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.

Graham cracker crust in 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.

No bake cheesecake filling

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 12-14 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

527 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. If I could rate this recipe 10/5 I would have done that. I cant appreciate this enough. Tried it 2 days ago for my husbands birthday and it turned out perfect. Initially I was skeptical becoz where I live I dont find heavy whipping cream and I had to us the regular one with 35%fat content. However it worked perfectly for me. My family has labelled it as the worlds best Cheesecake. Kudos to you.

  2. Is it possible to make this recipe without the lemon juice added? I read where you said it doesn’t make it taste like lemons, but I often run out of it from using it in other recipes. Currently I am out of it and want to try this recipe tomorrow. Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Sara, You can leave it out if needed.

  3. Taste was ok .. I would try another no bake recipe with mascarpone cheese in it.

  4. I recently made this recipe and it was wonderful!!! Super easy to make. The crust was not crumbly at all. I served it for guests one weekend, and froze slices for guests for the following weekend. The frozen cheesecake was a delicious as when I made it fresh; couldn’t tell it had be frozen at all! Thank you Sally for another great recipe!!!

  5. Will be a great birthday cake

  6. This was delicious! The best graham cracker crust I have ever had! My husband requests this dessert now 🙂

  7. Dear Sally. It is perfect. Absolutely perfect. I am no cake maker but managed to not ruin it – that’s how easy it is! And so so delicious.

  8. Made just the filling and piped it onto Nilla Wafers and Chocolate Nilla Wafers with a star tip and garnished with strawberry slices, blueberries and blackberries for a 4th of July party. BIG HIT!

  9. Cristina Giovanelli says:

    Hi

    Is this mixture ok to add chopped strawberries into it and add them around the edge of the tin for decoration before adding and spreading the cream cheese into the tin or will the strawberries stop the mixture from setting?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Christina, I don’t recommend adding berries to the filling as their extra liquid could really throw off the texture and it won’t set up properly. You can certainly add strawberries to the top!

  10. Jane McGinley says:

    Absolutely delicious. I’ll never bake a cheesecake again! I took this to a get together. Made this recipe into mini size. My friend referred to them as “shots”! I made the salted caramel (yum!) , had strawberries, whipped cream, and chocolate mousse ( chocolate pudding didn’t set so I added whipped cream=mousse ) Cheesecake bar! Big hit!

  11. I want to try this hopefully this week. Can I use artifical vanilla or does it have to be pure vanilla? Thank you

    1. Hi Paula, you can use imitation vanilla extract. I usually add an extra splash if using that instead of pure.

  12. Karen Martinez says:

    If I don’t have sour cream at hand could I use plain greek yogurt instead?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Karen, yes! Plain Greek yogurt works in place of sour cream in a pinch. Enjoy!

  13. I want to make this in a 13×9 pan, what alterations to the amount of ingredients do i need to use?

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

  14. viv hodson says:

    If I want to make this with white chocolate & freeze dried raspberries do I leave out the sour cream & lemon juice

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi! We haven’t tested this recipe with either addition, so we can’t say for sure. Melted and cooled pure white chocolate may work in place of the sour cream. For a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake treat, you may enjoy these baked white chocolate raspberry cheesecake bars. Let us know if you test anything for the no bake version.

  15. Ashley Zimmerman says:

    Do you think just a regular hand mixer is fine? I dont have whisk or paddle attachments. Thanks

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes it works well!

      1. Fruitloop607 says:

        Can you use this recipe with sweetened lime juice instead of lemon juice?

    2. Hello! I’m in Europe and we don’t have block cream cheese here…just the spreadable version. Do you have tips for using this kind of Philadelphia cheese?
      Thank you!

  16. Marcy Kwiatkowski says:

    Can I use this in between cake layers? Is it strong enough?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Marcy, Unfortunately I don’t recommend this no bake cheesecake as a sturdy layer between cakes (unless it’s a very light sponge cake). We haven’t tested it, but I suspect it simply isn’t stable enough to support cake layers.

  17. I’m diabetic so I subbed sugar with stevia. I had to still add a few tablespoons of real sugar to offset the aftertaste in stevia. Do you think a little bit of salt would take care of the aftertaste of stevia? Next time I think I will use allulose instead. But the recipe couldn’t be easier. I did need to use a can of whipped cream as I didn’t have any heavy cream to use. (I’m the queen of improvise!) Thank you for creating a super easy recipe.

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elizabeth, thanks for giving this recipe a try! We haven’t tested this recipe with sugar alternatives. Thrilled you enjoyed them!

    2. I also used stevia. I dont recommend it.

  18. Made this for my family and it was extremely tasty. Would totally recommend leaving it in the fridge overnight for better results. Thank you!

    1. Hello! Can I use whipping cream with 35% fat instead of heavy whipping cream? Thanks!

  19. I made this for my family this was perfectly made And was so tasty
    Thank you!

  20. Can you make this without the crust?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Stacy, That would require additional testing. I really fear the whole cake would fall apart without the crust, but the addition of some gelatin could help. Let us know if you test anything.

  21. I don’t have a hand or stand mixer. What can i use as substitute?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kemesha, 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.

  22. I made this twice now. Both times turned out perfect. I do add a tad bit more sugar than it calls for just because my husband likes it`s sweeter. But as is is good. Best results- the longer in fridge the better. AND- you can freeze it , freezes perfect!

  23. Can you substitute Cool Whip in place of the whipped heavy cream ?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tina, You can try, but I recommend slightly reducing the added sugar in the batter as well.

  24. Love your recipes. I’ve made the Key Lime Pie, Lemon Meringue Pie, Apple pie and they have all been amazing. What fat percentage sour cream is best for this? Thanks.

    1. Full fat is best, but you can use light sour cream in a pinch. So glad that you enjoy those pie recipes! Some of my very favorites too.

  25. Do you think a peanut butter swirl would mess up the filling? Thinking of doing this, a peanut butter swirl version, for a friend who loves peanut butter and cheesecake. Could also do a chocolate ganache topping after it’s set with some chopped Reeces. What do you think?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Taylor, We haven’t tested this as peanut butter flavored, but my first guess would be to remove the sour cream and add around 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter. The cheesecake *should* still set up just fine. To make it swirled you can make half of the batter as written and half with the peanut butter. Let us know how it turns out! You can top with cooled chocolate ganache, too.

  26. Katie Bareman says:

    I do not have a spring-form pan, can I make it in a regular pie pan? What modifications would I need to make to the filling?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Katie, I wouldn’t recommend it for this recipe! Without a springform pan it will be difficult to release the cake and cut nice slices. We haven’t tested it but you could try making this recipe into cheesecake bars. The bars will be very thick in a 9×13 pan, so make sure they are sufficiently chilled, even up to 24 hours! Or try these mini no bake cheesecakes.

  27. I make yogurt & use it as sour cream. Any ideas if this would work or fail?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Caryl, we haven’t tested this recipe with homemade yogurt. If you try it, let us know how it goes!

  28. I made this recipe and was kind of worried because my heavy cream wasn’t whipping well but it turned out great. People couldn’t believe this was a no-bake cake!

  29. Can I do without pure vanilla extract? If not, what’s the substitute? Thanks.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jennifer, You will definitely miss out on a lot of the flavor if you skip the vanilla. You can use imitation vanilla extract instead. I usually add an extra splash if using that instead of pure.

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