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Do I Need To Water Bath My Custards, Puddings, and Cheesecakes?

Have you ever read through a recipe for custard, cheesecake, or bread pudding and wondered if you could skip the water bath step? I am guessing that many of you have, because I know that I have been tempted many times to skip that step.

The answer is a mixed one, because yes you technically can skip that step, but the result will be different and not as good. You will still be able to eat the final product, but it will not be as good as it would have been if you did the water bath.

A water bath is simply cooking in water. You do this by placing the dish of custard, pudding, or cheesecake into a large pan that contains about one inch of hot water. You then bake the dish as directed.

The point of cooking in a water bath is to help keep a slow and even temperature around the pudding, custard, etc. Keeping the temperature even and slow gives you a more even texture throughout the dessert.

I helps the edges from getting too done and the inside from not being done enough. It also keeps the dessert creamy and moist.

A dessert like custard, that contains a lot of eggs,  may end up with a more curdled texture if you do not do a water bath . And for a dessert like cheesecake, a water bath, helps prevent the top from cracking like many cheesecakes do.

Overall it is worth it to do the water bath step. It is not hard and your end result will be much better.

My thought is this, if I am going to invest the time and money into making a dessert like cheesecake, I want it to turn out the best it can, and using a water bath gives me more consistent and better results, which makes it worth my time and effort.

What are your thoughts on using a water bath for custards, puddings, and cheesecakes? 

Looking for a few recipes that use a water bath?

Chocolate Bread Pudding is one of my favorites!

Of course White Chocolate Cheesecake is very good as well.

And Lemon Custard and Chocolate Custard are always delicious!


Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I have made cheesecakes both ways and I don’t like them with a water bath.
    I normally cook them at a low temperature and have never had them turn out dry.

  2. Love your blog. Recipes have been great, tasty. For some reason I am receiving two every time you send them out. Help!

    • I am not sure why you would be getting two emails each time I post, but if you scroll to the bottom of one of them there should be a link that says unsubscribe. Unsubscribe to just one of the emails. Do not do it to both or it will unsubscribe you to both and you won’t get updates. That should take care of it and if not let me know and I will contact my email service. Thanks for reading!

  3. but custard pie is basically the same thing only with a crust, we don’t water bath that. I love custard, or flan but my family doesn’t so I only get it in Mexican restaurants.

  4. Lynn, this tip is great! I’ve wondered how to get the top of my cheesecake to remain smooth.
    In fact, I have a post on HubPages called Recipes for Cheesecake and I am adding a link to your post to help my readers solve the problem.

    Many thanks,

  5. I’ve tried to water bath bake a cheesecake twice, and both times the water leaked into my springform pans, ruining the crusts! I double layered the pans with heavy duty foil. Any ideas? It was VERY discouraging!

    • I have not had that problem. My springform pan locks pretty tight and I do use foil as well. A soggy crust would not be good. Hopefully some of my readers will have ideas on that.

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