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This easy cheesecake pie is perfect for cheesecake lovers who want a quicker, easier alternative to making a classic cheesecake. The smooth and creamy filling is made of just 6 simple ingredients, and there’s no springform pan or water bath step required. It’s delicious on its own, or you can top it with raspberry sauce, whipped cream, lemon curd, fresh berries, or salted caramel.

whipped cream and raspberry sauce topped cheesecake pie with 1 slice removed.

This pie recipe wasn’t actually in my original plan for posting on the website, but it just kind of… happened. I was working on perfecting the recipe and technique for graham cracker crust, and needed something easy and reliable to use on repeat for a filling… approximately 75 cheesecake pies later, I thought: Well, I should probably share this recipe, too!

Here’s Why You’ll Love This Easy Cheesecake Pie

  • It’s cheesecake… without the fuss
  • Batter & crust come together quickly
  • Same velvety, creamy texture and tangy-sweet taste as my classic cheesecake
  • 6 simple ingredients, plus a 3-ingredient graham cracker crust
  • Bakes and cools much faster than a regular cheesecake
  • It’s very adaptable to taste and season, depending on toppings

What Is the Difference Between Cheesecake and Cheesecake Pie?

Today’s cheesecake pie is like a regular cheesecake, only (1) the filling layer isn’t as thick and tall and (2) you bake it in a pie dish instead of a springform pan. Basically, the taste and texture are the same, but you don’t have as much filling in each bite.

If you’re in the mood for real, classic cheesecake… definitely put in the time and effort to make a real, classic cheesecake. However, if you love cheesecake and don’t have the energy (whether that’s physically or emotionally!) for a water bath, accidentally over-baking or under-baking it, exceptionally long cooling and chilling times, plus the possibility of large cracks on the surface, just make a cheesecake pie!

(Because regular cheesecake can be finicky, right?!)

I have made at least 12 of these in the past few weeks and every single taste tester, neighbor, family member, and friend has said it tastes exactly like regular cheesecake. (And that’s because it is! Only thinner!) You’re going to love this dessert.

Can I Skip the Water Bath?

Yes! As if there wasn’t enough to persuade you to make this cheesecake pie! You see, water baths are used to help an egg-heavy dessert like traditional cheesecake bake in a humid environment. The humidity evenly bakes the rich and creamy filling so it doesn’t burn, sink, and/or crack. Since today’s filling isn’t as tall, we don’t have those problems. So, skip the water bath today!

slice of cheesecake pie with graham cracker crust.

Success Tips for a Perfect Graham Cracker Crust

We’re using my perfected graham cracker crust recipe. You need 3 ingredients including graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. The ratio of ingredients is imperative and what you’ll find below (and also on the graham cracker crust page) yields a crisp, crumbly crust that holds shape beautifully. But what’s more important than the ingredients is the technique you use to press the crust into the pan.

Over the years, I’ve learned exactly what makes and (literally) breaks a great graham cracker crust:

  1. Use your hands first: Press the bottom and around the sides with medium-firm pressure until the crumbs aren’t moving around anymore—you don’t want any loose crumbs. You can even use a small flat-bottomed measuring cup to help smooth out the surface.
  2. Don’t pack too tightly: The crust needs to be compact, so it doesn’t crumble apart, but not so tight that it bakes into a hard, dense crust. You really just want to pack it until the shape has set and it’s no longer crumbly.
  3. Keep it rounded: This sounds a bit odd, but you don’t want a right angle at the bottom edges where the sides and the bottom meet. Instead, you want it a little bit rounded so it stays connected when you slice into it—so the side crust doesn’t immediately separate from the bottom crust. Slide a spoon around the inside of the crust where the sides and bottom meet, to get that rounded shape.

Here is a photo of the rounded crust. Be sure to pre-bake this for 10 minutes before adding the filling.

close-up photo of graham cracker crust pressed into glass pie dish.

