This Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy.
This lemon cheesecake recipe has three parts — crust, cheesecake filling, and lemon curd. The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, creamy, and refreshing lemon flavor makes this dessert ideal for celebrations and everyday snacks. Prepare this lemon cheesecake a day before and enjoy it the next day!
Is there anything more versatile than the lemon? I mean, you can use lemons in cooking and in your in baking. I used lemon a lot in making my baked goodies. It adds a refreshing and tangy flavor to my cakes like this lemon bundt cake , cupcakes like in these lemon poppyseed cupcakes, donuts like these blueberry lemon donuts, or with these lemon cookies, blueberry lemon scones, and other desserts. Yes I’m a giant fan of all dessert with lemon!
However, I have to admit as a kid I steered clear of lemon desserts, but something happened as I became an adult, I will make a bee line to the lemon dessert on the table and fight you for the last piece.
But with my new found love of all desserts lemon, somehow I haven’t used lemon in my cheese cake! That’s why I am making one right now to remedy that.
If you love lemon cheesecake, you will surely want to try making this easy lemon cheesecake!
- Calling all chocolate lovers with this triple chocolate cheesecake made with an Oreo cookie crust!
- San Sebastian cheesecake, also known as burnt cheesecake is an easy crustless cheesecake baked at high temperature to give it a caramelized top.
- If you love Oreo cookies then grab a package and make this Oreo cheesecake, with an Oreo crust and topped with a chocolate ganache.
- This Biscoff cheesecake has Biscoff cookie butter in it three ways! Made with Biscoff cookies and Biscoff cookie butter spread giving it maximum flavor.
- Grab a few juicy ripe mangoes to make this creamy mango cheesecake topped with a fresh mango curd.
Why You’ll Love This Lemon Cheesecake
- Perfect Make Ahead Dessert – This lemon cheesecake can be made a day ahead or on the weekends and consumed within the week. As it cools down in your fridge, the lemony flavor of lemon curd and the creamy cheesecake filling will be more pronounced, resulting in a more refreshing and delicious cheesecake.
- Wow Factor – Decorate your lemon cheesecake with store-bought or homemade whipped cream, lemon slices, a dash of lemon sugar, or however you want it. When you serve a slice of lemon cheesecake, all your guests and family members will surely love it!
- Refreshing, Delicious Dessert – The lemon curd adds a refreshing, sweet, and tangy flavor to the creamy cheesecake filling. It is not too heavy and perfect for desserts and snacks.
Here are all the ingredients needed for this delicious lemon cheesecake recipe:
For The Lemon Curd
- Lemon Juice – I used about 1 to 2 lemons to make homemade lemon curd. I squeezed them myself to ensure freshness.
- Lemon Zest – Before squeezing out the fresh lemon juice, always zest the lemons first. If you aren’t using them now, store them in a container and refrigerate. There are many ways to use lemon zest to add lemon flavor to various dishes, baked goods, and lemon desserts like lemon cookies, lemon pound cakes, and lemon scones.
- Eggs – For this lemon curd recipe, I used 1 large whole egg and egg yolk from a large egg. Make sure the eggs are at room temperature. Read here on how to separate eggs.
- Granulated Sugar – To sweeten the lemon curd.
- Unsalted Butter – Butter should be softened and at room temperature.
- Salt – To balance the sweetness. Check The Role Of Salt In Baking.
For The Graham Cracker Crust
- Graham Cracker Crumbs – To create the crumbs, you can use a food processor, rolling pin, or blender. I used about 15 whole graham crackers to make the graham cracker crust.
- Granulated Sugar
- Unsalted Butter – Melted butter will help the crust hold its shape and solidify.
For The Cheesecake Filling
- Cream Cheese – I used full-fat cream cheese to make the cheesecake batter. Go for the brick type and not the tubes. Cream cheese bricks give a silky and creamy texture to the cheesecake filling. It should be softened at room temperature, follow the How To Soften Cream Cheese Guide.
- Sour Cream – I prefer using full-fat sour cream for making my cheesecake batter because it makes it rich and more flavorful.
- Heavy Cream – For creaminess.
- Eggs – Should be at room temperature. Check the How To Get Room Temperature Eggs Fast.
- Granulated Sugar
- Flour – Helps the batter cook faster.
- Vanilla Extract – For richness and sweetness. I used pure vanilla extract but you can use homemade vanilla extract as well.
- Lemon Juice – For the tangy lemon flavor.
- Lemon Zest
How To Make Lemon Cheesecake
Before you start making the best lemon cheesecake, ensure all your ingredients are at room temperature, especially your eggs and cream cheese. This will make mixing easier and prevent overmixing.
Make The Graham Cracker Crust
1. Prepare Oven
Place the rack in the middle of your oven. Then, preheat oven to 350°F/177°C.
