The ultimate no bake lemon cheesecake, this Lemon Meringue Cheesecake has a creamy and silky cheesecake filling inside a biscuit base and is topped with lemon curd and no bake meringue. This is one sure to please your guests.
I grew up with Lemon Meringue Pie and to this day it’s one of my favourite desserts. Crispy pastry, a tangy, sweet lemon curd centre and THAT fluffy, white meringue. I adore it.
This beautiful Lemon Meringue Cheesecake was inspired by that delicious pie and you’ll never believe how easy it is.
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This cheesecake does have a few steps but the majority are incredibly easy. The only one that takes a bit more time is that no bake meringue topping, but it’s still simple to make and the flavour is worth that little bit of effort. Let’s see
- Biscuit base – so simple, just mix biscuit crumbs, ginger and melted butter, then press it into a springform tin.
- The no bake lemon cheesecake filling – this is literally a matter of beating together a handful of ingredients until light and silky smooth.
- The lemon curd – you can use store-bought but I really suggest making your own from scratch (use this Easy Lemon Curd recipe) as even that only takes 10 minutes.
- The no bake meringue – this part requires a little cook on the stove top to pasteurize the egg whites, then just beat it until it’s glossy and whipped. A stand mixer makes this step super simple.
How to make no bake cheesecake
Let’s get to the fun part. Start by making the base which is just some biscuit crumbs, ground ginger salt and melted butter all mixed together.
Tip it into your lined 8 inch springform tin (photo 1) and use a glass to press it out flat all the way round (photo 2). Place it in the fridge to set firmly.
To make the filling you’ll start by gently dissolving some gelatine into lemon juice over low heat – make sure not to let that even come to a simmer.
Now, beat together the cream cheese and sugar together before adding the lemon juice, zest and sour cream (photo 3). I like to use my stand mixer with paddle attachment for this.
Slowly pour the cream in while whisking until it’s all combined (photo 4), then whisk for 2-3 minutes until it’s looking fluffy. To do this, I swap to my whisk attachment
Tip the cheesecake mixture into the base and level it out (photo 5). I like to let it set for an hour or so before spreading over the lemon curd (photo 6). Let it set in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.
How to make no bake meringue
First a tip – when making meringue, always make sure your equipment is perfectly clean and you don’t get any yolk in your egg white, otherwise, they won’t whip.
All the meringue ingredients go into a bowl (photo 7). Again, I like to use my stand mixer for this step, so I place the ingredients into the stand mixer bowl.
Use a hand whisk just to lightly whisk this over a saucepan of simmering water until all the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are opaque and quite warm to the touch (photo 8).
If you want to make extra sure your eggs a pasteurized, this mixture should get to 70C / 160F on a candy thermometer before proceeding. Some people aren’t bothered about eggs being pasteurized and this is completely up to you.
Now, take the meringue off the heat and whisk it until it’s smooth, glossy and increased in volume. It should be coming away from the sides of the bowl. I use my kitchen aid on speed 6 for 4-5 minutes.
Spoon the mixture on top of the set cheesecake (photo 9) and spread out in whichever pattern you like. I then use a kitchen blowtorch to torch the peaks (photo 10) but this step is completely optional.
Why use gelatine in a cheesecake
Gelatine is just one way, of many, to make a cheesecake set to a point that it holds it’s shape when sliced.
This No Bake Lemon Meringue Cheesecake uses gelatine as a setting agent and just enough to get it to hold it’s shape when sliced.
Baked cheesecakes, like this Easy Baked Cheesecake with Fresh Cherry Sauce, use eggs and baking to keep them set.
Some no bake cheesecakes, like my Dulce De Leche White Chocolate Cheesecake, rely on chocolate to set the cake.
And then there are those cheesecakes that just use a higher ratio of cream cheese to keep their shape.
Can you freeze no bake cheesecake
Yes, you can freeze cheesecakes as a general rule. In my experience, baked cheesecake freezes the best of all. This one will freeze but not with the meringue topping, and the cheesecake texture will change slightly and not be so silky.
How to serve this cheesecake
This is an impressive looking dessert but sometimes beauty can bring a challenge. Here’s how to get the best out of this recipe.
- Make the cheesecake portion the day before – I’m just talking the bottom section. This will give the cheesecake plenty of time to set.
- Top it with meringue the day of serving – You can do this the day before but the meringue is best as fresh as possible.
- Cut it straight from the fridge with a sharp knife – If it softens too much before cutting you may have issues getting nice clean slices.
