With all the creaminess of the cooked version, a no-bake cheesecake is a genius dessert in a fraction of the time. Top with fresh fruit for a flavorful twist.
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Easy and impressive dessert
No-bake cheesecake has got to be one of my favorite things. You get all the creaminess of cheesecake, in a fraction of the time. Also it makes people happy. Ha! Love that.
This type of sweetened cream cheese filling is the base of several other hit desserts I make. Try my Cheesecake In A Jar if you need individual treats for a buffet, or these Easy Peach Tarts using mini pie crust bases.
Making this dessert in a tart pan makes it look even more impressive. It can certainly be made in a pie dish if you'd rather.
I use a removable-bottom tart pan and it works like a charm.
One of the great things about this no-bake dessert is you can serve it any time of year–and top it with whatever is in season. Sometimes that's just a lovely jam or fruit sauce made with frozen fruit!
I love berries on cheesecake, but read below for my other suggestions.
No-bake cheesecake crust
I have to admit I bake the crust for just a few minutes. The heat helps hold it together by melting the tiny bits of sugar with the butter and crumbs, giving it a tasty, toasty flavor.
You don't have to bake the crust at all though! If you choose not to bake the crust, simply press it into the pan and then refrigerate it for about 20 minutes to help solidify it before putting the filling in.
If you don't mind heating that crust up a bit, it can be done while you pull out the other ingredients, whip up the filling and lick the beaters.
Toppings for no-bake cheesecake dessert
This creamy and tangy dessert is a blank canvas for your toppings. I of course like fresh berries on top. Here is my list of suggestions, but the sky is the limit and you can come up with your own.
- Fresh raspberries
- Fresh blueberries
- Blackberries and lemon zest
- Strawberry or raspberry jam
- Simmered frozen fruit (cooled)
- Granola and a drizzle of honey
- Cherry pie filling
- Lemon curd
- Sliced mangos or pineapple
- Crumbled peanut butter cups
- Hot fudge or caramel
- Drizzle of melted peanut butter
I call for crushed cookie crumbs. What does that mean?
It means you can pretty much use any cookie crumbs you want! The sky's the limit and that means you can make a chocolate crust or gingersnap. Plus you can use gluten-free cookies to make this GF. Try these:
- Graham crackers
- Oreo or chocolate sandwich cookies
- Vanilla sandwich cookies
- Lemon cookies
- Shortbread cookies
- Cinnamon graham crackers
- Vanilla wafers
Tips for making this cheesecake
- The cream cheese should be beaten until very smooth before adding the cream. Mixing the sugar into the cream cheese helps smooth any cold lumps that might stay.
- Don't under-whip the cream. Whipping the cream aerates it and helps to stabilize the entire cheesecake.
- Make sure to give the cheesecake enough time to chill. Letting the filling set in the fridge for at least three hours ensures you can slice it and it will hold the shape.
- Chill the cheesecake longer if you make it in a pie dish. The pie dish is deeper than the tart pan so it needs that extra chilling time to get stiff.
Is this no-bake cheesecake gluten free?
You can make this cheesecake gluten-free just by swapping GF cookies in the cookie crust. Nothing in the filling contains gluten.
Can I make this with low-fat cream cheese?
You sure can! It will work just as well.
Here's the thing, you still have to use heavy cream so you can whip it. So using low-fat cream cheese won't make this entire dessert low fat!
More easy desserts
- The best homemade Chocolate Pudding you've ever tasted
- No-Yeast Needed Cinnamon Rolls
- Chocolate Haystacks Candy with toasted coconut
- Cream Cheese Dessert Dip with maple and almond
- Grilled Pineapple with Praline Caramel made on the grill and stovetop
No-bake Cheesecake Tart
- 2 cups (8 oz) cookie crumbs, very finely crushed
- 3 tbsp plus ⅔ cup sugar, divided
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1½ pkgs (12 oz total) cream cheese, softened
- 4 tsp lemon juice
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups blueberries, or other topping
- If baking the crust, heat oven to 375ºF. See note below for no-bake crust.
- For the crust, stir together cookie crumbs, 3 tbsp sugar and butter until completely combined. Press mixture into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom (or pie plate) and place on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until crust is fragrant and just golden, 10 to 12 min; let cool.
- For the filling, combine cream cheese, lemon juice and ⅔ cup sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, whip cream and vanilla to soft peaks, then gently stir into cream cheese mixture, until completely combined. Transfer filling into cooled crust, loosely cover and chill 3 hr or up to a day.
- To serve, remove the tart ring and slide a spatula under tart to release it from the pan base. Transfer tart to a serving platter and scatter berries on top.
Recipe and food styling: Tara Teaspoon, Originally appeared in LHJ Aug 2010, Photography: Yunhee Kim, Prop Styling: Deborah Williams