key lime cheesecake

I can’t believe I haven’t told you yet about this Key Lime Cheesecake; I have some nerve, don’t I? And I suppose I could get into its texture (dreamy), flavor (bright and promising), topping (thin strips of mango tossed in lime juice) but it wouldn’t be honest of me, as I really only made these for one reason last weekend. Take a look at this bottle; could there be a more enticing Wish You Were Here sign? I take one look at it and just want to yell: I’m coming for you!

key lime juice

Alas, it is still quite January outside in New York, this might be the only piece of Key West we’re getting for several months. But not unlike what I was thinking when I made those lemon bars or that anything-but-clementine clafoutis this month, I hoped that a focus on bright, sunny citrus fruits would take some of the drudgery out of mid-winter. Did it work? Perhaps not, but it was delicious nonetheless.

graham crackersmaking the crustcheesecake crustsmini cheesecakes

I made it for the first time a few years ago–actually, it was the very first cheesecake I ever baked–and learned one undeniable fact: cheesecake is always a show stopper. People go mad for it, and I haven’t figured out if that is because they rarely allow themselves such unbridled decadence or because they so rarely have homemade, innovative versions of it, but either way, it’s a guaranteed hit, even if it can’t bring summer on sooner.

mango, peelingsliced mangomango decorationmini key lime cheesecakes

Cheesecake, elsewhere: Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake, Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake, Nectarine, Mascarpone and Gingersnap Tart (almost no-bake!), Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake, Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares, Black-Bottomed Cupcakes (with a cheesecake filling) and Cream Cheese Marbled Brownies.

One year ago: Paula Wolfert’s Hummus

Key Lime Cheesecake with Mango Ribbons
Adapted from Gourmet, May 2002

In last weekend’s incarnation of this recipe, I finally had a chance to try out my unbearably cute new mini-cheesecake pans. I discovered that halving the recipe made about 12 minis (I had a tad extra), hopefully helpful for future mini-cheesecake endeavors. As for this recipe, I wouldn’t change a thing. However, were I married to someone who didn’t (wrongly) think that coconut is evil, I think adding a little finely-ground coconut to the crust (swapping out graham crumbs, if it is dry coconut) would be delicious, and then you could sing “put thee lime in thee coconut and call the doctor up…” while you cook, even though (again with the husband) not everyone may rejoice at the sound of your afternoon song to a cheesecake crust.

For crust
1 1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs (5 ounces)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted

For filling
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup fresh key lime juice (strained from about 1 1/2 lb Key limes) or bottled (Nellie and Joe’s is wonderful, as is Manhattan brand, if you can find it)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs

For topping
2 large firm-ripe mangoes
1 tablespoon fresh Key lime juice (strained) or bottled
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar

Special equipment: a 9- to 9 1/2-inch springform pan; a mandoline or other adjustable-blade slicer

Make crust: Preheat oven to 350°F and butter bottom and side of springform pan.

Stir together crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl with a fork until combined well, then press evenly onto bottom and one-third up side of pan. Bake crust in middle of oven 8 minutes and cool in pan on a rack.

Make filling: Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy, then beat in sugar. Add lime juice, sour cream, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Mix in flour and salt at low speed, scraping down side as needed, until just incorporated, then add eggs all at once and mix just until incorporated.

Pour filling into crust and set springform pan in a shallow baking pan. Bake cake in middle of oven until set in center, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool completely in springform pan on rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.)

Run a thin knife around edge of cake and remove side of pan. If desired, transfer cake with a large metal spatula to a serving plate.

Make topping: Peel mangoes and, leaving fruit whole, slice very thinly lengthwise (slightly less than 1/8 inch thick) with mandoline (use caution — peeled mango is slippery). Halve wide slices lengthwise. Gently toss mango slices with lime juice. (I instead cut the slices with a flower-shaped cookie cutter, thinking they’d be a little neater for the miniature cakes.)

Beat cream with sugar in a bowl with electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks, then spread over top of cheesecake. Bending and curling mango slices, arrange them decoratively over cream.

Do ahead: Cheesecake (without topping) can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. If desired, bring to room temperature. Add topping just before serving.

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140 comments on key lime cheesecake

  1. Looks delicious! I so love those mini cheesecake pans. One of my favorite specialty pans, for sure. I agree about the coconut, but I also have a husband who is determinedly anti-coconut. It’s really quite sad.

  2. JEP

    Mini cheesecake would help my portion control! Cheesecake is my all time favorite dessert & like you commented, rarely do I eat it! Living alone provides the excuse why I don’t make it often…have to rely on hoping cheesecake is on a restaurant or friend’s dessert menu!

  3. Joy

    Those are darling! Beautiful work with the mango! Imagine all the different fruits you could adorn the cake with. I might try pineapple. My boyfriend always thinks I’m trying to poison him when I bring out something with mango. Tragic.

