Ok, I’m going to come right out with it: this is the best no-bake cheesecake I have ever had. Ever. There, I said it. I love cheesecake, especially the no-baking-required variety and I’ve had my eye on this one since seeing it in the October issue of Martha Stewart Living. Oh my.

Not only did this not disappoint, it absolutely exceeded my expectations in taste and texture. Smooth and creamy with the barest hint of lemon and vanilla – and the spiderweb on top made it fantastically cute (even sans the fake spiders).

I will be using this cheesecake recipe time and time again when I need a fabulous no-bake dessert! My favorite part, incidentally, was the layer of bittersweet ganache between crust and cheesecake. Divine.

P.S. This makes an enormous cheesecake so plan on serving it to a crowd – or it could be easily halved – or you could quite simply eat the entire thing yourself.

P.P.S. My kids thought the spiderweb was the coolest thing in the world, which subsequently meant I was the coolest mom in the world. That’s the real reason I’ll make this again – even if it means a spiderweb cheesecake in mid-summer.

No-Bake Spiderweb Cheesecake

No-Bake Spiderweb Cheesecake


    For the Crust:
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 18 ounces chocolate wafers (about 90), finely ground (4 1/2 cups) – I used 1 10 ounce box of chocolate Teddy Grahams and another 8 ounces of crushed Nilla Wafers (since I ran out of the chocolate crackers)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • For the Ganache:
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Ghirardelli’s Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • For the Filling:
  • 32 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, cold


  1. Make the crust: Coat a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Mix wafers, sugar, butter, and salt in a medium bowl. Pat mixture into pan, pressing firmly into bottom and all the way up sides. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to fill.
  2. Make the ganache: Place chocolate in a food processor. Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, then pour over chocolate. When chocolate begins to melt, process until smooth. Reserve 4 tablespoons ganache for decorating, and spread the remainder evenly on bottom and all the way up sides of crust. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to fill.
  3. Make the filling: Beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and slowly add sugar and salt. Raise speed to medium-high, and beat until very fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla.
  4. Whisk cream until medium-stiff peaks form. Whisk 1/4 of the whipped cream into cream cheese mixture, then fold in remaining whipped cream. Pour filling into crust, and spread evenly. Gently tap bottom of pan on counter to release air bubbles.
  5. Transfer reserved ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round tip (next time I might use a smaller tip to make the lines more delicate and fine). Starting in the center of the cheesecake, pipe a spiral, spacing lines about 1/2 inch apart. Pull the tip of a paring knife in a gently curved line from the center of the spiral to outer edge. Wipe knife clean, and repeat every inch or so to form a web.
  6. Cover, and freeze for at least 1 hour or overnight. Unmold cheesecake, garnish with candy spiders if desired, and serve immediately.

Recipe Source: adapted from Martha Stewart

47 Responses to No-Bake Spiderweb Cheesecake

  1. Janelle says:

    Hi Mel! I know this is an old post, so I hope you’ll still reply to this comment. I made this cheesecake once before, exactly as directed. I’m wanting to make it for a church Halloween party this coming weekend, though, but I’m worried that the overall effect will be lost as soon as the first cut is made, without everyone getting to see it. Do you think it would work just as well to make mini-cheesecakes in muffin tins, and web them individually?

  2. Wendy says:

    Good grief is this good! I made it and took to an even this past weekend and it was a definite crowd pleaser. Thanks once again for a winner! I must admit I had a hard time getting the crust to cling to the sides of the pan… Had not anticipated how long that would take me. Hehe. In the future if I’m in a hurry I might buy 2 chocolate graham cracker crusts, put the ganache on both of them then split the filling between the two and make the spiderwebs on top.

  3. Ashley P says:

    I don’t love lemon flavor so do you think I could leave it out? Would I need to replace the liquid? Also could I use brown sugar flavored cream cheese? I have used it in other recipes and I love the flavor it adds.

    • Mel says:

      Ashley – the brown sugar flavored cream cheese sounds great – just keep an eye on the overall sweetness of the cheesecake. And yes, you could leave out the lemon. It actually doesn’t add an intense lemon flavor as much as brightening up the overall heavy flavor of the cream cheese.

  4. Boe C. says:

    Hi Mel, just wanted to say how much I love your recipes, I use them almost daily! I want to make this cheesecake for a party but only own a 9-inch springform pan…do you think I could make it work? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Boe – this cheesecake is awfully thick. I’m afraid all the filling won’t fit in a 9-inch springform pan but I think you could make it work by either not adding all the filling (and saving it to dip in fruit, etc) or maybe only making about 2/3 of the filling (you’d have to do the math to convert the recipe).

  5. Nadia says:

    This is SO tasty! I made this and got rave reviews! Excellent recipe!

  6. Amanda says:

    This is beautiful! Im really wanting to up the look of my cheesecake and I just love the spider web design. Do you think it should only be used for Halloween? Im not so sure but I thought Id get a second opinion. Im wanting to make it with a strawberry glaze I think that would be absolutely gorgeous.

  7. Jenn says:

    I have made this before and LOVED it. I wondered if you have ever made it chocolate and/or how you might do that? Thank you for all of your great recipes.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jenn – I’ve never made this chocolate so I don’t know! My first guess would be to add melted chocolate to the batter, but honestly, it might be better to google a no-bake chocolate cheesecake.

  8. Jessica says:

    I ended up using a ziploc bag and a rolling pin to crush up the crackers and that just worked great. My magic bullet did a fine job with the ganache and the cheesecake turned out amazing! I won a small treat contest at my work with this one and people are still raving about it. Thank you for yet another fantastic recipe!

