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Dad’s Famous Cheesecake

This is my dad’s cheesecake recipe that he’s made every Christmas since I can remember.

A sweet and creamy cheesecake filling is combined with an easy graham cracker crust for the right amount of creaminess and crunch.

It’s the perfect dessert topped with fresh berries or homemade strawberry syrup.

My Dad’s Famous Cheesecake Recipe

We love cheesecake! There are a variety of flavors we make often, including double chocolate (so rich and decadent) and pumpkin cheesecake in the Fall.

But in my house, this cheesecake recipe is famous! My dad was never much of a cook while I was growing up. But every Christmas he would put the apron on and make two of these cheesecakes, one for each side of the family.

Over the years he perfected the recipe to his liking, with many scribbles and notes written over the original recipe. Now, my dad has MS and is in a wheelchair. But he still makes us cheesecake at Christmas and we relish every bite.

Today I wanted to honor him and his tradition by sharing his wonderful cheesecake recipe here on the blog. This cheesecake is relatively simple to make, but the key secret is to mix the ingredients very well. This will give you the smoothest creamiest results.

Looking down at recipe ingredients including a graham cracker crust in a springform pan, bowl of sour cream, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and eggs.

Recipe Ingredients

CRUST: This is made from a combination of graham cracker crumbs (or crushed graham crackers if you’re unable to find the crumbs), cinnamon, melted butter and a pinch of salt.

FILLING: The filling is made with cream cheese, eggs and sour cream as the base. Sugar and vanilla add the flavor.

TOPPINGS: Growing up, my dad always served ours with strawberry sauce. You can also serve with sliced fresh berries.

Four images showing steps to make cheesecake, including glass bowl of crust ingredients and spatula, white bowl of filling ingredients and hand mixer, uncooked cheesecake in a springform pan, and golden cooked cheesecake in a springform pan.

How To Make The Cheesecake

This cheesecake comes together in two main steps, the crust and the filling, with an additional optional topping:

  1. Mix the crust ingredients together. Press firmly into a springform pan.
  2. Beat together filling ingredients thoroughly using the full recipe instructions below.
  3. Pour into pan over crust. Bake for 60 minutes, then let cool completely.
  4. Add fresh strawberries and other ingredients to a pot. Bring to boil and simmer until the fruit breaks down. Chill in the fridge.
  5. Serve strawberry sauce over top of the sliced cheesecake and enjoy!
A slice of cheesecake on a plate with a fork and fresh strawberry on top. Full cheesecake and more strawberries piled in the background.

Recipe Tips

  • You will need a springform pan for this recipe. It’s a special kind of pan that has a base that separates from the side.
  • Mix ingredients very well. My dad has made many mistakes over the years and emphasizes this in his notes. A well-mixed filling truly makes the best cheesecake.
  • I recommend setting a timer while mixing. That way you know you’re mixing enough.
  • I’m unable to find graham cracker crumbs locally (it’s hard to find “specialty items” in my town) so I used regular graham crackers and made them into crumbs using my food processor. This could also be done by adding the crackers to a bag and beating them with a rolling pin.
  • Place the springform pan on a baking sheet lined with aluminum. The cheesecake may leak a little through the bottom as it bakes and this pan will catch that liquid.
  • Let the cheesecake chill completely (preferably overnight) before serving. I always find that cheesecake tastes better the next day or two. You can make this recipe the night before you plan to serve.
  • For toppings, you can use whipped cream, whipped coconut cream, fresh berries, strawberry sauce, or even jam.
A slice of cheesecake with strawberry sauce drizzled over top and piece cut out of the front.

