Perfect No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe

This is truly the most perfect and easy no-bake cheesecake. By following this no-bake cheesecake recipe, you’ll be gifted with a smooth and creamy dessert that sets up beautifully in the refrigerator. Unlike regular cheesecake, no-bake cheesecake isn’t overly heavy. It’s lightly sweet and perfectly refreshing!

Slice of no bake cheesecake with a strawberry on top

I never tasted no-bake cheesecake until last year because I had my doubts.

  • What’s the point of cheesecake if you aren’t baking it?
  • Doesn’t it just taste like cream cheese?
  • How is it firm enough?
  • And, most importantly, does it taste like goo?

These are very serious questions you might consider before making it, especially the goo one. But after making real no-bake cheesecake and tasting the final results, I’m here to declare that no-bake cheesecake should be everyone’s dessert obsession. My husband, who “doesn’t like cheesecake,” went back for seconds. This stuff is GOOD.

No bake cheesecake on white cake stand

Let’s Rewind. What is No-Bake Cheesecake?

No-bake cheesecake is exactly what the name suggests. The graham cracker crust and cheesecake filling never see the inside of the oven, so it’s a fantastic dessert when the weather’s warm or when your oven is crowded. Or when you don’t feel like baking. 😉

No-bake cheesecake is a lot easier than baked cheesecake. Without eggs and baking, there is virtually ZERO room for error. Traditional cheesecake runs the risk of over-beating the eggs, over-baking, under-baking, and cheesecake cracking. And if you’re using a cheesecake water bath, which I always recommend, your springform pan could leak. With no-bake cheesecake, we’re essentially cutting every single complicated step!

What it lacks in oven time, it makes up for in taste and texture:

  • Thick, buttery, and crunchy graham cracker crust
  • Smooth, creamy, and velvet-rich cheesecake filling

It’s totally worth mentioning that the filling tastes like cheesecake mousse!

No bake cheesecake in springform pan

4 Minute Video Tutorial:

Thick & Sturdy Graham Cracker Crust

This is a no-bake graham cracker crust. It’s thick, crunchy, and sets up beautifully… even without baking! There are only 3 ingredients required: graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and brown sugar. I usually use granulated sugar in graham cracker crust, but prefer brown sugar in this recipe. The moisture in brown sugar helps solidify the crust. Pack it into a 9-inch springform pan, then place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

2 images of graham cracker crust in glass bowl and pressed into springform pan

How to Make Perfect N0-Bake Cheesecake

Like I mention above, this no-bake cheesecake recipe is very easy. Beat the filling ingredients together, then spread into your graham cracker crust and refrigerate until set. That’s it! The cheesecake filling is made in 2 bowls. In the 1st bowl, beat heavy cream into stiff peaks. In the 2nd bowl, beat the remaining ingredients. Fold everything together. Here are the cheesecake filling ingredients. Each has a job to perform!

  1. Heavy Cream: Beating heavy cream into stiff peaks most important step in this entire recipe and *the secret* to a thick no-bake cheesecake filling.
  2. Cream Cheese: Make sure you use blocks of real cream cheese, not cream cheese spread. I tested with varying amounts and 24 ounces (three 8 ounce blocks) produced a thick, yet creamy cheesecake filling. Make sure it’s room temperature.
  3. Granulated Sugar: Granulated sugar breaks down the cream cheese. It’s easy to go overboard on sugar, but keep it light. Less sugar helps the tangy cream cheese and vanilla flavors stand out.
  4. Confectioners’ Sugar: A smidge of confectioners’ sugar thickens the filling, while also keeping it light. I tested with flour and cornstarch and both left a chalky aftertaste. I recommend sticking with confectioners’ sugar.
  5. Sour Cream: Add a little sour cream for that trademark tangy cheesecake flavor.
  6. Vanilla Extract & Lemon Juice: A splash of both flavors add a little something special.

2 images of no bake cheesecake filling in glass bowls

No bake cheesecake in springform pan

How to Thicken No-Bake Cheesecake

These 2 important steps guarantee a thick no-bake cheesecake filling. Without 1 or 2, you’ll be eating cheesecake soup. (It’s not pretty.)

  1. As mentioned, the most important step is to beat cold heavy cream into peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the cheesecake filling gently so you don’t deflate the air. The air creates a delicious mousse-like consistency and solidifies the filling in the refrigerator.
  2. Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 6-8 hours, but overnight is better. For a sturdy no-bake cheesecake with beautifully neat slices, refrigerate for at least 12 hours. This makes for a great make-ahead dessert! Do not freeze the cheesecake to set it. The filling won’t slice and you’ll lose the velvet texture!

