Bake or Break
New to BAKE or BREAK? Start Here!

Lemon Cheesecake

Looking for a show-stopping dessert to wow your guests? This lemon cheesecake is sure to become a new favorite in your recipe collection!

a slice of lemon cheesecake on a white plate

There’s something irresistibly refreshing about a lemon dessert, and this lemon cheesecake is no exception. With its smooth, creamy texture and a perfect balance of tangy and sweet, this cheesecake is a delightful treat for any occasion. Made with a classic graham cracker crust and a vibrant lemon filling, it’s both simple to prepare and impressive to serve.

Why You’ll Love This Lemon Cheesecake Recipe

  • Bright, tangy flavor. The fresh lemon juice and zest give this cheesecake a vibrant, tangy flavor that’s perfectly balanced by its creamy richness.
  • Simple ingredients. With a classic graham cracker crust and a straightforward lemon filling, this recipe doesn’t need any specialty ingredients.
  • Perfect for any occasion. This cheesecake is a showstopper for any event, from casual get-togethers to elegant dinners. Its fresh, citrusy flavor makes it an ideal dessert year-round.
  • Make-ahead friendly. Cheesecake needs chilling time to give it better structure and to let the flavors meld. This is a great dessert to prepare in advance.
Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email and I’ll send it to your inbox. Plus, you’ll get more of my best recipes in your inbox!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

By entering your email, you consent to receiving emails from Bake or Break. You can unsubscribe at any time.

overhead view of ingredients for lemon cheesecake

What You’ll Need

See the recipe card below for the full recipe, including ingredient quantities and complete instructions.

  • Graham cracker crumbs – Make your own crumbs by grinding graham crackers in a food processor or placing them in a zip-top bag and crushing with a rolling pin. For a shortcut, use store-bought crumbs.
  • Unsalted butter
  • Cream cheese – Use full-fat cream cheese that comes in bricks. Let it come to room temperature for a smooth, lump-free cheesecake filling.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Eggs – Set these out along with the cream cheese to let them come to room temperature. I recommend baking with large eggs.
  • Sour cream – Full-fat sour cream will give you the best results. Let this come to room temperature as well.
  • Lemon – You’ll need both zest and juice for this cheesecake. Lemons vary in size, but count on needing 3 to 4 medium lemons.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Lemon extract – This adds another big burst of lemon flavor to satisfy your biggest lemon cravings!

How to Make Lemon Cheesecake

  • Make the crust. Combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter, and press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 350°F, and then allow to cool completely.
  • Make the filling. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and cornstarch. Next, add the eggs one at a time. Finally, mix in the sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, and both extracts.
  • Bake. Spread the cheesecake filling evenly in the pan, and bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 200°F and bake for 2 hours to 2 hours 10 minutes, or until set.
  • Cool. Remove the pan from the oven, and run a thin knife around the edges. Return the cheesecake to the oven, turn off the oven, and leave inside for 2 hours. Then chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Garnish. Before serving, garnish your cheesecake as desired. (See my serving suggestions below for some ideas.)
overhead view of three slices of lemon cheesecake on white plates

Tips for Success

  • Temperature matters. Let your cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream come to room temperature before mixing. That will help ensure easier mixing and a smooth texture.
  • Use fresh lemons. The flavor of the bottled stuff just doesn’t compare to that of fresh lemons. With the flavor focus squarely on lemons, you’ll appreciate the fresh flavor.
  • Don’t over-mix. Mixing the cheesecake batter too much can lead to cracks in your cheesecake. If you’re using room temperature ingredients, it should form a smooth batter without excessive mixing.
  • Plan ahead. This method of baking cheesecake doesn’t need a water bath but it takes a bit of (mostly hands-off) time. Just be sure to allow time for both the baking and cooling stages.
  • Place the pan on a sheet pan. Springform pans can sometimes leak, regardless of the quality of your pan. I always recommend placing your pan on a lined rimmed baking sheet for baking. It will catch any potential leaks and also make it easier to get your cheesecake in and out of the oven.
overhead view of partially sliced lemon cheesecake topped with lemon curd, whipped cream, and lemon curls

Variations and Serving Suggestions

  • Lemon curd. For even more lemon flavor, spread lemon curd over the top of the cheesecake or serve it on the side. Go the homemade route or use store-bought.
  • Whipped cream. A dollop of sweetened whipped cream is a decadent addition to your lemon cheesecake.
  • A different crust. Try substituting vanilla wafers, gingersnaps, shortbread, or another cookie for the graham crackers. I suggest not adding quite all of the butter when mixing and then add more as needed to get the right consistency for the crust mixture. That should allow you to accommodate any differences in the cookies.
  • Berries. Serve with your favorite fresh berries (like strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries) or a berry compote.
  • More lemon. Garnish your lemon cheesecake with candied lemon peel, lemon zest, lemon slices, or lemon curls.
a slice of lemon cheesecake on a white plate with a bite on a fork

How to Store

Keep your lemon cheesecake refrigerated. Cover it tightly or transfer smaller portions to an airtight container. It should keep in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

How to Freeze

Wrap any remaining cheesecake in plastic wrap, and then wrap again in aluminum foil or place in a freezer-safe container or resealable bag. Properly stored, it should keep in the freezer up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

overhead view of a slice of lemon cheesecake topped with lemon curd, whipped cream, and a lemon curl

Lemon Cheesecake

Yield 10 to 12 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Additional Time 10 hours
Total Time 13 hours

Indulge in this creamy Lemon Cheesecake with a tangy lemon filling and classic graham cracker crust. A perfect, refreshing dessert for any occasion!

a slice of lemon cheesecake on a white plate


For the crust:

  • 1 & 3/4 cups (185g) graham cracker crumbs (12 graham cracker sheets)
  • 3 tablespoons (37g) granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons (70g) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 32 ounces (907g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (113g) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup (59ml) lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • zest of 1 medium lemon
  • lemon curd, for optional topping*
  • whipped cream, for optional garnish


To make the crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, and butter until thoroughly combined. Press into the bottom and partially up the sides of a 9-inch round springform pan.
  3. Bake 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

To make the filling:

  1. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and cornstarch until thoroughly combined and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the sour cream, lemon juice, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest.
  2. Pour into the pan, and smooth the top.
  3. Bake 15 minutes.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 200°F. Bake for 2 hours to 2 hours 10 minutes, or until the center is set and no longer looks wet.
  5. Remove the cheesecake from the oven, and run a thin knife around the edges. Return it to the oven, turn off the oven, and leave for 2 hours.
  6. Refrigerate overnight.
  7. Garnish as desired before serving.


*Use either homemade lemon curd or store-bought to create a thin layer on top of the cheesecake or to dollop on top of individual servings.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

Recommended Products

Bake or Break is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Show off your baking masterpiece!

Snap a pic, tag @bakeorbreak, and use #bakeorbreak on Instagram. Can't wait to see your creation!

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *