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

855 Comments

  1. Do you add the topping before putting it in the refrigerator to set

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jim, We recommend adding any toppings after refrigerating and just before serving. Enjoy!

      1. Emily Waclawski says:

        Can I add cocoa to make this chocolate and if so, how much and ar what point?

  2. LittleLightLady says:

    Great recipe. It’s a bit intimidating to read but once you actually make it it’s easy. I had problems with the crust sticking to the pan a bit but I think that’s more the fault of the pan.

  3. This recipie is absolutely the most simplest of the many recipies I have tested. Its wonderful, the texture, the taste and the overall appearance is great.

  4. I made this a few weeks ago and it turned out absolutely perfect! It set up beautifully and tasted so amazing!!! I’m making it again for Christmas. Thank you for this simple and very easy to follow recipe.

  5. The BEST cheesecake recipe EVER!! My whole family loved it and i had to make another one soon after! I even made an oreo cheesecake using this as a base, minus the sour cream and lemon juice. Thank you so much for this recipe!

  6. AMAZING!
    Now I’ve been asked to make this for Christmas x 2 !
    Even no cheesecake lovers LOVED THIS.
    Thank you for this perfect recipe.

  7. Best substitute for graham crackers? I’m in Australia

    1. Try granita biscuits. Any plain biscuit should be fine.

      1. Made this as a birthday cheesecake. But halved the recipe and used Oreo crumbs. Was delicious.
        I made it an hour before hand so put it in the freezer for 40 minutes and then moved to fridge. Worked out well. Was nice and solid so I could easily lift out of small cake pan which I had lined with extra parchment underneath to lift it up.

  8. Hi Sally. Me again, on another cheesecake post 🙂 any dairy substitutes for this recipe?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Renato, We have not tested a dairy free version of this cheesecake. If you are interested you can browse our section of vegan recipes for one that is dairy free.

  9. Emily Waclawski says:

    Can I add cocoa to make this chocolate and if so, how much and ar what point?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Emily, 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!

  10. I loved the recipe but I had big problems with the crust sticking to the pan. Any solutions would be appreciated

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rena! You can line the bottom of the pan with a round piece of parchment paper to make sure it doesn’t stick next time.

  11. This was AMAZING! I made a 9-inch for o e thanksgiving party, and a 10-inch for another (larger) thanksgiving party. This cheesecake was a huge hit!!! Everyone loved it! I still have some in my fridge, and it’s still good! So easy to make, and it tastes wonderful with chocolate syrup! I did make the salted caramel to go with it, but it tasted over salted and burnt. I don’t think I bring it, but the flavor said otherwise. I’ll have to tweak it a bit. If you’re looking for a quick, easy or make-ahead dessert, this is it! Perfect for cheesecake lovers, parties, or just because. Definitely will make again! Thank you, Sally! Happy holidays to you and your wonderful family!

  12. Hi Sally, just wanted to k ow if we keep it out of refrigerator for 2 hrs before serving will it lose its shape. I have to make it for a potluck & travel 2 hrs to a friend’s house.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shweta, as long as the cheesecake is fully chilled and set before your trip, that should be fine. If possible, transport it in a cooler to prevent it from warming up too much. When you arrive, stick it in the fridge for a bit before serving. Hope this helps!

  13. Hi Sally!!
    I do t have a springform pan (I know I know…). Do you think I could half the recipe and use a pie plate? I might struggle with that perhaps…. thoughts?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Erin, we’d recommend halving both the pie crust and filling for a traditional pie dish. It might be a bit messy getting the first slice out, but it will be delicious nonetheless. Let us know if you give it a try!

  14. If I don’t have that specific pan can I use something else? Also is it absolutely necessary to use sour cream?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Brenda, You could adjust the recipe for a different size springform pan, but I wouldn’t recommend a different type of pan. 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.

  15. Can I use philadelphia cream cheese for this ?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lily, absolutely. Just make sure it is full-fat, block cream cheese.

  16. Hi Sally, I’ve made this no bake cheesecake recipe so many times because it is delicious! Just curious, can the recipe do without the sour cream? I currently don’t have any at hand, and was wondering if I could leave it out. Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

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

  17. What a great recipe, it was fantastically smooth tangy and light! All my guests raved about it.

  18. What if i do not have confectioner’s sugar?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Juliet, The confectioners’ sugar thickens the filling, while also keeping it light. Unfortunately we haven’t had much success when testing with other thickeners such as flour and cornstarch (both left a chalky aftertaste) I recommend waiting until you can get to the store and sticking with confectioners’ sugar.
      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.

  19. Hi. Do you think I could use the filling inside of a chocolate candy mold? A heart shaped chocolate candy mold filled with the filling?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kate, this creamy no-bake cheesecake would not hold its shape when inverted out of a mold.

      1. Thank you for responding. If I made a chocolate mold, then fill with the cheesecake and placed a chocolate mold on the back to seal would it possibly work?

  20. Julie Thiessen says:

    My friend uses gelatin in her no-bake cheesecake. Would that be of any benefit in this recipe?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Julie, We don’t add gelatin to our cheesecakes as the whipped heavy cream adds enough stability and structure.

  21. Hi sally was wondering how many calories are in one serving ?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Livy, I’m unsure of the nutritional info of this recipe, but there are many great online calculators like this one: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  22. I make my own cheesecake only for my older kids, I mashed down 3 cream cheese blocks add lil milk and whip up 2 pkgs dream whip till its nice and fluffy with vanilla combine it together and start whipping it again till smooth. I made my Graham crust whole box with half cup melted butter and baked it for 5 mins cooled in the fridge and transfer mixture to the 9×11 pan on top of the crust gently spreading mixture. The last thing is I use a blueberry pie filling for my topping. My older kids love it and almost always clean up the plates within days

  23. Juria Snipes says:

    I made this cheesecake and it turned out very well. I followed the recipe exactly. The filling is not too heavy and not too light. It’s creamy and taste like cheesecake. My graham cracker crust did not turn out as well. It’s crumbling. Something for me to work on. I even did the whip cream swirls on top. I will make it again.

  24. Karina Calderon says:

    Best recipe ever! I get so so many compliments every time I make it! I’ve had all my friends and family try this recipe as well

  25. In case anyone doesn’t own a springform, I made this using a 9×13 pan. They Turned out perfect, I made no adjustments to the ingredients. Awesome recipe, everyone loved them

  26. Constance A Blair says:

    Can I use Cool whip instead of heavy cream?

  27. Hi,
    Can I use caster sugar instead of granulated sugar?
    Thanks! 🙂

  28. Hi Sally. I am in Canada and here we get Whipping Cream that is 35%. I am unable to find Heavy Cream in stores here. Can I use the 35% cream and will it give same result?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kamran, 35% cream is perfect for this recipe! The Heavy Cream we used is 36%.

  29. Savetah Comeau says:

    What size does this make 8” , 9” ,10”?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Savetah, this recipe is written for a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan.

  30. Helen Jo Ryan says:

    I made this according to recipe and I was worried filling would not set so I added 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar and blended. Poured into a large glass pie plate, smoothed , covered and stuck it in fridge. It was wonderful. Perfect. I have made 3 times so far and comes out everytime.

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