Last Updated on October 20, 2022 by Zara R.
How do you know when a cheesecake is set? We will look at the 3 best techniques used to test doneness. They’re easy, quick, and very accurate!
And, with our added tips and tricks, you can avoid having underbaked cheesecake for the rest of your life! So, let’s have a look at how you can test when a cheesecake is perfectly baked.
How Do You Know When A Cheesecake Is Set?
There are many ways to test whether or not a cheesecake is fully baked. But what exactly does “perfectly baked” or “fully baked” mean? As you may know, and even experienced firsthand, you can overbake cheesecake.
So, you have a dilemma where you cannot bake it for too long, but you can also not take it out too quickly. So, when is a cheesecake ready to be baked?
Cheesecake pretty much should only have one texture when it is perfectly baked. The center inch or two should jiggle while the outside is firm and completely set. After the cheesecake is rested and set in the fridge, it will come out completely set. There will be minimal jiggling in any area of the cheesecake.
Now, how do you know when a cheesecake is set?
Tests For Checking The Doneness Of Cheesecake
There are several easy and quick tests that you can do to determine when a cheesecake is ready to be removed from the oven. But, there are some rules regarding when you can test the doneness of the cheesecake.
Go check out the tips section below. Don’t overlook these essential steps that apply to all of the methods we will cover below.
Method 1: Jiggle test
This is the most common test that people use to determine the doneness of a baked cheesecake.
When the cheesecake is still inside the oven, before removing it, give it a gentle jiggle. Only the center of the cheesecake should shake like jelly. And, only the inner inch or two, depending on the size of the cheesecake.
Don’t worry about the slight jiggle. The cheesecake will continue baking using the residual heat. The jiggle will be less once the cheesecake is ready to be placed in the fridge.
If the cheesecake barely jiggles, it has been overbaked. If it jiggles too much or a large area jiggles, it is underbaked.
Method 2: Temperature test
You can also test the internal temperature of the cheesecake. because it contains eggs, they have to be cooked completely, which happens at a specific temperature.
Insert a probe thermometer (preferably a digital one) in the center of the cheesecake. It needs to measure 150ºF (66ºC).
If the reading is lower, leave the cake in for another couple of minutes. If the reading is over, switch off the oven immediately and start the cooling process.
Don’t use something like a candy thermometer. It won’t insert cleanly into the cake and just make a big mess. Use a probe or meat thermometer instead.
Method 3: Appearance test
Finally, you can also look at the cheesecake. For example, a perfectly baked cheesecake starts pulling away from the sides. The center is also noticeably firm and the sides are stiff.
The surface of the cheesecake has a beautiful golden brown color and there shouldn’t be any burnt parts.
Tips And Tricks
- Never open the oven door before at least 80% of the recommended baking time has elapsed. If you do, the cheesecake is exposed to a sudden draft and temperature change. These can cause it to sink in and crack.
- Your initial doneness test can be done at the earliest with only 20% of the baking time remaining. But, if you know the recipe or it has high ratings, you can pretty much trust that the recommended baking time is very accurate. If your oven doesn’t have any hotspots, the baking time will be accurate.
- Before completely removing the cheesecake from the oven, do one of the 3 methods we covered above while the cheesecake is still inside the hot oven. This way, you aren’t exposing it to sudden temperature changes and drafts. If at this point you see the cheesecake is underbaked, you have a higher chance of saving it without any cracks forming.
While there are some other tests you can do to test the doneness of cheesecake, none of them are nearly as effective as the ones we covered above. They are all easy, quick, and the most reliable and accurate indications of a baked cheesecake.
Hopefully, you can now confidently answer the question, “How do you know when a cheesecake is set?” But, if you still have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask us in the comments below.
Is cheesecake supposed to be jiggly when it comes out?
Baked cheesecake does have some jiggle to it. However, the exact degree of jiggle is what makes it either perfectly baked, over-baked, or under-baked. A perfectly baked cheesecake should only jiggle slightly in the inner inch or two of the cheesecake. It shouldn't be raw or oozy. It should shake like set jello. The sides should be firm and shouldn't jiggle at all.
How do I make sure a cheesecake sets?
The best way to prevent a cheesecake from not setting is to choose a recipe from a reputable food blog, like ours. Then, you can also ensure that the ratios of the recipe look correct. Furthermore, bake the cheesecake at the correct temperature and for long enough. Don't remove it before its' finished baking. And finally, set the cheesecake in the fridge overnight.
How much jiggly should a cheesecake have?
Perfectly baked cheesecakes shouldn't jiggle a lot. Only the center should have a slight jiggle to it. The edges should be firm. Your center inch or two should jiggle like set jello jelly or pudding. It should not be runny, raw, oozy, or semi-baked.
What do I do if my cheesecake didn’t set?
If you haven't completely removed the under-baked cheesecake from the oven yet, leave it in for another couple of minutes. If you have removed it from the oven, don't put it back. It will definitely crack. If you don't mind the crack, then bake it some more. Otherwise, allow it to set properly inside the fridge overnight. It will eventually become firmer in texture.
Lindy Van Schalkwyk is a culinary specialist with a background in Advanced Cooking, Advanced Pâtisserie, Media Communications and Nutrition. She has gained invaluable experience in the culinary industry having worked in some of the top restaurants in Africa in 2016 and 2017. Her expertise in nutrition has enabled her to develop recipes for special dietary needs. In 2018, Lindy began working in the Food Media industry, focusing on recipe development, recipe writing, food writing and food styling.