More often than not, baking a cheesecake comes with a cautionary tale. Is it going to crack in the middle? Will the whole cheesecake sink? It seems like there’s so many variables of what could go wrong that many people decide to ditch the dessert altogether.
Because of that, cheesecake seems to be one of those desserts you indulge in when you’re out at a restaurant. Or perhaps you’ll buy a slice in the grocery store bakery department. Either way, it’s often a dessert that’s purchased when someone else has made it.
But now, we’re telling you it’s a dessert you can easily make at home. We’ve developed a fool-proof 5-ingredient cheesecake recipe that will allow you to bake and replicate restaurant-style cheesecake with just five simple ingredients. Whip this up on a weekday for a sweet treat, or plan to serve it on the weekend for dessert with plenty of toppings. Either way, you’re sure to impress yourself and anyone else you choose to share it with.
Gather the ingredients for this 5-ingredient cheesecake recipe
The idea of baking a cheesecake from scratch can be incredibly daunting, especially as some recipes list a whole slew of ingredients and steps. Thankfully, this 5-ingredient cheesecake recipe makes the task completely attainable with just five simple ingredients that can be found at any store.
To make your cheesecake, start by gathering graham crackers, unsalted butter, two eight-ounce bricks of cream cheese, two eggs, and brown sugar. Truly, that’s it! Most of these ingredients you may even have on-hand at home, making it that much quicker to make your cheesecake.
Your butter should be unsalted, and you can opt to use full-fat, regular cream cheese or a lower-fat version. To truly make this cheesecake from scratch, we made the crust and the filling all with five ingredients. However, if you don’t want to make your own crust, you can certainly skip the graham crackers and butter and grab a store-bought graham cracker crust to use instead.
Prep your crust for this 5-ingredient cheesecake recipe
Start by preparing the crust for this 5-ingredient cheesecake. Melt the butter in the microwave, and allow it to slightly cool while you prepare the graham crackers.
Prep your graham crackers for the crust by crushing them into fine crumbs. You can use a food processor for this task, or you can add your graham crackers to a plastic storage bag with a zipper and crush them in the bag. Utilizing a rolling pin or even a wine bottle works well for this step.
In a large bowl, combine the crumbs and melted butter and stir with a fork until clumps form. Grease a springform pan, and then press the crumb mixture into the pan. You’ll have enough to press a thick layer for the bottom of the crust and work your way up the sides. Bake your crust at 375 degrees for ten minutes to allow the crumbs to set.
Can I use another type of crust for this 5-ingredient cheesecake recipe?
A graham cracker crust is a total classic base for a cheesecake. And really, putting together a graham cracker crust from scratch is incredibly easy. The graham cracker crumbs and melted butter come together flawlessly to form a nice crust, and you have the option to add a bit of sugar to the crust mixture if you’d prefer a sweeter option.
However, that certainly doesn’t mean it’s be only choice of crust for this 5-ingredient cheesecake recipe. If you’re hoping to play up the flavor a bit more, there’s a huge variety of cookie options that could work in place of the graham crackers in the crust. Crushed Oreo cookies, gingersnaps, or even Nilla Wafers could be used to switch things up.
Or, simply purchase a graham cracker or Oreo cookie crust from the store to make the prep for this cheesecake that much faster.
Make the filling for this 5-ingredient cheesecake recipe
Once your crust is ready, it’s time to make the cheesecake filling for your 5-ingredient cheesecake. The filling comes together for this recipe in a matter of minutes. Start by whipping your cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. If you don’t have a mixer, you can use a hand mixer, or you can utilize a bowl and wooden spoon. The key here is to be sure your cream cheese is softened before mixing. Leaving it out on the counter to come to room temperature will make all the difference in making your cream cheese easy to mix.
Whip the cream cheese and then add in the brown sugar. Mix until well combined. Then, add in the two eggs and mix gently. You’ll only want to mix the eggs until just combined to avoid introducing too much air to the mixture.
Can you make a 5-ingredient cheesecake without a springform pan?
It’s common to bake a cheesecake in a springform pan because of it makes it easier to remove the cheesecake from the dish. Springform pans have a removable bottom and a spring latch on the side. Once the cheesecake is done and set, you can easily remove the cheesecake by lifting the latch and removing the sides of the pan. It allows you to avoid having to scrape or cut into the cake to get it out of the pan or to invert the cake onto a plate, which may damage the top.
However, if you don’t have a springform pan on hand, there’s no need to worry. You can still utilize this 5-ingredient cheesecake recipe and bake your cheesecake in a pie pan or even a round cake pan. Going this method just means you’ll slice and serve your cheesecake from the pan, rather than removing the whole cake at once.
Bake and chill your 5-ingredient cheesecake
Once your graham cracker crust and your cheesecake filling is ready, it’s time to prepare the 5-ingredient cheesecake for baking. Pour the filling into the prepared crust in a nice even layer. If you have a few air bubbles, not to worry. Simply tap your springform pan against your counter softly to help remove some of the bubbles.
Place your cheesecake in the oven at 325 degrees. Allow the cheesecake to bake for 40 minutes until the middle is just set. It doesn’t need to be completely firm. Once you can tell the middle is baked, remove your cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool slightly.
Moving your cheesecake to the fridge to finish setting is the last step. We know, it’s hard to wait that long before you dig in, but some things can’t be rushed. Leave your cheesecake in the fridge, uncovered, for about two hours.
Slice and serve your 5-ingredient cheesecake
Once your cheesecake has had time to chill and set in the fridge, it’s time to serve it. Just like making that first slice into a pie, dishing up cheesecake can be tricky. However, there’s one key tip to offer flawless-looking slices. Use a very sharp knife to slice your cheesecake. After you make your first slice, wipe or rinse off the knife before slicing the other side. Then, your slice will be ready for toppings.
This 5-ingredient cheesecake is perfectly delicious to enjoy on its own, but dressing it up a bit makes it that much better. A simple topping of homemade whipped cream or store-bought whipped cream is a nice touch. Pair it with a few edible dried flowers for a simple decoration. Or, drizzle your cheesecake with chocolate sauce and top it with cherry filling or maraschino cherries to make it all the more indulgent. Other great topping options include a tart raspberry sauce or caramel sauce over top, or you could even add crushed cookies or candy.
- 3 cups crushed graham crackers (for crust)
- 11 tablespoons butter, melted (for crust)
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- To make your graham cracker crust, pulse the graham crackers in a food processor or crush them in a plastic storage bag with a zipper. Using a rolling pin will work well. Once the graham crackers are crushed, mix them with the melted butter. Stir with a fork until clumps form.
- Grease your springform pan, and then press the graham cracker mixture into the pan. The mixture should be enough to cover the bottom of the pan and will allow you to work your way up the sides of the pan.
- Bake your crust for 10 minutes, and then remove from the oven and prep your filling. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the softened cream cheese and brown sugar. Be sure the sugar is well incorporated. Once the cream cheese mixture is ready, add in the two eggs and mix lightly. Do not overmix.
- Pour the filling into your prepared graham cracker crust. Bake for 40 minutes until the middle is just set.
- Allow the cheesecake to cool for 10 minutes, and then transfer it to the fridge. Leave in the fridge to fully set, uncovered, for at least two hours.
- Eat your cheesecake plain, or top with fresh whipped cream or chocolate sauce and cherries. Cover and store any leftovers in the fridge.