This delicious Lemon Cheesecake combines a rich and creamy texture with zesty and citrusy lemon flavors, resulting in an indulgent and refreshing dessert!
The cheesecake features a buttery graham cracker crust, a tangy and rich cheesecake filling, topped with lemon curd, whipped cream, and fresh lemon slices.
This Lemon Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts that I’ve ever made. The tartness of the lemon adds a much-needed balance to the dessert. Adding a refreshing zesty twist to the traditional rich cheesecake flavor makes this a match made in heaven.
This Lemon Cheesecake is brimming with delicious lemon flavor.
How to make Lemon Cheesecake Recipe
Start by making the crust. Mix the crust ingredients together: graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar, and melted butter. Press the mixture down the bottom of a springform pan, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
Then, proceed with making the filling.
To make the Lemon cheesecake filling, we will start by making lemon sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar with the lemon zest in the mixer for a couple of minutes using the paddle attachment. You can also just use a hand mixer to do this.
The crystals in the sugar will help release the oils from the zest, which will infuse the sugar with a burst of lemon flavor.
Add the softened room temperature cream cheese to the bowl with the sugar and beat until the cream cheese is light and fluffy.
Scrape the sides of the bowl in the process, this is important to get all the ingredients properly combined and mixed in.
Add the fresh lemon juice, vanilla, sour cream, and mix to combine.
Then, add the eggs one at a time. You want to make sure one egg is incorporated before adding the other to the cheesecake batter.
Also make sure to scrape the bowl in between to better incorporate all the ingredients together and avoid lumps in the cheesecake batter.
Don’t over mix once the eggs are added in, because if you mix too much, that will make the cheesecake to expand and deflate in the oven, causing it to crack.
Pour the batter over the baked crust. Wrap the bottom of the springform pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, to prevent any water from the water bath to get in contact with the cheesecake.
Place the springform pan in a larger roasting pan, and pour hot water on the bottom of the roasting pan to form a bain-marie, so the cheesecake will be slowly cooked, and it will prevent it from cracking.
How to decorate the cake
To decorate, you can top the cheesecake with whipped cream, lemon slices, lemon zest.
I also spread some Lemon Curd on top of the cheesecake, both for flavor and also for the decoration.
You can find my Lemon Curd recipe here. To top the cheesecake you will need about half of this recipe. The leftover curd can be stored in the freezer and thawed for later.
To top the cheesecake, you can also get creative and garnish it with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or other fruits.
Tips and tricks when making cheesecake
- Once the eggs are added, don’t over mix the batter. That will make the cheesecake expand and deflate, which will cause it to crack.
- Don’t skip the water bath to avoid any cracking.
- Leave the cheesecake in the oven once it’s done baking, the sudden temperature change can cause the cheesecake to crack.
- Before opening the springform pan, run a knife around the edges of the cheesecake to ensure it won’t be stuck to the sides and make the cheesecake split.
- Some cheesecake recipes use all-purpose flour to make the cheesecake thicker. But this recipe doesn’t need any all-purpose flour, the cheesecake is very thick and rich.
Can I make the cheesecake ahead?
You can make the cheesecake a couple of days before serving and decorate it on the day of serving.
You can also make it way ahead of time and freeze it.
To freeze the cheesecake, bake it and let it cool down. Use a cake or bench scraper to remove the cheesecake from the springform pan, place it on top of a piece of parchment paper, and place it on top of a baking sheet. Place the cheesecake in the oven until it freezer, for about 2 hours.
Once the cheesecake is frozen, wrap it with plastic wrap and heavy-duty aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 2 months. Don’t decorate the cheesecake until you are ready to serve it. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.
Lemon Cheesecake Variations
- Use this recipe to make lime cheesecake by replacing the lemons for lime.
- You can also use this recipe to make any other cheesecake such as passionfruit, or mango, by substituting the lemon juice for mango puree or passionfruit pulp, and substituting the curd on top by the curds of those fruits instead. Find Mango Curd recipe here and Passionfruit Curd recipe here.
- Pour the cheesecake batter into a 9×13 pan lined with a graham cracker crust to make lemon cheesecake bars instead.
If you like this Lemon Cheesecake, here are some more recipes you might like:
- Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Pie
- Easter Lemon Pavlovas
- Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
- Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes
- Lemon Pie
- Cannoli Cheesecake
- Funfetti Cheesecake
- Cranberry Cheesecake
- No-bake White Chocolate Cheesecake
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs 180 grams, or 12 full sheets of graham cracker
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar 50 grams
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter melted (84 grams)
- 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar 266 grams
- 2 tbsp lemon zest 2 lemons
- 4 8 oz blocks of cream cheese room temperature (904 grams)
- 1/3 cup lemon juice 80 ml
- 1/3 cup sour cream 80 grams
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup lemon curd recipe here
- Lemon slices
- Lemon zest
Graham Cracker Crust
- Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
- If using whole sheets of graham cracker, you will need about 12 full sheets. Process the graham crackers in a food processor until a fine crumb.
- Mix the sugar with the graham cracker crumbs and add the butter. Mix to combine.
- Pour the graham cracker crust on the bottom of a 8 or 9 inch springform pan.
- Use a cup to press the crust down the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes in the pre-heated oven.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool down.
- Add the sugar and the lemon zest to the bowl of a mixer.
- Mix for a couple of minutes on low. The crystals in the sugar will help extract the oils in the zest, and the sugar will become infused with the lemon taste.
- Add the softened cream cheese blocks to the bowl of the mixer with the lemon sugar, and start beating the mixture together on medium speed for a few minutes, until the cream cheese is light and fluffy.
- Scrape the bowl, and mix for another minute.
- Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and sour cream to the bowl. Mix to combine.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on medium-low. Mix each egg just until incorporated, then add the next egg. Scrape the bowl after adding the second egg, to make sure everything is getting incorporated together.
- When making cheesecake, I like to scrape the bowl several times, this will help prevent lumps in the cheesecake, because it will better incorporate all the cream cheese with the other ingredients.
- Scrape the bowl one final time once all the eggs have been incorporated, and then mix briefly.
- After the eggs have been added, avoid over mixing the batter to prevent cracks in the cheesecake, because if the eggs mix too much, they will make the batter expand and deflate as the cheesecake bakes, causing cracks.
- Pour the batter over the cooled crust.
- Wrap the bottom of the pan with a few layers of foil.
- Place the cheesecake pan in a larger roasting pan, and add water to the bottom of the roasting pan to form a water bath.
- Place the pans in the 350ºF oven and bake the cheesecake for about 65 to 70 minutes.
How to know when the cheesecake is done baking
- The cheesecake is done baking when it looks set on top and around the edges. Wiggle the pan around and the center of the cheesecake should be slightly jiggly, but shouldn’t appear to be wet.
- Turn the oven off and open the door just a little bit. Leave the door open and let the cheesecake sit in there for another hour before removing.
- If you remove the cheesecake immediately, it will crack.
- Let the cheesecake cool down, and place it in the fridge overnight or for 6 hours before serving.
- Beat the heavy cream with the sugar and the vanilla with a mixer at medium-high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until it forms peaks.
- Before serving, top the cheesecake with the whipped cream. I added the whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a 4B piping tip.
- In the center, spread the lemon curd.
- Top the whipped cream with lemon zest and sliced lemon triangles.
- Store the cheesecake in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.