Lemon Cheesecake Recipe (2024)

Published: / Updated: by Amy / 98 Comments

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This easy Lemon Cheesecake recipe has a perfectly sweetened graham cracker crust, topped with homemade lemon curd and whipped cream.

Lemon Cheesecake Recipe (1)

Lemon cheesecake is a great dessert option for holiday dinners. The lemon flavor is more than welcomed after a rich, savory meal.

The cheesecake is topped with a tangy lemon curd and dollops of homemade whipped cream to balance the bold flavors. A delightfulgraham cracker crust is perfectly sweetened with light brown sugar.

Plan to make this cheesecake 1-2 days before you are ready to serve it. It will need a minimum of 6 hours to firm up properly in the fridge. A water bath is recommended to ensure the cheesecake bakes evenly and the sides do not brown.

How to make lemon cheesecake

Here's a breakdown of the steps needed to make the best lemon cheesecake!

  1. Bake the crust: The crust is baked at 350°F in a parchment lined, 9" spring-form pan.
  2. Prepare the water bath:Turn the oven down to320°F. Place a large roasting pan in the oven on the middle rack. Pour hot water into the pan, making sure it is about 1" in depth.
  3. Make the filling:You will want to make sure the ingredients are at room temperature to ensure they mix evenly and the batter is smooth. Use a LOW speed on your electric or stand mixer.
  4. Bake:Pour the filling into the spring-form pan and smooth the top with an off-set spatula. Gently tap the pan on a hard surface to release any air bubbles. Insert the spring-form pan into a 10" cake pan and place the cake pan into the water bath.Bake for 1 hour.(Water level should cover half the depth of the cake pan. Add water if needed.)
  5. Cool:The cheesecake will cool for 1 hour inside of the oven with the door cracked. This allows the temperature to come down slowly. When the hour is up, let the lemon cheesecake cool completely on a heat-safe countertop.
  6. Chill:Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to help release the sides from the spring-form pan and place in the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight or a minimum of 6 hours to set.(Do not remove the spring-form pan.)
  7. Make the lemon curd:The recipe includes lemon curd made from scratch. Feel free to use a pre-made lemon curd instead.
  8. To Serve:Spread the lemon curd on top of the filling and pipe dollops of whipped cream. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Lemon Cheesecake Recipe (2)

Things to note

When the cheesecake comes out of the oven, the center will be JIGGLY. This is normal. The center of the cheesecake will continue cook as it cools and will firm up as it chills in the fridge. (If the cheesecake is firm in the center when it comes out of the oven, it is over-baked.)

After the cheesecake has cooled in the oven, run a knife around the edge of the filling. As the cheesecake starts to firm up, the filling will shrink slightly and pull away from sides of the pan. By releasing the edge beforehand, the top will stay flat and avoid cracking.

Using a water bath is optional but is recommended when baking cheesecake. The hot water that surrounds the pan creates a moist environment in the oven and helps the cheesecake cook evenly from the outside, inward. A water bath is the key to serving a perfectly baked cheesecake.

Our tutorial for how to create a leakproof water bath goes over the steps needed to make sure the water from the water bath does not get into the spring-form pan. In a nutshell, the 9"spring-form pan is inserted into a slightly larger 10" cake pan, creating a solid barrier between the water and the cheesecake. Water will not be able to get into the crust!

If you do not have a large roasting pan to create a water bath, place a pan of hot water on the rack below the cheesecake to create steam in the oven.

Lemon Cheesecake Recipe (3)

How to store lemon cheesecake

  • To Store: Keep leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: Place the cheesecake in the freezer, without toppings, until frozen solid. Wrap with plastic wrap and a layer of foil. Keep frozen for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, allow to thaw in the fridge overnight and top with lemon curd and whipped cream.

6 Easy cheesecake recipes you need to make for your next holiday party

Cheesecake is a must-have dessert on any party menu. Be prepared with one of these amazing easy cheesecake recipes for your next holiday dinner.

  • Tiramisu Cheesecake
  • Instant Pot Cheesecake
  • Banana Cream Cheesecake
  • Key Lime Cheesecake
  • Oreo Cheesecake
  • Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Lemon Cheesecake Recipe (4)

Lemon Cheesecake Recipe

Amy Duska

This Lemon Cheesecake recipe has a perfectly sweetened graham cracker crust, topped with a homemade lemon curd and whipped cream.

