Key Lime Cheesecake

12 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Chilling Time 4 hours
Total Time 5 hours 15 minutes

Key Lime Cheesecake is the perfect dessert for key lime lovers! A rich, creamy cheesecake full of real key lime flavor with fresh lime juice.

If Key Lime Pie is one of your favorite Desserts, you are going to love this tart Cheesecake Recipe! It has all the sweet, tangy citrus flavor and creaminess of custard but with the decadent richness of cheesecake!

Key Lime Pie Cheesecake is perfect for summer celebrations or any special occasion where you want a beautiful dessert full of bright citrus flavor. The great thing about the Stabilized Whip Cream topping is that it won’t melt so it’s a perfect cheesecake to make ahead of an event too. If you love the tart and creamy flavor of this Key Lime Cheesecake recipe, be sure to try out Lemon Cheesecake and Key Lime Cheesecake Bars too!

Sabrina’s Key Lime Cheesecake Recipe

This Key Lime Cheesecake is the perfect dessert for those who appreciate the tangy yet sweet flavors of key limes. The bold, bright taste comes from real citrus juice and key lime zest in the cheesecake batter plus more lime zest and lime slices as a garnish. Key lime pies aren’t all tartness though, they have a milky sweetness from condensed milk and that same sweet, creamy flavor is added to the key lime cheesecake batter too. It really does taste exactly like a Key Lime Pie-Cheesecake combo.

My rich, creamy Key Lime Cheesecake recipe starts out like any other classic cheesecake recipe with a cream cheese and egg custard base. Instead of sour cream like in other baked cheesecakes, the Key Lime Cheesecake filling is made with sweetened condensed milk. Next comes the key lime zest and juice for tons of real key lime flavor. Whip cream piped around the edges with fresh key lime slices is a gorgeous presentation that lets folks know every bite of cheesecake will have the amazing flavor of key lime pies.

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients

  • 3 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs: These crumbs provide the base for the cheesecake crust, offering a crunchy texture and sweet flavor. You can substitute with crushed digestive biscuits or vanilla wafers if graham crackers aren’t available.
  • ½ cup Sugar: Adds sweetness to both the crust and the filling. Granulated sugar or caster sugar works well in this recipe.
  • 12 tablespoons Unsalted Butter: Melted butter binds the graham cracker crumbs together to form the crust. You can use salted butter if that’s what you have.

Cheesecake Filling Ingredients

  • 24 ounces Cream Cheese: Make sure your cream cheese is softened before starting so that it whips easily with the eggs and milk for a lighter, creamier filling. Use full-fat cream cheese, this dessert is meant to be rich and indulgent!
  • 1 cup Sugar: Sweetens the filling and contributes to its smooth texture.
  • 3 large Eggs: Eggs not only make the cheesecake filling extra rich but they are what give the cheesecake structure. It’s important to allow the cheesecake to chill slowly, first at room temperature and then in the fridge so the eggs have time to set properly and you don’t get cracks.
  • 14 ounces Sweetened Condensed Milk: One of the things that sets key lime pie filling apart is the addition of sweetened condensed milk. Not only does it add sweetness, it has an extra rich creamy flavor.
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract: Enhances the flavor of the cheesecake with its warm, aromatic notes.
  • ¾ cup Key Lime Juice: Provides the distinctive tangy flavor of key limes, giving the cheesecake its signature taste. If you can’t find key limes, regular lime juice can be substituted.
  • 1 tablespoon Lime Zest: Adds bright citrus flavor and aroma to the filling. Be sure to zest the limes before juicing them.
  • 2 tablespoons Flour: The flour helps stabilize the cheesecake filling and prevents it from cracking during baking so you don’t need a water bath, and it helps with the structure along with the eggs.

Stabilized Whipped Cream Ingredients

  • 8-ounce Cream Cheese: Forms the base of the stabilized whipped cream, adding richness and creaminess.
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar: Sweetens and stabilizes the whipped cream, ensuring it holds its shape when piped onto the cheesecake.
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract: Adds flavor to the whipped cream and complements the other ingredients.
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream: Whips up into a light, fluffy topping for the cheesecake. Make sure it’s well chilled before whipping for best results.

Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Stand Mixer: An electric mixer with a paddle attachment is needed to efficiently mix the cheesecake filling ingredients until smooth and creamy. If you don’t have a stand mixer, a hand mixer can be used, but it may require a bit more effort and time.
  • 9-Inch Springform Pan: This specialized pan is crucial for baking the cheesecake. Its removable bottom and adjustable sides make it easy to remove the cheesecake without damaging its delicate texture. Be sure to properly grease the pan before adding the crust mixture to prevent sticking.
  • Mixing Bowls: Multiple mixing bowls in various sizes are handy for preparing different components of the recipe, such as the crust, filling, and whipped cream.
  • Zester/Grater: A zester or grater is necessary for getting the zest from the limes, which adds the citrus flavor to the cheesecake filling. Be careful to only zest the outer, colored part of the lime skin, avoiding the bitter white pith underneath.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurement is crucial for baking success.

How to Make Key Lime Cheesecake

Time needed: 5 hours and 15 minutes.

  1. Prepare Graham Cracker Crust

    Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into a greased 9-inch springform pan, covering the bottom and sides evenly.

  2. Make Cheesecake Filling

    In a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, key lime juice, lime zest, and flour. Mix until smooth.adding key lime juice to mixing bowl

  3. Bake Cheesecake

    Pour the batter into the graham cracker crust and spread the top to even it out. Bake for 50-55 minutes in the center of the oven. It should be set and firm without much jiggle. Cool to room temperature then chill completely in the refrigerator. pouring key lime cheesecake filling into pie cruse

  4. Prepare Stabilized Whipped Cream

    Whip the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a stand mixer for 1 minute on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a separate bowl. Add the heavy cream and vanilla to the mixer and beat until soft peaks on high. Return the cream cheese mixture to the cream mixture and beat until creamy.adding cream to top of cheesecake

  5. Serve

    Place the whipped cream in a piping bag and pipe mounds around the edges. Add a thin slice of lime to each mound and garnish with fresh lime zest. Serve chilled. Refrigerate any leftovers for up to several days.Whole Key Lime Cheesecake

How to Make a Water Bath

  • Wrap your 9-inch springform pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Wrap it completely with two layers of foil to block any water from getting to your Key Lime Cheesecake filling.
  • Press your graham cracker crust into the prepared pan and fill with the batter as usual.
  • Place the wrapped pan in a larger pan like a roaster pan.
  • Fill the larger pan with an inch of water around the sides of the cheesecake pan, careful not to splash any water on the filling.
  • Carefully place the water bath on an oven rack in the center of the oven.
  • When the cheesecake is done baking, crack the oven door and cool the cheesecake slowly for one hour before removing and cooling completely.

Can This Be Made Ahead?

Absolutely! Key Lime Cheesecake is an excellent dessert to prepare in advance, making it a convenient ready-to-go option for special occasions. It also needs about 4 hours of chill time to completely set, so be sure to factor that in. You can follow these steps to make it farther in advance:

  • Prepare the cheesecake according to the recipe instructions, including the graham cracker crust and cheesecake filling.
  • After baking, cool cheesecake completely then wrap tightly with plastic wrap then a layer of aluminum foil.
  • Refrigerate it for up to 2-3 days before serving. You can also freeze the Key Lime Pie Cheesecake for up to 3 months.
  • When you’re ready to serve, prepare the stabilized whipped cream and garnish the cheesecake just before serving.

Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Key Lime Cheesecake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 861 Calories from Fat 522
% Daily Value*
Fat 58g89%
Saturated Fat 34g213%
Trans Fat 0.5g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 15g
Cholesterol 209mg70%
Sodium 449mg20%
Potassium 340mg10%
Carbohydrates 77g26%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 62g69%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 2112IU42%
Vitamin C 6mg7%
Calcium 223mg22%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

How to Store Cheesecake

Storing

Let the cheesecake cool completely at room temperature before refrigerating to chill completely. The chilling time is about 4 hours plus the time it takes to cool from the oven. Once it’s chilled, serve with whipped cream and lime slices. Keep cheesecake in the refrigerator when you’re not serving it. Tent the cake plate with aluminum foil or transfer it to an airtight container and store it for up to 4 days.

