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Key Lime Cheesecake with a homemade graham cracker crust, a smooth and creamy key lime cheesecake filling, and topped with sweetened whipped cream. Tips & tricks for making the perfect cheesecake with no cracks on top, and better than the bakery results right in your own home. 

Also try my key lime pie cookies, this classic recipe for key lime pie, or this no bake key lime pie. Key lime is the perfect summer dessert flavor!

A picture of cheesecake with a knife cutting a slice of it.


This key lime cheesecake has completely stolen my heart. Words can’t even describe how good it is and the best part is that it bakes up perfect each time with no cracks on top!

Read below for all my tips and tricks for making a better than the bakery cheesecake right in your own home. Key lime flavor just screams summer to me so this is always on my list to make for a nice summertime dessert. 

If you would rather have a plain cheesecake then be sure and try my perfect, no-fail cheesecake recipe

A close picture of a cheesecake with a bite taken out the front to show the texture of the creamy cheesecake.


This key lime cheesecake is made with fairly simple ingredients but the end result is nothing short of amazing. This recipe has three different steps; the crust, cheesecake filling, and whipped topping.

  • Graham Cracker Crust
    • Graham Cracker Crumbs
    • Granulated Sugar
    • Melted Butter
  • Key Lime Cheesecake
    • Cream Cheese
    • Granulated Sugar
    • Cornstarch
    • Lime Zest
    • Key Lime Juice
    • Large Eggs
  • Whipped Cream
    • Heavy Whipping Cream
    • Powdered Sugar

A piece of cheesecake with a fork sitting in it.


Making cheesecake is definitely not a simple, one step process but it is fairly easy to make with not too complicated of ingredients needed. You will need a few bowls and either a stand mixer or you can use a handheld mixer.

Of course you’ll also need a springform pan to make this cheesecake. A springform pan is a pan where the sides detach, which makes it easy to serve and cut this cheesecake. 

  • Make the Graham Cracker Crust : Add the crushed graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar, and melted butter into a mixing bowl and stir together until combined. The mixture should resemble wet sand. I just use a fork to mix it up. 
  • Press the Crust into the Springform Pan : You want to tightly push the graham cracker crust into the pan and up the sides an inch or so. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to really get that crust pressed in there. Bake the crust and then let it cool slightly while you are preparing the filling. 
  • Make the Key Lime Cheesecake Filling : Add the softened cream cheese, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and lime zest into a larger mixing bowl and blend together, with a stand mixer or handheld mixer, until it’s combined well and creamy. Add the key lime juice and blend. Add the eggs and just blend until combined. You don’t want to over-mix the eggs as that can cause the cheesecake to crack while baking. Pour into the graham cracker crust. 
  • Prepare the Boiling Water : The #1 tip to perfect cheesecake is having a pan of hot, boiling water inside the oven while the cheesecake cooks. Pour 3 cups of hot, boiled water into a 9×13 baking dish and place it on the lower rack of the oven. 
  • Bake the Cheesecake : Bake the cheesecake according to the time in the recipe below. When the cheesecake is done cooking turn of the oven and prop the door open (about 4 inches or so) and let it sit for 30 minutes. Take the cheesecake out, let it cool completely on a wire rack, and then cover it with saran wrap, and refrigerate overnight before serving. 
  • Serve : After refrigerating it overnight you are ready to serve! Whip up some homemade whipped cream and top each piece with some or you can pipe it on top of the cheesecake to decorate it before serving. Store leftovers, covered, covered in the fridge. 

How to make a graham cracker crust with step-by-step pictures in a collage photo.

How to make a key lime cheesecake with step-by-step pictures in a collage photo.

A springform pan with cheesecake mixture poured into it.


There are a few tips and tricks to getting that perfect cheesecake made at home. 

  • Don’t Over-Mix the Eggs : Once you add the eggs and you beat them in with the blender, over-mixing in this step can cause too much air to be whipped into the cheesecake filling, which can result in cracks on top of the cheesecake while it’s baking. Be sure you are mixing the eggs just until they are fully incorporated into the cream cheese mixture and then stopping. 
  • Position of Oven Racks : You want to make sure that you have one oven rack above the middle and the other rack just below the middle. 
  • How Water Bath in the Oven : Pour 3 cups of boiling hot water into a 9×13 baking pan (or something similar sized) and place it on the bottom oven rack. This will help keep the oven air moist which helps in preventing cracks on top of the cheesecake while baking. 
  • Crack the Oven Door Open for 30 Minutes : When the cheesecake is done baking, crack the oven door open about 4 inches, and let the cheesecake sit in the oven with the door cracked open for 30 minutes. Doing this allows the cheesecake to not go from such a high temperature (the oven) to a lower temperature (room temperature) too quickly. 
  • Refrigerate Overnight : This is so important! Don’t try to rush and skip this step or reduce the refrigeration time. Plan ahead and make sure you refrigerate overnight. 
  • Use Full-Fat, Name Brand Cream Cheese : The real, full fat cream cheese will produce the best flavor and best thickness and texture to this cheesecake. I also really do think the name brand cream cheese (Philadelphia) makes a huge difference too.

