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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 1x
  • 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

Scale

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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi there!

    I’m from Australia and wanting to make this recipe however I’m not sure what I can substitute for heavy cream? Would this be the same and beating regular whipping cream? Or would I have to beat thickened cream?
    Thanks so much xxx

    1. Hi Lauren, you’ll want to make sure that the word “heavy” is on your carton of whipping cream. 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. Without the fat content, the cheesecake will not set properly.

    2. The cheese cake filling tastes amazing and what I was looking for in my cheesecake. I just put it in the fridge to set so I cannot wait until tomorrow to eat it. Thank you for the recipe.

  2. 5/5 stars! This recipe makes a delicious and light cheesecake. I wanted to make a lighter dessert for the holidays, so I bought mini parfait cups on Amazon and did individual style cheesecakes with different toppings. A total hit!

  3. Hey I am ery excited to try out this recipe, but I only have 2, 8oz blocks of cream cheese. What is the ratio of all other Ingredients if I only use the two?

    1. Hi Debra! You’ll need to reduce all the other ingredients by 1/3 as well for the correct proportions.

    1. Hi Tracey, We don’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.

  4. I was going to make this next week, but it appears there is a cream cheese shortage. If I can’t find cream cheese, can I substitute with ricotta or anything else?

  5. I want to make a red velvet cake with cheesecake like filling. Do you think it would be better to make this, allow it to firm up and then spread it between cake layers, or have completely cooled cake layers, pour this over each and then chill/set in deep pans?

  6. Hi, I’ve just finished making this and it’s in the fridge. I’ve always made baked cheesecake so this is my first no bake one. I did tweak it a bit and used fresh ricotta as well as cream cheese. For those in Australia, I used granita biscuits and toasted some coconut to mix in with the biscuits. After spreading the crumb mixture in the tin, I fridged it to get nice and cold while I made up a mango jelly. Once the jelly was cold enough, I poured it into the crumb base, covered it and fridged it overnight till today, when I made up the cheese filling. In about 12 hours I’ll find out if it’s a success or not lol.

    1. Hi Amanda! We haven’t tested a peppermint cheesecake, but it sounds delicious. I can’t see why those changes would be an issue, except crushed candy canes can sometimes get sort of melty and bleed their color when baked. Let us know if you give it a try!

  7. I have used gelatine to help with the setting.
    Also I want to have a lemon/ raspberry flavor. Any suggestions ?

    1. Hi Joan, We don’t add gelatin to our cheesecakes as the whipped heavy cream adds enough stability and structure. However, certainly feel free to give it a try if you’d like — we’re unsure of the amount. We haven’t tested a lemon raspberry version of this no bake cheesecake but lemon zest would be great in the cheesecake itself and a topping of lemon curd would be delicious as well! Other readers have also reported using
      lemon Oreos for the crust. You can also certainly try to add a raspberry swirl to the top before refrigerating. Let us know what you try!

  8. I just made this, in the fridge as we speak. I am calling it the “I wrecked my shoulder cheesecake” because I did not have a mixer and had to whisk the heavy cream by hand. Filling tasted excellent. I hope this brightens someone elses day!

  9. what sort of cream cheese can I use in the Uk, as the only one available is philadelphia cream cheese but it’s different to the American and Australian version as its not as firm.

  10. I’ve made this several times – my favorite no bake cheesecake. The last time I used a store bought graham cracker crust and it does make a bit more filling then I needed but I just put that in the fridge as. A separate treat

    1. I had the same, leftover with the store bought crust… so I filled up a few mini store bought crusts that I had on hand and sent them home with our dinner guests

  11. This cheesecake turns out to be absolutely perfect!! I made it for a friend’s birthday and it was a huge success. Thank you Sally for the super helpful and specific instructions!

    One quick question: can we add chopped berries to the cream cheese filing? Will the mixture be able to hold them or will they sink to the bottom?

    1. Hi Sayali, We haven’t tested this with adding fruit right to the batter, but we’d be cautious about the added juice from berries that might impact the setting of the cheesecake. If you wish you try it be sure to pat the berries dry. You could also simply top the cheesecake with berries instead. Let us know what you try!

  12. Hi Sally,
    Love all your recipes. I have a rich 8” chocolate cake layer that I am going to make a parchment collar for and spread this cheesecake filling on. After it cools, will it be stable enough that I can cut slices to serve guests and the cheesecake filling will stay nicely attached to the cake? I am spooning amaretto cherry sauce over the top.

    1. Yes, as long as you make the cheesecake as written and allow it to chill on top of the chocolate cake for 6-12 hours (closer to 12 is best!) the slices will be sturdy. Let us know if you give it a try!

