Skip to Content

Strawberry Cheesecake

This strawberry cheesecake has a buttery shortbread crust, rich and creamy strawberry cheesecake filling, and a bright, jammy strawberry topping. It’s reminiscent of strawberry shortcake, and tastes just like summer!!

image of a slice of strawberry cheesecake being cut

How to Make This Strawberry Cheesecake

Let’s walk through each step of this cheesecake recipe to make sure it turns out as amazing as possible.

I’ve also shared a video tutorial below.

Step 1: Make the Strawberry Reduction

In a food processor or blender, combine the fresh or frozen (and thawed) strawberries and granulated sugar. I usually use frozen because they’re already hulled! Blend until the mixture becomes a smooth puree.

Pour the mixture into a medium-sized saucepan. Heat over medium heat and stir occasionally until the mixture bubbles and foams up (this takes me about 8 minutes).

Then turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan as you stir to prevent it from browning.

At this point, the mixture should have thickened and become a darker shade of red. Pour the mixture into a separate bowl to help it cool down more quickly. It will continue to thicken as it cools.

You should have about 1 1/4 cups of strawberry reduction. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

After adding some of the reduction to the cheesecake batter, refrigerate the remainder until you’re ready to top the cheesecake and serve it.

image of chilled strawberry reduction in a bowl

This can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge.

Step 2: Make the Shortbread Crust

Next, we tackle the shortbread crust. Preheat the oven to 350 F / 175 C.

Spray the sides and bottom of an 8-inch or 9-inch springform pan or cheesecake pan with non-stick baking spray, then place a parchment round on the bottom of the pan.

Use a fork or pastry cutter to combine the softened butter, flour, powdered sugar, and fine salt.

Press into the bottom of the prepared pan with your fingers to create an even layer. Prick the crust thoroughly with a fork.

Prick the crust thoroughly with a fork, then bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to brown. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool.

image of a baked shortbread cheesecake crust cooling on a wire rack

Keep the oven on but lower the temperature to 300 F / 150 C and place a baking tray filled with about 1 inch of water on the bottom rack. This will act as a pseudo water bath for when we bake the cheesecake.

Step 3: Make the Strawberry Cheesecake Filling

While the shortbread crust bakes and cools, we make the strawberry cheesecake batter.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. This helps prevent the cornstarch from clumping.

Once combined, add the zest of a small lemon and massage it into the sugar to help release its oils. The lemon zest is optional, but I like to add it to brighten up the flavor of the strawberries. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the room-temperature cream cheese on a medium-high speed until smooth. Then mix in the sugar/cornstarch mixture on a medium-low speed until the mixture is completely smooth.

Next, mix in the sour cream, strawberry reduction, and vanilla extract on a medium-low speed until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

image of strawberry cheesecake batter being made in 4 different steps

Crack the eggs in a separate bowl and whisk them together. Gradually pour the eggs into the cheesecake batter in a few installments while mixing on a low speed.

image of strawberry cheesecake batter being made in 4 different steps

Pour the strawberry cheesecake batter into the prepared pan.

NOTE: If you use an 8-inch pan, it will be filled close to the top of the pan! But don’t worry, cheesecake doesn’t really rise as it bakes, so it shouldn’t overflow in the oven.

Step 4: Bake the Cheesecake

Double-check that the oven temperature has been lowered to 300 F / 150 C, then place the cheesecake pan on a large cookie sheet and bake the cheesecake for 20 minutes.

This makes it easier to put the cheesecake in the oven and will catch any melted butter that seeps out from the crust.

Without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temperature to 225 F / 110 C and bake for an additional 2 hours.

It sounds crazy, but low and slow is the best way to bake up a perfect, crack-free cheesecake that doesn’t sink.

Step 5: Cool the Strawberry Cheesecake Gradually

Once the cheesecake is fully baked, turn the oven off and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 1 hour without opening the door.

Next, remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it continue to cool at room temperature for a few hours.

image of strawberry cheesecake being baked in 4 images

Once it’s reached room temperature, cover the top of the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cheesecake for an additional 3-4 hours or overnight (preferred).

Store the cheesecake in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.

Step 6: Decorate the Cheesecake

Once the cheesecake is fully cooled, carefully release it from the pan and scoop the chilled strawberry reduction on top of the cheesecake. Spread it into an even layer.

Garnish the top of the cheesecake with a ring of fresh strawberries.

image of a strawberry cheesecake being topped with strawberry reduction

Use a sharp, warm knife to cut into the chilled cheesecake. Clean the knife after each cut to get perfect slices. Leftover cheesecake can be kept in the fridge for up to a week in an airtight container.

Substitutions & Swaps – Shortbread Cheesecake Crust

This recipe uses quite a few ingredients and I know you might not have all of them on hand.

