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

Happy Pi Day! Even though pie is my absolute favorite, I’m using today to teach you about no-bake cheesecake. Same shape, different dessert! 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. Kevin 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.

Graham cracker crust in 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.

No bake cheesecake filling

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

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!

Print
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: Baking
  • 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 5 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.

Adapted from All Recipes.

Keywords: cheesecake, no bake cheesecake

292 Comments

  1. This no-bake cheesecake tastes amazing!! I love that it’s still homemade and you fold in your own whipped cream. I made this for the first time for our Memorial Day cookout and it was the first dessert to go! It’s so simple to make, but really give a wow factor! Thank you, Sally! I can always rely on your recipes to deliver deliciousness! 🙂

  2. As always, your recipes never fail. This is so delicious!!! Made it to bring over to some friends as dessert and it sure was a hit. I had some leftover salted caramel sauce (your recipe of course) and heated it and served along, a pair made in heaven! Very simple recipe and love all your do’s and dont’s! Also wanted to thank you for having all the measurements in grams too, it makes it so easy for me as an European used to scales. No sticks of pre-measured butter on this side of the pond! By the way, any advice on the cream cheese when blocks aren’t available? Thank you.

    1. Hi Monica! I’m so so glad that you enjoyed this no-bake cheesecake and I bet it was phenomenal with the salted caramel. I really wish I could help with the cream cheese block alternative. I’m not very familiar with the similar products that are available outside of the US. I’m so sorry! Were you able to use the blocks for this recipe?

      1. Hi Sally, I did not use block cream cheese, unfortunately I can’t find it anywhere here. I used regular spreadable Philadelphia, I stuck to that brand at least hoping it would be the closest but I know it isn’t. I’ve had issues with it, especially with frosting, so I was wondering what could I do. I think I’ll contact the brand directly and make them see one could use the blocks anywhere in the world. But the cheesecake came out perfect nonetheless!

    2. Hi Monica, I lived in Central Europe for a few years and made cheesecake using the Philadelphia brand spreadable cream cheese as well since that’s all that was available. The final product was close enough to what we make in the States in taste and texture I found the spread to be an acceptable substitute for the blocks so I think you’ll be fine using it going forward if the blocks don’t become available in the future. Hope this helps!

      1. Hi Emmka! Thank you for your input, I did think the same thing, it lacked a little bit of consistency but it was delicious nonetheless! I only had real problems when trying cream cheese frosting, that did not come out the way it should at all. So for that I will contact the brand directly, maybe they know a ratio? Wish me luck and hopefully my inquiry can help others!

      2. I lived in Central Europe for over 20 years and had to settle for the spreadable cream cheese too. It works pretty well–especially when feeding it to others who have never had American-style cheesecake before! 🙂

  3. We use this, unchilled, as a fluffy, decadent fruit dip. My kids presented it, along with cut apples, to our guests as “Apple and Clouds”, then it morphed into “Apple Cloud.” Hopefully we don’t get sued for copyright infringement. ; ) It’s also delicious for dipping strawberries. I’ve considered tinkering with the flavors to possibly do a brown sugar/cinnamon variation which would pair especially nicely with the apples.

    If you’re prepping the apples in advance, be sure to dip the cut slices in a mixture of 2 tablespoons honey stirred into 1 cup of water. Let the apple slices sit for 30 seconds, pull them out with a fork or slotted spoon, and do the next round of apple slices in the same water. The apples will remain unbrowned for approximately 8 hours.

    I’ve actually never tried this in cheesecake form, so I can’t speak to how well the mixture sets up as a cake in the fridge. The balance of flavors, however, are spot on. And it’s ethereally fluffy. : )

  4. I’ve tried both your classic cheesecake and this no-bake version. Both were amazing, but the simplicity of the no-bake can’t be beat!

  5. I’d like to make this a strawberry cheesecake, folding in powdered freeze-dried strawberries like your strawberry cake. Do you think it would work? Or would the texture be affected?

