The Easiest No Bake Cheesecake Recipe

The Easiest No Bake Cheesecake Recipe

This is the easiest no bake cheesecake recipe you’ll ever find, and it always sets up quickly. A plain vanilla cheesecake made with cream cheese, sour cream and a touch of gelatin, it’s quite simply perfect. You know those days when you just can’t bother turning on the oven…

How easy is it really?

This recipe is so dead simple that I almost could have made the how-to video above in real-time. I’ve thought that before, like with my flourless peanut butter cookies. I even tried it at first. But you’d be surprised how unbelievably boring it is to watch someone mix something for even, like, 10 whole seconds. ⏲

But I did time myself while making this no bake cheesecake recipe, exactly as written. It clocks in at 10 minutes flat. And that’s only if you factor in crushing the cookie crumbs for the crust in a mini food processor.

It doesn’t include cleaning the dishes, though. You’ll have to do that on your own time! But this recipe is easy enough that I bet your kids could make it for you while you leaf through a magazine or something.

This is the easiest no bake cheesecake recipe you'll ever find. A plain vanilla cheesecake made with a touch of gelatin, it sets up perfectly every time.

What makes a no bake cheesecake recipe different?

Normally, you expect a cheesecake to be a bit yellow in color, on account of the eggs that are baked right in. But a no bake cheesecake has no eggs—or you wouldn’t be able to no-bake it. The eggs are what make a traditional cheesecake into a cake you can slice.

The eggs are what make a traditional cheesecake into a cake you can slice. So a no bake cheesecake needs to turn to something else, like gelatin. We only use a touch of powdered gelatin, and it does the trick.

This is the easiest no bake cheesecake recipe you'll ever find. A plain vanilla cheesecake made with a touch of gelatin, it sets up perfectly every time.

All you do is “bloom” the gelatin in some lukewarm water by mixing them together and waiting for the gelatin to swell. Then, melt the mixture in the microwave or over a double boiler.

The mixture of cream cheese and sour cream in this recipe makes for a silky smooth cheesecake with a slight tang. There’s only 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar in the whole recipe, so it’s never too sweet.

This is the easiest no bake cheesecake recipe you'll ever find. A plain vanilla cheesecake made with a touch of gelatin, it sets up perfectly every time.

What’s on top there?

This is definitely a plain cheesecake, and the real pleasure is in the silky texture. If you have a fresh vanilla bean, though, try adding some real vanilla seeds for a touch more flavor.

I love fruit with cheesecake, and since I make a ton of smoothies, I always have lots of frozen berries.🍓 I made a super easy strawberry syrup for this simple cheesecake just by cooking down some frozen strawberries on the stovetop and adding a bit of honey for some added sweetness. Then, either pass the syrup through a fine mesh sieve to remove any seeds, or blend the mixture until smooth.

Have some leftover strawberry syrup? Add some fruit juice and some gelatin to it, and make some homemade JELLO-style gelatin. No bake all day long!

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy: Cheesecake is, by its very nature, made with tons of dairy. This recipe not only contains tons of cream cheese but also calls for sour cream. Plus the crust is made with cookie crumbs and melted butter.

If you use dairy-free cookie crumbs, like from my gluten free graham crackers, and use virgin coconut oil or butter-flavored Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening in place of butter, you’ve got a dairy-free crust. The sour cream could be replaced with a dairy-free variety. But the cream cheese is a major problem.

I’ve been working quite literally for over a year on a really good dairy-free cheesecake—no bake or not. I mean, I’ve taken breaks so it’s not like I haven’t been doing anything else. But I have tried time and again to make an amazing dairy-free cheesecake. So far, no luck.

The main problem is that even the “best” dairy-free cream cheese varieties (like Daiya and Kite Hill brands) just taste kind of strange when you use more than about 4 ounces of them in a recipe. I’ve tried making cheesecake with the same amount of dairy-free cream cheese as I would dairy cream cheese, and it’s been nearly inedible.

So, all of this is to say that … I’m working on it. And so far I haven’t made a ton of progress. But I won’t give up!

Sugar-free: If you’d like to make a sugar free crust, you’ll just need to use sugar-free cookies—or leave out the crust entirely. The confectioners’ sugar in the filling can be replaced with Swerve brand confectioners’ sugar replacement.

This is the easiest no bake cheesecake recipe you'll ever find. A plain vanilla cheesecake made with a touch of gelatin, it sets up perfectly every time.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Yield: 1 9-inch cheesecake


For the crust
1 1/2 cups (225 g) gluten free crunchy cookie crumbs (I used my gluten free graham crackers, and crushed them in the food processor)

6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) lukewarm water

1 2/3 teaspoons (5 g) unflavored powdered gelatin

2 8-ounce packages (16 ounces total) cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup (227 g) sour cream, at room temperature

1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Seeds from one-half of a vanilla bean (optional)

Optional, for serving
1 pound frozen strawberries

2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce) lukewarm water

2 tablespoons (42 g) honey

Whipped cream


  • Make the crust. In a medium-size bowl, mix the cookie crumbs and melted butter until well-combined. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan or deep-dish pie plate. Set the pan aside.

  • In a small, heat-safe bowl, place the water and sprinkle the gelatin evenly on top. Mix to combine well, and allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes until the gelatin swells. Heat the mixture over low heat or in the microwave (or a small saucepan over low heat) for about 20 seconds or until the gelatin is dissolved and the mixture has liquefied. Set the gelatin mixture aside to cool until no longer hot to the touch.

  • In a large bowl, place the cream cheese and sour cream, and beat with a handheld mixer until light and fluffy. Add the gelatin mixture and mix again until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar, salt, vanilla and vanilla bean seeds, and beat until very smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared cookie crust and spread into an even layer. Place the pan in the refrigerator or freezer until firm (about 2 hours in the refrigerator, or about 35 minutes in the freezer). Remove the pan from the refrigerator or freezer, unmold it, slice it and serve chilled.

  • To make the optional strawberry syrup, in a medium-sized, heavy-bottom saucepan, place the frozen strawberries, water, and honey. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is very soft and the mixture is reduced by about 1/4 (about 10 minutes). Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to filter out seeds, or place the entire mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve the cheesecake with the strawberry syrup and whipped cream.


Comments are closed.

  • IzziJane
    April 22, 2017 at 8:12 PM

    Is it possible to use honey instead of confectioners sugar?

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 23, 2017 at 8:55 AM

      I’m afraid not. You need the confectioners’ sugar for structure. You can try using Swerve powdered sugar substitute, but you need something like that.

  • Dana Veach
    April 21, 2017 at 3:10 PM

    I’ve been making “no bake” cheese cakes similarly to this for years, and I like to dissolve the gelatin in lemon juice rather than water. I like the little bit of lemon flavor. You may also grate a bit of fresh lemon rind into the cream cheese mixture, if you like.

  • melissa tanner
    April 21, 2017 at 1:38 PM

    do you have any nutritional facts we can see?

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 21, 2017 at 1:55 PM

      I explain in the FAQs that I don’t provide nutrition facts, Melissa. Feel free to plug in the ingredients into your favorite online nutrition calculator!

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