Creamy Lemon Cheesecake With Poppy Seed Crust

Indulge in the creamy delight of the lemon cheesecake with poppy seed crust. The perfect dessert for all you cheesecake enthusiasts out there! Each luscious slice of this poppy seed and lemon cheesecake is a divine treat that will captivate your senses. Crunchy and earthy poppy seeds, tangy refreshing lemons, and velvety cream cheese all come together for culinary bliss. This creamy cheesecake is a must-try if you are bored with traditional cheesecake recipes and want the ultimate flavor combination.

A plate with a slice of lemon cheesecake with poppy seed crust.

Why use poppy seeds in this lemon cheesecake recipe?

Who said poppy seeds are meant only for bagels, right? Poppy seeds are a versatile ingredient that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Incorporating them into a cheesecake brings a touch of uniqueness and creativity to this popular dessert.

Poppy seeds add a unique textural element to the cheesecake. They have a slight crunch that contrasts beautifully with the creamy and smooth filling, creating a pleasant mouthfeel. The tiny black seeds create a visually appealing speckled pattern throughout the cheesecake. Also, it has a subtly nutty and earthy flavor that complements the tangy and citrusy notes of the lemon. They add depth and complexity to the overall flavor profile of the cheesecake, making it more interesting and flavorful. If you ever tried lemon poppy seed muffins, you will be excited about this recipe.

Pro tip:

If you don’t like the crunch of the poppy seeds, you can use a food processor to break the poppy seeds into a fine powder before mixing it in with the rest of the ingredients.

A close up of cheesecake that has been drizzled with a honey glaze

Can I use sour cream instead of creme fraiche?

If you cannot find creme fraiche where you live, use sour cream instead. The reason I chose creme fraiche instead of sour cream is because of its higher fat content and less tangy taste. Be aware that the end result might differ in both taste and texture.

What can I use to bake the cheesecake if I don’t have a springform pan?

Although a springform pan is ideal for baking cheesecake, a regular baking pan should work. Just make sure to line it with parchment paper though.

A sliced into poppy seed cheesecake on a messy table with lemon glaze.

Why do I need to bake the cheesecake with steam in the oven?


Baking a cheesecake with steam in the oven helps create a moist and even baking environment, which can contribute to a smoother texture and prevent cracking on the surface of the cheesecake. To achieve steam in the oven, place a baking dish with hot water on the bottom rack of the oven while the cheesecake bakes on the upper rack. This creates steam as the water evaporates.

Variations or alternatives to the Poppy Seed and Lemon Creamy Cheesecake Recipe:

There are various alternatives to the poppy seed and lemon creamy cheesecake recipe. One option is to add a graham cracker crust for a traditional and familiar base. Alternatively, you can experiment with different types of nuts, such as almonds or walnuts, to create a nutty crust. Additionally, you can incorporate other citrus flavors like lime or grapefruit to give the cheesecake a unique twist. Feel free to customize the recipe according to your taste preferences and get creative with different favorite flavor combos. 

Recommended garnishes or toppings for the lemon cheesecake:

When it comes to garnishes and toppings for the poppy seed and lemon cheesecake, the options are plentiful. You can use a berry syrup or make a honey and lemon glaze like I did. Alternatively, a dash of maple syrup and some lemon zest could be your thing. You can also add a dollop of whipped cream for a creamy and light touch. Another idea is to sprinkle crushed graham crackers or cookie crumbs on top to add a crunchy element. Ultimately, the choice of garnish depends on your personal preference and the overall aesthetic you want to achieve.

A slice of crustless poppy seed cheesecake on a vintage plate, drizzled with honey glaze .

How to make the Lemon Cheesecake With Poppy Seed Crust:

Start by making the poppy seed base:

  • Add the milk into a medium-sized pan.
  • Add the poppy seeds to the milk and stir with a whisk.
  • Now add the semolina, powdered sugar, and lemon extract and mix it all well.
  • Put the pan on medium-low heat and cook it while constantly stirring with the whisk.
  • After a few minutes, the poppy seed mixture will start to thicken. It should reach a thick custard-type consistency.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Now add the butter and mix well until it has been fully incorporated.
  • Pour batter into a springform pan. I recommend you line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
  • Smooth the surface well with a cake spatula.
  • Leave it aside while you make the lemon cheesecake filling. 
  • Pre-heat the oven to 160°C (320°F)
A photo collage of the process of making a poppy seed base for cheesecake

Make the cream cheese filling:

  • In a large mixing bowl stir in the cream cheese, the whole eggs, the rest of the powdered sugar, corn flour, lemon zest, lemon extract, and creme fraiche. 
  • Use a wooden spoon to mix everything well and a whisk at the end to make sure the mixture is really smooth.
  • You can also use an electric mixer at low speed.
  • Pour the cheese filling onto the poppy seed base.
A photo collage of instructions on how to make the cheese filling for a cheesecake

Pro tip:

Tap the springform pan on the table a few times to make sure the cream filling settles well into the pan and no air bubbles are left.

  • Add an oven-safe dish with hot water at the bottom of the oven.
  • Put the cheesecake on the middle rack of the oven.
  • Bake cheesecake recipe for about an hour or until golden brown on top. 

Note:

Your cheesecake will inflate during cooking time and deflate partially after taking it out of the oven. This is a normal process and nothing to worry about.

Pro tip:

​Make sure to not open the oven door until the end of the baking process. You want the environment to stay moist and at a constant temperature.

