You are going to fall in love with this best lemon cheesecake ever. It’s full of lemon flavours, creamy, decadent and it’s so perfect for summer parties. The crunchy graham crust goes so well together with creamy lemony flavoured cheesecake.
How to make lemon cheesecake
When life gives you lemons, then make a Lemon Cheesecake. As a huge fan of cheesecakes, I realized, that haven’t share much of cheesecake recipes lately here on my blog. And I am asking myself, why is that so? The simple answer is, that i wanted to always keep the best cheesecake recipe for myself & never to share with anybody…bahaha this is obviously a joke guys 🙂
I am going to gladly share this simple recipe for really one of the Best Lemon Cheesecakes. This cheesecake is a base for creamy and rich New York cheesecake, with classic graham breadcrumbs. Topped with fresh and creamy sour cream and covered in lemon glaze, made from real lemons.
This lemon cheesecake is a winner on parties, especially during summer season. It is refreshing, tangy, rich and cream. I am sure the whole family will love it!
What ingredients are needed for this lemon cheesecake
Obviously cream cheese 🙂 Yes, you got this one ;)…I am using local farmer’s market cream cheese to achieve the fluffiest and creamiest texture of the cheesecake. But you can also achieve this also by beating the egg whites until stiff peaks and then slowly incorporate into your cream cheese mixture. The egg whites will create the fluffiness needed for the cheesecake.
Graham crumbs or graham crackers? Both are good. If I can, I rather buy the graham crackers and pulse them in my food processor for few seconds. This is because honestly, sometimes graham crumbs might not be as fresh as the graham crackers itself. So I would recommend buying graham crackers, but it’s just mu personal opinion. Sometimes, you just want to have all the ingredients ready on hand and ready to go. So don’t feel obligated to get graham crackers. Graham crumbs are just fine!
Eggs are best, when used in room temperature. Make sure you let them warm up in room for about 1 hour. Same thing with the sour cream and cream cheese.
How to prevent cracks in cheesecake
There are many factors, so I will try to narrow it down in a few sections.
First: Always use room temperature cream cheese, eggs, sour cream. Cold cream cheese is hard to mix until smooth and will typically leave lumps in the mixture. Make sure to mix the cream cheese with sugar very well, but not too long either. You can also mix it in food processor with blade attachment, this will remove any possible lumps in the cream cheese. But again careful, not to over mix it.
Room temperature eggs will assure no cracks in the cheesecake. Also do not over-mix the eggs, add them as the last ingredient in cream cheese mixture. Try to beat the cream cheese until perfectly smooth and then add additional ingredients. Do not open oven when baking cheesecake, any draft might cause a change in a temperature and that might cause cracking in your cheesecake.
Do not over-bake your cheesecake! This will cause cracking in your beloved cheesecake. How do you know the cheesecake is done? When the cheesecake still have its centre wobbly (2-3 inches in the centre of the cake). The edges might be slightly puffed.
Should I use water bath? Some people say that water bath is a must prevent cracks from the cheesecake. But I am not the biggest fan of water baths, because some of my cheesecakes cracked despite using the water bath. And many times my graham crust has sunk in the water bath. You can imagine the disaster 🙂 So since some fails with water bath, I have tried this simple method:
Take the cheesecake out of the oven in the middle of baking method
It requires lots of attention of yours, but it works so well, that I am using only this method. When the cake has risen in the oven for the first time, which will take just few minutes 5 or 7 minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and reduce slightly the temperature of the oven. Let the surface of the cheesecake to sink to level with the top of the pan, then put the cheesecake back to the oven, repeat this twice during the baking.
But, if you still want to use the water bath, then you must cover well the spring form pan in aluminum paper (I recommend either the double the amount of the aluminum paper or use heavy-duty aluminum paper, it’s stronger). Cover well the spring form pan, before you will be filling it with graham crumbs and cream cheese. Once the spring form pan is filled, place it in deep baking dish. Add boiling water from kettle, so it covers at least 1/4 of the spring form pan.
Cooling and chilling the cheesecake
This is the most important step when making cheesecake! You have to leave the cheesecake to chill for long long long time to achieve the creaminess and the fluffiness. We start the first chilling in the oven, for about 1 hour. Turn the oven off and open it, just at first crack, meaning 1/4 opened door. And let it aerate for 1 hour. Take it out from the oven, be careful, it will still be quiet warm.
Let it cool on the kitchen counter top for another 30 minutes or so and then you can continue adding the toppings or additional glazes, fruits etc. If you are preparing plain cheesecake, just cover the springform pan with food foil and let chill for another 4-6 hours in the refrigerator. Best is overnight chilling. It is well worth the wait, the cheesecake will be creamy, luscious and smooth.
