This homemade Lemon Cheesecake is citrusy and bright, combining the creaminess of New York Cheesecake with vibrant lemon flavor. The rich and smooth filling is balanced by a hint of lemon zest topped with a golden crown of lemon curd and whipped cream.

Watch the video tutorial and see how easy it is to make this Lemon Cheesecake.

Lemon cheese cake topped with lemon curd and piped whipped cream with one slice being served

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We have always loved experimenting with cheesecake flavors, from Strawberry Cheesecake to Pumpkin Cheesecake. This Lemon Cheesecake is really a cross between a classic New York Cheesecake and Lemon Bars – it’s a must-try!

Lemon Cheesecake Recipe

I brought this lemon cheesecake to our Easter dinner and it was such a hit! Everyone loved it – the contrast of sweet and tangy is irresistibly good, especially with that golden layer of Lemon Curd. With lightly sweetened whipped cream elegantly piped around the edges and a buttery crust, this dessert was a crowd-pleaser.

Decorating this dessert is incredibly easy – simply spread lemon curd over the top and add dollops of whipped cream and it will look professionally made. This homemade treat has an airiness to it that store-bought cheesecakes simply cannot duplicate.

Lemon Cheesecake with Lemon Curd Video

Watch as Natasha makes Lemon Cheesecake, guiding you through each step to ensure your dessert is irresistibly delicious. We can’t wait for you to try this recipe and fall in love with it just as much as we have!

Fluffy Lemon Cheesecake sliced to show airy batter. Topped with lemon curd and homemade whipped cream.

Ingredients

For this lemon cheesecake with lemon curd recipe, you’ll need to prepare three key components: crust, filling, and toppings, but the ingredients are simple.

  • Graham Cracker Crust – all you need are graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and a bit of sugar to make a cheesecake crust.
  • Cream Cheese – delivers the creamy classic taste of cheesecake
  • Granulated Sugar – adds just the right amount of sweetness to the mixture
  • Eggs – help to create a smooth and creamy texture, while providing a subtle lift during baking, which helps to create a lighter, more delicate cheesecake
  • Sour Cream – creates a more dense and smooth cheesecake
  • Lemon – you’ll need the lemon zest and the juice which provides a burst of citrus flavor
  • Vanilla Extract – be sure to use real vanilla extract
  • Lemon Curd – a bright custard-like topping with a tangy citrus flavor enhances the cheesecake’s overall taste and appearance. Homemade is best but storebought works in a pinch.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream – combined with sugar and vanilla creates a light and airy garnish with a touch of sweetness and a delicate texture to contrast with the dense cheesecake
Ingredients for Lemon Cheesecake: cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, eggs, sour cream, butter, lemon, graham cracker crumbs

Variations

  • Crust Options: We used a classic graham cracker crust, but you can change the flavor by using an almond crust, or any crisp cookie such as chocolate Oreo cookies (cream removed), Vanilla Wafers, or Biscoff shortbread cookies.
  • Toppings: Instead of garnishing with lemon slices, consider fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries) or slices of lime or lime zest for a lemon-lime cheesecake

How to Make a Cheesecake Crust

  • Combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar in a bowl and stir until moistened.
  • Press the crumbs into a 9-inch springform pan lined with parchment, going slightly up the sides. Using a spoon or the bottom of a measuring cup, press the crumbs into the pan.
  • Bake for 8 minutes at 350°F and then cool to room temperature.
  • Wrap your pan with foil – Increase oven temperature to 450°F. Place 2 sheets of extra-wide heavy-duty foil on the counter. Set your springform pan in the center and fold the foil up the sides of the pan, ensuring there are no rips. Fan the foil out at the top to keep the rim clear for rising.

How to Make Lemon Cheesecake

  • Mix cream cheese and sugar – In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using an electric hand mixer), beat cream cheese and sugar on medium/high speed for 5 minutes until completely smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  • Add eggs – Reduce speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, letting them incorporate between each addition. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula as needed.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Mix on low speed just until incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed. Pour cheesecake batter over the cooled crust.
  • Boil a pot of water and set your foil-wrapped cheesecake pan in a deep roasting pan. Pour hot water around the edges about 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. Carefully transfer the cheesecake to the center oven rack and bake at 450°F for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 225°F without opening the door and bake another 60-65 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake barely wobbles when you jolt the pan.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it rest in the roasting pan with water for 45 minutes then discard the foil and set the springform pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Once fully cooled, cover the springform pan and chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight to fully set before serving.

How to Prevent Cracks in a Cheesecake

Baking with the water bath method is the secret to achieving a perfectly risen cheesecake with a smooth, level top. The water helps maintain a consistent temperature and adds moisture to prevent cracks. Wrapping the springform pan in foil creates a barrier that keeps water from seeping into your cheesecake, ensuring the crust stays dry and intact.

How to Top and Serve Lemon Cheesecake

  • Release the Cake from the Pan: Run a thin knife or spatula around the edges of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan. Remove the springform pan and carefully transfer the cheesecake to a cake platter.
  • Make Whipped Cream: In a large mixing bowl, beat together heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract on medium/high speed until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with an open star tip and set aside (or refrigerate the piping bag if not using right away.
  • Spread Lemon Curd over the surface. Pipe a generous amount of whipped cream around the edge of the cake or decorate it to your liking. Garnish with thin lemon slices. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Can I Make Cheesecake Without a Water Bath?

While a water bath is the best way to ensure your cheesecake doesn’t crack, you can bake this lemon cheesecake without one. Follow the baking instructions from our Blueberry Cheesecake recipe for our tried-and-true method for a perfect cheesecake without a water bath

What is the Best Way to Slice a Cheesecake?