  4. I love you, I love you, I love you.

    And if I were to become gay, and you were too, we could be happily obnoxious coconut lovers together for I am a lover of all things key lime, cheesecake-y, mango, and coconut. (Now, add some rum to that, and it would be a pretty good cocktail.)

    Might I suggest you look into dessicated coconut? I don’t know where you would find it here, but considering you live in NYC, the mecca of all things food, I’m sure you could get your hands on it. In Australia it is the be-all and end-all of coconut produce. It’s very finely shredded and dried coconut, used often in baking. I’m not one for American dried coconut because there are times those little slivers are stuck down the back of my throat and making those thwoahhhrrrghoaaaa sounds at the dinner table aren’t particularly appealing to surrounding guests, nor is sticking my finger down my throat.

    So, try sneaking in some dessicated coconut. And now I’m going to have to find some worthy mangoes here in the Midwest because cheesecake sounds like the most appealing thing for dinner.

  5. Oh my those look tempting…something about mini anything….like it wouldn’t be quite so shameful to eat 5 or 6 or 9 in a sitting….*sigh*
    I have never made a baked cheesecake, I so far can not bring myself to do it. I LOVE cheesecake but the one my family always made was an unbaked one that was really creamy and if I am craving cheesecake that’s what I want….though you are tempting me…and I have a b-day coming up…all the more reason to splurge on desserts!
    It’s pouring rain here today and if I were not so afraid of melting I’d be half way to the store for cheesecake fixins by now….haha

  6. I can’t take it! I try all your recipes and they are fan-damn-tastick!!!!!! Just made the leek tart for lunch today and brought a slice to a friend sitting in an open house this afternoon. HUGE HUGE HIT! Now what am I going to do with all this cheesecake???? I love all your recipes!!!!!

  7. deb

    Rachael — It went right in our bellies. Nom, nom…

    Jennifer — See, I think the problem is that they hate the shredded, suede-like sweetened moist coconut. But the flavor–like coconut flan, guuh, so good–offends at least Alex less. But then, still, every time I suggest it he’s all “noooo! dooooon’t!” and I cave. Because he washes dishes. I’m such a sucker.

    Joy — I also think a little curly-q of lime peel/zest–esp. if candied–would be really pretty. I wanted to try that but the dessert was already too fussy to watch a football game, thus I called it quits.

    Ellen — You know, I think it is dessicated coconut I had in mind, because it is dry and would shred powdery. I have some I bought a while ago in the fridge, and while it is sweet, it is not sticky.

    Clumsy — Because I haven’t tried it, I’d be a little worried about half-halving it but it doesn’t mean it won’t work, just that I might start with a lower proportion of coconut. However, because it is a crumb crust, all that matters is that it clumps a little, so it might just work.

  8. I’m on a diet, but I have a whole bunch of calories left over today due to lack of any real interest in dinner. So I think I’m about to go into the kitchen and 1/3 the recipe, then cook it in ramekins since I have no mini pans, then eat as many of them as I dare. Thank you for reviving my interest in dinner. I think crushed ginger snaps might make a particularly fine crust for this little gem. I love ginger with key lime…

  9. LKP

    I’m so excited! I have a kick-ass key lime cheesecake recipe that I’m known for in my ‘circle’…It’s the one I save for when I want to wow ’em. You just gave me the ingredients to take it over the culinary edge! Thanks!!!

  10. These look wonderful, but the bit of mango on top is a tease. I have long wondered if the flavor of a ripe mango could be captured in cheesecake form. Maybe we’ll never way.

    By the way, I mentioned you in my amateur blog.

  11. You don’t know how much I was drooling reading this recipe– even reading the TITLE of this recipe. It looks delicious, although slicing and cutting the mango looks a little . . . overboard. ^.^ I don’t have the patience for the mango peeling and cutting (so STICKY) but I would love to try the lime-cheesecake part. Any recommendations for making it in a 7-inch cheesecake pan instead of individual pans, which I don’t have?

  12. Those look awesome. Cheesecake is one thing, key lime another (a favorite of mine–I can never turn down a good key lime pie!), but to get it in convenient single-serve portions that look so good–wow. Great work!

  13. The picture showing the finished products makes the crusts look very dark, and I thought, “CHOCOLATE CRUST WITH KEY LIME WOW!” before reading the recipe. I definitely have a potentially dangerous idea in my head now.

    These look amazing! My current key lime recipe is one from a restaurant called Mangrove Mama’s in Key West, and I believe they use this juice. The only thing is that I would probably leave the mango off because I love it so much… one little slice would drive me nuts.

    Please, please tell: How do you remove the cheesecakes from their individual pans without smooshing the soft, delicious middles?

  14. Larry

    When you try it with coconut, please record your version of one of my favorite songs and send it to me so I can see if you sound like Nillson…………………

  15. ksm

    I love Nellie & Joe’s key lime juice! It’s the best! Thank you for yet another excellent recipe. Nellie & Joe in cheese cake, in pie, in diet coke….

