★★★★★

Lemon Cheesecake Recipe

Classic Lemon Cheesecake tastes even better when it’s topped with homemade lemon curd. Creamy and sweet with a bright lemon flavor, this cheesecake tastes like a slice of sunshine!

It’s no secret that I find lemon desserts 100% irresistible. If you love today’s cheesecake recipe, try our Lemon Poke Cake recipe next!

Slice of lemon cheesecake on a white plate.

Why This Recipe Works

I can’t stop singing the praises of this cheesecake. It satisfies both my insatiable craving for lemon desserts AND my chocolate cravings all in one.

  • Start with a classic graham gracker crust. The crust can also be made with our oreo pie crust recipe, adding an amazing chocolate element to the citrusy cheesecake.
  • Did I mention there’s white chocolate in the filling too? White chocolate and lemon are a perfect pair!
  • In case there wasn’t enough lemon for you, I also topped the whole thing with a layer of Homemade Lemon Curd.

Seriously. Make the Lemon Cheesecake now–thank me later.

Love cheesecake? Try our Baileys Cheesecake for a flavorful twist!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make lemon cheesecake.
  • Lemon zest. This ingredient brings intense lemon flavor and aroma to the cheesecake filling. Use a microplane grater to remove the zest from a whole lemon. use our guide on how to zest a lemon for more details!
  • Lemon curd. You can use homemade lemon curd, like I did, or store bought. Both are delicious.
  • Sour cream. Be sure to use full fat, unflavored sour cream for best results.
  • Cream cheese. Choose blocks of full fat cream cheese. Don’t use the cream cheese bought in a tub.

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make lemon cheesecake.

For the crust:

Blend crackers in a food processor to form fine crumbs. Add melted butter and sugar, combine to create a crust.

Press it into a springform pan. Pop it in the freezer while you make the filling.

For the lemon cheesecake filling:

Melt white chocolate with the heavy cream. Combine the remaining filling ingredients (except for the eggs) in a separate bowl.

Then, slowly add the white chocolate mixture. Finally, beat in the eggs.

To bake:

Pour the cheesecake filling into the chilled crust. Bake in a preheated oven over a water bath for 60 minutes.

Turn off the oven. Leave the cheesecake inside the warm oven for 45 minutes.

Chill:

Remove the baked cheesecake. Chill in the fridge overnight. Top with lemon curd before serving.

Cheesecake topped with lemon curd and cut into 8 large slices.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use softened Cream Cheese for your filling. Seriously, you want the creamiest cheesecake? Start with room temperature cream cheese! Use the same tips on how to soften butter to soften your cream cheese QUICKLY.
  • Water Bath. You can still get the benefit of a water bath without actually putting the pan IN the water. Just put your broiler pan of water on the lowest rack instead.
  • Bake cheesecake according to directions. When it’s done baking, DON’T open the oven. Just turn the oven off and leave your cheesecake in there for about 45 minutes. This helps cut down on those cracks on top of your cheesecake!
  • Remove cheesecake from oven after 45 minutes and allow to set in refrigerator. Add your lemon curd and slice and serve. (for nice clean slices, run knife in hot water and wipe with paper towel after each slice).
  • If your cheesecake cracked…don’t worry! You’ll be topping it with lemon curd. You can also try this Vanilla Cheesecake recipe topped with lemon whipped cream and fresh berries.
Slice of lemon cheesecake with a bite taken out.

Recipe FAQs

Why did my cheesecake crack?

Cheesecakes can crack for a variety of reasons. Often it’s due to incorrect oven temperatures or overbaking. As mentioned earlier, cheesecakes will also crack with a sudden change of oven temperature (like when you open your oven immediately after baking).

What is a water bath?

A water bath is simply a pan of water added to an oven to create humidity. Cheesecakes love a humid environment!
In this recipe, you don’t add the cheesecake pan right to the water. Instead, it’s placed above the boiling water on the rack as it bakes.

