Lemon Cheesecake

This Lemon Cheesecake is smooth, thick and creamy! It’s got a light lemon flavor in the cheesecake and big lemon punch from the lemon curd on top! A great combination of sweet and tart!

Lemon Cheesecake

Lemon Cheesecake recipe

So it totally blows my mind that kids are going back to school around here this week. I mean, July literally just ended! What happened to summers lasting until Labor Day? It’s nutty. Poor kiddos! And though it doesn’t effect me from the stand point of having kids, I have to say I’m always bummed when the traffic comes back. We are surrounded by schools and it’s just unavoidable and not super fun.

Not to mention that with school starting back, it makes me feel like I should be thinking about fall and apples and such and I’m just so not ready for that. I mean the month of August is sort of getting towards the end of summer, but not really. It’s still plenty hot. So hot that Jessie has to wait until it’s almost dark now for her “afternoon” walk. I just can’t handle melting every afternoon. I draw the line at melting. 🙂

So I hope you’re still hanging onto summer like me, because this Lemon Cheesecake feels more like summer than fall. Though truthfully, I will totally eat lemon any time of year. Yum, yum and yum. I may have broken my diet several times eating this cheesecake. May have.

If you haven’t done much cheesecake baking, don’t be intimidated. They can take a little time to put together purely because of the steps involved with making the crust and filling – and then of course the long bake time – but honestly, they aren’t hard. And boy are they worth it! I have loved cheesecake since I was a kid and have always been picky about the texture and this one is perfect. So thick, smooth and creamy. No gelatin here, friends. No sir.

Lemon Cheesecake with lemon curd
Best Lemon Cheesecake recipe

To start, I used vanilla wafer cookies for the crust. You could absolutely swap them out for graham cracker crumbs, but if you’ve never tried those cookies as a crust before you must. I toss a bit of sugar in there and it really is one of my very favorite crusts. It’s pre-baked before adding the cheesecake filling, so you can work on the filling while it’s in the oven.

The filling is a blend of all the best things in a cheesecake – cream cheese, sugar, sour cream and eggs. And then of course for this cheesecake we’ve got lemon zest and lemon juice. I use a very finely grated lemon zest so that it blends in well throughout the cheesecake.

The cheesecake bakes in a water bath. If you aren’t familiar with setting up your pan for a water bath, check out my tutorial – how to prevent your cheesecake water bath from leaking. It really isn’t hard and a water bath is SO much better than not using one. It helps keep the cheesecake moist, it keeps it from sinking in the center and it helps keep it from cracking.

The other things that are important in keeping a cheesecake from cracking are being sure to not mix the filling on a high speed (which incorporates air bubbles that cause cracks) and cooling the cheesecake slowly. I walk you through it in the instructions below so it’s nice and easy.

The cheesecake is then topped with whipped cream and lemon curd. The lemon curd is to die for! So sweet and tart! I have a fair amount on top of this baby because I love it so. It firms up in the fridge, but will soften fairly quickly when out of the fridge.

I hope you love this cheesecake as much as I do! If you are a lemon fan, I have no doubt about it. Enjoy! 🙂

Homemade Lemon Cheesecake recipe
Easy Lemon Cheesecake

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Lemon Cheesecake with slice removed
Recipe

Lemon Cheesecake

  • Author: Life, Love and Sugar
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Lemon Cheesecake is smooth, thick and creamy! It’s got a light lemon flavor in the cheesecake and big lemon punch from the lemon curd on top! A great combination of sweet and tart!


Scale

Ingredients

CRUST

  • 2 ¼ cups (302g) vanilla wafer crumbs
  • ½ cup (112g) salted butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp (39g) sugar

CHEESECAKE

  • 24 ounces (678g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (207g) sugar
  • 3 tbsp (24g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (240ml) sour cream
  • 3 tbsp (45ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

LEMON CURD

  • 6 tbsp (90ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup (138g) sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 5 tbsp (65g) salted butter

WHIPPED CREAM

  • 3/4 cup (180ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 6 tbsp (43g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

CRUST

1. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients until well combined and press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan.
3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.
4. Cover the outsides of the pan with aluminum foil to prepare it for a water bath. Check out my tutorial on how to prevent your cheesecake water bath from leaking. Set prepared pan aside.