Grab These 6 Ingredients for the Filling:

cream cheese, lemon, vanilla extract, sugar, eggs, and sour cream on brown wood countertop.
  1. Blocks of Cream Cheese: Philadelphia cream cheese isn’t affiliated with this post, but it IS my favorite cream cheese brand. Whichever brand you use, make sure you’re using blocks of full-fat cream cheese and not the cream cheese in a tub you would use for spreading on bagels. Same rule applies when making cream cheese frosting and strawberry cream cheese pie.
  2. Granulated Sugar: You’ll love that this cheesecake isn’t overly sweet. Vanilla sugar would be great here.
  3. Sour Cream: My team and I tested this cheesecake pie several (several!!!!) times and there was a major difference between the pies with sour cream and the pies without sour cream. You need 1/4 cup of sour cream to help bind the ingredients together and smooth out the filling so it tastes creamy. Without it, the filling tasted like cream cheese, not cheesecake.
  4. Vanilla Extract: Feel free to use homemade vanilla extract in this pie!
  5. Lemon Juice: A splash of lemon juice adds freshness and depth of flavor—I recommend you don’t leave it out. This cheesecake pie does not taste like lemon.
  6. Eggs: A main ingredient in any baked cheesecake! Careful not to over-mix these, and be sure to add them right at the end.

Pour the filling into the warm pre-baked crust, and then bake:

filling batter in glass mixing bowl.
pouring batter into graham cracker crust and shown again right before baking.
cooled cheesecake pie in glass dish on black circle wire rack.

Can I Add Chocolate Chips to the Filling?

I have no idea if anyone would even ask this question, but I love chocolate chips in cheesecakes and the answer is YES! Feel free to add 3/4 cups mini or regular semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter. (What we do when making amaretto cheesecake.) This version would be tasty served with salted caramel on top.

Cooling & Chilling Is a Breeze

You know how you have to wait a few hours for a regular cheesecake to cool and then you have to wait some more for it to chill in the refrigerator? You’re doing the same thing here, only in a fraction of the time. The cheesecake cools for about 1 hour at room temperature (no need to let it cool in the oven like some cheesecake recipes!) and then you chill it for about 2–3 hours before serving.

Low-maintenance cheesecake!

cheesecake with raspberry sauce drizzled on top and whipped cream piped around the edges.
slice of cheesecake on white plate with raspberry sauce and fresh raspberries on top.

What to Serve With Cheesecake Pie

You can, of course, serve the cheesecake pie plain, but I like to add raspberry sauce, whipped cream, and fresh raspberries. Or you can spruce it up with:

Print
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whipped cream and raspberry sauce topped cheesecake pie with 1 slice removed.

Easy Cheesecake Pie

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes (includes crust pre-bake)
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: one 9-inch pie 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This is regular cheesecake… made easier! Enjoy a creamy, velvety smooth filling with a crispy, crunchy graham cracker crust. Skip the water bath and use a pie dish instead of a springform pan. Feel free to serve with optional toppings listed in recipe Note.


