Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
Lemon Meringue Cheesecake is a cross between a classic cheesecake and a piece of lemon meringue pie.
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Lemon Meringue Cheesecake with a Nilla wafer crust, creamy filling, lemon curd, and toasted meringue topping. It’s a simple yet decadent fusion of cheesecake and lemon meringue pie.

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake hero image

Easy Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Recipe

Our baked Lemon Meringue Cheesecake recipe takes only 30 minutes to prepare and has the perfect balance of crunchy crust as the base, bright and creamy lemon cheesecake filling, silky lemon curd to cover, and sweet pillows of meringue piled on top.

Don’t worry about the springform pan or baking the cake in a water bath because I will walk you through the simple steps to create the best cross of cake and pie you’ve ever had the pleasure to taste!

Let me list the layers of mouthwatering flavors and textures that make this dessert a masterpiece: first, melted butter is combined with cookie crumbs to create the crunchy crust; then the no-bake base is topped with lemony cheesecake, covered with thick, tart lemon curd, and finally spread with soft and fluffy meringue topping.

While from-scratch cheesecake recipes may seem daunting at first, they’re really not complicated desserts to make – there’s no reason to miss this crowd-pleasing creation, especially when you can’t decide between a slice of cake, a piece of pie, or a meringue cookie.

Why We Love Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Recipes

  • Easy to make with my step-by-step instructions.
  • Uses a handful of simple kitchen staple ingredients.
  • Combines two classic treats into one decadent dessert.
  • Tart lemon curd is bursting with bright flavor, bringing out the lemon notes in the cheesecake filling.
  • A water bath creates the creamiest cheesecake and reduces the chance of cracking. 
  • Perfect dessert for dinner parties, holidays, spring or summer celebrations, potlucks, or simply when you crave a slice.
Lemon Meringue Cheesecake ingredients

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Ingredients

  • Nilla wafer cookies or generic brand vanilla wafer cookies
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salted sweet cream butter
  • Cornstarch
  • Cream cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh lemon zest
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Eggs
  • Lemon curd
  • Egg whites
  • Cream of tartar

Substitutions and Additions

  • Create Your Crust: You can replace the Nilla Wafers with graham crackers, shortbread cookies, Golden Oreos, or even Lemon Oreos to create your crust. 
  • Substitute The Sour Cream: If you don’t have sour cream, you could try using greek yogurt or crème Fraiche as a substitute.
Lemon Meringue Cheesecake on a plate with fork
  • 9 x 3 springform pan
  • Cooking spray
  • Whisk
  • Stand mixer or a handheld mixer
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Large roasting pan
  • Knife with a thin blade
  • Spatula

How to Make Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

  1. Prepare The Pan: Wrap the outside of the springform pan in 2 oversized pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and set it aside.
    Pro Tip: I also used a round parchment circle to line the bottom of the pan.
  2. Create The Crust: Combine the Nilla wafer crumbs and sugar and stir in the melted butter to coat completely. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the springform pan and about 1 inch up the sides. Set it aside.
  3. Form The Cheesecake Filling: Combine the sugar and cornstarch and set aside. Beat together the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth and mix in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Mix in the sugar mixture and then add the eggs one at a time.
  4. Prepare The Water Bath: Pour the cheesecake batter on top of the crust and tap the pan to release any air bubbles. Place the springform pan in a roasting pan on the middle rack of the oven. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes up about 1 inch on the outside of the springform pan.
  5. Bake: Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the oven door about 1-2 inches. Leave the cheesecake to sit in the oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and the water bath. Remove the foil and allow the cheesecake to cool for 1 hour.
    Pro Tip: Do not remove the cheesecake from the springform pan. 
  6. Cover With Lemon Curd: Spoon the lemon curd on top of the cheesecake.
    Pro Tip: Be sure to avoid the edges.
  7. Make The Meringue: Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the granulated sugar and beat until stiff peaks form and there is a shiny gloss. Spread the meringue over the top of the lemon curd.
  8. Bake: Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes or until the meringue is a light golden brown. Chill the in the fridge in the springform pan for at least 8 hours.
  9. Slice And Serve: Release the sides of the springform pan and remove the cheesecake from the bottom. Slice into 12 slices before serving. Enjoy!
Lemon Meringue Cheesecake collage

What is a Water Bath for Cheesecakes

A water bath, also known as a bain marie, is a method for baking delicate desserts. It helps create a humid environment while your turtle cheesecake is cooking and adds extra insurance against cracking. The process involves boiling the springform pan with boiling water in a larger pan. This will help the cheesecake bake more evenly and will also keep the cake from drying out.

While you can make a cheesecake without a water bath, you won’t get the same results.

lemon meringue cheesecake on white table

How To Remove Lemon Meringue Cheesecake from the Springform Pan

To remove your cheesecake from the springform pan, you must first make sure the cheesecake has been properly chilled and is still cold. Then, unbuckle the springform pan and remove the circular band. If it sticks, you can run a small knife around the inside edge of the pan, starting at the top and working your way down. Transfer your cheesecake to the serving dish and slice.

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake on a plate

Baked Vs No Bake Cheesecake

Baked cheesecakes most often contain eggs and are baked low and slow. The texture is generally dense, rich, creamy, and smooth.

No-bake cheesecakes usually contain gelatin, which acts as a natural thickening agent. The texture is generally more light and fluffy than its baked counterpart. In my no-bake cheesecakes, I use a whipped topping in my filling; it sets up firm in the fridge and has a soft and silky smooth texture.

