Polish-American-Style Cheesecake (Sernik Philadelphia)

Slice of Polish-American cheesecake
Barbara Rolek
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Yield: 1 cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
361 Calories
28g Fat
25g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 361
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 35%
Saturated Fat 16g 78%
Cholesterol 110mg 37%
Sodium 370mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 19g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 85mg 7%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 121mg 3%
*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.)

In Poland and much of Central and Eastern Europe, cheesecakes are typically made with dry curd cheese or farmer cheese. Over the past 50 years, however, dry curd cheese is sometimes replaced with cream cheese (in Poland, this is known as kremowego serka).

The resulting American-style cheesecake is known simply as Philadelphia after the popular store brand of cream cheese. In Poland, it's known as sernik Philadelphia or sernik nowojorski (New York-style cheesecake).

Unlike some recipes, this recipe includes a sweetened sour cream topping. After the cheesecake is baked, it rests for 15 minutes while you increase the oven temperature to 400 F. The sour cream topping is then spread on top of the cheesecake and the cheesecake is baked for another 5 minutes.

This recipe doesn't call for baking the graham cracker crust before filling it, which may render the crust too dry and crumbly. Simply chill the crust while you make the filling and bake them at the same time.
Here are more Polish Cheesecake Recipes you might like to try.


Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 24 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 dash cinnamon

Sour Cream Topping:

  • 16 ounces sour cream

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

Make the Graham Cracker Crust

  1. Mix together 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 4 ounces melted butter.

  2. Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides, (or partially up the sides, if desired) of a 10-inch springform pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Make the Filling

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

  2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together 3 (8-ounce) packages softened cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, 3 large room-temperature eggs, 1 teaspoon salt and dash of cinnamon until smooth and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.

  3. Pour into prepared crust and bake 40 minutes or until only a slight jiggle is seen in the center of the cheesecake.

  4. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Increase oven heat to 400 F.

Make the Sour Cream Topping

  1. Increase oven temperature to 400 F.

  2. In a small bowl, mix together thoroughly 16 ounces sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Spread evenly over top of hot cheesecake. Bake for 5 minutes.

  3. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack (do not remove springform pan). When the cheesecake is cool, refrigerate it in the pan until thoroughly cold.

  4. When ready to serve, run a knife around the cheesecake and remove the ring. Using a large spatula or cake lifter, transfer cheesecake to a serving plate, slice and serve plain or garnished with a few strawberries, cherry pie filling or other fruit and whipped cream, if desired. Refrigerate leftovers, covered.