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! Can I use whipped “topping” cream instead of heavy whipped cream? Also, what are the types of whipped cream that can be used to create a thick and firm filling cheesecake?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      You can replace the heavy cream with 2 and 1/2 cups of Cool Whip (1 and 1/4 cups of heavy cream whips into around 2 and 1/2 cups.) You may also want to reduce the sugar since Cool Whip is sweetened. We like to use heavy cream (36% fat) to make our own whipped cream. Enjoy!

  2. Jennifer Kelly says:

    Hi Sally, I want to make this cheesecake for my son for his birthday tomorrow. Oreo cheesecake is his favourite & I was thinking of making a brownie base instead of graham crackers & incorporating the Oreos into the cheesecake mixture. Can you tell me if I use your fudge brownie recipe will it work with this recipe or do I need to alter? Thanks so much

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jennifer! You could use the brownie base from this Brownie Baked Alaska. You could also do an oreo crust for the cheesecake by following the Oreo cookie crust recipe found with our Snickers Cheesecake. You can skip the pre-bake. You may also love this recipe for Oreo Pie instead!

    2. Garima Dass says:

      Hey can I make it without the lemon juice and sour cream… Also do I need to keep the cake in freezer or just in the fridge?

      1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Garima, Plain yogurt works in place of sour cream in a pinch — but we don’t recommend leaving it out completely. It’s necessary for the cheesecake to set. Lemon juice brightens up the flavor but the cheesecake does not taste like lemon so we suggest leaving it in. You can cover and store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Hope this helps!

  3. Mikaella Tolentino says:

    I find it hard to find sour cream in my area. Is it possible to use a yogurt instead?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

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

  4. Beautiful – I followed this recipe to the letter and it turned out perfectly. I made lemon curd for the top once it set overnight and then put whipped cream on top of that + served with homemade blueberry coulis
    Very happy guests all round!

  5. Hi sally! what is the difference when i used all purpose cream instead of heavy whipping cream? Thank you so much!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hello! Heavy whipping cream has at least 36% fat, all purpose cream has a lower fat percentage. It won’t whip into the fluffy peaks needed for most baking recipes.

  6. Bailey Benitez says:

    Hi! I don’t have any confectioners sugar, is it ok to not use any or should i use cornflour/another substitute? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Bailey, Unfortunately, we recommend sticking with confectioners’ sugar. When we tested it with flour and cornstarch and both left a chalky aftertaste.

  7. I don’t have a mixer so I had to stir this by hand. Also used store-bought whipped cream because, again, no mixer. And even with that, it turned out perfect. This is delicious and totally worth my sore arms.

  8. I was really pleased with how this tasted! It was ridiculously tall, and I almost thought it wouldn’t all fit in the pan, but it did! My grandmother, who doesn’t even like cheesecake, liked this a lot! I served it with a blueberry sauce. I’ll totally be making this again soon!

  9. Barbara O'hara says:

    This will be perfect not to mention homemade when I usually use cheesecake filling in a tub that is expensive and hard to find, Making 4 doz mini trifles for my Dr. office for St. Pat. Day using pistachio pudding, nuts, with a delicious bundt cake from my local grocery store which combines pistachio & almond in cake. Also include Cool Whip as it stays stabilized and bring a few cans of whipped cream for the top. This cheesecake can also use just the filling for mini filo cups and many more desserts.

  10. Best cheesecake ever! It is better even from these bought from the sweet shops

  11. I have used this recipe a couple of times now and I really like it but I don’t know if it’s our ingredients or something else it doesn’t set very well. I have now used gelatine and whipped cream stabilizer and it comes out much nicer but I still have some work to do to figure out how much to use. Today I used a little bit of the stabilizer and white chocolate, we’ll see how it turns out:) also have added in fresh strawberries or rapsberries and in addition to lemon juice lemon zest, lime juice and zest, i don’t know maybe that makes it not set but I like the taste so it’s okay:)

  12. Hi. If u wish to add Nutella into the cheesecake, which step do I add it ?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Valerie! We haven’t tested this as Nutella flavored, but our first guess would be to remove the sour cream and add around 1/2 cup Nutella. The cheesecake *should* still set up just fine. You could also try swirling some Nutella on the top of the cheesecake before it sets. Let us know if you give it a try!

      1. Hi Trina. Thank you for your advice. I will give it a try and let you know!

  13. Made two small cheesecakes using Keebler shortbread pre-made crusts. Oh my gosh was it ever good! I was never a fan of no bake cheesecake and this recipe has completely changed my mind about it.

  14. I see you have a no-bake cheese cake for Jars, which has a different ratio of ingredients. Can this recipe be used to put in jars? Was just curious if there was a reason for the different ratio’s other than the amount it makes. This one seems to have a lot more cream cheese compared to the other ingredients vs the one for jars:)

    1. Hi Cheryl, the no bake cheesecake jars filling is creamier than this one since we really don’t have to worry about it holding shape. You can certainly use this filling instead if desired.

