lemon cheesecake recipe

Lemon Drop Cheesecakes

Lemon Drop Mini Cheesecake

Don’t let their small size fool you. These little cheesecakes pack a punch of lemon flavor. There is lemon zest in the batter and a topping full of lemony tartness. Not too sweet, either, which is a plus in my mind.

I wanted a dessert but didn’t want to make anything too big. With a limited pantry these days, my options were limited, too. These mini cheesecakes were the right solution. The recipe only uses one package of cream cheese and only makes 6. They can be frozen if needed.

For the crust you can use vanilla wafers, but since I didn’t have any, I just trimmed off the edges of some graham crackers, so they would fit in the muffin tins. You can even omit a crust and they are gluten free.

So here is the recipe. I hope you enjoy it.

Lemon Drop Cheesecakes

6 vanilla wafers or graham crackers

1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

1/4 c. sugar

Zest of one lemon

1 t. vanilla

1 egg


½ c. lemon juice or a combination of lemon juice and pieces of lemon*

½ c. sugar

2 t. cornstarch

Zest of a lemon

Line 6 muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 wafer in each. If using graham crackers, trim them to fit the muffin tins. Beat together remaining ingredients for 1 minute with electric mixer. Divide this mixture in the muffin tins, filling each almost full. Bake 25 minutes at 325 degrees. Cheesecakes will puff up, then deflate as they cool. While cheesecakes are baking, make the lemon topping. Combine all topping ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture thickens and gets bubbly. Set aside. Once the cheesecakes have cooled down, spoon  over the lemon topping. Chill before serving. Store leftovers in fridge. Makes 6. These can be frozen. Serves 2-3.

* I only had 2 lemons, so to get the most from them, I removed the peel and white membrane and used the lemon segments in the topping. I was still a little short, so I added some extra lemon juice to get to ½ cup. You could just use all juice. 

The centers deflate, leaving room for the topping.

Lemon Cheesecake with Lemon Curd

Lemon Cheesecake with Lemon Curd

This dessert was inspired by a bag of lemons. I had picked them up with no real plan. I wanted a dessert for a dinner and decided to use them to make a cheesecake. I wanted to really amp up the lemon flavor, so besides the lemon juice and zest in the cheesecake, I added a layer of lemon curd on the top.

It worked out even better than I thought. Lots of lemon flavor in a creamy cheesecake. The lemon curd brought even more lemon to the party. Just wonderful.

We made this cheesecake in a Spring Baking class last night. Everyone loved it.

So here is the recipe. I used a 9×9 inch glass pan to bake the cheesecake- rather than the normal spring form pan. It worked out really nicely. Kind of made me think about lemon bars, too.

Lemon Cheesecake with Lemon Curd


1½ c. graham cracker crumbs

3 T. sugar

4 T. melted butter


2 (8oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

¾ c. sugar

2 T. flour

2 eggs

3 T. lemon juice

2 t. grated lemon peel

Lemon Curd: recipe below

Heat oven to 350-degrees. Grease a 9×9-inch baking pan- I used a glass pan. In medium bowl, combine  crumbs and sugar, then add melted butter. Toss to distribute butter evenly. Press into bottom of prepared pan and bake 10 minutes.  Beat cream cheese, sugar and flour until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in juice and peel. Pour over crust and bake for 30 minutes, or until set. Cool then top with lemon curd. Chill well before cutting. Store covered in fridge. Serves 8-10.

Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd

1/2 c. lemon juice

zest from one good sized lemon- you should have 2-3 teaspoons

1/2 c. sugar

3 eggs

6 T. unsalted butter- cut into little cubes

In medium saucepan, combine all ingredients. Whisk the mixture until the eggs are well blended. Cook over medium low heat, whisking often, until the mixture thickens. This will take 5-7 minutes. Whisk more often as mixtures warms and starts to thicken. Better to heat over lower heat and take longer than cook over too high a heat. You don’t want the eggs to scramble. Once the mixture is thickened , transfer to a bowl or jar. Cover the surface with a piece of plastic wrap to keep the surface from developing a skin- like any pudding will do. Chill until ready to use. Makes about 2 cups. Will keep in fridge a week or two.

Note: For using with this cheesecake, just make the lemon curd while the cheesecake is baking. Pour over the cheesecake while the curd is still a little warm, to make it easier to spread.

Lemonade Cheesecake Squares

Lemonade Cheesecake Squares

Lemonade Cheesecake Squares

I always enjoy the combination of lemon and cheesecake. I wanted a new recipe and decided to  jazz up the flavor with lemonade both in the filling and as a glaze on top. The end result is just what I had hoped for. Creamy, not too sweet and a pop of lemon flavor from the glaze. I also wanted to add more texture to the crust so I added some oats in addition to the graham crackers and baked this cheesecake in a 9×13-inch pan. You could serve it with a few berries on top, if you like. Here is the recipe.

Lemonade Cheesecake Squares

¾ c. butter (1½ sticks)
1 ¼ c. graham cracker crumbs
1 c. oatmeal, old-fashioned or quick cooking
¼ t. salt
2 (8oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
¾ c. frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed*
3 T. flour
2 eggs
2 t. grated lemon peel
¾ c. frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed*
2½  T. cornstarch

Heat oven to 350-degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. Beat together butter with the rest of crust ingredients. Press into bottom of prepared pan and bake 20 minutes. Beat cream cheese, lemonade and flour until fluffy. Stir in eggs and peel. Pour over crust and bake for 25 minutes, or until set. Cool then add the glaze. To make the glaze: in small saucepan combine the lemonade with the cornstarch. Heat together over medium heat until mixture becomes thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly. Pour over cheesecake. Store covered in fridge. Makes 24 squares.

*You can use store bought frozen lemonade concentrate or here is the recipe I use to make my own.

Homemade Lemonade Concentrate

1 1/3 c. lemon juice- fresh or bottled

1 c. sugar

lemon zest, optional

Combine ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved. Freeze until ready to use. Makes a little over 1 1/2 cups. To use: combine three parts water to one part  concentrate.






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