Ingredients

Scale

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) graham cracker crumbs (about 12 full sheet graham crackers)
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • two 8-ounce blocks (452g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • optional for topping: raspberry dessert sauce, fresh raspberries, & whipped cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
  2. Make the crust: If you’re starting out with full graham crackers, use a food processor or blender to grind them into fine crumbs. Stir the graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar together in a medium bowl, and then stir in the melted butter. The mixture will be thick, coarse, and sandy. Try to smash/break up any large chunks. Pour the mixture into an ungreased 9-inch pie dish. With medium pressure using your hand, pat the crumbs down into the bottom and up the sides to make a compact crust. Do not pack down with heavy force because that makes the crust too hard. Simply pat down until the mixture is no longer crumby/crumbly. Tips: You can use a small flat-bottomed measuring cup to help press down the bottom crust and smooth out the surface, but do not pack down too hard. And run a spoon around the bottom “corner” where the edge and bottom meet to help make a rounded crust⁠—this helps prevent the crust from falling apart. For more shaping technique tips, see the graham cracker crust recipe page.
  3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Make the filling in the next step as the crust bakes.
  4. Make the filling: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed in a large bowl until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon juice, and then beat until fully combined and very smooth. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed to combine⁠—you don’t want any lumps. Then on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until just blended. After the second egg is incorporated into the batter, stop mixing. If you still see some lumps at this point, switch to a whisk and whisk by hand just until you break up the large lumps. Some small lumps are OK.
  5. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F (163°C) and spread the cheesecake filling into the warm crust.
  6. Bake the pie for 35 minutes or until the center is almost set. Check it at the 25-minute mark, and if it’s browning too quickly on top and around the edges, tent it with aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.
  7. Set the pie on a wire rack and cool for 1 hour at room temperature. Then place it in the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days before serving. (Cover if chilling it for longer than a few hours.)
  8. Feel free to garnish the pie with any of the optional toppings listed in the notes right before or a couple hours before serving. (Keep pie refrigerated if you decorate it and plan to serve later.) I use a squeeze bottle to drizzle raspberry sauce on top and a piping bag fitted with Wilton 1M piping tip to zigzag whipped cream on top. For neat slices, use a clean sharp knife, and wipe the knife clean between each slice. Tip: The first slice is never pretty! Much easier to slice after that first piece is out.
  9. Cover and store leftover pie in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: This cheesecake pie can be made up to 2 days in advance. See step 7. It’s best if the crust is still a bit warm when you pour in the filling, so I don’t recommend pre-baking the crust in advance.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): Food Processor for graham crackers, Pie Dish, Electric Mixer (Stand Mixer or Handheld)
  3. Toppings: My favorite toppings for this pie are raspberry sauce, fresh raspberries, and whipped cream, which are pictured in the post. You can also top the baked and cooled cheesecake with salted caramel, lemon curd, strawberry topping, chocolate ganache, or red wine chocolate ganache.
  4. Room Temperature Ingredients: Bring all cold ingredients to room temperature before beginning. Room temperature ingredients combine quickly and evenly, so you won’t risk over-mixing. Also, beating cold ingredients together will result in a chunky cheesecake filling, hardly the way you want to begin!
  5. Non-US Readers: If graham crackers are not available where you live, we have also tested this pie with a crust made from digestive biscuits, and it turned out great. Use 200g ground digestive biscuit crumbs (about 2 cups; 13–14 biscuits), 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar, and 6 Tablespoons (85g) melted butter. Pre-bake the crust for a bit longer, about 12–14 minutes. And from what I understand, spreadable cream cheese sold in a tub in countries outside of the US is a little different from the spreadable cream cheese in the US. It’s thicker, sturdier, and more solid and should be OK to make this pie. I have no experience with it, but this is what I’ve heard from other non-US readers. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!

Keywords: cheesecake pie

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Good morning, Sally.

    Just wanted to start off saying you have the best recipes and always look forward to trying them.

    Can the cheesecake be made into individual small pie tins? and if so, is there anything I need to adjust?

    Thank you again,
    Selina

    1. Thank you Selina! Using smaller tins shouldn’t be a problem, just divide up the crust and filling. The crust pre-bake and filling bake times will change and I’m uncertain how long both would be without testing it and knowing the exact sizes of your tins. So, just keep a watchful eye on them. The cheesecake is done when the center is just about almost set. (Only slightly jiggly.)

      1. Thank you Sally, for explaining the option of making this recipe using smaller tins. This Easy Cheesecake Pie looks so delicious. I can’t wait to try it!

    2. Hi Selina. Thank you for asking the question about using smaller tins. I was thinking along the same lines as you! I may try the full-size pie first, to get a feel for it, then try the recipe using smaller tins. Happy baking!

