How to Make No Bake Cheesecake

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This no bake cheesecake recipe is a perfect summer dessert. Simple and quick to make, there are endless ways to customize it. We love it with chocolate drizzle or fruit topping.

how to make no bake cheesecake with cherries

Welcome to a new series of posts on my site dedicated to no bake cheesecakes!

First, I’m going to show you how to make a basic no-bake cheesecake which will be the recipe we use to customize all our other flavors.

Next, I’ll give you a great recipe and a bunch of tips on how to make the perfect no bake graham cracker crust, and then I’ll give you recipes for several flavor variations.

My no bake blueberry cheesecake recipe is one of the most popular on my blog and inspired me to make more flavors.

I’ve already shared recipes for No Bake Raspberry Cheesecake, No Bake Cherry Cheesecake, No Bake Lemon Cheesecake, Biscoff No Bake Cheesecake, and Nutella No Bake Cheesecake.

There’s really no limit to the awesomeness of no bake cheesecakes.

Ingredients for No Bake Cheesecake

For no bake cheesecake you’ll only need a handful of ingredients. Since you’re only using few ingredients, the quality matters since you can taste each one.

  • Cream Cheese – I like the full fat Philadelphia brand
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla – Be sure to use real vanilla extract
  • Cool Whip or Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Sour Cream or lemon juice (if desired)
no bake cheesecake with cherries on top

How To Make No Bake Cheesecake

You can use either Cool Whip or heavy whipping cream in this no bake cheesecake depending on your preference. I made it a bunch of times with both and use whatever I have on hand. If you have a heavy duty mixer, you don’t even have to whip the cream separately, you can whip it with the cream cheese mixture.

Some recipes add sour cream or lemon juice to make the cheesecake have a bit more of the “baked cheesecake” flavor. You can leave these out if desired. It won’t effect the texture. I typically don’t use them.

Then you’ll also need a quick no bake graham cracker crust which requires graham crackers, sugar and butter.

no bake cheesecake in a 9 x 13 inch pan

How to make a no bake cheesecake in a 9 x 13 inch pan

Start by making the no bake graham cracker crust. Check out this post for all the detail on how to make a perfect no bake graham cracker crust.

Since this is a no bake crust it has more butter and less sugar in it than traditional baked crusts.

Crush the graham crackers and then stir in the sugar and melted butter. Press firmly into a 9 x 13 inch pan and set aside.

I like to use a stand mixer like my kitchen aide mixer to make no bake cheesecake. A lot of the texture is dependent on how well you beat the filling.

A hand mixer will work as well, but I wouldn’t recommend stirring by hand. You won’t be able to beat in the air that is required for a smooth, fluffy filling.

No bake cheesecake bars with cherry pie filling

Easy No Bake Cheesecake Recipe

Make sure your ingredients are ready, plan ahead and let the cream cheese come to room temperature, and the cool whip thaw (if using).

If you choose to use heavy whipping cream, keep it in the fridge right up until you’re ready to use it, as it will whip better when very cold.

Add the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and sour cream & lemon juice to your stand mixer and beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy.

Scrape down the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is incorporated.

If you’re using Cool Whip, gently fold it in on low speed on the mixer or with a spatula by hand. You don’t want to whip the air out of it.

how to make no bake cheesecake

If you’re using heavy whipping cream, you will whip it separately and then fold it into the cream cheese mixture with a spatula.

Alternatively, I take a shortcut and add the heavy cream directly to the mixer and then beat on high for about 3 minutes until the air is incorporated and the mixture is thickened.

I only recommend doing this if you have a heavy duty stand mixer, but it saves time and dishes.

no bake cheesebake

Pour the cream cheese filling onto the prepared crust and smooth with a knife or spatula. The cheesecake will need to chill for at least 4 hours, overnight is best.

The chilling step is important as it firms up the cream cheese filling and allows the moisture to bind the graham cracker crust together.

Serve with the topping of your choice. This homemade chocolate sauce, blueberry pie filling, or berry compote are delicious toppings.

how to make no bake cheesecake

Can you put a no bake cheesecake in the freezer to set?

