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What is the difference in New York-style cheesecake and regular cheesecake?

Cheesecake is a beloved dessert with many different regional styles and preparations. Two of the most well-known types are New York-style and regular cheesecake. While they are similar in some ways, there are a few key differences that set them apart.


Cheesecake traces its origins back to ancient Greece, where a simple dessert was made with cheese, honey and wheat. This primitive cheesecake eventually evolved into the richer, more decadent versions we know today.

New York-style cheesecake is a more recent American creation. It was developed in the early 1900s at restaurant Junior’s in Brooklyn, New York. The restaurant claims to have invented this version of cheesecake.

Regular cheesecake encompasses a broader range of recipes that developed throughout Europe and North America over the centuries. So while New York-style has a clear origin, regular cheesecake has less defined roots.


While both types of cheesecake contain cream cheese as the primary ingredient, the specific amounts and additional ingredients can vary.

New York-Style Cheesecake

A classic New York-style cheesecake recipe includes:

  • Cream cheese – More cream cheese is used compared to other styles. It gives the cake a dense, rich texture.
  • Sugar – Granulated white sugar sweetens the batter.
  • Eggs – Usually 3-4 eggs per pound of cream cheese.
  • Sour cream – Adds moisture and a tangy flavor.
  • Vanilla extract – For added flavor.
  • All-purpose flour – A small amount acts as a stabilizer.

Regular Cheesecake

Regular cheesecake can be made with different ingredients, but often includes:

  • Cream cheese – Less may be used compared to New York-style, creating a more airy, light texture.
  • Sugar – Granulated white or powdered sugar.
  • Eggs – 2-3 eggs per pound of cream cheese typically.
  • Lemon juice – Adds brightness.
  • Vanilla – Optional for flavoring.
  • Flour – Optional as a stabilizer.
  • Butter – Some recipes call for butter.
  • Heavy cream – For a lighter texture.

As you can see, while both styles use cream cheese, regular cheesecake recipes have more variation in ingredients compared to the classic New York version.


The textures of New York and regular cheesecake also differ due to ingredient distinctions:

New York-Style Cheesecake

  • Very dense and heavy.
  • Smooth, creamy texture.
  • Substantial, indulgent mouthfeel.

Regular Cheesecake

  • Tends to be lighter and fluffier.
  • Can sometimes have a bit of a coarse, grainy texture.
  • Often more airy and delicate compared to New York-style.

New York-style achieves its signature density from extra cream cheese. Regular cheesecake has a lighter consistency with fewer cream cheese bricks weighing it down.


You can often identify the style of cheesecake simply by looking at it:

New York-Style Cheesecake

  • Short, dense, and heavy-looking.
  • Minimal rise or dome on top.
  • Smooth, perfectly flat top layer.
  • Creamy off-white color throughout.

Regular Cheesecake

  • Taller with an obvious rounded dome top.
  • Can have cracked or browned top layer.
  • Appears lighter and fluffier.
  • May have yellowish sections if using egg yolks.

New York style is easy to identify by its short stature and flat top. Regular cheesecake has a taller shape and domed top from greater air incorporated during mixing.


Cheesecakes require a crust to encase the filling. The crusts of each style further set them apart:

New York-Style Cheesecake

  • Crumb crust – Made from crushed graham crackers, butter, and sugar.
  • Provides a delicious contrast of texture and flavor.
  • Typically only on the bottom, not the sides.

Regular Cheesecake

  • Graham cracker crust or pastry crust.
  • Can be on bottom and sometimes extends up sides.
  • May be flavored with lemon zest, almonds, chocolate, etc.

New York-style always has a crumb crust on just the base. Regular cheesecake can have more variation in crust ingredients and placement.


Lastly, the flavor profiles of each style set them distinctly apart:

New York-Style Cheesecake

  • Rich, dense, and creamy flavor.
  • Tangy cream cheese shines.
  • Slight sourness from sour cream.
  • Subtly sweet.

Regular Cheesecake

  • Often has more sweetness compared to NY style.
  • Lighter, fluffier consistency allows other flavors to emerge.
  • Can have flavors like lemon, chocolate, pumpkin, etc.
  • Wider range of flavors beyond classic cream cheese tang.

New York style highlights the pure unadulterated flavor of cream cheese. Regular cheesecake can take on many flavor options.

