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Strawberry Cheesecake

Sweet vanilla cheesecake sits on a buttery graham cracker crust and is crowned with fresh strawberry sauce in this indulgent, delectable showstopper dessert!

Rich and creamy, my swoon-worthy Strawberry Cheesecake is perfect for any special occasion.

Today, I’ve partnered with an amazing group of bloggers to bring you a treasure trove of delicious homemade cheesecake recipes — starting with my fresh strawberry cheesecake — to applaud National Cheesecake Day.

There aren’t enough adjectives to adequately describe this delicious dessert! This made from scratch cheesecake is elegant, luscious, sweet, slightly tangy, smooth, and just delightful. Tell me, are you drooling yet?!

If you’ve never made a cheesecake from scratch, don’t be intimidated. I’ll walk you through every step with my easy-to-follow strawberry cheesecake recipe. Let’s bake strawberry cheesecake!

whole uncut strawberry cheesecake on a cake plate.

Key ingredients and substitutions

ingredients for strawberry cheesecake on a counter with a stand mixer and springform pan.
  • Strawberries — You’ll need 1 pound of red, ripe strawberries for topping the cheesecake and to make a strawberry glaze.
  • Cream cheese — Although you may use low fat cream cheese, use full fat cream cheese for the best results.
  • Granulated sugar — White sugar will sweeten the crust, the cheesecake filling, and the strawberry glaze.
  • Eggs — Eggs thicken the cheesecake and give it a smooth texture. Plus, we’re adding an extra egg yolk for extra richness, too.
  • Sour cream — A cup of sour cream also adds extra smooth creaminess.
  • Graham cracker crumbs — If you like, make your own crumbs by grinding graham crackers in a food processor until they are very fine. A sleeve and a half should yield 1 1/2 cups of crumbs.
  • Butter — For the crust, I use unsalted butter, but use salted if that’s what you have on hand, just don’t substitute margarine as it contains a lot of water content.

How to make strawberry cheesecake

process steps for making cheesecake: press graham cracker crust into springform pan; wrap in aluminum foil and place in roasting pan; pour cheesecake batter into crust; add water to the roasting pan around the cheesecake.

STEP 1 | Make the graham cracker crust

  • You’ll need a springform pan with removable sides to bake your cheesecake. I prefer one that’s non-stick for easy release and clean-up.
  • Combine finely crushed graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and softened butter until you have a coarse crumb mixture.
  • Dump the crumb mixture into a 9-inch spring form pan and use a small measuring cup to press the crust into the bottom and partially up the sides.
  • Bake for 8 minutes until golden then place on a wire rack to cool completely.

STEP 2 | Make the cheesecake filling

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat softened cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure all the lumps are gone and the cream cheese is… well, really creamy!
  • Add the sour cream and beat again until smooth. Then, add 1 cup sugar and the salt, and mix just until incorporated.
  • Add the eggs (and egg yolk) one at a time, mixing after each addition until you no longer see any yellow streaks. Lastly, stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.

STEP 3 | Bake in a water bath

  • A water bath is a pan of hot water placed in the oven. You don’t technically “have” to bake cheesecake in a water bath, but I’ve found that’s the best way to keep the top from cracking.
  • Tightly wrap the outside of the springform pan in 3 layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. This is important to make sure water doesn’t leak into the springform pan and make the crust wet and soggy. Or, as an extra precaution, wrap the pan in a slow cooker liner and aluminum foil.
  • Place the wrapped springform pan in a large, deep roasting pan or other pan that is large enough to hold the springform pan and water to surround it.
  • Pour the batter into the pre-baked crust, then carefully pour hot water into the roasting pan until it reaches a depth halfway up the springform pan, about 1 to 2 inches of water, and bake for 50 to 55 minutes.

STEP 4 | Cool in the oven

  • Sudden change in temperature may also cause the top of the cheesecake to crack. When the cheesecake is done, turn off the oven and leave the door ajar for 1 hour, allowing the cheesecake to slowly cool.
  • After an hour, remove the springform pan to a wire rack to cool completely, 2 to 4 hours, then cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to top with strawberries and serve.