Below are some swaps and substitutions that can be made in this recipe.

  • Unsalted Butter – Salted butter can be used in place of unsalted butter, just omit the salt that the shortbread crust recipe calls for.
  • Powdered Sugar – Adding powdered sugar to the crust helps solidify the crust once it’s baked and gives it the perfect hint of sweetness.
  • AP Flour – A good baking gluten-free flour blend can be used in place of the AP flour in the crust.
image of a slice of strawberry cheesecake being cut

Substitutions & Swaps – Strawberry Cheesecake

  • Cream Cheese – This recipe tastes best with full-fat cream cheese. I find using cream cheese that comes in brick form works best. I highly recommend using the Philadelphia brand (not sponsored – it just works best!). Avoid organic cream cheese if possible; it’s creamier and will make the cheesecake denser and less fluffy.
  • Granulated Sugar – You can increase or decrease the amount of sugar by a few Tablespoons based on your preferences, but I wouldn’t change it more than that or it will change the texture of the cheesecake.
  • Cornstarch – Cornstarch helps prevent cracking and makes the cheesecake easier to cut into clean slices. You can use all-purpose flour in its place if needed.
  • Eggs – Sadly this recipe does not turn out with egg alternatives like applesauce or flax seed eggs. I highly recommend using regular large eggs.
  • Strawberries – You can use frozen or fresh hulled strawberries to make this recipe. I prefer using frozen strawberries because they’re frozen at peak ripeness and are already hulled! You can also use pretty much any berry in this recipe- blackberries, raspberries, or even marionberries would all taste amazing.
  • Lemon Zest – A little bit of lemon zest helps brighten the flavor of the strawberries. You can use a lime in place of the lemon, or omit it if you don’t have any lemons on hand.
image of a slice of strawberry cheesecake being cut

Strawberry Cheesecake Troubleshooting and FAQs

While I’d love to think everyone’s cheesecake will turn out perfectly every time, I know that sometimes things don’t go that smoothly. Below are some tips and advice to help!

Do I Have to Use a Water Bath?

This recipe uses a pseudo water bath. Rather than baking the cheesecake directly in a giant pan filled with water, I like to place a tray filled with water on the bottom rack of the oven as the cheesecake bakes.

image of a cheesecake being baked with a pseudo water bath

This helps the cheesecake bake up tall and fluffy. It also prevents the center from sinking. I highly recommend baking the cheesecake this way, but it can be baked without the water tray.

However, the texture will be slightly denser, and the cheesecake will sink in the middle as it cools if you don’t use one.

How Can I Tell If My Cheesecake Is Done?

If you don’t make cheesecake very often, it can be hard to know when the cheesecake is done!

While we know the center is supposed to still be jiggly when we turn off the oven, I always think to myself, HOW JIGGLY?? I’ve gotten better at trusting the process over time and baking this cheesecake with the low and slow method really helps it cook through properly.

However, if you’re still nervous, there is an easy test you can do to make sure your cheesecake is properly baked.

Once you remove the cheesecake from the oven (after the 2 hours cooling process in the oven), insert a toothpick into the cheesecake 1 inch from the edge of the pan. If it comes out clean, your cheesecake is properly baked.

Using This Recipe with a Different-Sized Pan

This recipe bakes up best in an 8-inch springform pan or cheesecake pan.

It can also be baked in a 9-inch springform pan if needed. However, it will be a bit shorter.

You can also use a square 8- or 9-inch pan, or quarter sheet pan (double the recipe), or you can keep things simple and just use my strawberry cheesecake bar recipe!

You can also double the entire recipe and use a 9×13-inch pan (quarter sheet pan).

Whichever size pan you use, be sure to line the pan with parchment paper and spray it with non-stick spray to make it easier to remove.

If you use an 8×8-inch pan, follow the recipe below and bake at 325 F/162 C for 55-65 minutes.

If you use a 9×9-inch pan, follow the recipe below and bake at 325 F/162 C for 45-55 minutes.

Or if you use a 9×13-inch pan, bake them at 325 F/162 C for 45-55 minutes.

The edges should look set and the center will still be a bit jiggly when they’re done.

Making This Strawberry Cheesecake in Advance

This cheesecake can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Store slices in an airtight container or cover the springform pan tightly with plastic wrap to keep it fresh.

If you’re making this cheesecake in advance, wait to top it with the strawberry reduction until you plan to serve it.

You can also freeze this cheesecake for up to 3 months! After it’s baked and cooled, release it from your pan then freeze the entire cheesecake until it’s firm to the touch (about 3 hours).

Carefully lift the cheesecake off the bottom of the springform pan and slide it onto a cardboard cake round or plate. Wrap the entire cheesecake in a couple of layers of plastic wrap and then foil.

