This lusciously creamy and tangy lemon cheesecake recipe is perfectly balanced with a crunchy graham cracker crust. Topped with a zesty lemon curd, it satisfies your sweet tooth with each refreshing bite!
Why You’ll Love This Lemon Cheesecake Recipe
This lemon cheesecake recipe is zesty, creamy, and oh so refreshing. Here’s why it will quickly become one of your favorites:
- Bright and Flavorful: This super creamy cheesecake has a sweet and tangy lemon curd topping that is sure to wake up your tastebuds!
- Classic Crust: The graham cracker crust provides the perfect contrasting texture to the creamy filling of this lemon cheesecake.
- Refreshing: This rich yet refreshing dessert gets its flavors from vanilla, zesty lemon, and sweet cream cheese. It’s light enough for a hot summer day, but fancy enough for the holidays!
- Great For A Party: Cheesecakes are the perfect make ahead dessert as they are better the next day. This cheesecake also travels easily, just pop it into a cooler with a few ice packs!
What You’ll Need
Here’s a quick look at what you’ll need to make it. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for full ingredient amounts.
- Graham Cracker Crust: This homemade crust is made with graham crackers and melted butter.
- Homemade Lemon Curd: You can use store bought lemon curd if you don’t have time!
- Cream Cheese: Use full fat cream cheese for best results.
- Granulated Sugar
- Lemon Zest: Use a microplane zester to grate the outside peel of the lemon. Be sure to only grate the yellow skin, not the bitter white pith below.
- Vanilla Extract
- Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice will add even more lemon flavor!
- Eggs: Allow them to come to room temperature before starting.
- Heavy Cream: Heavy cream helps give this cheesecake its deliciously creamy texture.
How To Make Lemon Cheesecake
Here’s a quick overview of how to make the best lemon cheesecake. While it might seem difficult, I promise it’s an easy process! Be sure to scroll to the recipe card for the full detailed instructions.
- Prepare: Prepare the graham cracker crust in a 9-inch springform pan and the lemon curd.
- Filling: Beat the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and lemon zest until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice.
- Add Eggs: Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Slowly add the heavy cream, until completely combined.
- Water Bath: Pour the cheesecake filling over the prepared crust. Place the cake pan into a large shallow pan. Fill the larger pan with hot water, until it comes halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
- Bake: Bake cheesecake for about 75 minutes, until the sides start to puff and the center is only slightly jiggly.
- Cool: Let the cheesecake cool at room temperature for one hour.
- Fridge: Spread lemon curd in an even layer on top of the cheesecake. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours.
- Serve: Garnish with fresh lemon slices, if desired. Slice and enjoy!
Tips For the Best Lemon Cheesecake
Making (and eating) cheesecake is a lot of fun and with a few tips and tricks it can be easy as, well, pie!
- Room Temp: Allow the cream cheese and eggs to come to room temperature. Cold cream cheese can be hard to beat and mix, creating a lumpy cheesecake.
- Do Not Over Mix: If you get too much air into your cheesecake batter, the top can crack when baking. If it does crack, don’t worry! The lemon curd will hide any cracks!
- Boost the Flavor: Try adding vanilla bean paste for even more vanilla flavor.
- Cookie Crust: Try swapping out the graham cracker for Biscoff cookies, toss them in the food processor to create cookie crumbs. This spiced cookie flavor goes great with the tangy lemon!
- Gluten Free: A gluten free graham cracker crumbs work just as well as traditional.
- Cooling the Cheesecake: This is the hardest part! Be sure to let the cheesecake cool properly, according to the recipe instructions. If you try to serve it too soon, it won’t be set.
This lemon cheesecake is a great way to end a meal. I love to serve it alongside fresh berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries. You could even do a fruit compote, such as a berry sauce. A fluffy whipped cream would also take this cheesecake over the top!
For a pretty garnish like seen in the photos, slice a whole lemon and arrange on top of the cheesecake. You can add edible flowers, mint leaves or fresh berries for a pop of color.
How to Store Leftovers
Once the cheesecake is cooled, store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Store cheesecake away from any strong smelling ingredients like onions.
Can I Freeze Lemon Cheesecake?
Yes! This cheesecake freezes beautifully. Wrap your cheesecake tightly in plastic wrap and add an extra layer of foil to prevent any freezer burn or flavor absorption.
If possible, freeze the cheesecake without the curd on top. This will prevent the curd from sticking to plastic wrap (and losing that delicious curd!) when it defrosts. Lemon curd also freezes well and can be frozen in a separate container.
Lemon Cheesecake Filling
- 24 oz (3 blocks) cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Lemon Cheesecake Filing: In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and lemon zest until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice, and mix until combined.
- Add the eggs 2 at a time, mixing until well combined. Slowly add the heavy cream, while mixing on low speed, until completely combined.
- Add a double layer of aluminum foil around the cheesecake pan to stop water from leaking in when placed in the water bath.
- Pour the cheesecake batter over the crust in the springform pan. Place the cake pan into a large shallow pan. Create a water bath by filling the larger pan with hot water until it comes halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
- Bake cheesecake until the sides start to puff, the center is slightly jiggly, and the surface is no longer shiny (about 75 minutes to 85 minutes).
- Allow the cheesecake to cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Spread lemon curd in an even layer on top of the cheesecake.
- Refrigerate cheesecake for at least 5 hours, or overnight, before serving.
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