What’s The Difference Between Cheesecake and New York Cheesecake?

Cheesecake is a classic dessert. There’s even a Greek recipe that dates all the way back to 5th Century BCE.  And while early Greeks considered this dessert a cake, modern confectioners consider a cheesecake nothing more than a twist on a custard pie. Currently, in broad strokes, there are two different types of cheesecake: baked and unbaked. However, in the United States, most cheesecakes are baked. But why do restaurants put on their menu “New York Style Cheesecake” rather than just cheesecake? In fact, there are 5 different styles of cheesecakes found within the United States. 

The 5 Styles of Cheesecake 

In order to understand the difference between the five styles in the United States, it’s important to know the base ingredients that are used for cheesecake. Typically, the cheese portion of the cheesecake consists of cream cheese, eggs, and egg yolks. That’s it, 3 simple ingredients.

New York Style: In this form of cheesecake, heavy cream or sour cream is added to the cream cheese and eggs. This causes it to be denser, smoother and creamier. It is then cooked in a springform pan which allows for an even bake. It is cooked at a high temperature to get a golden brown crust and then the temperature is lowered.

Chicago Style: This type of cheesecake (which is the featured picture) just uses the traditional three ingredients but usually has more cream cheese in the batter than a typical cheesecake. These cheesecakes are baked in a greased pan causing the outside to become firm while leaving the inside creamy in texture. They are usually fluffier in texture.

Pennsylvania Dutch Style: Rather than using cream cheese, this cheesecake uses a cheese that has larger curds and a lower water content. It is also basked in a square pan. The taste is usually tart but has a creamy texture.  Unlike other cheesecakes which usually put fruit on top, the fruit is put on the bottom of the cake before it’s baked.

Roman Style: Found mostly in Italian bakeries, this type of cheesecake is made with Ricotta cheese or mascarpone cheese rather than cream cheese. The texture tends to be drier than other variants of American cheesecake.

Country Style: Similar to the New York Style, the main three ingredients are mixed with a form of milk, in this case, buttermilk. This causes a firmer texture to the cheesecake and a bit of an acidic flavor.

Next time you order cheesecake for dessert at a restaurant or bakery, you should have the knowledge to know exactly what type of cheesecake you are eating!