STEP 5 | Make the fresh strawberry topping

  • Coarsely chop some of the strawberries to make 1 cup, then slice the rest top to bottom for decorating the cheesecake.
  • Add the cup of chopped berries and 1 tablespoon cornstarch to a food processor and process until smooth.
  • Combine the pureed strawberries, water, sugar, and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and cool completely before topping the cheesecake.
strawberry cheesecake assembly steps: arrange sliced strawberries on baked cheesecake; spoon strawberry gel on top of berries.

STEP 5 | Decorate and serve

  • Run the blade a sharp, thin paring knife around the outside of the cheesecake to loosen it from the springform pan, then open the lever and gently lift the cake out of the pan.
  • If you lined the bottom with parchment paper, you may remove the springform bottom as well. To do this, place one palm on the top of the cake, flip the cheesecake over and gently remove the bottom with your other hand. Place the cake right side up on a cake plate.
  • Arrange the strawberry slices on top of the cake and drizzle with the strawberry sauce. If you have leftover sauce, serve it along side the slices of cheesecake.

Tips

  • It takes about 30 – 60 minutes for a block of cream cheese to soften sitting at room temperature. To cut the time in half, unwrap the cream cheese and cut it into cubes.
  • Cut a round piece of parchment paper and place in the bottom of the springform pan to easily remove the cheesecake and place on a cake plate or pedestal.
  • You know the cheesecake is done when the edges look slightly puffed and it looks nearly set, with only a small jiggle in the center when you gently shake the pan. If it seems wobbly, the cheesecake needs to bake longer.
  • Fresh strawberries will only hold up on the cheesecake in the refrigerator for a couple of days before they start to deteriorate. The cheesecake, however, will stay fresh for up to 5 days. If you won’t be serving the entire cake in one sitting, you may prefer to reserve the strawberries and top each slice with berries and sauce as you serve.
  • When serving, to make clean slices fill a quart-size jar with hot water. Between each cut dip a sharp knife into the jar, wipe off any excess water with a paper towel, and slice.

a whole strawberry cheesecake with one slice missing on a cake pedestal.

Frequently asked questions

Why did the top of my cheesecake crack?

A couple of things could cause your cheesecake to crack. For one, the cheesecake may have been over baked. Cheesecake may also crack with a sudden change in temperature or as the cheesecake contracts and starts to pull away from the pan as it cools. Even if it does crack, the cheesecake will still taste good.

To help prevent cracking, lightly spray the sides of the springform pan with cooking spray, bake in a water bath, and allow the cheesecake to cool for an hour in the oven with the door ajar.

How do I fix a crack in my cheesecake?

With the strawberry topping, no one would ever know if your cheesecake cracked, however I found this cool trick on youtube for how to repair a cheesecake crack.

Can strawberry cheesecake be frozen?

You may freeze the cheesecake WITHOUT the strawberry topping for up to 2 months. To freeze the cheesecake, cool completely, then let it chill in the refrigerator overnight. Wrap the cheesecake in 2 to 3 layers of plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil and freeze. To thaw, transfer the cheesecake to the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Do I have to bake cheesecake in a water bath?

Technically, no, but I have tested both ways and the water bath definitely eliminated cracks in the top.

How do you know when the cheesecake is done?

Do the jiggle test. When you gently shake the pan, it should look nearly set, with only a small jiggle in the center and the edges should look slightly puffed. If it seems wobbly, the cheesecake needs to bake longer.

How long does strawberry cheesecake last in the refrigerator?

Without the strawberry topping, cheese will keep well in the refrigerator for 5 days. If you don’t plan to serve it immediately, you may wish to store the cheesecake and strawberries/sauce separately and decorate just before serving.

a slice of strawberry cheesecake on a china plate with a mound of whipped cream on the side and the remaining cheesecake on a cake pedestal in the background.

Serving suggestion

To serve, top the cheesecake with sliced strawberries, then drizzle the strawberry glaze evenly on top. Serve each slice on a plate with a dollop of freshly whipped cream on the side and a whole strawberry garnish.

top down view of a slice of strawberry cheesecake on a china plate with a mound of whipped cream on the side.

