An easy recipe for no bake cherry cheesecake with a lovely graham cracker base, creamy filling, and classic cherry top. Tips for adding a bit more panache to the classic recipe are included. This dessert is always a family favorite!
I grew up on this stuff. The no-bake cherry cheesecake was a dessert I remember having fairly often, as a child. My mom wasn't a great cook and did very little baking. But this no-bake dessert was one she would do occasionally. Especially in the summer.
This recipe uses graham crackers which, is the traditional way to make this dessert. But let me tell you...pretzels or Oreo's are an amazing twist! Or Gingersnaps! I use gingersnaps for pumpkin pies and it is an amazing and easy tweak to bring more flavor to the classic.
The crust is so simple! Just crushed graham crackers, melted butter, and sugar. Again...try pretzels, sometime! Just dump them into your 9 by 13 pan and press them in.
What happens if you put too much butter in graham cracker crust?
Because butter hardens when it cools, adding too much to your crust will result in a crust that is harder than you would like. Too little butter and your crust won't stick together and form properly.
How to Thicken No-Bake Cheesecake:
Using whipped cream (Cool-Whip) and cream cheese gives no-bake cheesecake it's needed structure. As does chilling it prior to serving.
Cool-Whip isn't a favorite of mine, for sure. I prefer making my own whipped cream for most things. For this recipe, Cool-Whip is the best! Whipping cream will also work, and even Greek yogurt. If you haven't ever given those a try...do it, it you might surprised!
Whip up cream cheese and powdered sugar together and gently fold in Cool-Whip...done with the filling. It couldn't be any faster!
Top it with a can of cherry filling (or try blueberry!), pop that into the fridge for about 4 hours to do its "baking", and YOU are a super hero. SO GOOD!
How to make Patriotic No Bake Cherry Cheesecake: around the 4th of July, this recipe is perfect for creating a flag design with some blueberries and can of whipped cream. When you put the cherries on, leave a square in upper left corner empty. Then, use the can of whipped cream to create your white stripes. And some blueberries for the stars. So easy!
How to make a Holiday No Bake Cherry Cheesecake: a simple addition of rosemary to the top gives you the lovely red and green dessert. Or for added fun, dye the cheesecake green with green food coloring for that classic red and green color combo.
IF like me, you've grown up on no-bake cherry cheesecake and are a bit ho-hum about it, I have some awesome ways to switch up the recipe to bang out new flavors with the same amount of ease. Give these a try!
Ways to jazz up No Bake Cherry Cheesecake Bars:
- use pretzels instead of graham crackerss
- whip up ½ cup heavy cream into whipped cream to sub for Cool-Whip
- skip the powdered sugar and Cool-Whip and try 1 can of sweetened condensed milk & ⅓ cup lemon juice beaten with the cream cheese
- add a teaspoon of almond extract with the filling and ¼ cup crushed almonds with the crust
- OMG--use 2 cups crushed OREO's instead of the graham crackers and sugar in the crust.
- use Greek yogurt in place of the Cool-Whip and reduce the powdered sugar by half
No Bake Cherry Cheesecake
- 20 Graham Crackers finely crushed
- 11 Tablespoons Butter melted
- 6 Tablespoons white sugar
- 16 ounce cream cheese 2 pkgs
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 8 ounce Cool Whip
- 12 oz cherry pie filling
- If your cool whip has been in the freezer, set out and let it thaw to nearly room temperature.
- In a large bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar. Mix well.
- Press crumb mixture into a 9x13 dish and set aside.
- Using a hand or stand mixer, mix both packages of cream cheese together until smooth. It should have a spreadable texture. Add powdered sugar and mix well until it's very creamy and smooth.
- Add the container of cool whip. Fold it in being careful not to over mix.
- Spread your mixture over your graham cracker crust.
- Pour and gently spread your can of cherry pie filling.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least one hour before serving