A light and fluffy, mousse-like no bake chocolate cheesecake that isn’t too rich or too sweet—and can be made with or without a simple cookie crumb crust. Leave that oven off!
The beauty of no bake
I’ll pretty much eat anything (well, as long as it’s gluten free), and I’ll pretty cook or bake anything with pleasure. I’m easy. But like everyone, I have my favorites in both tastes and textures. Ice cream and cheesecake are at the very top of my favorites list, with their creamy smooth texture and rich, sweet taste.
And it doesn’t hurt that ice cream and cheesecake usually come out in full force when the weather turns warm (if it ever warms up here in New York, that is). A simple baked cheesecake, or even a light and fluffy Japanese cheesecake, require you to turn on the oven. And they’re worth it!
But sometimes, it’s just too hot to turn on the oven (again—if winter ever leaves New York, I might remember what that feels like). No bake desserts come in many more shapes, tastes and sizes than you might realize, and they solve the “oven” problem completely.
The only ingredients in this simple no bake chocolate cheesecake recipe are whipped cream, confectioners’ sugar, bittersweet chocolate, and of course cream cheese. The crust couldn’t be simpler and requires absolutely no baking at all.
Just mix your favorite gluten free cookie crumbs with melted butter, press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan and chill. But if the crust is slowing you down or cramping your style in any way at all, leave it out!
Since there are no eggs in this recipe, it gets its structure from easy, fresh whipped cream. If you’ve ever had trouble whipping fresh cream because you tend to overwhip it, did you know that you can always whip in a bit more cream by the tablespoonful? It will smooth right out.
And whip slowly! The slower you whip the cream, the more stable it will be.
Ingredients and substitutions—and equipment
Since this is a no-bake cheesecake, it’s already egg-free which makes it a great option if you’re allergic to eggs but love cheesecake. But it’s most definitely not dairy-free…
Dairy: This is the big one! Traditional cheesecake is a combination of eggs, sugar and cream cheese. The cream cheese is the stumper…
The crust, made of crunchy cookie crumbs and butter,is easy to make dairy free. It’s super easy to select dairy-free cookie crumbs (like my gluten free graham crackers, which are naturally dairy free), and replace the melted butter with a vegan butter alternative like Earth Balance buttery stick or Melt VeganButter (my favorite). The crust can also just be omitted entirely.
The cream cheese is much harder to replace. I’ve been working diligently on a dairy free cheesecake recipe that actually tastes like cheesecake, and so far nothing has even come close. I’ve tried cashew-based varieties, which just haven’t tasted like cheesecake.
I’ve tried a more traditional baked version with dairy-free cream cheese, eggs, and sugar, and I so far I just can’t endorse it. Dairy free cream cheese tends to taste strange in larger quantities (and I’ve tried nearly every brand).
I’ve also tried replacing the heavy whipping cream in this recipe with coconut cream, and the cream cheese with dairy free cream cheese and haven’t liked the result at all. It’s relatively easy to select dairy free chocolate to melt. If I successfully make a vegan cheesecake, you’ll be the first to know!
Sugar: You can try replacing the confectioners’ sugar with Swerve brand confectioners’ sugar substitute variety. It should work fine, but since I haven’t tried it, you’ll have to experiment!
If you have a sugar-free chocolate variety you love, try that in place of the bittersweet chocolate. The cookie crumb crust can be omitted or replaced with sugar-free cookie crumbs.
Springform pan: Instead of a springform pan, you can use a deep-dish pie pan or even a 9-inch round cake pan. You might just find it a bit more difficult to serve from that cake pan, but it should work just fine if you grease the pan very well.
Watch this short how-to video
Click play ▶ below to watch me make this no-bake chocolate cheesecake. Then make your own!
Gluten Free No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake
For the crust
1 1/2 cups (225 g) gluten free crunchy cookie crumbs
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 cups (20 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream, chilled (plus more by the teaspoonful as necessary)
1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons (15 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed, but natural works)
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Shaved chocolate, for decorating (optional)
Make the crust. In a large bowl, mix the cookie crumbs and melted butter until well-combined. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan or deep-dish pie plate. Place the pie plate in the freezer until firm (at least 10 minutes, but longer is fine).
Make the filling. Place the chopped chocolate in a small, microwave-safe bowl, and melt in the microwave in 45-second bursts at 60% power, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Set the chocolate aside to cool briefly. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, place the heavy whipping cream and beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder, and continue to beat until well-combined. Transfer the whipped cream to a separate, large bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill. In the same large bowl, place the cream cheese and salt. If using a stand mixer, switch to the paddle attachment (if using a handheld mixer, the beaters will be fine) and beat on medium-high speed until the cream cheese is light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the cream cheese in the mixer bowl and beat on medium-high speed until well-combined. Remove the whipped cream from the refrigerator and add the beaten cream cheese mixture in two parts, mixing until light and fluffy, adding more cream by the teaspoonful as necessary to create a smooth mixture.
Remove the crust from the freezer and pour in the cheesecake mixture. Spread into an even layer with an offset (or other) spatula. Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or in the freezer for 1 hour to chill until set. Once the cheesecake is set, run an offset spatula or a butter knife under hot water, and then along the edge of the springform pan to create a small gap between the pan and the filling before carefully unmolding the cake. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the optional shaved chocolate. Slice and serve chilled. Leftover slices can be frozen individually, then wrapped tightly and stored in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator before serving.
Originally published on the blog in 2015. Recipe largely unchanged, video and some photos new.