Best Authentic German Cheesecake (Käsekuchen)

I've got another cheesecake recipe for you! Another German Käsekuchen recipe. Yum! This cheesecake is light and creamy with a hint of lemon. One bite and you'll swear you're in Germany.

This cheesecake recipe has a crust. If you're looking for a crustless cheesecake, check out my other German cheesecake recipe.

This easy & authentic German Cheesecake is so good! Make it with quark or cottage cheese, no sour cream needed. Tastes like what you get in Germany. Click to get the recipe for this traditional German cheesecake! #germandesserts #cheesecake #intldessertsblog
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Ready to make German cheesecake? Great! But don't get out the cream cheese! This cheesecake is made with quark.

Huh? What's quark?

Quark is a fresh unaged cheese that's popular in Germany and other European countries. It has the texture of a very thick Greek yogurt but tastes less tangy and sour. It's also high in protein and is delicious spread on toast or combined with fresh berries - both make an excellent breakfast.

Quark is super easy to make at home (here are my step-by-step homemade quark directions) but the good news is that if you don't have time to make quark, you can substitute Greek yogurt. That's what I use when I don't have time to make a fresh batch of quark before making a German cheesecake.

Best authentic German cheesecake

You'll also want to put the graham cracker crumbs away because unlike cheesecake in the US, German cheesecake uses a short crust instead of cookie crumbs. The crust in this recipe is so tender, lightly sweet, and has a slight lemon flavor.

Spice up your holiday with these 10 European Christmas Cookie recipes! 

I serve this cheesecake with fresh whipped cream, strawberries, and blueberries. It also tastes great just by itself. For next time I'm thinking about making a berry topping using Rote Grütze, which is another amazing German dessert. I'll have to make a whole new cheesecake to try that, though, because this cheesecake didn't last but a couple days.

If you're looking for a new cheesecake to try or are just hungry for a taste of Germany, try this authentic German cheesecake!

Best authentic German cheesecake with quark

German Cheesecake Recipe

Step 1: Make the Crust

How to make the best authentic German cheesecake

 Step 2: Make the Cheesecake Filling

How to make the best authentic German cheesecake

Step 3: Bake, Cool & Enjoy 🙂 

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Authentic German Cheesecake

Authentic German Cheesecake

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Bake Time: 1 hour 11 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 41 minutes

Looking for a new cheesecake recipe? Hungry for a taste of Germany? Try this authentic German cheesecake!



  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp of vanilla extract)
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg (beaten)


  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp extract)
  • 6 tbsp butter (room temp)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups quark (or Greek yogurt)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 egg whites
  • pinch of salt



  1. Combine sifted flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, sugar, and vanilla sugar or extract. 
  2. Cut in the cold butter. Add the beaten egg and then use your hands to form into a dough. 
  3. Wrap dough in plastic and chill in the fridge for an hour.
  4. After the dough has chilled, form it into a disc and then roll it out on a floured surface. Shape dough into a disc again, and roll it out once or twice more. I found the dough very crumbly and hard to work with at first, but after I rolled it out twice, it became much easier to work with. 
  5. Roll dough out once more and then transfer to a prepared 9-inch springform pan. (See photos above for how to fold and transfer the dough to the springform pan.) Use your fingers to press the dough so that it evenly covers the bottom and all the way up the sides of the pan. 


  1. Beat the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla sugar until pale. Add softened butter and continue beating until well combined. Add the heavy cream and beat again. Add quark (or Greek yogurt or pureed cottage cheese) and beat one more time until everything is thoroughly combined.
  2. Beat egg whites and salt to stiff peaks in a separate bowl. Fold egg whites and sifted cornstarch into cheesecake batter. 
  3. Pour cheesecake batter into a 9-inch springform pan and bake on 300F for about 60 minutes. (My cheesecake needed 70 minutes.) The cheesecake is done when the edges are browned and a toothpick comes out clean. The center of the cheesecake will be a bit wiggly and it will fall as it cools - that's normal. 
  4. Let the cheesecake cool on the counter for an hour and then several hours in the fridge. It's best to make this cheesecake the day before you want to serve it. Enjoy!


Based on this recipe

Click here for more German dessert recipes! 

Easy & Delicious German Crustless Cheesecake


Disclaimer: The International Desserts Blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my site and helping me make it the best international desserts and travel resource on the internet!

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About Author

I love baking, traveling, and sharing delicious recipes for European Christmas Cookies! I used to live in Germany, have worked on 4 continents, and now enjoy baking and blogging from my adopted home in North Carolina, USA.


