Recipe Review

I Tried the Internet’s Most Popular Copycat Recipe of The Cheesecake Factory’s Cheesecake

published Sep 26, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying The Cheesecake Factory is the gold standard when it comes to cheesecake. The restaurant offers more than 30 varieties — ranging from Carrot Cake to White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle — so it’s safe to say their chefs know how to develop a seriously good recipe. But therein lies the problem: The Cheesecake Factory hasn’t actually shared any of their cheesecakes recipes with the public.

This hasn’t stopped savvy home bakers from trying to re-create the iconic cheesecake at home, though. A slew of copycat recipes have appeared online, all claiming to be the closest thing to the real deal. And while we can’t confirm any of these claims, we can test out the most popular copycat recipe online to see just how close it gets. So we did just that.

Get the recipe: The Cheesecake Factory’s Original Cheesecake (Copycat Version)

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

How to Make the Copycat Version of The Cheesecake Factory’s Recipe

Unlike the other cheesecake recipes we tested, this one starts out by preheating the oven with a water bath already in it. Then, you’ll make the crust: Mix together graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and melted butter to create a wet, sand-like mixture. Press it into the bottom and sides of a parchment-lined springform pan, going two-thirds of the way up the sides. Wrap the outside of the pan in foil and place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Add eggs and beat until fully incorporated. Pour mixture over chilled crust and bake in the preheated water bath until the top is lightly golden. Cool cheesecake for one hour, then top with a mixture of sour cream and sugar. Transfer cheesecake into the fridge and let cool for at least four hours before serving.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

My Honest Review of The Cheesecake Factory’s Recipe

This cheesecake is amazing. The crust is perfectly crisp and has a strong cinnamon flavor that pairs nicely with the base without overpowering it. I also liked that it came all the way up the sides of the cheesecake, making each slice feel substantial.

The filling itself was super smooth and creamy, and not too sweet. The tang of the cream cheese came through and cut all of the sugar, making the cheesecake taste light. My only complaint is that I wish it had just a touch of salt in it. Just 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt could have elevated the filling to a whole new level and helped further balance the sweetness of the sugar.

The sour cream topping that gets spread on top of the baked cheesecake was also a pleasant surprise. It gave the cheesecake a smooth, professional finish and hid any imperfections from baking. It also gave the cheesecake an additional hit of tang and slight sourness that paired well with the base. Every component helped balance the cheesecake, and the combination of the three elements came together perfectly. This is a recipe I will definitely make again. Maybe this really is the recipe The Cheesecake Factory uses.

Credit: Charli Nowak
Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake

If You’re Making The Cheesecake Factory’s Recipe, a Few Tips

When you’re ready to bake The Cheesecake Factory’s Original Cheesecake, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Consider making a double batch of the crust: The recipe instructs you to press the crust up the sides of the pan, but the recipe doesn’t yield enough of the graham cracker mixture to do that — so go ahead and make a double batch to make your life easier.

2. Bring your eggs to room temperature before making the filling: If they’re too cold they won’t fully combine with the soft cream cheese, and your batter will be lumpy.

3. Stick to butter, not margarine: The recipe calls for using either butter or margarine, but stick to unsalted butter for the best flavor.

4. Don’t skip the water bath: It helps prevent the cheesecake from browning too much on the edges.

5. Make the sour cream topping while the cheesecake bakes: This will save you some time.

6. Salt your filling: Add 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt to the cheesecake base to help balance the sweetness.

  • Difficulty to Make: 6/10
  • Taste/Texture: 8/10
  • Appearance: 6/10
  • Overall Rating: 8/10

Have you ever made The Cheesecake Factory’s Original Cheesecake? Tell us what you thought! 

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

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