Saturday, June 23, 2012

Easy Party Cheesecake

An easy, pan-style, baked party cheesecake, made with cream cheese, sugar, lemon, eggs and vanilla, on a graham cracker crust, finished with a layer of sour cream and topped with your favorite canned pie filling.
An easy, pan-style, baked party cheesecake, made with cream cheese, sugar, lemon, eggs and vanilla, on a graham cracker crust, finished with a layer of sour cream and topped with your favorite canned pie filling.

Easy Party Cheesecake

This party cheesecake has been around for many years, and was pretty popular back in the 70s. Yep, you guessed it - this is another old recipe that falls back to the days of my good ole battered Bell's Best cookbook!

I'm pretty sure that it picked up the name party cheesecake because it was easy to make, portable, and it quickly became a potluck favorite. Now, while this is indeed what one would consider a cheater cheesecake - meaning it doesn't qualify for the real deal award requiring a springform pan, water baths and careful handling - trust me when I say it's still a tasty cheesecake that I think you'll enjoy, and certainly a lot less fuss and worry. I don't think you'll have any complaints about it, or any leftovers.

Most often prepared as a pan version, this recipe is typically doubled for a party or potluck, but when I'm not taking it anywhere, I enjoy making it in a regular 8 x 8 inch baking dish for us to enjoy. You can also make this halved version in a regular, store-bought commercial graham cracker crust. Though there were versions without it, I always preferred my party cheesecake made with the sour cream layer on top. I think the flavor of the sour cream only enhances the cheesecake filling, and sorta makes it a little more "fancy."

This cheesecake is excellent served all on its own, as is, with a simple garnish of fresh berries, or a slice or two of fresh fruit, but traditionally it's always been served with canned pie filling to keep it easy. I had a can of lemon, cherry and blueberry pie filling in the pantry, but the blueberry was the eldest, so it got chosen today. Once the cheese cake is chilled, you can spread the pie filling on top, but my preference is to spoon it over the slices as a garnish instead. You can substitute a homemade pie filling of course, or choose your favorite homemade fresh fruit sauce, use a caramel sauce, or top it with a pecan praline sauce, among many other options. Use whatever cheesecake toppings that you usually enjoy.

It's a great dessert that is versatile, easy to make and everybody loves it. Here's how to make it.

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Recipe: Easy Party Cheesecake

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min 25 min
Total time: 35 min
Yield: About 9 servings


For the Crust:
  • 1-1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of melted butter
For the Cheesecake:
  • 2 (8 ounce) blocks of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • Juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
For the Topping:
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (21 ounce) canned pie filling (strawberry, blueberry, cherry, lemon, etc.), optional, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. To make the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter, and press into an 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degree F for about 5 minutes to toast; set aside to cool.

For the cheesecake, using a mixer, cream the softened cream cheese until fluffy, then gradually add in the 1/2 cup of sugar. Slowly add the lemon juice and vanilla and blend in; add the eggs and mix in on low until smooth. Pour into cooled crust and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Remove and let rest on a rack while you make the sour cream topping

For the topping, combine the sour cream, 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Spread evenly on top and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Let cool completely and refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving. Spread pie filling over the top or spoon over individual squares.

Cook's Notes: If you have any lumping in the cheesecake batter, you can press it through a strainer to remove them. 1-1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs is equal to about 8 planks, or roughly one package from the box. Can omit the sour cream topping and/or the pie filling topping, if desired. Doubles nicely for a 9 x 13 inch pan - time will be roughly the same, though check in 5 minutes increments for the center to be set. Can substitute your favorite fresh fruit sauce or top with a caramel sauce, or pecan praline topping.


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Posted by on June 23, 2012
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  1. Yum, I love this Mary. This is one of the oldie but goodies for sure. Versions of this recipe are still popular up here where I live. I love it with blueberry pie filling, or just some sliced strawberries.Yours looks amazing, and now I want to bake some.

    1. I know what you mean Lynda! Good thing its pretty quick & easy so we can have it whenever we like. I think I like cherry the best, but blueberry is pretty good too.

  2. that sounds so delicious! rich and luxurious;)

    1. It's actually not quite as rich as the "real deal" cheesecakes, but it'll satisfy a sweet tooth for sure!

  3. Hi Mary,

    Did you post this one specifically for me? You know I love love love simple, delicious desserts like this cheesecake!

    Added it to my recipe box. Will let you know when I make it :)

    Have a great weekend and watch out for that storm.

    1. Enjoy Kathy! As far as this storm, it's been a crazy one - not knowing where to go. Looks like it'll be east of us for now & head off to central Florida & stay pretty much just a tropical storm. Hope it stays that way!! Have heard it's gonna be hotter than Hades on our side of it though once it passes though.

  4. I really like your idea of the caramel sauce. That first shot is just beautiful! Nice job, Mary.

  5. This was delicious! The sour cream topping really adds creaminess, and I love how versatile you can make it with just changing the kind of pie filling you use. I think my husband had THIRDS!! Thanks, Mary.

    1. You're welcome Jen! You can't beat the real deal cheesecakes of course, but this one is so easy. So glad y'all enjoyed it!

  6. Would having a water bath in the oven prevent cracking of the cheesecake?

    1. Hi Jane! I've not had an issue with this cheesecake cracking, and I'm no expert on the "real" cheesecakes either, but I know there are a few tips to follow with those & water baths are one of them. Did you try this recipe and have cracking, or were you just making a general inquiry?

  7. Miss Mary, this looks delicious....can't wait to try it! I enjoy all of your recipes....thanks so very much for sharing! Have a wonderful weekend!

  8. I will be trying this very soon. I noticed you use a baking pan. Would an 8x8 inch glass baking dish work?

  9. Hi Mary do I bake it for 25 minutes with a 9 X 13 pan? Thanks, Candy

    1. Yes, roughly - you'll know because you need it to set in the middle. Might need to take it about 5 more minutes, but it depends on your oven, so check it at 25 and go in additional 5 minute increments as needed.

  10. I tried this recipe and it was a flop. I live at 5600 altitude. Should I do anything different to help mine turn out?

    1. Hi Olivia! Gosh, so sorry to hear that but yes, you'd have to make several adjustments to recipes to adapt them for high altitude baking - no matter what you are baking, so I'm sure that was what the problem was.

      Unfortunately, I have always lived at sea level so none of my recipes are written for high altitude cooking or baking and I'm afraid I can't guide you how to adjust any recipe, including mine. Wish I could help more, but there are sources on the internet that discuss the subject that would be much more knowledgeable and helpful than I can be. In a quick search just now I learned that at high altitude you often have to reduce sugar, increase flour, add more egg, sometimes more liquid. There are apparently a lot of variables, so I'm sure it will be a learning process!


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