This lemon gingersnap cheesecake is creamy, tangy, and addicting! With a crunchy gingersnap crust, a creamy lemon filling, and a light whipped cream topping, it's sure to be a crowd favorite.
I'm very excited to share this recipe with you! It's truly so delicious. The delectable combination of flavors, especially the zesty, lemony filling, offers a refreshing and indulgent experience perfect for the festive holiday season.
- Gingersnap cookies: You can use store-bought or homemade cookies. Just note that gingersnaps are super crunchy and can turn to powder quickly, so you often end up with a mix of fine crumbs and larger pieces when grinding in the food processor. I usually sift out the larger pieces and grind them up separately.
- Cream cheese: Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature, or you will end up over-blending the cream cheese to get it smooth and it can turn out too runny or clumpy.
- Lemon yogurt: Here, you'll want a thicker yogurt, like Greek yogurt or skyr. A lemon flavor is ideal, but key lime or citrus will work too!
- Lemon curd: I love topping the cheesecake with a layer of tangy curd. Store-bought or homemade is great.
For a full list of ingredients and quantities, refer to the recipe card.
How to Bake a Cheesecake Without a Water Bath
After experimenting with several different cheesecake baking methods, I wanted to develop a version that didn't require a traditional water bath. I have firsthand experience dealing with leaky water baths, cracked crusts, and runny cheesecakes.
Thanks to some great tips from Lauren's Latest, I fill a roasting tray (or pan) with water and set it below the cheesecake to keep a consistent temperature without directly touching the pan and risking a soggy crust. I also gradually decrease the temperature over time to prevent cracking.
How to Make Lemon Gingersnap Cheesecake
Step 1: In a food processor, pulse gingersnap cookies until they form fine cookie crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a bowl and wipe the food processor clean.
Step 2: Mix the crumbs with melted butter and brown sugar until they resemble the texture of wet sand.
Step 3: Transfer the mixture to a springform pan, and use a measuring cup to pack down the crust.
Step 4: Bake the crust for 8 - 10 minutes in a 350°F oven until it smells aromatic, it's nicely browned, and it appears dry. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then line with a layer of foil.
Step 5: Rub the lemon zest into the sugar to help release its aromatic oils. Transfer the sugar, cream cheese, and skyr to the food processor and pulse until blended.
Step 6: Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and spices and pulse to combine. Finally, add the eggs, and pulse just until blended.
Do not overmix the cheesecake batter, or it may not set properly (or it could crack).
Step 7: Transfer the filling to the pan, and set the pan over a large baking sheet. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil.
Step 8: Place the cheesecake pan in the middle rack of the oven and place a large roasting tray in the bottom rack of the oven.
Step 9: Add the boiling water to the roasting tray, then bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 250°F and bake for an additional 45 minutes to an hour (or until the internal temperature of the cheesecake registers 150°F in the center of the cake, and the edges look set but the middle is still a bit jiggly).
Turn the oven off and keep cheesecake inside the oven for another 30 minutes. Crack open the oven door, and let the cheesecake cool for an hour inside the oven.
Step 10: Remove cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature, about 2 - 4 hours. Transfer to the fridge and chill the cheesecake for at least 6 hours to overnight.
Step 11: Whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar to stiff peaks. Top the cheesecake with swirls of lemon curd and whipped cream. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Storage and Make-Ahead Instructions
Leftover cheesecake will last 4 - 5 days in the refrigerator. I prefer to slice it cold, as it's easier to cut, but you can let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Yes, unfortunately you can. An over-whipped batter usually has too much air in it, which can rise, fall, and crack in the oven. When in doubt, mix just until everything is blended.
Baking this cheesecake directly in a water bath can lead to a soggy mess unless it's very well sealed, so I like to avoid this step altogether.
To prevent a cheesecake from cracking, don't overmix the batter or expose it to significant temperature changes. Let the pan cool in the oven, then crack the oven door to allow it to cool at a slightly lower temperature, then cool it on the counter. If you move too quickly from one temperature to the other, it can cause cracking.