  9. Mel says:

    Jessica – sure, if your blender does a fine job of crushing up crackers.

  10. Jessica says:

    I don’t have a food processor. Could I use a blender here instead?

  11. Rachel says:

    This looks amazing! We love cheesecake at our house, but with all of the other junk that’s about to come our way (Trick-orTreats), we don’t need something this huge! Do you think you could half this and put it in a pie plate?

    • Mel says:

      Rachel – I’ve never tried halving the recipe but because it is no-bake, I think it would work out just fine as you suggested. You might decrease the crust a bit, too, so that you have room in the pie plate for a lot of filling.

  12. Mel says:

    Hi Tiffany – if you are making it one day in advance, I wouldn’t bother freezing and thawing, I would just keep it in the fridge overnight and it should keep just fine!

  13. Tiffany says:

    I’m thinking about making this for a Halloween party this weekend. If I make it the day before and freeze it, and the party is the next evening…will I need to thaw it before serving? Thanks!

  14. Steph says:

    Mel, I was just clicking onto your blog to get this recipe for a Halloween Party we are having and was thinking, She really needs a cheesecake label and sure enough you had one!!! Why I doubted I don’t know, you really are the best cook I *don’t know*! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to make this next week, wish me luck and thanks for being the coolest MOM ever and taking time to post the most delish dishes EVER!

  15. Colleen says:

    This is beautiful! You ARE a cool mom!

  16. Amy and David Ziehl says:

    So Mel…. Ever since Dinner at your house on Sunday and enjoying this fab. cake, Dave has said how much he LOVED this “spider cake” NUMEROUS ( and I mean NUMEROUS) times a day. Thanks for spoiling us and having us be you guinea pigs! We love your cooking!!!

  17. Emily says:

    Your cheesecake looks wonderful! Don’t you just love Halloween and being festive!?!

  18. Jessica Feely Photography says:

    I made this yesterday and it was amazing!! The only hard part for me was whisking by hand the darn cream into whipping cream. My arm would have fallen off if it werent attached to my body. Anyway, my only complaint was the crust stuck to the bottom and sides and I had to try very hard to get it off. Other than that, it was creamy, had great flavor and great for people like me who are terrible at baking! This is now my go to recipe for cheesecake! Thank you soo much!

  19. RecipeGirl says:

    This looks great… I love it. I’ll bet Martha has ideas for how to make some candy spiders to go with it, huh?

  20. JerieH says:

    A friend brought this cheesecake to dinner the other day and we demanded the recipe. It was a big hit even with the “I don’t like cheesecake” people!

  21. Melanie says:

    jfeely – I love to hear when people make a recipe and they let me know how it turned out. Thank you! I’m impressed you whipped the cream by hand – I cheated and used an electric mixer. Way to go! Anyway, I’m glad you liked it…thank you for letting me know!

  22. bakingblonde says:

    Love it! So festive and I love that it is a no bake!

  23. Ali says:

    wow, that is so pretty!! I haven’t made a no bake cheesecake in a few years. This one is going on my to do list! 🙂

  24. Deborah says:

    I haven’t had a no bake cheesecake in years, but this one looks too good to pass up!

  25. Lydia Stewart says:

    Wow- that just looks amazing! What a fun holiday treat- or a fun treat to make it a holiday! Way to go!

  26. Marisa says:

    I seriously want to lick the computer screen right now! That looks SO delicious. I love that it’s no bake! I’ll FOR SURE be trying this one! You always have such great recipes.

  27. Melanie Anne says:

    That turned out very cool! HWat a hit that would be at a Halloween party! So cute! Happy Halloween!

  28. Melanie says:

    jerieh – I agree, this is a crowd-pleaser recipe. I’m glad to know even the people who don’t normally like cheesecake enjoyed it. Thanks for checking in!

  29. Abby says:

    Your web was perfect! And beautiful.

  30. Katie says:

    Wow! that cheesecake looks AMAZINGLY delicious as well as beautiful! I LOVE the contrast of the creamy filling with the coarse crumb sides and that spider web design is just too cute to boot! 🙂

  31. Patsyk says:

    Of course you are the coolest mom ever, you just made a spiderweb cheesecake! So cool! I love it!

  32. nicole says:

    That is the prettiest no bake cheesecake I’ve ever seen. It looks so yummy!

  33. grace says:

    <>…or you could quite simply eat the entire thing yourself.<>don’t tempt me, melanie. it looks luscious and festive at the same time. bravo!

  34. Psychgrad says:

    I just saw a very similar cake somewhere else. Looks delicious. It looks like a great cake for company.

  35. Maria says:

    I love the spider web! Very creative!

  36. Peregos says:

    WOW. WOW. WOW. and looks yummy too!

  37. PheMom says:

    I SO have to bookmark this – wow!! Beautiful job!

  38. Vanessa Shannon says:

    Hey Mel, We are having a family dinner for Ian’s bday this weekend and Ian has announced that this MUST be his birthday cake (yay).. so I have some questions about 2 things 1. where do you find coarse salt? (dont laugh) 2. how bitter is the bittersweet chocolate? Will the kids like or should I use semi-sweet? Thanks for your help it look awesome!

  39. yemek oyunları says:

    great work!

  40. dünyanın en güzel oyunları says:

    thank you

  41. Leigh Anne says:

    Love it – what a cute idea. The best part is the No-Bake part!! Will definitely be giving it a try.

  42. yemek tarifleri says:

    Good post. Thanks.

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