    1. Hi Linda! The freeze-dried powder could work, yes, but sometimes it can clump up. Let me know if you try anything.

    1. Hi Alicia! No need to double the recipe for a 9×13 inch pan. The cheesecake, as written, will be enough and should still set up nicely. The bars will be very thick in a 9×13 pan, so make sure they are sufficiently chilled, even up to 24 hours! Let me know how they turn out.

  6. Made this cheesecake last night – super easy and super delicious. I really appreciate the detailed and very specific instructions on the SBA website – many thanks to you Sally. We couldn’t wait to cut into it this morning to try it – and it is fabulous! Light and fluffy with just A+ perfect flavor. I made the “Fresh Strawberry Topping” from America’s Test Kitchen to accompany the cheesecake. That is my go-to homemade strawberry topping I’ve been using for years, however I didn’t think to check if there is a recipe on the SBA site! Will have to take a look…

    1. I’m thrilled you loved this recipe, Janet! Perfect for the hot summer months ahead 🙂 Thanks for your positive feedback!

  7. Thank you Sally! I made this cheesecake for my daughter’s birthday and it turned out perfect! I had run out of time to make a baked cheesecake so decided to give this a go with terrific results, so much so that my family insist this is their favourite way of having cheesecake now. Grateful that I managed to make her cake without any compromise. It is also one of the few no bake recipes not using condensed milk. Wonderful, thank you!

    1. I’m so happy you and your family enjoyed this recipe! Sounds like the perfect cheesecake for your daughter’s birthday 🙂 Thanks for your positive feedback! xo

  8. I made this for the first time tonight for my family. We all loved it! Dad said “this is a keeper—a perfect summer cake.”

    1. Hi Lauren! I fear the premade crust may be too shallow- this is a very tall cheesecake! If you try it, let me know how it goes 🙂

      1. Hi Sally. Back again! I used a premade store bought graham crust. The batter didn’t all fit but I poured what I could, smoothed it out and threw it in the fridge. I took the rest of the batter and threw in some crushed up oreos and put an oreo cookie as the “crust” and made mini cheesecakes in a muffin tin. All of it was delicious. I will probably never make regular cheesecake again. SO GOOD!

  9. Hey Sally!
    I’m a 19 year old boy with no experience in baking and I’ve just made this cheesecake!!!!! It tastes amazing and my family is shocked that I even made it!!

  10. I was a bit worried when I saw 3 blocks of cream cheese but I thought to myself why not give it a go. And I’m so glad I did! It tasted amazing. So much so that my very picky boyfriend still enjoyed it. I would say though that this filling is enough for 2 pie crusts if you buy them premade. Thanks for the recipe! (Another quick note, I didn’t have the confectioners sugar on hand so I just added an extra 2 teaspoons of sour cream.)

  11. Many thanks for the recipe.
    I just finished making this. Little did I know my hubby bought me 2 bricks of a 1\3 less fat cream cheese. I had 1 regular. I added more sour cream. Will let you know if it tightens up.

    Thanks again,
    Kathy

    1. Hi Lynn, you could try reducing the other ingredients by a third. I recommend getting that extra cream cheese though.

    2. I only used 2 bricks of light cream cheese and 1% sour cream twice now (without changing the other amounts) and it’s worked out very well! Fills a 9×13 pan which I quarter and freeze for quick easy desserts with varied toppings.

  12. Hello Everyone! I CANNOT wait to make this for the 4th of July at the Senior Center where I cook. I intend on making this in advance and decorating with fresh, local, organic, hand-picked blueberries and raspberries on a full sheet pan creating an American flag. 🙂 Any tips on when it would be best to decorate with berries? I do not want the berries to bleed and I do not want to mangle cheesecake when it’s set up by smashing my berry stars and stripes in. I am a bit of a perfectionist, as food tastes better when it looks good! Happy Independence Day!

    1. Hi Hilary! I recommend adding the berries no more than 2 hours before serving. Sounds like a delightful and festive treat for this week!

