This cheesecake recipe was made for those who, when given the choice, will always choose vanilla over chocolate! This creamy cheesecake sits on a buttery vanilla wafer crust and uses both vanilla extract and real vanilla beans in the batter. Light and airy, yet full of flavor — this cheesecake recipe is always a crowd-pleaser!
It's a classic American dessert, ideal for nearly any gathering. It's elegant enough to enjoy for a special occasion, yet it works just as well for a casual birthday party or baby shower. It's the perfect dessert to serve at your holiday party and works all year round.
While it may sound complicated to prepare this recipe, the total hands-on time to make this cheesecake isn't actually all that long. You will, however, want to leave time to refrigerate it overnight, or at least six hours.
While this delicious cheesecake is amazing on its own, here are some ideas for putting a unique spin on the recipe:
Top with fresh fruit. Add fresh blueberries, strawberries, or whatever seasonal fruit you have on hand. If the berries aren’t as sweet as you like, toss them in a bowl with a teaspoon of sugar and let sit for 20 minutes until they start to release some of their juices.
Graham cracker crust. Prepare the crust the same way, and simply swap graham cracker crumbs for the crushed vanilla wafers to get a slightly different taste.
Add nuts. Chopped pecans, almonds, or walnuts would be a wonderful addition to this cheesecake. Simply sprinkle a handful over the top before serving.
Add chocolate or caramel sauce. This is technically a "very vanilla" cheesecake, but who says you can't add a drizzle of chocolate or caramel to jazz it up? Mini chocolate chips are a nice addition as well.
Love this vanilla cheesecake recipe?
We think you'll enjoy these easy cheesecake recipes:
- 8 ounces vanilla wafer cookies
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 2 pounds cream cheese (brick-style, at room temperature)
- 1 1/8 cups granulated sugar
- 2 vanilla beans
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs (at room temperature)
- 3 ounces cream cheese (brick-style, at room temperature, for topping)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (for topping)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream (for topping)
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (for topping)
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Lightly grease the sides of a 9-inch springform pan with softened butter.
- Create four sheets of aluminum foil approximately 18 inches long each. Lay one sheet of aluminum foil over another to create a cross.
- Make another cross with the remaining two sheets of aluminum foil, and position it at an angle over the first cross, creating a jagged circle.
- Place the springform pan in the center of the foil circle. Pull the edges of the aluminum foil up the sides of the pan and tightly secure on the top edges of the pan. Pack the foil closely to the circumference of the pan.
- Place the vanilla wafers in the bowl of a food processor or high-powered blender. Pulse into fine crumbs.
- Transfer the cookie crumbs to a large bowl.
- Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 45-60 seconds, until melted.
- Pour the melted butter over the cookie crumbs. Use a large fork to mix until the crumbs are evenly moistened and hold together when pinched.
- Carefully turn the cookie crumb mixture into the springform pan.
- Using a tamper or the bottom of a heavy glass, tightly pack the crumbs into the base of the pan, creating an even crust.
- Transfer the springform pan to the middle rack of the preheated oven.
- Bake the crust for 9-11 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown.
- Remove the crust from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350° F.
- Place the cream cheese and granulated sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl periodically, for 5 minutes, until the mixture is completely smooth and no lumps remain.
- Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Using the tip of a knife, carefully scrape the seeds from the husks. Add the seeds to the mixing bowl. Discard the husks.
- Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, and salt to the bowl. Continue to beat on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes, until the cream is fully incorporated into the cream cheese.
- Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Turn the mixer to the lowest speed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing just until no yellow streaks remain. The cheesecake batter should be the consistency of yogurt and ivory in color.
- Pour the cheesecake filling into the cooled cookie crust.
- Lightly tap the springform pan on a countertop 4-5 times to release any air bubbles.
- Place the springform pan inside a large roasting pan. To create a water bath, carefully fill the roasting pan with water, only until it reaches about 3/4 inch up the sides of the spring-form pan.
- Carefully transfer the pan to the middle rack of the preheated oven.
- Bake cheesecake for 80-95 minutes, taking care not to open the oven door while it bakes. Test that the cheesecake is done by gently shaking the pan. The edges should be firm, and the center still slightly wobbly.
- Turn off the oven and crack the door open 1-2 inches. Allow the cheesecake to rest in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and transfer to the refrigerator.
- Refrigerate the cheesecake for a minimum of 6 hours, preferably overnight.
- To unmold the cheesecake, carefully run a butter knife around the inside edges of the pan. Undo the clasp and slowly remove the sides in an upward motion.
- Place 3 oz. of cream cheese and 3 Tbsp. (37 g) of granulated sugar into a large mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer to beat on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until completely smooth.
- Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract to the bowl. Beat on low speed to incorporate the heavy cream into the cream cheese.
- Turn the mixer to medium-high speed, and beat for 2-3 minutes, until the whipped cream holds stiff peaks. Do not overbeat.
- Spread or pipe the whipped cream cheese over the top of the cheesecake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
PER SERVING *
|Calories520Calories from Fat390|
|% DAILY VALUE*|
|Calories from Fat390|
|% DAILY VALUE*|
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.