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

Happy Pi Day! Even though pie is my absolute favorite, I’m using today to teach you about no-bake cheesecake. Same shape, different dessert! 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. Kevin 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 compote, 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

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!

Print
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: Baking
  • 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 5 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 compote, fresh berries, salted caramel, or your favorite cheesecake toppings. I used Ateco 849 piping tip for the whipped cream in the pictured cheesecake.

Adapted from All Recipes.

Keywords: cheesecake, no bake cheesecake

63 Comments

    1. I just made this but I turned it into a key lime/cheesecake pie. I added a bit more sugar because it wasn’t very sweet at all. I added a couple drops of green food coloring for looks lol. Then added key lime juice and sprinkled zest on top with whipped cream and a little more Graham cracker. Yummmm!

  1. Definitely making this soon Sally…..after I read your Classic Cheesecake recipe, I wondered if you would do a No-Bake Cheesecake sometime!! Both are amazing, but No-Bake Cheesecake always amazes me with how easy it is to make….thank you Sally!

  2. I’m really excited that you posted a no-bake cheesecake recipe! And without gelatin or sweetened condensed milk – yay! With the cold and rainy weather we have currently, I’ll still be turning on my oven, but come summertime I’m definitely making this.

  3. This is great Sally. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
    Would you recommend adding bits of chocolate/sweets/treats or sauces to the filling when combining the ingredients?

    1. Hi Martin! I would be cautious about adding any additional liquids or juicy fruits to the filling as they will impact how the cake sets up. Mini or regular size chocolate chips would be great though! Start with 3/4 – 1 cup.

  4. Did someone say “cheesecake”? Move outta my way, I’m there. lol I loveee cheesecake and I have made many of them. This one though looks awesome! I can’t wait to make it. I have never made a no-bake with heavy cream in it. It sounds so smooth and rich when combined with the other ingredients. Thanks for sharing it with us Sally.

  5. The recipe looks awesome and I can’t wait to try it! We don’t get Graham Crackers in Australia so is it ok to substitute it with another digestive sort of biscuit??

  6. I’m printing the recipe as I type this. I’m putting it on my “to bake” list. It looks so creamy. I’ve never made a cheesecake because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I’m glad you came up with this recipe.

  7. I have such fond memories of my mom using the Jello No-Bake cheesecake when we were kids, lol! I feel like I’m committing a sin going the no-bake route, BUT you’ve totally converted me. I’m thinking this + your lemon curd (which is like the best thing ever) = PERFECT Easter dessert, especially since Easter is so late this year! YUM!

  8. Sally, this is a fabulous idea for lighter, fluffier cheesecake and your photography is beautiful as always. I often make a very simple baked mini cheesecake recipe, on which I have created many variations, for my granddaughters. They love the cupcake sized cakes, and I love that they are single servings. I am almost positive I could use this recipe to make a no-bake variety, but I wanted to check in with you – do you see any reason why not?
    Happy (almost) Spring! 😀

    1. Happy almost spring, Lisa! You can absolutely make mini no-bake cheesecakes in a muffin pan. Same directions and ingredients apply, only divide between the muffin pan. Definitely use muffin liners. Let me know how they turn out!

  9. There is a local cafe that makes amazing cream cheese pies, not cheesecake, that I have wanted to replicate forever. I have searched the internet for recipes that looked right but to no avail. This looks like it might be the answer! I can’t wait to try!

  10. Hey Sally, this recipe look so easy and delicious. I am trying to think of a great St. Patrick Day dessert, how would you recommend adding in some Baileys to this recipe so that it would not affect the consistency? Would replacing the lemon and vanilla with baileys provide enough flavor?(also considering using chocolate graham crackers..!)
    Thanks! I’ve been making your recipes for years, honestly, you taught me how to bake!

    1. Hi Kaylea! I think that’s a fantastic idea and my recommendation is to reduce the Baileys on the stove. That way you’ll have concentrated flavor without as much liquid. Leave out the vanilla and lemon. Reduce the sour cream a smidge too. Let me know how it turns out!

      1. Hi Kaylea — not sure if you tried it this way or not but I did! I used chocolate grahams instead of plain, and I reduced down 1 cup of Bailey’s and added about 4 tablespoons to the batter, left out the vanilla/lemon, and reduced the sour cream by a couple tablespoons. Out of this WORLD amazing! I also added almond extract to the whipped cream I used to decorate the border, and reserved some of the batter to tint orange and green! It was a fantastic dessert Sally- so surprisingly light. I will definitely make it again your way and dress it up with lemon curd and berries!!

  11. I’ve always been sceptical of Nlno bake cheesecakes! Why bother when I can bake a real cheesecake which is so much better?
    But after reading through your description, I am sold! There are definitely times when it’s too hot out to turn on the oven or you have too many others things that require the oven. This is a great alternative and I love the idea of a cheesecake mousse!
    Going to try this soon!

