A rich graham cracker crust, topped with a luscious lemon cheesecake and a layer of mouth-watering homemade lemon curd, then coated in a golden meringue. Lemon meringue cheesecake is creamy, extra lemony, and oh so dreamy.
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This showstopper lemon cheesecake recipe is perfect for any time of year or for holiday celebrations, I especially like it at Easter time!
for the graham cracker crust
- Honey Graham Cracker Crumbs
- Kosher Salt
for the creamy lemon cheesecake
- Cream Cheese
- Vanilla Extract
- Lemon Zest
for the homemade lemon curd
- Lemon Zest
- Lemon Juice
- Eggs and egg yolks
for the meringue
- Egg Whites
See recipe card for quantities.
how to make a graham cracker crust
The graham cracker crust is the first (or bottom) layer of this lemon meringue cheesecake. Graham cracker crust is a sweet crumbly buttery mixture, resembling wet sand and it is firmly pressed into a spring form pan and quickly baked for a few minutes just to set it.
Tip: If you are using a spring form pan, I highly recommend cutting a thin strip of parchment paper and placing it around the vertical inside edges of the pan. This will ensure that none of the lemon curd, cheesecake, or meringue will stick to the edges of the spring form pan. Alternatively, you can also spray the entire pan with cooking spray before starting.
Hint: Don't have a spring form pan? A deep 9" pie plate will work too! If you are using a pie plate, just be sure to press the crust up the sides of the pie plate as well. Otherwise the cheesecake and lemon curd mixture will stick badly.
how to make easy cheesecake
A simple and straight forward lemon cheesecake recipe fills this layer.
First you will beat the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy and then, one at a time add the eggs, beating well in between additions to create a luscious batter.
Next you will add the sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest to finish up this layer.
After your batter is well mixed and no clumps remain, pour it overtop of your prepared graham cracker base and bake it.
how to make homemade lemon curd
Making homemade lemon curd from scratch can be intimidating.
I get it, I was once terrified that I would mess it up immediately and wind up with scrambled eggs in lemon juice. But let me be the first to tell you, it is not that hard.
The key is whisking all of the ingredients together cold, before you start to heat it up.
Once you start to heat the lemon curd mixture, whisk, and do not stop. Continue whisking until the lemon curd is thickened and smooth.
Then it will need to boil for 6-7 minutes, with only intermittent stirring to finish thickening. After is has thickened, remove it from the heat and set it aside to cool slightly.
Once the lemon curd is slightly cooled carefully pour it over top of the baked cheesecake.
You are not going to want to skip licking the spoon on this step, just be careful, the lemon curd might still be a little hot!
how to make the meringue topping
The key to making a good meringue is getting it light, fluffy and airy.
Also, there can not be any trace of egg yolk in the egg whites. If the yolk breaks while you are separating the eggs, then start over with a new egg. The yolk contains a type of oily fat and the whites will not whip up with yolk present.
Turn the mixer down to medium speed and while mixing, slowly, gradually add the sugar. After all the sugar has been added beat on high speed until the meringue holds firm peaks.
To check if you are at the "firm peak" stage, stop the mixer and dip the whisk attachment into the meringue. When you pull it back up, a peak should hold, just like the picture below.
After your meringue is complete, spoon it on top of the lemon curd mixture in the pan. Using a spatula, gently spread the meringue out and use the back of the spatula or a spoon to make the classic meringue peaks.
To cook the meringue there are two options:
- Bake the cheesecake in the oven for 10 minutes until the meringue is golden brown.
- Use a butane cooking torch to torch the top of the meringue.
Spring Form Pan
If you are wanting to invest in a spring form pan, I would highly recommend it! It makes classic looking cheesecakes and is just plain fun to use.
Store leftover cheesecake in an air tight container in the refrigerator, enjoy within 3 days.
I would not recommend freezing this dessert.
These helpful tips are the key to making this recipe perfectly, every time!
- When making the graham cracked crust, use the bottom of a glass to firmly press the graham cracker crust into the pie plate. It wont stick to the bottom of the glass and it will make your life SO MUCH EASIER!
