In the dead heat of summer, no-bake desserts are key! This creamy dreamy no-bake cheesecake takes just minutes to prep. A fluffy indulgent filling sits on a buttery graham cracker crust. Serve it plain, or dress it up with fruit (red and blue for the 4th!), chocolate, caramel, cookie crumbles… the options are endless. This no-bake cheesecake will become a go-to over and over again. Scroll past recipe for step by step photos and instructions.
An easy, creamy, fluffy no-bake filling in a buttery graham cracker crust. Top with anything you like including fresh fruit, caramel, chocolate, cookie crumbs, etc.
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/4 cups whipping cream (heavy or regular)
16 oz cream cheese at room temperature (2 standard blocks/packages)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup powdered sugar
Optional, lemon zest
For crust: Combine cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon if using. Pour in melted butter and stir with a fork until well blended. Press into a standard pie plate and up sides. You may refrigerate unbaked for a softer crust (this is what I usually do), or bake at 375 degrees for 5-6 minutes for a crispier crust. Cool completely before filling and set aside.
For filling: Beat whipping cream until whipped and fluffy. You’ll want to beat on the firmer side without over-beating, think stiff peaks.
In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy and smooth. Add lemon juice (and a little zest if using), vanilla and sour cream and mix until smooth. Add powdered sugar a little at a time and continue beating until smooth.
Using a rubber spatula, add a big spoonful of the whipped cream into your cream cheese mixture and stir to combine. Add another spoonful but this time don’t stir, but rather gently fold in. Continue with remainder of whipped cream.
Place filling in pie crust and smooth on top. Chill in fridge for at least 4-6 hours or overnight. Feel free to top with anything you like.
TIP: to avoid plastic wrap smashing against cream when refrigerating, place toothpicks in filling first to hold it up.
How to Make No-Bake Cheesecake
You only need a few ingredients. Whipping cream (heavy or regular), sour cream (I recommend full fat), and Cream cheese (regular or reduced fat, but avoid fat free.). These all get whipped up together with a little sugar and a touch of lemon juice. I always include the lemon, even if I’m going to top this with chocolate or something. It doesn’t necessarily make it lemon flavored, it just adds brightness and depth to the flavor. But you can certainly choose to leave it out if you prefer.
Place Mixture in a Graham Cracker Crust
Spread that mixture into a graham cracker crust. If you want to be super quick and easy, feel free to use a ready-made graham crust that you can buy in the baking aisle of the grocery store. I’m making a homemade crust, and you can find that recipe, here.
Let it Chill
That’s seriously it! It just needs time to chill. Giving it ample time in the fridge lets it set up so it cuts into nice pieces. I like to let it sit for 4-6 hours at minimum, but it’s still going to taste great even if you were to even eat it right when you fill it! You can definitely make this a day ahead of time, or early in the morning for an evening dessert.
Top your no-bake cheesecake
This is fantastic as-is, or with some simple fruit slices on top. Or dress it up with chocolate ganache or this easy salted caramel sauce, sprinkle with crushed cookies, add some flavored extracts, etc. Lots of room for creativity!
The texture of this dessert will not be exactly like a standard cheesecake. It’s fluffier, creamier, and smoother.
Try it out and let me know how you like it!