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Lemon Bar Cheesecake

Lemon Bar Cheesecake

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Lemon Bar Cheesecake swirled with lemon curd and topped with candied lemons for makes one unforgettable homemade cheesecake homemade cheesecake dessert!

You will swoon with your first nibble of this delicious lemon cheesecake recipe!

Lemon Bar Cheesecake

Lemon Bar Cheesecake

I was assigned dessert for a New Year’s Day gathering (of course!) and instead of the usual chocolate route, I veered towards another quintessential flavor, lemon. My friend, and interior decorator, raved about this recipe for Southern Living cheesecake after it was published last February. I tucked away the copy he sent me, knowing I would find the perfect occasion to bake it up.

Lemon Bar Cheesecake on a white cake stand

Perfect Citrus Lover’s Dessert

For the past few years, a group of us has gathered for soup and football watching on New Year’s Day. These friends love to be guinea pigs, so I decided to test out this vanilla cheesecake with layers of lemon curd. I divided the process into three phases. Day one, I made then parked both the lemon curd and candied lemons in the fridge. Day two, I baked up the cheesecake as it needed an overnight stint in the refrigerator.

Note…there were pros and cons to not baking a cheesecake in a water bath. On the positive side, there was no need to worry about water seepage through the bottom of the springform pan, which can create a soggy crust.  But one negative is potential cracks on top of the cheesecake. But no worries, as this homemade lemon cheesecake is destined to be topped with lemon curd…and no one will be the wiser. It’s our little secret, OK?

On New Year’s Day, all I needed to do was remove this homemade lemon cheesecake from the springform pan and top it with lemon curd and lemons. I swapped out the pastry crust in the original lemon bar cheesecake recipe for one made with crushed vanilla wafers. I highly recommend going that easier route.

Lemon Bar Cheesecake cracks

Tip: Don’t worry about cracks in the top of your cheesecake, just cover them with lemon curd and no one will ever see the imperfections!

Tips for Making a Homemade Lemon Cheesecake

The gang gave this lemon bar cheesecake rave reviews. We started with small slices, but there were second helpings taken…along with doggy bags for the biggest fans. The tart lemon curd was an excellent foil to the rich creamy filling.

  • Make sure your cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature. This ensures a creamy cheesecake as those ingredients will incorporate better if not cold.
  • Use the paddle attachment on your stand mixer to make this cheesecake. This prevents incorporating excess air into the batter and makes a smoother, more dense, perfect cheesecake.
  • Mix in the eggs one at a time, letting each incorporate before adding another.
  • Never over-mix the batter, just use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl a few times to make sure the batter is smooth and well combined.
  • Bake in a water bath, or bain marie, if desired. Looking at that big crack, I will  definitely add this step next time I make this lemon bar cheesecake!
  • If you bake in a water bath, make sure to wrap the exterior of your springform pan with foil so no water leaks into the bottom of the pan.

This lemon bar cheesecake was a veritable triumph for me, and it will be for you, too!


Baking a cheesecake in a water bath, or bain-marie, allows for more even baking temperature and helps prevent the dreaded crack from appearing across the top of your dessert. If you do use a water bath, make sure to wrap the bottom of your springform pan in a double layer of foil (I prefer heavy duty) to avoid any liquid from seeping into the pan during the baking period.

You can also hide cracks with a layer of fruit (I love fresh berries glazed with red currant jelly), some slightly sweetened sour cream or lemon curd. For a water bath, I use a roasting pan, place the cheesecake in the middle, then add boiling water so it comes a couple of inches up the side of the pan.

