The Best No-Bake Cheesecake

It’s all fine and good to have a no-bake chocolate cheesecake waiting in the wings to impress everyone in your life, but though I may be the biggest chocolate lover on the planet, even I know that you need options. And that’s why (just like I promised), here is the best no-bake cheesecake on the planet.

I should know. I’ve made about a million different versions over the last decade (in so much fervor that I had to take a break for the last year or so; I was kind of burned out on no-bake cheesecakes). After a short sabbatical and renewed hope (complete with all my notes), it didn’t take long to settle on this rich and creamy version.

With just the perfect amount of sweetness, it is everything I want a no-bake cheesecake to be: smooth and velvety, luxuriously creamy, sweet and just a bit tangy, and a perfect proportion of crust.

The Best No-Bake Cheesecake

For a while, in the midst of the trial-and-error years, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get a no-bake cheesecake that was light. And I’m not talking light in texture (this one delivers that completely) but light in calories.

And so I messed around with light cream cheese and all the sorts of fillers one would need to get light cream cheese to actually work. Everything from gelatin to powdered pudding to tapioca. But I didn’t love the result, the often fake ingredients, or all the extra steps to get there. All of this led me to the personal truth that I’d much rather eat a smaller slice of something real than load it with crazy stuff just to get a cut in calories and still have it set up right.

So if you are looking for an amazing no-bake cheesecake that is extremely simple with huge points for it’s thick, rich, creamy filling, look no further. The proportions of all the necessary components are finally perfected and I think this baby is just waiting to win you some fame and fortune (or in my case, great big bear hugs from a range of very happy, cheesecake-loving 3- to 37-year olds).

One Year Ago: Homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup {And How to Sub in Recipes}
Two Years Ago: Pretzel Chocolate Chip Muffins
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The Best No-Bake Cheesecake

Yield: Makes a 9-inch cheesecake

The Best No-Bake Cheesecake

Light (neufchâtel) cream cheese has a different/thinner texture in cheesecakes like this so be forewarned that if you want to sub in light cream cheese, the cheesecake may not set up as well.

The cheesecake is delicious plain but you can add fruit for serving which makes it extra delicious. Fresh, juicy fruit works great (sliced strawberries, blueberries, etc); if you want a simple fruit sauce recipe combine 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice in a saucepan. Simmer, stirring often, until thick and syrupy (you may need to increase or decrease the sugar as needed depending on the fruit as well as adding a little water, a couple tablespoons at a time, if it is overly thick).

Ingredients

    Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (7.25 ounces, about 13 rectangle graham crackers)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature (but not warm)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup cold heavy whipping cream

Directions

  1. For the crust, in a medium bowl, combine the cracker crumbs and sugar. Stir in the melted butter until well-combined. Press the mixture into the bottom and 1- or 2-inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan or into the bottom and sides of a 9.5-inch pie plate (a regular 9-inch pie plate might work but the crust and filling will be extra thick). Refrigerate until the filling is ready.
  2. In a large bowl with an electric handheld mixer (or using an electric stand mixer), mix the cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth and light, 2-3 minutes. Add the sour cream and whipping cream and mix until very thick and creamy, 4-5 minutes.
  3. Spread the filling evenly into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Serve plain, with fresh fruit or a fruit sauce (see note above).
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/the-best-no-bake-cheesecake/

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

53 Responses to The Best No-Bake Cheesecake

  1. Sheila says:

    Just back from an electronics free trip. I sure did miss your presence in my life. 🙂 What a recipe to come back to! I don’t count calories with dessert. When I have dessert, I want it to be just like this one — smooth and velvety, luxuriously creamy, sweet and just a bit tangy, and a perfect proportion of crust. And since I don’t indulge often, the pieces are big and worth the wait. Looks like a holiday worthy recipe that is much more simple to prepare to cut down on the food workload during these times. Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Disconnecting from electronic life is the best, Sheila! But I confess, I did miss you. 🙂 And you are on my exact same wavelength when it comes to dessert. Good ones are worth the wait (and indulgence)!