Freezing

If you want to store Key Lime Cheesecake for longer, it freezes better without the whipped cream topping. Wrap the cheesecake securely in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, or use an airtight container. Label with the date and freeze for 2-3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight then garnish and serve as usual.

Frequent Questions

Do you need to use a water bath for this cheesecake?

You don’t have to use a hot water bath to make this cheesecake because it has a little flour added. If you’re afraid of cheesecake cracks or you want to omit the flour, you can certainly use a water bath. There are instructions for a water bath included in this post. 

Is this cheesecake freezer-friendly?

Yes, Key Lime Cheesecake is very freezer-friendly! It’s best to freeze it without the topping then thaw it and add them right before serving. It will last in the freezer for about 3 months.

What can I substitute for key lime juice?

Regular lime juice or a combination of lemon and lime juice can be used as a substitute for key lime juice, but it should be noted that the flavor will be slightly different.

Can I use regular whipped cream?

While you can use regular Whipped Cream, stabilized whipped cream holds its shape better and won’t deflate over time. Plus the whipped cream cheese adds more delicious tangy flavor to this Key Lime Pie Cheesecake recipe!

What are Key limes?

Key limes are small citrus fruits known for their tart, floral flavor. They’re smaller than Persian limes and have thin, yellow-green rinds with fewer seeds. Key limes are commonly used in desserts like this Key Lime Cheesecake for their unique taste. They’re primarily grown in Mexico and the Florida Keys.

Recipe Card

Key Lime Cheesecake

Key Lime Cheesecake is the perfect dessert for key lime lovers! A rich, creamy cheesecake full of real key lime flavor with fresh lime juice.
Yield 12 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs , (24 full crackers)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted

Cheesecake Filling:

  • 24 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Key lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons flour

Stabilized Whipped Cream:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream

Instructions

Graham Cracker Crust:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray a 9 inch springform pan with baking spray.
  • Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter together then press it into the pan and up the sides in an even layer.

Key Lime Cheesecake:

  • To your stand mixer add the cream cheese and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy.
  • Lower the speed to medium and add in the eggs, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, key lime juice, lime zest, and flour until smooth.
  • Carefully spread the mixture on the crust.
  • Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until set and firm.
  • Chill completely before serving.

Stabilized Whipped Cream:

  • Add the cream cheese and powdered sugar to your stand mixer at medium speed for 1 minute until stiff peaks form. Remove from stand mixer and set aside. ]
  • Add the heavy cream and vanilla to the stand mixer and beat on high speed until soft peaks form.
  • Add in the cream cheese mixture and beat on medium speed until creamy, 1-2 minutes.
  • Pipe onto the cheesecake and garnish with lime zest.

Notes

  • Click on the yield amount to slide and change the number of servings and the recipe will automatically update!
  • Click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.
  • To convert measurements to grams, click on the Metric option next to Ingredients in the recipe card.

Nutrition

Calories: 861kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 58g | Saturated Fat: 34g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 209mg | Sodium: 449mg | Potassium: 340mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 62g | Vitamin A: 2112IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 223mg | Iron: 1mg

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Variations on Key Lime Cheesecake

  • Crust: Instead of graham crackers, try buttery or vanilla-flavored cookies like Shortbread Cookies, vanilla wafer cookies, or Golden Oreos. Crush the cookies into crumbs and make the crust as usual.
  • Chocolate: For a decadent twist, add a layer of Chocolate Ganache on top of the key lime cheesecake. Pour it on the top while the cake is still in the pan and allow to set completely for a cleaner presentation.
  • Lemon: Pump up the citrus flavor by swapping half the key lime juice with lemon juice. Use thin lemon slices or lemon peel twists with the lime slices as a garnish to show off the lemon-lime flavor inside.

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About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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