  16. I would certainly rejoice at the sound of that song! I may have to insist however on using the two coconut halves as some sort of percussion instrument…The cheesecakes look divine. I agree that perhaps it isn’t something people allow themselves to indulge in, you know that whenever you are stuck for a dessert or you have to whip something up that you know will turn out perfect every time, cheesecake is your friend. Great colour too.

  17. Celeste

    Nellie and Joe’s is the best! When I make the pie, I mix a double batch and put it in a deep dish pie crust. Cut in thin slices, it makes a more elegant “tall” slice.

    However my latest turn on it is to mix up the filling and bake it in ramekins, using a water bath. Cooks Illustrated just had a wonderful water bath technique–put your filled ramekins in the empty pan, place it on the oven rack, and put the boiling water in straight from a tea kettle. I remove ramekins with a spatula and let the water bath cool before dumping out.

    I chill and garnish with a perfect puff of whipped cream. I adore not have to cut into it to serve, and I like a reprieve from a crust.

    I’m salivating just thinking about a serving of lime silkiness…..

  18. deb

    Kate — The way the mini-cheesecake pans work, and why they’re better than cupcake pans, is that they have tiny removable bottoms (little coins, actually) which hover over a gap in the base. You put these guys up and out from the bottom. It’s still a little tricky, but they do come out, and a lot better than they would in cupcake pans. They’re more like mini removable-bottom tart pans.

    Laura — They baked in half to 2/3 of the time, if I remember correctly. I baked them at the same temperature.

  19. why don’t i have these mini-cheesecake pans? i need these pans, so i can make a not-quite-as-good version with plain old non-key limes. maybe with some mango curd on top?

    Cheesecake is one of those things that people who don’t cook/bake think is hard, like chocolate truffles, and it always gets applause. which is why i like to make it when i need lots of bang for my buck. and this version gets special bonus points for being so freaking adorable.

  20. laurie

    yum. but did you know that you don’t have to peel your mango before slicing it on a mandoline? You may have to make one slice to get things started, but after that, a properly sharp mandoline will do the job. You’ll have a thin strip of mango peel around the edges, but especially if you’re using cutters to make shapes, or even if you trim the slices afterwards, it’s much easier–and less slippery than using a completely peeled fruit. I like the cream topping the best!

  21. wow … key lime and cheesecake are two of my favorites! i will definitely have to try this out. i think i’m falling in love with mini tart/cake/pie delectables!

  22. clafoutis-toutis

    i know this sounds weird, but i made this AMAZING cake that had sauerkraut, of all things, in it (though not an overwhelming amount). i heard about it on npr. you rinse and drain the sauerkraut so it loses its intensity, and you chop it up pretty fine. anyhow, you end up with a bittersweet chocolate cake that is super moist (i think it has something to do with the acid in the kraut?) with a ganache-like frosting and not a hint of kraut taste or texture. honestly, all of my skeptical friends loved it. alex will love it (chocolate and sauerkraut? come on!)

    now that you’re curious
    check out the recipe
    you won’t regret it!

  23. Rebeka

    This looks so great! I love key-lime anything. Question though, where did you get your mini-cheesecake pan? I’ve done a quick search online and come up with nothing at Williams-Sonoma, Bed Bath & Beyond, or Sur la Table. Any suggestions for stores or websites would be appreciated! Thanks :)

  24. Rebeka

    Mini-muffin tins would make very cute, bite-size cheesecakes. Love the idea! Any thoughts on how doing the cheesecake in mini-muffin tins would affect the cooking time? I’m guessing that an hour would be too long. Suggestions would be appreciated, thanks everyone!

  25. Kary

    An answer and a question:

    For Rebeka — I think you can probably get those cheesecake pans at The Bakers Catalogue. And if not there, at Sweet Celebrations.

    My question — to make the little flower shaped pieces of mango, did you use your mandoline first and then use the cutter? Or did you just cut the mango in slices and then use the cutter? I wasn’t clear. They look very dramatic that way.

  26. Vu-Do Brew

    Ha! What a funny thing I saw upon returning from vacation. Suffering from from too much sun light, warm air and great food (Yes, I lie!) I log on to my favorite site of all time to catch up on what Deb has been up too – and she has a Key West recipe. We were just there yesterday! -Only to come back to 29 degrees weather. Thanks for this recipe – I think I will try it tomorrow for the Super Bowl. Go Giants!

  27. smallstatic

    I was/am so excited to try these! I thought them to be the _perfect_ S-bowl delectible and prepared 48 of the monsters yesterday afternoon. Full disclosure: using mini cupcake liners and mini muffin tins. *However* I did not have the bakers’ skills to adjust properly the time/temp for this modification and burned the hell out of them. I’m determined to make it work though and was wondering if anyone had suggestions for how long and at what temp. to cook the mini-cupcake variety of these little precious?

