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Raspberry lemon cheesecake is perfection. It’s smooth and creamy, delicately flavored, and classic. And while it takes a bit of advance prep, it’s easier than you may think. Don’t miss it.

raspberry lemon cheesecake
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Why we love this recipe, and why it works

This just-right cheesecake recipe is creamy, satisfyingly but not absurdly dense, flavored with hints of vanilla and lemon, and not overly sweet.

A gentle raspberry swirl and a touch of extra lemon flavor are the casual dress that make this version a little extra special. The raspberry augments the flavors without overpowering.

This recipe works because:

  • Having the ingredients at room temperature helps them mix together smoothly.
  • A little bit of sour cream and a touch of lemon add the subtlest tart dimension to the mix.
  • Baking at a low temperature in a water bath and then leaving the cake in the oven results in a perfectly creamy, evenly baked filling.
  • Chilling the cake overnight after cooling completely allows you to slice it into the neat wedges you’d expect from a great cheesecake.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • A “sheet” of graham crackers means a whole sheet of four perforated crackers. Four of these should yield about 1/2 cup of crumbs. To make this recipe gluten-free, use GF graham crackers.
  • Use good old blocks of cream cheese. (Two pounds is four eight-ounce blocks.) Don’t use whipped cream cheese or the softer kind that comes in tubs. It won’t yield the right consistency.
  • You can use frozen raspberries or fresh. I usually use frozen.

How to make it

Here’s what you’ll do to make a beautiful raspberry lemon cheesecake. It takes a little advance prep, but it’s easier than you might think. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get the details in the recipe card below.

making crust, mixing batter, and swirling raspberries
  1. To make the thin crust, spread the butter all over the bottom and sides of the pan. Crush the graham crackers into crumbs and pour them into the pan. Tilt and tap the pan around until it’s coated with crumbs. Then tap out any excess.
  2. Blend the raspberries and the two tablespoons of sugar together until smooth and strain the puree to remove all the seeds.
  3. Beat the cream cheese and gradually add the sugar, eggs, creams, and flavorings. You’ll mix until smooth and creamy without incorporating too much air.
  4. Pour the filling into the crust, pour on the raspberry puree, and swirl. Bake in a water bath (see recipe card for details) and then leave in the oven with the door ajar. Cool, then chill overnight. Your cheesecake is ready!

Expert tips and FAQs


What are the different styles of cheesecake?

People have a lot to say on this topic, and you can read a little bit about it here. This recipe is not strictly New York style — purists have strong opinions about what this style can and cannot be — but in my opinion it draws out the best features of New York Style cheesecake.

It’s dense, creamy, and delicately flavored, without a lot of hoopla, and clearly has its priorities in good order.

Can I make this recipe in advance?

Yes! Not only can you do so, but you must. Cheesecake has a bit of a long timeline. First, all the ingredients have to be at room temperature, so you’ll need to take them out of the fridge several hours before, if not the night before.

The baking process is fairly long, because the cake bakes for about an hour and then rests in the oven (turned off, with the door ajar) for another hour.

Then you’ll need to cool the cake completely, wrap it up, and chill it overnight before slicing and serving.

How do you mix cheesecake batter?

The key is to have all ingredients at room temperature so that they mix easily. After that it’s all about mixing well without incorporating excess air. Refer to the recipe card below for detailed instructions.

How do you slice cheesecake?

Use a big, sharp knife (I use a chef’s knife) and wipe it clean between cuts to get nice neat slices.

How long do leftovers keep?

You can store tightly covered leftovers in a nice cold fridge for up to a week.

Can I substitute other fruits?

Yes! Instead of raspberries, you could use an equal amount of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or cherries.

I consider lemon juice and zest to be integral to classic cheesecake, but you could play with swapping in Meyer lemon, lime, or orange if you like.

More favorite classic desserts

new york style raspberry lemon cheesecake

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4.51 from 231 votes

Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Raspberry lemon cheesecake is sheer perfection. It's smooth and creamy, delicately flavored, and classic.
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Additional Time: 12 hours
Total: 13 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 12
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Ingredients 

For the crust

  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) salted butter
  • 4 sheets graham crackers, for 1/2 cup crumbs

For the raspberry swirl

  • 6 ounces (166 grams) raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar

For the filling

  • 2 pounds (907 grams) cream cheese
  • 1 ⅓ cups (266 grams) sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup (59 ml) heavy cream
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) sour cream
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions 

