This is truly the most perfect and easy no-bake cheesecake. By following this no-bake cheesecake recipe, you'll have an ultra smooth and creamy dessert that sets overnight in the refrigerator. It's a fool proof cheesecake recipe that anyone can make and the crowd will love!
I grew up just outside of Philadelphia, I know what makes a perfect cheesecake. There is absolutely no question that cheesecake needs to be creamy, silky and smooth. Most baked cheesecakes are more on the dense side, but this no-bake cheesecake recipe is the opposite. It's light, airy and just as flavorful.
What Is No-Bake Cheesecake?
It's exactly what the name states— it's no-bake cheesecake. The graham crack curst and the cheesecake filling never see the inside of the oven. It's a fantastic dessert option during the warmer months or when there's not enough room in the oven during the holidays.
Making a traditional cheesecake can be complicated— over-beating the eggs, over-baking can lead to cracks, the water bath could leak. With a no-bake cheesecake, all of these complicated steps are eliminated.
The Cheesecake Filling— It's Like Mousse!
If you're not familiar with no-bake cheesecake, the texture is a bit different. It's not nearly as dense, it's more like mousse.
- Graham Cracker Crust: The crust is extra thick, buttery and just slightly sweet.
- Filling: The filling is extra creamy, smooth and extremely rich while light and airy.
How to Make Perfect No-Bake Cheesecake
The process to make this no-bake cheesecake recipe is very easy. You beat the filling ingredients together, then spread into the graham cracker crust and refrigerate so it sets. You'll need 2 bowls— one for the heavy cream and the other for the remaining ingredients. Then, fold together.
- Heavy Cream: The secret to any no-cake cheesecake is beating the heavy cream into stiff peaks. This is what you will fold into the filling.
- Cream Cheese: It's important to use block-style cream cheese, not the cream cheese spread. You want the cream cheese to be at room temperature.
- Granulated Sugar: The granulated sugar helps sweeten the cheesecake. We don't want to go too overboard since we're also adding powdered sugar.
- Powdered Sugar: The powdered sugar serves multiple purposes— helps sweeten and thicken the cheesecake filling.
- Sour Cream: This is where you get that tangy cheesecake flavor.
- Vanilla Extract: A splash gives it flavor.
Tips For The Perfect Cheesecake
There's 3 important tips that will guarantee a perfect cheesecake. Without keeping these in mind, you could be eating a soupy or chunky cheesecake. It's not pretty (or appetizing.)
- One of the most important steps is to beat the cold heavy cream into peaks. Then, be gentle when folding it into the filling so you don't deflate the air out of the heavy cream. The air created the mousse-like texture and also provides structure for the filling.
- It's important to use block-style cream cheese that is at room temperature. If it's too cold, it won't become smooth when beating it together. We don't want chunks in our cheesecake.
- Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 8 hours but overnight is better. At a minimum I refrigerate for at least 12 hours. This will ensure that the cheesecake is sturdy.
You can enjoy your cheesecake as is— that's the way I like it! Or you can get fancy with toppings. My husband loves some type of fruit on top, whether it's fresh or a sauce. Get creative or keep it simple. Either way, this cheesecake is going to impress your family and friends.
How To Freeze Cheesecake
You can freeze the cheesecake either in the springform pan or without. You don't want to set the cheesecake in the freezer. First, let it set in the refrigerator overnight— around 8-12 hours. Then, choose what you want to do:
- Springform Pan: Remove the outer rim of the pan. Wrap the cheesecake with the bottom of the pan with 3 layers of plastic wrap, then foil.
- Without Springform Pan: Once the cheesecake has completely set, run a sharp knife underneath or an offset spatula. Carefully transfer it to a plate. Wrap it in 3 layers of plastic wrap, then foil.
I'm almost positive that Chandler and Rachel’s stolen cheesecake tastes just like this.😉
No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe
Graham Cracker Crust
- 2 and 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 16 full sheet graham crackers)
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 24 ounces full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature (three 8-ounce blocks)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Make the Crust: Stir the graham crack crumbs, sugar and melted butter together in a bowl. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan and pack very tightly— the tighter the crust is packed, the better it stays together. I find that using the bottom of a 1/4 cup measuring cup works best. Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
- Make the Filling: Using a hand or stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, on starting on low speed and increasing to medium-high speed, whip the heavy cream into stiff peaks— about 4-5 minutes. Set aside. Using a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and powdered sugar together on medium until smooth and creamy. You don't want any lumps. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract. Beat for about 3 minutes on medium until completely smooth. Using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the filling until combined— this will take several turns so be patient.
- Remove the crust from the freezer and pour in the filling. Use an offset spatula to smooth down the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerator for at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. For best results, refrigerator over night for 12 hours. The longer the cheesecake is refrigerator, the better it will set up.
- When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and use a knife to loosen the chilled cheesecake from the outer rim of the springform pan, then remove the rim. Using a clean, very sharp knife, cut into slices for serving.
- Cover and store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: The cheesecake can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Heavy Cream: Prior to whipping into stiff peaks, make sure the heavy cream is very cold.
- Cream Cheese: Make sure that you use the block-style full-fat cream cheese.
- Sour Cream: For best results, use full-fat.