Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

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This Lemon Meringue Cheesecake is made with a buttery graham cracker crust, creamy cheesecake, tart lemon curd and toasted meringue! The flavors are absolutely amazing and it’s seriously my new favorite cheesecake!

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake! A graham cracker crust, creamy cheesecake, tart lemon topping and toasted meringue!overhead view of Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

I have been so excited to share this cheesecake with you. Everything about it is amazing, if I do say so myself. Of all the lemon desserts on the blog, this might just be my favorite. It’s in close competition with the Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake. And of all the cheesecakes, this one is right near the top.

Given that this is based on a Lemon Meringue Pie, I went with a graham cracker crust to get started. Often I’m a fan of using vanilla wafers, but the graham crackers in this are definitely the way to go.

The cheesecake filling has a light lemon flavor from the lemon zest, but is primarily vanilla in flavor. It’s super smooth and creamy, just like I like it. It also gets a lot of great flavor from the full cup of sour cream that’s used in it. So good!

Once the crust and filling are made, the cheesecake is baked. I always use a water bath, even though the extra couple steps can be a pain. It really does give you a much creamier cheesecake that doesn’t crack, doesn’t brown around the edges and doesn’t sink in the middle when it cools. Totally worth it!

Once the cheesecake is baked and cooling, you’ll want to make the lemon curd that goes on top. You can cool the cheesecake completely before adding it, or add it before you put the cheesecake in the fridge. However I’d suggest making the lemon curd right before adding to the cheesecake, rather than making it ahead. This curd is really more like the filling of the pie in that it’s nice and thick when it cools. It’s going to spread into a nicer looking layer if added to the cheesecake right after making it.

That said, the lemon curd will thicken quickly, so once it’s done on the stove add it to the cheesecake immediately and let it set.

slice highlighting layers of cheesecakeside view of cheesecake on stand

The next step is the meringue and again, you can let the curd cool completely or add the meringue first. It just depends on how much you want to break everything up. Unlike the traditional meringue pie, this meringue is cooked over the stove. You can use a double boiler or a mixing bowl over a pot of water, like I do. You want to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved and that the mixture comes to between 120 and 140 degrees, so that it’s safe to eat.

Once it’s heated and ready, whip, whip and whip some more! You want to see that nice soft peaks have formed and then you know it’s ready. Add it to the top of the cheesecake and use a kitchen torch to toast it. It has the most lovely look after toasting!

One thing I will note is that this cheesecake can be made ahead. I wouldn’t suggest making it more than a day or two ahead though. After sitting in the fridge for a bit, the meringue gets a little sticky on top and hard to slice through. It’ll still taste good, but it’ll be hard to keep things together and cut through.

It’s hard to even describe just how good this Lemon Meringue Cheesecake really is. I wish I could give you a taste through the screen. There’s just enough of the lemon curd to give it the perfect lemon flavor. Just enough tart to balance the sweet. And even with it piled high, the meringue is just enough. It doesn’t take away from the lemon. So, so good! Not to mention so smooth and creamy. I always taste my desserts, but I just can’t eat a ton of all of them. However this cheesecake. This cheesecake found it’s way onto my plate over and over again. I hope it finds its way onto yours too.

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake bite taken out of sliceslice of Lemon Meringue Cheesecake on plate with cheesecake in background


Read transcript
You might also like:
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Creamy Lemon Tart
Lemon Meringue Ice Cream

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close up image of Lemon Meringue Cheesecake slice
Recipe

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

  • Author: Life, Love and Sugar
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 12-14 Slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Lemon Meringue Cheesecake is made with a buttery graham cracker crust, creamy cheesecake, tart lemon curd and toasted meringue! The flavors are absolutely amazing and it’s seriously my new favorite cheesecake!


Scale

Ingredients

CRUST

  • 2 1/4 cups (302g) graham cracker crumbs
  • 10 tbsp (140g) salted butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp (39g) sugar

CHEESECAKE FILLING

  • 24 ounces (678g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (207g) sugar
  • 3 tbsp (24g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (230g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest (23 medium lemons)
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

LEMON TOPPING

  • 8 tbsp (90ml) lemon juice (34 medium lemons)
  • 4 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup (104g) sugar
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (56g) salted butter

MERINGUE TOPPING

  • 1 cup (207g) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg whites

Instructions

CRUST

1. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan with parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides.
2. Combine the crust ingredients in a small bowl. 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 so that water from the water bath cannot get in (see how I prepare my pan for a water bath). Set prepared pan aside.

