Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

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
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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

101 Comments
  1. Lia

    Your recipe is really excelIent!! Only thing I changed was to reduce the sugar in the cheesecake and curd by almost half. Your baking instructions were absolutely perfect.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. ANMP

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

  6. ANMP

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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/

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