This lemon mascarpone cheesecake is perfectly smooth with a rich citrus flavor. The creamy filling is layered over a simple buttery, homemade graham cracker crust and finished with a light and airy toasted meringue. This cheesecake will impress your friends and family!
Lemon flavored desserts are a family favorite in our household. The addition of fresh citrus adds a refreshing pop of flavor. Like in Easy Lemon Bars, Lemon Butter Cookies, Lemon Blueberry Cookies or sweet, tangy Lemon Cream spread between cake layers.
Cheesecake may seem intimidating, but as a trained pastry chef, I’ve mastered the techniques to bake creamy cheesecakes without a cracked top, and so can you! A water bath is a simple trick to help, along with a few other tips I share below.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It’s creamy with a pop of fresh lemon flavor complimented with an easy, toasted meringue topping.
- Mascarpone cheese adds a rich flavor to this lemon cheesecake recipe.
- Lemon mascarpone cheesecake is an easy and beautiful dessert to serve for any special occasion.
- You can make the cheesecake ahead of time and top it with the meringue just before serving.
Before You Begin
Take out the following baking equipment.
8-inch springform pan
Medium mixing bowl
Stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment
Large deep baking pan
Allow your cream cheese, mascarpone cheese and eggs to come to room temperature.
Read the recipe from start to finish.
- Graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar, melted butter and salt. These four ingredients quickly come together for an easy graham cracker cookie crust.
- Cream cheese and mascarpone cheese. Using these ingredients at room temperature ensures the batter is completely smooth. Select full-fat blocks of cream cheese for best results.
- Eggs. Give an extra smooth and rich texture. Make sure they’re at room temperature.
- Granulated sugar, vanilla, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest. Enhances the flavor and adds a refreshing citrus element.
- Egg whites, granulated sugar and salt. These ingredients whip up into a fluffy meringue topping that’s lightly toasted to perfection.
How to Make This Recipe
- Grease an 8-inch springform pan and tightly wrap the outside with aluminum foil.
- For the crust. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and melted butter and press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 8 minutes.
- For the filling. Beat cream cheese, mascarpone cheese and sugar for 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Add one egg at a time and beat until each egg is completely combined, scraping down the mixing bowl as needed. Add the vanilla, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix. Pour into the cooled crust.
- Place the springform pan into a deep baking pan filled with enough boiling water to reach halfway up the cheesecake pan.
- Bake in a preheated 350°F/177°C for 60-70 minutes until the edges are set and the center slightly jiggles.
- Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool for 1 hour with the door propped open.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven, cool completely and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- For the meringue topping. Whisk egg whites, sugar and salt in a bowl set over a saucepan filled with simmering water until the sugar dissolves.
- Whisk on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Spread the meringue over the chilled cheesecake and carefully toast with a kitchen blow torch or broil slightly in the oven.
Tip: For a fun presentation, fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the meringue and pipe desired design over the lemon cheesecake.
Using a Water Bath for Baking
A water bath will encourage even baking and help prevent the top of the cheesecake from cracking. The steam from the water bath produces a moist and humid environment that allows your filling to rise, set, and not dry out.
To prepare a water bath, place a springform pan wrapped with aluminum foil around the bottom into a larger deep pan. Add the filling and pour enough boiling water halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.
How to Tell When Cheesecake is Cooked
When finished baking, the cheesecake will begin to pull away from the edges. Gently shake the pan to check for doneness. The center should slightly jiggle (if it’s completely set it’s over baked!). As the cheesecake cools, the center will set.
How to Cool Cheesecake
Once the cheesecake is baked, turn off the oven and slightly prop open the oven door. You can use a wooden spoon for this. Allow the cheesecake to cool for 1 hour in the water bath before removing from the oven to cool completely to room temperature.
How to Store
Store cheesecake covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To freeze, wrap the lemon mascarpone cheesecake (without the meringue topping) tightly in plastic wrap. Add a layer of aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and add the meringue just before serving.
Tip: Freeze the cheesecake with the bottom of the springform pan to hold its shape. If not using the pan, place on a cake board or freezer-safe dish.
Substitutions and Variations
- Substitute crushed lotus biscoff cookies, vanilla wafer cookies or cornflakes for the graham cracker crumbs. Or swap a 1/4 cup of the graham cracker crumbs with coconut flakes like in Key Lime Pie.
- Use your favorite citrus such as oranges or limes instead of the lemon for a fun flavor alternative.
- For an extra thick topping (like in the photos) double the meringue topping ingredients.
Baking Sucess Tips and Takeaways
- Use heavy-duty aluminum foil to wrap the outside of your pan to prevent water from entering and creating a soggy crust.
- Do not overmix your filling. Too much air in the batter can cause your cheesecake to crack. To avoid this, use the paddle attachment on medium-low speed.
- Use room temperature ingredients for a smooth and creamy filling. If the batter has lumps run it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove them.
- To toast the meringue, graze the top layer with a kitchen torch flame. Repeat enough times until satisfied with the color. Working too close to the meringue will cause it to burn.
Please leave a starred rating and comment below if you make this Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake. I love reading your feedback! And if you'd like to make this recipe later, don't forget to pin it on Pinterest! Happy Baking!Print