  28. Lyra

    Oh this is delicious! Sweet and cheesecakey without being cloyingly sweet, and with that wonderfully tart flavor. I substituted a shortbread crust instead of graham crackers, and it was delicious. My professor and labmates loved it.

    Thanks, Deb!

  29. elina

    This sounds simply delicious! I can’t wait to try it out. The mini-cheese cakes look wonderful as ever; what a great idea to make them small like that, would suit me perfectly. Just one question, and this might be a bit daft but:

    *2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese at room temperature*

    Does that mean 2 times 8 oz packages, or 2 packages equals 8 oz?

  30. This looks lovely. I like lime and ginger as a combination, myself – I just made a key lime pie (technically a Persian lime pie, I suppose) and for crust I used 135g crushed ginger biscuits mixed with 60g chopped roasted hazelnuts, mixed with 75g melted butter.

    (Sadly, my little brother attacked it with an iceberg lettuce as it was chilling in the fridge. But it still look edible.)

  31. OHmygosh.
    so i’m behind, as always, but i finally got around to making this one for my friend’s birthday, and you’ve done it again!
    i usually tinker with the recipes but after having gone to a friend’s birthday party last night and arriving home at 11 with still a cheesecake to bake for my friend at the office today… no time for tinkering.
    i miraculously found the nellie & joe’s at my supermarket – and thank heavens for that, it is so delicious i drank a glass of just lime & water while i was baking!
    anyhow, i can still feel the delicious bright tart mango/lime combo in my mouth half an hour after birthday cake for breakfast, which is how we roll around this office.

    here’s the result:

    thanks again deb!!!

  32. Celia

    I’m trying this for the first time tonight and want to know if it can be frozen..Does anybody know? Thanks tons!!! Celia

  33. deb

    Hi Celia — I have just about zero experience freezing cheesecakes, but I suspect that the regular cheesecake part would freeze okay for a week or two, well-wrapped. You can do the whipped topping and mango ribbons when you’re ready to serve it. Good luck!

  34. Amy

    I made this for my son’s birthday and everyone thought it was a bit tart, although I thought it was delicious. Maybe cutting the lime juice by about 20%?

  35. Jana

    Tried this tonight two ways: in 4″ springform pans as a “medium” sized version, and in mini cupcake pans just as an experiment. I thought the mini cupcake pan (without paper liners, just sprayed the pan well) worked great, this may sound nuts but I just laid a platter over the pan and turned it over onto the platter, dumping the minis out upside down, but they came out great and didn’t squish! I cooked them for around 25 minutes in a 325 degree oven. Also I acually didn’t think it tasted lime-y enough so increased the juice by about a third. Wonderful, not too strong. Piped some whipped cream on top, delicious! Love this recipe. Will try the mango when I have some handy. :)

  36. One quick question: do you put the mini cheesecakes in a water bath like the whole cheesecake? I’m making these for New Year’s Eve and I was opting for the mini ones, not the whole cheesecake. Thanks!

  37. deb

    This recipe doesn’t call for baking the cheesecake in a springform pan — though that is always an option if you want to be particularly careful about avoiding cracks. The mini cakes especially don’t need a water bath.

  38. deb

    No worries — as I said, waterbaths are a common cheesecake technique and some people really prefer the texture they get from them. I just don’t know how easy they’d be with the mini-pans. Enjoy!

  39. Sunshine

    I just have to tell you, that stuff you’re using, thinking that it’s key lime juice is not. Notice, it says Key WEST lime juice. It’s the same stuff that you can probably get cheaper under another name. It’s a nifty trick called marketing and crafty labeling. But if it works, I guess it’s all good, no?

    FWIW I work in the fresh squeezed citrus juice industry (try Whole Paycheck’s OJ in the produce section – you will love me for the deliciousness and hate me for the price and because you will never be able to drink any other juice again) and I have become lots more aware of crafty labeling. For example, unless it says “fresh squeezed.” it’s not. It can say “pure squeezed,” “florida squeezed,” etc. and it’s not.

    Sorry to be a buzzkill.

  40. Sunshine

    I should add that this is according to my boss who is a royal SOB sometimes and is ALWAYS right and knows EVERYTHING, especially when it comes to anything. I did a quick search online and they do make something call 100% key lime juice, but it looks different than the stuff pictured.

  41. Amy Parker

    I made the key lime cheesecake exactly as the recipe instructed. I baked it for more than 2 hours at 325 degrees and it never set. At three hours I gave up and tossed it. As a very experienced cook, I then looked at the recipe more closely, and it seems to me that the quantity of lime juice is just way too high for the amount of cream cheese and other ingredients. Three-quarters of a cup of lime juice would maybe work if you were using 5 8-oz. packages of cheese. This was a total failure. I should mention that my oven is brand new and I have experienced no anomalies in cooking or baking other items.

