Beautifully simple and seductively sweet, this fresh and fabulous no bake lemon cheesecake is an irresistible treat!
You don’t need an oven or a whole lot of time. Just a sweet tooth, a few key kitchen items, a handful of baking ingredients and a love of lemons!
Products you need for this recipe
Before we talk ingredients, here are a few kitchen items you’ll need to make this baked cheesecake with lemon:
- 23cm (9 inch) springform pan – an absolutely essential piece of kit for any cheesecake maker. As you can unclip the sides of the springform pan, it makes it so much easier to set your cheesecake and remove the sides afterwards
- Kitchen scales – do yourself a favor and get your measurements right with a proper set of scales
- Food processor – you can use a rolling pin to bash up your biscuits and create a biscuit base, but a food processor does the job quicker and better
- Stand mixer – when it comes to mixing your filling, a stand mixer is the way to go
No bake lemon cheesecake recipe
This luscious, refreshing dessert is pure summertime decadence! Although, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to make it all year round.
It’s so simple! There's no need to cook the cheesecake or worry about dealing with a cheesecake in the oven (who wants to do that during those warmer summer months?). Instead, it’s all about having the patience to allow the cheesecake to set in the fridge.
Like any cheesecake, this one is made up of three luscious layers:
The biscuit base
Crumbly, buttery, and utterly scrumptious, the bottom layer of your cheesecake is crucial. As well as holding everything together shape-wise, it keeps things together in terms of taste.
I’ve gone for shortbread biscuits — the rich sweetness and notes of vanilla work exceptionally well with the lemon flavors in the other layers. You could also go for a graham cracker crust (swap 3 cups of graham cracker crumbs for 3 cups of shortbread biscuits). If you don't like shortbread, then digestive biscuits are another great biscuit base.
Salted butter is added for that all-important solidity. Plus, my secret ingredient… fresh thyme!
You might be thinking, “herbs in a biscuit base?!” Trust me on this one. It makes this cheesecake recipe extra special. Thyme has a woody, lemony scent that works with all the flavors in this recipe.
The whipped cream filling
Smooth and creamy, this lemon cheesecake filling comprises four simple ingredients that combine in heavenly style.
First, full-fat cream cheese. Always go for full-fat. Otherwise, your cheesecake will end up grainy and won’t set properly. Another critical point is to ensure that when you beat the cream cheese, it’s at room temperature.
Icing sugar brings the all-important sweetness to your cheesecake filling. Don’t be tempted to use granulated sugar unless you want a gritty, unappetizing filing.
Finally, fresh lemon juice and zest! That wonderful aroma and taste of freshly squeezed and zested lemons is the star of this cheesecake recipe.
The whipped cream topping is the last layer of luscious goodness that seals the deal. A blend of double cream, icing sugar, and vanilla paste takes the decadence to a new level.
Pipe it all over your homemade lemon cheesecake, then add a scattering of thyme leaves and a generous grating of lemon zest to bring a final delicious flourish!
Why does my cheesecake taste sour?
As this is a lemon cheesecake we’re talking about, you’re looking for a certain amount of sour.
However, it shouldn’t be too sour. If this is the case, the problem most likely comes from the filling. It contains cream cheese, which has a slightly acidic taste. If you’ve followed the recipe, the icing sugar will have balanced this sour taste.
So, if there is a sour taste, it’s most likely due to a lack of icing sugar. Don’t forget always to use kitchen scales when weighing out ingredients and always follow the recipe.
Can you use bottled lemon juice in place of fresh lemons?
Technically you can use bottled lemon juice. My advice, though, is to go for fresh lemons every time. You can’t beat the fantastic flavor that fresh lemons bring to this cheesecake recipe.
Can you make this cheesecake with lemon curd?
Yes, you can! Want to make this cheesecake extra lovely? Add a layer of lemon curd on top.
Add a tablespoon of lemon curd into the whipped cream mixture and pipe it on top.
Is this recipe gluten free?
If you use gluten-free shortbread biscuits, it is!
Can this recipe be made ahead?
Yes… this lemon cheesecake can be made 1-2 days in advance. You can leave it in the fridge after making the base layer or after completing the base and the filling, leaving just the decorating stage.
What goes with lemon cheesecake?
