Margarita Cheesecake

Serve dessert in style with this fun Margarita Cheesecake! Featuring a classic graham cracker crust, a velvety tequila-lime cheesecake filling and an optional tequila whipped cream to top it off, every slice will be gone in a snap.

A slice of margarita cheesecake on a plate with the rest of the cheesecake on a cake stand behind it

A Classic Cocktail in Creamy Cheesecake Form

Margaritas are definitely a favorite of mine, and this easy homemade cheesecake truly does them justice. The melt-in-your-mouth filling has the perfect ratio of lime to tequila, and you can easily adjust it to suit your specific tastes. The flavor of the alcohol is noticeably there, but it’s not at all overpowering – just like a good margarita.

For those of you who particularly enjoy that tequila flavor, the whipped cream is an absolute must. It’s such a nice way to bump up the boozy goodness of the cheesecake without having to adjust the ingredients in the filling. If you’re not interested in adding an extra pop of tequila, Classic Whipped Cream makes a wonderful topping as well.

The graham cracker crust on the bottom is super basic, but it really does bring the whole treat together. Its buttery, crispy texture beautifully balances the smooth, creamy filling and the soft, fluffy whipped cream. It also brings some sweetness to the table to complement the tartness of the lime.

A whole margarita cheesecake on a white cake stand with a wavy rim

What You’ll Need

This impressive-looking dessert is deceptively simple. Gather up the ingredients below, scrolling down to the recipe card once you’re ready for the exact amounts.

For the Graham Cracker Crust

  • Graham Crackers: Crushed into crumbs. I find it easiest to crush them in a food processor.
  • Salted Butter: Melted and slightly cooled.
  • Sugar

For the Margarita Cheesecake Filling

  • Cream Cheese: Bring this to room temperature.
  • Sugar
  • All-Purpose Flour: The starch from the flour prevents the egg proteins from over-coagulating, giving you a creamier texture and helping prevent any cracks. If you’re looking for a gluten-free alternative, cornstarch will work too. Just remember to use half as much cornstarch as you would flour.
  • Sour Cream: Greek yogurt or heavy cream could also be used here.
  • Lime Juice: Freshly squeezed.
  • Fresh Lime Zest
  • Tequila: Reach for any kind you like!
  • Large Eggs: Brought to room temperature. You’ll need 3 full eggs and 2 additional yolks – using 2 yolks instead of one extra whole egg actually accentuates the flavor of the lime juice.

For the Tequila Whipped Cream

  • Heavy Whipping Cream: Chilled.
  • Tequila
  • Fresh Lime Zest
  • Powdered Sugar: For structure and stability.
  • Gel Icing Color (Optional): While you could just use green, I like to add a touch of yellow as well to give my whipped cream more of a limey color.
  • Flaky Sea Salt (Optional): I never get a margarita without a salted rim, so this finishing touch really seals the deal for me.
A slice of margarita cheesecake on a plate with one bite on a metal fork

How to Make Margarita Cheesecake

This crave-worthy cheesecake will turn any time of day into happy hour. Let’s make it happen!

Prepare the Crust

  1. Heat Oven & Line Pan: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides.
  2. Combine Ingredients: Combine all of the crust ingredients in a small bowl. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan.
  3. Pre-Bake: Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set it aside to cool.
  4. Prep Pan for Water Bath: 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 the prepared pan aside.

Make the Filling & Bake

  1. Lower Oven Temperature: Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
  2. Beat Cream Cheese, Sugar & Flour: Beat the cream cheese, sugar and flour in a large bowl on low speed until the mixture is completely combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is incorporated.
  3. Add Sour Cream, Lime & Tequila: Add the sour cream, lime juice, lime zest and tequila and mix on low speed until well combined.
  4. Add Eggs: Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly to combine after each addition, then add the egg yolks and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Pour Batter Into Crust: Pour the cheesecake batter evenly into the cooled crust.
  6. Assemble Water Bath: Place the springform pan inside of 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: Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The center should be set, but still jiggly.
  8. Turn Off Oven: 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.
  9. Crack Open Door: Crack open the door of the oven for 30 minutes to allow the cheesecake to continue to cool slowly. This process helps prevent cracking.
  10. Chill: Remove the cheesecake from the oven and the water bath wrapping, then place it in the refrigerator to cool completely.

Make the Whipped Cream & Serve

  1. Combine Ingredients: Once the cheesecake has cooled, start making the whipped cream. Add the heavy whipping cream, tequila, lime zest and powdered sugar to a large mixer bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Dye the whipped cream with gel icing color if you’d like.
  2. Pipe Onto Cheesecake: Remove the cheesecake from the fridge and remove the sides of the springform pan. Set the cheesecake onto a serving plate. Pipe swirls of whipped cream around the edge of the cheesecake, then place a thin lime slice in between each swirl. Sprinkle some flaky sea salt on top if desired.
  3. Serve or Chill: Refrigerate the margarita cheesecake until you’re ready to cut and serve it.
The side view of a tequila lime cake topped with tequila whipped cream and thin lime slices

Do I Have to Use a Water Bath?

