Grandma Katie’s Famous Cherry Cheesecake

Growing up, holidays and special occasions were always celebrated with my grandma’s famous cheesecake. Some dinner invitations hinged on the fact that a cheesecake would be accompanying us.

Grandma Katie’s Cheesecake |

Grandma was always very generous and would make pastries and pies (including this recipe) for friends and family members “just because.” She also shared her recipe with anyone who asked, so it would live on after she was gone.

I learned from an early age that making cheesecake is an all day process. Grandma would start baking in the morning and we wouldn’t sample some cake until later that night, or sometimes even the next day.

She experimented with her recipe, halving it for smaller portions and even using ramekins instead of a larger springform pan for personal portions.

She was not a big fan of toppings, and honestly, her cake could stand on its own. I personally love cherry cheesecake, but then again, I love cherries on anything.

The original version did not include a graham cracker crust – this was a later addition after it became popular, and is included here.

Using fresh cherries? Be sure to get one of the best cherry pitters for the best results!

Grandma Katie’s Cherry Cheesecake Recipe |

After having Grandma’s homemade version, store bought could never compare. Once you try this recipe, I can almost guarantee that you’ll never buy one from the bakery again.

For more cheesecake recipes, we’d love to share our favorites:

Grandma Katie’s Cheesecake Recipe |
Grandma Katie’s Cheesecake
Votes: 7
Rating: 4.43
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
8 - 10 people
8 - 10 people
Grandma Katie’s Cheesecake Recipe |
Grandma Katie’s Cheesecake
Votes: 7
Rating: 4.43
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
8 - 10 people
8 - 10 people
Graham Cracker Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 1/3 cup butter melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
Basic Cheese Cake
  • 4 8 ounce packages cream cheese
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 16 ounce sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
Cherry Topping
  • 1 can pitted tart cherries 14-1/2 ounces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon juice
Servings: people
Graham Cracker Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix all ingredients intended for the crust (crushed graham cracker, butter, sugar) and press firmly along the bottom of 10 ¼ inch springform pan.
  3. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 9 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
Basic Cheese Cake
  1. Allow cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, and butter to sit at room temp for about hour.
  2. Once softened, whip cream cheese.
  3. Add sour cream, butter, cornstarch, vanilla, lemon juice, and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  4. Grease the side walls of the springform pan and pour mixture into it.
  5. Fill a large roasting pan halfway with water. Place springform pan in water bath. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 1 hour.
  6. Remove springform pan from water bath and let cheesecake cool on the countertop for 3 hours.
  7. Place the cheesecake in fridge for 6 hours. Once set, top with fruit or other toppings if desired, and chill. Unmold from springform pan and serve.*
Cherry Topping
  1. Drain cherries, reserving the juice.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine cherry juice, sugar, and cornstarch. ** Bring mixture to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, or until thickened.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and reserved cherries. Spread over cheesecake and chill for a few hours before serving.
Recipe Notes

* My grandmother used to cut parchment paper circles to place at the bottom of the springform pan for easier removal.

** Add a few drops of red food coloring, if desired.

Grandma Katie’s Cherry Cheesecake |


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About Jennifer Swartvagher

Jennifer is an experienced journalist and author. Her work has been featured on TODAY Parents, The New York Times Blog, BlogHer, Scary Mommy, and scores of other parenting and cooking publications.

32 thoughts on “Grandma Katie’s Famous Cherry Cheesecake”

  1. That looks scrumptious! I LOVE a graham cracker crust on cheesecakes, my sister and I used to make a “poor man’s version” when we were younger which included crushed crackers, some jelly and cream cheese. This looks about 10 steps above that lol. How long does it keep in the fridge for?

    • To tell the truth, this version is usually gone by the end of the first day. I would think it could last in the fridge for 3-5 days if covered and stored properly.