FILLING

1. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F (148°C).
2. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and flour on low speed until well combined and smooth. Be sure to use low speed to reduce the amount of air added to the batter, which can cause cracks. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Add the sour cream, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix on low speed until well combined.
4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing slowly to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
5. Pour the cheesecake batter into the crust and spread evenly.
6. Place the springform pan inside another larger pan. Fill the outside pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. The water should not go above the top edge of the aluminum foil on the springform pan.
7. Bake the cheesecake for 65 minutes.
8. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in oven with the door closed for 15 minutes. Do not open the door or you’ll release the heat.
9. Crack oven door and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another 20 minutes. This cooling process helps the cheesecake cool slowly to prevent cracks.
10. Remove from oven and let sit on the counter for 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the water bath and remove aluminum foil. Refrigerate cheesecake until completely cooled and firm, 6-7 hours.

LEMON CURD

1. While cheesecake cools, make the lemon curd. Combine all ingredients in a double boiler, or in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. Do not boil the water or the heat will be too hot. Occasionally lift the bowl off the pot to release the steam.
2. Heat while whisking constantly until mixture thickens and reaches 160°F (71°C). Refrigerate until cool and thickened.

TO FINISH OFF THE CHEESECAKE

1. When the cheesecake is cool and firm, remove from the springform pan and set on a serving plate.
2. To make the whipped cream, add heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment and whip until stiff peaks form.
3. Pipe swirls of whipped cream around the edge of the cheesecake.
4. Spread the lemon curd in an even layer on top of the cheesecake.
5. Refrigerate cheesecake until ready to serve. Cheesecake is best for 2-3 days.


Notes

I used 3 full lemons for the lemon zest and juice used in the cheesecake and lemon curd.

Keywords: lemon dessert recipe, cheesecake recipe, how to make cheesecake

Enjoy!

 

Lemon Cheesecake - a smooth and creamy lemon cheesecake topped with lemon curd!

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Recipe rating

77 Comments
  1. Alana

    Currently making this cheesecake. Do I top with cheesecake with the lemon curb before it cools for the 6-7 hours, or after?

    1. Lindsay

      You could do it either way, really. The recipe is written to add it after it cools, but it won’t hurt it if you do it before it cools.

  2. Elayne

    I made this & it was delicious! My family loved it. I will definitely make again. Instead of water bath, I put a pan of water on the rack under cake. Baked about 10 minutes longer and it was perfect!

  3. Corinne

    I made this yesterday – keto style. Just substituted erythritol for the sugar and it turned out great. Delicious!

  4. Lesley

    This is my new favourite cheesecake!! I used smaller spring forms and had two cute cheesecakes. I will absolutely make this again!

  5. Stephanie T

    I made this for Easter dinner and everyone raved about it! I did use a jar of store bought lemon curd as I was tight on time—and topped it with fresh blueberries and whipped cream. So delicious. I will definitely make this again. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Tracy

    Could I use this cheesecake as a middle layer of a cake recipe (minus the crust)? Is there any reason to think it would squish out or should be able to hold firm? Thank you.

  7. Harriett McFarlane

    I followed your recipe and instructions to a ‘T’ but the center was still VERY jiggly/under baked at the end of the time. I’m going to try to put it in for another 5 minutes or so… hopefully it works out- this if for my brothers birthday!

    1. Lindsay

      Did you already do the cooling time? Because it continues to bake during the cooling process. It’s not fully cooked until you’ve finished all of those steps. That said, there can be variation between ovens, so before you start the cooling process you’ll want to make sure the edges of the cheesecake are set and the center is starting to set but it still jiggly. It should go from looking kind of glossy in the middle to a little more matte.

  8. Claude McRae

    Once the cheesecake is finished cooking remove the pan from the bain marie and run a sharp knife around the edge of the cheesecake. This will loosen it from the sides of the pan and prevent cracking. 😁

  9. Ann

    I just made this for my family including two adult daughters and I think it is now our FAVORITE cheesecake recipe!!! And I have a number of trusted good recipes! The directions for cooling and preventing cracking were the best I have ever seen. I have never made lemon curd and it was delicious. So so happy with this keeper and new family favorite. Thank you!!!

  10. Jamesyn Horton

    I just made this for my grandmother who loves lemon ANYTHING! She absolutely loved it. She doesn’t usually eat much but she had a very big slice of this! Great recipe

  11. Christina

    So excited to have found this recipe! I have a beautiful cheesecake cooling in the fridge and the lemon curd looks and tastes perfect. My first cheesecake! I’m genuinely looking forward to working through your other recipes, thank you! 

  12. Kil

    I’ve made it twice it is delicious!!
    Can you use this recipe for a non baked?
    I know you have a different recipe for no bake cheesecake but I already have all the ingredients for this one. 

