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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. The process is similar to how we make strawberry cream cheese pie. 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 1012 1x
  • 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

Scale

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

Reader Questions and Reviews

    1. Hi Stacy, That would require additional testing. I really fear the whole cake would fall apart without the crust, but the addition of some gelatin could help. Let us know if you test anything.

  1. I made this twice now. Both times turned out perfect. I do add a tad bit more sugar than it calls for just because my husband likes it`s sweeter. But as is is good. Best results- the longer in fridge the better. AND- you can freeze it , freezes perfect!

  2. Hello! I’m in Europe and we don’t have block cream cheese here…just the spreadable version. Do you have tips for using this kind of Philadelphia cheese?
    Thank you!

  3. Love your recipes. I’ve made the Key Lime Pie, Lemon Meringue Pie, Apple pie and they have all been amazing. What fat percentage sour cream is best for this? Thanks.

    1. Full fat is best, but you can use light sour cream in a pinch. So glad that you enjoy those pie recipes! Some of my very favorites too.

  4. Do you think a peanut butter swirl would mess up the filling? Thinking of doing this, a peanut butter swirl version, for a friend who loves peanut butter and cheesecake. Could also do a chocolate ganache topping after it’s set with some chopped Reeces. What do you think?

    1. Hi Taylor, We haven’t tested this as peanut butter flavored, but my first guess would be to remove the sour cream and add around 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter. The cheesecake *should* still set up just fine. To make it swirled you can make half of the batter as written and half with the peanut butter. Let us know how it turns out! You can top with cooled chocolate ganache, too.

  5. I do not have a spring-form pan, can I make it in a regular pie pan? What modifications would I need to make to the filling?

    1. Hi Katie, I wouldn’t recommend it for this recipe! Without a springform pan it will be difficult to release the cake and cut nice slices. We haven’t tested it but you could try making this recipe into cheesecake bars. The bars will be very thick in a 9×13 pan, so make sure they are sufficiently chilled, even up to 24 hours! Or try these mini no bake cheesecakes.

  6. I made this recipe and was kind of worried because my heavy cream wasn’t whipping well but it turned out great. People couldn’t believe this was a no-bake cake!

  7. Hi Sally!
    I’m thinking about making cupcakes and filling them with the cheese cake filling. Do you have any suggestions on any adjustments that may be needed in order to experiment with this? Thank you for all of your wonderful tips and recipes!

    1. Hi Qiana! I haven’t used this cheesecake filling as a filling for cupcakes but it should work wonderfully! I wouldn’t make any adjustments. This filling does, however, yield quite a bit. So depending on how many cupcakes you want to fill, you could halve this filling recipe.

  8. I made this for a cheesecake loving co-worker’s birthday, it was a huge hit at the office! So tasty! Thanks again for a great, easy to follow recipe!

  9. I’ve never made cheesecake before but this recipe made it very easy and it turned out so delicious! The graham cracker crust is perfect, too and I may reuse it for other recipes. Yum!

  10. Made this, very easy to make, cheesecake, gave it to friends and they all loved it. I enjoy watching you make desserts and have realized how fun and easy they are, along with delicious. Thank you.

  11. Hi Sally , I MADE IT ,USED 1/2 OF THE 8OZ OF WHIPPED CREAM INSTEAD OF HEAVY CREAM AND ALSO PUT IN PIECES OF MANGOS , NO SOUR CREAM AND IT WAS STILL GREAT YUMMY !!!! THANKS

  12. Hi. I tried making this and the taste was perfect! But the look was bad because my heavy cream became lumpy after beating for 1 min, so the cheese cake did not harden. I have no idea why.
    I’m going to try again with the cupcakes cheesecake version. Any advice? Thanks.

    1. Hi Jennifer, You heavy cream should be cold so that it can be whipped into stiff peaks. But make sure that your cream cheese and sour cream are room temperature so they combine smoothly with no lumps.

  13. Amazing! This was my first time making a no bake cheesecake for mum’s birthday and the recipe was straightforward and easy to follow. The cake was such a hit! What a treat, i’ve kept the recipe for next time. Already planning when to make it next! Thank you.

