Mini Lemon Meringue Cheesecakes

Featuring a buttery graham cracker crust and toasted meringue topping, these Mini Lemon Meringue Cheesecakes are pure bliss!

Mini Lemon Meringue Cheesecakes are our favorite way to greet the coming warmer months! The lemon cheesecake is light and bursting with fresh citrusy flavor, making it the perfect complement to the creamy toasted meringue topping!

And if you’re looking for more mini cheesecake inspiration make sure you check out our Mini Nutella Cheesecakes, Mini S’mores Cheesecakes and Mini Oreo Cheesecakes!

Individual sized lemon meringue cheesecake.

Key recipe ingredients

These mini lemon meringue cheesecakes use my absolute favorite lemon cheesecake recipe. It’s not one of those cheesecakes with just a hint of lemon. These mini cheesecakes get a double burst of citrus from both lemon juice and lemon zest!

  • Graham Crackers: Graham crackers provide the perfect base for these mini lemon meringue cheesecakes.
  • Cream cheese: Use full-fat cream cheese at room temperature.
  • Sour cream: Sour cream adds an extra dimension of tanginess and richness to the lemon cheesecake.
  • Lemon: You’ll need 1/4 cup (60 ml) of lemon juice and the zest of one whole lemon. Rub the zest into the sugar before adding it to the batter. This enhances the lemon flavor and ensure the zest is evenly distributed throughout the cheesecake.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar is used in the cheesecakes and the meringue topping.
  • Eggs: Two whole eggs provide structure in the baked lemon cheesecakes. You’ll also need three egg whites for the meringue topping.
  • Cream of tartar: I add a bit of cream of tartar to help stabilize the meringue, but you can skip it if you don’t have any on hand.

Substitutions and variations

Crust: Instead of graham crackers, use digestive biscuits or shortbread cookies for the crust.

Cheesecake filling: For another citrusy variation, try substituting the lemon for lime zest and juice!

Meringue topping: Use various piping tips to decorate your mini lemon meringue cheesecakes with rosettes or swirls.

Step by step instructions

Mini lemon cheesecakes

Graham cracker crust in cupcake liners in muffin tin.

Step 1: Make the crust. The crust consists of just graham crackers, melted butter and salt.

Cream cheese in mixing bowl after beating.

Step 2: Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Use room temperature cream cheese to ensure there are no lumps.

Rubbing lemon zest into sugar.

Step 3: Add the sugar, lemon zest and flour. First rub the lemon zest into the sugar to intensify the lemon flavor and make sure it’s evenly distributed.

Egg in lemon cheesecake batter.

Step 4: Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon juice and eggs. The eggs should be added last. Mix just until fully incorporated.

Unbaked mini lemon cheesecakes in tin.

Step 5: Divide among the cupcake liners. Pour the cheesecake batter into the liners until almost completely full.

Baked mini lemon cheesecakes.

Step 6: Bake and chill. Once the cheesecakes come to room temperature, transfer to the fridge for at least three hours before adding the topping.

Meringue topping

Frothy egg whites in mixing bowl.

Step 1: Cook the egg whites and sugar over a double boiler until the mixture reaches 160°F (71°C).

Finished meringue on whisk attachment with stiff picks.

Step 2: Whip the mixture at a high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. 

Double broiler: To set up your double boiler, fill a saucepan with an inch or two of water and place it on your stove over low heat (we want it to remain at a simmer). Then place your mixing bowl (metal works best) over the saucepan, making sure it’s not touching the water. This method gently heats the egg whites without cooking them.

To assemble, simply transfer the mixture to a pastry bag and pipe the meringue onto your chilled cheesecakes. Then use a kitchen torch to lightly toast the edges of your meringue for a delicious caramelized finish!

Meringue topping on lemon cheesecake after toasting with kitchen torch.

Storage and freezing

Mini lemon meringue cheesecakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

The lemon cheesecakes can also be frozen for up to two months. I don’t recommend storing the decorated cheesecakes in the fridge, as the meringue can deflate. Defrost the lemon cheesecakes in the fridge overnight and add the meringue topping on the day of serving.