  42. deb

    Hi Amy — I’m sorry the cheesecake didn’t work out for you. I have made it several times exactly as written and have never had trouble getting it to set; even a new oven can have temperatures that are not correctly calibrated.

  43. I used this recipe to make Jill O’Connor’s cheesecake pops, and they were a huge hit with my family. Absolutely amazing – can’t wait to make the cheesecake again!

  44. Jill

    While at the store last week, I found beautiful bags full of key limes and couldn’t resist. I always forget what a pain in the backside they are to juice in a large enough quantity for recipes like this (at some point I always start wondering who would *really* notice if I used Persian limes instead? Nobody, that’s who!), but this recipe is so good. Totally worth it.

    I have to say I didn’t have any problem with there being too much lime juice either, the cheesecake set up beautifully. I also decided to go with mixing coconut in with the graham cracker crust, and it was a fantastic addition (but I think I scared people away from the kitchen with the whole singing thing).

    I still have a good 20 or so key limes left over in my bag, too, so I’ll definitely be checking out some of the other key lime recipes on here, too. Those meltaways look good…

  45. ashley

    I stumbled across this recipe while looking for a way to use up some limes — and I ended up winning a church baking competition out of about 30 entries! Thanks for the great recipe — it is perfect!

  46. Cheryl S.

    Do you think that instead of graham cracker crust, chocolate cookie crust would work as well or perhaps chocolate cookie crust combined with toasted coconut???
    If anyone wants to weigh in with their thoughts of chocolate crust and lime cheesecake pdq I would appreciate it as I am going to make it tomorrow.
    p.s I think fresh sliced mango on top is brilliant!

  47. Toivo

    I’m afraid I had much the same problems Amy did. I made it exactly as written, and I actually calibrated my oven a couple months ago so I’m pretty sure that’s not the problem.

    I baked it for an hour and ten minutes, and it was still a sloshy puddle. I put it back in for fifteen more minutes more and then took it out and let it cool four hours. By that time, it had set up somewhat – but still too gooey to be “cheesecake”, and REALLY strong-tasting. So I re-baked it for another 45 minutes and re-cooled it. That mostly did the trick. Now it tastes right and is firm enough to pass muster, if still imperfect.

  48. Christine

    Do you have a piucture of the full sized cheesecake with the mango ribbons? I’m thinking of making it for a dinner party this weekend. Having a hard time visualizing how to arrange the mango strips as called for in the recipe. If not I will just wing it, but I figured I would give it a try!

  49. Jessa

    I’ve been looking for a key lime cheesecake recipe and this looks fantastic! I was just wondering how many mini cheesecakes your pan made? Was it 12 like most pans? Also, I’m hoping to make these for what is likely to be a crowded party so I’m planning to double the recipe… do you think it would be okay to just double everything from the start, or should I make a single recipe twice? Thanks!

    1. deb

      I don’t remember how many minis it made — sorry, but it was eons ago and I was a terrible note-taker back then. The recipe is for a full amount of cake.

  50. Nancy

    Haha, some of the questions towards the end are actually answered either in the original post or in some of the early comments. The ingredients are for the original recipe (whole recipe, 9 inch pie), half the recipe made 12 minis (so a whole would make 24). MMmmm tasty :) we’re making this for my graduation party tonight (sans mango)! (:

  51. Miriam

    Ack!! I was SO excited about this recipe and I found the key lime juice and everything, and then I dumped a TON of flour into the batter. I knew it was wrong as I was doing it, I’ve made so very many cheesecakes, but I’m underslept and overworked and I misread the recipe (2-1/2 CUPS instead of tablespoons. Disaster) and I did it. Is it salvageable? With the whipped cream topping and lots of fruit? It’s very dense and floury, but it looks beautiful. I can’t bear to throw an entire cheesecake away and don’t really have the time or energy to make a new one. But my boyfriend’s dad specifically requested a fruity cheesecake for father’s day. This is now more of a dense cake…What to do what to do?? I’ve never screwed up a recipe like this before, it feels terrible. I can imagine how delicious the correct recipe must be, because even this disaster actually tastes pretty good :)

  52. I’m trying out recipes for an upcoming double birthday gathering in August (my son-in-law and one year old grandosn) I’m the Dessert Queen (I don’t have a dessert blog-I just love to make desserts). My son-in-law loves key lime pie, and I am so tired of making it for him. I tried this recipe out last night on friends. Made it in a regular size springform pan. It’s a keeper! I’ll serve this (among about four or five others) for the celebration. I love your blog!!!

  53. Ashly

    I love key lime pie and realized when I went to make it that I didn’t have condensed milk. What an awesome substitute! It’s in the oven now & my house smells AMAZING. Plus, I sampled the batter, pre-egg, and needless to say, DELICIOUS. I can’t wait for that little oven timer to ding! ; )

  54. Terri Moreno

    I was wondering if these could be made using muffin pans and liners. I do not have a mini cheese cake pan but would like to make these for my friends going away party. Also if they can be made tis way what would be the new baking time??
    Thanks so much for your time and I love your blog.. I tend to visit daily with my morning coffee!!!

