This strawberry no bake cheesecake pie combines an extraordinarily creamy no-bake strawberry cheesecake filling with a crunchy, salty and sweet pretzel graham cracker crust. The filling is adapted from regular no bake cheesecake and we’re adding real strawberries without any artificial flavoring. To get enough fruit flavor, apply the same technique used in this strawberry cake recipe by pureeing then reducing strawberries down.
Is this strawberry cheesecake? Is this strawberry pie? It’s neither, but it’s both.
You’re looking at a no-bake strawberry cheesecake filling that tastes like strawberry mousse. It sits in a salty and sweet pretzel graham cracker crust and is prepped in a pie dish, not a springform pan (though that works too!). Baking the crust is key to its structure, so this isn’t completely no bake.
Whatever you call it, this dessert is 100% pure strawberry goodness and perfect for summertime.
Strawberry Cheesecake Pie Details
- Flavor: Have you had plain no bake cheesecake before? It’s wonderfully tangy without an overpowering cream cheese flavor. In this strawberry cheesecake pie recipe, we’re flavoring the filling with strawberry. (And I have a pumpkin no bake cheesecake too!) The strawberry flavor is light because we aren’t using the crutch of artificial flavoring. Some strawberry pie recipes call for strawberry flavored gelatin powder, but we’re skipping it here. My #1 piece of advice is to only make this strawberry cheesecake pie when you have super sweet strawberries. You’ll find the flavor lacking if your strawberries aren’t in their prime. So, save this for the warmer months when strawberries are in their peak season. (I tested this recipe in May with the reddest strawberries I could find and the flavor was excellent.)
- Texture: By closely following this recipe, you’ll be rewarded with a slice of ultra smooth and creamy pie that’s reminiscent of mousse. It’s much lighter than a classic cheesecake or cheesecake pie. The filling’s light texture contrasts beautifully with the crisp crunch of the pretzel graham cracker crust and juicy sugared strawberries on top. The best bites are those with extra crust AND sliced strawberries!
- Ease: No bake cheesecake is A LOT easier than traditional baked cheesecake. Without eggs and baking, there’s really no room for huge error. For example, you can’t over-bake the filling and you don’t have to mess with a cheesecake water bath either. We’re essentially cutting every single complicated step and I know that’s music to your ears when it comes to from-scratch desserts!
Pretzel/Graham Cracker Crust Hybrid
Before jumping into the step photos and printable recipe, I want to explain the pretzel graham cracker crust. For the crust, you’ll use 1/2 cup of crushed pretzel crumbs and 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs. Stir these together with melted butter and some sugar.
- Problem Using Only Pretzels: The crust does not set up properly using only pretzel crumbs. It was so sandy and crumbly that we couldn’t even cut slices. (And that’s after baking the crust to help it set, too.) Maybe using more melted butter would help, but that would require additional testing. Instead, using a blend of graham cracker and pretzel crumbs gives us that salty sweet flavor and it still maintains its structure.
- Can I Skip Baking the Crust? I don’t recommend it. Since we’re using pretzels and serving this out of a pie dish, the entire dessert benefits from baking the crust.
SAVE TIME: Bake and cool the crust as you prepare and cool the reduced strawberry puree.
Reduced Strawberry Puree Adds The Flavor
This recipe is similar to strawberry cream cheese pie, but today we are flavoring the filling with strawberries instead of just adding them on top. After or during the crust’s bake and cool time, start preparing the strawberry flavor. We’re following the same exact process that we use for strawberry cake, only starting with a little extra strawberries. Since we’re not baking this dessert, I recommend straining the puree to rid the seeds. Puree the strawberries, strain the puree, then reduce the puree on the stove. If some seeds slip through, don’t worry about– you can’t detect a few here and there.
Depending on the pan and stove heat, reducing the strawberry puree down can take anywhere from 25-35 minutes. The 1/2 cup of reduced puree usually has the consistency of applesauce. Let it cool completely before using in the filling.
Step By Step Photos For Filling
The strawberry cheesecake pie’s filling is made in 2 bowls. In the 1st bowl, beat heavy cream into stiff peaks. The air whipped into the cream gives the entire cheesecake its structure and stability. Use the 2nd bowl for the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, cooled reduced puree, and vanilla extract. 1st & 2nd bowl:
Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture, then spread into the baked and cooled crust. I like using a large or small offset spatula, which makes it easier and keeps the pie (and slices) looking neat. Instead of the oven, the filling sets in the refrigerator. For a sturdy no-bake cheesecake with beautifully neat slices, refrigerate for at least 8-12 hours. This makes for a great make-ahead dessert!
*Do not freeze the cheesecake to set it because the filling won’t slice and you’ll lose the creamy velvet texture.
Whipped cream and sugared strawberries make a simple dessert look elevated! Both toppings are pretty convenient because you use the same ingredients in the filling.
- Blender or Food Processor: This is an essential tool to pulse the pretzels and graham crackers as well as puree the strawberries. This blender is fantastic quality for its price.
- Pie Dish: Time and time again, this glass pie dish is an absolute favorite. If using a springform pan, I use and love this one.
