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The Ultimate Lemon Cheesecake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Cindy Gibbs
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 10 - 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake


This Lemon Cheesecake offers an ultra-creamy lemon filling and it’s topped with off-the-chart homemade lemon curd.  Dollops of homemade whipped cream are the perfect finish for this delectable tangy cheesecake.  This is the perfect dessert for a special occasion! 


Units Scale


  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 13)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt


  • 48 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream


  • 1 cup lemon curd, homemade, or store-bought


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan, by wrapping heavy foil around the bottom and sides.  This prevents water from the water bath from seeping into the pan.
  3. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl, making sure all of the graham cracker crumbs are moistened.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the springform pan.  Using a measuring cup with a flat bottom, lightly press the mixture into the bottom and about 1-inch up the sides of the pan.  Bake for approximately 8 to 10 minutes until the crust is set and you can start to smell it.  Remove it from the oven and set it aside.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  5. Place a baking pan (large enough to hold the springform pan) in the oven.  Fill it with at least 1-inch of hot water.  Leave it in the oven while you’re preparing the filling.  I use a 2-inch deep large half sheet cake pan for this, but you can use any baking pan that will work, such as a roasting pan.


  1. Add the cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer, or use a hand mixer.  I prefer to use the whisk attachment when mixing cream cheese.  Whisk the cream cheese on medium speed until it’s very light and creamy, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again.  There should be absolutely NO lumps in the cream cheese.
  2. Combine the sugar and lemon zest together and add to the cream cheese.  Mix on medium speed for about 1 minute.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add the lemon juice, vanilla, sour cream, flour, and whipping cream.  Mix on medium-low speed for about 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for just a few seconds until combined, but do not overmix.
  4. Pour the filling over the crust in the pan.  Gently shake the pan to level out the filling, making sure not to tear the foil around the pan.  Gently transfer the springform pan to the water bath in the oven, being careful not to splash water into the cheesecake filling.
  5. Bake the cheesecake for approximately 90 minutes or until the center is just slightly jiggly and the sides start to slightly puff up.  The top will look dry, but the center should still be slightly jiggly.  Do not over bake:  If you bake until the center is no longer jiggly, you’ve over-baked it.
  6. Turn off the oven.  Crack the oven door open, using the handle of a wooden spoon.  Allow the cheesecake to cool in the water bath for about 1 hour.  Remove the cheesecake from the oven and remove the foil from around it.  Transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack.  Run a thin knife around the inside edges of the pan to loosen the sides of the cheesecake.  Allow the cheesecake to completely cool on the wire rack, 11/2 to 2 hours.  Do not refrigerate the cheesecake to finish cooling it.  Allow it to cool slowly at room temperature.
  7. Once cooled, wrap the cheesecake securely in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.


  1. Once the cheesecake is chilled and set, spread the lemon curd over the top, stopping about 1/4 inch from the edge.


  1. Add the whipping cream to a mixing bowl and whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form.  I place a towel over my stand mixer to prevent the whipping cream from splattering everywhere.  Add the cornstarch, powdered sugar, and vanilla.  Whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Pipe or dollop the whipped cream around the edges of the cheesecake.  I piped them using a Wilton 1B tip.  You can also garnish by placing half lemon slices on each dollop of whipped cream if desired.
  2. Serve and refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days.


If you want nice neat slices of cheesecake, use a thin, sharp, long knife.  Dip the knife in hot water, wipe the knife dry, slice through the cheesecake one time.  Wipe the knife clean and repeat for each cut.



  • If you’re using homemade lemon curd, it can be made several days in advance and refrigerated.
  • Please read all of my tips above this recipe before making it.  It will help you to make the perfect cheesecake!