  13. I was so excited for this no-bake cheesecake recipe and it didn’t disappoint! I loved how creative I could get with this one, I had fun picking unique flavours for the toppings, this is one recipe that I will be recreating for all the seasons.

  14. I have never in my life commented on a recipe (and I look up a lot of recipes) but this was SO FANTASTIC! Perfect for my husband’s early summer birthday. It’s definitely different from cheesecake but delicious none the less. I’ve thought about whipping up a small batch of filling just to dunk graham crackers in as a snack.

  15. This recipe is A-mazing!! Super hot in Phoenix and was searching no bake desserts. Follow the tips for the crust and watch the video. Made an amazing difference. I’m pretty sure I’ll never bake a cheesecake again! The family went insane for it! Sally always delivers!

  16. Oh my gosh! This was wonderful. Easy to make, too.
    Made it for a cook out yesterday and there wasn’t anything left, but crumbs from the crust. Even the guys liked it. Served with some whipped cream, strawberry topping and blueberry topping, not that it needed anything.
    A question though, on the crust, it did stay together and it was easy to cut, but why were there so many crumbs? Had a couple of big chunks and the normal size ones(I posted a photo on FB). It was in the pan for close to 27 hours. Used the measuring cup trick and double checked with my fingers. Would more butter help?
    All in all its a keeper.

    1. Hi Sheila! So so so glad this no bake cheesecake was a hit! Yes, a little more butter could help bring the crust together a bit more. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Hi Sheruza! You can leave out the sour cream, but the filling won’t have the same tangy flavor. You could replace with plain yogurt if that’s an option!

  17. Hi Sally,

    Is there a way to add sprinkles to this cheesecake? I’m looking to make it for the monthly challenge! 🙂

    Thank you!

    1. Sure can! Careful though because sprinkles often bleed their color and could tint the cheesecake batter. Don’t over-mix them.

  18. Can’t wait to try this recipe! Wondering though: would this work in a chocolate version? If so, suggestions on how to go about it (amount of chocolate to add and any revisions to the other ingredients)? Thank you.

    1. Hi Rose! I’m sure you could make a chocolate version, but I haven’t tried it. It would require some testing because I’m torn if I would use melted and cooled chocolate or cocoa powder. Let me know if you test anything!

  19. I decided to do an Oreo crust, and discovered that 1/2 cup of butter is too much with an Oreo crust. Just thought I’d give a heads up for anyone who wants to make that customization. 1/4 c. of butter would probably be better with Oreos. It was delicious despite the extra butter in the crust 🙂

  20. The no bake cheesecake jars are so easy to make especially with the easy to follow directions. My husband loved them so I am sure I will be making them again (probably within the week). Next time I will pipe the filling into the jars to eliminate the streaks when trying to neaten up the glass.

  21. This is the second time I’ve made this recipe this month. The first time I only had 2 blocks of cream cheese so I cut the recipe by 1/3 and it turned out perfectly. This time I followed the recipe and have no doubt it will be just as big a hit. While I love all cheesecake, I really like the lightness of this recipe. It’s not too sweet, and it stands up to any topping if you choose to add it. Another great recipe, thank you!

  22. After reading many recepies of cheesecake, I decided to try this one.. I wanted something creamy and delicious and avoid at all costs those gelly cheesecakes (here in Europe people put gelatine in the cheesecake all the time! And too little cheese) . So I made this cheesecake yesterday for a lunch with friends.. it was a success! I totally loved it and will make it again and again. I used a strawberry homemade sauce for the topping which was the perfect match!

  23. This is truly a fool-proof recipe! I made it while visiting family in Florida. Despite having the AC on, there is still so much humidity, even with the whipping cream falling flat, having to freeze the bowl, and put the flattened whipping cream in the freezer for a bit, then rewhip, this cheesecake turned out beautifully!! It’s a perfect recipe and a go-to all the time! Thanks!!

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