Aah, cheesecake. A guaranteed crowd-pleaser. No one can resist its soft, creamy, melt-in-the-mouth texture. This dessert is always a great choice if you want to impress your friends at a dinner party and you can put any mouthwatering toppings your heart desires. I can’t think of a better dessert, can you? Cheesecake is just so good!
Having said that, cheesecake can be a very tricky dessert to make. I’ve certainly had my fair share of cracked cheesecake, grainy cheesecake, and a few tears over my cheesecake not setting.
The problem with cheesecake is that it can be tricky how to tell when the cheesecake is done. I have sliced into an undercooked cheesecake too many times, and let’s just say I have learned the hard way.
With so many failed attempts, I eventually discovered how to tell if a cheesecake is undercooked, and now my cheesecakes come out perfectly (most of the time).
Are you also having issues with a cheesecake not setting in the oven or an overcooked cheesecake? Keep reading to find out the best tips and tricks on how to know if cheesecake is undercooked, overcooked or tips on what to do if the cheesecake sunk in the middle.
Cheesecake has been enjoyed around the world for centuries and comes in all different shapes and sizes, flavors and fillings.
You can use pretty much any biscuit base you like and you can choose to make a baked cheesecake or a non-baked one.
When I say you can literally make any flavor, I really mean every flavor! New York style cheesecake, Spanish basque cheesecake, strawberries, oreos, chocolate, berries, you name it. You can make all your favorite flavors into a delicious, creamy cheesecake.
A baked cheesecake consists of cream cheese, full-fat double cream/sour cream, sugar, eggs, and sometimes a bit of flour to help bind all the ingredients together. All the ingredients are combined and poured into a tin with a biscuit or Oreo base (or any base you like).
To really get the creaminess of the cheesecake, a baked cheesecake is usually cooked in a water bath. Even if your recipe doesn’t mention a water bath but you still want a smooth finish to your cheesecake, make sure you use one. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
A water bath provides a humid environment that prevents your cheesecake from cracking in the center.
Cheesecake is baked at a high temperature for the first 10 minutes, at around 200C fan/392F. Then the oven is reduced to 160C fan/230F and baked for a further 45/50 minutes.
A cheesecake when baked is quite dense and velvety – so be sure to stick to just one (or two…) slices as it’s quite a heavy dessert. Although if there is one dessert worth getting a stomach ache from, it’s definitely from eating your body weight in cheesecake. I may or may not be speaking from experience.
A no-bake cheesecake is basically a baked cheesecake minus the eggs and flour.
Even though a no-bake cheesecake is light and airy, nothing beats the velvety texture of a baked cheesecake. The process might be long, but it’s totally worth it.
But knowing when is the cheesecake done can be tricky and you need to know what signs to look for when checking if you have an undercooked cheesecake or an overcooked one.
Some recipes talk about baking your cheesecake for 30 minutes, while others say 50 minutes.
With every oven being different, it’s good to note down a few tips and tricks that will ensure your cheesecake comes out looking perfect every time.
How To Tell If a Cheesecake is Done
Use A Thermometer
There are a few things that you can try that will help with how to tell if a cheesecake is done. A fool proof method is to poke the cheesecake in the middle with an instant-read cooking thermometer. If your thermometer reads 150F/66C then you’ll know your cheesecake is cooked to perfection.
This is probably the most accurate method and one I use all the time to check if my cheesecake is undercooked.
If you are one of the many people who do not have a cooking thermometer, there are various other ways to tell if a cheesecake is undercooked, but these methods are a little tricky to perfect.
How To Tell If A Cheesecake Is Done Without a Thermometer
The Cheesecake Jiggle Test
A simple yet effective way to tell if your cheesecake is undercooked or not is by jiggling it. Pop on a pair of oven gloves and open the oven. Gently give the cheesecake a little shake.
If there is a large jiggly area and there is mixture seeping from the sides then the cheesecake is still undercooked and needs a little longer in the oven. If only the center jiggles then you are good to go!
Turn the oven off, leave the cheesecake to cool down for a few hours and you should have a nice textured baked cheesecake.
You don’t want to use a skewer or a knife to check the cheesecake is done like you would with a cake.
Using a skewer or knife might create a crack in the middle of the cheesecake. Plus, since the mixture is wet, it doesn’t accurately show you if your cheesecake is cooked through.
If your cheesecake is still jiggly after cooling, read on below to find out what to do if your cheesecake didn’t set properly.
Pressing With Your Finger
You can also tell an undercooked cheesecake by using your finger. With a clean hand, place your finger in the middle of the cheesecake and press gently.