  55. aimee

    Made this last night for hubbie’s belated bday. I could not believe my luck that I found that exact key lime juice AND a ripe mango at a random grocery in WI last night. This recipe is dangerously easy with the lime juice in a bottle … I went ahead and skipped the electric mixer (because I’m not sure one should use a mixer on a Monday night) and nuked my still-cold cream cheese and it was hands-down awesome. Hubbie ate almost 1/4 of this in one sitting and of course, we ate it still warm.

  56. Eva

    i’m planning to make those for a fashion show event. could u tell me, what brand of graham crackers would u recommend? and do u think adding heavy cream to the cheesecake mix would make them more creamy?

    1. deb

      Use any graham crackers you like. I’ve never added cream so cannot say for sure how it would work. Cheesecake is plenty creamy as it is!

  57. once again you are the bestest most perfect source of the “go to”recipes person…
    I made this for a small dinner we were attending saturday night, the Host, who said she doesn’t like key lime (side note~Yea!!!my store carried that brand!), even loved it. They were just so very good!!! But I couldn’t find the pan you used in our local stores so off to Amazon to go buy it :-) becuase this is one recipe I can totally see me making over and over again. (btw…your chocolate chip cookie recipe lives on my fridge and they are almost always in my freezer!)

  58. Melissa

    I Have made this many times as a whole cheesecake, and if anyone was wondering if they should make it, it is the best cheesecake ever! Go make it now! I skin the mango with a vegetable peeler and keep skinning it to make pretty mango ribbons to decorate the cake with. Soaking them in leftover keylime juice a few hours prior really adds a little extra zing too! YUM! Thanks Deb!

  59. Brie

    Hi Deb – this looks divine!! Any thoughts on using regular lime juice if I can’t get my hands on key lime? Is there much of a difference?

    1. deb

      Brie — Absolutely. This recipe was made years ago, when I was far more literal about following original recipes. And if you can find key limes, even better!

  60. Trying this today for Valentine’s. I trust it to come out perfect, like anything else from your blog. Didn’t have time to go and grab a mini-cheesecake pan from Target, so opted in for 9-1/2″ circle instead. Of course, I belong to the other 50% of Russians who adore coconut (it’s always a love-hate with us Russians, isn’t it?), so I added some shaved coconut to the crust. Thanks for posting. You are my inspiration, as always!

  61. melissa

    hi deb !! i didn’t understand how many total grams of cream cheese i need to use is it 8 oz or 16?
    can you clarify me please!!
    thanks !!!!!

  62. Janelle

    I wanted to make a key lime pie for turkey day. But I realized I already have alot of the ingredient salready fo this recipe. It is required that I have a dessert for my sister who invited me over for thanksgiving. I think this recipe is neat-o as well! This will be the first time I make my own crust and the only other dessert recipe I have ever made is a lemon meringue pie which is simple so wish me luck! Does wal mart sell mini cheesecake pans??

  63. Laura K

    Amazing! I made for my husband for Valentine’s – and he is eating for breakfast now! He is a cheesecake lover, so thank you for helping us share the love. :)
    I made it as 1 cake, and the only thing that happened to me was that I didn’t know that the center of the cheesecake is supposed to be a little like jello when done. I kept it in for another 5 mins, and when I took it out it cracked slightly. Apparently this is normal. And the cake was perfect, so I suppose it doesn’t matter? Yum yum!!

  64. PG

    Also made it for V-day as 1 cake, and as this was my first cheesecake I also didn’t know that it’s supposed to be wobbly in the middle when done, so I also had slight cracking. Because I didn’t have graham crackers or mango (SADNESS) or key lime, I rejiggered it as a lemon cheesecake with a strawberry heart topping. I used Trader Joe’s lemon cookie thins that were otherwise going uneaten for the crust and fresh lemon juice for the filling. This was already making things pretty lemony, so I didn’t mix lemon juice with the strawberry topping.

    It was kind of a revelation how good really fresh cheesecake is. I’d only ever had it before when it had come out of a restaurant’s or grocery’s freezer, to the point that I was surprised that the recipe didn’t *require* the cake to be cooled before consumption. OMG so good fresh, especially with the very first strawberries of the season (they are legitimately harvesting them in SoCal, I saw them).

    The only problem I had was that the crust was inclined to stick a bit to the bottom of the pan, especially once I put it in the fridge, because of all the butter. Some people say pouring water into that shallow baking dish can help prevent this?

