Gluten Free Vanilla Cheesecake

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Cheesecake can sometimes seem like a daunting challenge, but worry not, my friends! With this Gluten-Free Vanilla Cheesecake recipe, I’m here to guide you through every step, ensuring your cheesecake turns out flawless without a single crack on the top. This delightful creation is not only delicious on its own but also serves as the ideal canvas for experimenting with exciting flavor variations. So, grab that apron, let your imagination run wild, and by the end of this recipe, you’ll be armed with the confidence to conquer cheesecake baking like a pro!

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Full Gluten Free Vanilla Cheesecake topped with whipped cream and fresh berries

Ingredients for Gluten Free Vanilla Cheesecake

Gluten Free Graham Cracker Crust

Graham Cracker Crumbs: the base and texture for your crust, lending a sweet, slightly nutty flavor that contrasts beautifully with the creamy cheesecake.

Brown Sugar: Brown sugar adds sweetness and moisture to the crust, helping it hold together and develop a lovely, caramelized flavor when baked.

Salt: A pinch of salt enhances the overall flavor profile by balancing the sweetness and adding a subtle savory note.

Vanilla: Vanilla extract infuses the crust with a warm, comforting aroma and flavor, complementing the sweetness of the brown sugar.

Butter, Melted: the binder, holding the crust together while also contributing a rich, buttery taste and a crisp texture when baked.

Vanilla Cheesecake

Cream Cheese: provides the creamy, dense texture and tangy flavor that defines a cheesecake.

Granulated Sugar: Sugar sweetens the cheesecake and also contributes to its smooth, creamy texture by helping to stabilize the filling.

Salt: Just a pinch of salt enhances the overall flavor by balancing the sweetness and accentuating the other ingredients.

Lemon Juice: adds a bright, citrusy zing that cuts through the richness of the cream cheese, creating a well-balanced flavor.

Egg and Egg Yolk: Eggs act as binders and provide structure to the cheesecake. Egg yolks, in particular, contribute richness and a silky texture.

Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract imparts a classic, comforting flavor to the cheesecake, enhancing its overall deliciousness.

Vanilla Bean Extract: This ingredient intensifies the vanilla flavor, adding depth and those signature vanilla flecks to the cheesecake.

Sour Cream: contributes to the creamy texture while also providing a hint of tanginess that complements the cream cheese’s flavor.

Each of these ingredients plays a crucial role in creating the perfect balance of flavors and textures in your gluten-free vanilla cheesecake, ensuring it turns out absolutely delectable.

Gluten Free Vanilla Cheesecake topped with whipped cream and fresh berries with a slice missing

Tip for Success!!


  • Use High-Quality Cream Cheese: opt for a good-quality cream cheese that is naturally gluten-free. It will ensure a smooth and creamy texture in your cheesecake filling.
  • Use Room Temperature Ingredients: Make sure all the ingredients, ESPECIALLY the cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream, are at room temperature. This will ensure easy mixing and a smoother texture in the final cheesecake.
  • Mix on a Low Speed: this is SO IMPORTANT!! When combining the ingredients, use a low speed on your mixer. This will prevent excess air from being incorporated into the batter, which can cause the cheesecake to rise while baking and then sink down (creating a crater) while cooling AND also cause cracks to form during the baking and cooling process.
  • Bake with a Water Bath: To prevent the cheesecake from cracking and ensure even baking, consider using a water bath. Place the cheesecake pan in a larger pan filled with hot water while baking. The steam created will help maintain a moist environment in the oven allowing the cheesecake to bake evenly.
  • Cool the Cheesecake SLOWLY: After baking, allow the cheesecake to cool gradually. Start by turning off your oven and leaving the cheesecake in the oven for an hour while the oven cools down after baking (DO NOT open the oven door, trust the process). Next, remove it from the oven and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour. Then refrigerate it for several hours (about 4-6 hours) or overnight to ensure it sets properly.


  • Prebake the Crust: this will help set it and prevent it from becoming soggy when combined with the filling. Bake it in the oven for 10-15 minutes before adding the cheesecake filling. Check out my video about How to Properly Prep your Cheesecake Pan (spring form pan) for Baking in a Water Bath! Doing this will help keep your cheesecake crust from getting soggy and help with easy removal from the pan after baking.
  • Chill Before Serving: For the best texture and flavor, refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4-6 hours or overnight before serving. This will allow the flavors to meld together and the cheesecake to fully set.
  • Thoroughly Crush the Gluten-Free Graham Crackers: When making the crust, make sure to finely crush the gluten-free graham crackers. The finer the crumbs, the better the crust will hold.
Full Gluten Free Vanilla Cheesecake topped with whipped cream and fresh berries

Frequently Asked Questions

How to keep cheesecake crust from getting soggy?