  15. I’ve made this recipe several times now and I just have to leave my appreciation. It is PERFECT. I’ve always preferred no bake cheesecake to baked ones, they just taste so much better to me. This is more work than the 3/4 ingredient sweetened condensed milk version but so worth it. It’s tangy, its creamy, and it’s airy with just the right amount of sweetness. Simply amazing. Thank you!

  16. Could this be turned into a strawberry no bake cheesecake somehow?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Naomi, 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 strawberry swirl much the same way we do in this blueberry cheesecake but with strawberries instead. Or simply serve it with strawberry compote. Hope this helps!

  17. Hi Sally! I would like to fill waffle cones with my filing. Should I let it set for a few hours before filling the cones or can I fill the cones right away and let them set in the refrigerator?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rea, what a fun idea! Either way should work, but if you are at all worried about the filling softening the cones, it might be best to chill the filling first then scoop into the waffle cones — although it won’t look as neat as if you chilled it directly in the cones. You might like the version from our No-Bake Cheesecake Jars instead!

  18. Hi, I’d like to make nobake cheesecake cups for a wedding on Saturday. Can I make the cheesecake part ahead of time and freeze it? How far ahead can I make it?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Claudia! Cheesecake can be frozen up to 3 months, see instructions in blog post above.

      1. Thank you very much, can’t wait to try it

  19. Do you have the calorie info per serving?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Melissa, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  20. Please can you tell me how to adjust the recipe/ingredients to make one 6 inch cake?
    Thank you Xx

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lee, you could try halving the recipe for a 6 inch pan for a smaller batch using less cream cheese. Or, make the filling as is and use the leftovers to make mini no-bake cheesecakes. Let us know if you give it a try!

  21. Carmendia Davidson says:

    Can I make this cheesecake without the crust to use in between cake layers?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Carmendia, We 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 we suspect it simply isn’t stable enough to support cake layers.

  22. Sarah Masiane says:

    Hie sally from my area butter is quite expensive and hard to find is it possible to substitute with margarine? Thanx in advance

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah, Usually we don’t recommend making that substitution, but we haven’t tested it with the graham cracker crust. Let us know if you try it!

  23. Do you have the calories per serving?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Melissa! We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  24. Hi Sally, this may seem a novice question but I don’t usually make cheese cakes … how far up the sides of the ring tin should the crumbs go.
    Thanks for your help.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tina! We recommend watching the recipe tutorial video for a great visual – we pack it about half way up our springform pan.

  25. Karen Redelin says:

    Hi Sally, I made a no bake white chocolate strawberry cheesecake, I topped it with chocolate ganache. You’re right it really didn’t set properly. I used 3 packages of full fat cream cheese, and 8 Oz white organic chocolate melted and cooled. I blended 16 Oz of strawberries and cooked them with corn starch, sugar and a little lemon till thickened. Let that cool. But I could tell when I put it together it might not set and it didn’t the way I wanted. It was delicious but I threw the rest in the freezer. I’m sure it’ll be a great frozen dessert. Just wondered if I should or could try your method with strawberries, I know you say not to…however I have seen other recipes using the fruit inside. Maybe I should stick to baking it? I’ve made no bake before but only changing the flavor to lemon or lime. Which didn’t require such a huge change in liquid. I’ve not tried this recipe yet but I will. I’ve followed many of yours already and never been disappointed! Thanks Karen Redelin

  26. I’ve been making this for years, and a version known as french cheesecake mousse (without the sour cream and lemon). So good without baking while i bake on request and gatherings. For fun, I use a highball-ish glass or plastic vessel by the pool. I put sometimes put the “crust mixture ” without on the bottom, put in a few dollops of the cheesecake then sprinkle top with a bit more of the crumbs. Then put together a topping bar with curd, preserves and if there are kids crumbled cookies, candy or sprinkles. I use what I have. This seems to make everyone happy. Plus it keeps me from eating it all with a spoon. Its that good.

  27. Hi, I want to make this recipe for Saturday. Do you think it would hold up to a layer of chocolate cake on top of it?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

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

  28. I wanted to mix in strawberry puree in the cheesecake but im afraid of. it not setting in. can I reduce the heavy cream batter and add strawberry puree so it doesnt throw off the ratio?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mary! 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 strawberry swirl much the same way we do in this blueberry cheesecake but with strawberries instead. Or simply serve it with strawberry compote. Hope this helps!

  29. Ryan Hassall says:

    I like a thicker crust so I use 1.5x the recipe for that and add a handmade raspberry sauce on top to make the best cheesecake I’ve ever had 🙂

  30. Looks yummy. Can you use this as a filling for a cake? Like between the layers instead of icing?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tanya! We haven’t tested it, but we suspect it simply isn’t stable enough to support cake layers.

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