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14 best cheesecake recipes from no-bake beauties to total classics

Slice and serve—it's as simple as that!
Valerie Bertinelli's Sugar-Free Cheesecake with fresh berries.
Valerie Bertinelli's Sugar-Free Cheesecake with fresh berries.Nathan Congleton / TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

Looking for the perfect cheesecake recipe? We promise that at least one of our 14 best cheesecakes will fit the bill. From even-toned New York-style cakes to the burnt and beautiful Basque-style cheesecake, we’re sharing a range of sweet-as-can-be recipes for dessert tonight. Grab a few packages of cream cheese, a box of graham crackers, a bottle of vanilla extract and heavy cream, then start baking.

Here you’ll find several easy no-bake recipes, which make the intimidating process of baking a cheesecake so much more manageable. Skip steps like long cook times, beating a half a dozen egg yolks, and filling a fussy water bath in favor of simple recipes that chill overnight. Typically, the filling is made with a combination of sweetened cream cheese and whipped cream. It may be flavored with other ingredients like macerated strawberries or chocolate chips, or chilled and served as is. 

For a traditional-style cheesecake, the process is a little more complex, but worth the effort. You’ll whip together a few basic ingredients such as cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, vanilla extract and lemon juice, pour the filling over a graham cracker crust and then bake the whole thing in an oven. Place a water bath on a rack set underneath the cake pan, which will help to keep the top of the cheesecake from forming unsightly cracks.

From bars to full-form cakes inspired by other desserts like cannolis, carrot cake and churros, everyone will want a slice of these sweet cheesecakes (and then some). 

Some cheesecake recipes require a fussy water bath and a dozen egg yolks, but not this one. You only need five ingredients — graham crackers, butter, cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice. Whip everything together, spread it into the graham cracker crust and chill until firm.

This is the ultimate 2-in-1 spring dessert. Swirl carrot cake batter into a creamy cheesecake filling to create a gorgeous marbleized effect that sets up once baked.  

Come fall, we’re all about finding ways to incorporate more and more pumpkin into our diet. This 2-in-1 dessert takes everything you love about classic pumpkin pie and marries it with a spiced cheesecake. “Preparing the cheesecake in individual portions adds elegance that will make your Thanksgiving dessert quite the showstopper, plus, save time in the kitchen,” writes recipe developer Elena Besser.

Inspired by the popular southern cake, this cheesecake features all the essentials. That is, pecans, pineapples and bananas. Pecans are toasted and ground, then folded into the graham cracker crust. As for the filling, mashed ripe bananas and crushed pineapple are folded into the classic duo of sour cream and cream cheese.

No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

For the easiest cheesecake ever, start with prepared graham cracker crusts. Then, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form and fold it with macerated strawberries and cream cheese. Transfer the filling to the pie crust and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. You read that right—no need to even turn on your oven! 

Churro Cheesecake

Just one bite of this cheesecake captures the total essence of a deep-fried cinnamon-sugar churro. But the thing that really makes this cake standout from the rest is its crust; unlike a traditional graham cracker crust, this one is made with store-bought croissant dough.

No-Bake Cannoli Cheesecake

To say that we’re obsessed with this cannoli-inspired cheesecake would be an understatement. And this recipe just so happens to be one of our most popular cheesecake recipes on TODAY Food. “Orange zest and cinnamon give the cake loads of Italian pastry vibes,” adds recipe developer Jessie Sheehan.

Valerie Bertinelli's Sugar-Free Cheesecake

A natural sugar replacement is used in both the crust and filling of this better-for-you cheesecake from Valerie Bertinelli. Bonus: the crust is totally gluten-free, thanks to a duo of almond flour and pecans.

Maple Cheesecake Bars

This recipe will be the standout of your holiday table, guaranteed. A pomegranate compote, vanilla bean whipped cream and maple-infused cream cheese filling transform an otherwise ordinary cheesecake into a delicious and festive dessert. 

Joy Bauer's Mini Cheesecakes

For light-as-air cheesecakes that taste just as good as the real deal, use part-skim ricotta cheese and light cream cheese; both contain less fat, but offer a dreamy, creamy texture. 

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Unlike a traditional New York cheesecake, this dark brown cheesecake is known for its caramelized exterior and super creamy interior. This practically foolproof recipe is a must-try for cheesecake lovers.

Duff Goldman's Bomb Cheesecake

Celebrity pastry chef Duff Goldman shared his go-to recipe for vanilla bean cheesecake with TODAY Food. For the luscious filling, he uses a combination of whole eggs and egg yolks, plus cream cheese and sour cream.

No-Bake Rainbow Cheesecake

Kids will adore this ultra-colorful layered cheesecake, which features a crust made from crushed animal crackers. Bake this for a birthday party and you’ll be the sweetest hero among little ones everywhere.

Triple Threat Chocolate Cheesecake

This decadent cheesecake isn’t for the faint of heart. A chocolate graham cracker crust is topped with a bittersweet chocolate cream cheese filling and chocolate glaze.

No one would ever suspect that these bite-sized brownies are good for you. But thanks to some ingredients like whole wheat flour, applesauce, light cream cheese and light sour cream, it really is.