The Best Japanese Cheesecake
*This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclaimer here.
This is an easy and delicious recipe for traditional fluffy Japanese cheesecake. It’s cotton soft and airy and has just the right amount of sweetness!
I am one of those weird people who finds cheesecake too dense and cloyingly sweet. I’m more of a mille crêpe kind of girl, preferring light and airy desserts that aren’t too filling. But to say that I dislike all cheesecakes would be wrong since there is one type I’m crazy about:
What makes Japanese cheesecake so unique and irresistible is the combination of melt-in-your-mouth cotton soft texture and subtle sweetness. Nowadays you can find shops specializing in Japanese cheesecakes because they have become so popular here in the US.
Today I have an easy traditional Japanese cheesecake recipe you can make at home with just 9 ingredients. What you will end up with is a jiggly, fluffy cheesecake your family will fall in love with.
Ingredients for Japanese Cheesecake
- Cream cheese: The cream cheese should be at room temperature since it will be mixed with the butter.
- Butter: Unsalted and at room temperature.
- Milk: I’m using 2% milk because that’s what I always use but you can use fat-free or full fat.
- Sugar: Granulate white sugar. You will need half a cup.
- Flour: All-purpose flour or you can use gluten-free. I don’t recommend using whole wheat flour simply because the texture of the cheesecake won’t be as smooth and fluffy.
- Eggs: 4 large eggs with the yolk and egg white separated.
- Lemon juice: Only a tablespoon is needed. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is best.
- Vanilla extract: 1 teaspoon to add a hint of vanilla and give the cheesecake a sweet perfume.
- Cream of tartar: 1/4 teaspoon to help the eggs foam quickly and to stabilize the structure of the peaks.
How To Make A Japanese Cheesecake
Making a Japanese cheesecake is very easy! You only need 9 ingredients and about 15 minutes to prep.
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
- Mix the cream cheese and butter. You can use an electric mixer or stand mixer. Slowly add 1/4 cup sugar, flour, egg yolk, lemon juice and vanilla extract, and beat until the mixture is smooth.
- Beat the eggs until peaks form. Use a separate bowl to beat the eggs and add the cream of tartar and the remaining sugar.
- Fold the egg mixture with the cream cheese and butter. Do this gently so as not to pop the airy bubbles! Fold a few times but there’s no need to over mix.
- Bake in the oven. Bake the cheesecake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the top turns golden brown.
- Turn the oven off but don’t take the cheesecake out. Leave it in the oven until it reaches room temperature. This step is important! It’s the difference between having a puffed up fluffy cake versus one that collapses in the center.
- Refrigerate it. Cover the cake and put it in the fridge for at least 1 hour before eating.
Some cheesecakes are so airy that they are called soufflé cheesecakes or cotton soft cheesecakes! I wouldn’t go as far as to say that my recipe is close to being like a soufflé but it’s definitely very cottony and fluffy!
You can serve it bare or dusted with confectionary sugar and topped fresh strawberries (amazing!) or pomegranate seeds. I’m sure it also pairs really well with chocolate or caramel syrup, walnuts or a citrus fruit like an orange (although I have never tried it).
Make it Gluten Free
There’s 5 tablespoons of all-purpose flour in this recipe. Substitute it for gluten free flour and you’re good to go. I don’t recommend using rice flour as the texture may end up being really gooey.
What Does Japanese Cheesecake Taste Like?
The flavors are pretty much the same except that it’s less sweet and dense. On a scale of 1 to 10, American cheesecakes are a 9 as far as sweetness goes while Japanese cheesecakes are a 5.
It’s also very light and airy, almost like a mousse or a sponge cake.
Japanese Women And Their Love For Cakes
Cake shops abound in Japan.
You can easily find one or two near a subway station or a major intersection. No special occasion is needed to enjoy a slice of cake, they are the equivalent of donuts in America.
The first time I had a slice of Japanese cheesecake was in Tokyo back in the 90s. I was buying a box full of dainty cakes from Cozy Corner – a famous Japanese cake shop chain – and decided to try their signature cheesecake.
I know what you’re thinking: How can Japanese people stay so skinny if they eat a lot of cake? Well, this is my own theory but I think it’s because the serving sizes are much smaller. A slice is about a third the size of what you get here in America. Also, I’ve seen many Japanese women swap lunch for cakes. Instead of ordering lunch and dessert, they order 2-3 cake slices and have that as their meal along with a cup of tea.
Not very healthy but I guess it’s okay if you do this once in a while, which I’m guessing they are by looking at the size of their tiny waists!
How Long Does Cheesecake Lasts?
About 5-7 days in the refrigerator.
Make sure that it’s kept in an air tight container or properly covered with foil or plastic wrap to retain its moisture.
Can Japanese Cheesecake Be Frozen?
Put it in an air tight container or freezer bag. This way it will stay fresh for up to 2-3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge before serving.
A Popular Japanese Dessert For The Whole Family
Japanese cheesecake is one of those Japanese desserts everyone loves. Whether you are serving it to a group of adults or bringing it to a kids party, I can promise you there won’t be any leftovers!
While most people associate mochi and red bean paste sweets with Japanese desserts, Japanese cheesecake should also be included in that list. It’s not as traditional as dorayaki (pancakes sandwiched together with red bean paste in the center) but very much a part of Japanese baking.
More easy Japanese recipes to try at home
- Spicy tuna rolls
- Miso ramen
- Japanese curry
- Restaurant style Japanese ginger dressing
- Nasu dengaku
Did you like this Japanese Cheesecake Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!
Fluffy Japanese Cheesecake Recipe
This is an easy and delicious recipe for traditional Japanese cheesecake. It’s light and airy and has just the right amount of sweetness!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 70 minutes
- Total Time: 80 minutes
- Yield: 10 slices 1x
- Category: Desserts
- Cuisine: Japanese
- 8 ounces pack cream cheese (at room temperature, I use Philadelphia)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 1/4 cup 2% milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour (sifted)
- 4 large eggs (separated)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 325ºF.
- Line a cake pan (8 or 9 inches round) with parchment paper, or lightly spray with oil.
- Put cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat until soft, using an electric mixer.
- One by one, mix thoroughly milk, 1/4 cup sugar, flour, egg yolk, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Set aside and wash the heads of the electric mixer.
- In a separate bowl, add egg whites and cream of tartar and mix with electric mixer. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and mix until peaks form.
- Gently fold in egg white mixture into the cream cheese mixture. Do this slowly and do not over mix.
- Pour mixture in the cake pan and place it on top of a square or rectangular baking pan or tray about 2 to 3 inches deep. Pour enough water into the square pan until half full.
- Bake in the oven for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown.
- Turn the heat off and leave it in the oven until it reaches room temperature.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
This Japanese cheesecake recipe will keep refrigerated for up to 5-7 days.
Keywords: recipe, snack
Pickled Plum is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.