Perfect Cherry Cheesecake

Posted 18 June, 2016 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 19 Comments

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Perfect Cherry Cheesecake with Cookie Wafer Crust

Perfect Cherry Cheesecake with Vanilla Cookie Crust

Cheesecake is the best, isn’t it? But it can also be such a personal dessert–some like a stiffer cheesecake while others prefer creamy. As cheesecake is one of our favorite desserts, I’ve made several throughout the years with varying success. I’ve had some crack nastily across the top, some that turned out dry and mealy, others that required cooking in a water bath, and others that just didn’t fit the bill.

A few years ago, I clipped a Cherry Cheesecake recipe from Real Simple and finally one Father’s Day I made it for dessert. The cheesecake tasted amazing and it came out perfectly. However, the suggested crust was a gingersnap crust that wasn’t a favorite of anyone’s. The next time I made the cheesecake, I remembered the crust I made for a cookie dough cheesecake using vanilla wafers (from The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook) and the pairing was heaven.

This cheesecake is now my go to dessert when I want to make something from scratch that will be a crowd pleaser but won’t take a ton of effort on my part. And the leftovers–if there are any–are just as delicious as that first slice.

Perfect Cherry Cheesecake

Serves 12; Takes 5 hours (including 4 hours of cooling time)

Vanilla Wafer Crust


2 cups vanilla wafter cookie crumbs (≅11 oz box of Nilla Wafers)
2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
pinch of salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Crust Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Crush cookies into crumbs. I use a food processor, though a heavy duty ziploc and a rolling pin would work just as well. Add salt and brown sugar to cookie crumbs and mix well.
2. Pour crumbs into a 9-inch round springform pan. Add melted butter and mix well. Press cookie mixture into the bottom of the pan and up 1-2 inches around the sides. I like to use the bottom/sides of a measuring cup for this step (see picture below).
3. Bake for 10 minutes or until fragrant. Allow to cool for 30 minutes.

Cookie Crust for Cheesecake

*Note: using an entire box of Nilla wafers will result in a fairly thick crust. If you prefer a thinner crust, simply use less of the cookies.


Perfect Cherry Cheescake with Vanilla Cookie CrustCherry Cheesecake


3 8-ounce cream cheese bars, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar (divided)
2 large eggs
2 cups sour cream (divided)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract (divided)
1/2 cup cherry preserves (cherry pie filling)


1. Preheat oven to 350º. Beat together cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add ½ cup of the sour cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and combine.
2. Pour mixture into the cooled crust. The mixture will likely fill above the sides of the crust. Bake until just set, about 40 to 45 minutes. The middle will jiggle slightly and that’s OK.
3. While the cheesecake is cooking, combine the remaining 1 ½ cup sour cream, ¼ cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. After the initial round of baking in step 2, carefully spread the sour cream mixture over the hot cheesecake and bake until set–another 3-5 minutes.
4. Remove cheesecake from oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack. Once cooled, refrigerate for at least 4 hours (cheesecake can be made up to 2 days in advance).
5. Spread the preserves over the cheesecake before serving.



Sour cream seems like a strange addition to cheesecake, but the results are so tasty! This is a creamier cheesecake than traditional New York style, but it still stands up nicely. We’re cherry fans, but this cheesecake would be great with any other type of berry fruit–fresh or preserved.

Are you a cheesecake fan?





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19 Responses to “Perfect Cherry Cheesecake”

  1. I love the ginger snap crust, but Mr. BFR prefers the vanilla wafer kind, so I alternate. My goal this summer is to make a cheesecake in the Instant Pot. I really need to try that. We pretty much like any kind of cheesecake — with our without a topping / New York style, or the creamier kind (like this). Now I have craving. Maybe I’ll make one for Fourth of July and top it with blueberries and strawberries. :)

  2. The last cheesecake made here was by my sweet husband. He made a chocolate cheesecake it was fantastic. I think I will show him this post and see if he wants to try another cheesecake.
    Love how yours turned out! You could open a bakery, it’s gorgeous.

  3. I love cheesecake! And yes, sour cream is a great addition. Vanilla wafer crumbs is my favorite crust, too. :)

  4. I love cheesecake! We serve Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes in our cafe at work, so I have to confess that I buy a variety of slices when I need cheesecake for dessert. (Gotta love my 50% discount on cafe items!). I think I’ve made my own cheesecake just a couple of times, but this one looks amazing and much easier than I recall, so it’s going in my Evernote folder for future reference. BTW, one of my favorites is a pumpkin cheesecake that a friend made for Thanksgiving. It was AMAZING!

    • This one is really no fuss! I’ve made some before where you use a water bath and then another where you leave the cheesecake in the oven after cooking (with the door open or cracked) which is crazy in our summer heat. And LOVE cheesecake factory. I’m a big fan of the white chocolate macadamia nut cheesecake. ;) And love pumpkin cheesecake, too!

  5. Mae

    The total number of calories in that cheesecake is beyond imagining, but I could eat a good slice right now! Good idea for when one has lots of people around to share the blame (I mean deliciousness).

    best… mae at

    • Ha!! I guess you wouldn’t believe me if I told you this is a calorie free dessert. :P But you’re right–I only make it when I know I’ll be able to share…the best is when there are only two slices left for my hub and I to enjoy the next day. Mmmm!

  6. Yum! I love cheesecake and this crust does sound super good. I’ve made a lot of graham cracker crusts but never one from Nilla Wafers. I love the cherry topping too. This sounds like a recipe I need to make. I haven’t’ had a good cheesecake in awhile.

  7. I love cheesecake, but I have to admit I haven’t made one yet. I didn’t have a springform pan until recently. Now that I finally have one, I will have to give your recipe a try!

  8. Your cheesecake looks so good. I especially love cheesecake in the summer time. I’ll have to admit that I have never tried a vanilla wafer crust. I always use graham crackers, but now I’m intrigued – intrigued enough to give it a try.

  9. That looks so good, and easy too. I’ve never heard of using vanilla wafers though. I might have to cave and make it.

  10. With just the two of us, cheesecake is something I would only dare make for a good sized group, otherwise it would be too dangerous. Certain parties :) would eat way too much. I like the sound of that gingersnap crust though.

  11. My family loves cheesecake, and as a matter of fact I just picked up a frozen Cheesecake Factory cheesecake at Barnes & Noble because I had a $10 of coupon. That thing will last us forever because we cut each slice in half.

  12. This looks fabulous! Cheesecake is such a challenge… like you said, it cracks, it bakes unevenly, some recipes want a water bath, some just want water steam… ugh! Love that your version looks perfect and sounds simple! Pinning!