This Easy No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake is made with just a handful of ingredients and is beyond easy to whip up. The prep takes just a few minutes and it’s a great dessert for making ahead. Perfect for summer BBQs!
I love cheesecake – every variation of it. While I’m not opposed to a traditional cheesecake recipe and I’ve mastered the art of water baths, there are just some days when I want that creamy, tart cheesecake flavour without a lot of work.
Enter this No Bake Cherry Cheesecake with sweetened condensed milk. It’s beyond easy to make, with a 2 ingredient graham cracker crust and a cream cheese filling. The hands-on portion takes maybe 20 minutes then it’s just a matter of waiting for the filling to set.
While you can get away with chilling the cheesecake for just 8 or 12 hours, I do recommend making it a day in advance. If you’re making this for a BBQ or party, that’s just one less thing you need to do the day of!
What’s the Difference Between No-Bake Cheesecake and Regular Cheesecake?
The biggest difference, of course, is that no-bake cheesecakes require no baking and usually come together much quicker. In a traditional cheesecake, eggs are used in the filling and need to be baked in a water bath. This creates a firmer cake.
In a no-bake cheesecake, no egg is used and the filling is set in the fridge. The filling is much creamer and lighter as well.
Ingredient You’ll Need
- Graham cracker crumbs – You can buy the crumbs but I find it just as easy to crush a few graham crackers.
- Butter – Melted butter is mixed with the crumbs to create the crust.
- Cream cheese – It’s essential to use full-fat cream cheese. Low-fat cream cheese will result in a thinner filling and prevent the cheesecake from setting properly.
- Sweetened condensed milk – This sweetens the filling to balance the cream cheese.
- Lemon juice – the acidity helps to balance the sweetness.
- Vanilla – Adds just a hint of flavour to the filling.
- Cherry pie filling – Added on top of the filling to create the cherry cheesecake dessert.
How to Make No Bake Cherry Cheesecake
Prepare your graham cracker crust by combining the graham crumbs with melted butter. Press them firmly and evenly into the bottom of a greased pan. Place the pan in the fridge for 15 minutes to harden.
While the crust is setting, you can work on the cheesecake filling. Beat the cream cheese on high until it’s light and fluffy. Add in the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Continue beating until well-blended.
Pour the cream cheese mixture over the graham cracker crust, spreading evenly with a spatula.
Chill the cheesecake to set the filling, for a minimum of 8 hours but preferably overnight.
Before serving, spread the cherry pie filling over the top with a spatula or spoon. Take care to not press too hard and disturb the cream cheese layer.
There are many ways to switch up this easy no-bake cherry cheesecake. Here are a few suggestions.
- Switch up the crust. Instead of a graham cracker crust, you can easily swap the graham crackers for cookie. For a gluten free crust, you can use ground almonds, walnuts, or pecans instead.
- Add some toppings. Feel free to use chocolate ganache topping or caramel instead of the cherry pie filling. Or add chocolate shavings to the top of the cherry filling for a “black forest” feel.
- Use different fruit toppings. You can use blueberries, raspberries, or other fruit as the topping for this no-bake cheesecake as desired.
Why Is My No-Bake Cheesecake Not Setting?
It does take some time for the filling to set. It really needs to be in the fridge for at least 12 hours but I highly recommend making the cheesecake a day in advance and allowing it to set overnight.
If you use low-fat cream cheese, the filling will be much thinner and likely won’t set, which is why it’s a must to use full-fat cream cheese.
Do not add the cherry topping until the filling has set or you risk the cherries sinking into the filling and being nearly impossible to spread evenly without making a big mess. The cheesecake will still taste good but might not look the best.
Why is my no-bake cheesecake crust soggy?
The crust for a no-bake cheesecake is not baked and uses more fat, creating almost a moisture barrier. If you use a drier crust often used for baked cheesecakes, the moisture from the no-bake filling will weep into the dry crust and cause a soggy mess.
How to Store
You can store your no-bake cherry cheesecake with condensed milk in the fridge for up to 5 days. Be sure to keep it covered, either with plastic or the lid of the baking dish.
Can no-bake cherry cheesecake be frozen?
Yes, you can freeze this cheesecake, once it has set completely. I find it best to do it before adding the cherry topping, though you can do it with the topping as well.
To freeze, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, with at least a double layer. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Thaw overnight in the fridge and enjoy!
More Cheesecake Recipes:
- Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits
- Baked Chocolate Sicilian Cheesecake
- No-Bake Toblerone Cheesecake
- Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Tart
Easy No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1/3 cup butter; melted
- 8 oz cream cheese; softened to room temperature ( 1 brick)
- 10 oz sweetened condensed milk (300 ml)
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 can cherry pie filling
- In a medium bowl combine the graham crumbs with the melted butter. Lightly squeeze a 9" x 9" dish and firmly press the graham crumb mixture into the bottom of the dish evenly. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to harden.
- In a large mixing bowl add the softened cream cheese and beat on high until it is light and fluffy. Add the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla and beat until blended.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture over top of the graham cracker crust and use a spatula to spread evenly . Place in the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours to set the filling. Overnight is better.
- Before serving add the cherry pie filling and use a spatula or back of a spoon to spread the cherries evenly over top of the cream cheese filling. Be sure to do this gently so as not to disturb the cream cheese layer.
- Keep this no-bake cheesecake recipe in the fridge until you are ready to serve.