Speaking of beautiful slices, make sure you smooth the filling into the crust. I like using a large or small offset spatula to make the job easier. After refrigerating, decorate with whipped cream, lemon curd, strawberry dessert topping, fresh berries, and/or salted caramel. But if you’re a cheesecake purist, all you need is a fork. 🙂

No bake cheesecake with whipped cream and strawberries on a white cake stand

Can I Make Mini No-Bake Cheesecakes?

Yes! See my mini no bake cheesecakes, which are made in a standard muffin pan.

Let’s Talk About Freezing No-Bake Cheesecake

I don’t recommend freezing no-bake cheesecake to set it– you really need to use the refrigerator for that step. And trust me, it’s worth the wait.

However, you can freeze the cheesecake to enjoy at a later time. After it sets in the refrigerator, wrap the whole pan (you can remove the sides if desired) in 1 layer of plastic wrap, then 1 layer of aluminum foil. No-bake cheesecake freezes wonderfully for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then slice and serve.

Slice of no bake cheesecake on white plate

When it’s time to serve, I’m always shocked that the crust and filling don’t fall apart. Follow this recipe for success. Would LOVE to know if you try it!

More Cheesecake Desserts

I have an entire cheesecake recipes category, too!

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Slice of no bake cheesecake with a strawberry on top

No-Bake Cheesecake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 hours, 20 minutes
  • Yield: serves 10-12
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Whipping
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This is truly the most perfect and easy no-bake cheesecake. By following this no-bake cheesecake recipe, you’ll be gifted with a smooth, light, and creamy dessert that sets up beautifully in the refrigerator. The most important steps are whipping the heavy cream into stiff peaks before folding into the filling and refrigerating the cheesecake overnight.


Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 2 cups (200g) graham cracker crumbs (about 1214 full sheet graham crackers)
  • 1/3 cup (67g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons; 115g) unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake

  • 1 and 1/4 cups (300ml) heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
  • three 8-ounce blocks (680g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (15g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60g) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Make the crust: Stir the graham cracker crust ingredients together. Pour into a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan and pack in very tightly. The tighter it’s packed, the less likely it will fall apart when cutting the cheesecake. I recommend using the bottom of a measuring cup to pack it into the bottom and up the sides. You can watch me do this in the video above. Freeze for 10-20 minutes as you prepare the filling.
  2. Make the filling: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cold heavy cream into stiff peaks on medium-high speed, about 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together on medium speed until perfectly smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the confectioners’ sugar, sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Beat for 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed until smooth and combined. Make sure there are no large lumps of cream cheese. If there are lumps, keep beating until smooth.
  4. Using your mixer on low speed or a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the cheesecake filling until combined. This takes several turns of your rubber spatula. Combine slowly as you don’t want to deflate all the air in the whipped cream.
  5. Remove crust from the freezer and spread filling into crust. Use an offset spatula to smooth down the top.
  6. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours and up to 2 days. For best results, 12 hours is best. I chill mine overnight. The longer refrigerated, the nicer the no-bake cheesecake will set up.
  7. Use a knife to loosen the chilled cheesecake from the rim of the springform pan, then remove the rim. Using a clean sharp knife, cut into slices for serving. For neat slices, wipe the knife clean between each slice.
  8. Serve cheesecake with desired toppings (see note). Cover and store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: This cheesecake can be made 1-2 days in advance. It can be refrigerated in step 6 for up to 2 days before serving. You can also make the crust 1-2 days ahead of time. Freeze for up to 1 hour in step 1, then cover tightly and refrigerate for 1-2 days before adding the filling. Another way to make this cheesecake ahead of time is to freeze it. Cheesecake can be frozen up to 3 months. See instructions in blog post above.
  2. Lemon Juice: Lemon juice brightens up the flavor. This cheesecake does not taste like lemon. For lemon flavored no-bake cheesecake, remove the sour cream from the recipe and add 2 Tablespoons lemon juice and 1 Tablespoon lemon zest.
  3. Room Temperature Ingredients: Bring the cream cheese and sour cream to room temperature before beginning. Room temperature ingredients guarantee a smooth cheesecake filling. Beating cold ingredients together will result in a chunky cheesecake filling. (The heavy cream, however, MUST be cold in order to whip into stiff peaks.)
  4. Toppings: Before serving, decorate with  whipped cream, lemon curd, strawberry sauce, fresh berries, salted caramel, or your favorite cheesecake toppings. I used Ateco 849 piping tip for the whipped cream in the pictured cheesecake.
  5. Can I Make Mini No-Bake Cheesecakes? Yes, see my mini no bake cheesecakes, which are made in a standard muffin pan.