Do I have to store cheesecake in the fridge?

Yes, this cheesecake should be stored in the refrigerator. It tastes wonderful chilled!

How long does homemade lemon cheesecake keep?

This cheesecake is best enjoyed within 3 days. We always gobble it up long before then, though!

Can you freeze cheesecake?

Yes you can freeze cheesecake. After chilling in the refrigerator to set up properly, freeze cheesecake in airtight container for up to 3 months.

Slices of lemon cheesecake served on white dessert plates.

More Cheesecake Recipes

Yield: 12 servings

Lemon Cheesecake

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Chill Time 6 hours
Total Time 7 hours 15 minutes

Creamy, delicious Lemon Cheesecake has the perfect consistency and is topped with a homemade Lemon curd!

Ingredients

FOR THE CRUST:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 18 full size crackers)
  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 1 ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup white chocolate morsels
  • 2 packages (8 ounce each) Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 1 cup lemon curd

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add a thin roasting pan or broiler pan to the bottom shelf and add about 1-2 inches of water in the pan.
    2. To make crust, blend graham crackers in food processor until fine. Incorporate melted butter and granulated sugar until evenly blended. Press crust into bottom (and slightly up the sides) of a 9-inch springform pan. Freeze while you make the filling.
    3. In a saucepan with an inch of boiling water, place a double boiler, metal bowl, or glass bowl on top to heat heavy cream. Once warm, add white chocolate chips and remove from heat. Whisk until chocolate is smooth. Set aside to cool (about 15 minutes).
    4. For the filling, beat cream cheese, lemon zest, sugar, cornstarch, sour cream, and vanilla.
    5. Slowly add cooled white chocolate mixtures. Finally, add eggs, one at a time until mixture is smooth.
    6. Pour into prepared crust and place cheesecake pan into the preheated oven. No need to place it IN the water bath, just the shelf above.
    7. Bake 60 minutes. Turn off oven and let sit undisturbed for about 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool in refrigerator about 6-8 hours (or overnight).
    8. Top with prepared lemon curd, slice and enjoy!

    Notes

  1. Use softened Cream Cheese for your filling. Seriously, you want the creamiest cheesecake? Start with room temperature cream cheese! Use the same tips on how to soften butter to soften your cream cheese QUICKLY.
  2. Water Bath. You can still get the benefit of a water bath without actually putting the pan IN the water. Just put your broiler pan of water on the lowest rack instead.
  3. Bake cheesecake according to directions. When it's done baking, DON'T open the oven. Just turn the oven off and leave your cheesecake in there for about 45 minutes. This helps cut down on those cracks on top of your cheesecake!
  4. Remove cheesecake from oven after 45 minutes and allow to set in refrigerator. Add your lemon curd and slice and serve. (for nice clean slices, run knife in hot water and wipe with paper towel after each slice).
  5. If your cheesecake cracked...don't worry! You'll be topping it with lemon curd. You can also try this Vanilla Cheesecake recipe topped with lemon whipped cream and fresh berries.
  6. See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.
  7. Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    12

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 497Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 147mgSodium: 178mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 1gSugar: 34gProtein: 7g

    *Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

    This easy Lemon Cheesecake recipe is a lemon lover’s dream come true! Topped with lemon curd and baked on a graham cracker crust, it’s the perfect blend of creamy, sweet and tart.

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    About Aimee

    Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

    Learn more about Aimee.

    Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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    Posted on August 25, 2019

    Comments & Reviews

      1. I do! In my search bar type in lemon curd and it will come up. Or google “shugary sweets lemon curd.” ENJOY!

    1. What can i use to replace heavy cream & sour cream? I cannot find them here easily. How much should i use that subsitute?

      Thanks

    2. Lemon has always been my obsession, this cheesecake was so so so so good! I can’t wait to make it again for a party this weekend!

    3. This was so creamy and flavorful!! We loved it and it wasn’t too difficult to make. Thanks, Aimee for sharing this delicious recipe!! 

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