I love this simple recipe, it’s my go-to for a quick and easy cream cheese pie recipe. The lemony tartness in the topping compliments the delicious cream cheese filling nicely and it's made without condensed milk. My lemon cream cheese pie is creamy with a perfect flavor balance between sweet and tangy.
Such a great classic cream cheese pie recipe just as is or you can your favorite fruit topping.
What you need to make the cheese pie:
- Graham Crackers: Plain graham crackers work best, the frosted crackers are just too sweet for me. For something different you can use chocolate wafers or another light cookie.
- Butter: Salted or unsalted butter is fine, just make sure that all the graham cracker crumbs are thoroughly coated with the melted butter.
- Cream Cheese: Philadelphia brand cream cheese is what I've always used but you can substitute your favorite brand or try a Neufchâtel cheese which is similar to cream cheese and makes a nice cheesecake.
- Eggs: Regular large eggs should be room temperature.
- Sugar: use a standard white granulated sugar.
- Vanilla Extract: Use pure vanilla extract or a vanilla paste. Lemon extract can also be used. Alternately you can use fresh squeezed lemon juice for a little extra lemon flavor.
- Sour Cream: Greek yogurt is an excellent substitute for the sour cream.
- Lemon Curd: homemade lemon curd is simple to make using a pre-made curd will save a little time.
Making the Graham Cracker Crust
Making crust for a cheesecake is incredibly easy! I use a simple basic graham cracker crust recipe that I've used forever. You can also add a little vanilla or lemon extract to the crust mixture for some added flavor.
All of the cheesecake crusts I use require crushing the ingredient into a fine crumb. Two common ways to crush your graham crackers ;
- Use a small food processor on pulse to the desired consistency. This is the most time-efficient manner but if you don't have a food processor, try the rolling pin method.
- Use a rolling pin to crush the ingredient. First, break up the graham crackers into small pieces and place in a large zippered storage bag. Lay the bag flat and start rolling, turn over a few times until finely crushed. Alternately you can cut two large pieces of parchment paper and place the small bits and pieces in between and start rolling.
I use the rolling pin method most often since I find it relaxing and it reminds me of being in the kitchen with my Mom. I think I made my first graham cracker crust at the age of 6!
Next press the crumbs into the pie pan and set aside.
Crust Shortcut: Use an already made graham cracker crust available in the baking aisle of most grocery stores.
Mix Up the Cream Cheese Pie Filling
Put all the filling ingredients into a large bowl and using a hand mixer, beat low speed for a couple of minutes until the cream cheese mixture is light and creamy. For extra lemon flavor substitute one teaspoon of lemon paste for the vanilla extract.
While the pie is baking mix up the lemon sour cream topping.
Make the Lemon and Sour Cream Topping
Another really simple process, in a medium bowl and mix up the sour cream, vanilla extract, and sugar until smooth and the sugar is dissolved. I usually just use a wooden spoon because that's how Mom made it. When cooking in my small kitchen I try to use the fewest amount of appliances possible.
Finishing the Cream Cheese Pie
When you remove the pie from the oven let it cool down for about 5-10 minutes, then spread a layer of lemon curd and then the sour cream topping over the pie filling and return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours before serving.
When it comes to cooking with cream cheeses, well it's my wheelhouse, so I hope you enjoy my cream cheese pie recipe as much as I do!
Neufchâtel is a soft, white cheese that is made from cow's milk. It has a creamy, smooth texture and a mild, slightly tangy flavor. It is similar to cream cheese, but has a slightly lower fat content. Neufchâtel is popular as a spread or in recipes that call for cream cheese and work great in cheesecakes.
More Creamy and Lemony Desserts
Cream Cheese Pie with Lemon and Sour Cream Topping
- 10 sheets graham crackers ground fine
- ¼ cup butter melted
- 12 ounces cream cheese
- 2 eggs beaten
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract
- ¼ cup lemon curd
- Crush the graham cracker crumbs in a blender or food processor until finely ground.
- In a medium bowl combine graham cracker crumbs and butter then mix until moistened.
- Pat the crumbs into a 9 inch pie pan.
- In a larger bowl combine all the filling ingredients and beat on low until ingredients are light and frothy.
- Pour into the prepared pie pan.
- Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes.
- Spoon a light layer of lemon curd and top with the sour cream topping. Return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and chill in refrigerator for a minimum of 5 hours before serving.
- In a medium bowl blend the sour cream, sugar and vanilla until well combined smooth.
- Greek yogurt is an excellent substitute for the sour cream.
- Low fat cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese can be used as a substitute for full-fat cream cheese.