This is not ideal, as the cheesecake on the edges will freeze fastest, but it would work in a pinch. Cover the cheesecake tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for an hour or two.

Check to see if it is firm, if not place it back in the freezer for a bit longer. Keep an eye on it though, because you do not want it to actually freeze.

How long does a no bake cheesecake last?

This cheesecake will last 5-7 days in the refrigerator and longer if you freeze is. Keep the toppings off the cheesecake until you are ready to serve and will last longer.

To freeze the cheesecake, chill it in the refrigerator first. Then wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze. It will keep a month or two in the freezer depending on how tightly you can wrap it.

no bake cheesecake recipe with cherries
no bake cheesecake with chocolate and cherries

How to Make No Bake Cheesecake

5 from 6 votes
This no bake cheesecake recipe is a perfect summer dessert. Simple and quick to make, there are endless ways to customize it. We love it with chocolate drizzle or fruit topping. 
Prep Time: 20 mins
Additional Time: 6 hrs
Total Time: 6 hrs 20 mins
Course: Recipes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 15 servings

Ingredients 

For the graham cracker crust

  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs finely crushed

For the no bake cheesecake filling

  • 3 8 ounce packages full fat cream cheese (I like the Philadephia brand) at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sour cream optional (gives it a more baked cheesecake flavor)
  • 16 ounces Cool Whip *OR* heavy whipping cream 2 cups

Topping ideas for serving

  • Chocolate Sauce
  • Cherry Pie Filling
  • Fresh Strawberry compote
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Whipped Cream

Instructions

  • To make the no bake graham cracker crust, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press firmly into a 9 x 13 inch pan and set aside.
  • Add the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and sour cream to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for a minute or two until smooth and combined, scrape down the sides with a spatula as needed.
  • If you choose to use cool whip, gently fold in 16 ounces of cool whip into the cream cheese mixture with a spatula.
  • If you choose to use heavy whipping cream, add 2 cups of heavy cream to the cream cheese mixture and beat on high for 2-3 minutes until thickened and air is incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Only try this if you have a stand mixer. If not, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form and then gently fold into the cheesecake mixture with a rubber spatula.
  • Gently spread the mixture over the graham cracker crust. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours until set. Chilling overnight is best.
  • Serve with your favorite cheesecake toppings. This will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece · Calories: 349kcal · Carbohydrates: 32g · Protein: 3g · Fat: 24g · Saturated Fat: 14g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g · Trans Fat: 1g · Cholesterol: 67mg · Sodium: 177mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 23g
Tried this recipe?Mention @chocolatewithgrace or tag #chocolatewithgrace!

{originally published 6/26/19 – recipe notes and photos updated 6/17/21}

no bake cheesecake bars

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  1. Kara says

    5 stars
    This is very similar to the cheesecake my mom taught me to make years ago. It is so simple, but tastes divine! My recipe is made in a pie pan, but I love this larger batch for serving a crowd!

  2. Rebecca Daws says

    Hi there, the recipe does not give vanilla as an ingredient. It’s mentioned in the blog and text of the recipe but not under ingredients. I just used 1 teaspoon. 😎

  3. Michele says

    5 stars
    This cheesecake recipe is yummy. However…one 8oz tub of Cool Whip or other whipped topping is plenty! If you use the recipe as is, plan to have two 9” cheesecakes. I made this in a 10” crust, and still had a bit leftover.

  4. Barbara says

    5 stars
    Made this cheesecake and it was fabulous. Question, I would like to make with lime juice and zest in place of lemon juice. Any suggestions how much of each? Should I eliminate the vanilla? Your response would be appreciated.

    • Mary says

      Barbara – You could absolutely swap the lemon for lime. It would be an even exchange so 1:1 is the ratio. I would keep the vanilla. The subtle flavor it adds will still work with the lime.

  5. Donna says

    I would like to make this for the 4th of july and make a flag with cherry pie filling n blue berry filling – any suggestions as to how I can decorate without the pie filling running
    Thanks for your help !

    • Mary says

      You could try piping a whipped cream frosting in stripes with spaces between them and then fill the spaces with the pie filling. I haven’t tried anything like that myself, Donna. If you decide to try it, let me know how it works for you!

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