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.

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

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 12-14 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

533 Comments

  1. Could we make this in a pie pan or other disposal tin pan? We want to make a lot of them and freeze them for a reception later on. We can’t afford to purchase a whole bunch of springform pans.

    1. A pie pan will not be as deep so your cheesecake will be thin. I would also worry that it would be difficult to remove the cakes from a pie pan but you can certainly try it. I recommend testing just one before you make a lot of them to see if you are happy with it.

      1. Stephanie Leonard says:

        Since this is a no bake process, couldn’t you place plastic wrap in the pan first then lifted from the pie pan when ready?

    2. Hi! I totally made this as a half batch (the lemon variation) and put it in one of the premade pie tins from the store and it turned out perfect! 🙂

  2. Hi Sally,
    I just put this in the fridge to chill until tomorrow. I wanted to know if you think this gets firm enough to top with a thin layer of pie filling and then berries. I know that some no bake cheesecakes are not firm or dense enough, and wouldn’t want it to fall apart or collapse. I did put some extra butter in the crust, which is about an inch taller than the filling, hoping to support it all better. You have become one of my go-to sources for baking. Thanks!
    Lisa

    1. Hi Lisa! Thank you! You could top this with a thin layer of fruit pie filling for serving– it shouldn’t collapse or anything, especially if sufficiently chilled.

  3. I made this over the weekend and followed the directions without any changes it turned out perfect and so delicious.

  4. Hi, Sally 🙂 Wondering if I can use the Nestle All-Purpose Cream as a substitute for the Heavy Whipping Cream or Heavy Cream? I’m a bit confused what’s the difference between the Heavy Cream and All-Purpose Cream, but upon checking it here on this website, they look somehow similar? Or?

    1. Hi Sarah, From my understanding Nestle All-Purpose Cream is a pasteurized product that is sold in a can. It does not whip well – and whipping the cream is key for this recipe! You want either heavy cream or heavy whipping cream which is sold in the refrigerated section of the store usually by the milk.

  5. Hi Sally,
    Are there nutrition facts for this recipe?

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

  6. The cheesecake I made for my husband’s birthday was a total disaster. In desperation I combed the internet for help. I landed on your recipe. Fearfully I proceeded to step by step methodically make your cheesecake. After refrigerating it for many hours he inquired about the new cheesecake and so I sliced and topped with cherry pie filling that he loves and waited for his opinion. A HIT! He adores it. Can’t wait to eat another slice. And I am saving this recipe for life. God bless you, you wonderful lady.

    1. I’m thrilled that you tried this one and that he enjoyed it so much! I hope he had a very happy birthday!

    2. Hello, I wanted to ask you what do I do if i dont have sour cream? And will the cheesecake turn out good if I used spreaded cream cheese instead of blocks?

      1. Hi Fatima, make sure you’re using blocks of cream cheese. 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!

  7. Question…
    How can I make this No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake? I made the original recipe and it turned out great and is very yummy! But with Thanksgiving around the corner, I would to add pumpkin.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Pier, I haven’t tried this no-bake cheesecake with pumpkin, so I can’t say for sure. That would require additional testing– let me know if you try it! I do, however, have this pumpkin swirl cheesecake if you would like to give that a try.

  8. Hi Sally. Is it ok if I leave the crust in the fridge for a few hours before I add the filling? Thanks.

    1. Absolutely! That’s no problem at all.

  9. Dieusha Parker says:

    Hi Sally! I love love this recipe… Can I use this recipe for my jars?

  10. Unfortunately after leaving it in the fridge for 18 hours it was a hoppy mess and impossible to slice without making a humongous mess. The taste was great but it never really set. My egg whites were whipped properly (I’m a professional baker) and I was very disappointed. ☹️

    1. There are no egg whites in this recipe. Are you using this recipe for no bake cheesecake?

      1. I’m so sorry, I meant about the heavy cream, I did A LOT of baking this past weekend my heads still a little rattled. lol I had some pieces leftover and they did firm up, but they were cut into smaller pieces. I made this recipe 4 times to produce what I needed and I think it may have been the size because the smaller pieces seems to firm up just fine.