    1. Lindsay

      So glad you enjoyed it! You’d need to make a lot of alterations, so I’m not sure what to say about making it no bake. My suggestion is going to be to follow the no bake lemon cheesecake recipe for best results.

  13. Shirmila

    Hi Lindsay. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe! I could barely stop myself from eating it! I made half the recipe and used 3x 4 inch spring pans and the measurement worked out perfectly. 
    I normally like to freeze the leftovers so my husband and I can eat over the next 2 months. Do you know whether the lemon tart freezes well?

  14. Claire Tidswell

    Thanks for sharing this great recipe Lindsay. I did it for my husband’s birthday and it was a hit. Although some part of the cheesecake is still a bit soft in the middle when sliced. It doesn’t stop us from indulging it though, taste amazing. 🙂 Might baked it a bit longer in the oven next time. 

  15. Marcia

    This cheesecake is the BOMB!!!!I didn’t have GF vanilla wafers but I had 2 packages of Walker Gluten Free shortbread cookies in the freezer and the crust was so delicious! Im not a great baker so I was concerned that I may fail at the lemon curd but it was the best I ever have had! I usually buy it from a specialty store but no more!!! I could eat the whole pan! Needles to say the cake was a huge hit and nobody knew that it was gluten free!!!! This recipe is my new go to dessert to impress!!!!!

  16. kathy dinicola

    My husband’s favorite dessert is cheesecake and I made this for his birthday. He said it was one of the best he’s ever had. Absolutely delish!!

  17. Bethany

    Great flavor, I did change the vanilla whipped cream to a lemon one, and it was awesome. 

  18. John Schulz

    This. Cake. Is. AWESOME! The first I’ve had that wasn’t dry as a bone, nor mushy as heck. Definitely making this again.

  19. Brenda Milcetic

    Hi Lindsay,
    Looking to make this lemon cheesecake for my mom for Mothers Day. Can I use regular Graham wafer crumbs or would the cake taste better using the ones you have listed, the vanilla wafer crumbs?

    Thank you and God bless,
    Brenda

    1. Lindsay

      Springform pans are super unreliable with leaking. It’s likely your pan leaks. Did you check out tutorial I mentioned in the recipe?

  20. Tori

    Just made this recipe for Easter dessert…it was absolutely amazing…I did use a different lemon curd recipe that I have made before so I went with it but followed the rest of the recipe…the whole family loved it…my husband “hinted” at wanting a lemon cheesecake and this one did not disappoint…it cooked beautifully and smooth.

  21. Pat

    Hi 
    I want to make this for Easter Sunday
    I do not have a springform pan can I use something else 
    Thank you in advance for your reply 

    1. Lindsay

      Technically you could use a cake pan, but you will have more trouble getting the cake out of the pan. Plus you probably want to have closer to 3 inch high sides. I know some people will cut the recipe down a little and do it in a pie plate. You could try that.

  22. Miranda

    65 minutes in my oven and it doesn’t look like it’s even started to bake at all. Shouldn’t it be browning a bit by now?

    1. Lindsay

      If you are using the water bath, it shouldn’t start to brown. The top should start to go from shiny to matte and rise a bit and when it’s done the edges should be set but the center should still be a little jiggly.

  23. Jody

    Oh my! First time to make a cheesecake and this one delivered in all aspects! Simply divine! Totally worth the time! Incredibly delicious!

  24. Teri

    I made this cheesecake last weekend and it was fabulous. Made another curd recipe, used a gluten free crust and gluten free flour in the cheesecake. Used 2 pkgs light cream cheese and one regular, and light sour cream. Followed baking directions, but cooked for 85 min, then the 15 min with oven off and 20 min with oven open. The whole cheesecake was consumed. Thanks for a great recipe.

  25. Gina Kaiser Lisko

    I followed the recipe exactly including the water bath. I have never made a more delicious cheesecake or tasted a more delicious cheesecake.  Phenomenal! 
    I decorated it with whipped cream sweetened with a touch of powdered sugar from my new whipped cream charger.  
    Everyone loved it!  Super creamy. Super delicious.  Worth every calorie. 

  26. Eugene Gavrilov

    I make it today it is summer here in SA. it has incredible taste. I didn’t achieve same presentation but it was close enough. Everybody said it was worth it. At the end of the day you are doing it once a year. Thank you a lot for sharing it.
    Regards
    Eugene

  27. Teri

    I have made quite a few of your recipes Lindsay …. but I made this Lemon Cheesecake for Thanksgiving and EVERYONE said it was the best thing I have ever made. It looked beautiful and tasted amazing. Thank you!! 

