I have a cheesecake recipe that I have used for years, It is as close to perfect as I need it to be...except, sometimes it cracks (maybe 1 of 5). I have never used a water bath and I don't want to start. I was thinking if I lower the temperature from 350 to 325, it might stop occasional cracking. If I bake for 41 minutes at 350, how much time should I add if I bake at 325? It has also been suggested that I add a tablespoon of cornstarch to the recipe...any thoughts on cornstarch. Thanks

  • 1
    I answered a similar question to this before... Take a look at this:cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/10761/…. I'd skip the cornstarch by the way. Also, if you're dead set against the water bath, be VERY mindful of overmixing. It's the air you're incorporating that is going to cause the issue. Dec 12, 2014 at 18:03

2 Answers 2


The best way to prevent cracking is to use a water bath. It will give you consistently perfect results every time. The payoff is worth the extra effort.

A cheesecake is a baked custard and controlling the temperature is an important component in uniform cooking. Especially in a thick cheesecake, it is hard to finish cooking the center without the perimeter areas overcooking unless you use a water bath.

Having said that, the second best way to avoid cracking is to use an instant read thermometer to test the internal temperature at the center of the cheesecake. Most sources are pretty clear that if the internal temperature rises above 160 °F, the cheesecake will crack so you should either turn the oven off or remove the cheesecake from the oven—depending on your recipe—when the cheesecake registers just over 150 °F.

Unfortunately, although the temperature of the cheesecake at its center should be a foolproof way of preventing a side-to-side crack along the top of the cheesecake, without a water bath it is still possible that there might be cracks along the outer regions of top of the cheesecake if those areas overcook from being unprotected.

Lowering the temperature might give you more control over the consistency of cooking, but it won't eradicate the risk of having the exterior of the cheesecake cook-through before the interior is sufficiently set.

Ultimately, to get back to your specific question, there is no reliable time-for-temperature adjustment that can be recommended. You will enjoy much more reliable results using internal temperature to tell when your cheesecake needs to stop baking. And I can assure you that using a water bath would revolutionize your cheesecakes.

  • OK, I'm willing to try to "revolutionize" my cheesecakes with a water bath. What do you recommend? I've heard about soggy crusts and wrapping the pan in foil to prevent them. But what about the idea of putting the spring form in a cake pan just slightly larger than the spring form pan then putting that pan in a larger one and filling the outer pan with water? I would think the water should actually touch the sides of the spring form to be effective, the air gap between the pans leaves me guessing
    – Joe
    Dec 12, 2014 at 22:44
  • Definitely wrap in foil - preferably using a single sheet of the extra large heavy-duty foil to prevent leaks. No harm in using 2 sheets. The sides of the spring form pan itself need to be in contact with the water for the water bath to do its magic - but only 1" or so up the side. I, personally, go with the old Junior's recipe from NYC. It uses 2 lb. of cream cheese and makes a massive cheesecake. Same approach would work with a cookie crust. Here's a link with pic's: kingarthurflour.com/blog/2012/12/07/… Dec 13, 2014 at 12:40
  • Also, your cooking time will certainly change with a water bath, but you should be able to judge when to stop baking your cheesecake using visual cues and by taking the temperature at the center of the cheesecake. Dec 13, 2014 at 12:42

I never use a water bath. I bake at 325 for 30 - 40 minutes and never have cracks.

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