CHEESECAKE

5. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F (148°C).
6. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and flour on low speed until well completely 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.
7. Add the sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest and mix on low speed until well combined.
8. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly to combine after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
9. Pour the cheesecake batter into the crust.
10. 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.
11. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. The center should be set, but still jiggly.
12. Turn off the oven and leave the door closed for 30 minutes. The cheesecake will continue to cook, but slowly begin to cool as well.
13. Crack the door of the oven for 30 minutes to allow the cheesecake to continue to cool slowly. This process helps prevent cracking.
14. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and water bath wrapping and place the cheesecake in the refrigerator while you make the lemon curd.

LEMON CURD

15. To make the lemon curd, combine all the ingredients in a double boiler (or in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water). Heat while whisking constantly until mixture thickens and reaches 170-180 degrees. You’ll notice it has already started to thicken nicely and it’ll continue to thicken quickly.
16. Add the lemon curd to the top of the cheesecake quickly, before it cools and thickens.
17. Place the cheesecake back in the fridge until completely cool and firm, 5-6 hours.

MERINGUE TOPPING

18. To make the meringue, combine the sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla extract and egg whites in a large mixer bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan or pot of simmering water. You can also use a double boiler.
19. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and egg whites are warm, at 160 degrees on a thermometer, about 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat.
20. Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg white mixture on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes.
21. Add the meringue to the top of cheesecake in a slight dome shape.
22. Use a kitchen torch to toast the outside of the meringue.
23. Refrigerate the cheesecake until ready to serve. Cheesecake is best if eaten within 3-4 days.

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

Enjoy!

close up of cheesecake slice

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake! A graham cracker crust, creamy cheesecake, tart lemon topping and toasted meringue!

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Recipe rating

100 Comments
  1. Chennelle

    So easy but would add less sugar to the meringue but other than delice delish in French my family dose not come down her to France often and this was the perfect thing to bake them when they did

  2. Sheri Howarth

    I just made this recipe and the meringue did not form soft peaks. It turned out thinker but a gooey mess. Not sure what I could have done different. I followed the recipe to a T. It’s in the fridge cooling. Hoping that it will cut ok.

    1. Lindsay

      Meringue can sometimes be a little sensitive. If you had any bit of egg yolk in with your egg whites or the mixing bowl add any oils or anything on it, that could cause it to not whip properly.

  3. Bonnie L Carpenter

    HI! I’m planning to make this for Valentine’s Day! I just learned to make cheesecake – started with a chocolate cheesecake. It didn’t use a water bath and I had no problems with cracking or texture (at least I think the texture was all right – everybody raved =). Am I taking a BIG chance if I try this without the water bath? =0

    1. Lindsay

      The water bath thing can really depend on the cheesecake. Without one, can you often have a cheesecake that browns around the edges, falls in the middle and cracks. It’s possible that it’d be ok without it, but not likely.

  4. ANMP

    This is a easy to follow recipe. It is as good if not better than the Cheesecake Factory Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

  5. ANMP

    This is a easy to follow recipe. It is aa goog if not better than the Cheesecake Factory Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

  6. Melanie

    Turned out beautiful and had a lovely light lemon flavour.  Meringue stood up beautiful for days.  Only wish I had grated my lemon zest smaller so it incorporated better in the curd.  Next time I make the curd, I’ll try to incorporate a little lemon extract for a stronger lemon taste.  I didn’t have a torch so I placed under the broiler for about 3 min, and it worked great.  

    1. Lindsay

      Either will work as long as it’s free of grease. You can use some lemon juice to help clean it, if you aren’t sure.

      1. Pamela Damm

        This recipe will not print. I even tried clicking on your June 3 reply to the lady with the same issue.

      2. Lindsay

        Can you describe the issue you’re having a little better? Is the printable version not coming up when you click on the “print” button? And are you clicking on the print at the top of the recipe or within the recipe card. When I click on the button in the recipe card, this printable version comes up.

  7. Aimee

    Hi Lindsay I’m going to attempt this cheesecake this week as on lockdown. It will be the first time I am making this kind as well as meringue full stop. I wondered as I am from the UK when you state ‘sugar‘ as an ingredient is it powdered sugar that we call icing sugar? Or granulated sugar like we put in tea or coffee? I just don’t want to get it wrong xx

    1. Lindsay

      It’s regular granulated sugar. When I use powdered sugar, I label it as such. I hope you enjoy the cheesecake!