Lemon Bar Cheesecake Pinterest collage

More Lemon Desserts You’ll Love:

Lemon Bar Cheesecake | A luscious citrus cheesecake loaded with lemon curd

Lemon Bar Cheesecake

A luscious citrus cheesecake with lemon curd and candied lemons. Adapted from Southern Living.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Yield 18 servings


For crust:

  • 8 ounces vanilla wafers, crushed or processed into crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 7 tablespoons butter, melted

For filling:

  • 32 ounces of cream cheese (4 8-ounce packages), at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

For lemon curd:

  • 6 lemons
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs

For candied lemons:

  • 2 small lemons
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup water


Make lemon curd:

  1. Grate zest from lemons to equal 2 tablespoons. Juice lemons to get 1 cup lemon juice.
  2. Beat butter and sugar with a hand mixer on medium until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Gradually add lemon juice to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended after each addition, then stir in zest. Mixture may look curdled.
  3. In a large saucepan, cook mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, 14 to 16 minutes.
  4. Place plastic wrap directly on warm curd (to prevent a film from forming), and chill at least 4 hours.

Make candied lemons:

  1. Cut lemons into ⅛-inch-thick slices, removing any seeds. Stir together sugar, lemon juice, and water in a skillet until sugar is dissolved. Add lemon slices, and simmer gently, keeping slices in a single layer and turning occasionally, 14 to 16 minutes or until rinds are soft. Remove from heat. Place slices in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Cool completely. (May make a day or two ahead).

Make the crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the vanilla wafer crumbs and 3 tablespoons sugar. Mix in the melted butter till well incorporated. Press onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and about 2 inches up the sides. Bake until the crust is slightly browned, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the crust cool on a rack.
  3. Lower oven temperature to 325°.

Make the cheesecake:

  1. Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer 3 minutes or until smooth. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended. Mix in vanilla.
  2. Pour two-thirds of cheesecake batter (about 4 cups) into prepared crust. Add 1 cup lemon curd by large spoonfuls over batter in the pan, and swirl in with a knife. Spoon the rest of the batter into pan.
  3. Bake at 325° for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or just until center is set. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven for 15 minutes longer. Remove cheesecake from oven, run a knife around inside of the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Cover and chill overnight.
  4. Remove sides of the pan and place cheesecake on a serving platter. Spoon 1 cup lemon curd over cheesecake, and top with candied lemons.


You will need to make the lemon curd well in advance so it can chill for at least 4 hours. Also, note that cheesecake needs to chill at least 8 hours. If you have any leftover lemon curd, store it in a covered container in your refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 854Total Fat: 52gSaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 967mgSodium: 626mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 1gSugar: 54gProtein: 34g


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Lemon Bar Cheesecake | A luscious citrus cheesecake loaded with lemon curd
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55 comments on “Lemon Bar Cheesecake”

  1. This looks like a lot of labor, but I am sure it worth it. Very nice and elegant dessert. I’ve never baked cheese cake in a water bath!! may be I should try this technique one day.

  2. That’s a bit of work ๐Ÿ™‚ But I am sure this cheesecake is worth it ๐Ÿ™‚ Sounds so delicious!

  3. My first thought was “wow, that’s beautiful”! I know I’d love this, gotta add lemon curd to my New Food list:@)

  4. I am just smacking my lips at the potential of trying this lemony dessert. I love your little secret of holding off on the water bath and instead slathering this delicious cheesecake with a lemon curd topping. It is such a disappointment when your cheesecakes leaks and gives you a soggy crust after all of that work. Lots of little steps but I am certain it was heavenly. Pinning this recipe so I can try it later. Take Care

  5. WOWIEEE! That looks amazing! I heart lemon desserts. Something about them leaves me feeling refreshed and like maybe I didn’t do something completely horrible haha.

  6. Here’s one of the most important lessons we learned at baking school: cheesecakes with cracks taste just as good as those without. This cheesecake is absolutely gorgeous!! I’m already puckering up…

  7. This cheesecake sounds phenomenal Liz! I love lemon desserts and it sounds delicious as a cheesecake – crack or no crack – I would love a big slice of this ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. My husband has made more cheesecakes than I have. I wonder if he’ll make this one for me. LOL Or, maybe I should practice my dessert making skills. Love anything lemon so this one makes the cut.