  2. Can u substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream in this recipe? Love your recipes!

    1. I was wondering this is not the one that you have to put in water and bake it

  3. Would not let me rate it a five but I give it a FIVE! So East and my testers said it’s terrific! When I saw this recipe pop up I knew I had to try it! What? No water bath or wrapping pan in bulky foil was awesome and the video was very helpful. All this time I’ve been packing my crumbs for the crust too hard and this made it much easier to slice AND eat! Filling was awesome creamy and great flavor! I will still make the old fashioned ones upon request, but this will be my go to one for the fam and friends!

  4. Your cheesecake pie is a home run with my family! Can’t wait for the next holiday to serve it to the rest of my family! Love how quick & easy it is to make! Love all your recipes.

      1. I have to ask.. what on earth did you end up doing with 75 cheesecake pies?! 🙂

      2. That was a little exaggeration. 😉 But my team took many home, my neighbors, extended family, and our friends have been enjoying them for a few weeks now!

  5. Hi! Could I replace the sour cream with anything? Greek yogurt maybe? Also, what could I use instead of a pie dish? I haven’t seen mine in a very long time lol! Thanks!

    1. Hi Meghan, you can use plain Greek yogurt instead. And this could fit in a 9-inch square pan instead.

  6. I’m going to be making your Tiramisu recipe this weekend for guests.
    I know I will have alot left over with the cocoa dusting on it.
    My question is, can I freeze the Tiramisu in individual portions ?
    Thank you, Sally

  7. This was fantastic. So simple and quick to make. Has anyone done it lactose free?

  8. This is a delicious recipe. Just wondering if you have tried a chocolate crumb crust? Thought it might give it a new slant.

    1. Always love your recipes and your work!
      Quick question, could Greek yogurt replace the sour cream in this recipe?
      Thank you!

      1. Hi Mel, you can use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream here. Enjoy!

  9. Hi Sally!
    Can I double the recipe for a deep dish pie pan or will that be too thick? Also, can I use the lemon juice from the Real Lemon bottle since it’s such a small amount, or go to the store for a real one? Lol
    As always, you are amazing!!

    1. Hi! I wouldn’t double this recipe. The more volume, the more it’s just like a regular cheesecake and for that, you’ll need precise baking and cooling instructions. (Just make this cheesecake!) You can use bottled lemon juice.

  10. This recipe
    Was easy to follow and delicious! Topped it with your strawberry sauce. Thank you!

  11. I made this and it is one of the best cheesecakes I have had. It is easy and has a very New York cheesecake flavor. I make a lot of water bath cheesecakes and I found this to be just as creamy and flavorful as any others I have made.

  12. This is such a delicious, light, and easy cheesecake. I’m embarrassed to say that I made it only a few days ago, and it has already been eaten! My husband has asked me to make it again this weekend, and he has never been a cheesecake fan. Thank you Sally, for all the testing you do for your recipes. It makes a world of difference!

  13. I can’t wait to make this.

    About cutting any pie. If you cut two pieces of the pie and then lift only the first piece, the first piece will come out of the pan very easily. Always works for me. Thanks for all the great recipes!!

  14. Hi Sally. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can incorporate peaches to this recipe?

    1. Hi Kim, we haven’t tried adding peaches into the cheesecake pie, but it would take quite a bit of recipe testing — the juicy peaches would likely prevent the cheesecake filling from setting up properly. You could try making a peach topping/sauce and drizzling it on the completed pie like we do with the raspberry sauce. Let us know what you try!

  15. I made this cheesecake pie and raspberry sauce recently for a friend’s picnic. It was a HIT! I couldn’t believe how quickly and easily it came together. I’ll be making this again and not just for special occasions. Thanks Sally.

  16. I’m going to try this! Also I have used ground up biscotti instead of graham crackers as a crust.

  17. Something I started doing years ago, is saving back the crumbs from my cookie jar and dumping them into a clean fruit jar. When the 8 oz. jar is full, it’s time for cheesecake! I just whip them through the food processor. I usually don’t even need the butter. The crust holds together just fine. You never know what’ll be in the jar: crumbs from chocolate chip, oatmeal, sugar wafers, ginger snaps…
    I get tons of compliments on my cheesecakes, and people always remark on how good the crust is.

