There's nothing like a slice of creamy homemade cheesecake to end a meal. But if you're new to making the dreamy dessert, learning how to tell if cheesecake is done can be a tiny bit tricky. We're sharing our tried and true tips to ensure you have a perfectly cooked cheesecake every time.

As with most baking recipes, there's a lot of science and precision required when making cheesecake from scratch. Perhaps the trickiest part of the process is figuring out how to know when cheesecake is done cooking. The last thing you want after devoting baking therapy time to make a cheesecake is a too-soft, or undercooked cheesecake that can't hold a cut edge. It's also sad when that beautiful New York-style cheesecake gets overbaked and ends up dry and cracked. We'd still eat it happily, but we do understand it's disheartening. Thanks to our Test Kitchen, you'll know how to test a cheesecake for doneness without either of these negative results. You'll soon be on your way to creamy, delicious, perfectly-baked, cheesecake every time.

Credit: Kritsada Panichgul
Our Step-By-Step Guide to Making the Perfect Cheesecake

How to Tell if Cheesecake Is Done

The secret to testing a cheesecake for doneness: Jiggle it. Define jiggle, you say. Gently shake the cheesecake (wearing oven mitts, of course). If the cheesecake looks nearly set and only a small circle in the center jiggles slightly, it's done. You might worry a runny middle means raw cheesecake, but it's totally safe and normal. The center will firm up as it cools on a cooling rack ($9, Target), resulting in the smooth surface you want.

Do not use a knife to check a cheesecake for doneness. Using a knife to test a cheesecake may create a crack in the top; also this method does not give an accurate test for cheesecakes made with a large amount of sour cream. Cheesecakes made with sour cream should jiggle a little more and will have a larger soft spot in the center.

Practice makes perfect, and we've got the most delicious cheesecake recipes to work your baking magic at home. Add some festive flavors such as pumpkin spice or maple-glazed pecans to your cheesecake. Or give the chocolate lovers in your life a rich slice of chocolate-Irish cream cheesecake. Of course, if you're not up for baking cheesecake, there's plenty of no-bake cheesecake recipes that are just as creamy and decadent.

Comments (1)

Better Homes & Gardens Member
December 24, 2020
I've been making New York cheese cakes for 10 years and have perfected them. I use a pan of water on the bottom rack, baking at 325° for 70 minutes. The recipe calls for 55 minutes but I've come to learn from mistakes the cake needs to bake 1 hour & 10 minutes. I never open the door & when 70 minutes is up, I turn off the oven & leave the cake in the oven to gradually cool. This eliminates cracks. I'd love to take a photo & sen it to Better Homes & Garden.