When you’re ready to enjoy the frozen cheesecake, place it in the fridge overnight, then unwrap it and enjoy it the following day. Then add the strawberry topping and enjoy!

image of a slice of strawberry cheesecake that's been cut into to show how fluffy and light its texture is

Tips to Make the Best Strawberry Cheesecake

  • If you’re not a fan of the shortbread crust, you can totally make a graham cracker crust instead. You can make the graham cracker crust in this recipe.
  • Make sure the ingredients are at room temperature. It helps them mix together better and will give the cheesecake a smoother texture.
  • Use full-fat cream cheese that comes in brick form. I highly recommend using the Philadelphia brand (not sponsored – it just works best!).
  • Make this cheesecake early in the day. The baking and cooling process takes a while!
  • Follow the cooling instructions to a T! I know it’s a slow process, but it’s worth it. It helps ensure the cheesecake has the perfect consistency once it’s cooled.
  • Use a warm, sharp knife to get clean slices. Fill a tall cup with hot water and dip a sharp knife into it. Dry the knife fully, then cut into the cheesecake. Repeat with each cut, being sure to wipe the blade completely clean after each cut.
  • If your cheesecake cracks while baking or cooling, don’t fret! It’ll be covered by the strawberry reduction and no one will know.
  • Make room in your fridge ahead of time so you can easily chill the cheesecake once it reaches room temperature.
image of a slice of strawberry cheesecake that's been cut into to show how fluffy and light its texture is

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you make this strawberry cheesecake recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a rating and comment below.

Don’t forget to tag me @chelsweets and #chelsweets if you share on social media! I love seeing your delicious creations.

Other Posts You Might Like:

Yield: 16

Strawberry Cheesecake

image of a slice of strawberry cheesecake being cut

This strawberry cheesecake has a buttery shortbread crust, rich and creamy cheesecake, and a bright, jammy strawberry topping. It's reminiscent of strawberry shortcake, and tastes just like summer!!

Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Additional Time 3 hours
Total Time 6 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

Strawberry Reduction

  • 1 lb. hulled strawberries - fresh or frozen (454g)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)

Shortbread Crust

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (113g)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (125g)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (27g)
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt (1g)

Strawberry Cheesecake

  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar (266g)
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch (18g)
  • 2 tsp lemon zest or the zest of 1 small lemon - optional (3g)
  • 4, 8 oz. packages full-fat cream cheese, room temperature (904g)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature (125g)
  • 1/2 cup strawberry reduction, room temperature - recipe above (130g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature (224g)

Garnish - Optional

Equipment / Tools Needed

Instructions

Strawberry Reduction

  1. In a food processor or blender, combine 1 lb. of fresh or frozen (and thawed) strawberries and 1/2 cup of sugar. I usually use frozen because they're already hulled! Blend until the mixture becomes a smooth puree.
  2. Pour the mixture into a medium-sized saucepan. Heat over medium heat and stir occasionally until the mixture bubbles and foams up (this takes me about 8 minutes). Then turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan as you stir to prevent it from browning.
  3. At this point, the mixture should have thickened and become a darker shade of red. Pour the mixture into a separate bowl to help it cool down more quickly. It will continue to thicken as it cools. You should have about 1 1/4 cups of strawberry reduction. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you're ready to use it. After adding some of the reduction to the cheesecake batter, refrigerate the remainder until you're ready to top the cheesecake and serve it. This can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge.

Shortbread Crust

  1. Next, work on the shortbread crust. Preheat the oven to 350 F / 175 C. Spray the sides and bottom of an 8-inch or 9-inch springform pan or cheesecake pan with non-stick baking spray, then place a parchment round on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Use a fork or pastry cutter to combine 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and 1/4 tsp fine salt. It should form a slightly crumbly dough once combined.
  3. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan with your fingers to create an even layer.
  4. Prick the crust thoroughly with a fork, then bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to brown.
  5. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool. Keep the oven on but lower the temperature to 300 F / 150 C and place a baking tray filled with about 1 inch of water on the bottom rack. This will act as a pseudo water bath for when we bake the cheesecake.