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Cheesecake

A sweet and creamy cheesecake filling is combined with an easy graham cracker crust for the right amount of creaminess and crunch.
Print Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust:

Cheesecake Filling:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cream cheese packages, softened - (8 oz each)
  • 1 cup cane sugar - or granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sour cream - (700 ml)

Strawberry Sauce Topping:

Instructions

Graham Cracker Crust:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 10" springform pan.
    Springform pan, bowl with butter and paper towel.
  • Add graham crackers to a food processor. Start on low, then blend to high until crackers form fine crumbs (this step is optional if you're not able to find store-bought crumbs).
    Two images of food processor: first with graham crackers, second with blended graham cracker crumbs.
  • Add 3 cups graham crumbs, cinnamon, salt and melted butter to a large bowl. Mix together thoroughly.
    Two images of glass bowl: first with graham crumbs, melted butter, sugar and salt. Second with ingredients mixed together and spatula.
  • Pour the crust into a springform pan. Press firmly into an even layer with fingertips. Set aside for now.
    Two images of a springform pan: first with graham crust dumped in, second with crust pressed into pan in even layer.

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • Add softened cream cheese, eggs, and sugar to a large bowl. Mix very well for 5 minutes using a hand mixer. Scrape down the sides with a spatula during the process.
    Two images of a white bowl: first with cream cheese, eggs, and sugar. Second with ingredients blended together and hand mixer.
  • Add in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Mix for another 5 minutes with a hand mixer.
    Two images of white bowl: first with batter, sour cream and vanilla dumped in. Second with cheesecake filling and hand mixer.
  • Place the springform pan on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment. Pour the cheesecake batter into the springform pan.
    Raw cheesecake in springform pan on a baking sheet lined with foil.
  • Bake for 60 minutes. The center will be jiggly and top will be golden brown. Let cool completely for at least 1 hour, then place in the fridge to chill overnight.
    Two images of a springform pan: first with uncooked cheesecake, second with cooked cheesecake and golden edges.

Strawberry Sauce Topping:

  • Chop fresh or frozen strawberries into small pieces.
    Chopped frozen strawberries on a cutting board with a knife.
  • Add strawberries, ½ cup sugar, lemon juice, and 2 Tbsp water to a pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to let simmer 3-4 minutes, unitl strawberries are softened.
    Two images of white pot: first with chopped strawberries and cane sugar. Second with cooked strawberry sauce and spatula.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and 2 Tbsp of water.
    Glass bowl with cornstarch and water and small spatula.
  • Remove pot from heat and stir in the cornstarch.
    White pot with strawberry sauce and spatula.
  • Heat for 1 more minute, then remove from heat and let cool completely. Sauce can be served warm or cold.
    White pot with strawberry sauce and spatula.

Assembly:

  • Slice the cheesecake with a sharp knife to break through the crust. Use a pie server to scoop onto plates and top with fresh strawberry sauce. Serve and enjoy!
    Two images, first a slice of cheesecake with strawberry sauce. Second a whole cheesecake with fresh strawberries in the center and a bowl to the side.

Recipe Notes:

  • You will need a springform pan for this recipe. It’s a special kind of pan that has a base that separates from the side.
  • Mix ingredients very well. My dad has made many mistakes over the years and emphasizes this in his notes. A well-mixed filling truly makes the best cheesecake.
  • I recommend setting a timer while mixing. That way you know you’re mixing long enough.
  • I’m unable to find graham cracker crumbs locally (it’s hard to find “specialty items” in my town) so I used regular graham crackers and made them into crumbs using my food processor. This could also be done by adding the crackers to a bag and beating them with a rolling pin.
  • Place the springform pan on a baking sheet lined with aluminum. The cheesecake may leak a little through the bottom as it bakes and this pan will catch that liquid.
  • Let the cheesecake chill completely (preferably overnight) before serving. I always find that cheesecake tastes better the next day or two. You can make this recipe the night before you plan to serve.
  • For toppings, you can use whipped cream, whipped coconut cream, fresh berries, strawberry sauce, or even jam.
Nutrition
Sodium: 305mg | Calcium: 104mg | Vitamin C: 29mg | Vitamin A: 781IU | Sugar: 37g | Fiber: 2g | Potassium: 227mg | Cholesterol: 106mg | Calories: 490kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Fat: 27g | Protein: 6g | Carbohydrates: 58g | Iron: 2mg

Please note these nutritional values provided above are just an estimate. Actual numbers will vary based on brands and ingredients you choose, and your preferred portion sizes.

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