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

850 Comments

  1. I made it yesterday for my 6th wedding anniversary, it’s so yummyyy, my husband like it, so easy and it’s moderately sweetened… surely will make it again…. Thank you
    (And i made it with homemade cream cheese)

  2. Lovely recipe……turned out awesome. However wanted to know if we can use powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar while beating with the cream cheese as its quicker in dissolving and saves a lot of beating time

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Fatima, The granulated sugar breaks down the cream cheese, we haven’t tested it with all confectioners sugar but I fear it would be too thick.

  3. I made this twice in one week and both came out great !!!! Put cherry pie filling on first one and blueberry pie filling on the second. Both set up perfectly. I could not believe just how really good they were. Btw, there are only 2 of us in this house and we ate both cakes. lol. I’ll never try to bake another cheesecake ever.

  4. Lis Conde Hernandez says:

    Amazing, tastes better than qmwhat you get at a bakery. My partner loved it. Only thing is that the crust fell apart a bit too much. Would you recommend putting more butter to make the crust less crummy? thank you for the recipe. Can’t wait to experiment with more fillings and fruits…

  5. Hi Sally! I was hoping to try this recipe but wanted to add some flavours to the cheesecake. Do you think this would still work if I mixed peanut butter and chocolate into the cheesecake batter like in your baked Snickers cheesecake recipe? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rawan, We haven’t tested this as peanut butter flavored, but our first guess would be to remove the sour cream and add around 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter. The cheesecake *should* still set up just fine. You can top with cooled chocolate ganache, too.
      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. Perfect, thanks so much for the quick reply!

      2. Just wanted to report back! I tried this no bake cheesecake but made it Snickers flavoured and it turned out great. I made the oreo/Snickers crust from your Snickers cheesecake recipe, then for the batter I left out the sour cream and then split the batter in two, added about 1/3 cup peanut butter to one half and 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the other half, and then swirled it like in the Snickers recipe. It set beautifully! I topped it with chopped Snickers and salted caramel and it was a big hit 🙂 Thanks for all your help!

  6. Shannon Pritchett says:

    Can I freeze this? Or will it last 5 days in the fridge

    1. I always remember it as 3 days in the fridge 3 months in the freezer xxx

  7. I made this exactly by your recipe. The only thing I did different was I added a half a teaspoon of cinnamon to the graham cracker crust and that’s just because I like the cinnamon in the crust. I made the cheesecake exactly by your recipe and it turned out perfect. It was super fluffy light delicious, couldn’t have asked for a better cheesecake. All I did was get some fresh strawberries and make a little bit of strawberry topping. I topped each piece of cheesecake with the strawberry topping and a dollop of whipped cream. If I could add a photo here I would as you can tell by the photo how well it turned out. I have been looking for an easy cheesecake to make as it is difficult baking one since you have to be so very careful that it doesn’t cook for too long and dry out or possibly not cook long enough. So this was definitely a great idea.

  8. the is the 2nd time i’ve made my version of this cheesecake this exact way & it’s turned out great both times! i just used what i had on hand the first time & hoped for the best. i was pleasantly surprised!!

    sub light cream for heavy.
    whip light cream for 4-5 minutes on highest setting. add cream cheese & granulated sugar and whip on highest setting until combined. scrap down sides at least once.
    omit lemon juice, confectioners sugar & sour cream.
    proceed with the recipe as is.

  9. Hey sally! How do you recommend going about this recipe as making ahead and freezing? I plan on making a bunch of the filling ahead of time. Does the texture hold up? Is it possible? Would I be better off making ahead the day before and refrigerating instead? Thanks! Also this is the best recipe ever!!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Makayla, See the Make Ahead Instructions in the recipe notes. Enjoy!

  10. I had an epic fail did not bind at all. Followed the steps perfectly, looked great but was liquid when I removed it from my spring pan.

    I will try it again

  11. Hi sally! Will this taste good if i just put blueberries on top? Or do i have to adjust anything so it will blend well?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Denise, this would be delicious with blueberries on top! If you’d like a blueberry sauce, you could make the blueberry sauce from our blueberry crumble ice cream recipe. Enjoy!

  12. Christina Khalil says:

    What to substitute for sour cream? Sour cream isn’t available in my local grocery store as I’m not in the US. What can I substitute for sour cream for in this recipe?
    Thank you

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Christina, Plain yogurt works in place of sour cream in a pinch.

  13. can i substitute sour cream with plain yoghurt?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Dora, Plain yogurt works in place of sour cream in a pinch.

  14. This is not the first time I have made this and I scaled it down using only 1 block of cream cheese which made 2 “mini” cheesecakes in mini pie pans.
    I have a Kitchen Aid so I NEVER “pre-whip” my cream……I cream the cheese FIRST and add the sugar and let it go until smooth and I actually skipped the confect. sugar all together and add the lemon and vanilla (using my whip attachment) ADD THE CREAM LAST and turn my mixer all the way up ………..AND, Bob’s yur uncle…….EASY PEASY cheesecake.
    Baking for 2 is different but it’s all good and this is a great “go to” for a quick dessert. THANK YOU!

    1. Thank you for this, GArnott! I also cook for 2 and always halve recipes-and I mix cheesecake exactly as you described! Looking forward to this recipe. I think I’m going to use ramekins for this one

  15. I subbed the sugar for Swerve (a sugar substitute) and used a keto pecan crust to make this dessert ekto friendly. Its Is absolutely deliicious!

