Process 1 sleeve of graham crackers to form 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs in a food processor.
Add in 2 tablespoon sugar and pulse to combine.
With the food processor running, add in melted butter through the lid. Process until graham crackers look like wet sand.
Press into the bottom of 9-inch spring from pan.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Whip egg whites until stiff peaks have formed and set aside.
Beat together 1 package cream cheese, 1 egg yolk, and ¼ cup sugar until creamy. Add in another package of cream cheese, egg yolk and ¼ cup sugar and beat until smooth. Add in final package of cream cheese, egg yolk and ¼ cup sugar and beat until creamy and smooth.
Add in vanilla and lemon juice and mix until combined.
Gently fold egg whites into cream cheese mixture, being careful to not over mix or deflate egg whites.
Pour cream cheese mixture into prepared crust. Gently tap pan on counter to remove air bubbles.
Place large roasting pan on a rack below rack you plan to bake cheesecake on. Pour in hot water into a roasting pan. Place cheesecake on a rack above the pan and bake for 45 minutes.
Sour Cream Topping
While cheesecake is baking, mix together sour cream, sugar, and vanilla.
After 45 minutes, remove Cheesecake from oven and gently spread sour cream topping on top of cheesecake. Return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Cool cheesecake for 30 minutes in springform pan. Use a butter knife to gently loosen sides of cheesecake from pan. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours before enjoying it.
Cheesecake is best if served after being at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
Be sure cream cheese is at room temperature for the creamiest cheesecake.
This is not the time for fat-free cream cheese, ⅓ less fat cream cheese can be used, but full fat is best.
This recipe calls for a traditional graham cracker crust mixed with butter and sugar. Feel free to use chocolate graham crackers, vanilla wafers, or even gingersnaps in place of the graham crackers.
Make sure that egg whites are fully whipped before folding into the batter. This helps the cheesecake to be light and fluffy, while still being super creamy.
Cheesecake tastes best after being refrigerated for 24 hours before serving. It is also best to allow the cheesecake to set out at room temperature for 15-30 minutes. The cheesecake will still be cool, but the flavors will be more apparent.
Refrigerate leftover cheesecake for 5 days or freeze individually wrapped slices for up to 3 months.