  14. Hi. Just curious if you have any recommendations on making this in a 7″ pan rather than a 9″? Google says 0.6 of the ingredients but was wondering if you could confirm that? Thanks!

  15. Recipe is beautiful but would I be able to create more flavors using this recipe? Lets say like Caramel Pecan or White Chocolate Raspberry?

    1. Hi Micaela! I haven’t tested anything, so I can’t be sure. I do have a pumpkin variation coming this fall though!

  16. I made this cheesecake as mini 3 inch tarts for my nephews wedding dessert table. they came out delicious in spite of my huge mistake- I was using a 1/2 cup measuring cup for the sugar and had already poured the tarts when I realized what I had done. I kept on thinking the batter wasn’t very sweet but ok, it doesn’t need to be… I topped them with Amarena cherries and some of the sauce with mint leaves. It was perfect. the next day at the wedding I had occasion to taste it and it was delicious. Will use this recipe again, without the stated amount of sugar. Got lots of compliments on how good they were.

  17. Hi Sally, can I freeze leftover homemade cheesecake in tin can? Apparently I made a large batch and divided it into separate tin cans and now I have some leftover. I wanted it to last longer but I’m afraid to freeze it as it may become runny when I thaw it. Any advice? Thanks in advance. I’m a fan of your blog and found really helpful tips and delicious recipes in here.

    1. Hi Anne! You can freeze leftover cheesecake batter. If you could put it into a plastic or glass container, that may be better. Sometimes metal pans/cans can leave an unpleasant flavor.

  18. My first attempt and all I can say is Lovely lovely lovely cheesecake!! I also learnt that if you cut it with a warm knife it slices perfectly and smooth x
    I used McVities digestives and it came out perfect x
    Thank you for the recipe 🙂

  19. Loved this recipe! Topped it off with a mango purée. Was wondering whether I could travel an hour with this cheesecake in the car in freezer bag with ice??

    1. If you know that your freezer bag stays cold then it should be ok for an hour trip. Enjoy!

  20. Thank you so much for your reply! I am in Italy and we don’t have those differences in whipping cream/heavy cream and cream cheese. I used a whipping cream with 35% fat content and Philadelphia as a cream cheese. Was it OK?
    And should I use parchment paper under the crust?
    Thanks again!
    Chiara

  21. This was my first time to make a cheesecake, I followed the recipe exactly and it was fantastic. Everyone loved it, thank you for a great recipe. Trying your black bean burgers next

  22. Hi! I want to make mini no bake cheesecakes but not use cupcake wrappers b/c I don’t want the ridged edges ..I want them smooth. If I use silicone muffin pans would this work? I would have to freeze I’m guessing to get them out of the pan…but then, freezing is bad. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Laurie, We haven’t personally tried it but I don’t see why silicone cups wouldn’t work. You can follow the directions for Mini No-Bake Cheesecakes, and if needed you can freeze them after they set in the refrigerator (see recipe notes for freezing directions).

  23. Pretty bad recipe. You need to add gelatin to make a no-bake cheesecake set properly. If you want a floppy, underwhelming, and tasteless cheesecake, then go ahead and try out this recipe.

    1. Hi SR, I’m concerned yours came out so floppy. Was the whipped cream sturdy? Did you let it set for long enough? I’ve made this recipe countless times and while extra creamy, it can still hold its shape when sliced. (If very cold, of course.)

  24. Creamy dreamy yummy, this was an excellent no bake cheesecake recipe. I even halved the filing portion and used in a six inch ready made graham cracker crust, and it was still excellent. Topped with fresh strawberries. Of course I still enjoy the baked version but this was so much more creamy. Is that the heavy cream instead of condensed milk? Enjoy your recipes Sally.

  25. Love love love this recipe! I made this a while ago and our oven was broken so I made this. Everyone loved it! My only note is to use a different crust the one here had way too much brown sugar and couldn’t hold shape. Other than that LOVED this recipe. (Tastes amazing with strawberries sauce topping homage also her recipe!)

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