Classic Cheesecake
If social media is to be believed (does Facebook lie?), a cheesecake is one of the first things people make in their Instant Pots. We’ve seen a lot of techniques over the years — and written a lot of pressure-cooker cheesecake recipes, too — and we can tell you we heartily don’t get why people tend to overcomplicate what can be a fairly simple process for a rich, mousse-like (not New York–style) cheesecake.

First, don’t cover the cheesecake. True, it can get a drop or two of moisture on top. You can blot these off with a paper towel when you open the lid. A cover on the pan gets in the way as the batter rises. You end up with a top that’s partly fused to the foil, often a mess.

Second, never use the quick-release method — which instantly brings any liquid left in the cheesecake to a near boil even after the cake has mostly set, resulting in bumps and cracks. Instead, use a natural release for a better texture, set, and look.

Finally, cook the cheesecake only on HIGH pressure, not MAX, which is too aggressive for a successful cheesecake.
Servings Prep Time
6-8servings 25minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
6-8servings 25minutes
Cook Time
  • 1 1/4cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5tbsp buttermelted and cooled, plus additional butter for greasing the pan
  • 1lb regular cream cheese
  • 1/2cup granulated white sugar
  • 2large eggs
  • 1/4cup regular sour cream
  • 2tsp lemon zestfinely grated
  • 1tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4tsp table salt(optional)
  • 1 1/2tbsp all-purpose flour
  1. Generously butter the inside of a 7-inch round springform pan. Mix the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter in a medium bowl, then pour this mixture into the prepared pan. Press this mixture evenly across the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the pan to make a crust.
  2. Put the cream cheese and sugar in a food processor, cover, and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, processing each until smooth. Open the machine, scrape down the inside, and add the sour cream. Cover and process until smooth.
  3. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt (if using). Process again until smooth — and again, stop the machine and scrape down the inside. Add the flour and process for 1 minute. Pour this mixture into the prepared crust in the pan (it will rise above the crust on the sides). Do not cover the pan.
  4. Pour 1 1/2 cups water into a 6-or 8-quart cooker. Set a heat- and pressure-safe trivet in the cooker. Make an aluminum foil sling, set the filled springform pan on it, and use it to lower the pan into the pot. Fold down the ends of the sling so that they do not touch the batter in the pan. Lock the lid onto the pot.
  5. Press Pressure cook (Manual) on High pressure for 25 minutes with the Keep Warm setting off.
  6. When the machine has finished cooking, turn it off and let its pressure return to normal naturally, about 20 minutes. Unlatch the lid and open the cooker. Use the sling to transfer the hot springform pan to a wire rack. Cool for 15 minutes, then refrigerate for 1 hour. Cover and continue refrigerating for at least 1 more hour or up to 2 days.
  7. To serve, uncover and run a thin knife between the pan and the cake. Unlatch the sides of the pan and open it to remove the cake inside. If desired, use a long, thin knife to slice the cake off the pan’s base and use a large metal spatula to transfer the cheesecake to a serving platter.
Recipe Notes

• Unfortunately, these ratios and this pan won’t work in a 3-quart cooker.

• Top the slices with strawberry or raspberry jam, warmed for a few seconds on high in the microwave and then whisked until smooth.

• Or top with slightly warmed chocolate sauce.

• Or make a cherry sauce: Mix one 16-ounce bag frozen sweet or sour cherries (do not thaw), 1/2 cup granulated white sugar, and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Whisk 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 teaspoons cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth, then stir this slurry into the bubbling cherry mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute. Immediately remove from the heat and continue stirring until the bubbling stops. Cool for at least 30 minutes at room temperature before serving with the cheesecake.