Here is a list of a few ways to keep your crust from getting soggy:

  1. Pre-bake the crust for 10-15 minutes before adding the cheesecake batter.
  2. Brush an egg wash to the top of the cheesecake crust before adding the batter. This creates a protective barrier between the crust and the batter.
  3. Let the crust cool completely before adding the cheesecake batter.
  4. Wrap the bottom of the spring form pan with tin foil and/or an oven roasting bag before placing it in the water bath. If you bake cheesecake often, I HIGHLY recommend getting a Silicone cheesecake Sleeve!
  5. Allow the cheesecake to cool gradually.

How to prevent a cheesecake from cracking?

There are many ways to prevent your cheesecake from cracking but the most important ways to prevent this from happening is using room temperature ingredientsmixing the batter at a low speed, and SLOWLY cooling the cheesecake. Below is a more in-depth explanation for each of these plus a few extras!

  • Use Room Temperature Ingredients: Make sure all your ingredients, particularly the cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream, are at room temperature before starting. This helps to ensure a smooth and uniform mixture. This will also help when it comes to mixing the batter at a low speed.
  • Don’t Overmix: Mix the cheesecake batter on low speed, just until all the ingredients are well combined. Overmixing or mixing at a higher speed can introduce excess air into the batter, causing the cheesecake to rise during baking and then fall/sink down (creating a crater) while cooling which will then lead to cracks in the top of your cheesecake.
  • Gradually Cool the Cheesecake: Once the cheesecake is done baking, turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside the oven for an hour while the oven is slowly cooling down. This gradual cooling process helps to minimize sudden changes in temperature that can cause cracks. If the cheesecake cools down too quickly (i.e., moving from an extremely warm environment to a cooler environment), the heat from the cheesecake is forced to quickly escape causing the crack to form from said heat trying to escape.


  • Use a Water Bath: Consider using a water bath when baking your cheesecake. Wrap the bottom of your springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent water from seeping in. Place the pan in a larger baking dish or roasting pan with a kitchen towel in the bottom and fill it with hot water, ensuring it reaches about halfway up the sides of the pan. The water bath creates a moist environment and helps prevent the cheesecake from drying out and cracking. This also creates an environment for even baking.  
  • Avoid Overbaking: Keep a close eye on your cheesecake while it’s in the oven and avoid overbaking. Overbaking can cause the edges to dry out and crack. The center of the cheesecake should still have a slight jiggle when you gently shake the pan. It will continue to set as it cools.

By following these steps, you can significantly decrease the chances of your cheesecake developing cracks.

How do I know when my cheesecake is done?

Knowing when a cheesecake is done can be determined by following these indicators:

  • Visual Inspection: The outer edges of the cheesecake should appear set, while the center should jiggle like Jell-o when you gently shake the pan. It should not look liquid or runny in the middle.
  • Baking Time: Follow and trust the suggested baking time provided in your recipe as a general guideline. However, it’s essential to consider that baking times can vary based on oven temperature accuracy and the size/thickness of your cheesecake.

remember that cheesecakes continue to set as they cool. It’s normal for them to appear slightly underdone in the center while still in the oven. Once the cheesecake has had the proper amount of time to cool in the fridge it will become set and firm. So just know that even the final look of the cheesecake in the oven will not be the final texture of the cheesecake once it’s completely cooled down.

If you’re like me and like to see visual examples, check out my video about How to know when your cheesecake is done baking!

How long do you let cheesecake cool before removing it from the pan?

After baking a cheesecake, it’s crucial to let it cool before removing it from the pan to prevent it from falling apart or losing its shape. The cooling process allows the cheesecake to firm up and set properly. Here are the general guidelines for cooling a cheesecake:

  • Don’t immediately remove the cheesecake from the oven: once the cheesecake is done baking, turn the oven off and let the cheesecake slowly cool down while the oven is cooling down. I have found that this step is CRUCIAL for getting a perfectly flat cheesecake with NO CRACKS on top!
  • Cooling at Room Temperature: Once the cheesecake is out of the oven, let it cool at room temperature in the water bath for about 1-2 hours. This gradual cooling allows the cheesecake to settle and prevents sudden temperature changes that could lead to cracks or other issues.
  • Refrigeration: After the initial cooling at room temperature, transfer the cheesecake to the refrigerator to chill for an additional 4 to 6 hours or, preferably, overnight. This extended chilling time helps the cheesecake fully set and develop its desired texture.


  • Removing the Cheesecake: Once the cheesecake has chilled, it is ready to be removed from the pan. If you’re using a springform pan and the foil method, follow these directions:
  • carefully release the sides by gently unlatching the springform mechanism.
  • Push the bottom of the pan up and through the sides of the spring form pan. Set that part of the springform pan aside.  
  • Then place a large plate/ serving platter on top of the cheesecake, invert the cheesecake while holding the plate.
  • Remove the bottom of the pan to release the cheesecake, and it should come out easily.
  • Finally remove the layer of foil off the bottom of the cheesecake, invert it back so the top of the cheesecake is facing up, and place the cheesecake on desired serving platter.

