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

569 Comments

  1. This cheesecake looks perfect! I love how easy it is to make!

    1. Sarah Ciezak says:

      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!

  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. Laura | Tutti Dolci says:

    Gorgeous, Sally! This is cheesecake perfection!

  4. Evelina Zebrowski says:

    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.

  5. 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!!

    1. Hi Lauren, My whipped cream only has three ingredients! https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/homemade-whipped-cream/

  6. 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. 🙂

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

  11. 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!

  12. 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!!

  13. 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!!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

    1. Yes, absolutely! You can halve the recipe for smaller pans.

  16. This looks absolutely creamy and delicious! I’m hoping to try this recipe for an Easter dessert and was wondering if you think it would still set properly if I added chopped mini eggs?
    Also, I’d love to be able to make bars instead of slices for easier transport. Would this work in a 9×13 rectangle?

    1. Hi Melissa! I’m unsure about the chopped mini eggs, but I can’t see why they would be a problem. The cake 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 me know how they turn out.

  17. Hi Sally,
    My cheesecake is currently setting in the fridge and I can’t wait to try it! I tasted the filling though and noticed to my dismay tiny little cream cheese lumps. I beat the heck out of the batter and also had room temp ingredients so am not sure what I did wrong. Any insight? Thank you so much!

    1. Hey Catherine! A whisk attachment really helps rid those lumps. And keep beating until they’re all gone before adding the whipped cream.

  18. Sally, I just made this cheesecake yesterday, and it is hands-down the most light and delicious cheesecake I have ever made, not to mention the easiest. Even my husband, who doesn’t care for cheesecake, LOVED it. I suspect I will be making this again and again, and again. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing such a perfect recipe!

  19. Bill Richey says:

    Dear Sally
    As usual, this recipe turned out perfect. Since you are so knowledgeable in baking I am hoping you can help me. For a few years now I have been trying to make the perfect Mango Cheesecake. Since baking alters the flavor of mangoes I have been trying to make a no-bake mango cheesecake. My question to you is, do you know how I can get a cheesecake that has 2 cups of crushed fresh mangoes to set up without using gelatine? I have even tried reducing the amount of mango but still have to use so much whipped cream that the texture just isn’t right. If you have an answer to my problem I will be most grateful, if not thanks anyway for all the great recipes. Respectfully, Bill

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

  20. Stephanie Kurz says:

    Sally! I just made this recipe this week and it’s AMAZING! Just what I was looking for!

  21. I am thinking of adding crushed pineapple to the cheesecake filling. Do you think it will be okay if I squeeze the pineapple dry before adding??

    1. I haven’t tested this with adding fruit right to the batter. Let me know if you try it!

  22. It was perfect. Thanks so much for the fool proof recipe. I wish I could upload photo here

  23. I hope to make this cheesecake this weekend for my mom’s birthday. I have never attempted a cheesecake before so I have opted for the no bake cheesecake to build up confidence. The only thing I am concerned about is I do not have a hand or stand mixer and I will have to do it by hand. I am hoping it still works out.

    1. The hardest part will be whipping the heavy cream. It will take a lot of arm muscle to whip the cold heavy cream into stiff peaks by hand. Let me know how it turns out!

      1. Hi Sally,
        I ended up buying a good hand mixer that was on sale, and it helped save me a lot of work instead of whipping it by hand. This was my first attempt ever at cheesecake. It tasted delicious, but unfortunately I must have done something wrong. 🙁 I followed all the directions and left it to set in the fridge until the next day (more than 12 hours) but when I cut into the cheesecake it did not stay together. The bottom crust separated from the cheesecake, and the cheesecake itself was quite soft. I have a feeling I may have over whipped the heavy cream, as it looked more creamed together than stiff peaks. Could this have been the issue?
        Despite my somewhat failed first attempt the cheesecake and crust tasted delicious. It was well enjoyed by all. Since I knew it was my first attempt and disaster may strike I made your recipe for vanilla cupcakes and vanilla buttercream icing. They came out perfect, and quite honestly it is one of the best cupcake recipes I have ever tried!

