12 Cheesecake Mistakes We’re All Probably Making

Is there anything better than homemade cheesecake? If you avoid these common cheesecake mistakes, you can make sure yours is perfect.

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While every home cook wants to make sure their cheesecake has set, be wary of leaving it in the oven too long. You don’t want to wait until the center is set, according to Taste of Home‘s prep kitchen manager Catherine Ward. “It doesn’t need to be firm,” she says. Just conduct this simple wobble test and your cake should be good to go.

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Using cold ingredients

When ingredients like the eggs, butter and cream cheese are cold, they won’t blend as smoothly. In a pinch, place eggs in a bowl of warm water or use our trick for softening butter quickly.

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Mixing by hand

There is nothing better than a smooth cheesecake fresh out of the refrigerator. To get that smooth consistency, make sure to use a hand mixer—this is the brand our Test Kitchen loves—to ensure that all the ingredients blend perfectly. While many recipes call for mixing the filling by hand, you could be left with a lumpy, bumpy dessert. You wouldn’t want that for a stunning red velvet cheesecake!

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Mixing egg, banana, cake flour in bowl with motor mixer, baking banana cake
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While cheesecake should be thoroughly mixed with a hand mixer, mixing it too much will result in a super soft cheesecake. To help your cheesecake keep its form, never mix longer than the recipe instructs and avoid tools like a blender or food processor, which can prevent it from setting.

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Not greasing the pan

“Grease the pan, even if it’s nonstick,” Catherine says. If any of the cake sticks to the side, cools and contracts, it can cause a crack in your cheesecake—and that’s something we’re always trying to avoid.

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Cheesecake Wobble Test
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Not using a water bath

Even if the recipe doesn’t mention using a water bath, use one! Our Test Kitchen uses water baths for every single cheesecake recipe. A water bath is just a pan of hot water that you set your cheesecake pan into. The hot water helps bake the cake more evenly and provides a humid environment for the cheesecake which helps prevent cracks.

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Assuming leak-proof pans are actually leak-proof

When you use a water bath, you need to make sure no water seeps into your pan. Yes, many springform pans say they are leakproof, but you never want to risk a beautiful bake. Instead, Catherine recommends wrapping the pans in foil before setting them in the water bath or placing your springform inside a slightly larger traditional cake pan. Both methods work and keep your cake dry.

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opening a refrigerator door
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Not chilling long enough

There is nothing harder for cheesecake lovers than waiting for your baked cake to chill before slicing into it! For the best and tastiest results, place your baked cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least four hours, but overnight is best. You can’t rush perfection, so keep this double chocolate espresso cheesecake chilling until it’s set.

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Not baking your crust

Always prebake your crust before filling it with the cheesecake filling. Even if the recipe doesn’t call for baking the crust first, place it in the oven for about 10 minutes. This will keep it perfectly crispy and ready for a delicious filling.

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Opening the oven door

Opening the oven door too soon can cause the center of your cheesecake to sink. Opening the door too often will lengthen your cooking time, but it’s hard to predict by how long. Try to wait until your cake is almost ready before peeking. After all, you wouldn’t want anything to ruin this heavenly grasshopper cheesecake!

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Skipping the springform pan

Cheesecakes are delicate little souls. It’s nearly impossible to lift an intact cheesecake out of a cake pan, so invest in a springform pan for your creation. Make sure the raised side is facing up, and once your cheesecake has cooled, gently remove the outer ring.

Don’t have a springform pan? Try making easy cheesecake bars instead!

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Slicing without a care

After working so hard to create a gorgeous cheesecake, you don’t just want to dive right in and slice. To get the cleanest slice of cheesecake—or any kind of cake for that matter—dip a knife in hot water. Then dry it off and slice. The warm knife will cut cleanly for pretty slices. This technique works with all kinds of cake.

Carrie Madormo, RN
Carrie is a health writer and nurse who specializes in healthy eating and wellness through food. With a master’s degree in public health from the Medical College of Wisconsin, she strives to translate the latest health and nutrition research into interesting, actionable articles. During her six years at Taste of Home, Carrie has answered hundreds of reader questions about health and nutrition, such as if pomegranate seeds are safe to eat, why pregnant women crave pickles and how much caffeine is in a shot of espresso. Carrie is also a former health coach and food blogger.
Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is a former Taste of Home editor and passionate baker. During her tenure, she poured her love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa also dedicated her career here to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.