This Philadelphia No-Bake Cheesecake has just 6 ingredients and comes together in 10 minutes! It’s a decadent and creamy dessert with a graham cracker crust and your choice of topping – without all the fuss.
It’s got that moist, melt-in-your-mouth cheese custard-like filling with a sweet and crumbly crust, finished off with a great variety of toppings that will tingle your taste buds.
Traditional cheesecakes can be quite troublesome. Even expert bakers still encounter problems when making it (i.e. browning, overbaking, underbaking, and cracking), so it can be a little intimidating.
If you want something easy, fool-proof, and just as delicious, start with a no-bake cheesecake. It’s cool and creamy without ever having to open the oven!
This Philadelphia No-Bake Cheesecake is made with a sweet graham cracker crust, creamy filling, and your choice of fresh fruit and pie filling on top. Let’s dig in!
What is No-Bake Cheesecake?
It’s a cheesecake that does not require an oven or any form of heat to cook. Unlike regular cheesecake that has eggs, it makes use of whipped cream or in this case, Cool Whip, to firm up the batter and achieve that wonderful cheesecake texture.
It’s great for people who want to make a beautiful dessert but don’t have an oven at home. It’s also an excellent recipe for beginners because this one’s almost impossible to mess up!
How to Make Philadelphia No-Bake Cheesecake
1 (8-oz) package cream cheese (softened)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-oz) container nondairy whipped topping (Cool Whip)
Pie filling, for topping (optional)
1. Beat together the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until you form a smooth mixture.
2. Gently Fold in the Cool Whip.
3. Pour the cheesecake filling into a store-bought Graham cracker crust and smooth the top with a spoon or spatula.
4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to allow it to set. Preferably overnight.
5. Just before serving, top with your favorite cheesecake topping and enjoy!
Each serving contains 366 calories or 451 calories if you add cherry pie filling.
Topping Ideas for a No-Bake Cheesecake
There’s a wide variety of options you can use to top a no-bake cheesecake. It’s just a matter of personal preference, really, because whether you’re a fan of sweet sauces, tart berries, or crunchy toppings, your cheesecake will still be impeccable. Here are some ideas:
- You can’t go wrong with the classics – chocolate and caramel.
- Any berry-based sauce is also perfect because it offers a nice tart contrast to the sweet cheesecake. Whether it’s blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, or cherry, it’s guaranteed to taste amazing.
- If you want something with a nice crunch, how about some chocolate chips and Reese’s peanut butter cups? Those toppings will attract the kids and kids-at-heart in an instant.
Tips & Tricks
As I’ve said, it’s almost impossible to mess up a no-bake cheesecake. But here are some useful tips, for good measure.
- If you do not have Cool Whip on hand, you can use whipped cream instead. Be sure to use cold heavy whipping cream and beat it until it forms stiff peaks. This is a crucial step because it’s what gives the cake its thick consistency. Without it, your cake mixture will not set.
- Be gentle when folding the cream into the cheesecake mixture. This will also help in getting that signature mousse-like consistency.
- As for the cream cheese, be sure to use real cream cheese, and not cream cheese spread.
- Also, use room temperature cream cheese to get that wonderful smooth and velvety texture all great cheesecakes have. Using cold cream cheese will get you lumpy cheesecake – still delicious, but it’s not what you want in a cheesecake. Take your cream cheese out of the fridge at least 2 hours before using it.
- But, if you’re in a hurry, you can speed things up by placing the in-foil cream cheese in a bowl of warm water.
- While you can use granulated sugar for this recipe, powdered sugar is much better. It ensures a smoother, clump-free cheesecake. Some also use condensed milk as an alternative – and that works fine too!
- If you’re not using whipped cream, be sure to add gelatin to help firm up your batter.
- If you have some lemon juice available – go and add a little bit to the mixture! It will give your cheesecake an extra depth of flavor.
- Don’t rush the cake. Give it at least 4 hours before you serve it. Or better yet, just leave it in the fridge overnight. Doing so will give you a firmer cheesecake that’s easier to slice.
- Do not use a food processor to beat your filling. You’re better off using a hand mixer or just mix by hand to avoid overbeating. Overdoing it will cause the cheesecake to be way too soft.
Can You Freeze a No-Bake Cheesecake?
Definitely! You can freeze your no-bake cheesecake so you can enjoy it at a later time. Here’s how:
You can either freeze the cheesecake whole or cut them into slices – your call.
- Transfer the cheesecake to a cake board. This gives the cake a firm foundation for freezing. If you don’t have a cake board, just cut out some cardboard and you’re all set.
- Double wrap the cheesecake in plastic wrap and foil. If you’ve sliced it up, double wrap each individual slice. Double wrapping is an important step because it protects your cheesecake from contact with air.
- Label your cheesecake with the current date so you know how much time it has left. Frozen cheesecake is best enjoyed within one month, but it can still last for up to two.
Important tip: be sure to freeze cheesecake without the topping. When thawed, it will become entirely too mushy. Instead, add your favorite topping just before serving.
How to Thaw Cheesecake
To thaw frozen cheesecake, transfer it into the fridge and let it sit there overnight. Leave the plastic wrap on to ensure it doesn’t absorb nearby odors and/or flavors.
Alternatively, you can let it defrost on the counter for 2 to 4 hours. The thawing time depends on the size of the cheesecake. Be sure to remove the foil when defrosting the cake.
If you’re in a rush, you can microwave the cheesecake slices for 30 seconds. Be sure to remove the plastic wrap and foil!
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