More cheesecake recipes

Happy #NationalCheesecakeDay 2021 hosted by Lynn from Fresh April Flours!  Let’s celebrate this delicious day with our favorite cheesecake recipes– from fruity to chocolatey and mini to InstantPot, we’ve got you covered for your next cheesecake need!
  • Peach Cheesecake from Fresh April Flours
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake from House of Nash Eats
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake from That Recipe
  • Easy No Bake Cheesecake from Salt & Baker
  • Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes from Making Miracles
  • White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake from Devour Dinner
  • Mini Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes from Cheese Curd In Paradise
  • Instant Pot Vanilla Cheesecake from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
  • Easy No Bake Cherry Cheesecake in a Jar from Blogghetti
  • Strawberry Cheesecake from Life Love and Good Food
  • Mini Oreo Cheesecakes from Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog
  • Instant Pot Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
  • No Bake Fresh Mint Cheesecake from A Day in the Life on the Farm
  • Mini S’mores Cheesecakes from The Freshman Cook
  • Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake Bars from The Spiffy Cookie
  • Mocha Cheesecake from The Redhead Baker
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    Yield: 12 servings

    Strawberry Cheesecake

    a slice of strawberry cheesecake on a china plate with a mound of whipped cream on the side.

    Rich and creamy, this absolutely luscious, elegant, and swoon-worthy Strawberry Cheesecake is perfect for any special occasion.

    Prep Time 30 minutes
    Cook Time 1 hour
    Additional Time 1 hour
    Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes

    Ingredients

    Crust

    • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs 
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

    Cheesecake Filling

    • 4 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese
    • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 4 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract

    Fresh Strawberry Topping

    • 1 lb. fresh strawberries (chop 1 cup; slice the rest)
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Instructions

    Graham Cracker Crust

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    2. In a medium size bowl, blend together the graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and softened butter until you have coarse crumbs. (If making your own crumbs, blend together in the bowl of a food processor.).
    3. Evenly press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch spring form pan and partially up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes until golden; remove the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Cheesecake

    1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
    2. Add the sour cream and beat again until smooth. Next, add 1 cup sugar and the salt, and mix just until incorporated.
    3. Add the eggs (and egg yolk) one at a time, mixing after each addition until you no longer see any yellow streaks. Lastly, stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.
    4. Tightly wrap the outside of the springform pan in 3 layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. Place the pan in a large, deep roasting pan or oversize cast-iron skillet.
    5. Pour the batter into the pre-baked crust. Carefully pour hot water into the roasting pan until it reaches a depth halfway up the springform pan.
    6. Bake the cheesecake for 50 to 55 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the cheesecake is set with a slight jiggle in the center. Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar for 1 hour, allowing the cheesecake to slowly cool.
    7. After an hour, remove the springform pan to a wire rack to cool completely, then cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
    8. To serve, top the cheesecake with sliced strawberries, then drizzle the strawberry glaze evenly on top.

    Strawberry Glaze

    1. Coarsely chop some of the strawberries to make 1 cup, then slice the rest.
    2. Add the cup of chopped berries and 1 tablespoon cornstarch to a food processor and blend until smooth.
    3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the pureed strawberries, water, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and cool completely before topping the cheesecake.

    Notes

    • Cut a round piece of parchment paper and place in the bottom of the springform pan to easily remove the cheesecake and place on a cake plate or pedestal.
    • You know the cheesecake is done when the edges look slightly puffed and it looks nearly set, with only a small jiggle in the center when you gently shake the pan. If it seems wobbly, the cheesecake needs to bake longer.
    • Fresh strawberries will only hold up on the cheesecake in the refrigerator for a couple of days before they start to deteriorate. The cheesecake, however, will stay fresh for up to 5 days. If you won't be serving the entire cake in one sitting, you may prefer to reserve the strawberries and top each slice with berries and sauce as you serve.
    • When serving, to make clean slices fill a quart-size jar with hot water. Between each cut dip a sharp knife into the jar, wipe off any excess water with a paper towel, and slice.
    • You may freeze the cheesecake WITHOUT the strawberry topping for up to 2 months. To freeze the cheesecake, cool completely, then let it chill in the refrigerator overnight. Wrap the cheesecake in 2 to 3 layers of plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil and freeze. To thaw, transfer the cheesecake to the refrigerator for 24 hours.

    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    12

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 321Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 117mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 1gSugar: 35gProtein: 4g

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

    sheila thigpen in her kitchen

    Sheila @ Life, Love & Good Food

    Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Home Cook, Wife, Mom, Nana

    Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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