No-Bake Cheesecake

A decadent dessert you can enjoy without turning on the oven.

Southern Living No Bake Cheesecake sliced on a plate to serve
Photo:

Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

Active Time:
35 mins
Chill Time:
6 hrs
Total Time:
6 hrs 35 mins
Servings:
8

With no-bake cheesecake, you can put an impressive dessert on the table without heating the oven—and without much fuss at all. This light-as-a-cloud confection is as crowd-pleasing as it is easy.

It’s versatile too: Neither too sweet nor overpowering, no-bake cheesecake creates an ideal base that serves as an open canvas to be creative with toppings, compotes, and sauces to layer on the sweetness and flavor profile just as you like it.

What Is No-Bake Cheesecake?

No-bake cheesecake comes together with—you guessed it—no need for the oven. Instead, the filling sets in the refrigerator for a minimum of six or up to 12 hours, and then the cheesecake is ready to top and serve.

What Is No-Bake Cheesecake Filling Made Of?

The filling in this no-bake cheesecake recipe uses cream cheese, powdered sugar, sour cream, vanilla extract, fresh lemon juice, salt, and heavy whipping cream

No-Bake Cheesecake Ingredients

In addition to the filling ingredients, you’ll need just a few more readily available ingredients for the crust: graham cracker crumbs, salted butter, and powdered sugar, as well as cooking spray.

For serving, you’ll need fresh strawberries and raspberries (or any berries you like).

Southern Living No Bake Cheesecake Ingredients

Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

How To Make the Perfect No-Bake Cheesecake

The full recipe for this no-bake cheesecake is below, but here's a brief recap:

Prepare the pan: Start by coating a springform pan with cooking spray to make the crust. Line the pan with parchment before securing the outer ring.

Make the crust: Stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and powdered sugar. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan before freezing uncovered. 

Make the filling: While the crust is freezing, prepare the filling. Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Then beat in the sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt.

Beat the heavy cream until medium peaks form. Fold about half of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture; then fold in the rest to combine.

Add filling to crust, and chill: Now remove the crust from the freezer. Pour cream cheese mixture over the crust, and spread evenly. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least six hours.

Slice and serve: Remove the outer ring of the pan and transfer the cheesecake to a stand or platter; gently remove and discard the parchment. Garnish cheesecake with berries to serve.

Tips for Making the Perfect No-Bake Cheesecake

  • Make a sturdy crust: Since you are not baking this cheesecake, it’s especially important to pack down the crust well (use the back of a measuring cup to help). And don’t skip the step of freezing the crust before filling, as this helps set it before you add filling.
  • Get ingredients just right: When preparing the filling, use room-temperature cream cheese to ensure there are no chunks. Add the whipped cream in batches to lighten the cream cheese mixture to retain the air you just whipped into the cream.
  • Make it your own: Customize the flavor of this cake by swapping out any extract or liquor in place of the vanilla to give your preferred flavor. Add more tang by increasing the lemon juice and decreasing the amount of whipped cream to get more zing from the cream cheese.
  • Cut smoothly: Use a sharp knife to cut into this cake, and wipe it completely clean between each slice. 
Southern Living No Bake Cheesecake sliced to serve

Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

More No-Bake Dessert Recipes

Avoiding the oven? That doesn't mean you can't enjoy some of your favorite desserts. Consider these other no-bake sweets:

Editorial contributions by Alesandra Dubin.

Ingredients

Crust

  • Cooking spray

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from 13 graham cracker sheets) 

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) salted butter, melted

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Filling

  • 2 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

  • 2/3 cup (about 3 oz.) powdered sugar

  • 3/4 cup sour cream

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

  • 1/8 tsp. table salt

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • Fresh strawberries and raspberries

Directions

  1. Prepare the pan:

    Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Place a sheet of parchment on bottom of springform pan (no need to trim parchment); replace and secure outer ring of springform pan.

    Southern Living No Bake Cheesecake preparing the pan

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

  2. Prepare the crust:

    Stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and powdered sugar in a medium bowl until combined and mixture looks like wet sand.

    Southern Living No Bake Cheesecake stirring together the crust ingredients

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

    Firmly press into bottom and about 1 inch up sides of prepared springform pan. Freeze, uncovered, while preparing filling, 20 to 30 minutes.

    Southern Living No Bake Cheesecake pressing the crust mixture into the pan

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

  3. Prepare the filling:

    Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes.

    Southern Living No Bake Cheesecake beating the cream cheese until smooth

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

    Beat in sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt until combined, about 1 minute. 

    Southern Living No Bake Cheesecake adding the sour cream to the cream cheese mixture

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

  4. Whip cream for filling:

    Beat heavy cream with an electric mixer on medium speed in a large deep bowl until medium peaks form, about 3 minutes.

    Southern Living No Bake Cheesecake whipping the cream

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

    Fold about half of the whipped cream into cream cheese mixture until just combined. Gently fold in remaining half of whipped cream until combined.

    Southern Living No Bake Cheesecake folding the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

  5. Assemble cheesecake:

    Remove Crust from freezer. Pour cream cheese mixture over Crust, and spread evenly using an offset spatula.

    Southern Living No Bake Cheesecake spreading the filling into the crust

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

    Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 6 hours or up to 12 hours.

  6. Serve cheesecake:

    Use an offset spatula or knife to loosen edges of cheesecake from springform pan; remove outer ring.

    Southern Living No Bake Cheesecake removing the outer ring from the springform pan

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

    Transfer cheesecake to a plate or cake stand, and gently wiggle parchment from under cheesecake to remove (discard parchment.)

    Southern Living No Bake Cheesecake on the plate to serve

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

    Garnish cheesecake with strawberries and raspberries.

    Southern Living No Bake Cheesecake garnished with the fresh berries

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

    Cut into slices using a sharp knife, wiping knife clean between each slice.

    Southern Living No Bake Cheesecake sliced on plates to serve

    Stacy K. Allen; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

Additional reporting by Alesandra Dubin
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