For the creamiest no bake cheesecake, combine homemade marshmallows with cream cheese and whipped cream. If you've wondered, marshmallows are gluten free!
Using homemade marshmallows as a base, you can make an amazing no bake cheesecake with an impossibly creamy texture. It tastes similar to our marshmallow ice cream, but it's not frozen and tastes like the best cheesecake.
The little flecks are vanilla because I added the beans from inside a vanilla pod, but regular vanilla extract adds plenty of flavor. The cheesecake keeps for days in the refrigerator, and is even stable at cool room temperature.
The crust is a simple no bake graham cracker crust, but you can use any type of crunchy cookie, crushed in a blender or food processor (or even by hand). I used my gluten free chocolate graham cracker recipe, but I've also used gluten free Joe Joe's.
What you can make with homemade marshmallows?
We've made homemade marshmallows before when we made homemade marshmallow rice krispie treats and when we made no churn marshmallow ice cream. Marshmallows have gelatin as a base to create their texture. Similar to marshmallows is marshmallow creme, which contains egg whites as a base.
Are marshmallows gluten free?
Made from essentially nothing more than gelatin and cooked sugar, have additives that are gluten-containing, all marshmallows are gluten free quite naturally. I often buy Jet Puffed marshmallows by Kraft, and they don't contain any form of gluten. Campfire brand is also gluten free.
There are also a number of fancy brands of marshmallows, and they are often gluten free. Just check the package to be sure!
Can you use packaged marshmallows in this recipe?
I've wondered whether you can use packaged marshmallows to replace the gelatin and cooked sugar in this recipe, but haven't tried. Packaged marshmallows have more gelatin than fresh, homemade ones, though.
If you'd like to try, I'd recommend beginning with no more than half the recipe. First, melt down packaged marshmallows (make sure they're soft and fresh), then add whipped cream cheese and fold in cold fresh whipped cream. You'll have to play with the amount of each ingredient.
If you can't have gelatin, you may want to try making this with either store-bought or even homemade marshmallow creme in place of the marshmallow mixture, which has egg whites, not gelatin.
Ingredients and substitutions
In addition to this “ingredients and substitutions” section, which is in every blog post, I've created a page called Baking With Limits to help you decide what you can bake if you are missing certain basic ingredients. It's a new resource on the blog, and I hope it's helpful.
This no bake cheesecake is made with marshmallows as a base, which essentially stands in for eggs in a classic cheesecake. That makes this recipe naturally egg-free. The good news for additional allergens may end there, though…
Dairy: I'm afraid I don't recommend trying to make this dairy-free. You may be able to replace the heavy whipping cream with coconut cream. Cream cheese is another matter entirely.
I have tried many dairy-free cream cheese varieties, and I find that even the best of them simply do not taste like the beloved cream cheese that is the “cheese” in cheesecake. I've even bought Daiya's frozen dairy-free cream cheese for inspiration, but without success.
Gelatin: I use Great Lakes brand unflavored grass-fed gelatin because, well, I like it a lot and can buy it in large quantities for a good price. I try to sneak as much of it into my children’s diet as possible because of its health benefits.
Any unflavored powdered gelatin will work just fine. 1 packet of Knox gelatin is approximately 8 grams. There is a way to make marshmallows with a vegan alternative, but that would be a different recipe and a different skill I don't have.
Please see the discussion about marshmallows above for suggestions on how to make this recipe with egg white-based marshmallow creme instead of gelatin-based marshmallows.
Cream of tartar: Cream of tartar helps to keep sugar from crystallizing during cooking. If you don't have it, you can add about a tablespoon of corn syrup or Lyle's golden syrup, both invert sugars, to the sugar as it cooks for the same result.
No Bake Marshmallow Cheesecake | Gluten Free Crust
For the crust
1 1/2 cups (225 g) crushed gluten free chocolate graham crackers (or other crunchy cookie)
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream, chilled
12 ounces (1 1/2 packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon (8 g) unflavored powdered gelatin*
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) cool water
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Beans from half a vanilla pod (optional)
*I use Great Lakes brand unflavored grass-fed gelatin, but any unflavored powdered gelatin will work just fine. 1 packet of Knox gelatin is approximately 8 grams.
Make the crust. In a large bowl, mix the cookie crumbs and melted butter until all of the crumbs are moistened by the butter. Press the mixture into the bottom and halfway up the sides of an 8-inch greased springform pan or 9-inch pie plate. Place the pan or pie plate in the freezer until firm (at least 10 minutes, but longer is fine).
Make the filling. Place the heavy whipping cream in a large bowl and whip on medium-high speed with a hand mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment) until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to a small bowl, and place in the refrigerator to chill. Place the cream cheese, vanilla, and salt in the mixing bowl, and whip on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Set the cream cheese mixture aside.
In a small bowl, place the gelatin and about half of the water and mix to combine well. Transfer the hydrated gelatin to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl to use with a hand mixer). In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, place the remaining water, sugar, and cream of tartar, and whisk to combine well. Cook the sugar mixture over medium-high heat until it reaches the softball stage, between 238°F and 240°F, on an instant read thermometer. Remove the saucepan from the heat immediately, and pour the cooked sugar mixture down the side of the bowl of the stand mixer into the gelatin mixture. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed with the whisk attachment (or with a hand mixer) until the mixture is white, thick and glossy and nearly tripled in size. Add the cream cheese mixture and the optional vanilla bean seeds, and whip again on medium-high speed to combine. Remove the whipped cream from the refrigerator and fold it into the cream cheese and marshmallow mixture until no more than a few white streaks remain.
Pour the filling into the chilled crust and smooth with a spatula into an even layer. Place in the refrigerator until set (about 3 hours). Slice and serve.
Originally published on the blog in 2013. Recipe tweaked slightly for simplicity, photos, video, and most text new.