You can’t go wrong with a coffee or tea! Personally, I recommend an Earl Grey tea – the subtle citrus notes would be a perfect match for the lemon cheesecake.
Why not try a gin and ginger beer cocktail if you want something boozy?
Regarding wine pairings, go for a dry cava or prosecco, as the bubbles will make a great contrast with the creamy texture of the cheesecake and bring out the citrus flavors. You could also go for a late harvest riesling or an ice wine, which pair wonderfully well with fruity desserts.
How to store your cheesecake
Cover and refrigerate your cheesecake for up to 5 days. Invest in a cake storage container – they’re great and double as a carrier, perfect for picnics or taking your cheesecake to a party.
You can freeze this cheesecake if you can’t polish it off in 5 days (imagine!). After it has been set, wrap the whole cheesecake in a plastic wrap layer, followed by aluminum foil. Then, please place it in a freezer-safe container and place it in the fridge.
It will freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight.
How to decorate a lemon cheesecake
Pipe the whipped cream mixture on top and get creative! Use the pictures for inspiration. If you don’t want to add more thyme, you could also scatter some mint leaves.
As I mentioned earlier, another great way to decorate your cheesecake is to use lemon curd. You could also use candied lemon slices, which taste great and add a beautiful touch to your lemon cheesecake decoration.
Is this recipe vegetarian?
This No-Bake Lemon cheesecake is made without gelatin, so it is entirely suitable for vegetarians.
Variations on this recipe
Here are a few ways you could put a twist on this lemon cheesecake recipe:
- If you prefer a graham cracker crust, substitute the shortbread biscuits for graham crackers. A graham cracker crust is standard for US no-bake cheesecakes, but I like shortbread biscuits for this recipe.
- If you’re not a fan of thyme, leave it out altogether or replace it with mint
- You can use sour cream instead of double cream, or use half and half
- Add a teaspoon of lemon extract to the cheesecake filling for an extra lemony flavor. You could also use a suitable lemon extract substitute.
Tips for a perfect lemon cheesecake
Follow these pointers and make this recipe as good as it can be:
- Be sure to chill the biscuit base for at least 10 minutes before adding the filling. You want to make sure it’s sturdy enough to hold the other layers
- When making a no-bake cheesecake, ensure the cream cheese is at room temperature to avoid lumps in the mixture. Take it out of the refrigerator for 30 minutes before mixing it with the rest of the filling ingredients.
- After you’ve added the filling on top of the base, drop the tin onto the countertop to release any bubbles that may have been trapped. About 5–10 times, 5 inches away from the countertop should do the trick.
- Don’t be tempted to skimp on the chill time! Once you’ve added the filling to the base, your cheesecake needs at least 6 hours in the refrigerator to set correctly. The longer, the better – leaving it to chill overnight would be perfect!
More luscious lemon recipes
Are you a lemon lover like me? Then you won’t want to miss these recipes:
- Limoncello – a homemade lemon liqueur to die for
- Drizzled lemon curd cupcakes – these little cupcakes are pure joy
- Lemon curd – make your own lemon curd and use it to decorate this cheesecake!
- Lemon chess pie – this is one delicious cake!
- Preserved lemons – an amazing way to flavor a dish, if you’ve never made preserved lemons you’re in for a treat
- Lemon chutney – a delicious chutney that is so easy to make and is the perfect addition to a cheeseboard
- Baked Limoncello Cheesecake - if you want a baked lemon cheesecake recipe then this is the one for you
More delicious no bake cheesecake recipes
Once you’ve mastered this recipe, why not try one of these?
- No bake Oreo cheesecake – wonderfully decadent
- No bake mocha cheesecake – coffee and chocolate combine for an incredible cheesecake
- No-bake espresso cheesecake – another coffee-flavoured sensation, this is creamy, rich and incredibly satisfying
- No-bake pomegranate cheesecake – this fruity no-bake cheesecake is a real treat.
- Strawberry cheesecake – a light refreshing cheesecake perfect for a tea party, who doesn't love strawberries?
- Strawberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake – the perfect dessert for summer, another irresistible fruity cheesecake
- No bake cherry cheesecake – a big flavored, rich and fruity favorite
- No bake lime cheesecake – another zesty cheesecake