Strawberry Cheesecake

  1. While the shortbread crust bakes and cools, make the strawberry cheesecake filling.
  2. Whisk together 1 1/3 cups of sugar and 2 Tbsp of cornstarch in a small bowl. This helps prevent the cornstarch from clumping. Once combined, add the zest of a small lemon and massage it into the sugar to help release its oils. The lemon zest is optional, but I like to add it to brighten up the flavor of the strawberries. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat 4, 8 oz. packages of room-temperature cream cheese on a medium-high speed until smooth. Then mix in the sugar/cornstarch mixture on a medium-low speed until the mixture is completely smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is properly combined.
  4. Next, mix in 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup strawberry reduction (recipe above), and 1 tsp vanilla extract on a medium-low speed until fully combined. Then crack 4 eggs in a separate bowl and whisk them together. Gradually mix the eggs into the cheesecake batter in a few installments while mixing on a low speed.
  5. Pour the strawberry cheesecake batter into the prepared pan. NOTE: If you use an 8-inch pan, it will be filled right up to the top of the pan! But don't worry, cheesecake doesn't really rise as they bake, so it shouldn't overflow in the oven.
  6. Double-check that the oven temperature has been lowered to 300 F / 150 C, then place the cheesecake pan on a large cookie sheet and bake the cheesecake for 20 minutes.
  7. Without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temperature to 225 F / 110 C and bake for an additional 2 hours. It sounds crazy, but low and slow is the best way to bake up a perfect, crack-free cheesecake that doesn't sink.
  8. Once the cheesecake is done baking, turn the oven off and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 1 hour without opening the door.
  9. Next, remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it continue to cool at room temperature for 2 hours. Once it reaches room temperature, cover the top of the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cheesecake for an additional 3-4 hours or overnight (preferred).
  10. Once the cheesecake is fully cooled, carefully release it from the pan and scoop the remaining strawberry reduction on top of the cheesecake. Spread it into an even layer.
  11. Garnish the top of the cheesecake with a ring of fresh strawberries. Use a sharp, warm knife to cut into the chilled cheesecake. Clean the knife after each cut to get perfect slices. Leftover cheesecake can be kept in the fridge for up to a week in an airtight container.

Notes

Ingredient Swaps & Substitutions

For a detailed list of ingredient swaps and substitutions that can be made in each component of this recipe, please refer to the "swaps and substitutions" section above.

Using This Recipe with a Different-sized Pan

You can use either an 8- or 9-inch square pan or double the entire recipe and use a 9x13-inch pan (quarter sheet pan) to make strawberry cheesecake bars with this recipe.

Whichever size pan you use, be sure to line the pan with parchment paper and spray it with non-stick spray to make it easier to remove.

If you use an 8x8-inch pan, follow the recipe below and bake at 325 F/162 C for 55-65 minutes. The edges should look set and the center will still be a bit jiggly when they're done.

If you use a 9x9-inch pan, follow the recipe below and bake at 325 F/162 C for 45-55 minutes. The edges should look set and the center will still be a bit jiggly when they're done.

Or if you use a 9x13-inch pan, bake them at 325 F/162 C for 45-55 minutes. The edges should look set and the center will still be a bit jiggly when they're done.

Making This Strawberry Cheesecake in Advance

This cheesecake can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Store slices in an airtight container or cover the springform pan tightly with plastic wrap to keep it fresh. If you're making this cheesecake in advance, wait to top it with the strawberry reduction until you plan to serve it.

You can also freeze this cheesecake for up to 3 months! After it's baked and cooled, release it from your pan then freeze the entire cheesecake until it's firm to the touch (about 3 hours).

Carefully lift the cheesecake off the bottom of the springform pan and slide it onto a cardboard cake round or plate. Wrap the entire cheesecake in a couple of layers of plastic wrap and then foil.

When you're ready to enjoy the frozen cheesecake, place it in the fridge overnight, then unwrap it and enjoy it the following day. Then add the strawberry topping and enjoy!

How To Make the Best Strawberry Cheesecake

  • If you're not a fan of the shortbread crust, you can totally make a graham cracker crust instead. You can make the graham cracker crust in this recipe.
  • Make sure the ingredients are at room temperature. It helps them mix together better and will give the cheesecake a smoother texture.
  • Use full-fat cream cheese that comes in brick form. I highly recommend using the Philadelphia brand (not sponsored - it just works best!).
  • Make this cheesecake early in the day. The baking and cooling process takes a while!
  • Follow the cooling instructions to a T! I know it's a slow process, but it's worth it. It helps ensure the cheesecake has the perfect consistency once it's cooled.
  • Use a warm, sharp knife to get clean slices. Fill a tall cup with hot water and dip a sharp knife into it. Dry the knife fully, then cut into the cheesecake. Repeat with each cut, being sure to wipe the blade completely clean after each cut.
  • If your cheesecake cracks while baking or cooling, don't fret! It'll be covered by the strawberry reduction and no one will know.
  • Make room in your fridge ahead of time so you can easily chill the cheesecake once it reaches room temperature.

Nutrition Information

Yield

16

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 422Total Fat 28gSaturated Fat 16gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 123mgSodium 236mgCarbohydrates 38gFiber 1gSugar 29gProtein 6g

Skip to Recipe