Before slicing into your cheesecake, soak the knife in a tall glass of hot water to heat it. Wipe your knife with a paper towel between slices. Using a warm, clean knife will ensure perfect lines with each cut.

Lemon Cheesecake decorated with lemon curd, whipped cream, and fresh lemon slices, on a blue cake platter

Make-Ahead

  • To Refrigerate: Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. For the best presentation, I don’t recommend adding the toppings until you are ready to serve. However, leftovers will refrigerate well even with the toppings.
  • Freezing: After the cake chills in the refrigerator overnight, wrap it in plastic wrap with a layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil and store it in the freezer for 2-3 months.
  • To Thaw: Remove the foil but keep the plastic wrap on while it thaws. Set it on a serving plate and refrigerate overnight. Add toppings and serve.

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply satisfying a sweet tooth, this bright and citrusy Lemon Cheesecake twist on a classic dessert is sure to be a showstopper.

More Refreshing Lemon Recipes

Love Lemon? If you have plenty of lemons and want ideas for using up lemons, you’ll love these Lemon Recipes:

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Lemon Cheesecake Recipe

4.93 from 13 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Lemon Cheesecake with lemon curd topping and whipped cream, sliced to remove the first piece
Lemon Cheesecake combines the creaminess of classic cheesecake with a burst of vibrant lemon. The rich and smooth filling is balanced by a hint of lemon zest and is topped with golden lemon curd. A buttery graham cracker crust provides the perfect foundation.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 45 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 12 slices

For the Crust:

  • 1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs, from 14 whole crackers*
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar

For the Cheesecake:

  • 2 lb cream cheese, room temperature (4 packages, 8 ounces each)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest, from 2 lemons
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ Tbsp vanilla extract

For the Toppings:

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Dot the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with butter and line it with a circle of parchment for an easier release.
  • In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs with sugar then stir in melted butter. Mix until moistened. Press crumbs into your prepared pan, going slightly up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature.
  • Increase the oven to 450°F. Place 2 sheets of extra-wide heavy-duty foil on the counter. Set the springform pan in the center and gently fold the foil up the sides of the pan ensuring there are no rips. Fan the foil out slightly at the tops to keep the rim clear for rising and to keep water splashes out.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using an electric hand mixer), beat cream cheese and 1 cup sugar on medium/high speed for 5 minutes until completely smooth, scraping down the bowl a couple of times.
  • Reduce speed to medium and add eggs, one at a time, allowing them to incorporate between each addition. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula as needed.
  • Reduce speed to low and add sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Mix on low speed just until incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed. Pour batter over the cooled crust.

How to Bake Cheesecake in a Water Bath

  • Boil a kettle of water (boil more than you think you'll need). Set your foil-wrapped cheesecake pan in a deep roasting pan. Pour hot water around the edges about 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan.*
  • Carefully transfer the cheesecake to the center rack of the oven and bake at 450°F for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 225°F and, without opening the door, bake an additional 60-65 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake wobbles slightly when you jolt the pan.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it rest in the roasting pan with water for 45 minutes then discard the foil and set the springform pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Once fully cooled, cover the springform pan and chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight to fully set before serving.

To Top and Serve

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract on medium/high speed until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with an open star tip and set aside (or refrigerate if not using right away).
  • Run a thin knife or spatula around the edges of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan. Remove the springform pan and transfer the cake to a cake platter (you can slide off the parchment paper if desired).
  • Spread 1/2 cup of lemon curd over the surface of the cheesecake. Pipe a generous amount of whipped cream around the edge of the cake or design however you prefer. Garnish with small slices of fresh lemon if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

  • Graham Crackers: You can crush these in a food processor or put them in a large zip bag and crush them with a rolling pin. 
  • Roasting Pan:  If your roasting pan is unstable or not designed to carry hot water safely, it’s best to pour the hot water into the pan after it’s placed on the oven rack. I recommend using a kettle for this step to avoid splashing hot water on yourself or the hot oven door.
  • Baking Times: For the best results, always fully preheat your oven and bake in a conventional oven (not convection). We highly recommend using an in-oven thermometer to ensure accurate temperature.

Nutrition Per Serving

1slice Serving581kcal Calories42g Carbs9g Protein43g Fat25g Saturated Fat2g Polyunsaturated Fat11g Monounsaturated Fat0.3g Trans Fat183mg Cholesterol381mg Sodium176mg Potassium0.5g Fiber34g Sugar1588IU Vitamin A2mg Vitamin C112mg Calcium1mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Cheesecake Recipe
Serving Size
 
1 slice
Amount per Serving
Calories
581
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
43
g
66
%
Saturated Fat
 
25
g
156
%
Trans Fat
 
0.3
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
11
g
Cholesterol
 
183
mg
61
%
Sodium
 
381
mg
17
%
Potassium
 
176
mg
5
%
Carbohydrates
 
42
g
14
%
Fiber
 
0.5
g
2
%
Sugar
 
34
g
38
%
Protein
 
9
g
18
%
Vitamin A
 
1588
IU
32
%
Vitamin C
 
2
mg
2
%
Calcium
 
112
mg
11
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cheesecake, lemon cheesecake
Skill Level: Easy/Medim
Cost to Make: $$
Calories: 581

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Comments

  • Chris O.
    May 20, 2024

    This was so delicious! Just baked this last week for the first time, and it’s already one of my favorite cheesecake recipes. So light and refreshing.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 20, 2024

      Thank you! I’m so glad you loved it.

      Reply

  • Inna
    May 16, 2024

    So delicious!!!! It was a hit with our family! Tasted like a cake from a fancy restaurant!! 😋

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 16, 2024

      Yay, that’s awesome! It is a special cake, so glad you love it!

      Reply

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