Remember, cheesecakes are delicate, so handle them with care during the removal process to maintain their shape. Once removed, you can proceed to garnish, slice, and serve your beautifully cooled cheesecake.

Gluten Free Vanilla Cheesecake topped with whipped cream and fresh berries with a slice missing
Full Gluten Free Vanilla Cheesecake topped with whipped cream and fresh berries

Gluten Free Vanilla Cheesecake

This gluten-free vanilla cheesecake recipe simplifies the art of cheesecake making. A gluten-free graham crust forms the perfect base, while the creamy cheesecake filling, featuring cream cheese, sugar, a hint of lemon, and a medley of vanilla flavors, results in a deliciously indulgent treat. With this recipe, you'll create a flawless cheesecake that's both easy to make and utterly delightful to savor.
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 35 minutes
cooling time 8 hours
Total Time 10 hours 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 8 Slices


  • Electric mixer w/ paddle attachment
  • Measuring Cups & Spoons
  • Mixing bowls
  • Rubber spatula
  • Food Processor (or Ziploc Bag + Rolling Pin)
  • 6in Springform Pan


Gluten Free Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 1/4 c. (160g) Gluten Free Graham Cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 c. (54g) Brown Sugar light
  • 1/4 tsp. (2g) Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. (3g) Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tbsp. (28g) Butter unsalted, melted

Vanilla Cheesecake

  • 2 ½ c. (1 lb. 4 oz. or 569g) Cream Cheese
  • 2/3 c. (155g) Granulated Sugar
  • Pinch Salt
  • 2 tsp. (11g) Lemon Juice
  • 1 egg whole
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 ½ tsp. (13g) Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tbsp. Vanilla Bean Paste
  • ½ c. (128g) Sour Cream


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and prep your cheesecake pan with tin foil and baking spray (see above section in the blog for how to do this).
  • In a food processor (or blender) crush the Gluten Free Graham Crackers until they become fine crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor you can also do this by placing the cookies in a ziploc bag and crush the cookies with a rolling pin.
  • Place the gluten free graham cracker crumbs into a mixing bowl, add the brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and melted butter and mix together until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  • Press the crust into the prepped spring form pan and place in the oven.
  • Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes. Let the crust cool completely before adding the cheesecake batter.

Vanilla Cheesecake

  • Once the crust has been baked, lower the oven temperature to 300°F.
  • Place the cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 15-30 seconds to soften.
  • Place the softened cream cheese into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix the cream cheese on a low speed until smooth and no lumps remain. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • While the mixer is at a low speed, gradually add the granulated sugar and salt to the cream cheese. Once all the sugar and salt has been added scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Next, add the lemon juice, vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, and sour cream. Mix together on a low speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Next, add one egg at a time and mix on a low speed until combined. After all the eggs have been added scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Pour the cheesecake batter into the spring form pan.

Preparing the water bath

  • Open your oven and place your larger cake pan with kitchen towel inside of it on your oven rack. Then place the cheesecake in that larger pan on top of the kitchen towel.
  • Pour hot water into the larger cake pan, being carful not to splash any water into your cheesecake. There should be about an inch of water in your water bath.

Baking and Cooling

  • Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. DO NOT open the oven door!!
  • After the cheesecake has been in the oven for the listed baking time, turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour. DO NOT open the oven door!
  • After the cheesecake has cooled in the oven for 1 hour, carefully remove the cheesecake (water bath and all). Let the cheesecake cool in the water bath for 1 hour.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place the cheesecake in the refrigerator to finish cooling for a minimum of 4-6 hours. It’s best to cool the cheesecake in the fridge overnight.

Removing the cheesecake from the pan

  • Using a small offset spatula, run the spatula around the outside edge of the cheesecake to help release it from the pan.
  • Next, unlatch the spring mechanism.
  • While the cheesecake is sitting on the counter you can pull the sides off the pan or have the cheesecake in one hand and push the bottom of the pan through the sides of the pan.
  • Next, place a cake board or plate on the top of the cheesecake and invert it with the bottom of the cheesecake facing up. Remove the bottom of the spring form pan and peel the tin foil off.
  • Finally, flip the cheesecake back over so that the top is facing up and place the cheesecake on desired serving platter!
  • Top with some fresh fruit or berries, gluten free cookie crumbs, chocolate or caramel sauces. What ever you heart desires!! Enjoy!
Keyword cheesecake, Gluten free, Graham cracker crust, vanilla, vanilla bean
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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