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

242 Comments

  1. Can I use gelatine to make sure that the filling stays intact? If yes then, how exactly do I use it and how much?

    1. Hi Nicole! You can, yes, but this filling is pretty sturdy as written with all that whipped heavy cream. I haven’t tested it with gelatin, so I can’t say how much would be best.

  2. Hello, how can I get this cheese cake off of the bottom of the springform pan with out messing it up . Maybe a crazy question but I am making this for someone else and do not want them to have to give me back my pan . Thank U

    1. You can purchase a cake lifter from Walmart made by Wilson, handy piece of equipment lifts and places on platter or cake board without destroying your masterpiece!

      1. How big is the pan you used for this cheesecake? I’m planning on doing it in a pie mold from Wal Mart, the small ones that come with the pie crust. To know if the amount of ingredients should be less for that size of pan.

      2. You should line bottom of pan with parchment paper. When ready to serve remove from ring, flip it over on to another plate and then after removing bottom and parchment paper put it onto another plate. Easy you can Google it and watch video on how to do it.

  3. Not exactly cheesecake but still super delicious! My husband and I have been dreaming of layering this with chocolate cake ever since…one day.

  4. Catering a wedding, would this work in mini cupcake liners as mini cheesecakes? Piped into the liners then refrigerated?

  5. I made this no bake cheese cake for my daughter after her knee surgery. This was my first attempt at a no bake cheese cake and it turned out beautiful. My grandson said it was the best he ever had and his dad said it was the best he’d had in a very long time. And he loves Cheese Cake Factory. Going to make it again for work birthday lunch. For easy removal from pan, I line bottom with parchment paper. Works great!!

  6. The texture was not exactly like a cheesecake I was expecting, so that was the only disappointment. However, it’s still delicious, easy to make, and great when it’s too hot out to turn on the oven. It got compliments from my family, but my fiance said he would rather try something else next time. The crust was good, but the filling was not as dense as a cheesecake. It was more like a whip or a spread. NOW – if you wanted to make just the filling and throw it in a bowl and serve it with some various crackers or cookies to use as a dip, it would be perfect.. but next time I want cheesecake I’ll probably have to turn on the oven and go for the full thing.

  7. Does the cheese cake go all the way to the top of the pan? I want to add jello at the top with sharks for shark week.

    1. Hi Jen, That sounds super cute! If you watch the video you can see how far up the pan my cake goes – there is room for a thin layer of jello on the top. Have fun!

    1. Hi Ana, I wouldn’t recommend it for this recipe! Without a springform pan it will be difficult to release the cake and cut nice slices.

  8. Hi Sally,

    I’d like to make this into a dark chocolate cheesecake. Do you have a suggestion for amount of melted and cooled dark chocolate to use and if I would need to increase or decrease any of the other filling ingredients in order to makeup for adding the chocolate?

    Thank you!
    Jesse

    1. Hi Jesse, That does sound delicious!!! Unfortunately without testing different ratios of ingredients I can’t say for sure exactly what will work. Please let me know if you try it though!!

      1. Hi Sally,
        I did try it! I used an oreo crust instead of the graham cracker crust (36 oreo cookies, 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 tbsp cocoa powder in a 10 in springform pan). For the filling I used your recipe but omitted the lemon juice and added 2 cups of melted and cooled 63% bittersweet chocolate and 2 tbsp of cocoa powder. I added the chocolate and cocoa after step 3 to make sure it would incorporate well and wouldn’t deflate the whipped cream. I really wanted a rich, chocolatey filling that wasn’t cloyingly sweet. It was A LOT of chocolate and you could probably have 1 and 1/4 to 1 and 1/2 cups if you did not want it so rich. The filling set up beautifully and everyone loved it! I decorated the top more whipped cream and placed mini Milky Way Midnight candy bars in each whipped cream bundle then drizzled with salted caramel. I know many people have asked for your recipe with chocolate so I hope you test it out! Thank you for all of your recipes. I always start with you when I’m looking for something specific (or anything really) to make because I know all of your recipes are fail proof and will turn out wonderfully. I need to start posting my photos and tagging them! Have a great day!