For even more cozy recipes, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter.Happy eating! Love, Karishma
Lemon Gingersnap Cheesecake
- 9-inch non-stick springform pan
- A large roasting tray or pan
- IR thermometer, optional
- 8 ounces gingersnap cookies
- 25 grams brown sugar
- 70 grams melted butter
- 250 grams granulated white sugar
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 3 (8-ounce) packages Philadelphia cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 (4-ounce) container lemon skyr, or lemon greek yogurt | or any citrus skyr or greek yogurt, such as lime or orange
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger, or 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 large eggs, room temperature | 228 grams with shell
- 118 grams heavy cream
- 16 grams powdered sugar
- ½ cup lemon curd, room temperature
- Zest from 1 lemon, optional
- Set one rack in the bottom-third of the oven and one in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C.
- Prep the cheesecake pan: Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cut out a 9-inch circular piece of parchment paper and line the bottom of the pan.
- Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse cookies until they resemble the texture of coarse sand. Transfer cookie crumbs to a medium bowl and wipe the food processor clean.Note: You may have a few bigger pieces among the cookie crumbs. You can either discard them or just separately crush them up.8 ounces gingersnap cookies
- Mix in the brown sugar and ¾ of the melted butter. The mixture should have the texture of wet sand. Once combined, take a portion of the mixture, pressing it between your fingers; if it sticks together, the crust has enough butter. If it falls apart, add the remaining melted butter.25 grams brown sugar, 70 grams melted butter
- Transfer the mixture to the springform pan and use your fingers to spread an even layer across the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the pan. You can use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack in and even out any areas (more tightly packed crumbs equals a sturdier, less crumbly crust).
- Bake the crust: Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 8 - 10 minutes until the crust is aromatic, dry, and lightly browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F/163°C.
- Make the filling: In a small bowl, mix sugar and lemon zest. Rub the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingers to help release any essential oils.250 grams granulated white sugar, Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Add the cream cheese, skyr, and zest-sugar mixture to the food processor. Blend until the mixture is smooth, creamy, and homogeneous. Scrape down the sides of the food processor to incorporate any unmixed bits. Blend again until fully homogeneous.Note: Do not overmix, or the cheesecake may crack or be too runny.3 (8-ounce) packages Philadelphia cream cheese, 1 (4-ounce) container lemon skyr
- Add the lemon juice, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, and salt, and pulse to incorporate.2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- Add the eggs and blend until smooth and homogeneous. The cream cheese filling will appear slightly liquidy at this point.4 large eggs
- Meanwhile, fill a medium pot (or electric kettle) with water and bring to a boil.
- Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Use a toothpick or chopstick to pop any large air bubbles forming on the surface of the batter.
- Make the water bath: Place the cheesecake pan on top of a large baking sheet, and transfer to the middle rack of the oven. Place a large roasting pan in the bottom-third of the oven and fill with the boiling water.
- Bake: Bake cheesecake for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 250°F and bake for an additional 45 minutes to an hour (or until the internal temperature of the cheesecake registers 150°F in the center of the cake, and the edges look set but the middle is still a bit jiggly). Turn the oven off and keep cheesecake inside the oven for another 30 minutes.
- Cool the cheesecake: Crack open the oven door, and let the cheesecake cool for an hour inside the oven.
- Remove cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature, about 2 - 4 hours. Transfer to the fridge and chill the cheesecake for at least 6 hours to overnight.
- Prepare the whipped cream topping: Whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar to stiff peaks using a whisk and a metal bowl, an electric mixer, or a stand mixer. Keep chilled.118 grams heavy cream, 16 grams powdered sugar
- Serve: Dollop the lemon curd in an even layer over the top of the cake, leaving a 2-inch rim around the edges. Top with the whipped cream and lemon zest (if using). Slice and serve.½ cup lemon curd, Zest from 1 lemon