How to Tell if Cheesecake Is Done, According to Our Test Kitchen

Ensure you have a perfectly cooked cheesecake every time with these easy tips.

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 the cheesecake is done cooking. The last thing you want after devoting baking therapy time to making 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. Soon you'll be on your way to creamy, delicious, perfectly-baked, cheesecake every time.

cheescake pan onto oven rack
Kritsada Panichgul

How to Tell if Cheesecake Is Done

While you might think the toothpick test is a good idea to test cheesecake for doneness, think again. Using a knife or toothpick to test a cheesecake may create a crack in the top. This method does not give an accurate test for cheesecakes made with a large amount of sour cream, as you wouldn't get a clean result at the tip of the knife. We'll start with our Test Kitchen's favorite way to tell if cheesecake is done along with a few more tips.

Method 1: Give it a Jiggle

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, resulting in the smooth surface you want.

Test Kitchen Tip: Cheesecakes made with sour cream should jiggle a little more and will have a larger soft spot in the center.

Method 2: A Gentle Touch

You can tell if a cheesecake is baked by simply using your hands. Use clean hands to gently (emphasis on the gentle!) touch the top of the cheesecake in the center. If the surface is firm, but has a slight give, it's done.

Method 3: Test the Temperature

OK, so we don't resort to this method often due to the fact a hole must be made. But if you're concerned about ensuring your cheesecake is safely cooked, you can give it a poke with a kitchen thermometer. The safe internal temperature for cheesecake is 150ºF. This method is great if you're planning on topping the cheesecake, making a small hole unrecognizable.

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 are also plenty of no-bake cheesecake recipes that are just as creamy and decadent.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles