will be smoother and creamier.
- Feel free to add 3 Tablespoons sugar to the crust. The original Philly Cheesecake recipe calls for it, but we prefer it without the extra sweetness.
- You can make this without a water bath, but we highly recommend using one! Your cheesecake will be more evenly cooked and less likely to crack.
- For an 8" springform pan, use 24 oz. cream cheese, ¾ cup sugar, 3 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Follow all directions, but start checking cheesecake around minute 50.
- Make sure you make this dessert ahead of time so you follow the proper cooling times, they are super important!
This is a more simply cheesecake to make compared with others. The only ingredients you need is cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and eggs.
New York Cheesecake is more dense and typically is on a sponge cake crust while a Philadelphia Cheesecake is lighter and fluffier on a graham cracker crust.
A few different things may have happened, you may have used off brand cream cheese, which tends to not be as smooth. The cream cheese and eggs must be at room temperature, or there is a risk of lumpiness. Also, the cheesecake filling may not have been mixed enough.
Full-fat cream cheese. Philadelphia is the best brand and produces the smoothest, creamiest cheesecakes.