Key Lime Cheesecake

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Tropical, tangy, and irresistibly smooth, this Key Lime Cheesecake is the perfect dessert for any occasion. With a buttery graham cracker crust and a creamy filling infused with the zest and juice of key limes, this cheesecake is a symphony of flavors that dance on your palate.

a fork cutting into a slice of key lime cheesecake
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a slice of key lime cheesecake on a plate with a dollop of whipped cream and lime slices on top

Cheesecake Factory Key Lime Cheesecake

A delightful treat for those warm summer days, or whenever you want to bring a burst of sunshine into your kitchen, this Key Lime Cheesecake is sure to impress with its perfect balance of sweet and tart. Sit back, take a bite, and let this dessert transport you to a sunny beachside paradise!

This cheesecake is based off the classic Cheesecake Factory recipe – but instantly takes me to the beaches of Florida!

a slice of key lime cheesecake on a plate with a dollop of whipped cream and lime slices on top

How to Make Key Lime Cheesecake

To make this recipe, we will need the following ingredients:

Crust:

  • Graham Cracker crumbs: This is the base of the crust, providing a sweet, crumbly texture that contrasts nicely with the smooth cheesecake filling.
  • Granulated Sugar: Adds a touch more sweetness to the crust.
  • Melted Butter: Binds the crust ingredients together and adds a rich, savory flavor.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavors of the crust and contrasts with the sweetness.

Cheesecake Filling:

  • Cream Cheese: This is the main ingredient of the filling, offering a rich, creamy texture and tangy flavor.
  • Greek Yogurt: Adds extra creaminess and tang, and can help lighten the texture a bit.
  • Granulated Sugar: Sweetens the filling.
  • Cornstarch: Helps stabilize the filling and reduce the risk of cracks.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds depth of flavor and enhances the sweetness.
  • Lime Juice: Provides the key lime flavor. This is where the tangy flavor in contrast to the sweet comes in.
  • Lime Zest: Offers a fragrant, concentrated lime flavor that complements the juice.
  • Eggs: These act as the binding agent for the cheesecake, helping to set the filling as it bakes.

Whipped Cream:

  • Heavy Whipping Cream: This is whipped to create a light, fluffy topping that adds a refreshing contrast to the denser cheesecake.
  • Confectioners’ Sugar: Sweetens the whipped cream and helps stabilize it.
  • Lime Zest or Slices: These are optional garnishes that enhance the presentation and add a pop of color and additional lime flavor.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following process:

Prep

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and add a roasting pan or other large pan in the lower section of the oven to make a hot water bath. Place enough hot water in the pan that it will rise to 1-2 inches around the cheesecake springform pan. Spray the pan springform pan with cooking spray.
  2. Using 18-inch heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap the outside of your springform pan with 4 layers of foil, to ensure no water leaks into the cheesecake as it bakes in the water bath.

Crust

  1. Pulse the Graham Crackers in a food processor until they are fine crumbs. Place in a bowl and add the Sugar, melted Butter and Salt, and blend until combined. For a great mixture, blend them with an electric mixer.
  2. Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared springform pan and press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Be careful to get an even layer of crust. It’s best to use a glass or measuring cup to get an even, hard-packed crust, and keep buildup out of the corner.
  3. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow crust to cool completely.

Cheesecake Filling

  1. Put the Cream Cheese in a bowl and whisk briefly on low speed. Add the Yogurt, Sugar, Corn Starch, Vanilla, Lime Juice and Lime Zest and just stir until the ingredients are mixed, scraping down the bowl. Don’t overmix.
  2. Add the Eggs one at a time, to the cream cheese mixture, on slow speed, scraping down the bowl.
  3. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the baked cookie crust. Spread evenly.
  4. Place the cheesecake in the water bath in the oven, being careful not to touch the very hot water. Bake for approx. 70 minutes (don’t open the oven door to check on it during baking). The cheesecake will be done when the center is still a little jiggly when you gently shake the pan, but the outer edges seem firm. When it’s baked, turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside for an hour, making a small opening in the oven door by placing a wooden spoon in it. This slow cool down process reduces the chances of cracking the surface of the cheesecake.
  5. Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool completely, then put it in the fridge for at least 5 hours (overnight is best).