  • Amy
    August 31, 2017 at 3:28 am

    This cheesecake looks fabulous. We love cheesecake and have never tried German Cheesecake. Thank you for sharing at To Grandma’s House we go link party.

    • Cate
      September 6, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      It’s delicious, Amy! Thanks for stopping by and for pinning. ?:)

      • Stella H
        October 12, 2020 at 3:19 am

        I made this and it turned out great! How might I go about making a larger cake? Should I increase baking time or should I also bake it at a slightly different temperature?


        • Cate, International Desserts Blog
          October 12, 2020 at 8:24 pm

          I’m glad you liked it! For a larger version, I’d use the same baking temp and increase the time if the larger cake will be the same thickness (or thicker). Just keep checking the cake as it bakes to determine how much more time it needs. I usually check it every 5-10 minutes towards the end. Hope that helps! 🙂

  • Grandmas House DIY
    September 5, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us at our To Grandma’s house link party! I will be featuring it tomorrow morning when the new party starts, have a great week!

    • Cate
      September 6, 2017 at 5:06 pm

      Thank you for featuring my German cheesecake on your link party! 🙂

  • Leanna
    September 6, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    I am able to find quark cheese at our German Deli. We typically only go there for Christmas to make special recipes such as this one. Pinning its looks wonderful.

    • Cate
      September 7, 2017 at 1:45 am

      You’re lucky! I rarely find it where I live so I make it from scratch. I prefer to be authentic and use quark when I make this cheesecake but Greek yogurt works well, too. Thanks for pinning the recipe. 🙂

  • Jas @ All that's Jas
    April 23, 2018 at 3:11 am

    You had me at cheesecake and German. Ah, I miss quark! And German Kaesekuhen. YUM! Never thought of using yogurt instead, but will try for sure. 🙂 Thanks for bringing back the memories. Pinned to my cheesecake board.

  • Sandra
    August 26, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Would you please let me know what size the baking pan is and how many portions this will make.

    This type of cheesecake is a long term family favpurite.

    • Cate
      September 5, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Sandra, I used a regular sized springform pan, which I think is about a 9-inch pan. As far as how many servings, I’d say 14-16. I hope you enjoy the cheesecake!

  • Dayna
    September 4, 2018 at 11:52 am

    I would like to try this today. Do I need a european flour or is my all purpose good? Also, what size Springform was it?

    • Cate
      September 5, 2018 at 1:01 pm

      Hi Dayna, I used all purpose flour and a regular sized springform pan (which I think is about a 9 inch pan). I hope you enjoy the cheesecake!

  • Leslie Hartmann
    February 24, 2019 at 7:52 am

    Made this for the first time for my dinner party, and OMG this was the BEST cheesecake. I could not find quark, and made it with Greek yogurt, This will be my go-to cheesecake from now on. Way better than the cream cheese kind.

    • Cate
      February 26, 2019 at 4:31 pm

      I’m so glad you liked it!

  • Carl
    February 25, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    I used cottage cheese. if you puree it, it’s just like the German Quark.

    • Cate
      February 26, 2019 at 4:30 pm

      I’ve used both cottage cheese and Greek yogurt when I don’t have quark. All three work great!

      • Aj
        March 26, 2020 at 10:45 pm

        Have you heard of using farmers cheese for Käsekuchen? My mom made her cheesecake with farmers cheese And I hope to find a recipe that calls for farmers cheese, what memories!

        • Cate, International Desserts Blog
          March 27, 2020 at 12:32 pm

          That sounds good! Farmer’s cheese is so easy to make. I haven’t tried farmer’s cheese with my Käsekuchen recipe but I imagine it would work just fine!

  • Cheryl
    March 5, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    How much arrowroot would someone use to replace the one and a half teaspoons of cornstarch?

    • Cate
      March 7, 2019 at 3:20 am

      From what I’ve read, it’s a 1:1 substitution, so 1 1/2 teaspoons of arrowroot instead of cornstarch.

  • Cheryl
    March 6, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    Please tell me why the crust less and crusted German cheesecakes are different recipes? I really don’t want to go out and buy cream of wheat or just a couple tablespoons thank you

    • Cate
      March 7, 2019 at 3:18 am

      The two cheesecakes are similar in that they both use quark (or a quark substitute like Greek yogurt or pureed cottage cheese) but they have different textures. You can make the crustless cheesecake without cream of wheat – the texture will just be a bit different (smoother). Hope that helps!

