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. Would be enough 10 inch cheesecake or should i make 1 1/2 batch?

    1. Hi Adrienn, you can stretch this recipe to fit a 10 inch springform pan. The slices will just be a little thinner/shorter.

      1. I always use chocolate hobnobs instead of digestives, is the way forward

    2. This was absolutely amazing. Just follow the directions and let it sit overnight. Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. It was very easy and very good but some of my guest remarks
      It tasted to much cream cheese? All they could taste was the
      Cream cheese. Help
      .what can I do to make it better

      1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Victoria! This no-bake cheesecake is a cream cheese heavy dessert – it makes sense that that would be the main flavor! Perhaps you would enjoy a flavored no-bake cheesecake next time, like our no bake pumpkin cheesecake recipe or strawberry cheesecake pie.

  2. I make this all the time in Australia using digestive biscuits! The kids also love it!

  3. 5 stars!

    Light, fluffy, and the perfect amount of sweet. I made this last night and was worried cause I have never made a cheesecake or any pie before, but the instructions were so clear and easy even a newbie like myself could do it. My pie is chilling right now (but I couldn’t help tasting a little bit) and I think I’m going to make a better compote to put on top today. I’m having friends over so this is guaranteed to impress. All in under 45 minutes too! I used lime instead of lemon (cause it’s what I had on hand) and it came out perfect! Give this recipe a try!

  4. Jamie . Thank you for this. I’m wondering if I could add a small amount of gelatin to make this more shelf stable?

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jamie, 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.

      1. Maira Qureshi says:

        Hey Sally, I live in a seriously warm humid climate, and just to be absolutely sure that the cheesecake would set, I added 1tbsp powdered gelatine dissolved in 40ml water it turns out fine! ❤️

  5. Could you add a fruit jam to this recipe? Would you need to change any measurements? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lea, We don’t recommend adding extra liquid (like concentrate, jam, etc.) to the filling as it would really throw off the texture. You can certainly try to add a fruit swirl much the same way we do in this blueberry cheesecake. Or simply serve it with strawberry topping. Hope this helps!

  6. Amazing! Sooo good! Is your looking for a no-bake cheesecake that isn’t too sweet and is a little tangy this is for you! I was looking for just that because I wanted a cheesecake I could too with cherry pie filling, which I love almost as much as blueberry pie filling, both are sweet enough on their own. This was perfect for that! Was a big hit all around and soooooooo easy! The most difficult part was getting the crust pressed, otherwise it came together so easily. Although waiting for it to set was pretty hard and honestly I gave it almost 24 hrs and think it would’ve been better with 48 but I just didn’t have the patience for that! 10 out of 10 would recommend! BTW if you do like sweeter cheesecake you could also add more sugar too!

  7. Can you use something else instead of lemon juice

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Pam! Lemon juice brightens up the flavor of this cheesecake, we suggest leaving it in for best results, but you could simply leave it out in a pinch.

  8. Hi, would this be firm enough to use in a mold? I am trying to find a recipe to use in a brain mold for a Halloween party. Thanks!

    Jessica

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessica, we fear this creamy no-bake cheesecake would not hold its shape when inverted out of a mold. It might be best to find a no-bake cheesecake recipe that specifically formulated to be sturdy enough to hold different shapes.

  9. Elizabeth Thomas says:

    Hi Sally ,
    Can I make this in a loaf pan ? Thank you
    Elizabeth

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elizabeth, you could try halving this recipe for a loaf pan. You may also like this recipe for a small batch cheesecake baked in a loaf pan.

  10. Hi! Can I make this without lemon juice? Will it make a big difference without the lemon? I don’t have any lemon at the moment.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Anna, Lemon juice brightens up the flavor of this cheesecake. We suggest leaving it in for best results, but you could simply leave it out in a pinch.

  11. Chris Sedlmayr says:

    I have to do gluten-free, so instead of the crust that you suggest I use one that is made from dates and nuts. It is a no-bake recipe and is very yummy. I put the cream cheese on top of this and it’s in the refrigerator right now doing its set up. Can’t wait!

    1. Hi Chris! How did it end up working out with the gluten free crust? I’d love to make this for my gluten free friends!

  12. This was so good! Thank you so much for this recipe. It was so smooth and creamy and we all loved it. I also added some zest to the mix and also a little bit on top.

  13. Can I make the filling a day in advance? How is best to store and then use this? I am making 60 mini cheesecakes and to save on time I wanted to make the filling the day before.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi San, if you make the filling in advance, it will set before you have a chance to fill your mini cheesecakes. See recipe notes for our recommended make-ahead instructions. You may also love our recipes for mini no bake cheesecakes!