If it feels firm then it is cooked perfectly. If your finger sinks and there is a bit of batter residue left on your finger then your cheesecake is still too wet and needs longer in the oven.
If you have an underbaked cheesecake, pop it back in the oven for 10 minutes at a time until your cheesecake feels firm to the touch.
Cheesecake Toothpick Test
Another way to tell if your cheesecake is undercooked is to use a toothpick. Carefully poke the center of the cheesecake with a toothpick and check for any raw batter on the end.
If there is, put it back in the oven for 10-15 minutes until no more raw batter remains on the toothpick.
This isn’t a foolproof method as there will still be a little bit of batter on the toothpick even if it’s fully baked through. As long as the toothpick isn’t dripping with wet batter, your cheesecake should be done.
Look For Browning Edges
Another way to tell if your cheesecake is fully baked is by simply looking at it. The edges always cook a little quicker so if you see a half-inch ring around the edge of the cheesecake that is browner than the rest, then your cheesecake is done.
The center will still be pale and jiggly but that’s okay, the center is meant to jiggle and will start to firm as it cools down. If the center also looks like it’s not some color, you’ve baked it for too long.
How To Make Cheesecake Firmer
Cheesecake will continue to cook even after the oven is turned off. So, by thinking the cheesecake is undercooked and keeping it in the oven for longer to bake, you run the risk of overbaking your cheesecake.
If you feel like your cheesecake is not done in the middle, there are a few things you can do to make the cheesecake firmer:
- Bake for another 10 minutes at a time checking it every few minutes.
- Let it cool completely in the oven before taking it out and resting it on the countertop.
- Let your cheesecake sit at room temperature for at least an hour after it has cooled in the oven.
- Once completed cooled down. Let it sit in the fridge overnight to make sure it has completely set.
Is your baked cheesecake not setting? If you are sure that the eggs have fully cooked but the cheesecake is still wobbly, freeze it and have frozen cheesecake instead!
How To Fix Undercooked Cheesecake
You’ve done everything you could to make sure your cheesecake comes out nice a firm, but for some reason your cheesecake isn’t setting. Don’t worry – there are a few simple steps you can take to fix an undercooked cheesecake and ensure it comes out perfectly every time.
Bake Your Cheesecake For Longer
The first thing to do is put your cheesecake back in the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes each time. This helps firm up the mixture even more and cooks any remaining undercooked areas.
Let It Rest
This is such an important step in making cheesecake. If your cheesecake is not setting in the oven, that’s normal. Your cheesecake will continue to bake even after the oven has turned off.
Once you’ve taken the cheesecake out of the oven, let it rest on the counter for at least 30 minutes to an hour. This allows any remaining heat in the cheesecake to gradually dissipate, ensuring that it will set up properly and won’t be too runny or gooey.
After that you need to place it in the fridge overnight to set even further. You might be surprised to see the next morning that all the stressing about your baked cheesecake not setting was all for nothing.
Bake Cheesecake At Lower Temperature
If your cheesecake is still jiggly after cooling, you can put a cheesecake back in the oven after it has cooled down. You just have to keep an eye on it so you don’t overbake it.
You’ll want to bake it at a very low heat, around 150F, for around 10 to 15 minutes. Just make sure you keep checking it every few minutes. If it starts to brown on top, then you’ve baked it for too long and run the risk of having an overcooked cheesecake.
Use A Water Bath
If you didn’t use a water bath the first time, you could try putting it in a water bath. The water bath will help bake the cheesecake evenly and it should rectify the undercooked cheesecake.
Don’t Throw Your Cheesecake Away!
If all things fail, don’t throw away your cheesecake. As I mentioned earlier, you can pop it in the freezer and enjoy it cold. If the center is just too jiggly but the sides seem to be cooked through, you could always just cut the sides off and make deep fried cheesecake bites.
Is My Cheesecake Done?
Of course it’s done! Because now you’ve become an expert on how to tell if a cheesecake is undercooked. There is really a fine line that determines whether your cheesecake is undercooked or overcooked.
Hopefully, these tips will help you with being able to tell if a cheesecake is undercooked, overcooked or cooked to perfection.
If you are still unable to tell if a cheesecake is undercooked or not, to be on the safe side, leave your cheesecake in the oven to bake for an extra 5 to 10 minutes. Then turn the oven off and let it sit there until it has fully cooled down.
You’d rather run the risk of your cheesecake being slightly on the firm side than serving a cheesecake where the eggs have not been cooked properly.
It might be tricky to tell if a cheesecake is undercooked but just trust your instincts and follow a few of the tips.
And remember, practice makes perfect. You’ll be a cheesecake pro in no time!
If you still have some itching cheesecake questions, take a look at my answers to some common questions I get asked a lot.