Junior's Original New York Cheesecake Recipe

New York cheesecake on a cake stand and a slice on a small plate

The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

Prep: 50 mins
Cook: 85 mins
Cool and Chill: 8 hrs
Total: 10 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 12 to 15 servings
Yield: 1 (9-inch) cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
290 Calories
16g Fat
33g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 15
Amount per serving
Calories 290
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 9g 46%
Cholesterol 105mg 35%
Sodium 142mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 28g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 54mg 4%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 79mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Junior's in Brooklyn, N.Y., is one of the world's iconic restaurants famous for its cheesecakes. No matter what flavor, the restaurant has been making the cheesecakes in the same way since 1950, using only fresh ingredients and small batches. Many cheesecake fans believe this is the best cheesecake you can find, especially because of its sponge cake crust.

In the Village Voice on July 26, 1973, Ron Rosenblum wrote, "There will never be a better cheesecake than the cheesecake they serve at Junior's on Flatbush Avenue...it's the best cheesecake in New York." The next year, a jury of six cheesecake lovers for New York magazine named Junior's the Champion Cheesecake. When Alan Rosen was asked what makes his cheesecake so special, he said, "It's light but not crumbly, oh-so-creamy but not dense, and with that heavenly cream cheese flavor that makes Junior's New York cheesecake famous the world over."

Luckily, this cheesecake is easy to make, especially with this recipe that has been adapted for the home kitchen.

“This...is...delicious. It’s creamy and smooth. The sponge cake bottom adds a neutral flavor and is a nice alternative to the traditional graham cracker crust. The only downside to this cheesecake is the wait time. I did find it a little sweet so next time I will decrease the sugar slightly.” —Carrie Parente

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Sponge Cake Crust:

  • 1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter, for the pan

  • 1/3 cup sifted cake flour

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 pinch table salt

  • 2 extra-large eggs, separated

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the Cheesecake Batter:

  • 4 (8-ounce) packages full-fat Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature, divided

  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar, divided

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 2 extra-large eggs

  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Steps to Make It

Make the Sponge Cake Crust

  1. Gather the ingredients. Heat the oven to 350 F.

    Ingredients for the sponge cake crust recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  2. Generously butter the bottom and side of a 9-inch springform pan, preferably nonstick. Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending it all the way up the side.

    Buttered springform pan sealed on the outside with aluminum foil

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  3. In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. 

    Sifted flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  4. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg yolks on high for 3 minutes.

    Beaten egg yolks in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  5. With the mixer running, slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and continue beating until thick, light yellow ribbons form in the bowl, about 5 minutes more.

    Thick egg yolk and sugar mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  6. Beat in the vanilla and lemon extracts.

    Vanilla and lemon extracts added to batter

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  7. Sift the flour mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand, just until there are no remaining white flecks.

    Smooth batter in the bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  8. Blend in the melted butter.

    Smooth liquid batter with melted butter incorporated

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  9. In another clean bowl, using clean, dry beaters, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together on high until frothy.

    Frothy egg whites in a glass bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  10. Gradually add the remaining sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form (the whites will stand up and look glossy, not dry).

    Egg whites forming stiff peaks in a glass bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  11. Fold about 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter and then fold in the rest. Don’t worry if you still see a few white specks, as they’ll disappear during baking.

    Fluffy batter with egg whites folded in

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  12. Gently spread the batter over the bottom of the prepared pan and bake just until set and golden (not wet or sticky), about 10 minutes. Watch carefully and don’t let the top brown. To test the cake for doneness, touch the cake gently in the center; if it springs back, it’s done.

    Batter poured into springform pan

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  13. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool. Leave the oven on while you prepare the batter for the cheesecake.

    Pale yellow baked crust in the pan, cooling on a wire rack

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

Make the Cheesecake Batter

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for cheesecake batter recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (if your mixer has one), beat 1 package of the softened cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch together on low speed until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl several times.

    Softened cream cheese, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  3. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, 1 package at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each block.

    Blended cream cheese batter and cream cheese block in the bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  4. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining sugar, then add the vanilla and mix again.

    Sugar and vanilla added to cream cheese mixture in the bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  5. Blend in the eggs, 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition.

    Eggs being added one by one to the mixture in the bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

  6. Beat in the heavy whipping cream just until blended. The filling will look light, creamy, airy, and almost like billowy clouds. Be careful not to overmix.

    Heavy whipping cream added to mixture in the bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 

  7. Gently spoon the batter over the crust.

    Smooth batter poured into springform pan

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

Bake the Cheesecake

  1. Place the cake pan in a large shallow pan or baking dish. Make a water bath by adding enough hot water so it comes halfway up the side of the springform (about 1 inch).

    Springform pan with cheesecake batter placed in large wide saucepan
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  2. Return to the oven and bake until the edge is light golden brown, the top is light gold, and the center barely jiggles, about 75 minutes. If the cake still feels soft around the edge, let it bake for 10 minutes more.

    Cheesecake with golden brown top in springform pan
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  3. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer it to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours (don’t move it).

    Golden brown cheesecake in springform pan on a wire rack
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  4. Leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight or for at least 6 hours.

    Cheesecake in springform pan covered tightly with plastic film
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Serve the Cheesecake

  1. Release and remove the side of the springform, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan.

    Cheesecake on springform bottom with the sides removed
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  2. Place on a cake plate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Cheesecake with springform bottom placed on a cake stand
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  3. To get the cleanest cuts, carefully slice the cake with a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one, rinsing the knife with warm water between pieces.

    Cheesecake on cake stand with knife next to measuring cup with water
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  4. Enjoy.

    Cheesecake with a slice removed and placed on a plate
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel


  • The cake is best when refrigerated overnight, so plan accordingly.
  • Always bake the cheesecake in a water bath as they do at Junior’s. It keeps the heat in the oven moist and helps the cake bake slowly, gently, and evenly. It also helps to ensure that your cake will have a smooth top with no large cracks.
  • When making the sponge cake, be sure to fold the egg whites in extra gently, taking care to not over mix. The goal is to keep as much air in the whites as possible to ensure that the cake will not shrink. It is even all right to see some of the egg mixture streaked throughout the batter.
  • Make sure your cream cheese is very soft to avoid small bits of unincorporated cream cheese in the baked cake.
  • Refrigerate any leftover cake, tightly covered, and enjoy within two days, or wrap and freeze for up to one month.

Why Add Cornstarch to the Batter?

Not every cheesecake recipe calls for it, but a little cornstarch in the batter will reduce the chance for cracks on the top and will make for cleaner slices. It will change the texture of the cheesecake slightly.

This recipe for Original New York Cheesecake is from "Junior's Home Cooking" (Taunton Press, 2013) by Alan Rosen and Beth Allen.