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

817 Comments

  1. Hi, so I want to conceptualize and practice my dad’s dream birthday cake. He loves ice cream, vanilla sponge, and cheesecake, so I want to do a layered ice cream cake with (bottom to top): ice cream, sponge, no-bake cheesecake, sponge, whipped frosting.

    2 questions:

    1) After the cake has thawed in the fridge and is ready to serve (30 min in fridge), will the cheesecake layer still have a good texture? It can be thick, but I just don’t want it to get icy.

    2) Will the sponge hold up beneath the cheesecake?

    Thank you so much for this recipe! Any help would be much appreciated.

    1. Hi Michelle, this cheesecake (after thawing) wouldn’t have an icy/frozen texture– it’s pretty creamy. For the sponge, it depends on the sponge cake recipe itself. This is a pretty thick and heavy cheesecake. Sorry I can’t help more. I’ve never used this as a cake layer with sponge cake before– it would certainly require testing.

      1. Thank you for replying, Sally!

        I’ll test this idea out. I definitely wouldn’t put the entire recipe’s worth on a single layer of cake, and would freeze the rest for some other time. I might just halve the entire recipe to minimize leftovers.

        Again, thanks for the response. I’ve been a fan of your blog for years!

      2. Make sure to let all your cheesecake filling to Set in the Fridge Prior to Freezing-to preserve the texture!

  2. Can I use yogurt instead of sour cream as it is not easy to get sour cream in my region

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Paul, plain yogurt works in place of sour cream in a pinch.

  3. Hi. How do I adjust the ingredients for a 6 inch round pan ? Please advise. thank you.

    1. It depends on the height, but the ration of cylinders surface of 6″ to 9″ is about 0.5, so I think 6″ will require about half of the original recipe. For example if the height is 3″ then the ration is 8/15

      1. When I wrote the comment above I was thinking of the crust so I did calculation for it. However the ratio for the filling is different. So for the crust you take about half of the original recipe depending of the height, for the filling its actually 4/9th of the original and it does not depend on the height.

      2. Hi. Sorry for the late reply. My 6 inch pan has height of 5cm. How do I adjust the ingredients ? Please advise. Thank you.

  4. I want to make an Oreo variation of this. Would adding Oreo crumbs ruin the consistency? What do you recommend for the Oreo crust so that it can also be no bake? Thank you !

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Maria, you can use an Oreo cookie crust here. We recommend following the Oreo cookie crust recipe found with our Snickers Cheesecake. You can skip the pre-bake. 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!

  5. Hi Sally,
    I’m out of Philadelphia cheese at the moment but I have mascarpone cheese, can I use it as a cream cheese for this recipe?
    Thanks

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Moe, we haven’t tried mascarpone, but we 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. Would love to know if you give it a try!

  6. Can you blend fresh berries into the filling or would it need to be made into a topping?

    1. The berries would most likely become damp and ruin the texture. Try add a puree instead.

  7. Hi sally, can I use whipping cream instead of heavy cream? If I want to make strawberry cheesecake with this recipe do I need to remove sour cream?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sean, if using whipping cream, you want to make sure the word “heavy” is in the title. Whipping cream without “heavy” in the title is lighter, which isn’t ideal for this no-bake cheesecake. As for the strawberry, 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. We’d love to know if you give this recipe a try!

    2. Hoya, how do I make the cheese cake topping into a chocolate cheese cake?

  8. The filling was very nice. The crust was a disaster, as it did not hold together and ended up sort of crumbling all over the place even before I cut the cake. Would recommend sticking with a baked crust, cooling it completely and then using the filling from this recipe.

  9. If I were to make the cheesecake filling and pipe it as a bonbon filling, is it feasible and how long would I chill it for before putting it into a piping bag? Will it keeps its set consistency?

    1. Hi Carol, we haven’t tested anything like that but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. I would chill it for the same amount of time– at least 6-8 hours.

  10. Tasty cheesecake! Is there a way to get a thicker graham crust? Also
    I didn’t oil the bottom of the pan. No mention of this in the recipe. So the crust stuck to the pan.

  11. Melanny Araguez says:

    Best no-bake cheesecake. Every time I make it I have a new fan. But, I never take the credit. Won my school baking contest. Everyone who eats it asks when I’m going to make it again. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      So happy this no-bake cheesecake is such a hit for you, Melanny!

  12. Best no bake cheese cake. I am a huge fan of cheese cake but have no luck at making one, until now. This recipe is SO simple and comes out perfect every time! My wife did not like cheese cake until I made this one.

  13. This was very confusing the written, I have to say. It may be all the ads, but the choppiness was REALLY hard to follow. I basically had to rewrite it, check and recheck where you had written one thing versus another, and rewrite it again. It came out great, but it was the hardest recipe I have ever tried to follow in my life.

  14. Would it be possible to split this recipe into 2 6in cakes? My son wants a 4 layer chocolate cake with 2 layers being cheesecake. “Sure no problem kid!” Ha! No bake is the only way this is going to happen lol

    1. Hi Pattie, this cheesecake filling isn’t ideal as a cake layer because it won’t adequately support cake layers on top (unless it’s a very light sponge cake, for example). The filling yields more than 2 6 inch pans, I would say closer to 3. (This is A LOT of filling!)