Horizontal photo of key lime cheesecake with a lime wedge next to it.


There are three ways you can serve this cheesecake. You can dollop each slice with some of the whipped cream. You can pipe the whipped cream onto the top of the cheesecake and then garnish with lime wedges and lime zest. Or you can spread the whipped topping over the entire cheesecake and then cut into slices and serve. 

I love to use a piping bag and 1A Wilton tip to pipe the whipped cream on top and then garnish with lime wedges. But either way will work just fine when serving this.


I keep leftovers inside the springform pan and then just cover the top with saran wrap and store in the fridge for several days. 

I am pretty sure this key lime cheesecake gets better and better as it sits in the fridge, so leftovers are fabulous for several days after. 

You can also take whatever slices are left and place them inside Tupperware type containers with a lid. 


Yes you can! You can freeze the cheesecake whole or in slices.

To freeze cheesecake follow these easy steps :

  • Wrap the cheesecake or slice very well in saran wrap and then cover well with tin foil.
  • Freeze for up to 1 month. 
  • When ready to eat or serve allow the cheesecake to thaw at room temperature for 2-4 hours OR you can let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator. 

If you are freezing the cheesecake do not pipe the whipped cream on top or spread it on top. Freeze the plain cheesecake with no toppings on it. 

An overhead shot of key lime cheesecake with whipped cream garnish.

An overhead shot of key lime cheesecake with whipped cream garnish.
Together As Family Logo

Key Lime Cheesecake

Author Jessica - Together as Family
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Overnight Refrigeration/Cool Down 12 hours
Total Time 13 hours 40 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Key Lime Cheesecake with a homemade graham cracker crust, a smooth and creamy key lime cheesecake filling, and topped with sweetened whipped cream. Tips & tricks for making the perfect cheesecake with no cracks on top, and better than the bakery results right in your own home. 


Graham Cracker Crust

  • cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter melted

Key Lime Cheesecake

  • 3 bars (8 oz each) cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice
  • 3 large eggs

Sweetened Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • lime zest or slices for garnish optional


  • Preheat the oven to 300°.
    Position the oven racks so one is just above the middle position and the other is just below the middle position.
    Lightly spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Mix until the graham cracker crumbs are evenly coated. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides (about 1-inch up) of the prepared springform pan.
  • Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely while you prepare the filling.
  • In a large bowl with an electric mixer, or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch and lime zest together until smooth and creamy. Scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
    Add the key lime juice and mix until combined.
    Add the eggs and mix until just combined. Over mixing can cause the cheesecake to crack while baking because of all the extra air beat into the filling, so be sure to mix just until combined and creamy. 
  • Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust and spread evenly. 
  • Place a metal or glass 9X13-inch pan (or similar-sized pan) on the bottom rack of the oven and pour in 3 cups of boiling water.
    Immediately place the cheesecake on the upper rack and bake for 55-65 minutes until the cheesecake is set around the edges. A slight jiggle in the center of the cheesecake is fine.
  • When cook time is done, turn the oven off and prop the oven door open about 4 inches. Keep the cheesecake in the oven for 30 minutes.
    Remove and let cool completely on a cooling rack. 
  • Cover the springform pan with plastic wrap and let it refrigerate overnight.
  • When ready to serve, beat the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff peeaks form. This will take about 3-5 minutes.
    Either spread the whipped cream evenly over the cheesecake, pipe it around the edges, or just dollop a spoonful on each individual piece.
    If wanted, garnish with lime slices or lime zest.



Graham Cracker Crumbs : You can buy these at the store and they can be found in the baking aisle. You can also crush your own graham cracker crumbs using the whole sheets of graham crackers. Make sure they are really finely ground/crushed if doing it yourself. 
Cream Cheese : Use the real, full-fat cream cheese in this recipe. I also think the name brand (Philadelphia) makes the best cheesecake so I always suggest using the name brand cheesecake. 
Softened Cream Cheese : You want to make sure it's well softened to avoid lumps in the cheesecake mixture. I put the bars in the microwave and cook for about 45 seconds (maybe longer) until the cream cheese is softened. You don't want it hot and melted, just softened. You can also let the cream cheese sit out at room temperature to soften it. 
This recipe has been republished in June 2021 with new pictures and updated/more helpful text and information. The recipe has not changed. 


Calories: 328kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 543mg | Potassium: 223mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 569IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 231mg | Iron: 1mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. heather smith says:

    I made this and it was great!! I wondered though if you had tried it without the 1/2 cup key lime juice and just used it as a basic cheesecake or used another flavor and if it still turned out as creamy. I would like to make it plain and top it with salted caramel and chocolate.

      1. Heather Smith says:

        Thank you for the help! Your plain cheesecake recipe looks perfect. Have a great holiday baking season!

