Bright, colorful swirls make this Rainbow Cheesecake pretty to look at, and this is my favorite fluffy cheesecake recipe with a hint of lemon- divine!

slice of rainbow swirled cheesecake with whipped cream on a colorful plater

One of the most popular recipes on my site is the Rainbow Swirl Cake that I made for my youngest son a few years ago. I like to give ordinary desserts a few changes and make them really extraordinary. This cheesecake is surely nothing less than extraordinary!

rainbow cheesecake with whipped cream on a white platter with rainbow sprinkles

Celebrate with Rainbow Cheesecake

This Rainbow Cheesecake is perfect for any celebration including National Cheesecake Day.

UPDATE- I got the sweetest email from a reader who made this cheesecake for her daughter who recently came out to her family. The daughter was nervous to tell her family, but thankfully they accept her as she is with loving arms. Her mom made this cheesecake that evening to celebrate and show their unending love. I sobbed through the whole email- thank you for allowing me to share here.

If you follow KatrinasKitchen on Instagram, you got a little preview earlier this week. I used my favorite cheesecake recipe that I’ve been making for years and gave it a hint of lemon flavor with a lot of colors.

slice of rainbow cheesecake with sprinkles on a purple plate

Can I make this cheesecake without food coloring?

Of course, you can make this without the coloring, too- it really is my favorite fluffy cheesecake recipe. Just don’t tell me. And you must promise to at least add a gazillion colorful sprinkles to make up for it. Just kidding!

If you don’t have a leak-proof cheesecake pan, then you’ll want to wrap the base of your cheesecake pan several times with heavy-duty foil to prevent water from seeping into the pan while baking.  Don’t skip the water bath. It prevents the cheesecake from cracking on top. Place the cheesecake pan into a larger pan that is filled halfway with water. This is called a water bath. It sounds super-fancy, but really that’s all there is to it.

I placed my 9-inch cheesecake pan into a 10×10 square cake pan and baked it for 45 minutes. Then I like to turn the oven off and let the cheesecake remain in the oven for 1 more hour before removing it to let cool completely. Finally, I let it set up overnight in the refrigerator.

In the meantime, I place threatening notes all over the kitchen, telling my boys not to dare touch this work of art before it’s ready, or they will have to sit and watch me enjoy multiple slices before I even think about letting them have a bite.

collage image showing steps to make a rainbow cheesecake

EASY Rainbow Cheesecake Recipe

Rainbow Cheesecake

Bright, colorful swirls make this Rainbow Cheesecake pretty to look at, and this is my favorite fluffy cheesecake recipe with a hint of lemon- divine!

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For the Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

For the Cheesecake:

  • 32 ounce cream cheese, 4 eight-ounce bars, room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • food coloring gel, like Americolor (not liquid)


For the Crust:

  • PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan in heavy-duty foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. 
  • MIX graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter and press into the bottom of your prepared pan and up the sides. Bake for 7 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  • For the Cheesecake:
  • In the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, COMBINE the sugar and cream cheese. Beat together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, lemon, and vanilla extracts. Mix until creamy and smooth.
  • DIVIDE batter into 6 large ziptop bags and add food coloring to reach desired vibrancy. Alternately use small bowls to stir in the coloring. (See notes)
  • DROP batters into prepared crust, letting the colors overlap. Use the tip of a butter knife to swirl the colors around once or twice, careful not to overmix. 
  • FILL a larger pan (10x10 cake pan or roasting pan) with water halfway for a water bath. Place the cheesecake pan into the water bath.
  • BAKE 45 to 55 minutes until the edges appear to be set. The center will still have some jiggle to it. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for 1 hour.
  • After 1 hour has passed, REMOVE the cheesecake from the water bath and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Once the cake is completely cooled, chill for at least 5 hours or overnight.


For best results use GEL food colors (found online or at craft stores). Liquid food coloring can be substituted, however, the colors will not be as vibrant. 
With gel food colors you only need to use 2-3 drops for a vibrant color. 


Calories: 507kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Cholesterol: 168mg, Sodium: 372mg, Potassium: 154mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 30g, Vitamin A: 1431IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 101mg, Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @katrinaskitchen on Instagram with the hashtag #katrinaskitchenrecipes

close up image of colorful cheesecake on a purple plate with whipped cream and sprinkles

Items used in this recipe:

full rainbow cheesecake shown with a slice cut out