      2. If the crust fell apart be sure to really pack it down tightly in the first step. Ensuring the cream is whipped to stiff peaks is the key to the recipe! See the video so you can get a visual of exactly what that looks like. I’m so glad you tried this though and I hope you try again! Also – wonderful that you enjoyed the cupcakes so much!

  24. Could I make these into mini cheesecakes using a muffin tin? Would the crust firm up ok? Otherwise, I’ll just use your mini cheesecake recipe – just hoping for a no bake option 🙂

    1. This should work just fine as mini cheesecakes!

  25. Kirsten Khan says:

    Can I use lime juice rather than lemon?

    1. For a little lime flavor, absolutely!

  26. This looks delicious! Looking forward to trying this recipe out! Could I use this cheescake to pipe into a cupcake? Will it set right?

    1. Should set wonderfully if chilled, yes!

  27. Wylene Benson says:

    Best no-bake recipe for cheesecake I have ever tried. My daughter requested cheesecake for her birthday party, about 4 hours before the party! We all know that is impossible with the firming time. But this recipe worked with a couple modifications from me. I used cupcake cups and divided up the graham cracker mixture between 2 muffin pans for 24 mini cheesecakes. I used the suggested 1/3 c measuring cup to press the graham crackers down to make a solid crust. I put the muffin pans into the freezer as suggested while I created the cheesecake mixture. Then I spooned the cheesecake mixture on top of the graham cracker crusts. The mixture is a perfect amount to fill 24 cupcake cups up to the top. While the cheesecake cupcakes were in the refrigerator, I made up 2 toppings: blueberry and strawberry. When it was time for dessert (about 2 hours into the party, so 6 hours from when I started), the mini-cheesecakes were firm, but still really soft. They held together well. I served them by removing the cupcake paper, putting them on a small plate, and drizzling with a little sauce (about 1 teaspoonful). Very pretty and super good. Everyone wanted the recipe!

    Here’s how I made the sauces:

    In a small saucepan, mix together 1 quart of frozen blueberries, 1 heaping tbs of honey and 1/2 tsp cardamom. Stir often, on medium to medium high heat for 15 minutes. The mixture should always be bubbling. Remove from heat. Press the sauce through a fine sieve with the back of a wooden spoon until you have about 2/3 c sauce. The pressing part is a forearm workout, but keep going! There is lots of sauce still there, even when you think you can’t get anymore out.

    The strawberry topping was made the same way, but with 1 quart of frozen strawberries, 1 heaping tbs honey and 1/2 tsp ground or grated ginger.

    Refrigerate the sauce until ready to use.

    1. What a lovely comment and thank you so much for sharing your adaptions and additions! The sauces sound fantastic, especially the blueberry and cardamom combination.

      1. Wylene Benson says:

        Thank you for replying! I put this recipe in my favorite recipe book and included the link to your page so I remember where it came from. I believe that when you share a recipe you become immortal. Every time someone makes it, they will think of you. You live through the recipe being handed down through generations 🙂

  28. Could this be made in a 13 x 9 pan?

    1. Hi Rae! That should be fine, but the no bake cheesecake might be a little difficult to slice.

  29. Oh my goodness.
    I made this for Easter (with a Biscoff cookie crust) and it is not only the best cheesecake I’ve ever made, I think it’s the best cheesecake I’ve ever HAD. It was a HUGE hit and people kept commenting on it.
    I’m never again going to bother with baking a cheesecake. This is so light and velvety and creamy and delicious—five stars aren’t enough! THANK YOU!
    p.s. Making sure the cream cheese and sour cream are room temperature is CRITICAL to the smooth texture!

  30. This is, without a doubt, the best cheesecake I have ever had. I made it in like 10 minutes flat last night before I went to bed and today I look like a hero! I tasted the filling when I made it and was worried it wasn’t sweet enough but the final flavor was perfect after chilling. Exactly the right amount of sweetness and the most dreamy texture ever.

    Any tips for ways to protect the crust from sticking to the springform pan? When I took the ring off, part of it stuck to the ring in a few places. I pressed the heck out of it last night so maybe I overdid it?

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