- What is the best part about this cheesecake recipe? It does NOT require a water bath to bake it! Traditional cheesecakes are baked in a "water bath" to prevent cracking on the top of the cheesecake, the water bath provides extra humidity in the oven while the cheesecake is baking. But with this recipe, it doesn't matter if your cheesecake cracks a little, we are topping it with lemon curd and meringue so no need to worry about any cracks.
- If the meringue touches the edge of your springform pan, before you release the spring, run a knife under hot water and glide it carefully around the edges to release the meringue, repeat as necessary.
what to serve cheesecake with?
Some excellent options of main courses and sides to serve with this lemon meringue cheesecake are:
- 2 ¼ cups Honey Graham Cracker Crumbs
- ⅓ cup Butter, Melted
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar
- Kosher Salt, pinch
- 2- 8 oz packages Cream Cheese
- 2 Large Eggs
- ¾ cup Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Zest of one Lemon, approx. 1 Tablespoon
Zesty Lemon Curd
- 1 ½ cups Sugar
- Zest of 2 Lemons
- 3 Lemons, juiced approx. ¾ cup
- ½ cup Butter, melted
- 1 Large Egg
- 3 Egg Yolks, whites reserved
- 3 Egg Whites
- ¼ cup Sugar
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- In a medium sized bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and salt. Mix with a fork until the mixture resembles a wet sand texture.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared 9" spring form pan* or deep pie plate.
- Use the bottom of a glass to evenly flatten out the graham cracker crust. (if you are using a pie plate, push graham cracker crust up the sides of the dish) If you are using a spring form pan, place it on a baking sheet prior to baking. This will catch any of the butter that may leak out.
- Bake for 5 minutes and set aside to cool
Easy Lemon Cheesecake
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cream cheese. Beat on medium/high until the cream cheese is softened.
- Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well to fully incorporate after each addition.
- Once the eggs are fully combined add the sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Beat the batter on high speed until smooth and no clumps remain.
- Pour the cheesecake batter on top of the crust and bake for 30 – 35 minutes. When the cheesecake is done, the center of the cheesecake should be slightly wobbly, but still sturdy, and the top should be just beginning to brown. Remove cheesecake from the oven and set aside to cool completely.
Homemade Lemon Curd
- In a medium sized sauce pan combine the sugar and the lemon zest. Add the lemon juice, melted butter, egg, and egg yolks. Whisk until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Over medium/low heat, whisking consistently bring the mixture to a boil. It is very important that you do not stop whisking/stirring during this time.
- Once the lemon curd is boiling stop whisking and let the lemon curd boil for 6-7 minutes, stir a few times during this boiling time.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool slightly before pouring it over your cheesecake layer.
- Very carefully and gently pour all of the lemon curd mixture over the top of your cheesecake.
- Chill for a minimum of 2 hours before moving onto the next steps.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or using a hand mixer in a large bowl, add all of the egg whites. Whisk on high speed until eggs are frothy, white, and soft peaks begin to form.
- Turn the mixer down to medium speed and slowly add the sugar. Once all the sugar is added, return the mixer to high speed for a few minutes until firm peaks form.
- Scoop the meringue over top of the lemon curd and use the back of a spoon to create the iconic peaks.
- Bake for 10 minutes until the peaks turn a nice golden-brown colour or use a culinary butane torch to torch the top of the meringue.
- Chill the prepared lemon meringue cheesecake for a minimum of 1 ½ hours before releasing the spring form pan and serving.
*to prepare your spring form pan, you can either cut a strip of parchment paper and place it around the vertical edge of the pan, or spray the pan entirely with cooking spray.
Note: If the meringue touches the edge of your springform pan, before you release the spring, run a butter knife under hot water and glide it carefully around the edges to release the meringue, repeat as necessary.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 635Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 197mgSodium: 400mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 2gSugar: 60gProtein: 8g
Please Note- The nutritional information provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator and it will vary based on the ingredients that you use.