Classic cheesecake with graham cracker crust is silky smooth, ultra rich, and very creamy.

What is a water bath?

A water bath is a method of cooking a dish within a pan of hot water. It creates a moist environment in the oven and provides even and gentle cooking. It’s used for cheesecake and other desserts so that the filling sets gradually and evenly, resulting in a smooth crack-free surface. It may seem like an intimidating step, but I promise it’s actually quite easy!

Let me show you how simple it is to make a water bath for cheesecake.

Here are the materials you’ll need

There’s nothing too fancy here, you should have everything already in your kitchen:

  • 9×3-inch springform pan (recommended) or round cake pan in which to bake the cheesecake.
  • Large roasting pan to hold the hot water.
  • And since most springform pans are not airtight and will leak water, you’ll need a waterproof barrier. You can use foil, a slow cooker plastic liner bag, or even another slightly larger pan. My preferred method is to put my 9-inch springform pan inside a 10-inch cake pan, but these are all great options.

How to make a water bath for cheesecake

  1. Prepare crust and filling as directed (you can find my classic cheesecake recipe here).
  2. Protect pan as desired with foil, liner bag, or another pan. (If using foil, I like to prep pan before adding crust and filling. If using the other options, do it after cheesecake is in the pan and ready for the oven.)
  3. Set prepared pan into large roasting pan.
  4. Transfer to the oven.
  5. Pour hot water into the roasting pan so it comes up 1-2 inches of the springform pan.

That’s it! Not too hard, right? And well worth the effort. If you follow these suggestions for how to make a water bath, I promise your cheesecake will be silky smooth and exquisite.