  11. Hi Sally, can I replace the confectionery sugar and granulated sugar with condensed milk? And what will happen if I were to add gelatin in the cake mixture?

    1. Hi Ash, I haven’t tested this no-bake cheesecake either way. I recommend sticking with the recipe, but let me know if you try any substitutions.

  12. Suzanne Harper says:

    This cheesecake, along with the salted carmel recipe, made me look like an amazing baker! Thanks Sally!

  13. Hi Sally!

    I made this cake and the taste is delicious, but it wouldn’t quite set (16 hours in fridge)—this is likely because I had to use cream cheese spread, which is the only thing available where I live (in Sweden). I also definitely got the whipped cream into stiff peaks and very carefully folded it in. Any tips on how to adjust the recipe if you don’t have access to the blocks of cream cheese that you can get in North America? I’m thinking I could still make this recipe as like single-serve mousse/parfaits kind of thing (the texture is still silky and satisfying), but would be magic if I could also make the proper cake. 🙂 Thanks for any tips you might have!

    1. Hi Tracy, Unfortunately, spreadable cream cheese is too thin and the cheesecake won’t set up properly. I haven’t tested any other thickening agents, but you could try cornstarch or gelatin? Or you can absolutely use it as single servings! You can see how I did just that here: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/no-bake-cheesecake-jars/

  14. Hi Sally,
    Do you see any problem with creating the filling, letting it set as you directed in the mixing bowl, and then using it as a filling in between cake rounds once it is set? I’m wondering if I could make a red velvet cheesecake using your filling. Thanks!

    1. Hi Penny! That *should* be fine, but I haven’t personally tried it to give you a straight yes or no. It’s definitely worth trying because it does set nicely in a pan.

  15. Hi Sally

    Is confectioners sugar needed?

  16. Hi Sally, do you have a no-bake pumpkin cheesecake recipe? OR can I add a can of pumpkin puree and some spices to this recipe, omitting the lemon juice?

    1. Hi Kathy! Unfortunately, I haven’t perfected a no-bake pumpkin cheesecake recipe yet.

  17. Hi Sally,

    Is it possible to refrigerate this overnight, then pop it in the freezer for a couple of hours before a 45-minute car ride? Also, I’m not sure there will be room in the refrigerator to store the cheesecake when I get to my Thanksgiving potluck, so I was hoping that freezing it for a couple of hours before hitting the road would give it an advantage against being 4-5 hours out of the fridge, before it gets eaten.

    1. Freezing it is a great idea to give it an extra chill before a car ride/serving. It IS best served cold, so if you could slip it into the freezer or refrigerator for a few minutes before serving, that would be ideal.

  18. I made mini cheesecakes with this mixture and also added gelatin as I wanted to make sure they didn’t fall apart. I also used gluten free scotch finger biscuits as my daughter is coeliac. I can tell you that this is THE BEST cheesecake recipe that I have ever used. So light and airy and melt in the mouth, a beautiful texture similar to a mousse. The base with the filling was a nice balance and served on a swish of strawberry puree made it all come together perfectly. Thank you!

  19. Priya Dharsheni Rajarathnam says:

    Hi there. My husband and I made this perfect no bake cheese cake.. and guess what, it tasted perfect! The filling turned out to be extra soft. Could you share any tips that would make the filling a little firm so it doesn’t fall off easily. Thank you for any idea you might have!
    Good day sally!

    From,
    PriyaVignesh
    Malaysia

  20. I’m going to attempt this recipe with a gelatin mixed in to use as a a mid layer for one of those yule log cakes instead of a buttercream filling. It looks like it has the right amount of fluffy yumminess to keep the cake light with as many elaborate additions i will have on it. Thanks for sharing

  21. Christy Carson says:

    I dont have Heavy whipping cream but I do have cool whip, can i substitute and will it be ok?

    1. Hi Christy, you can try, but I recommend slightly reducing the added sugar in the batter as well.

  22. Hi Sally,

    This truely sounds like a fantastic cheesecake. Just wondering if it would spoil the setting of the cheesecake filling if I added drained boysenberries to achieve a burgandy colour to the filling? I also thought when the cheesecake was completely cooled if it would work to add a thin top layer of gelatine?

