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

358 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

    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!

  3. Hi Sally, i wanted to make this recipe tomorrow but i have two questions. The only “cream cheese” i have available where i live is marscapone so wanted to make sure if that would work. Also i was thinking of adding a pomegranate juice or pomegranate puree. Would the cheesecake still set right?

    1. Hi Ena, I haven’t tried marscapone, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. The cheesecake may be a tad creamier, so make sure it’s chilled for at least 12 hours before slicing.
      I don’t recommend adding extra liquid to the filling as it would really throw off the texture. You can certainly try to add a pomegranate puree swirl to the top though.

      1. I replaced half of the graham cracker crumbs with finely chopped pecans in the crust. Served this to my group at church. They loved it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. This recipe is a winner……
    All natural and i appreciate that…..been a long time baker but have to say this recipe is a keeper. Thank you very much Sally.

  5. Hi Sally,
    I’m trying to make this recipe, but I want to take off the sour cream and add lime juice and lime zest like mentioned in your notes. I want to also add tequila to it, will I have issues not setting if I add the alcohol?

    1. Hi Lorena, I’m unsure how to successfully add alcohol to this no-bake cheesecake if you’re also adding the lemon/lime juice. I haven’t tested it. I would recommend leaving out the vanilla and adding 2-3 Tablespoons of reduced tequila (reduce it on the stove so it has a stronger flavor). Again, I haven’t tested this. Let me know how it turns out!

  6. How would adding a layer of lemon curd on top be? I want to make a me on no bake cheesecake to take to a friends house tomorrow.

  7. Hi Sally! This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it. I was wondering if it would be possible to put them into cupcake cups instead of a whole pan? Do you think that’ll work the same?

      1. I made this cheesecake and it was delicious. My problem is the crust stuck to the side of the pan in some places. Would it be ok to grease the pan (side and bottom) with butter?

  8. Hi Sally,

    Could I use Oreo crumbs for the crust, and regular sugar instead of the graham cracker crumbs work? Also, how much crumbs would you put into the cheesecake to make it Oreo flavour?

    Thanks!

  9. Hi. Your recipe sounds great and I look forward to giving it a try. I’m wondering how this recipe might work using the mixture to make bite sized cheesecakes. Have you tried it? Thank you.

  10. If I follow the recipe exactly but want to use mini muffin pan to make cheesecake bites, do you know how many bites it would make? I have a 24 mini muffin pan and wanted to see if I needed to adjust ingredient qty.

    Thank you!

    1. For mini muffin pan, I’m unsure– this is A LOT of batter so you’d like have well over 3-4 batches in your 24-count pan.

  11. Hi Sally,

    A quick question… for the lemon version, do you mean 2 additional tbsp of lemon (i.e. on top of the 2 tsp already in the recipe)?

    Thanks! Your recipes are all I use for baking now! 🙂

    Sarah

  12. Hi Sally,
    I wanted to make this in a traditional 9.5 inch pie plate. Should I be halving the recipe, as it seems to be a lot of filling for one pie dish versus the spring form pan. If I do halve the recipe, would it be for both the filling and the crust or for just one? Thanks!

  13. I’m wonder if you think there’s a way to make this chocolate?

    I want to have a layer of chocolate cheesecake filling, and a layer of regular cheesecake filling in a cake I’m imagining.

    Your recipes are always some of my favorites 🙂

    1. Hi Stephanie! 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!

  14. This is The Best No Bake Cheesecake EVER! I’ve tried soo many! Don’t waste your time with all of those on the internet! My son sent me a text from school saying mom please make me that same cheesecake that you made this weekend please I’m begging! Done! It was so Awesome!! This is now my go to for creamy delicious No Bake Awesomeness!! Thank you

  15. Previously I don’t beat the cream separately but that makes my cake look like a pudding. Thanks for the idea of beating it separately first which really worked as it keeps the cake in shape!
    I’ve a quick question.. can we add blueberry essence in cheesecake if we are not doing heavy topping? Should we use only blueberry essence or we can use both blueberry and vanilla together?

    1. Hi Esha, I”m so glad you found this helpful! You can add blueberry essence in addition to the vanilla extract. Flavored oils are much stronger than extracts so the very small amount you would add would not likely change the texture of the cheesecake.

      1. I just added both blueberry essence (one drop) and vanilla essence (one teaspoon) to my cheesecake yesterday and yes it was great in taste 🙂

  16. Hi! The cheesecake looks really good! Will there be no problem with setting if I add a raspberry swirl using store-bought confiture on top? Do I do it before placing inside the fridge?

    1. I have not tested it but you can certainly try to add a raspberry swirl to the top before refrigerating. Let me know if you try it.

  17. I made it yesterday and it turned out well! Yummy and light. Will be my go-to recipe for no-bake cheesecake. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Thulile- 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!

  18. Hi, Sally! Made this to take to a dinner with friends and had to reschedule because of sick kids (thanks, February germs). So it’s all wrapped up in my freezer! Was wondering if you have an estimated fridge thawing time?

    1. Oh no! It will still be just as good after thawing but I hope everyone gets better quickly! I usually move the frozen cheesecake into the refrigerator to thaw overnight.

  19. I made two of these cheesecakes for a special Valentine’s Day dinner for a group of older ladies. They all loved it. We had one cheesecake left over that my husband, daughter and I happily ate over the next couple days.

    One of our guests (a lady to whom we are very close) called us two days after the dinner to ask if we had any leftover cheesecake. I’m not kidding! We had one generous piece left, so she drove back to our house for the last piece! True story!

  20. Hi Sally. Tried the recipe . It’s amazing . Tastes great. This dessert is heaven. My only concern is why the cheesecake filling layer slides off the cracker crust layer while eating or cutting the slice ?

1 4 5 6

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Sally's Baking Challenge

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe.

View More

Sally's Cookie Palooza

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

Sally's Pie Week

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×