In this recipe I am adding extra layer of sour cream and thin layer of lemon glaze for extra refreshing zing taste:-)
Freezing the cheesecake
Yes, you can totally freeze this cheesecake, or any other cheesecake. Definitely yes, this cheesecake can be made in advance and frozen, once cooled off and topped with layer of sour cream and lemon glaze. If you are thinking to prepare any kind of cheesecake in advance, let’s say a week before or even month before, you can. You can freeze it in the spring form pan directly, but make sure you cooled it off well. Then cover it with few layers of food wrap and then cover it with aluminum foil and pop it in the freezer.
If you wish to remove it from spring form pan, make sure the cheesecake is completely cooled. Run a sharp knife underneath the crust to release it from the bottom of the pan. And slide it either in large Tupperware (with cover) & pop it in the freezer. You can freeze the cheesecake for up to 3 months. Before serving, thaw the frozen cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator.
Another cheesecake recipes
- KEY LIME CHEESECAKE TART
- MINI BANANA CHEESECAKES
- NUTELLA SWIRL NO BAKE CHEESECAKE
- RUSTIC PRESSED COTTAGE CHEESECAKE
- TRIPLE LAYER CHOCOLATE NO BAKE CHEESECAKE
Lemon cheesecake video
BEST LEMON CHEESECAKE
- 9 inch spring form pan
- 2 cups of graham crumbs or 25 graham crackers
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of melted butter
- 3 packages (750 g) of soft cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large lemon for the zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ cup of sour cream
- 4 large eggs room temperature
SOUR CREAM TOPPING
- 1 & 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 & 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 drop yellow food colouring optional
For the crust
- Place the oven rack in the lower half of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/177 C.
- Place the graham crumbs and sugar in a food processor and grind them until fine crumbs. Add to the food processor melted butter and continue to pulse until the mixture starts to come together. The mixture will look like wet sand.
- Transfer the wet crumb mixture to the non greased 9-inch spring form pan and press gently & evenly into the bottom with a measuring cup. You can also use hands to pat the crumbs into the pan. Place the spring form in the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
For the filling
- Place room temperature cream cheese in the large bowl of a standing mixer and beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add 1 cup of the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract and sour cream. Mix until fully combined.
- If you decide to separate the egg whites to make stiff peaks, follow this step no.2, otherwise skip this step and follow step no.3. Separate the eggs from the egg whites. Place the egg whites into a separate bowl and, with a clean whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks. Set the bowl with egg whites aside. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition until just blended. Incorporate by folding in the egg whites with the spatula in the cream cheese mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- If you are not separating the egg yolk from egg white, follow this step:Add whole eggs one at a time (total of 4 eggs), beating after each addition until they are well incorporate into the mixture. Do not over mix at this stage. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- If you are using a water bath, see the instructions in the notes belowPour the cheesecake batter into the prepared 9" spring form pan on top of the crust and smooth out the top with a spatula. Bake the cheesecake in the oven until the centre is slightly wobbly, about 55–60 minutes (350 ℉ / 177 ℃)
- If you decide of using the method of removing the cheesecake out of the oven during baking, see the instructions in the notes below.
- Turn off the oven and open the oven door at first crack (1/4 opened door) and allow the cake to cool in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a small paring knife around the edges of the cake, let it sit for 1 hour on the kitchen counter.
- While the cheesecake is cooling, prepare the sour cream layer. Mix in a medium bowl: sour cream, granulated sugar and vanilla extract with a hand whisk and pour this mixture over cooled cheesecake. Even the sour cream layer with a spatula or butter knife. Cover the cheesecake with food foil or aluminum foil and place it in the refrigerator until you prepare the lemon glaze.
- To prepare lemon glaze, combine all cornstarch, sugar, water, lemon juice & yellow food colouring, in a small saucepan. Mix with a hand whisk and simmer over medium low heat, constantly whisking, for about 1 minute or until it thickens.
- Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator and pour gently the glaze over the cheesecake. Smooth the top with a spatula.
- Cover the cheesecake again with plastic food foil and refrigerate minimum for 6 hours, ideally overnight.
- To serve, first use a knife, ran with hot water and wiped with kitchen cloth, to loosen the chilled cheesecake from the rim of the spring form pan. Remove the rim and, using a clean sharp knife, (again ran with hot water and wiped with kitchen cloth) cut into slices for serving. For neat slices, keep wiping the knife clean and ran with hot water in between slices.