Nutrition Comparison

There are some slight nutritional differences between the two styles as well:

Nutrition Facts New York-Style Cheesecake Regular Cheesecake
Serving Size 1 slice (1/12 cake) 1 slice (1/12 cake)
Calories 440 300
Fat 28g 19g
Carbs 33g 25g
Protein 7g 5g

Due to its higher fat and lower air content, New York-style cheesecake contains more calories and fat per serving compared to regular cheesecake. However, both are high in calories and considered an indulgent dessert choice.


In terms of popularity, New York-style cheesecake is considered the gold standard by many cheesecake lovers in America:

  • New York-style is on menus across the country.
  • It remains the most replicated and recognized version.
  • Some cheesecake purists insist NY style is the only true cheesecake.

However, regular cheesecake has gained appreciation over the years for its delicious diversity:

  • Allows for creativity in flavors like pumpkin, chocolate, caramel, etc.
  • The lighter, fluffier texture appeals to some cheesecake fans.
  • Still a beloved style at restaurants nationwide.

At the end of the day, both styles have their passionate fans. New York-style remains the classic, while regular cheesecake offers more versatility.


There is also some variance in the difficulty level of preparing each style at home:

New York-Style Cheesecake

  • Requires patience – Needs to bake low and slow to prevent cracks on top.
  • Can be finicky – The high amount of cream cheese makes it prone to imperfection.
  • Molding into pan neatly takes practice and finesse.

Regular Cheesecake

  • More flexibility in execution.
  • Smaller amounts of cream cheese are more forgiving.
  • Can be messy with fruit fillings, but still simpler for beginners.

With its abundance of cream cheese and temperamental nature, New York-style cheesecake requires skill to perfect at home. Regular cheesecake is typically easier for amateur bakers to master.

Serving Suggestions

Here are some classic serving suggestions for each style:

New York-Style Cheesecake

  • Plain with no toppings to highlight the simple cream cheese flavor.
  • Fresh strawberries or chocolate sauce to complement the richness.
  • Whipped cream or ice cream for an over-the-top indulgence.

Regular Cheesecake

  • complement it – like raspberry sauce on a chocolate cheesecake.
  • Crumbled cookies, nuts or chocolate shavings as a topping.
  • Whipped cream or fruit preserves.

New York style is best shown off unadorned, while regular cheesecake pairs well with bold toppings and sauces. Both are fantastic with an accompanying scoop of ice cream!


Pricing can provide hints on the style as well:

New York-Style Cheesecake

  • Higher prices – $7-$12 per slice in restaurants.
  • $40-$50 for a whole cake from bakeries.

Regular Cheesecake

  • More reasonable prices – $4-$8 per slice.
  • $25-$35 for a whole cake.

The extra cream cheese drives up the cost of ingredients for New York-style. Regular cheesecake is more affordable, especially for homemade versions.


Both styles are versatile options for many occasions:

New York-Style Cheesecake

  • Birthday cakes
  • Holiday meals like Christmas, Easter, etc.
  • Special occasion restaurant dessert
  • Impress guests at dinner parties

Regular Cheesecake

  • Potlucks or casual gatherings
  • Summer BBQ dessert
  • Holiday celebrations
  • Everyday family dessert

New York style makes a luxurious centerpiece dessert for formal events. Regular cheesecake works for everyday meals or get-togethers with its approachable flair.


The availability of each style also differs:

New York-Style Cheesecake

  • Easier to find in restaurants, especially Italian establishments.
  • Bakeries typically offer New York-style.
  • Widely available in grocery store freezer sections.

Regular Cheesecake

  • Less common on dessert menus at finer dining restaurants.
  • May see occasional rotating flavors at local bakeries.
  • Less frequently stocked at grocery stores.

As the gold standard, New York-style cheesecake has far greater availability and recognition at stores and eateries. Regular cheesecake takes more hunting to track down.


Storing leftovers also differs for the two styles:

New York-Style Cheesecake

  • Cover tightly and refrigerate up to 5 days.
  • Can freeze slices for 2-3 months.
  • Let thaw overnight in fridge before serving.

Regular Cheesecake

  • Refrigerate 3-4 days tightly covered.
  • Freeze up to 2 months.
  • Thaw in fridge overnight before eating.

The dense New York-style cheesecake holds up better for long term freezer storage. Regular cheesecake is best fresh within a few days.


While New York and regular cheesecake share some core ingredients like cream cheese and a crumbly crust, they diverge when it comes to texture, appearance, and flavor. New York-style highlights the pure cream cheese flavor in a dense, rich cake. Regular cheesecake allows for more variation with a lighter, fluffier consistency. Whichever style you prefer, cheesecake remains a beloved indulgence for special occasions or anytime a creamy dessert craving strikes.