No Bake Lemon Cheesecake is an indulgent chilled dessert that is perfect for summer! No need to turn on the oven for this cool treat. It’s got a creamy lemon filling made with just 4 ingredients, and a 3-ingredient homemade graham cracker crust.
On a hot summer day, the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven or stove and heat up the kitchen. No bake cheesecake saves the day! In addition to this lemon cheesecake recipe, I also love making No Bake Blueberry Cheesecake or No Bake S’mores Pie.
One of the perks of making a no bake cheesecake compared to a traditional cheesecake is it’s so much easier! Unlike a regular cheesecake, you don’t need to worry about the top cracking from overbaking or the middle not being set from underbaking. The cheesecake filling has just 4 ingredients that mix up quick and all in one bowl.
Ingredients and Substitutions
It only takes a handful of easy to find ingredients to make this no bake lemon cheesecake.
Graham Cracker Crumbs – You can buy graham crackers and crush them up yourself or buy a box of the ready to use crumbs
White Granulated Sugar
Butter – Melted to make the crust.
Cream Cheese – Use the brick cream cheese NOT the spreadable kind in a tub.
Non-Dairy Whipped Topping – such as Cool Whip or Tru Whip.
Powdered Sugar – also called confectioner’s sugar.
Lemon Juice and zest – you need ¼ cup and should be able to get that from one lemon. Zest it first before squeezing for the juice.
How to Make No Bake Lemon Cheesecake
Making a no bake cheesecake is so much simpler than a regular cheesecake. See the steps below to make the graham cracker crust and cheesecake filling:
Homemade Graham Cracker Crust
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar together to form the crust mixture. The texture should be similar to wet sand and you should be able to press it together.
Add the crust mixture to a 9-inch pie plate and press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. You can do this using clean hands or use the bottom of a measuring cup.
Lemon Cheesecake Filling
Using your stand mixer or an electric mixer, whip the softened cream cheese until it is fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest and mix together until well combined. Start your mixer on a low speed first so the powdered sugar doesn’t go flying.
Pour the cream cheese mixture into the prepared crust. Use a spatula to evenly smooth the top. Cover the lemon cheesecake with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before cutting and serving.
Storage: This no-bake cheesecake can be made up to 2 days in advance. Cover the cheesecake in plastic wrap or foil and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
Freezing: A no bake cheesecake freezes beautifully! Once it’s set in the refrigerator for several hours, wrap the whole pan in plastic wrap and then in foil and place in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Just want to freeze a slice? Place just the slice on a baking sheet or paper plate in the freezer for until it’s solid (a couple of hours should do the trick) then wrap it in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag or wrap with foil.
FAQs and Expert Tips
Making a no bake cheesecake is very simple, but here are some of my top tips for foolproof results!
Use a rolling pin to crush the graham crackers – There are several ways to crush the graham crackers into crumbs. You can use a food processor to do it quickly or add the graham crackers to a bag and use a rolling pin to crush. You may want to double the amount and save some for later.
Flatten the crust with a measuring cups – When pressing the graham cracker crust into the pan you can use the flat bottom of a measuring cup to press it into a flat, even layer and press it against the sides.
Room temperature cream cheese is very important – The cream cheese needs to be softened to room temperature in order to make a smooth filling. If you forget to set the cream cheese out, you can unwrap and remove the foil wrapping and microwave for 10-15 seconds.
You can make individual mini cheesecakes – Instead of making in a pie plate, you can make single serve no bake cheesecakes in small dishes or in a muffin pan lined with paper liners.
Leave enough time to chill – Chilling the no bake cheesecake is very important. The chill time allows it to firm up and set. I recommend at least four hours, but you can also let it sit in the fridge overnight.
Don’t forget to decorate – You can pipe whipped cream or Cool Whip on top and add some lemon slice or lemon zest. Berries always look pretty with lemon or reserve some graham cracker crumbs to sprinkle on top.
Place graham crackers in a food processor and pulse into crumbs. Add melted butter and granulated sugar and pulse until combined.
Pour graham cracker mixture into a 9" pie plate. Using clean hands or a flat bottomed measuring cup, form the crust. Press crumbs evenly into the side and bottom of the plate.
Chill for two hours before adding the filling.
Lemon Cheesecake Filling
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest until well combined. Stir in whipped topping just until combined.
Pour cream cheese mixture into prepared graham cracker pie crust and smooth the top.
Cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for at least 4 or hours.
Cut and serve immediately.
Use a rolling pin to crush the graham crackers if you don’t have a food processor. To flatten the crust in the pan, use the flat bottom of a measuring cup.Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature or it won’t be smooth. If you need to soften it, remove the wrapper and place in a bowl in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Try mini cheesecakes – instead of a large pie plate use a muffin pan.Make sure you have enough time to chill – at least 4 hours or even overnight. Decorate with whipped cream or Cool Whip on top and add some lemon slice or lemon zest. Berries always look pretty with lemon or reserve some graham cracker crumbs to sprinkle on top.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.