Whipped Cream

11. Place Cream in an electric mixer bowl and whip at high speed for a minute or two, slowly adding the Confectioners’ Sugar until combined. Whipped Cream will be fluffy and come to stiff peaks.

Serve

12. Carefully remove the springform pan, first running a small knife blade around the outer edge. Cut into slices, and serve with whipped cream, and garnish with Lemon Zest or slices.

a slice of key lime cheesecake on a plate with a dollop of whipped cream and lime slices on top

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Key Lime Cheesecake

Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality ingredients for the best results. Fresh key limes are ideal if you can find them, but bottled key lime juice can work in a pinch.

Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure your cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream (if using) are at room temperature before you begin. This will help achieve a smooth and creamy filling without lumps.

Crust: For a crisp crust, pre-bake it for a few minutes before adding the filling. Also, compact the crust evenly on the bottom and slightly up the sides of your springform pan to hold the filling well.

Avoid Overmixing: Once you add the eggs, mix as little as possible to prevent incorporating too much air, which can lead to cracks.

Water Bath: Baking your cheesecake in a water bath can help prevent cracks and ensure an evenly baked cheesecake. Wrap your springform pan in foil to avoid any water seeping into the pan.

Don’t Overbake: The center of the cheesecake should still wobble a bit when you remove it from the oven; it will continue to cook as it cools. Overbaking can lead to a dry texture and cracks.

Cool Gradually: Avoid drastic temperature changes that can cause the cheesecake to crack. Once baked, let the cheesecake cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar, then on the counter until it reaches room temperature, and finally chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.

Serving: Consider garnishing with fresh whipped cream, lime slices, or zest to enhance the presentation.

a slice of key lime cheesecake on a plate with a dollop of whipped cream and lime slices on top

FAQs

Can I use regular limes instead of key limes?

Yes, you can use regular limes if key limes are not available. Key limes are smaller, rounder, and have a more tart and aromatic flavor than regular limes, but regular limes will still produce a delicious cheesecake.

How can I prevent my cheesecake from cracking?

Cracks are usually caused by overcooking or sudden temperature changes. Avoid overbeating the eggs, as this can incorporate too much air and lead to cracks. Using a water bath during baking and letting the cheesecake cool gradually in the oven before moving it to the countertop can also help prevent cracking.

How long should I bake the cheesecake?

The baking time can vary depending on your oven and the size of your springform pan, but it’s generally around 60-70 minutes for a 9-inch cheesecake. The cheesecake is done when the edges are set and the center is slightly wobbly.

Can I make this cheesecake ahead of time?

Yes, cheesecake is a great dessert to make ahead. In fact, it’s recommended to refrigerate it for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight, before serving to let it fully set and allow the flavors to meld together.

Can I freeze the cheesecake?

Yes, you can freeze the cheesecake for up to 3 months. Just make sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.

Why do I need to use room-temperature ingredients?

Room temperature ingredients blend together more smoothly, resulting in a creamier texture. If your ingredients are too cold, you might end up with a lumpy cheesecake batter.

Can I use a different crust instead of a graham cracker?

Yes, you can substitute the graham crackers with other similar biscuits or cookies like digestive biscuits or vanilla wafers. Just make sure to adjust the sugar and butter as necessary based on the sweetness and texture of the substitute.

slices of key lime cheesecake on a white plate with whipped cream dollop and a slice of key lime on top

What to Serve With Key Lime Cheesecake

Coffee or Espresso: The bitterness of coffee or espresso balances out the sweetness of the cheesecake, making it a classic pairing.

Fruit: Fresh berries or a mixed fruit salad can provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of the cheesecake. Tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, or coconut can also complement the key lime flavor.