    1. Hi Angela, I don’t recommend adding extra liquid to the filling as it would really throw off the texture and won’t set up properly. You can certainly add boysenberries to the top!

  23. Can you add the additional lemon and still add the sour cream? I like my crust baked and caramelized. Will it still hold filling ok?

    1. You can pre-bake the crust. Let it cool before adding the filling. If you want extra lemon flavor, I recommend slightly reducing the sour cream to make up for the added liquid.

  24. Hi Sally! Great recipe, I love it. I was wondering if you had any tips for when too much liquid is added and texture is lost ☹️ I attempted to prep this recipe x 4 and added too much liquid and now the consistency is not the velvet I’m looking for. Have any tips so I don’t have to throw out 96 oz of cream cheese

    1. Hi Makayla, a little extra confectioners’ sugar and/or cornstarch will help thicken the batter back up.

  25. Hi Sally,
    This no bake I tried for the first time. I’ve made no bake cheesecake recipes before but your recipe is by the best one I’ve ever made. It was a hot at my Christmas dinner. It was easy to follow your instructions step by step. Your video also helped me visually get the steps right that was a to help my confidence for this to be a success. Having no leftovers today was a sign of thii I s being a family favourite. In fact my sister only wants me to make your recipe going forward. You are correct, what a difference brown sugar makes in the graham crust and it did not taste grainy either like the granulated sugar does. Folding in the cream to the cheese did make it light and airy. Thank you for sharing your recipes and can not wait to try another on your recipe list.

    1. You are welcome, Anne! I’m thrilled that this was such a hit at your Christmas dinner!

  26. This no bake cheesecake is VERY good! Adding the brown sugar to the graham cracker crumbs makes the crust even more tasty. I had seen another no bake recipe on another site before I found this one and since my husband had already been dispatched to the grocer to get Heath Bar baking chips and 2 Heath bars, we folded 1/4c of the chips into the cheesecake/whipped cream mixture (next time, 1/2c) and then right before serving, we zig-zagged caramel ice cream topping across the top and in the middle, placed cut larger chunks of the Heath bars….which ultimately wandered about….next time, smaller chunks to hopefully help them stay put. You could use any type of topping you choose. A versatile and delicious dessert! Thank you, Sally and Happy New Year!

  27. Made this into mini cheesecakes in cupcake liners. Tried some leftover filling before I washed the bowl… Was a little “weird” but not bad. Put in fridge for the night. Served for Christmas dinner the next afternoon – oh my goodness, was SO good! I think the brown sugar definitely is a good call for the crust. I had concerns about the crust crumbling because it was difficult getting it to stick to the sides of the liners, but the fridge made it all perfect. Try this recipe – it’s delicious!

  28. I made this yesterday for guests who were coming tonight. They just cancelled, and rescheduled for next week. Does the cheesecake freeze well? The recipe was easy and tastes great! Thank you.

    1. Absolutely! This cheesecake will freeze well for up to three months. Enjoy!

  29. Made this for NYE and it was a huge hit! My only issue is that I had some trouble with a few spots of the crust sticking to the springform. I froze the crust for at least 30mins before filling it and the whole thing was then refrigerated for about 24hrs before taking it out of the mold. Otherwise the recipe was followed exactly. Any thoughts?? You didn’t mention anything about greasing the springform but should I have? And finally, not a question but a request for more no-bake cheesecakes in the New Year. Maybe something with chocolate???!!

    1. Hi Jenny, I’m so happy the cake was a hit! There is enough butter in the crust that greasing the pan usually is not necessary. If you want to be sure next time that no spots stick you can line the bottom of the pan with a round piece of parchment paper. And I would love to experiment with a chocolate cheesecake in the future – yum!

  30. How do I use this as a cake filling. Am trying to make a red velvet cheesecake cake.

    1. YUM! This sounds great, Ginny. There are many ways you could go about this but I would probably start by placing one of the 9 inch round cake layers in the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan, layering the cheesecake topping on top and letting that set before adding the second cake layer. Let me know if you try it!

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