    I also have a box of Trader Joe’s Ginger Thins to kill, so I think my next cheesecake will be like this:

  65. Melissa

    What do you think of the technique of baking the cheesecake for 45 minutes, then letting it cool slowly (and finish baking) in a turned off oven for an hour? I read that somewhere as a good tip. Will it set? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Melissa — I am unfamiliar with it. My biggest concern would be what happens if it doesn’t bake through in that time? Many people use water baths for smoother and crack-free cheesecakes. I don’t bother due to laziness and due to the fact that I don’t mind a cracked cheesecake.

  66. Wendy

    I love the towering height and density of a New York Cheesecake, but love the lime flavor and sheer intensity of a key lime cheesecake. If I made 1.5 of the key lime recipe to get the extra filling, what kind of adjustments to the baking time / temperature would you suggest? I would think baking it longer (and possibly in a water bath) but at the same temperatures would eventually achieve the desired effect. Thank you!

  67. Wendy

    I have made Deb’s Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake and Key Lime Cheesecake, and they were my first and second cheesecakes ever. Both recipes were easy to follow and cooked up perfectly, but both cakes seemed more like a mousse than a cheesecake. I will have to try adding the flavor to the Nee York Style cheesecake, per my comment above.

  68. Britt

    First time using a decidedly dated oven at a new apartment, and these are a bit of a failure.

    I do also think there is a bit too much juice. I was skeptical of the consistency before popping it in the oven. These came out very much like lemon squares. Cheesecake is one of my go-to desserts, so I was expecting this to be an easy hassle free job.

    In the future, I will reduce the juice or add more cream cheese, as I also found them a bit too tart…maybe not if I add a cream to the top though.

    I would also suggest mixing oats with coconut as the crust.

  69. Steph

    I want to make these for a party, but I have to travel with them two hours in the car in the middle of the summer. Can I freeze them the night before (without the topping and mango) so that they thaw out during the drive? Do you think freezing the cheesecakes will ruin them?

  70. Darlynne

    I don’t even like cheesecake, but the whole lime-coconut-mango vibe intrigued me and I made the recipe last week, to great acclaim. Working with the original 1-1/4 cups of flour, I mixed up that same amount in a combination of graham cracker crumbs, coconut flour and desiccated coconut (the store had both, how could I possibly choose?). Everyone loved the cheesecake and the crust so, Deb, you were absolutely right about adding coconut.

    For those bakers whose cheesecake didn’t seem to bake thoroughly, I had the same initial concern, but letting it set up in the refrigerator for a day made all the difference. Yes, the cheesecake may be softer than others (what do I know, this was my first), but the results were still outstanding.

    So today, in the oven as I type (it’s 95 outside, of COURSE I would bake a cake), is another cheesecake. Because of the raves about the crust, I decided to make more crust, 2 cups’ worth, with a completely random this-smells-good mixture of graham and coconut, both flour and desiccated. From what I’ve read since my first attempt, coconut flour soaks up every bit of moisture in a one-mile radius, so I used 1/2 cup of butter instead of 1/4. After baking the crust, I buttered the inside of the pan above it and then rolled dried coconut around, operating on the more-is-even-better principle. I cannot wait for that first bite.

    Thank you for another great recipe.

  71. CS

    Gave this a go over the weekend, my first cheesecake ever. I used regular limes for the juice and only a 1/2 cup since a few mentioned it was tart (we made the cookbook lemon bars and it was a bit tart for us = next time no pith). Used a scant cup of sugar in the filling, could even drop to 3/4 cup I think. Used Trader Joe’s Thin Triple Ginger snaps for the crust, omitted the sugar and it was plenty sweet and quite yummy!

    The hardest part of the whole thing was knowing when the cake was done. On Yahoo a very authoritative poster with 20+ years of cheesecake making experience said it was done when the temp was 150f in the center. Mine read 160f+ so I took it out. After resting a bit, it sunk evenly across, leaving a 1/4″ ridge of sorts around the edge and no cracks. It was enjoyed by all of the eaters so I may make it again some time.

  72. Allie

    Made this recipe twice, once for my boyfriend and once for my coworkers, and it’s DIVINE! I skipped the mango and instead just topped the cake with a ring of fresh raspberries.

    I will say it’s not quite as dense as a New York cheesecake. It’s a bit more custard-y.

  73. Julia

    I’ve spent the weekend baking cheesecakes for my wedding. This was the fourth one I tried after the chocolate caramel, chocolate peanut butter and NY, so I’ve developed some sense of how cheesecakes should usually bake up in the oven I have. The other three have turned out great.

    This one has been in the oven for over 2 hours and it is still extremely giggly. Based on some of the comments above I reduced the juice from 3/4 cup to 2/3 cup, but otherwise followed the recipe. I’m going to keep it in there and cross my fingers, but at this point I’m not very optimistic.

  74. Julia

    Just a quick update: after a night in the fridge, it has a more cheesecake like texture, but the lime flavour is too strong. I’m tossing it. If I were trying this again, I’d use less juice, and avoid the bottled stuff, in case that was part of the problem!

