This lighter no bake gluten free cheesecake is made with low-fat cream cheese and Greek yogurt. Perfect for warm weather, or New Year's Resolution time!
It's no secret, no secret at all, that I adore cheesecake. A traditional, New York cheesecake is just a simple mix of cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla, plus a dash of salt. That's it. Bake it in a water bath, or just at a very consistent temperature, low and slow, and then turn off the oven and let it cool down slowly and you'll never go wrong.
But what about cheesecake in the dog days of summer, when keeping the oven on for long enough to bake that gorgeous cheesecake is just not so appealing? Maybe you'll want something a bit lighter, in the warm weather or in time for New Year's resolutions.
This is one recipe that I will be making again and again, both in summertime and, well, just any time. It's light and refreshing, and really tastes like an authentic New York cheesecake. The Greek yogurt really gives it depth of flavor, and the skimpy little 3 grams of unflavored gelatin help it set up perfectly without eggs—and without baking.
If you make it in a springform pan, the cake will unmold perfectly. Whatever you do, don't skip the gelatin as without it, the cheesecake just will not set up.
I always use Great Lakes unflavored beef gelatin, the kind in the tall red can, but Knox gelatin will work great, too. Be sure to measure it out carefully, though, as you won't use a whole packet.
If you want to make this cheesecake even lighter, you could skip the crust altogether. Perhaps you could cut the crust ingredients in half and make a much, much thinner layer for some calorie savings.
If you want to make it dairy-free, that's a little trickier. You might be able to make it with a nondairy cream cheese (likely), plus a strained nondairy yogurt (much trickier, and be sure you have approximately 8 ounces of yogurt after straining). As always, feel free to experiment and let us all know how it goes when you do!
Lighter No Bake Gluten Free Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups (225 g) gluten free cookie crumbs (I used my “Nabisco” GF Honey-Maid Grahams, from Classic Snacks)
5 tablespoons (70 g) virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled
1 cup (227 g) low-fat (or nonfat) plain Greek yogurt, at room temperature
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) cool water
1 teaspoon (3 g) unflavored granulated gelatin
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (or 1 teaspoon light corn syrup)
2 8-ounce packages low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (86 g) confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean (optional)
Make the crust. Grease a 9-inch springform pan* and set it aside. In a medium-size bowl, place the cookie crumbs and melted coconut oil, and mix until all of the crumbs are moistened. Place the cookie crumb mixture in the prepared pan and press firmly into an even layer on the bottom of the pan and very slightly up the sides. Place the pan in the freezer for about 15 minutes or until the crust is firm.
*If you don’t have a springform pan, you can use a 9-inch round or 9-inch square pan, lined with unbleached parchment paper that overhangs the sides of the pan.
Make the filling. Place the Greek yogurt in a strainer over an empty bowl, and allow the yogurt to drain for at least a few minutes. In a small saucepan or heat-safe bowl, place the cool water and sprinkle the gelatin on top in an even layer. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes until the gelatin swells. Heat the mixture over low heat or in the microwave for about 20 seconds or until the gelatin is dissolved and the mixture has liquified. Add the cream of tartar or corn syrup, and mix to combine. Remove the gelatin mixture from the heat and allow to cool until no longer hot to the touch. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large bowl with a hand mixer, place the cream cheese, drained Greek yogurt, salt, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and (optional) vanilla seeds, beating to combine well after each addition. While beating slowly, add the dissolved gelatin mixture in a slow drizzle and continue to beat until the mixture begins to thicken (about 5 minutes).
Finish, chill and serve. Pour the filling mixture into the chilled crust and spread into an even layer. Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator until set (about 3 hours). To serve, unmold the cheesecake, or lift the cake out of the 9-inch round or 9-inch square pan by the overhung parchment paper. Cut into wedges or squares and serve chilled.
Paola Dottor-Cena says
Making this for supper tonight…in the fridge setting as I write this. “May” be more than I need. Would any leftovers freeze well?
Looks wonderful-how about a chocolate version.
Cheryl Hennessy says
Thanks Nicole! Just made this will full fat version and i think I went to heaven :)
Love the variety of recipes on your site and that you respond to comments – keep up the great work!
Jennifer S. says
Yay! no bake!!! my hot house thanks you! and I love cheese cake so this is a win/win! :)
Sara McAllister says
If I use regular (full fat) yogurt and cream cheese is that going to effect the outcome? Thanks!!
Nicole Hunn says
I actually have made this recipe both with light cream cheese and 1% Greek yogurt, and with full fat of both, and I have to say … it does affect the outcome. But for the better! Fat is just so wonderful. ;)
Sara McAllister says
Thank you! Good to know. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and Hashimoto’s about 4 months ago (I am 26 and was trying to figure out why I couldn’t get pregnant), so your recipes are so so helpful with the transition to GF!
It’s really hot in the south and this sounds perfect to make when the peach pie cookies are gone. What will you think of next. Can’t wait to find out !
Nicole Hunn says
Thank you for always following along and sharing here on the blog, Carole. To be honest, I don’t know what I’ll do next much more than you do! We’ll find out together. :)
Marlena Feuz Amalfitano says
You can get vegetarian gelatin at many health food stores.
Joan Briggs Wamsley says
Hi. I would love to make this for myself and my daughter but she is vegetarian and doesn’t eat anything with gelatin in it. Is there a substitute?
Nicole Hunn says
You can try agar agar, Joan, but I’m afraid I don’t have any experience working with it so I don’t know how it works.