    1. Hi Tonya! We haven’t tested this recipe with white chocolate, 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!

  13. Amazing I made it literally the second best cheesecake i’ve ever had in my life, right behind Katz’s deli in NYC. It’s even better that with your help I was able to make it.

  14. This is my go to recipe for cheesecake now! Today I piped the filling into waffle cones, and topped them with chocolate covered strawberries, for an ultra elegant New Years dessert!

  15. Just curious about the graham cracker portion.

    I poured out 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs but it is 400 grams not 200? Should I reduce to 200 grams or use the full 400 (2cups).

  16. I’m planning to make a Napoleon cheesecake for my younger brother’s birthday and this looks like the ideal recipe for its base! But do l have to make any changes to the recipe? I saw in the strawberry cheesecake recipe that you replaced the sour cream with strawberry sauce. So do l leave out the sour cream? And how much melted chocolate do l need to add to this (l’m not planning to add any cocoa powder)?
    Thanks and btw, l really like your website! It’s the first one l would go to for recipes, since they always turn out fine (not disastrous like some other recipes l had followed).

    1. Hi Wu! We are so happy to read that you have been enjoying the website! Yes, you can use our strawberry no bake cheesecake for one layer and scale down this recipe for another. We haven’t tested this recipe with chocolate, and it would take additional recipe testing for us to give you a confident answer. Melted and cooled pure chocolate (not chocolate chips) may work in place of the sour cream, but again, we haven’t tested it. Let us know what you try!

  17. And what base would you recommend also? Just graham crackers or with other types of cookie (like in the strawberry and pumpkin cheesecakes)?

    1. You can stick with the graham cracker crust that we use here, or even swap them out for chocolate graham crackers. Enjoy!

  18. Whilst I know it’s too good to be true for a no baked cheesecake to be done WITHOUT gelatin, I still went ahead and made this recipe. In my case, I used 2/3 of the measurements for 3 x 4” springform tins (no wastage).

    Firstly, the cheesecake portion simply DID NOT SET adequately. That’s after 12 hrs, 24 hrs and even a futile attempt at placing in freezer section for 1hr. Not quite waterfall collapse….more like slow motion glacially tumbling. So for the love of Mike, just discard that heavy cream bit (all that extra calories) and just use gelatin as a binding agent.

    Secondly, and this really irks me because the author could have warned all her readers: PLACE A PIECE OF PARCHMENT PAPER on the base of the cake tin!! Observed how her photo with the finished product on the cake stand STILL have the tin base attached? That’s probably because she couldn’t bloody get it off herself without destroying the cake in its already fragile state. As further evidence, noticed how the subsequent sliced photos showed a VERY THIN biscuit base? That’s a whole lot of heating and scraping the base for that photoshoot. I wouldn’t be surprised if even that was padded on after the fact.

    Yes, I was and still am, EXTREMELY ANNOYED by this recipe.

  19. Great recipe but you say there’s “zero room for error” because this is a no bake recipe. This phrase insinuates the baker cannot make a mistake without messing up the recipe. I think you mean there’s plenty of room for error, no?

    1. Hi Mandy, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076

  20. Absolute perfection! The texture and flavor are amazing!!
    I made your cheesecake in 3″ individual disposable pie tins, doubled the recipe for Christmas dinner so I’d have plenty for “care packages” to send home with everyone. Grandkids, NOT cheesecake fans, went crazy over them! The few minutes of baking the graham cracker crust is brilliant! And I think it’s a “must do” step! I had to make my “crusts” 3-days ahead and kept them in cupcake carriers, made the filling 2-days ahead and refrigerated in “industrial size” piping bags. The filling firmed up a bit in the bags and was still easy to pipe into crusts the day before. Filled and chilled overnight.
    Your cheesecake recipe was such a success, I’ll be making another 120 (or so) mini-cheesecakes for a golf tournament in April!
    Thanks for sharing your recipes!

  21. I’ve always made baked cheesecakes. It’s kinda my specialty. I came across this recipe and decided to give it a try. Absolutely delicious! This is my second time making it. I make a blueberry compote for the top decorated with whipped cream around the edge. Thank you so much Sally!

  22. Hi there! I tried searching for the difference between heavy whipping cream with regular whipping cream. I finally saw one of the comments and learned that heavy cream has more fat. But what if we don’t have heavy whipping cream or heavy cream here in the Philippines. What do I do?

    1. Hi Charolette! Yes, our heavy cream has about 36% fat. It may be called something else where you live (another reader commented it was called “thickened cream” where they live), but look for something with a similar percent of fat. If you use anything lighter the cheesecake will not set properly.

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