  15. OMG, this is a fantastic! I’m a newbie baker & this was only my second cheesecake, but I found your recipe easy to follow. Thanks Sally! The only change I made was to add 100g white chocolate, because I was inspired by my 1st recipe (an English Milkybar cheesecake). I used a Lindt Easter bunny, not baking chocolate, and melted the white chocolate in the microwave in 30 sec. bursts until creamy. I mixed it in just prior to the whipped cream. Subtle but wonderful! Maybe 200g of white chocolate bunnies the next time…
    My only issue—after 3 hrs. out, the cream cheese was still too cool for easy mixing. I ended up microwaving about half the cream cheese & sugar to soften it, so next time, I’ll leave it out overnight. But I only have a dinky hand-mixer, maybe that was the problem? I used the whisk attachment for the cream (worked like charm!), and the beaters for the rest. After licking the beaters like 5 year olds, my husband & I were too impatient to wait 6 hours—we spooned cheesecake & crust into bowls after it had been in the fridge only a few hours, and wow, AMAZING! Who needs slices? (It set just fine, though.) He gave it & me “10 gold stars,” so this recipe is a keeper.

  16. Please…can I use this as a cake filling? Just chill in a container and scoop out? Would it hold up in the cake? Thinking carrot cake. Not that fond of powdered sugar icing. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Patricia, I don’t recommend this no bake cheesecake as a sturdy layer between cakes (unless it’s a very light sponge cake). We haven’t tested it, but I suspect it simply isn’t stable enough to support cake layers.

  17. I made this no bake cheesecake and it is so good! I lessen the sugar though and it is great!

  18. Babylyn Mirabueno says:

    Hi Ma’am Sally☺️. I tried your recipe and it was amazing! Soft crust and the cheesecake itself is perfect. If only I can attach the picture . Thank you so much. I highly recommend this recipe❤️.

  19. I’ve made this no bake cheesecake so many times I absolutely love it! I love that it doesn’t have eggs because I always feel like there’s a taste to eggs or smell when I eat cheesecakes so this recipe really is perfect thank you for it! I’m actually making it right now again but this time I want to add some red food coloring for Valentine’s I hope that doesn’t ruin the cheesecake in any way!?

  20. Hi Sally
    Avid fan here,

    Can this receipe be covertedd to1 or at the very least, 2 8 oz blocks of cream cheese?

    Thanks
    N

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nikki, you could halve the recipe for a 6 inch pan for a smaller batch using less cream cheese. You may also like this recipe for a small batch cheesecake baked in a loaf pan.

  21. Hello! May I ask you, if you know, in case I want to make this recipe a bit lighter using only philadelphia and greek yogurt, with no cream, how I can amend the recipe? Thank you so much! Chiara

  22. Hi Sally.
    I can’t get cream cheese blocks here where I live so could I use just the normal Philadelphia cream cheese tubs? Thank you

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Anne Marie, 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 depending on where you live!

  23. Anne marie Kefala says:

    Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I live in Athens Greece and I’ve used the Philadelphia cream cheese before to make cheesecake but it’s always been with gelatine. That’s why I asked as I was a little concerned whether the cream cheese filling would firm up. Thank you very much!

  24. I initially thought to swirl strawberry purée or pieces into this, but I saw your message to another comment about not adding moisture to it. So I would like to fill chocolate shells with this but mixed with strawberry pieces or reduction after it sets on its own. Could the texture still hold up after the cheesecake has been set in the fridge and then have fruit folded into it? Then I can spoon it into the shells.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Karen, That sounds delicious but we haven’t tested it to know for sure. Folding in pieces of berries after the cheesecake has set should be ok (pat the berries dry first) or layer with a reduction inside the chocolate shells. Let us know how they turn out!

  25. I made this yesterday. The filling was light, fluffy and airy. But once the filling sat overnight, it became dense the next day. I could only eat a few bites. I could feel this lump in my stomach. I think I prefer a traditional recipe where you bake the cheesecake.

  26. Didn’t use the no-bake base as I didn’t have any digestives on hand but loved the way the filling turned out (I’d substituted the sour cream for Greek yogurt as I didn’t have that on hand either) ! I also added some lemon zest for a more lemon-y flavour. Also like that this isn’t too sweet. I didn’t adjust down the sugar levels as I usually do for most recipes, thanks for highlighting that this cake recipe isn’t meant to be really sweet or I may have ended up with just an extra creamy cream cheese layer rather than dessert, haha. Excellent reviews from my parents who had seconds even after a heavy meal prior to dessert.
    Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      So happy you enjoyed this recipe, Amelia!

  27. I have a premade oreo pie crust I’d like to use up. Should I cut the cheesecake recipe in half? Would that be enough to fill the crust?

  28. Can I use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lisa, plain Greek yogurt works in place of sour cream in a pinch. Enjoy!

  29. It came up amazing!!! I added some passion fruit to the mix and on top and OMG!!! First time making cheesecake and surely not the last. Thanks!!!

  30. Hi Sally. I love your blog and I have already baked many of your recipes, successfully. For this cheesecake, do you happen to know and can you advise, if I’m to use powder gelatine, how much shall I use? Many thanks for everything!
    Millie x

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Millie, we don’t add gelatin to our cheesecakes as the whipped heavy cream adds enough stability and structure. However, certainly feel free to give it a try if you’d like — we’re unsure of the amount. We’re glad to hear you’ve been enjoying our recipes!

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