  18. Easy and delicious! I made strawberry sauce for the topping which was great. Next time (and there will be a next time), husband has asked for a cherry topping…can’t lose with cheesecake and cherries.

  19. would this recipe work well in making mason jar cheesecakes to take to an event? if so, how long to bake?

  20. I would like to know if you think it would be OK to substitute 1 teaspoon of orange extract in place of the lemon juice in the cheesecake pie recipe. Thank you!

    1. Hi Lorraine, the lemon juice does not add lemon flavor to the cheesecake, rather it just brightens the flavors. You could try replacing half the vanilla extract with orange extract. Let us know how it goes!

  21. I love you SALLY!! I have had so much success with all your recipes, but this one was the BOMB. I have struggled to make a traditional NY Style cheesecake, so when I found a box of graham crackers in the cabinet thought I would give this a shot. OH MY GOODNESS It was SO EASY!! Even with cheap graham crackers the crust was perfect and the creamyness of the pie was excellent!! your directions are very easy to follow. WOW is all I can say I was Queen for the day at my house with this pie. Just super all the way around, didn’t even need a topping it was just perfect.

    1. We’re so glad the cheesecake pie was such a success for you, Rachel!

  22. This is a much easier way to get classic cheesecake flavor and texture compared to using a spring-form pan and the water bath method. I made this cheesecake pie today and am so happy, and it was so much easier! It reminds me of my youth of long ago, when mom would make classic New York cheesecake the hard way. It’s not too sweet which means it works well with any sweet sauce or topping you’d like to add. I made 1 pie using both a graham cracker crust and a (familiar to y’all) dark chocolate cookie crust – half and half in the pie plate. I confess I like the graham crust better. I stumbled a bit on the very last step – taking it out of the oven “when almost set” because I wasn’t sure when that was. The old jiggle test didn’t do the trick, so I overbaked by about 5 minutes, but it’s still awesome. I’m eating it this minute with a brandied cherry sauce. Thanks for a recipe that I can do on a day off, that’s authentically true to classic cheesecake with a lot less of the fuss.

  23. OMGosh! This recipe is amazing! I was invited on short-ish notice to a dinner with new friends and was asked to bring dessert. I wanted to impress, so I got right onto your website and found this recipe. I followed it to the letter and I couldn’t believe how beautifully it came out! I made your Salted Caramel Sauce and a blueberry sauce, which I packed into mason jars. Everything was perfect! And it was, actually, very easy to make. Thank you for these recipes, and all the testing you do to perfect them!

  24. I loved this recipe! I made it exactly as written, except I ended up with too many Graham Cracker crumbs, basing it on the 18 pieces needed, lol. When I weighed it, it was over, (significantly), so I just used what was asked for. I did use a 9 1/2 pie pan, and the crust was pretty thick. That was ok though, because who doesn’t like Graham cracker crust!
    With the thick crust, the filling just filled the pan nicely. I wonder if I used an 8×8 square dish, if the filling would be too little? Could I double the filling?
    I cooked it for the 25 mins, then tented foil for the last ten. It was a test of faith, since I usually have to cut the time down, because my oven runs hot. But no way to test this.
    I made the Strawberry Sauce from this website to go with it, and I’m amazed that the cheesecake and sauce weren’t completely eaten last night. I don’t think it will last the day, lol! Thanks for another great recipe Sally!

  25. I consider my self baking inept! Lol but this recipe was so easy! I added an extra egg by mistake and it still turned out soooo yummy! My husband and me devoured half of it the same day and no shame! Will be making again for sure.

  26. I made the cheesecake pie as written topped with fresh peaches. Just perfect!! Thank you so much!!

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