  2. Jodi says:

    Mel, this looks amazing! I love, love, love cheesecake and can’t wait to try this. Thanks again another fabulous recipe!

  3. Teresa R. says:

    I have made your lemon almost no bake cheesecake more times than I can count. My family loves it! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  4. kelli says:

    I think my dessert life is now complete! I’m making this tonight… Or maybe right now… 🙂

  5. Jen T says:

    Just found dessert for tonight! Thank you!!!

  6. Helen says:

    No bake cheesecake is a dessert staple at our house .. This looks to be the perfect blend of ingredients for the perfect amount of creamy cheesy goodness!! To celebrate the fact that my missionary is landing in Armenia within the next hour or so (yes I am tracking his flight on-line ) I think I will make this to occupy my mind … And to give us something to celebrate with tonight after 2 football games and a soccer game. I’m really glad you picked today to post this one.

  7. Jamie B says:

    Do you think I could add pumpkin to this to make no-bake pumpkin cheesecake minis? I like the looks of this recipe, but want a pumpkin version!!

  8. Tristan says:

    Mel – this looks magnificent. Thank you so much for your countless trials to find the very best no bake cheesecake – we appreciate you so much at our house!!
    Just a heads up – LOVE the lemon brownies – they are quite possibly my favoritest thing ever. Once I accidentally over baked them a smidge – cut them up and put them into a trifle. DREAMY.
    Just needed to share that with you as I feel like we are close friends that have never met one another! 🙂

  9. Paige says:

    My husband and I feel the same way about dessert! We would much rather have the full fat and delicious version then go through all the effort to save calories! This looks amazing, we’ll definitely be trying this the next time we need (want) cheesecake!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  10. My approach to dessert it: I only eat it if it is worth the calories. No cheap ice cream for me. It’s homemade or Haagen dazs. This looks like it will fall into the category of worth while calories.

  11. This looks so good! How would you say it compares to traditional baked cheesecake? Does this taste “baked” so to speak?

  12. Sheila h. says:

    Hoping that this is similar to the cheesecake served at Ruth Chris. We love all cheesecake but the lighter and fluffier the better.

  13. RuthAnne says:

    Mel,
    The recipe states, “1 cup (4 ounces) powdered sugar”. Are you measuring differently than I do? Do you mean a cup, 8 oz., or 4 ounces? Not sure?
    Thanks !! Love your site !! RuthAnne

    • Mel says:

      The ounces is referring to the weight of the ingredient. So I’m measuring the powdered sugar in an 8-ounce (by volume) measuring cup but the 8-ounce cup of powdered sugar weighs 4 ounces. This is helpful for those that weigh their ingredients instead of using cup measures (which can have a lot of variability based on how people measure). Hope that helps!

  14. mary louise says:

    loved the cheesecake! i made it last night and served it with fresh peaches. one question: would baking the crust make it a bit crispier or is that not needed?

  15. Julie says:

    Made this for my sisters birthday dinner tonight with strawberry sauce. She loves cheesecake and even served it at her wedding so I was a bit nerves about the no bake option. Well – everyone LOVED IT!!! Thank you! THANK YOU!!! All your recipes ROCK! Now I need to try the chocolate one!

  16. Alivia says:

    I made this cheesecake this week and my husband’s comments were as follows:

    “This is the most incredible thing I have ever eaten. If I could eat one thing for the rest of my life, this is what I would choose. I mean, the texture? It is the best! Wow! BABE! This is so good!”

    Thanks for making me a rockstar.

  17. Michelle says:

    Hi Mel, this is the first time I have been on your site and loving it. Your no bake cheese cake states 1 cup powdered sugar. I live in Perth, Western Australia and is that the same as icing sugar which is powder and white? This recipe I intend to give to my girlfriend to try since she has forgotten her tried and true recipe that she made when her children were young. We only spoke about it the other day when she was telling me she has tried 5 recipes so far with not the desired results. I think I am on a winner here so will let you know unfortunately today of all days I’ve run out of printer ink so will come back to this site to print it off and hopefully your reply.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Michelle, I’m not 100% sure but I believe the powdered sugar I’m talking about is the same as icing sugar. Good luck, I hope your friend likes it!

