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Slice of homemade lemon cheesecake with graham cracker crust on a plate with a fork

Lemon Cheesecake

Lemon Cheesecake is ultra rich, creamy, and tangy and made with a buttery graham cracker crust and topped with tart lemon curd. Learn my secrets for a perfectly smooth cheesecake with zero cracks!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword easter, spring, summer
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Chilling time 6 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
Yields: 12 servings
Recipe by Tessa Arias

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups (230 gramgraham crackers crumbs (about 15 whole graham crackers)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 32 ounces (907 grams) cream cheese, completely softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (173 grams) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature

For baking and finishing:

  • Boiling water, for the water bath
  • Prepared lemon curd, for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

  2. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan for a water bath. Place a large square of heavy-duty aluminum foil underneath the pan. Gently fold the edges up and around the pan. Repeat twice so there’s three sheets of foil to ensure a waterproof seal. Gently fold the top of the foil around the edge of the pan. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Make the crust:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter until the mixture is moistened. Press firmly into the bottom and quarter way up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool. Maintain oven temperature.

Make the filling:

  1. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese on medium speed until completely smooth and free of lumps, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Add in the sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, and flour. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, and beat until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
  2. Pour the batter into the foiled-wrapped springform pan. Tap the pan against the counter a few times to release any air bubbles in the batter.

Prepare the water bath:

  1. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.

Bake the cheesecake:

  1. Bake at 325°F for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the top looks slightly dry. If the middle is slightly wobbly, that’s fine. Err on the side of underbaking rather than overbaking.

  2. Turn off the oven heat and open the oven door open just by 1-inch. Let the cheesecake cool inside the oven for 1 hour. This will prevent cracks from forming.
  3. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and from the water bath, unwrap the foil, and transfer it to a cooling rack. Run a thin-bladed flexible knife around the edge of the cake to make sure it's not sticking to the sides (which can cause cracks as it cools). Let the cheesecake cool completely to room temperature on the rack.
  4. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 5 hours or up to 3 days. Store the cheesecake uncovered to avoid creating condensation, which will create a mushy texture.
  5. Release the cheesecake from the pan onto a cake stand or serving plate and top with the lemon curd. Slice using a big sharp knife, wiping it off under running hot water in between cuts. Serve.

Recipe Notes

You can purchase lemon curd at the grocery store, it's usually stored next to jams and jellies. You can also make your own, here's a recipe.