    1. Lindsay

      Either would probably be fine. The 10 inch would be a little thinner cheesecake and you’d probably need to reduce the baking time. For the 8 inch, you might need to leave out some of the filling so that it doesn’t overflow. It might bake a touch longer, but hard to say.

  8. Karen James

    This recipe made a delicious lemon meringue cheesecake. I don’t have a torch, so I broiled it for about a minute and it turned out perfect. I also didn’t have sour cream, so I substituted it with Stoneyfield Plain Greek Yogurt. My coworkers and I loved this cheesecake!

    1. Lindsay

      Yes, it should be fine. I haven’t tried freezing meringue before, so I’m just not sure about that part. You could always add that after you thaw the cheesecake.

  9. Darketta May

    Every since I made this cheesecake for my family, they absolutely LOVE it. They always request it for our holidays!! It’s AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS!!!

    1. Lindsay

      That’s always a bummer, but your cheesecake will still be fine. The crust may not be quite as firm, but otherwise it’ll be unaffected. If you go ahead and take the cheesecake out of the pan, it may have a little time to dry out before you serve it.

  10. Andrea

    Photographed food almost never looks like the real-life version. It was probably frozen solid before slicing to avoid the layers smearing together, then touched up before taking the pictures.

    1. Lindsay

      I can understand the cynicism but I assure you that this was taken straight out of the fridge, not the freezer, when I took photos. I do run my fork along the sides of the slice so that you can see the layers clearly, but that’s it.

  11. Sarah

    This is my first time making cheesecake and lemon curd. My Lemon curd wasn’t that bright, vibrant yellow. Could you help me figure out where I went wrong?

    1. Lindsay

      It’s hard to say without seeing it. I’m not necessarily sure you did anything wrong. A lot of the color comes from the egg yolks and different brands and types of eggs have brighter egg yolks than others. Here’s my post on lemon curd, if you want to check that out. There may be a tip in there or something that’s helpful. https://www.lifeloveandsugar.com/lemon-curd/

  12. D. Elaine Gause

    This is absolutely wonderful, as are all the desserts I’ve tried from your site! When I’m looking for a recipe for something new, I always go to your site first! And I love that you are a fellow Christian! 

  13. Donna Rouse

    I make a lot of cheesecakes but this one moves to the top of my list. It was delicious. One note…..I don’t use a water bath but put a cookie sheet full of hot water on the rack under the cheesecake. Most do not crack…this one didn’t crack at all. Thanks for the recipe.

  14. Linda Curtis

    I made this lemon cheesecake earlier this week and it was a huge hit! I fully intended to use a water bath while baking this dessert but I couldn’t find a pan large enough for the springform pan to fit inside. Anyway, the cheesecake baked without cracking, and I added the curd when it was cooling. I topped with meringue the following day (5 hrs before my dinner guests arrived), and I opted not to brown the top, instead I threw on a little lemon zest. Very pretty and very YUMMY!

  15. Valerie Morrell

    Have made this several times, and use parchment paper to make the meringue in the oven, as don’t have torch, and it works really well, sliding the meringue on top of the dessert!. Tried lightly greasing the paper, which helps a bit! Rave reviews!

  16. Lucy

    Made this yesterday/today for a friend’s birthday and everyone raves!  The lemon curd was perfectly tangy and the whole dessert was well balanced between the creaminess of the cheesecake, fruitiness of the lemon, and light vanilla of the meringue.  I browned the meringue in the oven, for about 20 minutes at 400.  This left a really nice, crispy outside texture, especially on the peaks, but was still soft and fluffy in the middle.  Thanks for another hit recipe!

  17. Julie Baquet

    Everything turned out great- tastes amazing and the meringue was beautiful- Until – we transported it about an hour away and the meringue slid off?! Still Awsome but dang it ????

  18. Michelle Green

    I made this cheesecake and it was probably one of the best things I’ve ever made. The Cheesecake was light and luscious and the lemon curd was vibrant and tart . I broiled my meriguine because I don’t have a torch and it came out beautifully. I got rave reviews from dinner guests. 

  19. Luke

    Thanks for being so clear in the instructions. This was my first cheesecake, curd, and meringue. They all turned out well because of the extra descriptions.

  20. annie

    Wow This looks amazing and i want to try it so badly….
    One thing tho, i dont like baked cheese cake and nor does my husband. do you have a recipe for a no bake lemon cheese cake and would it hold the weight of the curd and meringue?

    thanks

  21. Kelly Eckler

    I have made this and it turned out beautifully! This cheesecake is as good, if not better, than it looks.

  22. Suzy-q

    Hi, Lindsay! Just wanted you to know I made this lemon meringue cheesecake. WONDERFUL!!
    Everyone loved it. Thanks for your awesome creations!!

  23. Judy H.

    I made this absolutely fantastic cheesecake yesterday and finished the meringue today.  I couldn’t wait to dig into it and I’m holding myself back from over indulging!  It was soooo creamy and the lemon curd had just the right tartness to complement the cheesecake…and the meringue…just no words!  I’m hoping there’s a birthday at work real soon for an excuse to make it again.  Super recipe! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  24. Angie Shuster

    I made this and found your directions quite perfect and precise. Everyone loved it, even my non cheesecake lovers.

  25. Zackary Shriner

    The cake is delicious! However, my merengue didn’t turn out as stiff as yours, did i just beat it enough? I felt like my merengue wouldn’t get any stiffer without breaking. But I’ve also never made this type of merengue before. Thanks!

  26. Russ

    Ugghhhh I wanna post a picture so bad. I made this last night and finished off with the meringue this morning. It is victoriously beautiful and yes you can brown the meringue in the oven broiler

  27. Felicia Feng

    Hello, I baked this cake today. It was delicious, thank you!!! However, the cheese filling was very runny. I was wondering if i used too big pot and add too much water. I want to bake it again, can you please help me improve? Thank you!!!

  28. Lily H

    Amazing cheesecake!!! I made it for a dinner with a cousin and he and everyone else LOVED it!! The cheesecake was so creamy and don’t get me started about the meringue. 😉 

    All the layers complimented each other so nicely and I will most definitely make it again! 

    -Lily

  29. Elisabeth Skudlarek

    there’s this gaffe with whipping the eggwhites though. you have to whip them before adding sugar, or else they don’t become firm. this is why the video shows the whites sitting atop the cake deflatedly instead of in peaks as they ought to.

  30. Hana

    This was an amazing cheesecake. It was my first, but my husband requested this one for his birthday. Because it was so large we shared about half with relatives, but the rest of it is gone in two days. Since it was my first, I really appreciated how clear and concise your directions were about every part of the process, down to how to prepare your pan for a water bath. I will be keeping this in my recipe list.

  31. Washley Watley

    Does the cheesecake and curd need to be completely cooled (the 5-6 hours) before the meringue is put on? I am making tonight for an event right after work and dont want to wake up at 2 am to do the meringue…lol. Should I wait until tomorrow before the event or is when the curd cool okay?

  32. Julie Brooker

    Heya Lindsay, hope you’re having an awesome day. Regarding the crust up the sides of the pan, I have never been successful at that for some reason. Can I leave that part out and have the crust on the bottom only?

    1. Lindsay

      You can do that, sure. You might consider reducing the crust amounts a bit so that your crust isn’t super thick though.

  33. Carolee

    i do not have a torch, can I put it in oven like a traditional meringue? Also, could I not just top with a traditional meringue?

    1. Lindsay

      You could certainly try toasting in the oven. A traditional meringue, if I understand what you’re referring to, gets firm after baking. This meringue stays light and soft.

    2. Jenine

      I love this cheesecake! I have a quick question, sorry if you’ve answered this already. The meringue tastes so good, but mine comes out a little sticky. In the picture you have that shows a slice shows the 3 layers very clearly. When I cut through, the meringue drags down (runs) a little because of stickiness… am I over cooking or over mixing it? Your picture looks very light and airy. Thank you in advance!

      1. Lindsay

        I’m so glad you enjoy it! Sticky sounds about right, especially if it’s been refrigerated already and had a little condensation. I believe I took these photos right after adding the meringue.

  34. Suzy-q

    Lemon Meringue Cheesecake sounds like a winner. I recently made the strawberry and coconut
    cheesecakes and they were delicious. Everyone enjoyed the desserts! So, thank you Lindsay for

    your

    wonderful creations. I’ll have to try this one real soon. Enjoy your day!

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