  75. Marilyn

    I anguished over what to make for my boyfriend’s birthday. In general, he’s not a fan of cakes. The two baked goods he enjoys are cheesecake and key lime pie. This recipe miraculously combined the only cakes/pies he would eat. After reading the comments I worried I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. However, it turned out great! For the most part, I stayed true to the original recipe. I used an 11 inch pan and to accommodate the extra size doubled the amount of graham crackers. If anything, I figured a thicker crust would offset any peculiarities. Not necessary! The texture was perfect: almost like a pudding, yet still fluffy. Granted I pored over cheesecake guides and followed every tip. I used room temperature everything: cream cheese, eggs, sour cream. It cooked for about an hour and 10 minutes. At the end, it was still jiggly in the middle. It cooled for several hours, then I refrigerated it over night. As for the taste…it was perfect: tart, but not overbearing. I used premium lime juice and natural cane sugar. The only issue I had was the mango. I ended up peeling pieces and placing them atop on the cake. I wouldn’t simply forgo them because they compliment the tartness of the cheesecake. Overall, great recipe. My boyfriend loved it.

  76. Jaclyn

    FYI-I had made this a few years ago and searched your website to find it again. The only way I finally got here was with a regular Google search for “smitten kitchen lime cheesecake”. It is not linked under lime in your recipe index nor is it compiled when you use the website search feature for lime, mango or cheesecake. I just wanted to let you know so you could figure out why it wasn’t showing up.

    Thanks for the great recipe though! I’m making a halved recipe to do in a small spring form and am going to try adding coconut to the crust this time!

  77. Jill Nielsen

    I have been making this recipe since it was originally published in Gourmet years ago using Nellie’s Key lime juice. It’s a fabulous recipe that everyone but my sister in law raves about. And, being lazy, I never do the mango strips but serve it naked or garnished with whipped cream.

  78. Dieselle

    Your mini cheesecakes look very cute and inviting.
    I would love to swap the coconut for the graham crackers, so I could serve this dessert during Passover. Would I swap 1 for 1? Would I use unsweetened coconut? Would you suggest leaving the amount of sugar the same? Toast the coconut?

    1. deb

      Sorry, I haven’t made a crust before with only coconut (and wouldn’t expect it to work like graham crackers, but it doesn’t mean it can’t work). However, if you have a cheesecake crust that’s kosher for passover that you’ve used elsewhere, it should work here too.

  79. MJ

    Hi Deb! I have two questions: first, this recipe doesn’t call for lime zest–can I throw some in? Any reason why not? Second–the recipe only has half as many eggs as I’ve seen in a lot of other cheesecake recipes. Should I be worried about that? Thanks for your help; I just got hit by a massive craving for key lime cheesecake and need to eat this, like, yesterday.

    1. deb

      Yes you can throw some in. I wouldn’t worry about the eggs; some cheesecakes are egg-ier but this one always comes out great. Hope you enjoy it.

  80. Kate

    Tried to look in the comments for an answer but either it hasn’t been asked or my reading comprehension is nonsense today- if I did this in a 9×13 as bars, would it need any other adjustments aside from doubling the crust?

  81. Jaya

    Deb- can you keep this cheesecake in the fridge for more than one day? I have a bachelorette party coming up on Saturday (which this seems perfect for) but the only time I have to bake is Thursday night. With other cheesecakes, I think you can keep them in the fridge for a week or so. Any reason you can’t do that with this recipe?

  82. Bailey

    Hi! If I was going to use a muffin pan to make this instead of a mini-cheesecake pan, can you think of anything I’d need to do differently? I’m planning on making them for a birthday party, with the goal of eventually having 24 mini cheesecakes. THANK YOU!

  83. Kati McCarthy

    I made this to take to a friend’s house along with my two very young kids and thought, “Can I simplify this somehow?” So I chopped up some frozen mango in the food processor, whipped my cream according to recipe, but added the mango at the “soft peaks” stage of whipping and then finished whipping it. It was *very* good and easier to transport and serve.
    This site is my go to for everything! Thank you!

  84. Karen (a nice one) in Kansas

    I’m new to baking cheesecakes and am still confused about when to take it out of the oven. I baked for 1 hr 5 minutes. The top was set, but there was still some jiggle. The finished product was delicious but more moist and pudding-esque than cheesecake I am used to. Can that be fixed with baking longer, or is it the nature of the recipe?

  85. Paulina

    I’m planning on making something that uses a lot of egg whites, and I’m wondering, would it be possible to use just egg yolks in this cheesecake? Are egg whites necessary here or can I just replace the 3 eggs with 6 egg yolks?

  86. drbethany

    My favorite cheesecake recipe I’ve ever tried! Mine usually turn out stodgy (I probably overbake them) but this one is really light and it was easy to tell when it was set. The lime flavor is very strong (which I wanted). I used an 8×8 pan because my springform always takes on water, but baking time was still 1 hr 10 minutes. A keeper!