4.87 from 30 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 25 minutes mins

Cook Time 1 hour hr

Course Dessert

Cuisine American

Servings 12

Calories 675 kcal

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1.5 cups crushed graham crackers
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lemon Cheesecake Filling

  • 32 oz. cream cheese room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup sour cream room temperature
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

Lemon Curd

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed

Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups homemade whipped cream

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 9" spring-form pan with parchment paper.

  • Make the crust: Place the crust ingredients into a small bowl and stir until mixed thoroughly. Press the mixture into the bottom of the spring-form pan, making sure that the crust is firmly packed. Bake for 10-12 minutes, remove from oven and set aside to cool.

  • Prepare the water bath: Turn the oven down to 320°F. Place a large roasting pan in the oven on the middle rack. Pour hot water into the pan, making sure it is about 1" in depth. Close the oven door.

  • Make the filling: With the mixer on LOW speed, beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar until smooth. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract and lemon juice and mix until blended. Add the eggs one at a time and finally mix in the flour until just incorporated. (Scrape the sides of the bowl after each addition and avoid over-mixing the batter.)

  • Bake: Pour the filling into the spring-form pan and smooth the top with an off-set spatula. Gently tap the pan on a hard surface to release any air bubbles. Insert the spring-form pan into a 10" cake pan and place the cake pan into the water bath. Bake for 1 hour. (Water level should cover half the depth of the cake pan. Add water if needed.)

  • Cool: Turn the oven off, crack the door and allow the cheesecake to cool inside of the oven for 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake, run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan to help release the sides of the cheesecake and allow to cool completely.

  • Chill: Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight or a minimum of 6 hours to set. (Do not remove the spring-form pan.)

  • Make the lemon curd: Make a double boiler by adding 1 inch of water to a medium sauce pan and heat until it is at a gentle simmer. In a medium glass bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice together until well combined. Place the bowl on top of the sauce pan and continue to whisk constantly for about 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens. ( A thermometer should register at 160°.F when it is done.) Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the cubed butter until it has melted and the mixture is smooth and creamy. Cool to room temperature, pour into a container with a lid and chill in the fridge.

  • To Serve: Remove the cheesecake from the spring-form pan. Spread the lemon curd evenly on top of the cheesecake and smooth with an off-set spatula. Using a piping bag, pipe dollops of whipped cream on top to decorate.

Notes

  • To Store: Keep leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: Place the cheesecake in the freezer, without toppings, until frozen solid. Wrap with plastic wrap and a layer of foil. Keep frozen for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, allow to thaw in the fridge overnight and top with lemon curd and whipped cream.

Keyword lemon cheesecake

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. TammyGreenland says

    Best cheesecake I’ve made and tip about using larger cake pan in water bath is genius! I don’t even like cheesecake and I liked this. I made it for my 15 year old’s birthday and he was very pleased!

    Reply

  2. Danelle says

    Lemon Cheesecake Recipe (5)
    This was amazing. I did not add the butter to the filling though - did not seem to make a difference. I used GF flour and subbed a gf crust using crushed ginger snaps and butter. The curd took about 15 minutes to thicken. I will make this again. Thank you for a delicious recipe!

    Reply

  3. Katie says

    Lemon Cheesecake Recipe (6)
    This was delightful! Followed the recipe exactly as written with a few additions for decorating: I grated fresh lemon zest on the curd, and then placed homemade honey-candied lemon slices on the whipped cream dollops. Will be making it again!

    Reply

  4. Will says

    Lemon Cheesecake Recipe (7)
    This was spectacular. I made a few changes. I used bakers sugar instead of granulated. Used salted butter not unsalted. Used 7/8 cup sugar instead of 1 cup. Used 4 teaspoons of lemon juice instead of 6. I didn't have water bath so used a pan of water on a lower rack. Finally, I used Linn's FruitBin Lemon curd instead of making my own (Linn's is in Cambria, CA). This resulted in a cheesecake that is less strongly flavored and slightly less sweet, which was perfect under the tart and sweet curd. I didn't use whipped cream because it doesn't need this when you make it slightly less sweet.