  16. Hello Sally,
    I have made the cheesecake and have froze it in the springform pan. When the time comes to defrost it, should I take it out of the pan whilst still frozen to defrost in the fridge, or just remove the pan when it is soft and it is ready to serve?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Susan, Honestly either way is perfectly fine! We hope you enjoy it when you are ready to eat it!

      1. That is really helpful, thank you!

  17. Anna Varghese Chacko says:

    Hi Sally,
    Thank you very much for this recipe! I was thinking of making a cardamom rose cheese cake. Can avoid the sour cream and add rose water and cardamom to make the cake? Also, can I also add a rose water jelly ( with gelatin) on top after 12 hrs of setting the cake? Thank you for your help!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Anna, We have not tested this recipe that way. You can add flavors or extracts to the cheesecake however I would not add more liquid as the cheesecake may not set properly. You can definitely add the jelly to the top after it sets. Let us know what you try!

      1. Thank you very much for your help! Do you have a no bake cheesecake recipe with gelatin added to it?
        Thanks!!

      2. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        No, we don’t add gelatin to our cheesecakes as the whipped heavy cream adds enough stability and structure.

    2. I had success adding a little alcohol to this recipe (basically about half a shot of Cointreau) so some liquid will be OK, but you’d need a LOT of rose water to get any fragrance. Instead, you could make a rose simple syrup (you can buy stuff like that too) and use up to half a shot.

      I topped this recipe with homemade applesauce that had cornstarch added during cooking to give it stability/less liquidity and it was fine, so I imagine rose jelly would also be fine.

      1. Thank you very much for your suggestions! I appreciate your help!
        I think I am going to try to make in an individual dessert glass and see how it turns out.

  18. Hi Sally, I just want to ask if I don’t have springform pan, can I use plastic food container? Thank you xx

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

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

  19. Thank you for your help and suggestions. I really appreciate it!

  20. Hey Sally !

    Question if i knock this down to two blocks of cream cheese , how much would the other ingredients be

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kay, You should keep all of the ingredients in the same ratio. So if you are only using 2/3 of the cream cheese you should use 2/3 of the other ingredients also.

  21. Hi Sally! I’m on a mission to find my perfect cheesecake recipe – I’m in the uk and we’re all about the no-bake cheesecakes. Can you talk to me about the cream cheese blocks? I don’t know if such a thing exists in the UK! I have only ever used Philadelphia cream cheese (do you guys have that?) but maybe that’s why my cheesecakes are too soft for my liking. Are the blocks a type if cheese? Like marscarpone? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Libby, The spreadable cream cheese that is sold in the U.S. is too thin and the cheesecake won’t set up properly. From what we understand, spreadable cream cheese sold in a tub in countries outside of the US is a little different from the spreadable cream cheese in the US. It’s thicker, sturdier, more solid, and other readers have reported success using it. It might be worth trying it!

  22. I’ve made this couple times..awesome recipe.
    If I wanted it to be chocolate how much hershey powdered chocolate do i add?

    1. Hilari @ 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!

  23. Janet L Thibodeaux says:

    HI Sally
    I am making this for the first time for THanksgiving. Can i add ccol whip to this recipe.

    1. Hi Janet, 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.

  24. This was fantastic! Is it possible to use strawberry concentrate to make this a strawberry cheesecake?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We don’t recommend adding extra liquid to the filling as it would really throw off the texture. You can certainly try to add a strawberry swirl much the same way we do in this blueberry cheesecake but with strawberries instead. Or simply serve it with strawberry compote.

  25. Hi,
    How long can I freeze the cheesecake

  26. I got a pre-made Graham cracker crust as I don’t have a spring form pan. Will it still work ok as I was gonna make it tonight for turkey day tomorrow. Thx

    1. Hi Tara, is it a deep dish pie pan? You’ll have quite a bit of leftover filling since this fills a springform pan pretty well. Or you can try halving the filling recipe so you don’t have too much extra.

  27. I made this recipe according to these exact directions, and I felt it was WAY too much whipped cream. It had a nice tart “cheesecake” kick at the stage before adding the whipped cream, and after combining, just tasted like whipped cream with a slight hint of sour cream. So I salvaged it by pulling out about half of that original bowl (saved for another day) and processed my last available pack of cream cheese (there went my spinach casserole plans) with about 1/4 cup sour cream & another 1/4 cup powdered sugar, then added that to the 1/2 bowl from the original recipe. So my personal opinion is this would be better with half the suggested amount of whipped cream & a little more sour cream. And I should have known better than to try a new recipe the night before a big holiday meal. My mom used to do that and it was always a disaster.

  28. I made the no bake cheesecake in an extra serving pre-made graham cracker Keebler crust. Simply divide the recipe in half and it fits wonderfully in the one pie crust. If math is hard then use 2 crust, no dividing. I have also used two 6″ graham cracker crust with some extra filling for a couple of cheesecakes in the jars. Of course the best way is in the spring form pan, but in a pinch these alternatives work. Thank you for a wonderful no bake option.

  29. I made this and the strawberry topping for Thanksgiving this year and they both turned out great! The topping was just a tad too tart for me but my family loved it; I actually preferred the cheesecake plain. Both were super easy to make and I’ll definitely be making them again in the future! Thanks for a great recipe!

  30. Can I sub whipping cream with condensed milk?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      No, we don’t recommend it. Beating heavy cream into stiff peaks most important step in this entire recipe and *the secret* to a thick no-bake cheesecake filling. Condensed milk will not work the same.

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