Cheesecake is always a crowd pleaser, but don’t be surprised if your go-to recipe completely differs from a friend’s. Cheesecake ingredients and textures can vary depending on the region. New York claims one of the most popular styles—a dense, creamy dessert that uses heavy cream and eggs to enrich the cream-cheese base. Chicagoans will serve you a version that is firm on the outside and creamy in the center, while Italian-Americans decided to drop the cream cheese altogether in favor of ricotta. F&W’s guide to cheesecake goes beyond traditional recipes (but we have those, too) with ideas for tangy goat cheese swap-ins, ways to bake with your slow cooker, tricks for not cooking at all and flavors that fit any season.

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Goat Cheese Cake with Wine-Poached Cranberries

Rating: Unrated
Crowned with candied pistachios and draped in tart, glistening cranberry gelée, Claudia Fleming's holiday cheesecake is extra creamy thanks to a combination of tangy goat cheese and marscapone. Be sure to beat in the mascarpone at low speed to preserve its extra-smooth texture. Don’t skip straining the cranberry mixture after adding the gelatin; removing the foam is key to a clear, glossy gelée.

St. Louis–Style Cheesecake with Blueberries

Hidden beneath a mound of juicy summer berries (Bopp uses native huckleberries, but blueberries are fine), a thin layer of sweetened sour cream crowns this luscious no-fuss cheesecake based on his great-grandmother’s recipe. Dollop the fluffy batter into the pan gently for the best results.

No-Bake Peaches-and-Cream Cheesecake

The perfect ratio of cream cheese to ricotta gives this peachy layered cake an extra-creamy texture.

Basque Cheesecake

Chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph bakes a perfectly creamy cheesecake, without a water bath and with no risk of a cracked or sunken top, by incorporating whipped cream cheese with heavy cream to make the batter.

More Cheesecakes

Black Currant Cheesecake

This vibrant purple cheesecake, flecked with bits of fruit, sits in a sweet, buttery crust and gets topped with juicy, syrupy macerated currants. Folding egg whites into the batter creates a light, fluffy texture. Recipe adapted from Beyond The North Wind by Darra Goldstein.

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

Growing up, I didn’t realize how unique it was to live on the border of the United States and Mexico. It wasn’t until I started doing interviews with the press that I actually began to appreciate just how cool it was that I would cross the international border every single day from Tijuana into San Diego to go to school. I’d spend half the day doing all of the normal things American schoolgirls did, and then it was back to Mexico to eat enchiladas and speak Spanish and live the life of a regular Mexican girl. There’s a particular quality that those of us who live on the border share; we can switch from being Mexican to being American in an instant just by scanning our surroundings. Not everybody has this superpower; it takes a very specific kind of upbringing to instill a deep pride in two very different cultures.Most folks feel forced to choose one identity or the other—like they’re being unpatriotic by embracing their duality. I’m one of the switchers; nobody can force me to choose! This particular quality has helped me create some of my most popular recipes, including this cheesecake. I take a traditional American recipe and add something like dulce de leche (caramelized cow’s milk, our Mexican version of caramel) to create a dish that’s appealing to Americans but also feels familiar to folks like me who have deeply rooted Mexican and Latin American traditions.The cheesecake itself is very straightforward—cream cheese, sugar, a graham cracker crust, and a water bath to ensure gentle heat; you know the drill. What’s fun here is the dulce de leche marbling. Earthy and less cloying than caramel, dulce de leche finds a gorgeous home in this creamy classic. It’s no-frills, but I’m a no-frills kinda gal. It’s simple perfection with a nod to my Mexican upbringing, a cheesecake that would be just as happily eaten on a deck overlooking the ocean in Coronado as at my dad’s house in Tijuana. It's fully comfortable in its own skin and on either side of the border. Just like me.

Red Velvet Cheesecake

What’s better than red velvet cake? Red velvet cheesecake, of course. Slideshow: More Cheesecake Recipes