Sorbet or Gelato: A small scoop of lemon, coconut or mango sorbet or gelato can make for a refreshing palate cleanser.

After-Dinner Drinks: Dessert wines, such as Moscato or Sauternes, can complement the sweet and tart flavor of the cheesecake. For a non-alcoholic option, a mint or chamomile tea would work well.

Whipped Cream or Meringue: If your cheesecake doesn’t already have it, a dollop of whipped cream or a spoonful of meringue can add a creamy contrast. You can even torch the meringue for a delightful toasted flavor.

Dessert Sauces: Drizzle a bit of raspberry coulis, strawberry sauce, or even a caramel or chocolate sauce for extra flavor and a touch of elegance.

slices of key lime cheesecake on a white plate with whipped cream dollop and a slice of key lime on top

Key Lime Cheesecake

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a slice of key lime cheesecake on a plate with a dollop of whipped cream and lime slices on top

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a fork cutting into a slice of key lime cheesecake with a dollop of whipped cream and a slice of key lime on top
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Key Lime Cheesecake

Delicious easy cheesecake loaded with key lime flavor – just like Cheesecake Factory Key Lime Cheesecake!
Course cakes
Cuisine American
Keyword baking, cake, cheesecake, dessert, key lime, lime, summer
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cool in Oven Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 10 slices
Calories 637kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 ½ cups Graham Cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated Sugar
  • ½ cup melted Butter
  • ½ teaspoon Salt

Cheesecake Filling

  • 24 oz. Cream Cheese room temperature
  • ½ cup Greek Yogurt room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup Lime Juice
  • Zest of 1 Lime
  • 4 large Eggs room temperature

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping Cream
  • ¼ cup Confectioners’ Sugar
  • Lime Zest or slices for garnish optional

Instructions

  • Prep: Preheat the oven to 350° F and add a roasting pan or other large pan in the lower section of the oven to make a hot water bath. Place enough hot water in the pan that it will rise to 1-2 inches around the cheesecake springform pan. Spray the pan springform pan with cooking spray.
  • Using 18-inch heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap the outside of your springform pan with 4 layers of foil, to ensure no water leaks into the cheesecake as it bakes in the water bath.
  • Crust: Pulse the Graham Crackers in a food processor until they are fine crumbs. Place in a bowl and add the Sugar, melted Butter and Salt, and blend until combined. For a great mixture, blend them with an electric mixer.
  • Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared springform pan and press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Be careful to get an even layer of crust. It’s best to use a glass or measuring cup to get an even, hard-packed crust, and keep buildup out of the corner.
  • Bake crust for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow crust to cool completely.
  • Cheesecake Filling: Put the Cream Cheese in a bowl and whisk briefly on low speed. Add the Yogurt, Sugar, Corn Starch, Vanilla, Lime Juice and Lime Zest and just stir until the ingredients are mixed, scraping down the bowl. Don’t overmix.
  • Add the Eggs one at a time, to the cream cheese mixture, on slow speed, scraping down the bowl.
  • Pour the cream cheese mixture into the baked cookie crust. Spread evenly.
  • Place the cheesecake in the water bath in the oven, being careful not to touch the very hot water.
  • Bake for approx. 70 minutes (don’t open the oven door to check on it during baking). The cheesecake will be done when the center is still a little jiggly when you gently shake the pan, but the outer edges seem firm. When it’s baked, turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside for an hour, making a small opening in the oven door by placing a wooden spoon in it. This slow cool down process reduces the chances of cracking the surface of the cheesecake.
  • Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool completely, then put it in the fridge for at least 5 hours (overnight is best).
  • Whipped Cream: Place Cream in an electric mixer bowl and whip at high speed for a minute or two, slowly adding the Confectioners’ Sugar until combined. Whipped Cream will be fluffy and come to stiff peaks.
  • Serve: Carefully remove the springform pan, first running a small knife blade around the outer edge. Cut into slices, and serve with whipped cream, and garnish with Lemon Zest or slices.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 637kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 195mg | Sodium: 529mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 34g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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