  2. Cherry Cheesecake! My favorite desert of all time, ever!

    There’s this local bakery that uses (almost) this recipe and every time I go by there the smell of the cake is absolutely to kill for. Of course I can’t help it and I just order 1 or 2 slices and have the time of my life eating. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I’ll pass it to my mom, see if she can do anything similar! 🙂

  3. This looks amazing! I have to admit, I had orange/lemon/oreo/strawberry cheesecake, and probably many others, but I never had a cherry version. And now I’m wondering why not! This recipe looks great. Since I only ever made cheesecake with pre-made crusts (or in muffin pans with an oreo cookie on the bottom liner), I am especially grateful that how to make the crust is included.

    About the cream cheese — does it have to be Philly? Or does any cream cheese do the job?

  4. Okay, I bookmarked this one before I even had a chance to comment and say so. I’ll also be making a hard copy of it. We quite enjoy these tastes together in my family. All this tempting goodness!

    Ha, Jennifer! I don’t see it lasting 3-5 days at my house either. It *might* make it through the night, but the second day, nope. It’s a goner.

  5. This looks so good! Its thicker than what im used to. i like that!I think it would be fun to try different fruit with. Particularly strawberries and blueberries. It’d make a great addition to my holiday dessert table. It’ll be hard to give it away, but I’m sure I’ll be sharing this recipe with a lot of other people.

  6. Have you ever tried making a cheesecake with Neufchâtel? I did that all of last year to cut back a tad on the milk fat that’s in cream cheese & it worked out perfectly. No one can truly tell the difference between cream cheese & Neufchâtel so I wasn’t expecting anyone to gasp about the recipe. It was just nice eating decadently with a splash of ‘healthier’ in the mix.

    • Grandma did try using Neufchâtel once and she wasn’t happy with how it turned out. I was little at the time and any cake tasted good to me, so I couldn’t tell the difference.

      Maybe i will try the recipe with Neufchâtel and see if my family notices.

  7. This looks so delectable. I’ve always been a bit hesitant to bake a cheesecake, as the all-day process is a bit daunting, but they are definitely one of my guilty pleasures so I’ve always wanted to attempt it. I don’t think I’ve ever had a cherry variation, and I do love cherries, so this seems like a great recipe to try. I’m fond of passionfruit cheesecake myself, especially with a bit of chocolate sauce.

  8. This looks amazing! I have never tried to make cheesecake before but everyone in this house loves it. I think I might have to try this one.

  9. The photos look delicious! I too love cherries with everything. I just made a cheesecake for the Passover Holy Day. The creamy richness is just addictive. I see your recipe has most of the things I used, minus the eggs and milk products- replaced by light tofu. These are perfect for special occasions because they are so special. They are worth the time we put into them.

  10. Thank you, grandma! I have this love for cheesecake that can only be satisfied by eating more. A lot of it. I’m more than happy to experiment in my options but boy the classic one is still my favorite.

    And while I’m sure your grandma’s cherry recipe is awesome, I’m not too huge of a fan of processed cherries :/ I would be willing to try it if someone else made it and I was their dinner guest, but I don’t know if I would be able to do it and eat it if I made it myself 🙁

    • Grandma preferred her’s plain as well.

      My daughter made cheesecake balls dipped in chocolate using this recipe. They were yummy.

  11. I am a cheese cake fool. I have one issue with it I don’t like any kind of toppings. The cake alone is enough for me. I admit I have made many from the box. My mother in-law gave me the best recipe for a easy bake version, and it’s wonderful.

  12. I am ashamed to admit that I don’t have much taste for cheesecakes. It’s not that I don’t love cheesecakes, but probably the ones I’ve tried has this bit of sourness that isn’t quite to my liking. I love my desserts super sweet. But truly, when I opened this page and browsing through the recipes, I am drooling just looking at this one. I think I will be that early riser in order to have this breakfast and start the day with happiness. Im positively sure that just eating this equates to happiness 🙂 The graham base I think is what will balance out the taste for me. That, or I just love Grahams, hehe…

  13. “Grandma would start baking in the morning and we couldn’t sample some cake until later that night, or sometimes, even the next day”……..if my Grandma ever attempted this in our household there’d be a riot… we are a bunch of impatient people…no offense! 😀
    This is the first type of cake to read about taking eternity to prepare… i’d need to throw my impatient cloak out the door for this one 😉

    Question, can i do chocolate gratings or colored vermicelli on top? 🙂

  14. I absolutely love cheesecake but I have to admit I like my cheesecake plain however this just looks divine! Ive never actually made one from scratch but I’m interested in tackling it since cheesecake is house hold favorite!