  14. I want to make a no-bake cheesecake filling to go in between the layers of a cake. Would I be able to make this and once set then use it for the filling? I would of course be using a buttercream damn like you would with any other filling.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Joanna, with a buttercream dam, you should be fine to use this filling in a cake. Or you might like the filling from our no-bake cheesecake jars, too.

  15. Is there anything to replace the sour cream with to do a lactose free version? I searched and found natural yogurt. Would it give the same consitency?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Camille! We haven’t tried this recipe with a lactose-free substitute, so we’re unsure of the results and how it would impact the setting of the cheesecake. For best taste and texture (and so you don’t waste your time trying to adapt this recipe since it may not work properly), it may be more useful to find a recipe that is specifically formulated to be lactose-free. Let us know if you give anything a try!

  16. Could this recipe be used for stuffing whole strawberries?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We don’t see why not! Let us know if you give it a try 🙂

  17. Hello. I’ve made this recipe several times and absolutely Love It!! But was wondering, if I increased the Cream Cheese to 750grams how much extra would I need to increase the other ingredients? Thank you. :-))

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Marnie, we only recommend increasing the ingredients if you are planning to use a bigger pan — otherwise, you’ll have a bit too much batter. If so, then you can increase all the ingredients proportionally. Keeping the same proportion as the written recipe is important to help make sure the cheesecake sets properly. Hope this helps!

  18. How sweet is this? I’d like to make this for my boyfriend, who likes cheesecake since it’s a sweet/savory combo but would generally make other sweets with the sugar reduced by a half or a quarter. Would reducing the granulated and/or confectioner’s sugar in this case negatively impact the flavor and/or texture?

    Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Heather, we fear that reducing the sugar too much in this recipe will not only impact taste, but will prevent the cheesecake from setting properly. For best results, we recommend sticking to the recipe as written. Hope your boyfriend enjoys the cheesecake!

  19. Love this recipe! I made it without the crust and used it as a filling for my red velvet cake – rave reviews!

  20. Could you use an pre made graham cracker crust

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Soring, absolutely. There may be a bit of leftover batter since premade crusts are usually smaller, but you can use any leftover for a few mini no-bake cheesecakes.

  21. Hey! I’m planning on making this for my Advisory class, and I was wondering how I should store it to bring to school? I’m not sure if I’d be able to put it in a fridge when I got to school, so would the cheesecake survive a few hours before it was actually eaten without being refrigerated? Also, should I just wrap the cheesecake in aluminum, or put it in a plastic container?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nina, it’s best to keep this cheesecake in a refrigerator until ready to eat. The longer it sits at room temperature, the softer it will get and not hold its shape as much when sliced. If the cheesecake is still in its pan, you can simply cover the top with aluminum or transport it separately in plastic container if you wish. Whichever you prefer. Hope this helps!

  22. These recipe is delicious can I use a cherry pie filling as a topper on it?

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Julie, Absolutely!

  23. shelley schmitt says:

    I had cheesecake recently that had caramel drizzled towards the bottom so I am assuming they put a thin layer of the cheesecake mix on top of the thick crust then added the rest on top. It was amazing and I think it would have to be a no bake to do this, any advice?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shelley, we haven’t tried it ourselves, but sounds like it would be delicious! We’d recommend trying it as a layer like you mention, rather than mixed in the cheesecake, for fear it might not set properly. Let us know how it goes!

  24. Hi could I use this as a filling inside of cupcakes? Would it still set?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Eboni, We haven’t used this cheesecake filling as a filling for cupcakes but it should work wonderfully! This filling yields quite a bit, so depending on how many cupcakes you want to fill, you could halve this filling recipe.

  25. Could you mix the crust ingredients into the cheesecake batter and let it set up in the fridge then roll them to make truffles and coat in chocolate?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Erika, we don’t recommend this batter for truffles as it won’t set properly. You might enjoy our Strawberry Cheesecake Truffles instead.

  26. Would this work with greek yoghurt in place of the sour cream?

    1. Hi Sam, that shouldn’t be a problem in a pinch.

  27. i didnt make this cheesecake but it looks amazing

  28. I made this cheesecake a few weeks ago for my husband’s birthday and it was SO GOOD! We couldn’t stop eating it! Thank you for the amazing recipe and detailed directions!

    Question: Is it possible to make the whipped cream in a food processor? (I currently don’t have a stand or hand mixer)

  29. Kim Hollenbeck says:

    Sally;
    I made your cheesecake at home a while ago and I am going to make it again in January or February 2022.It tasted really good and I made the cheesecake after watching your video.

    Do you have a no bake cheesecake recipe that I can make at home?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kim, this no-bake cheesecake recipe should be just what you’re looking for. Hope you enjoy it just as much!

  30. I absolutely love this recipe! I’ve made it several times with a few variations – for Thanksgiving I added pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice and mandarin zest to give it that nice fall flavor. It was a hit!

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