Yes, if you are not making a no-bake cheesecake you do need to use a water bath. Not only does it help your cheesecake bake nice and evenly without over-browning, but it also prevents cracks from forming in the filling and ensures that the center doesn’t fall after baking. If you’re aiming for a flawless-looking cheesecake, a water bath is the way to go. Check out my post about how to use a water bath to bake cheesecake for more info.

Tips for Success

Speaking of the water bath, why don’t we go over some additional ways to achieve a successful cheesecake. These tips won’t let you down!

  • Temperature Matters: Don’t forget to bring the eggs and cream cheese to room temperature before you use them in your batter. The heavy cream for the topping should be nice and cold. Complying with these temperatures will help everything come together how it’s meant to.
  • Get More Juice From Your Limes: It may sound a bit strange, but it’s super helpful to microwave the limes for 20-30 seconds before you squeeze them. You’ll get a lot more juice this way!
  • Mix the Filling at Low Speed: Be sure to use low speed when you’re mixing up the cheesecake filling. This reduces the amount of air added to the batter, which can cause cracks to form during the baking process.
  • Cool the Cheesecake Slowly: Don’t stray from the recipe steps when you’re cooling your cheesecake. The lengthy cooling process ensures the absence of cracks.
A piece of tequila lime cake on a dessert plate with a shot of tequila in the background

Storage Instructions

Leftover margarita cheesecake should be kept refrigerated in an airtight container. Enjoy it within 3-4 days for the best results.

Can I Freeze This Margarita Cake?

Yes – but it’s best to leave off the whipped cream if you do so. Place the entire cheesecake onto a cardboard cake round (skip this step if you’re freezing pre-cut slices) and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.

Place the wrapped cheesecake into an airtight container or a large freezer bag and store it for up to 1 month. Unwrap it and thaw it out in the fridge before you dig in.

Print
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A slice of margarita cheesecake on a plate with the rest of the cheesecake on a cake stand behind it
Recipe

Margarita Cheesecake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 14
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Serve dessert in style with this zesty Margarita Cheesecake! Featuring a classic graham cracker crust, a velvety tequila-lime cheesecake filling and an optional tequila whipped cream to top it off, every slice will be gone in a snap.


Ingredients

For the Graham Cracker Crust

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

For the Margarita Cheesecake Filling

  • 24 ounces (678g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (207g) sugar
  • 3 tbsp (24g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (115g) sour cream
  • 6 tbsp (90ml) lime juice
  • 2 tbsp lime zest (56 limes)
  • 6 tbsp (90ml) tequila
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature

For the Tequila Whipped Cream

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 2 tbsp tequila
  • 1/2 tbsp lime zest
  • 1/2 cup (58g) powdered sugar

Instructions

Prepare the 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.

Make the Filling & Bake

  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 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.
  3. Add the sour cream, lime juice, lime zest and tequila and mix on low speed until well combined.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly to combine after each addition, then add the egg yolks and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
  5. Pour the cheesecake batter evenly into the crust.
  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 for 1 hour 15 minutes. The center should be set, but still jiggly.
  8. 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.
  9. Crack the door of the oven for 30 minutes to allow the cheesecake to continue to cool slowly. This process helps prevent cracking.
  10. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and water bath wrapping and place the cheesecake in the refrigerator to cool completely.

Make the Whipped Cream & Serve

  1. When the cheesecake has cooled, make the whipped cream. Add the heavy whipping cream, tequila, lime zest and powdered sugar to a large mixer bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Color the whipped cream with the gel icing colors, if desired.
  2. Remove the cheesecake from the fridge and remove the sides of the springform pan. Set the cheesecake on a serving plate.
  3. Pipe swirls of whipped cream around the edge of the cheesecake, then place lime slice between the swirls. Sprinkle some flakey sea salt on top.
  4. Refrigerate cheesecake until ready to serve.

Notes

  • Makes 12-14 slices.
  • To Store: Cheesecake is best when stored well covered in the fridge and eaten within 3-4 days.
  • To Freeze: Leave off whipped cream if freezing. Place entire cheesecake onto a cardboard cake round (skip if freezing pre-cut slices) and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Place wrapped cheesecake into an airtight container and freeze it for up to 1 month. Unwrap it and thaw it out in the fridge before digging in.
  • To make without alcohol: Replace the tequila in the cheesecake with additional lime juice or sour cream (or a mix of the two), depending on whether you’d like more lime flavor or not. You can replace the tequila in the whipped cream with additional heavy whipping cream

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 493
  • Sugar: 28.3 g
  • Sodium: 379.2 mg
  • Fat: 31.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 43.9 g
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Cholesterol: 147.2 mg

Keywords: margarita cake, homemade cheesecake, cheesecake with graham cracker crust

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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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