  • Have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 325°F with a rack in the center. 
  • Spread the butter all over the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
  • Crush the graham crackers into crumbs. You can do this in a sealed plastic bag with a rolling pin or in a food processor. Pour the graham cracker crumbs into the greased pan and tap to distribute them around the bottom and sides, forming a thin crust. Tap out any excess.
  • Place the raspberries and the two tablespoons of sugar into a blender and process until smooth. Pass the puree through a fine-mesh strainer to remove all the seeds.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese for 30 to 60 seconds, just until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Pour in the sugar little by little and beat until smooth and creamy, a minute or two.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Add the heavy cream, sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat briefly, just until combined.
  • Pour creamy filling into crust.
  • Pour raspberry puree over creamy filling. Use a knife to swirl it into the top of the filling any way you like. (Refer to video for visual cues.)
  • Wrap the outside of the pan tightly with foil. Place the pan into a roasting pan or large baking dish. Position the pan on the center oven rack and then carefully pour boiling water into the outer roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.
  • Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until the outsides of the cake are set and the center still jiggles when you move the pan.
  • Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar (you can use a utensil to prop it open). Let the cake rest in the oven for an hour.
  • Remove cake from oven and from water bath. Remove foil. Let cake cool completely in pan.
  • Cover cake and refrigerate overnight to chill through completely.
  • Carefully remove outer ring from cake and serve.

Notes

  1. Starting with all ingredients at room temperature is very important to achieve the creamiest result.
  2. A graham cracker sheet means a whole sheet of four perforated crackers.
  3. To make this recipe gluten-free, use GF graham crackers.
  4. Use the good old cream cheese that comes in 8-ounce blocks. Softer cream cheese in tubs or the whipped kind won’t work.
  5. Tightly covered leftovers keep well in the fridge for up to a week.
  6. This recipe is adapted from Joy of Cooking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 459kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 19g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 152mg, Sodium: 303mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 30g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cakes
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

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Recipe Rating




37 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this cheesecake and it was a total hit! I kept the cheesecake in the middle rack and the water bath in the lowest rack and the results were perfect. I made an amazing crust with 2:1 digestives & butter and I substituted sour cream with 10% fat greek yogurt and got excellent results. Would definitely recommend this recipe.

    1. Wonderful, Sarah. Thank you for the comment! And that’s good to know about the Greek yogurt substitution. Just want to reiterate for others reading that it was the sour cream and NOT the cream cheese for which Sarah substituted full-fat Greek yogurt. I’ve had a few questions to that effect over the years. 🙂

  2. 2 stars
    I made this too and similar to others it was delicious, but didn’t set up properly. wondering how much water should be in the water bath? Mine took almost an en extra hour and it still didn’t present fully formed. Could use more lemon too… A shame…

    1. Hi Kimberly, I truly cannot fathom why this has happened for a few people, but I’m very sorry that you had this experience. All of the ratios in the recipe are correct, and the vast majority of people who make it have success. I would really like to help troubleshoot. Could you share more detailed information about the ingredients you used, and whether you’ve tested your oven temperature? The exact amount of water in the bath should make no difference. Thanks!

    1. Hi Starla, I wouldn’t make that substitution here, since Greek yogurt is more prone to curdling and/or may not allow the cheesecake to set properly.

  3. Question about removing this from the springform pan. The first time I didn’t have an issue because it was just for family so I left it on the metal base of the pan for serving. But I am going to be making it for a bridal shower for a family member to take for a friend so I’d like to take it off of the pan. Last time I had issues because it didn’t seem sturdy enough to take off the pan… Any recommendations on how to remove it from the pan and also the best way to transport it from one place to another? Also, if I were to freeze it, what are your recommendations there?

    1. Line the bottom of springform with parchment paper. You can slide the cheesecakes onto a platter using the edges of the parchment paper.

  4. How far in should the outside of the cake be set?

    I am currently making it for the 3rd time and, although not yet perfect, it disappears SO quickly! We love cheesecake and I’m certain this is the best I’ve ever tried.

    Thank you ?

  5. Just made this for a work Bake Off with lemons being the key ingredient. It wasn’t lemony enough for me or the judges. Next time I think I’ll try using lemon extract as well. That being said, it was a very yummy cheesecake! The texture was so creamy and the raspberry on top was so good!

  6. My cheesecake had been in the oven for over 2 hours and it’s still not set. What am I doing wrong? I’ve made cheesecake a lot! Albeit it’s been a while.

    1. Hi Lauren, I’m surprised to see this and hope it set up eventually! If you used the right ingredients and measured well, the only possibilities I can think of are extreme overmixing (which can break down cream cheese) or oven temperature issues (either from opening the oven too much or because something’s wrong).

  7. Do you need to cook the crust first for ten minutes before adding in the mixture? I’ve had to do that in the past with cheesecakes. Wasn’t sure if I needed to with this one as well. Thank you ?

    1. Nope! It’s a very thin crust that clings to the cheesecake when you bake it — no need to blind bake.