        Jesse

  9. OH YEAH … THIS !!! I am not a big cheesecake fan and was looking for a dessert to take to a family gathering. Since everyone else loves cheesecake I decided to try this recipe. This is amazing! It is so light and fresh and even non-cheesecake lovers like me LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I brought two thinking there would be leftovers but every crumb was devoured! This is going to be my go-to cheesecake recipe from now on! And it’s an added bonus without having to use the oven – thank you = )

  10. Hello, could I make this in a 7″ cake pan by scaling the recipe down by 1/3? So 2 blocks of cream cheese, 200ml of whipped cream, etc. I want to make it for a family birthday this weekend but we’re only 4 so a 9 inch cheesecake would be way too big.

  11. I’ve been using this recipe for awhile now! I like to “experiment “. Last week made banana graham cracker crust, the your filling and topped with sliced bananas, it was good! Today I’m making one with Oreo cookie crust and added to your filling will be chopped peanut butter cups and some on top! Also making a Oreo mint crust, your filling and sprinkles of peppermint (fine) on top! Thank you for such an easy and delicious recipe!

    1. Oh my gosh, Sandy – all of these flavors sound amazing! I’m so glad you have been using this as your base recipe and having fun with it!

  12. OMG!!!!! I just made this for the first time! All I can say is OMG! This is the BEST cheesecake ever!!!! And I have made alot of cheesecakes in my day……both baked and no bake. This is the best ever!!! You gotta try this people! You will be soooooo glad u did! This will be my go to cheesecake from now on and it will be yours too! And no baking to top it all off!
    Ginger ( from NJ )

  13. Hi Sally,
    I plan on using this recipe for making saffron flavored min-cheesecakes with a pistachio crust. Can you advise why is the lemon juice used? I plan on replacing it with a 2 tablespoons of saffron infused milk. Would it affect the texture?
    P.S. Thank you for the wonderful recipes! They always work for me.

    1. A little lemon juice adds that quintessential cheesecake tang and brightens up the flavor. Feel free to play around with the liquid if you’d like to change the flavor.

  14. This filling is the best cheesecake filling ever! I don’t have a spring pan so I just used a store bought graham cracker pie crust. I had a little filling left and just ate it! Lol it was delicious. My pie is still chilling but I know it’s going to be great! Thank you so much for this no-bake recipe as we live in Texas and it’s 100 degrees outside. ❤️

  15. Hi Sally!

    I have made this many times and love it! I was wondering if you would know how much pumpkin purée to use to make it for thanksgiving? I think I would be so delicious

  16. Hi Sally,

    Just wanted to say that it’s so funny reading all the comments of people saying this isn’t exactly cheesecake. Here is Australia this is what we consider cheesecake. Baked cheesecakes are less common. I have a family recipe for cheesecake that I always use (no gelatin!!) with cream cheese, condensed milk and lemon juice as the setting agent. It’s delicious, but I’m keen to try yours. We don’t have graham crackers in Australia so I think I will sub with digestives.

    Love your work.

    Hailey

  17. This is seriously the best no bake cheesecake ever! Really the best cheesecake! Why go through all the trouble of baking one, when this is absolutely delicious! I have used several different homemade fruit compotes for the topping. Depending on what season it it!! All your recipes are flawless! I use your website for every occasion! I agree, this would be wonderful in a chocolate no bake!!

  18. Can this recipe be reduced to make 12 cream cheese muffins/cupcakes?
    My stove/oven is not working for 2.5 weeks and I want to make 12 cream
    cheese muffins for a friend’s office, where there is a small refrigerator
    in his office. Please advise.

    1. Hi Beverly, You can make this into cupcakes by pressing the crust into the cupcake liners and then filling. I’m unsure of exactly how many this recipe would yield, but you can certainly cut it in half for a smaller amount.

1 2 3 4

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

×