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

620 Comments

  1. Easy and delicious.

  2. I needed a quick dessert and this was so easy and delicious. However, I completely misread the instructions and only softened and used 1 block of cream cheese! The cheesecake was still amazing. Whipping that heavy cream definitely takes it to another level. I made individual cheesecake “shooters” so I cut the crust recipe in half and with my flub it made 12, 3oz. cheesecakes.

  3. Perfect is the word. I made this and wasn’t too confident but it’s the best no bake cheesecake I’ve ever made! Really easy recipe to follow. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Janice Gruver! says:

    Hiya. I fold parchment paper to make two strips that are about 25 inches long that will criss cross at the bottom of the pan with the ends folding up and out at the edge of the pan. The four ends will be used to pull the cheesecake out from the pan once it is chilled.
    You will need to cut a round piece of cardboard that fits the bottom of your pan loosely and set that piece on top of the parchment strips.
    Cut parchment paper to cover the bottom and sides of the pan and follow along with the recipe. You can use this method for baked cheesecake as well.
    You can check out videos on Japanese Cotton Cheesecake and see how to use the parchment paper.
    Cheers.

  5. I’ve made several other no bake cheesecakes from Japan which all had fruits blended in and after combing through oodles of articles, chose this one to try.
    I had problems with the gelatin with the other recipes, kept getting lumps of gelatin so had to run it through a sieve first but I did some reading on that as well and this cheesecake came out beautifully. YUM~! PERFECT amount of sweetness, just lovely.
    thank, Sally.

  6. Can I use whipping cream instead of “heavy” whipping cream?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Leeandra, 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. this recipe is awesome! i replaced 2/3 of the cheesecake with marscapone and layered it with coffee soaked ladyfingers for a tiramisu cheesecake

  8. Hi girl, I made this cheesecake for my mom and im fasting right now so i would like to know how much calories are in it

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shea, 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://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  9. Hi I am wondering how to scale down the recipe as I only have pans of other sizes and I don’t know the proportions.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Hosanna, our Cake Pan Sizes & Conversions guide can help you scale this recipe for your needs.

  10. Kolleen Wynnw says:

    I made this for mother’s day, and my brother has recently gone gluten free. So the graham cracker crust was out. I made these a layered dessert and used a oatmeal crumble in the bottom of the cups. with cherry pie filling on top. And making them smaller worked out well because I didn’t have the recommend 12 hours for them to set and they were a hit after only a couple of hours.

    1. FYI, there are some delicious gluten free graham crackers out there, and you can substitute them 1-for-1 quite well.

  11. Chris Lyles says:

    My, oh my. I made this and split it into some individual servings for my husband (9-10), who works out of town during the week and a standard pie plate. This is so, so smooth and tasty.

    Now I am wondering how to transform it into a chocolate no-bake cheesecake. Perhaps swap out melted semi-sweet chocolate for the sour cream, but not equally?

    I had also thought maybe add some cocoa powder, but I’m not sure it would give it the right flavor.

    Your thoughts are appreciated.

    Again: YUM!!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Chris, I’m sure you could make a chocolate version, 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. Chris Lyles says:

        Marbling/swirling cooled melted chocolate certainly would work. I will let you know how it affects the integrity of the filling. Also if I discover a “best” way to make the filling chocolate, I will share. Thanks again for the scrumptious recipe.

  12. Cheesecake is my husbands favorite dessert so this had to be good! Lol. It is delicious! So easy to make. The only few things I did that the recipe didn’t call for, I added a bit of kosher salt to the graham cracker crust, I added about 1/4 cup of vanilla yogurt along with the 1/4 cup sour cream and then made a strawberry compote to put on top. I’m telling you, it was perfect! My husband ate every bite of his piece, even the crust, which he never does. I’m putting this recipe in my favorites category and will be making again and again. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We’re so glad you loved this cheesecake, Cheri!

  13. Mahwish Ahmad says:

    Hey sally,
    I tried your recipe and the no bake cheesecake was perfectly delicious. I ll be trying the baked version next. Thank you for the recipe.

  14. Alex James says:

    It is a wonderful receipe! 9 have even changed the base to a brownie. It goes really well with it. Make sure the brownie has cooled down (12 – 24hr), at the cheesecake filling and let it set over night. It makes the brownie soft and the flavours go well together.

  15. Suzanne kfoury says:

    Could I make this fab recipe in small ball jars ( the Oui yogurt glass jars? ). They have lids and I need to transport them to a picnic!
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Suzanne, for cheesecake jars, we’d recommend following our no-bake cheesecake jars recipe instead!

  16. Hi Sally,
    thanks for this great recipe! twisted it a little with a gluten free crust, lime juice and lime zest and a strawberry puree insert. Was amazing!!!

  17. Hi Maria,
    I’ve made this using the Keebler pre made pie crust in a foil pan (I know not the same as the making it yourself) BUT it came out perfectly and delicious!!

  18. It is an easy recipe but I guess I did not have the cream cheese at room temp so it’s lumpy
    I’m letting it sit to get to room temp I added lemon zest n more juice Still tastes fine

    Any suggestions on getting it to room temp ?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi GP, for best results and the smoothest cheesecake, you’ll want to make sure you’re using room temperature cream cheese here. No shortcuts — simply take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator about 1 hour before beginning the recipe. Hope this is helpful for next time.

  19. Yes, helpful i just left it on the counter until it soften up and i used a smaller whip to cream the lumps. But now i went to loosen and remove the ring and the crust stuck to the mold?? any suggestions??

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi GP, letting the crust come to closer to room temperature should help it release better. The cold solidified butter is what is sticking, so letting that warm up will help the crust release. Enjoy!

  20. Jinal chauhan says:

    Can I use normal sugar instead of confectioners sugar?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jinal, the confectioners’ sugar thickens the filling, while also keeping it light. Unfortunately we haven’t had much success when testing with other thickeners — we recommend sticking with confectioners’ sugar for best results. Or you can look up how to make your own confectioners sugar if you have a high speed blender – we haven’t tested it but there are many recipes online for how to make your own.

  21. Hi Sally! Do you think I could fold in crushed Oreos to make an Oreo cheesecake? Thinking about doing that with an Oreo crust and topping with Oreo whipped cream! Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rebecca! You can add Oreo crumbs to the batter, but we haven’t tested it ourselves. You could also try this recipe for Oreo Pie instead!

      1. Used the crust recipe from your Snickers pie and added 8 crumbled Oreos to the filling. It was fantastic!

  22. 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.

  23. 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!

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 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.

  28. 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!

  29. 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!

  30. 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..,,,,,,

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