Adapted from All Recipes.

Keywords: cheesecake, no bake cheesecake

901 Comments

  1. I didn’t do the extra step of mixing the heavy cream into whipped cream and it was perfect. After accidentally skipping that step I think I will continue to skip it. It just didn’t need it and is amazing as is.

  2. Debbi Storicks says:

    I made the mini no bake cheesecakes for my grandson’s graduation party. I topped with fresh berries. They were beautiful
    and delicious!

  3. Can cool whip be substituted for the heavy cream? This looks like the perfect cheesecake to make when it’s hot and I don’t want to turn on the oven.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Gina, You can replace the heavy cream with 2 and 1/2 cups of Cool Whip (1 and 1/4 cups of heavy cream whips into around 2 and 1/2 cups.) You may also want to reduce the sugar since Cool Whip is sweetened. We like to use heavy cream (36% fat) to make our own whipped cream. Enjoy!

  4. Hi! Could I make this with shortbread biscuits? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Stella, we’ve never tested this crust with shortbread biscuits, but we’ve been told that digestive biscuits work perfectly! Let us know what you try.

  5. Hi.
    I love all your recipes I was wondering do I have to use sour cream or can vanilla yogurt be used? Also should I put the crust in the oven before the start?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shae, yogurt will work in place of the sour cream in a pinch — plain full fat yogurt is best, as vanilla yogurt may impact the taste. We don’t prebake the crust here, but rather freeze it while preparing the filling (see step 1). Hope you enjoy this recipe!

  6. Hi Sally.
    Can I use whipping cream instead of heavy whipping cream for this recipe?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shae, we don’t recommend it. Heavy whipping cream has at least 36% fat, while whipping cream without “heavy” in the title is lighter and not ideal for this no-bake cheesecake.

  7. Thank you for this recipe—it saved the day for me! I was preheating my oven to bake a cheesecake when the heating element broke, so I was left with my ingredients but without an oven. This recipe is outstanding! The only change I made was including the contents of one vanilla bean since I had one ready for the recipe I’d originally planned on making, and I served it with fresh strawberry sauce. Thanks for saving me!

  8. Hi! Can i use this recipe as a filling for a layer cake? I am looking for a cheesecake filling for my cake and thought to use this perhaps?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Warda, we don’t recommend this no bake cheesecake as a sturdy layer between or under cakes (unless it’s a very light sponge cake). We haven’t tested it, but we suspect it simply isn’t stable enough to support cake layers. What you could try is creating a dam with buttercream around the edges of the cake, then lightly filling the inside with this cheesecake filling, so that it doesn’t come out the edges. Let us know what you try!

  9. I made a low-carb version for Father’s Day and we LOVED it! Did an almond crust instead of graham crackers, used two packages cream cheese instead of two (& a little less sour cream), & Splenda instead of sugar, & otherwise adhered to recipe. It even held together perfectly despite it having been refrigerated for 4-5 hours only. Topped with fresh strawberries, this will be my go-to, no-bake cheesecake from now on. Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi,

      I used Arla whipping cream. Is that why the cheesecake liquified after being refrigerated for 24 hours? Would mascarpone cream have been a better alternative?

      1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Maitrayee, what was the fat percentage of your Arla whipping cream? You’ll want to make sure you’re using heavy whipping cream that has at least 36% fat, otherwise it won’t whip into the consistency needed for this recipe. Did you happen to make any other ingredient swaps? Also be sure to use full-fat, block cream cheese in order for the cheesecake to set up properly. Let us know if we can help to troubleshoot further.

      2. Yes, Arla’s fat percentage is 36% and I used block cream cheese but an Indian brand. Not sure if that was the reason for the collapse. Ah well, will try again! Thanks a ton! It was totally delicious, though!

    2. Oh my, please give me ur no carb recipe… no carb for a year n love cheese cake., Would love to try your recipe dear. Sounds delicious.. thank u so much. Reply to [email protected]
      Can hardly wait..,,,,,,

  10. I halved the filling recipe and put the mixture into a store-bought graham cracker crust. Topped with blueberry pie filling it made the PERFECT Father’s Day dessert!

  11. Can I split the batter in two and add half melted chocolate to half of the batter and leave the other plain? So I will end up with two distinct layers? I wanted a chocolate version but not all chocolate. Thank you!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tat, we’re sure you could make a chocolate version (or half as you mention), but we haven’t tried it. It would require some testing because we are torn if you would use melted and cooled chocolate or cocoa powder. Let us know if you test anything!

      1. Thank you so much for the quick response as I am planning baking it tonight. I am considering using melted chocolate and Oreos as the base. What do you think? Any considerations I should take into account? Thank you once again!