  28. Dennis Duffy

    Made it. Loved it!
    Followed the recipe to a T, except I used chocolate graham crackers as a crust, only used half of the lemon curd on top, and then added home made blueberry jam. Frickin amazing! Thank you Lindsay!

    Too bad we can’t add the finished product photos!

  29. Gliria

    This cake is beautiful and delicious, however, it was not fully set and the curd was running off. Any ideas/suggestions? And the curd was sliding off the cake. I followed the baking time and extra time in the oven per instructions.

    1. Lindsay

      If the cheesecake wasn’t fully set, it either didn’t cook long enough or wasn’t fully cooled. To make sure it’s done in the oven, you want the edges to be set and the center to still be a little jiggly in the center and not still glossy. Then proceed with the cooling process in the oven and fridge. As for the curd, this one is a little thinner. If you’d like a thicker lemon curd that stays in place, I’d try the one on my Lemon Meringue Cheesecake.

      1. Tammy

        I made it this past weekend. My cheesecake was not fully cooked, it was a little jiggly in the centre when I took it out, I did not worry as it said it would be but definitely not cooked long enough. The second this is I made the lemon curd, took a bit for it to start thickening, recipe did not give a timeline for that. I put it in the fridge, when it was time to put on the cheesecake it was so thick it was hard to spread. I followed the recipe exactly as it was my first time. How do I know when the curd is thick enough to put in the fridge. It was so thick it was crazy, after taking it out of the fridge.

      2. Lindsay

        I suppose it sounds like the cheesecake may have needed to bake a little bit longer. If you’re not sure what to look for, it can be hard to tell. But you want the outer part of the cheesecake to be pretty set and the inner couple of inches to still be kind of jiggly when you turn off the oven and start the cooling process.

        As for the lemon curd, one way to tell that it’s thick enough is when it coats the back of a spoon. To me that doesn’t seem super descriptive, which is why I include the temperature to cook it to. I also have a whole separate post on making lemon curd that you could take a look at too. There might be some helpful tips in there. https://www.lifeloveandsugar.com/lemon-curd/

  30. Irina

    This is a great cheesecake with a perfect lemon flavor. We loved it so much. Thank you for the recipe, Lisa.

  31. Thomas

    After 15 mins to cool out the oven. Do you refrigerate the cheese cake still hot? or do you let it cool completely before putting it in the refrigerator?

  32. Eileen

    This cheesecake is to DIE for! My guests loved it and couldn’t believe I made it myself! I admit to using jarred lemon curd….but I had a jar that needed using up! I am sure homemade curd is fab, but the jarred curd didn’t hurt it in the least.
    I did use home grown lemons from my Meyer Lemon Tree, so I hope that makes up for using jarred lemon curd. LOL

    Cheesecakes are one of my favorite things to bake. So thankful I found your site….I was getting tired of the recipes I had!! I have made many of your cheesecakes and this is one of my favs! So light and flavorful. Thank you for the detailed and easy to follow instructions. God Bless you!

    1. Lindsay

      Awesome! So glad to hear that! I certainly have plenty of cheesecake to choose from. Let me know if you ever have any requests!

  33. Amy

    I’m going to make this for one of my desserts at Easter. 🙂 In an effort to reduce air while mixing the cheesecake is it better to use a hand mixer or the stand mixer?

  34. Giulia

    I’d love to try this recipe but is it necessary to do the waterbath or could I just put the tray with the cheesecake directly in the oven? I don’t have a bigger one to fill with water.. thanks!

    1. Lindsay

      You can forgo the waterbath, but you won’t need to make the cheesecake as long. It’ll also likely fall in the center as it cools, have browner edges and be a little less creamy.

  35. Sheila @ Kitchen Territory

    This looks so refreshing not to mention looks delicious as always! I will definitely try this. I love citrus flavors. Keep it up!????

  36. Auntiepatch

    Note: I uses 3 full lemons – say what? LOL!

    I use gingersnaps in my crust. Have you tried it? You should. It adds a little “spice”.

  37. Mir

    Kids here don’t start school until the end of August, so you can bet we’re still in summer mode out here. Which means that this cheesecake is beyond perfect. So pretty!

  38. Kelly | Maverick Baking

    With all the crazy complicated or mile-high chocolatey cheesecakes you see all over Pinterest etc right now, it’s so refreshing to see a nice simple but perfect looking recipe like this! I love that you made your own curd too, not enough people do, and it’s so delicious when homemade. I think I’ll definitely need to give this one a try, baked cheesecakes aren’t so popular here in the UK but I’m sure I can convert a few people!

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12