  9. Crack? I don’t see it! ๐Ÿ˜€ All I see is luscious lemon bar cheesecake that I’m confident that I can finish this in one week, all by myself! Very impressive, and I wish I have a slice with my morning coffee, Lizzy! Beautiful cake!

  10. Lizzy, what a gorgeous cheesecake ๐Ÿ™‚ Alex loves lemon as much as I do, so this is a recipe I will have to make for Valentine’s Day!!!!

  11. Wow Liz, we have to stop meeting like this… my first session with a PT today, I don’t think he needs to know that I’m drooling over your recipe xox

  12. I love a dessert you can make in advance. And a dessert you cover with something to hide any flaws. I love lemon curd cheesecake – it’s one of my favourite desserts when we’re not having chocolate! But like your Bill and all the things he won’t eat, my Archie won’t eat any dessert with lemon in it. Every time I put a dessert on the table that’s not chocolate he says, ‘Does this have lemon in it?’ Tragic. It sounds like NYD was very successful and no doubt you’ll be asked to bring dessert again next year xx

  13. What a gorgeous cake, I would LOVE a taste of this. Lemon curd is one of my favourites! What a nice way to celebrate new year’s.

  14. Worth every step and calorie. Big thanks to you and your Interior Designer! !

  15. What a gorgeous cheesecake, a lemon lover’s absolute dream!

  16. Liz, I know your friends love it when you’re bringing dessert. Always something fun, new and delicious! This cheesecake is so unique and sounds fabulous!

  17. You are making so hungry, Liz. This is gorgeous! I’m off to make a snack and watch some tv.

  18. This looks lip smacking good. I always love a good lemon cheesecake.

  19. A match made in heaven! I’m crazy for curd…especially lemon! Gorgeous cheesecake!

  20. Liz, an easy smile came to me when I read the end summary about the gang starting out with small slices, then seconds etc. We all try our best with moderation, but sometimes we sweetly fail. Your tips about water baths and how to handle cracks are spot on my friend. Lovely work!

  21. I don’t bake many cheesecakes but this reminds me that I should. Love the name-Lemon Bar Cheesecake-really makes me want to give it a go. i ordinarily am not a lemon in dessert fan but for some odd reason I love lemon bars!

  22. The lemons are so pretty!

  23. Definitely worth all the efforts! The lemon curd topping looks stunning!

  24. It never works to start with small slices because one always goes back for seconds. ๐Ÿ™‚ What a beautiful cheesecake Liz! My mouth is puckering in pleasure just thinking of how delicious this must be!

  25. No body could resist such a perfect lemony cheesecake ๐Ÿ˜€


  26. Fantabulous cheesecake, Liz! Wow! This dessert is beyond…I wouldn’t be surprised if lemon becomes Bill’s new favorite flavor =)

  27. I definitely would have been one of the doggy bag people I love lemon cheesecake I find the citrus cuts right through the sweetness and is a perfect companion.

  28. You hit the jackpot with this cheesecake. I can see the crowd easing forward and then demolishing that cake. I would!

    We don’t have nilla wafers but I’ll bet I can find a cookie that will work nearly as well. I must make this.

  29. Looks like a lot of work but so worth it. The cake looks amazing. I love desserts with a lemon taste. I want to be your guinea pig too lol.

  30. Wow. What should we mention first? The presentation, that is amazing? The recipe that is so wonderful?
    This is one of the best recipes for dessert we ‘ve seen around and goes immediately in our to-do list!
    Thank you so much for sharing this Liz!

  31. Mouth watering!! Sounds amazing. Love lemon! so this is a keeper!!

  32. Gorgeous dessert. Looks beautiful.. love lemon cheesecake, I love how detailed your recipes are. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. I love lemon desserts and this one is no exception! Looks beautiful, Lizzy!

  34. How pretty! It makes me think of summer and sunshine. I need a whole lot of that right now.

  35. This is the second lemon curd related recipe I saw today, and I did a double take when I saw there was cheesecake involved! Pass me a slice.