      2. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Tat, that sounds like a plan! If using melted chocolate, make sure to let it cool before swirling into the batter. An Oreo crust would be delicious, too.

      3. Thank you so much!!! It worked and came out just perfect! I added 4 ounces cooled melted chocolate and a bit of cocoa and little more powdered sugar. And added a chocolate ganache on top. Great texture!

      4. I have tried this recipe like this! It ended up really amazing but the melted chocolate does make for a MUCH firmer cheesecake so add it in small amounts until the flavor is right for you. The more you add the firmer is becomes. I’ve done this a few times and personally have found less chocolate is preferred for my house. Also put it on an oven crust and i usually make extra whipped cream to pipe on top!

  12. Can this be made in a 13 x 9 dish?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Holly, you can make these in an 9×13. The cheesecake, as written, will be enough and should still set up nicely. The bars will be very thick in a 9×13 pan, so make sure they are sufficiently chilled, even up to 24 hours! Let us know how they turn out.

  13. Hi Sally! Do you think half of the recipe will be enough for 8 inch spring form?
    Thank you !

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, absolutely! You can halve the recipe for smaller pans. A half batch would be thinner in your 8 inch pan.

  14. Sorry , I meant 7 inches.

  15. Hi, is it possible to make a vegan version of this replacing the dairy products with vegan ones?

  16. How long do you beat the heavy whipping cream before stiff peaks start to form ?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amy! This will depend on your mixer, it usually takes a few minutes for us.

      1. I have a kitchen aid stand mixer

  17. Amazing recipe. I slightly reduced the sugar and it came out absolutely perfect. My boyfriend loved his birthday cake 🙂 Thank you!!

  18. Shuchi Bhalla says:

    Hi Sally – do you have a strawberry cheesecake no bake version/ advice?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shuchi, You may love this no bake strawberry cheesecake pie!

  19. Can I make this No-Bake cheese without a crust? Graham cracker crusts are too sweet and cookie crusts crumble when cutting the cheesecake. I always bake my cheesecakes without a crust and they come out fine.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Eileen, we haven’t tested it, but I wonder the filling may not be very sturdy in slices without a crust. It may also stick to your dish, but should set up just fine. Let us know if you try it! You may also love these no bake cheesecake jars 🙂

  20. Smooth cream cheese filling! This was so good. I’m always looking for the next best recipe and you always come through. Love your site.

  21. Hi i was just wondering if I could add any other flavors to this recipe, I really want to make a passionfruit cheesecake how would you tweak this recipe? xx

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Darcy, we love passionfruit but don’t have a passionfruit cheesecake recipe. You can certainly start with a passionfruit topping over this cheesecake, but if you find one that incorporates them into the batter let me know!

  22. I’m wondering if you have a lemon version? I was thinking of using lemon Oreo cookies or if I add lemon zest to the graham cracker crust? Any suggestions would be great!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rebecca! We haven’t tested a lemon version of this no bake cheesecake, but a lemon Oreo crust is a great idea! Lemon zest would be great in the cheesecake itself and a topping of lemon curd would be delicious as well! Let us know what you try 🙂

  23. Beth Carmean says:

    Hi Sally, could I use this recipe to fill already baked cupcakes for a cheesecake filling.

    Thanks!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Beth! We haven’t used this cheesecake filling as a filling for cupcakes but it should work wonderfully! This filling yields quite a bit, so depending on how many cupcakes you want to fill, you could halve this filling recipe.

  24. Hi! I was wondering if this recipe could be used for shooters, cheesecake shooters?
    Thank you.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We can’t see why not!

  25. Hi, is an electric mixer required for this or could it work without? If not, is there a way to make this without using an electric mixer? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Liz! You could try to whisk this by hand, however it is not easy and will take much longer to whip the cold heavy cream into stiff peaks with a hand held whisk.

  26. Hi, Can we use a non-dairy whipped cream for this recipe?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We haven’t tested it, but please let us know if you do!

  27. Very strong cream cheese flavor. Wouldn’t make again.

  28. Hi I made this before and it was delicious! I just want to make a small batch, can I use this recipe using a 6inch pan?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Anna, you could try halving the recipe for a 6 inch pan for a smaller batch using less cream cheese. Or, make the filling as is and use the leftovers to make mini no-bake cheesecakes. Let us know if you give it a try!

  29. Amazing recipe! The filling turned out spectacular, but the graham cracker crust fell apart when serving. Any advice for next time?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rooney! Make sure to really pack it down very tightly into the springform pan before adding the filling. The tighter it’s packed, the less likely it will fall apart when cutting the cheesecake!

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