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.
Graham Cracker Crust
- 2 cups (240g) graham cracker crumbs (about 16 full sheet graham crackers)
- 1/3 cup (67g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons; 113g) unsalted butter, melted
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove crust from the freezer and spread filling into crust. Use an offset spatula to smooth down the top.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve cheesecake with desired toppings (see Note). Cover and store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Can I Make Mini No-Bake Cheesecakes? Yes, see my mini no bake cheesecakes, which are made in a standard muffin pan.
- Non-US Readers: Don’t have graham crackers where you live? Use 270g ground digestive biscuits instead (about 18 biscuits), the same amount of butter, and add a bit more brown sugar (about 1/2 cup, or 100g). And from what I understand, spreadable cream cheese sold in a tub in countries outside of the US is a little different from the spreadable cream cheese in the US. It’s thicker, sturdier, and more solid and should be OK to make cheesecake. I have no experience with it, but this is what I’ve heard from other non-US readers.
Adapted from All Recipes.
Keywords: cheesecake, no bake cheesecake