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Cherry Cheesecake is a show-stopper for any family gathering and special occasions!  This cheesecake has a perfectly creamy filling, a buttery graham cracker crust and a classic cherry topping.

A slice of cherry cheesecake with a bite out of it on a white plate.

​I love a good cheesecake….but let’s be honest, not all cheesecakes are created equal.  Some are too dense and rubbery.  Others too soft.  Others lack flavor.  But when you make a recipe that ends up being THE ONE, you’ll never turn back!

This cheesecake is THE ONE for me.  The texture is perfection, the flavor is right on and it’s simply the best cherry cheesecake you’ll make.  It’s a great recipe for the winter holidays, Memorial Day and everything in between!

The ingredients needed to make a homemade cherry cheesecake on a white background.

Ingredients Needed

  • Graham Cracker Crumbs – You can find the crumbs in the grocery store or use a food processor to make your own.
  • Butter – I recommend using salted butter in this recipe.
  • White Sugar
  • Cream Cheese – Do NOT use low-fat or fat-free cream cheese in this recipe; I recommend using a high-quality cream cheese such as Philadelphia.
  • Sour Cream – Again, you’ll want the full-fat version.
  • Lemon Juice – Bottled or freshly-squeezed is fine.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Eggs – I always use “large” eggs when baking.
  • Cherry Pie Filling – Use store-bought can of cherry pie filling or make your own with fresh cherries!

How to Make Cherry Cheesecake

Start by making the homemade Graham Cracker Crust

Doing so is easy!  You can either start with a box of graham cracker crumbs or make your own with graham crackers using a rolling pin or food processor.  Then add the melted butter and a little sugar and mix until incorporated.  

Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and sides of the springform pan.  Using a glass can help give you smooth edges.  Bake until the crust is a light golden brown.

Make the Filling

Before you begin, make sure all of your ingredients have come to room temperature.  Then, in a stand mixer or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Then, add the sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla; scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

​Lastly, you’ll add the eggs one at a time, making sure each one is fully combined before adding the next.  I like to do this on low speed to make sure I don’t incorporate too much air into the cheesecake mixture.  

​Prepare the Water Bath

​Is a water bath necessary?  YES.  100% absolutely!  It’ll help give the cheesecake the proper texture, color on top and reduce the risk of cracking.  So, here’s how!  Wrap the outside of the springform pan with foil.  Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the top.  Place the cheesecake into a larger pan such as a roasting pan and place it into the preheated oven.

Pour boiling water into the larger pan creating the water bath and shut the oven.  

Bake until the cheesecake is set around the edges and a bit wiggly in the center.  

A baked cheesecake in its springform pan.

We want the cheesecake to cool slowly, so here’s what I recommend.  Remove the cheesecake and water bath from the oven.  Let the cheesecake cool in the water for a bit, then remove it and let it set at room temperature.  Once it’s cooled for an hour-ish, place it in the fridge to chill completely.

Once the baked cheesecake has had plenty of time to set up in the fridge (I recommend overnight), spread the cherry pie filling over the cream cheese layer.  

A baked cheesecake on a stand.

Water Bath Alternative

If you don’t have a pan large enough to make a proper water bath or you’re worried water will seep into the aluminum foil, the good news is there’s an alternative!  Place the cheesecake in the middle of the oven and then place a rack below it with a pan of boiling water (use a large casserole dish or other pan that will fit at least an inch of water).  Place the cheesecake in the oven, pour the hot water into the pan and quickly close the oven door.  Bake as directed!

A cherry cheesecake on a cake stand.

Tips on Making the Perfect Cheesecake

  • Don’t be cheap with the cream cheese.  I hate to say it, but some cream cheese brands just aren’t as good as others.  I recommend Philadelphia.
  • Bring all of the filling ingredients to room temperature before mixing.  There are several reasons for this including better ingredient incorporation (a more smooth filling), even baking and less chance of the cheesecake cracking on top during the bake.
  • Don’t over-mix the cream cheese mixture.  Doing so will incorporate too much air and lose some of the decadence of this cheesecake.
  • Avoid quick temperature changes.  Bring the ingredients to room temperature, bake at 325 and let the cheesecake come to room temperature before refrigerating.
A slice of cheesecake on a white plate with a bite out of it on a fork.

How to Serve Cheesecake

First off, make sure the cheesecake is nice and chilled so it’s well-set.  When ready to serve, use a sharp knife dipped in hot water for smooth-edged slices.  I like to top with cherry filling and a dollop of whipped cream!

How to Store Cheesecake

Cheesecake needs to be stored in the fridge.  You can store the whole cheesecake (well-wrapped in plastic wrap) or transfer the leftover slices to an airtight container to enjoy later.  The cheesecake will last up to 5 days in the fridge.

A slice of cheesecake.

Looking for a No Bake Cherry Cheesecake?

I’ve got you covered!  If you’re short on time or just don’t want the time commitment of a traditional cheesecake, my no bake cherry cheesecake recipe is a great option.  You can use a prepared graham cracker crust for convenience and will have no need to worry about a water bath! 

Cherry pie filling dripping down the side of a cheesecake.

Other Cheesecake Recipes You’ll Love

A slice of cherry cheesecake with a bite out of it on a white plate with a dollop of whipped topping on the side.

Cherry Cheesecake

Author: Kelsey
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Chill Time 6 hours
Total Time 7 hours 35 minutes
This perfectly creamy cheesecake has a classic graham cracker crust and cherry topping. Though easy to make, it's a show-stopper at every gathering!


  • 1 9-inch springform pan


Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Cheesecake Filling & Topping

  • Four 8 ounce packages cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • One 21 ounce can cherry pie filling


Make the Graham Cracker Crust

  • Preheat oven to 325℉.
  • Combine the graham cracker crumbs (I use a food processor to make sure they are nice and finely ground), melted butter and sugar.
    1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar
  • Press into the bottom and up the sides of a springform pan. I find this easiest to do with a glass.
  • Bake for 10 minutes and set aside.

Make the Filling

  • Place the softened cream cheese and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low until the cream cheese is nice and smooth.
    Four 8 ounce packages cream cheese, 1 cup sugar
  • Add the sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla until incorporated.
    3/4 cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, until they're all incorporated and the batter is smooth.
    4 eggs
  • Wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan with aluminum foil.
  • Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust and spread to an even layer.

Bake the Cheesecake

  • Place the cheesecake pan into a large pan (such as a roasting pan) and pour hot water into the large pan to create a water bath. DO NOT skip this step as it's essential in giving the cheesecake a smooth top and the proper texture throughout!
  • Bake for 55-65 minutes or until the edges of the cheesecake are set and the center is still a bit wiggly.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
  • Wrap the cheesecake is plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4+ hours.
  • When ready to enjoy the cheesecake, remove the plastic wrap and go around the edges with a butter knife to ensure it'll release well from the outer edge of the pan.
  • Remove the outer ring then transfer the cheesecake to your serving tray.
  • Spoon the cherry pie filling on top, cut into slices and enjoy!
    One 21 ounce can cherry pie filling


  • Bring all ingredients to room temperature before mixing your cheesecake.  This will help guarantee a smooth, beautiful texture you’re going for.
  • Cinnamon graham crackers or vanilla wafers also make a great cheesecake crust.
  • I do not recommend using low fat or fat free cream cheese or sour cream in this recipe.
  • Try using different toppings – blueberry pie filling, lemon curd, hot fudge sauce, etc!


Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 5.5g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7.5g | Trans Fat: 0.7g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 228mg | Potassium: 148mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 293IU | Vitamin C: 1.8mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 0.5mg
“Dance Around the Kitchen” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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