Sunny Lemon Cheese Tartlets

A delicious and adorable Easter dessert, these Sunny Lemon Cheese Tartlets are decadent bites of rich cheesecake and tart lemon curd in a shortbread crust.  They’re as refreshing as they are pretty.

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Sunny lemon cheese tartlets - cheesecake filling and tangy lemon curd in a buttery shortbread crust. Perfect Easter dessert.

I like to make a dessert table for Easter full of vibrant colors, textures, and flavors!  Your family will keep going back for more!  Here are a few suggestions:


  • Cream cheese 
  • Salted butter
  • Flour and cornstarch
  • Granulated sugar and powdered sugar
  • Extra-large eggs
  • Lemons – 3 large or 4 medium 
  • Vanilla


  • Allow the cream cheese, butter, and eggs to come to room temperature before using them. They will mix easier.
  • To get a very fine lemon zest, I use a Microplane grater.
  • Take the time to chill the crust dough before baking.  This will keep it tender and prevent it from losing its shape.
  • Use fresh lemon juice only.  The bottled stuff will prevent your lemon curd from thickening.
  • Make sure to bring the lemon curd to a boil while whisking constantly.  This will allow the eggs to mix with the pectin from the fresh lemon juice and thickening the lemon curd.  The little bit of cornstarch slurry will help give your lemon curd some extra body.

Sunny lemon cheese tartlets - cheesecake filling and tangy lemon curd in a buttery shortbread crust. Perfect Easter dessert.


Of course!  And nobody has to know.

First, use premade tart shells that you can find in your freezer section, fill with the cheesecake mixture and bake.  

Second, buy a jar of good quality lemon curd.  In a pinch, I like using Tiptree English brand.

By using premade tart shells and lemon curd, you only have to make the cheese filling and bake.

No time to do that?

No worries.  You can also purchase Philadelphia Cheesecake Filling, usually found in the dairy aisle of your grocery.  Spoon the filling into premade tart shells, top with lemon curd, and serve.

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Sunny lemon cheese tartlets - cheesecake filling and tangy lemon curd in a buttery shortbread crust. Perfect Easter dessert.


  • Author: Millie Brinkley
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes + chill time
  • Yield: Makes 18-24 pieces 1x


These adorable and delicious sunny lemon cheese tartlets are a perfect Easter dessert.  Creamy cheesecake and tangy lemon curd are tucked inside of a buttery shortbread crust for a bright, refreshing, springtime treat.



For the crust:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup salted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

For the lemon curd:

  • 3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch mixed in 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature, and diced

For the cheesecake filling:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 extra-large egg, room temperature


Make the crust:

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter, and lemon zest until blended.  Gradually cut in the flour and powdered sugar with a pastry blender or 2 forks until a dough forms.

Cover the bowl and chill for 1 hour, or until firm.

Make the lemon curd:

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and zest until smooth

Place the saucepan over medium-low heat.  Stir constantly with a whisk until the mixture comes to a full boil, thickens, and coats the back of a spoon – about 15 minutes.  It should be thicker than heavy whipping cream.

Make a slurry with the cornstarch and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.  Whisk into the curd and cook, whisking for another minute.

Add the butter, one cube at a time, whisking it in completely before adding another cube.

Whisk vigorously until smooth, thickened, and glossy – about 1 minute.

Pour the hot curd into a glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until cold.

Make the filling:

In a small bowl with a hand mixer, beat the sugar and cream cheese together until smooth.

Add the lemon juice and vanilla and mix well.

Add the egg.  Beat the egg into the mixture until well incorporated.

Set aside.

Assemble the tarts:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Form the dough into 1-inch balls and press onto the bottom and up the sides of 18-24 ungreased mini tart pans.

Fill each tart pan half full with the cream cheese mixture.

Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the middle of each tart is set.

Cool in the tart pans over a wire rack.

When cool, remove the tarts from the pans.

Spoon the lemon curd on the top of each tart.

Store in the refrigerator in a single layer in an airtight container.

Serve cold.

  • Prep Time: 45 minutes + chill time
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes + chill time
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: sunny lemon cheese tartlets, Easter, mini desserts, cheesecake, lemon curd, shortbread crust

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