- Serve it as soon as you cut it – With store bought lemon curd, that seems to set softer than my homemade version, the curd can tend to run down the sides of the slices. It makes no difference to the flavour but just doesn’t have the same look.
- Eat it within a day or two – the meringue does tend to melt a little over time, so once you cut slices from the cheesecake, you’ll notice the meringue gradually sliding off the more days it sits in the fridge.
This cheesecake gives 16 serves. Slices larger than that will be very rich and sweet, so be prepared.
This No Bake Lemon Meringue Cheesecake is sweet and unctuous. A soft, smooth centre that melts in your mouth. Sweet and sticky meringue and tangy lemon curd. Believe me when I say a little goes a long way. Slice it thin, and let your guests ask for more.
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No Bake Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
FOR THE BASE
- 250 g (7oz) digestive biscuits
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of salt
- 100 g (3oz) unsalted butter, melted
FOR THE FILLING
FOR THE NO BAKE MERINGUE
- 3 eggwhites room temp
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup (150g / 5.3oz) caster (superfine) sugar
FOR THE LEMON CHEESECAKE
- Grease and line an 8 inch round spring form cake tin with baking paper.
- Blend the biscuits in a food processor until they turn to crumbs (or just place the biscuits in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin). Add the ginger, salt and pulse to combine then, finally, add the melted butter and blitz again until combined.
- Press the crumb mixture into the base and up the sides of the prepared tin until it’s about 3 inches up the side and about 3-4mm thick. Pay attention to the corners where the crumb mixture can get quite thick. Use a glass with straight sides to press the base and sides until it's quite firm then place in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
- In a small saucepan sprinkle the gelatine over the lemon juice and let it sit for a couple of minutes until it gets wrinkly on top (notes). Heat over low heat stirring constantly until the gelatine has dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Using a stand mixer (if you have one) with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar together on medium until creamy and smooth. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice mixture and sour cream and beat through until fully combined. Scrape down the sides with a spatula.
- If using a stand mixer, swap from the paddle attachment to the whisk attachment. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the cold cream (notes). Once all the cream is added turn the mixer to medium high and let it whip for 2-3 minutes until it's looking fluffy.
- Tip the cheesecake mixture into your prepared base and spread over evenly making sure to leave at least a 5mm gap between the top of the filling and the top of the biscuit case (this will allow room for the lemon curd).
- Place in fridge to set for at least 2 hours. (If you're making your own lemon curd, this is a good time to do that).
- Once the cheesecake has set for a couple of hours, spread over the lemon curd level with the top of the biscuit base.
FOR THE NO BAKE MERINGUE
- Place the egg whites, cream of tartar and sugar in a large heatproof bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) set over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the base is not touching the water). Whisk the mixture with a hand whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved (the temperature should reach 70C / 160F on a thermometer to be pasteurized).
- Remove the bowl and whisk on medium-high speed with a hand beater or using the stand mixer (with whisk attachment) for 4-5 minutes until thick and glossy and until the bowl is no longer hot).
- Dollop the frosting on top of the set cheesecake and carefully create swirls so that it looks cloud-like. Don't be too rough as you may displace the lemon curd.
- Use a kitchen torch to scorch the top a little to give it a true lemon meringue look.
- Scrape down the bowl. While beating the filling, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl often to keep the mixture smooth and well combined.
- Wrinkly gelatine? It's important to get the wrinkly top on the gelatine before heating. This is caused by the gelatine softening and beginning to absorb the liquid which means it will dissolve better once you apply heat and stir.
- Add the cream slowly. This is important as it is cold and if you add it too quickly it will cause the cream cheese to start setting and you may end up with a lumpy mixture. Add it slowly and it blends in perfectly. (If you look closely in my video, you can see little lumps in the cheesecake because I added the cold cream all at once).
- Too much filling? If the sides of the cheesecake base are not high enough, you might not fit all the filling into it. No problem though, just crumble up some more biscuit by hand and drop it into some paper cupcake cases. Pour any filling over the top and let them set. You could even freeze these and have mini frozen cheesecakes when you need a refreshing treat on a hot day.
- No kitchen torch, no problem. Torching the top is totally optional and just for aesthetics. You may prefer the look of the meringue bright white too.
- Lemon Curd: Use this Easy Lemon Curd recipe to make your own from scratch - it only takes 10 minutes.
TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE
- A stand mixer makes whisking the meringue very easy
- An 8 inch round springform tin
- A silicone spatula will make sure nothing gets left behind
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