Tips For Making The Best Ever Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

  • Try to keep the mixer speed at or below medium to low speed. Air is not your friend when making cheesecake.
  • Using parchment paper circles at the bottom of the springform is helpful. This will help your graham cracker crust release from the bottom of the pan when transferring the cheesecake to a serving plate.
  • It is very important to be patient while you are baking the cheesecake. The lower temperature and longer baking time will help keep the cheesecake from cracking.
  • Always make sure your cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs are at room temperature. This will make blending the cream cheese and sour cream much easier. The longer you have to blend the cream cheese and sour cream means more air in the cheesecake filling. 
  • Always zest the lemon before juicing. 
  • If you cannot access fresh lemons, you can substitute bottled lemon juice for the fresh juice. Also, if you are substituting the bottled juice, increase the juice to 3 tablespoons and disregard the fresh lemon zest.
lemon meringue cheesecake on a plate

How to Store Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

  • To Store: Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: You can freeze the cheesecake, without the lemon curd and meringue, for up to 3 months. Allow the cheesecake to thaw overnight in the refrigerator; then, you can top it with the lemon curd and make the meringue as directed above.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Fat-Free cream cheese?

I don’t recommend using a low-fat or fat-free product to make this recipe. Cheesecake isn’t really considered diet food! It is rich and creamy because of the cream cheese’s full fat.

Why is my CHEESECAKE BATTER lumpy?

The lumpy batter is the result of the cream cheese being too cold. When you add the other dry and room-temperature ingredients to the cold cream cheese, it won’t blend and emulsify with the ingredients completely, leaving little lumps of cream cheese speckled throughout the batter.

How Should I Cut My Cheesecake?

To get clean cheesecake slices, make sure that you are using a serrated knife. I find it best to dip my knife into hot water before cutting, and once the knife heats up, wipe off the excess water, and slice the cheesecake. Heat and wipe the knife in between each slice.

top shot of Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

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5 from 1 vote
Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

Serves — 12
Lemon Meringue Cheesecake is a cross between a classic cheesecake and a piece of lemon meringue pie.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Rest and Chill Time 9 hours
Total Time 12 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients
  

Crust

  • cups crushed Nilla wafer cookies or generic version
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ cup salted sweet cream butter melted and cooled

Lemon Cheesecake Filling

  • cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 32 ounces (4 8-ounce) packages of cream cheese softened
  • cup sour cream room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs room temperature
  • ¾ cup lemon curd

Meringue

  • 4 large egg whites room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Wrap the outside of a 9 x 3 springform pan in 2 oversized pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Be sure to wrap all the way up the sides of the pan. Generously spray the springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. (I also used a round parchment circle to line the bottom of the pan) Set it aside.
  • Add the Nilla wafer crumbs and sugar to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Pour the melted butter over the crumb mixture and stir to coat the crumb mixture completely.
  • Press the buttered crumb mixture into the bottom of the springform pan and about 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Set it aside.
  • Add the granulated sugar and cornstarch to a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
  • Using a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on medium-low speed, beat the cream cheese and sour cream just until smooth.
  • Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Mix just until combined.
  • Add the granulated sugar mixture and continue to mix on medium-low speed for another 1-1½ minutes until well incorporated.
  • Lower the mixer speed to low. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Mix just until no yellow streaks remain.
  • Pour the cheesecake batter on top of the crust. Gently tap the springform pan to help release any air bubbles.
  • Place the foil-wrapped springform pan in an oversized roasting pan. (I use a disposable turkey roasting pan.) Place the roasting pan on the middle rack of the oven.
  • Pour boiling water into the roasting until it comes up about 1 inch on the outside of the springform pan.
  • Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and crack the oven door open about 1-2 inches. Leave the cheesecake to sit in the oven for 1 hour.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the oven and the water bath. Remove the foil and allow the cheesecake to sit on a cooling rack for 1 hour. Do not remove the cheesecake from the springform pan.
  • Spoon the lemon curd on top of the cheesecake. Be sure to avoid the edges.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Using either a stand mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment, or a large mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on high, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the granulated sugar. Continue beating on high until the meringue forms stiff peaks and has a shiny gloss.
  • Spread the meringue over the top of the lemon curd. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the meringue is a light golden brown. Chill the cheesecake in the springform pan in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator. Slowly release the springform pan sides. Use a sturdy spatula to remove the cheesecake from the bottom of the springform pan. Place the cheesecake onto a serving plate or a disposable cake circle. Slice into 12 slices before serving.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
  • To Store: Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: You can freeze the cheesecake, without the lemon curd and meringue, for up to 3 months. Allow the cheesecake to thaw overnight in the refrigerator; then you can top it with the lemon curd and make the meringue as directed above.
Tips:
  • Try to keep the mixer speed at or below medium to low speed. Air is not your friend when making cheesecake.
  • It is helpful to use parchment paper circles at the bottom of the springform. This will help your graham cracker crust to release from the bottom of the pan when you are transferring the cheesecake to a serving plate.
  • It is very important to be patient while you are baking the cheesecake. The lower temperature and longer baking time will help keep the cheesecake from cracking.
  • Always make sure your cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs are at room temperature. This will make blending the cream cheese and sour cream much easier. The longer you have to blend the cream cheese and sour cream means more air in the cheesecake filling.
  • Always zest the lemon before juicing.
  • If you do not have access to fresh lemons, you can substitute bottled lemon juice for the fresh juice. Also, if you are substituting the bottled juice, increase the juice to 3 tablespoons and disregard the fresh lemon zest.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 690kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 186mg | Sodium: 485mg | Potassium: 200mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 53g | Vitamin A: 1450IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 1mg

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