  12. Hi Sally!

    I was wondering if you have any idea on how to make this a peanut butter flavoured cheesecake instead? Can I just add 1/2 cup of peanut butter or do I need to remove something from the recipe? I’m hoping to turn this into a Reese cheesecake 🙂

    1. Hi Nouda! Oh goodness, I’d need to test that. My first guess would be to remove the sour cream and add 1/3 – 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter. The cheesecake *should* still set up just fine. Let me know how it turns out.

      1. So I ended up making this with 1/2 cup peanut bitter and 2 bricks of cream cheese (as I wanted it more fluffy and less dense) and it turned out amazing! I made it with an Oreo crust and topped it off with chopped Reese and a chocolate ganache drip! SO GOOD!

        My husbands birthday is tomorrow, originally he had requested an Oreo layered cake, and now he is asking for an Oreo version of this no bake cheesecake! I plan on following your recipe exactly and just adding Oreo bits / an Oreo crust 🙂

        Thanks so much for the amazing recipe Sally!!

  13. Hi Sally!!

    This cheesecake looks amazing and I will probably make it these weekend! Do you think I could substitute one block of the cream cheese for marscapone?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Evelina! I haven’t tried it, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. The cheesecake may be a tad creamier, so make sure it’s chilled for at least 12 hours before slicing.

  14. This looks amazing! For the whipped cream decorations that you piped on top, did you do anything to stabilize it to help keep the shape? Thanks Sally!!

  15. Hi Sally, awesome recipe! I’d love to try it. Block cream cheese isn’t available at all in the UK, though — will the recipe completely fail if I use the spreadable kind?

    1. Hi Kira! Unfortunately, spreadable cream cheese is too thin and the cheesecake won’t set up properly. I haven’t tested any other thickening agents, but you could try cornstarch or gelatin? I have a fruit tart recipe that has a lovely cream filling without cream cheese if you want to try that instead. 🙂

  16. Sally, could I use low-fat block cream cheese? This looks wonderful. Thinking of adding some lemon zest to the cream cheese mixture for a touch of spring. Thoughts? Thanks, Pea 🙂

    1. Hi Pea! I’m nervous the cheesecake won’t set up properly with low fat cream cheese. I would stick with regular. Lemon zest is a great addition!

  17. I made this in a 9×13 pan, and followed the lemon variation (except using 2 tablespoons lime/ lime zest). It was gorgeous and delicious. Next time I’ll make half again as much crust. Thank you Sally!

  18. Thanks for the memories Sally-my mother loved cheesecake but only made a no bake from a recipe she got from a co-worker although she would any type. One time she did freeze the set cheesecake and a few days later, cut a piece. That became her favorite way to eat the no bake cheesecake. It tasted like cheesecake ice cream.

    1. What a sweet memory! It would definitely taste like ice cream when frozen 🙂 Thanks for sharing this with me, Vickie!

  19. Just made this cheesecake yesterday and it turned out great!
    I’ve been making baked New York cheesecake for years and always felt uncomfortable making no-bake cheesecakes because here in Sydney it’s not easy getting hold of Graham Crackers. Found a store that sold this and can say a good substitute for anyone in Australia is Arnott’s Marie biscuits. They flake and taste very very similar.

    Anyway… I’m glad you’ve shared this great recipe.

    1. Thank you so much for your positive feedback, Jason! Thrilled you were able to find a great graham cracker alternative in Australia 🙂

  20. So looking forward to making this! Last no-bake cheesecake I made was icky. Couldn’t think of a word to describe the awfulness, but you did it perfectly in describing what this one was not: goo. Like I said, icky. And such a disappointment, because … cheesecake. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

  21. Hi Sally! I made this recipe yesterday and it was amazing!! Thank you for all the great recipes and baking techniques you share.

  22. So excited to try this recipe. My husband is a cheesecake fanatic, and his favorite is his deceased mother’s recipe. His older sister has that recipe and refuses to share it with anyone, but I’ve been convinced for years that it was a no-bake version. I’ve tried a couple of recipes that were just okay, but they didn’t really have the yum factor I’m looking for. I have a strong hunch that your recipe is EXACTLY what I’ve been searching for. After I try it out on the mister, I’ll let you know. Thanks so much for posting!

  23. I absolutely loved this recipe! I love cheesecake and I loved Sally’s baked cheesecake. I love this has the same ingredients but is a no bake! It was light and fluffy and I also paired this with Sally’s caramel sauce and everyone agreeed to make again. My husband even requested I make this for our beach vacation this year…thanks Sally!!

    1. What wonderful feedback! Thank you for sharing, Valerie 🙂 This would definitely be a delicious dessert to enjoy at the beach!

  24. Wow. Made this yesterday and it is AMAZING. Have had success with many of your recipes but this one takes the (cheese) cake. Note to self – make the bottom crust thinner and the sides thicker. Someone even commented how the crust turned out so well without baking – you’re right, the brown sugar must be the secret! And fresh strawberries pair so well with the flavor.

    Thanks so much for this amazing recipe.

  25. My husband is on a no sugar kick but I am dying to try this recipe but not wanting to make such a large cheesecake knowing I’m the only one to eat it. Do you think it is okay to half the recipe? I have Smaller springform pans.

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