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4.97 from 27 votes

Lemon Cheesecake

A New York-styled lemon cheesecake with a sweet graham cracker crust, melt in your mouth filling and a nice zing from the tangy lemon curd topping.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time2 hrs
Cooling and chilling8 hrs
Total Time12 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheesecake, lemon
Servings: 10
Calories: 703kcal
Author: Tricia


  • Springform pan


For the crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (225g) about 14 sheets
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (2 ½ ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar, divided (283g)
  • zest of 2 lemons (no white pith!)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (58g) about 2 juicy lemons
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream (8oz or 227g)

For the topping:

Optional whipped cream topping:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


To prepare the crust:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Invert the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan so the cheesecake can slide off onto a serving platter once chilled. Line with a round of parchment paper, if desired.
  • In a food processor, process the graham crackers to fine, even crumbs, about 30-seconds. Add the sugar and salt, and pulse 2 or 3 times to combine. Add the warm melted butter in a slow, steady stream while pulsing. Process until the mixture is evenly moistened and resembles wet sand.
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared 9-inch springform pan. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, press the crumb mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of the pan. Don't press too hard. Slightly firm is good. Bake until set and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before filling.
  • Once cooled, wrap the bottom and sides of the pan in a double layer of heavy-duty foil. Set the springform pan in a roasting pan.

To prepare the filling:

  • Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
  • In the bowl of a clean food processor, combine ⅓ cup of sugar with the lemon zest. Pulse until the sugar is pale yellow and the zest is broken down. Transfer the lemon sugar to a 2-cup measuring cup with a spout. Whisk in the remaining 1 cup of sugar and the flour. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer running on medium-low, slowly add the lemon sugar mixture. Beat until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  • With the speed set on medium, add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until the yolk disappears before adding the next. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, beat again to blend. Be careful not to over beat.
  • Add the lemon juice, vanilla and sour cream. Beat on low until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and beat again for another 5 seconds or until well blended.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Fill the outer roasting pan with enough hot tap water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
  • Bake at 325°F until the center jiggles slightly, the sides start to puff and the surface appears dry, about 90 to 100 minutes.
  • Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open using a pot holder or wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to cool in the hot water bath for 1 hour. Transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack and remove the foil. Slide a small thin knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the sides of the cheesecake. Leave the cheesecake in the springform pan and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.
  • When the cheesecake is cool, spread the lemon curd on top of the cheesecake leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.

To serve:

  • Remove the sides of the springform pan and carefully slide the cheesecake onto a serving platter. Pipe or dollop whipped cream around the outer edges of the cheesecake and garnish with fresh lemon slices, if desired. Slice into wedges and serve.

To prepare the whipped cream topping (optional):

  • In a cold medium mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat on high until firm peaks form. Dollop or pipe the whipped cream on top of the cheesecake in a decorative pattern.


  • If you don't have a food processor, you can make the graham cracker crust by crushing the crackers with a rolling pin.
  • Don't skip processing the lemon sugar. If you don't have a small food processor, trying mixing it by hand.
  • Cheesecake can be made 24 hours in advance of serving. Top with whipped cream just before serving, if using.
  • Lemon cheesecake freezes beautifully. Place individual slices on a baking sheet and flash freeze. Once frozen wrap each slice tightly in plastic wrap then seal in an airtight container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. When multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.


Calories: 703kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 192mg | Sodium: 514mg | Potassium: 223mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 1632IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 140mg | Iron: 1mg