An easy, no-bake cheesecake recipe made completely from scratch! Unlike many recipes, there’s absolutely no gelatin or condensed milk required for this one! Skip the oven and make yourself an easy, authentic-tasting cheesecake from scratch.
No-Bake Cheesecake: The Ultimate Easy Recipe
I am a huge cheesecake snob (regarding no-bake and baked cheesecakes alike). 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, and while the texture is usually fine, the taste is just not classic cheesecake that I know and love.
So, when I set out 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.
Ingredients for No-Bake Cheesecake
For an authentic-tasting no-bake cheesecake recipe, we want to stay as true as possible to classic ingredients. That means using:
- A classic, buttery graham cracker crust (one that requires no baking, of course!).
- Cream cheese — make sure it’s softened to room temperature
- Sour cream — critical for a rich, classic, real cheesecake flavor.
- Lemon juice.
- Vanilla extract
- Heavy cream — we’ll be whipping this into to homemade whipped cream.
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. Sour cream packs a ton of flavor and adds depth and authenticity to this no-bake cheesecake recipe.
Another thing I love about this recipe: while many no-bake cheesecakes use gelatin or condensed milk for stabilization, I much prefer the flavor and texture that whipping our own cream provides. It’ll leave us with a classic, fresh-tasting, firm cheesecake (and don’t even think about substituting Cool Whip!).
How to Make a No-Bake Cheesecake
- Start with your graham cracker crust. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until well-combined and mixture resembles damp sand.
- Press crumbs firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ springform pan. I like to use the clean bottom of a measuring cup to tamp down the crust. Place your crust in the refrigerator to chill and set while you prepare your no-bake cheesecake filling.
- Whip your heavy cream to stiff peaks. The mixture should be thick and fluffy, like Cool Whip (but oh-so-much better tasting). You’ll want to use an electric mixer for this step, unless you have a lot of patience and are craving an intense arm workout.
- In a separate bowl, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and sour cream until smooth.
- Gently fold whipped cream mixture into cream cheese mixture until completely combined and batter is smooth.
- Evenly spread no-bake cheesecake filling into prepared graham cracker crust. Allow to chill for several hours before slicing and serving.
How Long Can You Keep a No Bake Cheesecake in the Fridge?
No-Bake Cheesecake will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Be sure to either store it in an airtight container or to tightly wrap the springform pan in plastic wrap when storing.
Also, I think that I should note that we can never get this cheesecake to last longer than 48 hours in our house!
Can You Freeze a No Bake Cheesecake?
Yes, you can absolutely freeze this no-bake cheesecake! I recommend chilling as instructed (in the recipe below) first and then covering the cheesecake well with plastic wrap before freezing. I don’t recommend adding any decorative whipped cream topping (or any topping) until you are ready to serve, as it will make storing more difficult (and messier!).
You can eat the frozen cheesecake straight from frozen or return it to the refrigerator to allow it to thaw before enjoying.
This cheesecake sets up very nicely in the fridge after a few hours (preferably overnight) and has that same, firm cheesecake texture and taste that you’re familiar with. Check out my video below the recipe to see exactly how it’s done.
Oh, and if my voice sounds funny in the video, that’s because I had a cold over two weeks ago and even though all my other symptoms are gone, my voice is still not back to normal (which is actually pretty typical for me).
- 1 9" or 10" graham cracker crust prepared in springform pan (please click link for graham cracker crust recipe)
- 16 oz cream cheese softened to room temperature (450g)
- 1 cup powdered sugar (150g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ⅓ cup sour cream (75g)
- 1 ½ cup heavy cream (355ml)
- Additional whipped cream for topping, optional
- Place cream cheese in a large bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy.
- 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 your 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.
This recipe was originally posted 06/05/2017, photos were updated, additional tips were added, and a video was added 07/11/2018. Post updated again 07/19/2019. Some of the original photos can be found below.