An easy, no-bake cheesecake made without gelatin and with sour cream. Simple with only a few ingredients, skip the oven and make yourself an easy, authentic-tasting cheesecake from scratch.
I am a huge cheesecake snob. Store-bought cheesecakes never fail to disappoint me. When I go out to eat I never get the cheesecake for dessert (unless we’re at the Cheesecake Factory, of course) because it’s always a letdown. They’re always bland, the texture is usually fine, but the taste is just not cheesecake.
So, when I wanted to make a no-bake cheesecake I had high standards and approached the recipe development process meticulously.
I knew that the filling needed to be perfect, and this one absolutely is. Let’s dig in.
How do you make a cheesecake filling?
For an authentic-tasting no-bake cheesecake recipe, we want to stay as true as possible to classic cheesecake ingredients. That means using:
- Cream cheese
- Sour cream
- Vanilla extract
These are essentially the same ingredients as your standard cheesecake recipe, minus the eggs, of course.
Notice that the sour cream is bolded? That’s because it’s very important for a rich, real cheesecake flavor. Maybe this is just my cheesecake snobbery showing here, but a cheesecake made without sour cream is not a cheesecake, and is leaving a lot on the table in terms of flavor.
The whipping cream is important for the texture and for the cheesecake to set. Many no-bake cheesecake recipes use condensed milk or gelatin for a firm final product, but I definitely prefer the taste of homemade whipped cream (though I did include notes in the recipe so that you can substitute 12 oz of Cool Whip, if you prefer).
For the crust I recommend using my easy graham cracker crust recipe, which does not need to be baked, keeping the entire recipe no-bake. It calls for only a few ingredients and will set up nicely in the fridge or freezer during the 10-15 minutes that it takes you to make the cheesecake filling.
I used a 10″ springform pan here, but a 9″ would work as well, as would a 9″ pre-made pie crust (if you’re into that sort of thing 😉 )
This cheesecake will set up very nicely in the fridge after a few hours (preferably overnight) and has that same, firm (homemade) cheesecake texture and taste that you’re familiar with.
A simple 5 ingredient no-bake cheesecake
- 1 9" or 10" graham cracker crust prepared
- 16 oz cream cheese softened (450g)
- 1 cup powdered sugar (150g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/3 cup sour cream (75g)
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream* (355ml)
- Additional whipped cream for topping, optional
In stand mixer or in a large bowl with hand mixer, stir cream cheese until smooth.
Add powdered sugar and stir until combined.
Stir in vanilla extract and lemon juice, pausing to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add sour cream and stir well.
Pour heavy cream into a separate, medium-sized bowl (preferably a chilled metal bowl). Whisk on high speed (preferably using an electric mixer) until stiff peaks are achieved.
Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture until smooth and well-combined.
Spread cheesecake mixture evenly over prepared graham cracker crust.
Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Top with additional whipped cream before cutting and serving, if desired.
*You may substitute 12oz Cool Whip for the heavy whipping cream (skip the steps on beating to stiff peaks and just fold Cool Whip evenly into cream cheese mixture)
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