        1. Together As Family says:

          No problem at all! Happy baking to you as well 🙂

    1. That, would turn out just as great! As the lime juice is just to give the cheesecake filling flavour:)

      You could fold in caramel into the filling instead of lime juice then do your caramel salty topping.

  2. Pingback: Banana Bread Cheesecake With Carmelized Bananas - Baking Beauty
  3. Jacqueline says:

    5 stars
    Wonderful cheesecake! Tart and creamy and light! Not heavy like most cheesecakes.

  4. 5 stars
    This literally is the perfect recipe. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    1. Together As Family says:

      Thank you! That makes me happy to hear. Love this in the summer time 🙂

  5. David DeKorte says:

    5 stars
    I have to say that if it it was not for my adventures out to the canyons, I would have likely never tried a key lime cheesecake. That being said, I do go, and I did try a piece at a place that I frequent out there.
    After getting home from my latest foray, I went online and started looking up recipes. Found yours to be pretty easy, full of tips, and decided to give it a try. I enjoy cooking, but simply don’t have the time available to just simply hang out in the kitchen that often.
    OMG did it exceed my expectations. Well worth the time to make it and screams out to be shared! My girlfriend knows I like to cook once in awhile and was blown away by the flavor and richness.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to manage your website and having delicious recipes such as this one here. Looking forward to exploring what else you have cooked up.

    1. Together As Family says:

      Glad to have you here! And I am happy you found this recipe because it’s one of my favorites. Hope you can find lots of other recipes you love.

  6. I love this recipe. I have made it several times, and it is always good. I even changed the limes to a lemon pie for my dad.

  7. Elizabeth Ammons says:

    Cheesecake is my FAVORITE ? and I think Key Lime, anything is even better, when it is done properly, lol. I’m wondering if I could use Key Lime curd in this receipt?? Maybe instead of the Key Lime juice? Or do you think it would be too heavy?? What do you think?
    I’m so happy I found your site, Thank you !!!

    1. Together As Family says:

      I don’t know much about key lime curd but I do know it’s heavier than lime juice so I don’t think the cheesecake would set up the right way while baking. But then again, I could be totally wrong and it may work fine. I have actually never baked with lime curd so I can’t say for sure. Sorry I can’t help more.

  8. I’m looking forward to baking this cheesecake!! I was wondering if the lime juice must be fresh squeezed or can I use from a store bought bottle?

    1. Together As Family says:

      It needs to be key lime juice in a bottle. You will find it in the juice aisle by the lemon juice and bottled juices.

  9. Myra walton says:

    Want to make this for someone so can I use parchment paper without messing up the cake? How do I slide it off the pan??

    1. Together As Family says:

      Just line the springform pan with parchment paper (on the inside). Cover the bottom and up the sides of the pan. You will probably have to cut the parchment paper and maneuver it around to get it to fit in there. That should make it so you can slide the cheesecake right off the pan.

  10. 5 stars
    Easy and yummy! I ended up putting in a splash more lime juice and then after I got it poured in the shell, you could hardly see any of the zest so I took another lime and zested it right on top!

  11. Do you use flavoring or just squeeze the juice for the key lime juice?

    1. Together As Family says:

      I use bottled key lime juice. It’s not the same as lime juice. The bottle will specifically say ‘key lime juice’ on it. I hope that helps.

  12. Stephanie says:

    Can I cut the recipe in half to make cheesecake tart instead?

    1. Together As Family says:

      I have never tried doing that so I can’t say for sure. It sounds like it would work just fine with only a half recipe.

  13. 4 stars
    For this or any cheesecake or custard, place the plastic wrap right on to the surface of the cake so you don’t get condensation droplets on it. Works great!

  14. 5 stars
    I made this for father’s day today and it was a hit. I used light Philadelphia cream cheese though and it was still delicious. We also zested and squeezed our own juice, from key limes, not regular Persian limes. I also use my own crust recipe.

  15. 5 stars
    10/10! I tried this to replicate Publix Key Lime Cheesecake slices and had never made cheesecake before. Directions were easy to follow even for a newbie – I’ve made it 4X now and it hits *perfectly* every time. Everyone in my family asks for it for their birthday now!

    1. Together as Family says:

      Oh my goodness, I loved reading your comment! So glad you and your family love it!

  16. Charles Franks says:

    5 stars
    What an awesome recipe. Light, not overly rich and the lime flavor was great. Left a nice after taste in the mouth. I use lime cookie for my crust and add about 6 drops of green food coloring. Also folded the zest in to the cream cheese. Beating ends up with the zest on the beaters. For decorating I use 16 oz heavy cream and instant pudding, adding lime juice to the mix the folding in some zest. Awasome.

    1. Together as Family says:

      Sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing your tips!

  17. Jill McCoy says:

    this may be a silly question, but I am unclear whether the cheesecake bakes in a 300 degree oven with the boiling water or boiling water only??

    1. Together as Family says:

      So the pan with the boiling water is on the bottom track and the cheesecake will be placed on the upper rack for the duration of the bake. 😊 Does that help?