Delicious Lemon Meringue Cheesecake is the perfect blend of tart, tangy and creamy! It starts with a vanilla wafer cookie crust topped with creamy lemon cheesecake and a homemade meringue topping. It’s the perfect spring or Easter dessert that will a hit.
Cheesecake doesn’t have to be a dessert you only buy from a restaurant or grocery store. You can make it! It seems really difficult, and I’ll be honest, it’s a really technical recipe to follow. But with the step by step guide, you’ll be baking a lemon meringue cheesecake like a pro!
This is a beautiful dessert to serve at a dinner party and its a great summer treat!
Why You’ll Love Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
- This is a great recipe to make ahead! You can make the cheesecake the morning you plan to serve it at dinner and let it set in the fridge all day.
- The vanilla wafer cookie crust on this baked lemon cheesecake is absolutely delicious and holds together well!
- Baking a cheesecake is an impressive feat! This lemon meringue cheesecake recipe is easy to follow and will guide you step by step.
Ingredients for this Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Recipe
- Vanilla wafer cookies – Using vanilla wafers as the base for the crust of this baked lemon cheesecake is absolutely delicious.
- Salted butter – The salted butter will help balance the sweetness of this recipe. If you want to use unsalted butter, add a pinch or two of salt.
- Granulated white sugar – You’ll use granulated sugar in the cheesecake mixture.
- Lemon zest – Fresh lemon zest really takes this recipe up a notch, but if you’d rather not use it you can just increase the lemon extract by ½ teaspoon.
- Cream cheese – Can’t have lemon meringue cheesecake without cream cheese! I’d recommend avoiding fat free cream cheese.
- Honey vanilla greek yogurt – If you want to cut the sweetness a tad, you can sub this ingredient for vanilla greek yogurt or even plain greek yogurt.
- Lemon juice – Fresh lemon juice is best! But lemon juice from concentrate will do in a pinch.
- Lemon extract – This really key to this recipe. You can omit or substitute this with vanilla if you want, but your cheesecake won’t be as lemony.
- Eggs – You will need full eggs to use in your cheesecake mixture, and egg whites for the meringue.
- Lemon curd – For this lemon meringue cheesecake recipe, I used a store bought lemon curd. If you prefer, you can make your own homemade curd! Keep in mind that most homemade curds require some time to cool, so be sure to time it well and make the curd while the cheesecake is cooling.
- Egg whites – You can either separate eggs yourself, or you can use about ½ cup of egg whites out of the carton.
- Powdered sugar – This will be the sweetener in your meringue.
How to Make Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
Let’s break this easy cheesecake recipe that’s loaded with lemon flavor down step by step!
Don’t worry, if you follow these easy directions everyone can make this amazing lemon cheesecake.
Making the Graham Cracker Crust
Using your food processor, crush the vanilla wafer cookies for about one minute. Add the melted butter to the food processor and use the pulse function until the ingredients are combined. The mixture should have the texture of wet sand.
Press the crust down into the spring form pan, making sure it is evenly spread across.
Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes, or until it just begins to brown. Then, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool.
Prep Water Bath
While the crust cools, prepare a water bath. Take a lint free towel, fold it, and place it into the bottom of a large baking or roasting pan. The pan needs to be large enough to fit the springform with space around each side.
Heat four cups of water to a boil, and then allow it to sit while you make the cheesecake mixture.
Make the Lemon Cheesecake Filling
To make your lemon meringue cheesecake mixture, beat together the granulated sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer.
Then, add in the cream cheese, and beat until light and fluffy. Mix in the greek yogurt, lemon juice, and lemon extract until thoroughly combined.
After you’ve combined all of those ingredients, mix in one egg at a time using the low setting on your mixer. Be careful that you do not over beat the mixture.
Wrap your cooled springform pan in aluminum foil and, if you have it, a baking bag. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the crust and very gently smooth it out. Tap the pan really gently a few times to remove any air bubbles.
Place the springform pan on top of the towel in the roasting pan. Then, carefully pour the hot water around the springform pan until it is about 1-2 inches deep and reaches halfway up the springform.
Bake the Cheescake
Bake your cheesecake for about an hour and half, or until it has a slight wiggle. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake inside to finish cooking for about 30 minutes.
You’ll then want to crack the oven door and allow the pan to cool for 30-45 minutes, or until you can touch it with bare hands. Then, remove the lemon cheesecake from the oven.
After the cheesecake has set a room temperature for 35-40 minutes, gently spread the lemon curd across the top. Be sure to leave about a 1/2 inch of space around the edge so that the meringue will seal the curd in.
Make the Lemon Meringue
Cover the lemon meringue pie cheesecake with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
After the cheesecake has set, you can begin to prepare the meringue.
In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer and beat the egg whites and lemon juice together until soft peaks form. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time and beat on high until you’ve added all the sugar.
Once all sugar is added, beat until stiff peaks form. Spread the meringue on top of the cheesecake making sure to reach the edge so that the lemon curd doesn’t melt off the sides when heated.
Bake for 3-5 minutes, or until the lemon meringue is golden on top.
Allow your baked lemon cheesecake to cool for 10 minutes, and then serve!
Serving Tips for Lemon Meringue Pie Cheesecake
Be sure you don’t make your meringue until an hour or less before you plan to serve your baked lemon cheesecake. This cheesecake is best served soon after you top it with meringue and bake it!
Garnish each slice with a little lemon zest, a thin slice of lemon for extra, or ribbon curls of white chocolate for a pretty presentation.