2. Make Graham Cracker Crumbs
In a large bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt, and melted butter. Mix well.
Bake crust for 10 minutes. Remove springform pan from the oven and set aside to cool completely.
Make The Cheesecake Filling
1. Combine Cream Cheese And Sugar
In a large bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat softened cream cheese and sugar on medium speed for 4 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure there are no cream cheese lumps.
2. Add Remaining Ingredients
Add the rest of the ingredients starting with flour, vanilla, and salt.
Mix well before you add eggs, one at a time. Beat well before adding another one.
Add sour cream and heavy cream. Beat until fully incorporated before adding another ingredient.
Lastly, add your freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix well. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure there is no cream cheese stuck.
Bake The Cheesecake
1. Lower Oven Heat
Set your oven to 325°F/160°C.
2. Wrap Springform Pan
Wrap your springform pan with the crust on it with 3 layers of aluminum foil. Ensure to cover your 9-inch springform pan and that no parts are exposed. This will prevent water from seeping into your lemon cheesecake batter while baking in the oven.
3. Prepare For Water Bath
Transfer the prepared pan to a large, high-sided roasting pan. Pour over your lemon cheesecake filling. Spread and flatten the batter using a rubber spatula.
Prepare 2 quarts of boiling water for the water bath.
4. Bake Lemon Cheesecake Filling
Remember, be careful not to sprinkle boiling water on your cream cheese batter.
Bake lemon cheesecake batter for 1 1/2 hours or until the edges of your lemon cheesecake are set. The sides should be slightly golden brown in color but still wobbly.
5. Allow Cheesecake To Cool In The Oven
Don’t remove your lemon cheesecake, yet.
Turn off the heat, crack open the oven door, and place a wooden spoon to stop the door from closing. Let the lemon cheesecake cool inside the oven for 1 hour. This is an important step to prevent the cheesecake from cracking.
Cover lemon cheesecake with a paper towel and aluminum foil. Place in the fridge and leave it to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
The paper towel will help prevent condensation while your cheesecake is in the fridge.
Make The Lemon Curd
You can make the lemon curd while the cheesecake batter is baking in the oven.
1. Combine Ingredients
In a double broiler over simmering water, add ingredients except for butter. Whisk the mixture continuously for 10 minutes until you reach a thick consistency, enough to cover the back of the spoon.
You can use a makeshift double broiler for this step.
2. Add Butter
Remove from heat and add butter. Whisk until the butter is fully incorporated.
3. Cool And Chill
Transfer the lemon curd to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Press the plastic wrap on your lemon curd. Place lemon curd in the fridge.
1. Remove From Springform Pan
After chilling for at least 4 hours, remove the foil covering your lemon cheesecake. Run a knife around the edges of the cheesecake filling and remove the outer ring of the springform pan.
2. Add Lemon Curd
Spoon over the chilled homemade lemon curd on top of the cheesecake. Spread using an offset spatula.
3. Serve And Enjoy
You can decorate your lemon cheesecake with whipped cream and lemon slices. Cut into slices and serve.
- Change the crust. If you run out of graham crackers, you can use other pretzels, crackers, or cookies like Oreos. Try Oreo Cookie Crust.
- Avoid overmixing. Too much mixing will add air bubbles to the butter which bursts when baked. This will give holes and sinks when it cools down leading to cracks.
- Use fresh lemon juice and zest. Bottled lemon juice contains various preservatives and additives like sugar. It will not give the right tangy, lemony flavor a fresh lemon juice and zest provides.
- Don’t skip the cooling in the oven step. When the lemon cheesecake batter is exposed to drastic temperature changes, it will crack.
- Weigh all your ingredients properly. Check the Weight Conversion Chart.
Yes, you can use store-bought lemon curd. However, it will not give the right tangy and zingy lemon flavors your lemon cheesecake should have.
I understand making homemade lemon curd is a little time-consuming and an extra step. But you can make a quick one using the microwave if you’re in a rush. Follow this Microwave Lemon Curd.
Water bath helps prevent overbaking and browning too quickly while keeping the cheesecake smooth and silky. Also, the water bath slows down the baking process of your cheesecake which gives it an ideal texture and consistency.
Overbaking your lemon cheesecake leads to cracking.
Transfer lemon cheesecake into an airtight container and place in the fridge. It can last up to 5 days. Keep it covered. However, the longer you keep it in your fridge, the soggier the crust will be.
Yes, you can freeze this lemon cheesecake. Before you freeze the cheesecake, let it cool completely. I like to let it freeze solid uncovered then once frozen wrap it with plastic wrap multiple times. Wrap a layer of foil and place inside a freezer-safe bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible and freeze. If you’re freezing slices of lemon cheesecake, freeze the slices uncovered then wrap them individually with plastic wrap and foil. Place in an airtight container or freezer bag. To thaw, transfer frozen lemon cheesecake to the fridge. Defrost overnight. Remember to consume as soon as possible. The frozen cheesecake can be frozen for up to 3 months.
