Lemon Cheesecake

published Apr 11, 2022
Lemon Cheesecake Recipe

For a zesty, hearty dessert, look to lemon cheesecake.

Serves12

Makes1 (9-inch) cheesecake

Prep25 minutes

Cook1 hour 20 minutes

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A whole lemon cheesecake with ribbon cuttings of fresh lemon as a garnish on top, with a slice cut out, with the slice being lifted up
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

This bright lemon cheesecake is the perfect dessert for any springtime celebration, whether it be Easter or otherwise. The best part about serving any cheesecake is that it can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to slice and serve. This one is no different.

This striking cheesecake looks picture perfect, but the garnish is simply sliced lemons and a few mint sprigs. There’s no need for any fancy piping bags or extra steps to make this dessert the star of the meal.

How to Make Lemon Cheesecake

While it takes time to make a lemon cheesecake, it’s an easy process:

  • Make the gingersnap cookie crust.
  • Prepare the lemon filling.
  • Bake in a water bath.
  • Cool completely and chill.
  • Garnish and serve.
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

What Is Lemon Cheesecake Crust Made Of?

Lemon cheesecake crust can be made with a variety of different cookies. Here, gingersnap cookies are finely ground and used to make the crust. Graham cracker crumbs are a traditional choice that also can be used, as can crushed vanilla wafer cookies or Biscoff cookies.

How to Store Lemon Cheesecake

Lemon cheesecake should be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The cheesecake can also be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 3 months. 

Lemon Cheesecake Recipe

For a zesty, hearty dessert, look to lemon cheesecake.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 20 minutes

Makes 1 (9-inch) cheesecake

Serves 12

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds

    full-fat cream cheese

  • 8 ounces

    sour cream (1 cup)

  • 3

    large eggs

  • Cooking spray

  • 10 ounces

    gingersnap cookies (about 40)

  • 7 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1 1/4 cups

    granulated sugar, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2

    medium lemons, divided

  • 1 teaspoon

    lemon extract

  • 3 sprigs

    fresh mint

Instructions

  1. Place 2 pounds full-fat cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Place 8 ounces sour cream and 3 large eggs out on the counter. Let all the ingredients sit out until they reach room temperature, about 2 hours.

  2. Arrange an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Place a sheet of parchment paper on the removable bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Replace the ring and secure it to the base. (The overhang will help you remove the cake from the base once baked.) Wrap the base of the pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil to prevent leaks. Coat the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray.

  3. Place 10 ounces gingersnap cookies In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse into fine crumbs (about 1 3/4 cups), about 20 (1-second) pulses. (Alternatively, place the cookies in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin into fine crumbs.) Transfer to a medium bowl.

  4. Place 7 tablespoons butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments until melted, about 60 seconds total. Pour over the crumbs. Add 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and stir until combined.

  5. Transfer to the springform pan and press evenly into the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon (about 1 tablespoon). Juice the lemon until you have 3 tablespoons.

  6. When the crust is ready, let cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.

  7. Add the remaining 1 cup of granulated sugar to the bowl of cream cheese. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon lemon extract, and beat on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs one at a time, waiting until each is egg is completely incorporated before adding the next. Pour into the crust and smooth out the top.

  8. Boil enough water to fill a large roasting pan with 1 inch of water. Place the springform pan inside the roasting pan. Carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan, being careful not to splash any water into the cheesecake. Bake until the center is almost set but wobbles slightly if you gently shake the pan, 60 to 70 minutes.

  9. Turn the oven off and open the oven door slightly or prop it open with a wooden spoon. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven in the water bath as it cools down for 1 hour.

  10. Remove from the oven, then remove the cheesecake from the water bath onto a wire rack. Let sit uncovered until room temperature. Cover and refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight.

  11. When ready to serve, run a paring knife along the inside of the pan. Unlock and remove the outer ring. Hold one of the corners of parchment down, slide a large offset spatula underneath the cheesecake, and transfer to a serving platter.

  12. Thinly slice the remaining lemon and pick the leaves from 3 fresh mint sprigs. Garnish the cheesecake with the lemon and mint. Cut into slices and serve.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be tightly covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.