  36. I love lemon cheesecake so I know I’d love this. I have to say it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I started baking my cheesecakes in a water bath. I usually bake it turn the oven off, and then leave it in the oven for an hour. Since you covered the cake with the curd it really didn’t matter if there we’re cracks. Oftentimes it’s because the sides of the cake are sticking to the edges of the pan. Then when it cools it contracts causing cracking.

    I’m saving this recipe to try – it sounds heavenly!

  37. Dear Lizzy, The cheese cake looks sunny and bright. and delicious. I hope that the weather takes a cue from this sunshiny cheese cake. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  38. Even with the big ol’ crack, that cheesecake looks perfect and divine, Liz. In fact, I like the crack – it gives it a real, rustic look. After topping it with the curd and candied lemons, it becomes a work of art. My husband would be ALL OVER THIS. He looooooooves lemon. I might have to make two of these – one for him and one for me!

  39. I know I could never be a ‘favorite’ as my step mother has her own daughter – but this…. this may cause some sibling tension if I were to make it for her ;D

  40. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe how far behind I am on blog-reading…and you post so many recipes! I’m glad I saw this cake tho. I’m a huge lemon and cheesecake fan so it sounds amazing ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. Anything made with lemon curd is destined to be a favorite of mine. This cheesecake is gorgeous! ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. wwooowww, how delightful, creamy, delicious and juicy looks..only when I look at the picture and rain in my mouth

  43. WOWWWWIE!!!!!!!

    you had me on lemon & cream cheese, honey! Xx

  44. Wow! What a beautiful dessert to brighten up winter! Lemon curd is the best and can only get better when paired with cheesecake ๐Ÿ™‚ Pinned!

  45. Hi!
    Well im feeling better now, not 100% but Im ready to try this cheesecake but I have a question or 2. I didnt get the cookies for hte crust so what is the reciepe for the pastrie crust? I have never heard of a pastry crust on a cheeze cake ( sounds good though) and or can I just make a gramcraker crust instead? I do have that on hand.
    Also I live alone and my aunt who lives next to me is on a no sugar diet so no sharing with her and I can’t eat it all myself right away ( well I could lol but shouldn’t) can I feeze part of it? like slice it and put wax paper between slices? and if so how long can I freeze it up to and what should I freeze it in so it stays fresh tasting when it is thawed out? Im not sure I have a plastic tub large enough with a lid to keep it in so what else would work? I haven’t made a cheeze cake in quite a few years and god man I sure hope I still have my spring form pans! I didn’t ck to see if I brought one with me when I moved here, I better go ck now ..I may be making something else with all this stuff duh..stupid to not look first.darn it..( left a 21 yr relaitionship and had to leave a lot of my kitchen and patio stuff because I had no room for it) PS. you can email me if you want instead of posting it here.

  46. This looks yummy! Just put some heavy aluminum foil around the bottom of the Springform pan and it doesn’t let water get in when you do the water bath.

  47. I love anything having to do with lemon curd. My boyfriend and I are in constant disagreement over the best dessert…lemon vs. chocolate. Luckily, I am the cook, so lemon wins out quite regularly LOL! I never cook my cheesecake in a water bath and just put up with a cracked top. But I do like the comment about wrapping in in foil – perhaps I’ll try that next time for a picture friendly cheese cake. This recipe sounds so amazing. You can;t go wrong with lemon and cheesecake.

  48. This one a delicious cheesecake!! Will be making again and again!

  49. A lemon lovers dream come true! A fabulous dessert for Easter.

  50. This cheesecake is a keeper! I love everything about it! Making it again for Easter.

  51. I LOVE lemon curd and I love cheesecake so this combination is perfect! Just a little bit of sour bite, and a lot of sweetness! Definitely a spring favorite!

  52. This is just the dessert I was looking for! Perfect for the first day of spring!

  53. Such an amazing dessert!! A new favorite in our house!

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