    Reply

  5. Will says

    Lemon Cheesecake Recipe (8)
    This was spectacular. I made a few changes. I used bakers sugar instead of granulated. Used salted butter not unsalted. Used 7/8 cup sugar instead of 1 cup. Used 4 teaspoons of lemon juice instead of 6. I didn't have water bath so used a pan of water on a lower rack. Finally, I used Linn's FruitBin Lemon curd instead of making my own (Linn's is in Cambria, CA). This resulted in a cheesecake that is less strongly flavored and slightly less sweet, which was perfect under the tart and sweet curd. I didn't use whipped cream because it doesn't need this when you make it slightly less sweet.

    Reply

  6. Sherrie Stolt says

    My lemon curd tasted as though it came out of a tin can... is this because I used a stainless steel sauce pan and a wire whisk? Maybe a glass mixing bowl should be used?

    Reply

  7. Megan says

    Lemon Cheesecake Recipe (9)
    I've made this several times, I also add the zest of the lemon to the cheesecake, sometimes I make the curd, sometimes I don't. This time I'm just doing some Macerated strawberries and whipped cream. I don't do water baths and just put a pan of hot water underneath. I'm always affraid water will get in and ruin the cheesecake and they're way to expensive to make to ruin! I just have to get some bigger tinfoil and then try it with the water bath. So far I have had no complaints about the very slight browning and if by chance it does crack I just drown the top in whatever toppings I'm using anyway so no one would ever notice. I have had so many compliments saying this is the favourite and best cheesecake people have ever had and it's a must at certain people's birthdays. I'm the resident family baker so everyone has their own favourites.
    Will continue to use this recipe again and again.

    Reply

  8. Lauren says

    Lemon Cheesecake Recipe (10)
    It was my first time baking a cheesecake and I was nervous because I only like a specific kind of cheesecake. Well, it turns out this one put my favorite one to shame! This one is even better. It was perfect! Thank you!

    Reply

  9. Caren F Harvey says

    Fantastic! I have made other lemon cheescakes using heavy cream, but I had none at the time of this baking. This one uses sour cream and wow what difference in texture and heaviness. I also used, lemon sandwich cookies for the crust with a little butter. It was a 3 layer lemon blast to the tasre buds. Thank you my new cheesecake base.

    Reply

  10. Linda Mays says

    Lemon Cheesecake Recipe (11)
    Absolutely loved this recipe. My family really enjoyed it. Will make again. The water bath was a major help. Never used this technique before, but no cracks or browing. The cake was perfect.

    Reply

  11. Alexis O'Hara says

    Lemon Cheesecake Recipe (12)
    Have made this as a 9 in and loved it. My goal is to make the recipe and use 2 six inch springform pans. Any advice on the baking instructions for this?

    Reply

    • Amy Duska says

      I would reduce the baking time to 40-45 minutes. Keep an eye so that it doesn't over bake!

      Reply

  12. courtneyha says

    I haven't had much luck with a water bath. I loved your cheesecake bars because they didn't require the bath! Do you think this recipe would work without the water bath?!

    Reply

    • Amy Duska says

      It will definitely work without a water bath. I would check for doneness about 15 minutes earlier and keep an eye on it. One of the reasons I like to use the water bath for this recipe, is that it keeps the sides of the cheesecake a light color, instead of browning.

      Reply

  13. Laraine says

    I do t have sour cream. Would Greek vanilla yogurt work? Maybe leave out the vanilla? Thank you!

    Reply

    • Amy Duska says

      I've not used greek yogurt but I think it's worth a try!

      Reply

      • Laraine says

        Ok I’ll give it a try and let you know. Thank you!

      • Autumn says

        I used plain Greek yogurt because my sour cream went before I realized it—it was still incredibly delicious!

      • Amy Duska says

        Thanks for sharing Autumn! 🙂

  14. Trisha says

    Will this recipe work with a 10 inch pan? I can only find half on my 9 inch. Thanks!!

    Reply

    • Amy Duska says

      Yes, it will!

      Reply

      • Trisha says

        Thank you!!!

  15. Jennifer F says

    I made this cheesecake and it was divine! I love the base recipe and now I use it for all of my cheesecakes by just omitting the lemon juice and using whatever other flavor I choose. It’s the perfect cheesecake recipe for taste and volume because it fills my pan just perfectly. Thank you for sharing it

    Reply

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Lemon Cheesecake Recipe (2024)

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