- Fine Mesh Sieve: Use this to strain the seeds from the strawberry puree.
- Electric Mixer: You need a handheld mixer or stand mixer for the filling. The whisk attachment can be used for whipping the cream as well as mixing the cream cheese mixture.
- Small Offset Spatula: This is helpful for packing and smoothing the filling into the crust.
- Piping Bag & Tip: Though optional, piping the whipped cream on top adds a beautiful finishing touch. In these photos, I used Ateco 849 and a reusable piping bag.
This strawberry cheesecake pie combines creamy no bake strawberry cheesecake filling with a crunchy, salty and sweet pretzel graham cracker crust. To get enough fruit flavor, use strawberries when they are in season.
Pretzel Graham Cracker Crust
- 1/2 cup (50g) crushed pretzel crumbs (from 1 cup salted mini pretzel twists or pretzel pieces)
- 1 cup (120g) graham cracker crumbs (about 8 full sheet graham crackers)
- 3 Tablespoons (37g) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (5 Tbsp; 71g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1.5 lbs. (about 680g) strawberries, rinsed & hulled
- 1 cup (240ml) cold heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
- two 8-ounce blocks (452g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (about 150g) sliced strawberries
- 2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (29g) granulated sugar, divided
- 1 cup (240ml) cold heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Crust: Use a food processor or blender to grind the pretzels and graham crackers into a fine crumb. (Or crush both in a zipped top bag with a rolling pin.) Mix the crumbs, granulated sugar, and melted butter together in a medium bowl until combined. The mixture will be thick, coarse, and sandy. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Make sure it is very tight and compact. Use the bottom of a flat measuring cup to press it down tightly. Bake the crust for 15-16 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes (and up to 2 days) before adding the filling. Meanwhile, prep the reduced strawberry puree in the next step.
- Strawberries for the filling: Puree the strawberries completely. You will have 1.5 – 2 cups puree– anywhere around this amount is fine. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, using a spoon to press it down and work it through the strainer. Discard seeds. Stirring occasionally, simmer the strained puree over low-medium heat until you’re left with 1/2 cup or a little over 1/2 cup. This takes at least 25-35 minutes, but could take longer depending on your pan or how juicy your strawberries were. *Do not add sugar or anything to the puree or reduced puree– it’s just pure strawberries. Allow to cool completely to room temperature before using in the filling. (See make ahead instructions below if doing this in advance.)
- Rest of 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 minutes. Set aside. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese 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 cooled reduced strawberry puree, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract and beat on medium-high speed until combined, creamy, and smooth. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed to help combine. 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.
- Spread filling into cooled crust. Use a small offset spatula to smooth down the top.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. For best results, at least 12 hours is best. The longer refrigerated, the nicer the no-bake cheesecake will set up. I don’t recommend using the freezer to set this cheesecake filling.
- Toppings: About 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving, prepare the toppings. Stir the sliced strawberries and 1 teaspoon (4g) of granulated sugar together. Set aside as you prepare the whipped cream topping. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream, remaining sugar, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Medium peaks are between soft/loose peaks and stiff peaks and are the perfect consistency for topping and piping on desserts.
- Remove pie from the refrigerator. Spoon strawberries on pie and pipe whipped cream around the edges. (I used Ateco 849 piping tip.) Or you can serve each individual slice with strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream.
- Using a clean sharp knife, cut into slices for serving. For neat slices, wipe the knife clean between each slice.
- Cover and store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead Instructions: You can prepare the crust (steps 1 and 2) up to 2 days in advance. Cover and store baked and cooled crust at room temperature until ready to use. You can prepare the strawberry reduction (step 3) 1-2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before using in step 4. You can also freeze the reduced strawberry puree for up to 3 months. Thaw, bring to room temperature, then use in the recipe. You can prepare the entire filling (steps 3-5) 1 day in advance before spreading into the crust in step 6. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. You can prepare the whipped cream and strawberries for the topping (step 8) 1 day in advance. Cover and refrigerate both until ready to use.
- Pretzel/Graham Cracker Crust: It’s ideal to use both pretzel and graham cracker crumbs in this recipe. If desired for more explanation, see section above Pretzel/Graham Cracker Crust Hybrid. If you want a plain graham cracker crust, follow this graham cracker crust recipe. (See Note 6 below if you don’t have graham crackers.)
- Can I Make This in a Springform Pan? Yes. Follow the recipe exactly as written including baking the crust, but use a 9-inch springform pan. When it’s time to serve, use a knife to loosen the chilled cheesecake from the rim of the springform pan, then remove the rim.
- Can I Use Frozen Strawberries for the Filling? Yes. Thaw, then puree, strain, and cook as directed. The puree may take longer to reduce down. For best taste, I recommend fresh strawberries for the topping.
- Can I Make Mini No-Bake Cheesecakes? Yes. Use this crust and filling recipe and follow the instructions in 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 135g ground digestive biscuits instead (about 9 biscuits), the same amount of butter, and add a bit more sugar (about 1/4 cup, or 50g). 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.
Keywords: strawberry cheesecake pie