Expert tips and tricks

  • Full-fat cream cheese and sour cream are the only way to go for this cheesecake!
  • Make sure to add the eggs to the mixture last and beat them just until incorporated. Overbeating the eggs will add more air to your mixture which can cause cracks and affect the texture of the cheesecake.
  • These mini cheesecakes will probably be done sooner than you think! Take them out of the oven as soon as the edges seem mostly set. The center will still be a bit jiggly.
cheesecake cut in half

FAQ

How do I know when the mini cheesecakes are done?

Taking your cheesecakes out at the right moment is key to not overcooking them, which can make the texture a bit dry. You’ll know they’re done when the edges look set, but the center is still jiggly. While we suggest 18-20 minutes for baking, don’t hesitate to take them out right at the 18 minute mark if they look ready!

How can I make sure the lemon filling is smooth and creamy?

Using full-fat cream cheese in brick form (not from a tub) is the best way to ensure a creamy cheesecake! To avoid lumps in your cheesecake, make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature. If you forget to set your cream cheese out, you can place it in a bowl and microwave it on 50% power in ten second increments until softened.

I don’t have a kitchen torch – is there another way to toast the meringue?

The meringue is delicious without toasting so you can definitely skip this step if you prefer! Alternatively, you can place the cheesecakes under your oven broiler very briefly, but you won’t want to leave them in there for more than a minute. If you decide to try this method, I suggest testing it with one cheesecake before placing the whole batch under the broiler.

Can the meringue topping be frozen?

The lemon cheesecakes can be frozen, but I don’t recommend freezing the meringue topping as it can sometimes deflate.

Print
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Mini lemon cheesecakes with toasted meringue topping.

Mini Lemon Meringue Cheesecakes Recipe


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Brit Kapustina
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 12
    • Prep Time: 30 minutes
    • Cook Time: 25 minutes
    • Category: Dessert
    • Method: Cheesecake
    • Cuisine: Global

Ingredients

Crust

  • ¾ cup (90 grams) graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons (40 grams) unsalted butter, melted

Lemon Cheesecake

  • 12 ounces (350 grams) full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) lemon juice
  • lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 large eggs

Meringue Topping

  • 3 large egg whites
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar*
  • pinch of kosher salt

Instructions

Mini Lemon Cheesecakes

  1. Preheat oven to 320°F (160°C) and line a standard muffin tin with 12 liners.
  2. Prepare graham cracker crust. In a small bowl combine the finely crushed graham crackers, salt and melted butter until completely coated. Divide the mixture evenly among the liners, pressing down to form the crust.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove and let cool.
  4. Make the lemon cheesecake filling. Beat the room temperature cream cheese in a mixing bowl until smooth.
  5. Rub the lemon zest into the sugar. Add the lemon sugar and flour to the cream cheese. Continue beating until light and fluffy.
  6. Mix in the sour cream, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Beat until fully incorporated.
  7. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until just combined.
  8. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared tin and bake for 18-20 minutes. The center of the cheesecake should still jiggle when gently moved.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before adding the meringue topping and serving.

Meringue Topping

  1. Whisk together the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and salt in a metal mixing bowl.
  2. Fill a small pot with several inches of water and heat on the stove so that it stays at a simmer.
  3. Place your metal mixing bowl over the pot (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Whisk and scrape the mixture until it reaches 160°F (71°C), about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and use an electric mixer to beat the mixture until glossy with stiff peaks (5-8 minutes).
  5. Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe onto the chilled cheesecakes. Use a kitchen torch to toast the meringue.

Notes

Cream of tartar: Using cream of tartar is not essential, but will help stabilize the meringue. If you don’t have it on hand you can leave it out.

Storing and freezing: Store in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 3 days. The lemon cheesecakes will also keep well in the freezer for several months, but I don’t recommend freezing the meringue topping as it can deflate.

Loving these mini lemon meringue cheesecakes? Here are a few more citrusy lemon desserts:

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