Storage Tips for Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
While lemon meringue pie cheesecake is best served fresh, you can store leftovers! It is best to store leftovers without meringue, but you can store with meringue if you have to.
REFRIGERATOR: Store leftovers loosely covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. Note: The meringue may get watery and the curd may liquify that longer the cheesecake is stored.
FREEZER: Cheesecake freezes well, but meringue does not. Store your cheesecake without meringue in the freezer for up to two months.
I’m having trouble getting my meringue to form peaks. Any tips?
Make sure your eggs whites are pure and there’s no traces of yolk in them. The yolk will ruin the meringue and cause it to be flat. I also recommend using room temperature yolks to form your meringue. They will beat up higher and easier than egg whites straight out of the fridge.
Do I have to use a baking bag?
You don’t have to, but I recommend it. It will help keep water from seeping into your pan and making the crust soggy. If you don’t use one, just seal the pan really well with tin foil. Here’s a link to buy them on Amazon!
Pro Tips for the best Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
Let all of your ingredients come to room temperature before you start on this lemon meringue cheesecake recipe. They will mix much easier at room temperature!
Make a good schedule and plan more than enough time to bake and cool your cheesecake. Cheesecakes can easily crack if they are baked too quickly or cooled too quickly. The waterbath will help with this! Keep the temps low and slow for baking and follow the instructions to cool the cheesecake in the oven.
It is really important to leave space around the edge when you spread the lemon curd. The meringue will seal the curd in when it’s baked. If you don’t seal it in, the curd is likely to become really liquidy and drip down the sides of the cheesecake, making a sticky mess!
Whew…a big round of applause for you if you made this cheesecake! The work was worth it, wasn’t it?
More Cheesecake Recipes You’ll Love
- This No Bake Peppermint Cheesecake is a favorite around Christmas!
- Want a tasty bite-sized dessert? These Mini Pecan Pie Cheesecakes are amazing!
- If you’re a peanut butter and chocolate fan, you’ll love this Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake.
- These Crumble Peach Cheesecake Bars are a refreshing treat!
- 3 cups vanilla wafer cookies
- ⅓ cup salted butter melted
- ¾ cup granulated white sugar
- 1 ½ Tablespoons lemon zest ~2 lemons
- 3 packages cream cheese 8 ounce each, room temperature
- 1 cup honey vanilla Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup lemon curd
- 3 large egg whites room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and assemble a 9 inch springform pan.
- Use a food processor to crush the vanilla wafer cookies to crumbs, about 1 minute.
- Add in the salted butter and pulse to combine. The mixture should have the consistency of wet sand.
- Press the crust into the springform pan and then bake for 10-12 minutes or until it just begins to brown.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the crust from the oven and allow the crust to cool completely.
- While the crust is cooling, prepare a water bath by placing a lint free towel, folded, in the bottom of a roasting or large baking pan. You want a pan large enough for the springform pan to fit comfortably with a little space on all sides.
- Heat 4 cups of water in a kettle or saucepan until boiling, turn off heat and allow it to set while you assemble the cheesecake.
- To make the cheesecake, beat together the sugar and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl with a hand or stand mixer until the sugar is fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add in the cream cheese and beat on medium, just until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes, depending on the temperature of the cream cheese.
- Mix in the greek yogurt, lemon juice and lemon extract until completely combined, about 2-3 minutes.
- Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, on low speed, just until combined. Do not overbeat.
- Wrap the cooled springform pan in aluminum foil and a baking bag, if possible.
- Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared crust and gently spread into an even layer. Tap the pan gently several times on the counter to pop any air bubbles.
- Put the cheesecake pan on the folded towel in the roasting or large baking pan and place it all in the oven.
- Carefully pour the hot water into the baking pan, outside the springform pan, until it reaches the middle of the springform pan, at least 1-2 inches. This creates a water bath so that the cheesecake cooks more evenly.
- Bake for 1 hour 15-30 minutes or until the cheesecake has just a slight wiggle in the middle when the springform pan is moved.
- Shut the oven door and turn it off, allowing the cheesecake to continue cooking as it cools for 30 minutes.
- Crack the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool for another 30-45 minutes or until you can comfortably touch the pan without being burnt, before removing it from the oven.
- Allow the cheesecake to set for 30-45 minutes at room temperature and then spread the lemon curd gently over the top, leaving a ¼ to ½ inch of space around the edge of the cake for the meringue to seal it in and then cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Once the cheesecake has refrigerated until set, at least 4 hours, prepare the meringue and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare the meringue by beating the egg whites and lemon juice together in a large mixing bowl using a hand or stand mixer, until soft peaks form, about 3-4 minutes.
- Gradually add in the sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating on high until all the sugar has been added.
- Once all the sugar has been added, continue beating until stiff peaks form. This can take another 5-10 minutes. You want a meringue that is stiff enough to hold its shape and stick to the bowl without sliding.
- Pipe or spread the meringue onto the cheesecake, being sure to place it around the edge of the top so that the curd won’t drip off when heating.
- Bake for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
- Let all of your ingredients come to room temperature before you start on this lemon meringue cheesecake recipe. They will mix much easier at room temperature!
- Make a good schedule and plan more than enough time to bake and cool your cheesecake. Cheesecakes can easily crack if they are baked too quickly or cooled too quickly. The waterbath will help with this! Keep the temps low and slow for baking and follow the instructions to cool the cheesecake in the oven.
- It is really important to leave space around the edge when you spread the lemon curd. The meringue will seal the curd in when it’s baked. If you don’t seal it in, the curd is likely to become really liquidy and drip down the sides of the cheesecake, making a sticky mess!