  • Chetyl
    March 11, 2019 at 12:35 am

    I have fallen in love with quark. I used organic grass-fed milk and the quark turned out to be absolutely positively delicious. I tried making half a recipe of quark by using 3 cups of milk and 3/4 cup of Buttermilk but it still hasn’t thickened after 2 days. I will be making the cheesecake tomorrow. So looking forward to it! A couple days ago I made the bee sting cake and it was a big success with everyone who tried it. A couple people asked for the recipe so I passed your website and your recipe on to them. Thank you so much for this. I love to try new things

    • Cate
      March 11, 2019 at 4:29 pm

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipes! And thanks for sharing my site. 🙂 That Bee Sting Cake is one of my favorites!!

      In the winter it can take my quark extra time to set. I often place the quark (wrapped in a towel or two) on the stove while or after I bake something in the oven. At colder times of the year it’s taken up to 36 hours for my quark to set.

      • Cheryl
        July 6, 2019 at 12:13 pm

        I have absolutely positively falling in love with quark. whenever a recipe calls for cream cheese or sour cream I make a batch of quark and substitute. I’m wondering if the crusted cheesecake filling can be used as a crustless cheesecake filling. also can the recipe for the mini tarts crust be used as the crust in the crusted cheesecake

        • Cate
          July 7, 2019 at 7:40 pm

          Quark is so good, isn’t it? I ate it every morning for breakfast when I was in Germany last month. 🙂

          I think the crusted cheesecake would work fine as a crustless cheesecake but the texture is a bit more delicate and could be more crumbly than my other crustless cheesecake recipe. But I often use Greek yogurt if I don’t have quark on hand and the recipe works best with quark, so if you’re using quark you should be fine. I was actually planning to experiment with the two German cheesecake recipes on my site this week to see 1) how the crusted cheesecake does without a crust and 2) how the crustless cheesecake holds up without the cream of wheat. I’ll update the articles to reflect the results!

          As far as the mini tart crust is concerned…hmm…maybe. My concern is that it could be a bit too “hard” as compared to the cheesecake. But German cheesecakes often have a crust that’s more pie or even cookie-like, so it could work. That mini tart crust is delicious. If you try it, let me know how it turns out! 🙂

  • arleen krueger
    May 1, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    I made it today and it took longer to bake. I followed the recipe.. I baked it for almost two hours longer… and it is still not done in the middle. I am putting it back in the oven again… not sue what went wrong… Do you have any suggestions?
    Arleen K.

    • Cate, International Desserts Blog
      May 4, 2020 at 1:35 pm

      It could be that your oven heats a bit lower than indicated or the cheesecake pan was a bit deeper. You do want to take it out of the oven before it looks totally done so it stays creamy. If it needs to bake longer than the recipe indicates, you’re not doing anything wrong. 🙂 I often have to adjust baking times when I bake from recipes. I hope you liked the finished product!

  • […] Add a dollop to cheesecake.  […]

  • Angela
    May 11, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    I’ve made this recipe several times now, and we love it. I make the quark using buttermilk. The cheesecake is absolutely delicious , and the crust with the lemon zest works really well. Thank you for sharing this recipe !!

  • Sharon Dillon
    July 3, 2020 at 6:28 am

    how do you convert the ingredients to grams etc ; I’m from the uk and we don’t use cups, i find the conversion charts very confusing they all vary. many thanks

    • Cate, International Desserts Blog
      July 3, 2020 at 2:11 pm

      Hi Sharon, now that my audience has expanded beyond the US I’m updating recipes to show grams as well as cups. I’ll work on this one next! 🙂

  • Michelle E Cox
    July 16, 2020 at 1:18 pm

    We absolutely live this recipe and I’ve made it in a large pie pan and serve it like pie. Now that i finally bought a springform pan — when do you remove it from the pan? After it cools an hour or before? After it chills in the fridge? Thank you so much!

    • Cate, International Desserts Blog
      July 16, 2020 at 3:50 pm

      I’m so glad you liked it! I usually gently run a knife around the edge after it’s cooled a bit, and then I take it off before I put the cheesecake in the fridge.

  • […] German cheesecake is different from cheesecake in the US. Traditional German cheesecake is made with quark instead of cream cheese. Never heard of quark? It looks like thick Greek yogurt but is actually a fresh non-aged cheese.   […]

  • JiJi
    October 14, 2020 at 3:07 am

    Hi Cate,
    I have a question for substituting Quark to Greek Yogurt. Does percentage of fat matter???

    I can’t wait to make this German cheesecake but I can’t find Quark here.


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