This super creamy Lemon Cheesecake recipe is easy to make and comes with detailed step-by-step instructions and photos + video. You need just 10 ingredients and 15 minutes of hands-on preparation time. You don't know how to decorate your Lemon Cheesecake? No problem. I got you covered. I added additional recipes for three different toppings. Plus mini tutorial on how to line a springform pan.
What you will learn:
- line a springform pan with parchment paper
- make Lemon Cheesecake
- substitute single ingredients
- convert this recipe into Mini Lemon Cheesecakes
- tell when a cheesecake is done
- decorate Lemon Cheesecake (+recipes)
- freeze Lemon Cheesecake
How to line a springform pan with parchment paper
If you cover the bottom and the sides of the cheesecake entirely, you don't need to worry about how to remove cheesecake from the springform pan. After baking and chilling, just open the pan and remove the paper from the cheesecake.
I show you how to line a springform pan properly. Take the bottom of a springform pan and line it with parchment paper. To use just one paper (if already cut) for the bottom and the sides, make sure that the bottom is in a corner of the paper. Then place the ring of the springform pan on top of the bottom and close it slowly. Adjust the paper while closing the ring that it doesn't wrap in the center.
Then cut the paper around the edges of the pan.
Use the same paper and cut two 3 inches broad and 15 inches long stripes along the long side of the paper.
Take one of the stripes and line the sides of the pan. Spray a bit of non-stick spray underneath the paper that it sticks to the pan. Alternatively, you can use oil and a brush.
Repeat with the second stripe that all sides are completely covered.
In the 92 seconds recipe video, you see the whole process of lining a springform pan with parchment paper.
How to make Lemon Cheesecake
So after we have a properly lined springform pan, we can start making the Lemon Cheesecake. But before you start making the cheesecake, make sure that all ingredients are room temperature. It makes it easier to mix the ingredients, and you don't run the risk of overmixing the filling to get it smooth. Overmixing is a common reason for cracking cheesecake.
Start with the crust. To get graham cracker crumbs, place them in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Alternatively, place them in a zip-top bag and smash them with a rolling pin into fine crumbs.
Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl and stir until evenly moistened.
Transfer crumbs to the prepared springform pan and press with a flat bottomed cup into the bottom and halfway up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside.
For the filling, you need cream cheese, sugar, flour, sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, and eggs. Lemon and sour cream add sourness to the cheesecake. Please use freshly squeezed lemon juice and not concentrated one.
Mix cream cheese, sugar, and flour to combine. Then add sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla and whisk to combine.
In the beginning, when mixing in the lemon juice, it will look like it curdles, but after a few seconds, it gets creamy and combines.
In the beginning, it looks like this:
And like this after a few seconds:
Add one egg at the time and stir to incorporate.
Before you add the last egg, scrape down the bowl.
Pour filling into the crust and spread evenly. The consistency of the filling is creamy but towards liquid. Do not overmix at any step. Otherwise, your cheesecake could crack. Bake for 45-55 minutes.
Because we all know the problem with leaking springform pans, place parchment paper between the pan and the wire baking rack. You don't need to additionally wrap foil around the pan because it does not leak that much.
After baking, turn off the oven, crack open the door and pinch a wooden spoon. Let the cheesecake another hour in the oven. Then remove from the oven, place on the counter and let come to room temperature. Place in an airtight container and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.
You can substitute the sour cream for Greek yogurt. I don't recommend to substitute for heavy cream because it results in a milder taste.
If you are on a gluten-free diet, substitute the all-purpose flour for Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour. In this case, you may want to go with gluten-free crackers as well. Substitute 1:1.
You could decide to go with another crust like Oreo crust. Find a recipe for Oreo crust here.
How to convert Lemon Cheesecake into Mini Lemon Cheesecakes?
If you want to make the whole recipe, you will end up with 24 Mini Lemon Cheesecake Muffins or 12 ramekin-sized Mini Cheesecakes. You could divide the recipe in half for 12 cheesecake muffins or 6 ramekin-sized mini cheesecakes.
Line ramekins with parchment paper or a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Make the crust as described and press into the bottom of the ramekins or liners. Prebake for 5 minutes. Make the filling according to the directions and fill into the prebaked crust. Bake ramekins for 20-23 minutes and muffins for 13-15 minutes.
Here is a blog post about how to make mini cheesecakes with detailed instructions and video. Although it's another recipe, you can follow the instructions and read additional information about making mini cheesecakes.
How to tell when a cheesecake is done?
To tell when your cheesecake is done, gently shake the pan. The edges should be very lightly browned and set with a slight jiggle in the center. The wobbly center should be about 3-4 inches in diameter and very bright and shiny.
In the picture below, you see that the center is shinier as the edges. This 3-4 inches spot should still be wobbly when turning off the oven.
Do not check with a toothpick because this is not significant. Don't worry that your cheesecake is still wobbly. It is not underbaked and the cheesecake firms up when it cools.
How to decorate Lemon Cheesecake?
You have different options here. I decided on a mix of meringue, candied lemons, blueberry compote, and fresh fruits.
Lemon Cheesecake with Meringue
If you love marshmallow meringue, you should opt in for this topping. Lemon cheesecake with Meringue is just dreamy.
