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Sour Cream Cheesecake Recipe – by Alton Brown


I have made cheesecakes using many different receipes. This one is definitely
a favorite among my family and friends. If you like a light textured cheesecake this recipe if for you! I first wrote down the recipe while watching Season 5- Episode 7 of “Good Eats : The Trouble with Cheesecake” where Alton Brown demonstrated the entire process, from start to finish. When I found the recipe on FoodNetwork’s website, I had to watch the episode again to get information on how to prepare the water bath and release the cheesecake from the pan. If you have 20 minutes, please watch the episode on YouTube (Links Below). Many people think that their cheesecake is not done baking if the cheesecake is not solid by the time they turn off the oven. This is a common mistake which leads to cracks, burn marks and generally an overdone and heavy cheesecake. As Alton explains in his episode,  cheesecake is really a custard, and requires time to cool in the fridge where it will properly solidify to a delightful texture and taste.

There are a few minor edits that I have made to the online recipe to match the version from “Good Eats.” However, to be fair, I am providing a screen shot of how the recipe appears on the Food Network website. I updated the version to match the episode of “Good Eats.”  The changes appear in pink font and have to do with how to prepare the water bath and how to properly remove the cheesecake from the pan.

Watch The Episode – YouTube

I found Season 5- Episode 7 of “Good Eats : The Trouble with Cheesecake” posted on YouTube by LikeTheHat on July 27, 2007. The episode is divided into two parts and is filled with valuable information on cheesecake, proper preparation, Why water bath? and how the cheesecake batter should look after 1 hour of baking. More recently someone had to kill the fun and the videos have been taken down. For historical purposes, I am

Season 5- Episode 7 of “Good Eats : The Trouble with Cheesecake” – Part 1 of 2
Season 5- Episode 7 of “Good Eats : The Trouble with Cheesecake” – Part 2 of 2

Recipe with Gita’s Edits

This version has been edited to match the instructions from Season 5- Episode 7 of “Good Eats : The Trouble with Cheesecake” where Alton Brown demonstrated the entire process, from start to finish. My edits appear in  pink font.


Recipe courtesy Alton Brown .. edited by




33 graham cracker squares, crumbled
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus additional, for brushing the pan
1 tablespoon sugar


20 ounces cream cheese
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 yolks
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups sour cream

Special Equipment:

9 x 3 Round Pan —  (DO NOT use a spring form pan for this recipe)
12X3 Round Pan   —  A roasting pan or disposable aluminum pan that is at least 3″ tall is a good substitute.
Kitchen Towel — to insulate the bottom of the extra large pan
2 quarts boiling water for water bath 


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Brush some of the melted butter around a 9 by 3-inch cake pan. Adhere parchment to the bottom and the sides.
  2. In a small bowl, combine crumbled graham crackers, the remaining melted butter, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the parchment-lined pan. Place remaining crumbs on a sheet pan and bake both the crust and the remaining mixture for 10 minutes. Cool. Reserve additional crumb mixture for sides.
  3. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat sour cream for 10 seconds. Add the cream cheese and sugar and mix on low for 30 seconds and then turn up to medium. Scrape the bowl.
  4. In a separate container, combine vanilla, eggs, yolks, and heavy cream. With the mixer on medium, slowly pour the liquid mixture in. When half of it is incorporated, stop and scrape. Continue adding the mixture until the rest of the ingredients are incorporated. Once completely combined, pour into the cooled crust.
  5. Lower oven temperature to 250 degrees F.
  6. Prepare a water bath for the cheesecake by heating 2 quarts of water. Place an extra large pan (12×3 or roasting pan) into the oven. Place a kitchen towel at the bottom of the pan to provide insulation. Place the pan with the cheesecake into the extra large pan and push cheesecake pan to one corner to allow space for pouring the hot water. Pour the hot water into the extra large pan until the water level touches 2/3 of cheesecake pan height. Gently push the cheesecake pan to the center of the water bath for even heat distribution. 
  7. Bake for 1 hour at 250 degrees F. After the hour, turn the oven off and open the door for one minute to allow as much hot air to exit the oven. The cheesecake will not be solid at this point. Close the door for one more hour. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place in the refrigerator for 6 hours to completely cool before serving.
  8.  When ready to serve, place the entire cake pan into a hot water bath for about 15 seconds. Run a thin knife between the pan and parchment paper before gently removing the paper. Prepare a plate with wax paper. Place the wax papered plate  over the cheesecake pan and flip. Take your display plate or cake round and flip the cheesecake to its right-side-up position. Take the remaining graham cracker mixture and press into the sides of the cake.
  9.  To slice, place your knife into a hot water bath and wipe dry each time you make a pass through the cake

Recipe from - Sour Cream Cheesecake Recipe by Alton Brown
The recipe from the FoodNetwork Website differs slightly from the the Good Eat’s Episode where Alton Brown prepares this cheesecake. Here is the version. Below this, you will find a version with my edits in pink font which includes a little more information that Alton mentioned during the show.

Last Time I Made This Recipe:

September 2013 – Brother’s Birthday 

This was the first time we did double crust on the bottom and strawberries on top.


June 2013 – Shane’s Birthday
By request from the birthday girl herself. Double Graham Cracker Crust Cheesecake Although this was to be her birthday cheesecake, I caught  Sol ready to Sasquatch nearly half the remaining cheesecake the next day.  Thank goodness I caught him when I did. Not that I blame him, that was some delicious cheesecake! Mental note. If you have leftovers, ration out pieces in boxes labeled with the lucky owners names. Shane has already informed me that I will have to make more for Thanksgiving. :-)

November 2012 – For Shane’s Family Thanksgiving
When Shane made the request for me to make a Lemon version of my special cheesecake for her family’s Thanksgiving get together I was honored and delighted. I also got Shane into the kitchen when I learned that she had never made cheesecake before. I was happy to share my recipe and process with her. I have made different variations with this recipe but this was the first time I had attempted a Lemon Cheesecake. We added real lemon juice and lemon zest to the cream cheese batter during mixing time. According to Shane and several members of her family, “This cheesecake was BANGIN!”

November 11, 2012 – Pot Luck Dinner – Poker Night at Mr. Bill’s  
After not getting a sniff of my brorther’s cheesecake, Sol coaxed me to make it again for a pot luck poker dinner at Mr. Bill’s. I felt it only fair to do so and was not surprised when the other poker players lined up for it. Althoug, it was a bit concerned that our Diabetic  poker players were also hitting this cake! This cake is dangrously good!

September 2012 – Brother’s Birthday

By Request from my Bro.  He has always loved my cheesecake and I have always tried to make him a batch when I visited from my many visits home to my parents house. In previous years I have purchased Carvel cakes for his birthday by his request but I am very happy that he chose my home made cake over the store.  He took the whole came home and didn’t leave us a piece. I should probably be offended but no one can blame him. That’s some damn good cheesecake! And … it is his birthday.


June 2010 – SF’s Birthday 

I asked one of my favorite boss’s what his favorite cake was, and he replies, Cheesecake. One of the first times I ever made this cake was for SF’s birthday. He loved the cheesecake and didn’t share a piece with anyone. And yes, he managed to eat the whole thing on is own over the course of a week.


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