  18. Janet says:

    Smooth. Creamy. Great taste!!
    My sister has a no-bake cheesecake that her family loves, but since I rarely use cool whip, I don’t often make it. This recipe has her recipe beat to the max. I have a white corelle pie pan that I use for cold pies that aren’t baked……..it fit perfectly. The only change was using 11 graham crackers instead of 13…….that would have made the crust too thick for our preference.
    Thank you!!

  19. Janet says:

    I made this again, using 2 purchased graham crusts…..the filling went to about 3/4 full in each crust, leaving room for the pie filling put on after chilling time. I took the label off the plastic part of the pie plate, turned it over, used it as a cover while chilling the cheesecakes. I put the timer on for mixing the cream cheese/vanilla/powd. sugar……then timed again when mixing in the sour cream/whip cream….then last 30 seconds put mixer on high.
    The fam said it’s absolutely the best ever easy cheesecake……….even my autistic son who doesn’t eat much in way of sweets, loved it as it is not overly-sweet.
    Thanks again!!

  20. MJ says:

    How long will this stay set up?

  21. Jean says:

    What speed on hand mixer? Low, med, high? I see Janet’s suggestion to go 30 seconds on High for the last ingredients.

  22. tatjana says:

    Sounds delicious! Definitely gonna try this cake!

  23. Danielle says:

    Do you think I could use Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream?

  24. Mary suth says:

    This looks delicious, and I have all of the ingredients! Can I double the recipe to make a 13×9 pan for a larger group or do I need to make different adjustments?

  25. Somi says:

    Dear Mel,
    Thank you very much for sharing this amazing recipe. I made it and t was amazing everyone loved it.The only problem was that it did not set well the taste was amazing. Can you please help me with this and give me a tip so it would set well and i can cut a proper slice. Thank you

    • Mel says:

      Did you use low fat cream cheese? That sometimes will make it not set up very well. You could try refrigerating longer, also.

      • Rosi says:

        Hi Mel
        Mine did not set well too even I used original block Philadelphia cream cheese and did refrigerate overnight.
        Do you think I should whip the cold heavy whipping cream first until thick and then mix into the cream cheese mix?
        Thanks

  26. wasana says:

    Wow. I’m never one to leave comments but I must share with everyone that this cheesecake was delicious! I made it for Easter Sunday dessert and it was the best cheesecake I’ve ever eaten. Better than the restaurants or bakeries. So happy I stumbled upon this recipe!!!

  27. Shannon says:

    This is the best no-bake recipe I’ve ever had. I’m not a fan of New York style, and this creamy texture was wonderful. I am going to try experimenting with different flavors next. Thanks so much for sharing!

  28. Sam says:

    hi,
    I saw your recipe,how does it differ in texture from other no bake recipe that just include cream cheese,whip cream and sugar.i am making no bake cheese cake for first time,that’s why I’m bit curious
    Thanks

  29. Rami says:

    Do u use whipped cream cheese or Philadelphia style?

  30. Diana says:

    I took a few risks making this recipe, and although the end result was not quite what I was going for, I was happy with it. I used Neufchâtel cheese and decided that maybe adding a tablespoon and a half of melted coconut oil would help firm up the cheesecake in the fridge. Unfortunately, this was not the case. However, freezing the cheesecake for at least 3 hours gave it a wonderful texture, and the taste was “amazing,” according to my brother (and me!). It also tasted great as a glob of filling and crust straight from the fridge,

  31. Liv says:

    Thanks Mel! This was delicious. love the addition of the sour cream to your recipe!

  32. Jill says:

    Pick one…one cup or 4 ounces! Ruined one of my pies beacuse of that. Not making this again.

    • Mel's Kitchen Cafe Admin says:

      Hello Jill – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. Sorry this one didn’t work out for you. I will let Mel know.

    • Mel says:

      I’m not sure what you mean, Jill – a cup of powdered sugar weighs 4 ounces.

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