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.
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.
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.
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.