  15. Thanks for sharing! I’ve never had cherry cheesecake as it’s always plain for me or a fruit variant, or chocolate/peanut butter.

    I’ve never understood why cheesecake needs to be baked with a water bath though. Can anyone explain why?

  16. I have made a variation of this luscious delicacy, but without the sour cream. That has probably been an oversight on my part! I’m going to try it with the sour cream. Also the topping looks wonderful. This is just a beautiful dessert!

  17. Cheesecake is a dessert that I absolutely love, but I get really intimated with this dessert. I really want to try and make it, but for some reason I get scared I’m going to mess it up. I’m going to try to get over my fear and one day I’ll make my very own cheesecake.

  18. Thanks so much Jennifer for sharing s recipe so close to home. I will certainly help in making your Grandma’s recipe live on, because I will definitely baking and sharing it. It looks so good! I’m a total cheesecake lover, in fact I’m eating some right now. Mine is guava flavored and tastes awesome, but your Grandma’s looks so much better. I can’t wait to give it a try! Thanks again!

  19. I’m not gonna lie, I actually screamed and then teared up a little when I saw the picture on this. It’s just so beautiful! My life’s mission is to find the best cheesecake ever. This means that I’ve had to deal with crushing disappointment every time a cheesecake isn’t what I want it to be. That being said, I’ve never actually tried to make a cheesecake myself. I’ll have to try this one so that I’ll never be let down again! 😛

  20. We make cherry clafoutis which I adore. I also love to just eat the fruit and there are loads of cherry trees locally in public places and along the edges of the vineyards so we never have to buy any. But there is rarely enough left to bake a cake with by the time we get home.

  21. Your grandma sounds like a wonderful human being, it’s great that you have this recipe to remember her, thank you so much for sharing.
    I have never tried making cheesecake before because it actually sounded a little bit too complicated, but while I was reading this recipe I realized that is not such a big deal, it just takes some time. I’m going to give it a try maybe on my mother’s birthday. 🙂

  22. Cheesecake is one of my favourite desserts. We don’t have Graham Crackers in the UK, so I use crushed up digestive biscuits instead; binding them with melted butter – yum!

  23. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Cheesecake! I would certainly love to have some of this cherry cheesecake, but I don’t really like that kind of cherry… I like the dark red cherries more, but I guess it wouldn’t fit this recipe as much as this one 😛 I’ll try this recipe out once I get the time -and maybe I’ll try putting it on yogurt ice cream, too! <3 Thanks for the recipe!

  24. I love cheesecake, too. I think it’s one of those foods that you either love or hate. There’s nothing in between. I have been making cheesecake for a long time and will tell you that this recipe yields a fairly large cheesecake. When it comes to cheesecake, I’m sort of a purist. I don’t really care for fruit toppings or anything fancy, I just like it plain.

  25. Our absolute favorite dessert in this house, is a homemade cheesecake. It never last longer than a day. This is a very similar recipe to the one I use, though at times, instead of making a cherry cheesecake, we make a pineapple cheesecake. On a side note, the picture of your cheesecake, looks stunning!! I’m fighting the urge to make one tonight, as its already past 10pm.

  26. So I didn’t have a springform pan, and cheated and got premade crusts, I did 3 due to large amount of batter, I put them in a water bath for 30 mins at the 375 and they came out perfect! Hopefully they taste as good as they look I don’t care for cheesecake but they had a clean toothpick when tested! Thank you for recipe!

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