Here's what you need:
- 3 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup caster sugar (150g)
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Fill a saucepan 2 inches high with water and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl (preferably glass) and set over the saucepan. The bowl should not touch the water.
Whisk continuously for 3-5 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved. (Make sure the meringue doesn't get too hot, or the egg whites will cook through, and the meringue won't be stiff but lumpy. Remove from saucepan in-between to cool down a bit, if necessary.)
The meringue should be warm to touch. Remove from heat and beat with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on high speed until shiny, glossy, and stiff peaks form, for about 5-7 minutes.
Fill in a piping bag or spoon on top of chilled cheesecake. The meringue may start to weep a little bit after 2 days. Because the egg whites are warmed, you don’t need to be worried about salmonella.
Lemon Cheesecake with Candied Lemons
Candied lemons are a great topping for Lemon Cheesecake. They are sweet, sour, chewy and sticky.
Here's what you need:
- 1 cup granulated white sugar (200g)
- freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
- 2 lemons, thinly sliced
Because you eat the candied lemons with the peel, you may want to use lemons with an untreated peel. Buy organic lemons if possible.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and brush lightly with oil. Set aside.
Wash the lemons carefully and dry them with a paper towel. Set aside. In a large skillet, combine all ingredients and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until lemons are translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Stir regularly. Transfer lemons to the prepared sheet and let dry. Do not overlap the lemons. The oil on the paper makes sure that the lemons don't stick to the paper when they dry.
If you want to brown a few of your lemon slices, remove all the sugar liquid from the pan and place a few lemon slices back to the pan. Let them caramelize for about 1 minute or until brown.
Cover and store them at room temperature. Place on top of your chilled cheesecake just before serving.
Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberry Topping
Okay, lemon + blueberry = dream team. Am I right?
Here's what you need:
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar (100g)
- freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
- 2 heaping cups blueberries (about 300g)
In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the blueberries are soft and the sauce has thickened up and is reduced by 1/3, about 5-10 minutes.
Let cool down to room temperature. Spoon on top of chilled cheesecake before serving.
How to freeze Lemon Cheesecake?
Freeze the whole cheesecake: Let the cheesecake cool as described and then chill for about 4 hours. Then remove the ring from the springform pan and wrap the cheesecake with the bottom of the pan in plastic foil twice. Then wrap in aluminum foil twice. Take care that it is completely sealed and no air is enclosed or can come in. Freeze up to 1 month.
Thaw in the fridge overnight. Therefore remove the foil and the plastic wrap and place the cheesecake in an airtight container. Decorate before serving and eat within 2 days.
Freeze single slices: After chilling cut into slices (without toppings) and wrap each slice tightly in plastic wrap twice. Place in freezer bags and squeeze out all the air. Freeze up to 1 month.
For thawing, unwrap the cheesecake and place in an airtight container in the fridge overnight. Decorate before serving and eat within 2 days.
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Check out all my other recipes! I'm sure you will find more recipes which you like.
Lemon Cheesecake Recipe
Graham cracker crust
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (240g)
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar (50g)
- 6 tbsp butter, melted (85g)
Lemon cheesecake filling
- 4 packages cream cheese, room temperature (32oz / 904g)
- 1 cup granulated white sugar (200g)
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour (14g)
- 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature (120g)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (60ml)
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 vanilla bean* (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line the bottom and the sides of a 9" (23cm) springform pan with parchment paper. Watch the photo-tutorial in the blog post above on how to line a springform pan properly. Set aside.
- Graham cracker crust: In a large bowl combine all ingredients and stir until evenly moistened. Transfer to the prepared pan and press crust with the back of a flat-bottomed cup into the bottom and halfway up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool until you are done with the filling.
- Lemon cheesecake filling: In a large mixing bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the cream cheese, sugar, and flour just until combined no lumps remain. Add sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla* and stir to combine. Add one egg at the time and mix just until combined before you add the next egg. Scrape down the bowl before you add the last egg. Mix to combine. Don't overmix at any step. Too much air in the filling can cause cracks while baking.
- Pour filling into the prebaked crust and spread evenly. Place a piece of parchment paper under the springform pan and bake for 45-55 minutes until the edges are set. The center should be very bright and almost set with a 3-4 inches wobbly spot in the center. Don't overbake until the cheesecake is browned because this is a common reason for cracked cheesecake. The cheesecake will firm up as it cools. I baked mine for exactly 45 minutes. Watch photo above (how to tell when a cheesecake is done) to see how the baked cheesecake should look like.
- Turn off the oven, crack open the door (pinch a wooden spoon), and let the cheesecake in the oven for another hour. Then remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Decorate before serving, if desired. You find additional recipes for toppings in the blog post. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days.
- Watch step-by-step photos in the blog post above to see the required consistencies at every step to have full clarity.
- Watch the 92 seconds video to see the whole process.
- Find additional recipes for meringue, blueberry topping, and candied lemons in the blog post. These are all great toppings.
- Read the blog post for additional information on how to freeze Lemon Cheesecake, substitutions, how to convert into Mini Cheesecakes, etc.