This Old Fashioned Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping is the best cheesecake recipe I’ve ever made. With a graham cracker crust, creamy cheesecake filling, and sweetened sour cream topping, this cheesecake checks all the boxes!
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Old Fashioned Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping
My mom is well known for her sour cream topped cheesecake. For years, she’s been toting it to family reunions and holiday gatherings, where it never fails to receive rave reviews.
I’ve been wanting to share her cheesecake recipe on the blog for years, but for some reason it always intimidated me.
You see, this isn’t just any cheesecake. This is Mom’s Sour Cream Cheesecake: A ridiculously creamy, ethereally smooth baked cheesecake with a tangy sour cream topping.
Like many of mom’s other recipes (see Cottage Cheese Lasagna), this one sets a high bar, and I figured, why mess with perfection?
Easy Sour Cream Cheesecake
After years of putting it on my calendar then crossing it off because I “got too busy,” I finally decided to make the legendary cheesecake.
And you know what? It was so ridiculously easy! No need to fuss with a water bath or worry about cracking. AND it tastes just as delicious as mom’s.
This cheesecake is nothing like the firm, dense texture you might find in a traditional New York style cheesecake. Instead, it’s silky and creamy, with an almost whipped texture.
I credit the incredible flavor of this cheesecake to a heavy dose of lemon juice and vanilla. The lemon juice doesn’t go so far as to make this a lemon cheesecake, but it’s strong enough to counteract the richness of the cream cheese and give the cheesecake a light, bright flavor.
How to Make Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping:
- Start by making the graham cracker crust, which is just crushed graham crackers, butter, and sugar. I find this easiest to do in the food processor. Press the crust in a greased springform baking pan. I like a thick crust that goes up the sides a bit. Pop the crust in the fridge while you whip up the filling.
- In an electric mixer beat together softened cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs followed by lemon juice and vanilla extract. Pour the mixture in the graham cracker crust and bake! SO EASY!
- Once the cheesecake is just a teensy bit jiggly in the center, remove it from the oven and crank up the heat. Now we have to make our sour cream topping for cheesecake!
- Whisk together sour cream and sugar and spread it over top of the cheesecake, then put it back in to bake for a few more minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool, then refrigerate.
Tips for Making the Best Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping
One of the best parts about this cheesecake recipe is that you don’t have to worry about cracking! Even if your cheesecake cracks, you’ll be spreading the sour cream topping over it, which creates a lovely smooth finish.
That said, I have a few more tips and common questions for getting the best cheesecake.
- Use room temperature ingredients. The filling will be easier to beat and smoother if you start with room temperature cream cheese and eggs.
- The cheesecake is done when it is set on the outside and just a tad jiggly in the center. I don’t recommend using a thermometer to test as it can cause cracking.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the cheesecake pan. This ensures it will easily slip from the pan and allows you to transfer it to another platter for serving.
- Want to make this cheesecake gluten free? Just substitute the graham crackers with gluten free graham crackers, like these.
How to Store Cheesecake
Cool the cheesecake completely before refrigerating. The cheesecake should be refrigerated for at least 2 hours before serving, but will keep for several days in the fridge. Keep it in the spring form pan and cover with foil or saran wrap until ready to serve. Sour Cream Cheesecake is a great make ahead dessert!
How to Slice Cheesecake
The best way to slice cheesecake is to use a large, sharp chef’s knife (<<this one’s my favorite, and so affordable!) and a tall glass of hot water.
Before each slice, dip the knife in the hot water. It cuts through the cheesecake like butter and will give you nice clean slices! Be sure to scrape off any excess cheesecake before going back for the next slice.
Sour Cream Cheesecake Toppings
Truly, this cheesecake is fantastic eaten plain, but it’s always fun to dress things up a bit. Here are a few of our favorite toppings.
- Pie filling- Sour Cream Cheesecake with cherry pie filling is my mom’s signature.
- Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
- Chocolate Sauce
- Nuts– I’m particularly fond of pecans + the aforementioned caramel sauce
Fresh berries and preserves (my personal favorite and what you see pictured here!)
Tip: For a dramatic look, combine berries that are the same color and intersperse herbs or mint.
More Crowd Pleasing Cheesecake Recipes
I’m happy to say Mom’s cheesecake didn’t disappoint, even in the hands of a novice like myself. The recipe makes a metric ton of cheesecake and can serve a crowd, so it’s perfect for taking to holiday gatherings, although I’m never sad when a few slices make it back home with me.
Love cheesecake? Check out these other family favorites!
For the crust:
- 2 cups crushed graham crackers (about 15-16 full graham crackers)
- 7 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- Pinch salt
For the filling:
- 3 8 ounce blocks cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
For the topping:
- 2 cups sour cream
- 5 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 or 9 inch spring form pan. If desired, line the bottom with a parchment paper circle.
- In a small bowl, combine the graham crackers, sugar, butter, and salt. Pour the mixture into the bottom of the pan and press it evenly across the bottom and partway up the sides. Refrigerate the crust while you make the cheesecake filling.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Pour the mixture over the graham cracker crust.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until the edges are set and the center is just a tad jiggly. Remove from oven, then increase the heat to 450 degrees.
- In the meantime, whisk together sour cream and sugar until smooth and no longer grainy, about 2 minutes. When the oven is preheated, pour the sour cream mixture over top of the cheesecake and bake an additional 5-7 minutes or until set and just barely golden.
- Remove from oven and cool, then chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve plain or with your favorite pie filling, preserves, berries, or dessert sauces.
To make this cheesecake gluten free, simply substitute the graham crackers for gluten free graham crackers.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 389Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 257mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 0gSugar: 24gProtein: 6g
Please note nutritional information for my recipes is calculated by a third party service and provided as a courtesy to my readers. For the most accurate calculation, I always recommend running the numbers yourself with the specific products you use.