  • Take the cheesecake out of the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool off at room temperature.
  • Put the cake in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours or overnight. Add a plastic wrap on top to avoid any smell transfer from the fridge.
  • ​Gently take out the removable part of the pan. 
  • Drizzle with a honey and lemon glaze.

Pro tip:

Use a butter knife or an icing spatula to gently separate the cheesecake from the walls of the pan. Follow the shape of the pan. This way you will avoid any pulling when removing from the pan.

Make a honey and lemon glaze by gently warming up a few tablespoons of honey with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Don’t overheat the glaze. Just gently warm it up on low heat for a minute, to make it a bit more runny and easy to drizzle.

Slice it and enjoy the tasty treat!

A baked cheesecake in a springform pan

What are the best ways to store the cheesecake?

Either in an airtight container or on the base of the pan, wrapped up in aluminum foil.

It can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Ingredients for the Lemon Cheesecake With Poppy Seed Crust:

This recipe uses simple ingredients that synergetically work together to create a delicious dessert.

Ingredients for a poppy seed and lemon cheesecake laid on a table.

​For the cheese filling:

  • Cream cheese
  • Powdered sugar (icing sugar)
  • ​Creme fraiche (or sour cream)
  • Corn flour (corn starch)
  • Eggs
  • Lemon zest
  • Lemon extract

For the poppy seed base:

  • Milk (whole milk)
  • Poppy seeds
  • Powdered sugar (icing sugar)
  • Fine semolina
  • Butter
  • Lemon extract

Please follow the recipe card for precise amounts and instructions.

A half eaten slice of poppy seed cheesecake on a vintage plate.

These are some of my favorite recipes for more lemon desserts that you might want to try. Easy recipes for a lemon lover.

Strawberry, mascarpone tartlets with lemon curd.

Raw milk blackberry and lemon ice cream.

White chocolate and lemon cookies.

If you want to try more cheesecake recipes, this cherry and blackberry chocolate cheesecake or pear and ricotta cheesecake is absolutely delicious.

A slice of crustless poppy seed cheesecake decorated with honey glaze and lemon peel.

Happy baking!

A plate with a slice of crustless poppy seed cheesecake with a golden fork slicing it.

Lemon Cheesecake With Poppy Seed Crust

AndreeaB
With its creamy rich, and zesty filling and a crunchy base, this poppy seed and lemon cheesecake is the perfect dessert for a lazy afternoon.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Resting time 5 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16
Calories 362 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 springform pan (23cm/9in)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 kg cream cheese
  • 200 g creme fraiche/ sour cream
  • 40 g corn flour/corn starch
  • 5 eggs
  • 300 g powdered sugar/icing sugar
  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 150 g poppy seeds
  • 75 g fine semolina
  • 50 g butter
  • 2 tbsp lemon extract
  • 1 zest from 2 large lemons

Instructions
 

Start by making the poppy seed base:

  • Add the milk into a medium-sized pan.
  • Add the poppy seeds to the milk and stir with a whisk.
  • Now add the semolina, powdered sugar, and lemon extract and mix it all well.
  • Put the pan on medium-low heat and cook it while constantly stirring with the whisk.
  • After a few minutes, the poppy seed mixture will start to thicken. It should reach a thick custard-type consistency.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Now add the butter and mix well until it has been fully incorporated.
  • Pour batter into a springform pan. I recommend you line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
  • Smooth the surface well with a cake spatula.
  • Leave it aside while you make the lemon cheesecake filling.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 160°C (320°F)

Make the cream cheese filling:

  • In a large mixing bowl stir in the cream cheese, the whole eggs, the rest of the powdered sugar, corn flour, lemon zest, lemon extract, and creme fraiche.
  • Use a wooden spoon to mix everything well and a whisk at the end to make sure the mixture is really smooth.
  • You can also use an electric mixer at low speed.
  • Pour the cheese filling onto the poppy seed base.

Baking the cheesecake

  • Add an oven-safe dish with hot water at the bottom of the oven.
  • Put the cheesecake on the middle rack of the oven.
  • Bake cheesecake recipe for about an hour or until golden brown on top.
  • Take the cheesecake out of the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool off at room temperature.
  • Put the cake in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours or overnight. Add a plastic wrap on top to avoid any smell transfer from the fridge.
  • Gently take out the removable part of the pan.
  • Drizzle with a honey and lemon glaze
  • Slice and enjoy!

Notes

  • If you don’t like the crunch of the poppy seeds, you can use a food processor to break the poppy seeds into a fine powder before mixing it in with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Tap the springform pan on the table a few times to make sure the cream filling settles well into the pan and no air bubbles are left.
  • Your cheesecake will inflate during cooking time and deflate partially after taking it out of the oven. This is a normal process and nothing to worry about.
  • Make sure to not open the oven door until the end of the baking process. You want the environment to stay moist and at a constant temperature.
  • Use a butter knife or an icing spatula to gently separate the cheesecake from the walls of the pan. Follow the shape of the pan. This way you will avoid any pulling when removing from the pan.
  • Make a honey and lemon glaze by gently warming up a few tablespoons of honey with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Don’t overheat the glaze. Just gently warm it up on low heat for a minute, to make it a bit more runny and easy to drizzle.

Nutrition

Serving: 150gCalories: 362kcal
Keyword best crustless cheesecake, creamy cheesecake recipe, crustless poppy seed and lemon cheesecake, easy cheesecake recipe, lemon cheesecake, lemon dessert, poppy seed cheesecake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Happy baking!

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