More Recipes To Try
For the crust:
- 1 ¾ cups (175 g) graham crackers (from about 15 crackers)
- 3 Tablespoons granulated white sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 5 Tablespoons (99 g) unsalted butter melted
For the cheesecake filling:
- 2 pounds (four- 8 ounce blocks) cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated white sugar
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 2/3 cup (151 g) sour cream room temperature
- 2/3 cup (160 ml) heavy cream room temperature
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) lemon juice (about 2-3 large lemons)
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest (about the zest of 2 large lemons)
For the Lemon curd:
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (about zest of 1 lemon)
- ¼ cup (60 ml) lemon juice (about 1-2 large lemons)
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter softened
- Pinch salt
Make graham cracker crust
- Prep oven. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C), with rack in middle of oven.
- Make graham cracker crust. Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor or blender until finely ground. Put in a large bowl, and stir in the sugar and salt. Stir in the melted butter.
- Assemble graham cracker crust. Press the graham cracker crumbs firmly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan, using the bottom of a measuring cup (or you can use your fingers). Set aside.
- Bake the crust. Bake the crust for 10 minutes then remove from the oven and allow to cool while you make the filling.
Make cheesecake filling
- Combine cream cheese and sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed for 4 minutes
- Add remaining ingredients. Add the flour, salt and vanilla, beating after each addition.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition.
- Add the sour cream, beat until incorporated.
- Add heavy cream and beat until incorporated.
- Add lemon juice and zest until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and along the bottom to make sure all of the cream cheese has been incorporated.
Bake the cheesecake
- Lower the heat on the oven to 325°F (160°C).
- Wrap springform pan. Wrap the outside of the springform pan in three layers of aluminum foil, ensuring none of the pan is exposed. You can also use a slow cooker liner.
- Bake the cheesecake. Prepare pan and boiling water: Place the foil-wrapped springform pan in a large, high-sided roasting pan. Prepare 2 quarts of boiling water.
- Pour filling into pan. Pour the cheesecake filling into the springform pan, over the graham cracker crust. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
- Place in oven. Place the roasting pan with the springform pan in it, in the oven.
- Add hot water. Carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan, pouring until the water reaches halfway up the side of the springform pan.
- Bake the cheesecake. Bake at 325°F (160°C) for 1 1/2 hours until the edges of the cheesecake are set and slightly golden brown, and the middle of the cheesecake is set but still slightly wobbly.
- Allow cheesecake to cool in oven. Turn off the heat of the oven. Crack open the oven door and let the cake cool in the oven, as the oven cools, for another hour, which will help prevent the cheesecake from cracking.
- Chill the cheesecake. Cover the top of the cheesecake with a paper towel (to help with condensation forming) and then cover in foil. Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight.
Make the lemon curd:
- In a heatproof bowl set over a medium saucepan with a few inches of simmering water in the bottom , whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, egg, egg yolk, sugar, and salt and heat over medium-low heat. Whisk continuously for 10 minutes, until the lemon curd begins to thicken and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in the butter until melted and combined. If you want, you can strain the curd through a sieve set over a bowl. Pour into a heatproof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours.
- Serve the cheesecake.
- When ready to serve, remove the foil. Run a knife around the edges and remove the outer ring of the pan. Spoon lemon curd ver the top of the cheesecake and spread into an even layer using an offset spatula. Cut into slices and serve.
- Lemon Curd: You can use store-bought lemon curd. However, it will not give the right tangy and zingy lemon flavors your lemon cheesecake should have.I understand making homemade lemon curd is a little time-consuming and an extra step. But you can make a quick one using the microwave if you’re in a rush. Follow this Microwave Lemon Curd.
- Water Bath: Water bath helps prevent overbaking and browning too quickly while keeping the cheesecake smooth and silky. Also, the water bath slows down the baking process of your cheesecake which gives it an ideal texture and consistency. Overbaking your lemon cheesecake leads to cracking.
- Storage: Transfer lemon cheesecake into an airtight container and place in the fridge. It can last up to 5 days. Keep it covered. However, the longer you keep it in your fridge, the soggier the crust will be.
- Freezing: Yes, you can freeze this lemon cheesecake.Before you freeze the cheesecake, let it cool completely. Wrap it with plastic wrap multiple times. Wrap a layer of foil and place inside a freezer-safe bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible and freeze. If you’re freezing slices of lemon cheesecake, wrap them individually with plastic wrap and foil. Place in an airtight container or freezer bag. To thaw, transfer frozen lemon cheesecake to the fridge. Defrost overnight. Remember to consume as soon as possible.