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No-Bake Cheesecake

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There are certain days during the summer when the last place anyone wants to be is in a hot kitchen. But that's when kids can come to the rescue, making a delicious dessert for the whole family without ever having to ask their parents to turn on the oven.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes one 9-inch cake
no bake cheesecake

Photography: James Baigrie

Source: Martha Stewart Kids, July/August 2004

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (20 sheets) graham crackers
  • 11 tablespoons (1 3/8 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 14-ounce can (1 1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Put graham crackers in a large resealable plastic bag, and crush them with a rolling pin until very fine crumbs form.

  2. Pour crumbs into a medium bowl; stir in sugar. Add butter, and stir until well combined.

  3. Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch springform pan, spreading it 1 1/2 to 2 inches up the side; press flat. Chill crust in freezer at least 10 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, make the filling: Using an electric mixer set at medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the condensed milk a little at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl, as necessary. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla.

  5. Pour the filling into the crust; smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

  6. Unclasp sides of pan, and remove cheesecake.

Variations

Skip the crust: use cheesecake filling in a parfait and invent a whole new "layer cake." Mix the filling, then put some in a glass. Top with broken-up cookies (such as chocolate or vanilla wafers) or graham crackers, and add fresh fruit (such as raspberries or blueberries). Alternate layers. Refrigerate parfait for 30 minutes, and serve.

Reviews Add a comment

  • skulmoski
    20 JUL, 2017
    I followed the recipe almost exactly. I used the cream cheese cold straight out of the fridge instead of waiting for it to be room temperature. I had to beat it a little longer to get the lumps out, but it set very quickly. I put it in the freezer for an hour and then served it with fruit for my family. It turned out great. Now I'll wait if it tastes better tomorrow.
    Reply
    • skulmoski
      21 JUL, 2017
      This cheesecake is dangerous! I can't stop eating this...
  • hellfirev32
    6 JUL, 2017
    I made this cheesecake but I used Strawberry flavouring Instead of lemon juice and also 400g of cream cheese. What do I do or should I start again???
    Reply
  • LIZA_DOLITTLE
    20 JUN, 2017
    I made the recipe but used a 9 inch deep dish pie pan. Not surprisingly the recipe was too much filling and crust so made some mini cheesecakes in ramekins. It turned out great but you really need to refrigerate overnight to get a more solid texture. Definitely would make again.
    Reply
  • jsreekumar91
    12 FEB, 2017
    I've finished this recipe and placed the cake into the fridge about three hours ago....it only just dawned on me as I am reading these comments in a panic that I didn't add the lemon juice :( I've transferred the cake into the freezer now. Someone please tell me this thing is going to set ok :(
    Reply
  • yenquinnkgmail
    5 DEC, 2016
    Hi, I made the no-bake cheesecake yesterday and left it overnight in the fridge, today when I thought it's ready it turned out so soft... I had followed the instructions and ingredients, can anyone tell me what's wrong? Thank you.
    Reply
  • mihqpongmailc
    14 FEB, 2016
    This was delicious but it never did quite set up right. I used fresh squeezed orange juice instead of lemon juice and homemade crust- wow! The flavor is great and I will make it again just need to figure out how to get it to set up like cheesecake.
    Reply
    • elizadavisbig
      15 MAR, 2016
      You must use lemon juice to set the cheesecake filling. The lemons must also be very ripe. Don't worry about the lemon flavour as it is very subtle and the slight tart of the lemon offsets the sweetness of the condensed milk & cream cheese perfectly. I am from Queensland, Australia and I add a layer of sliced bananas between the crust and filling. I then top with whipped cream and sliced mango. I whip the cream with a spoon of icing sugar and a few drops of vanilla added.
  • ilovetofu8130g
    8 JAN, 2016
    I've made this three times now, and have figured out you really need to let it set over night for it to firm up and taste just right. Also I reduced the lemon to about 1.5 Tablespoon and added 1 Tablespoon of sugar to the filling and had great results.
    Reply
  • froggie_bubbles
    12 DEC, 2015
    Can you use vanilla essence instead of extract?
    Reply
  • nycgirl765gmai
    22 NOV, 2015
    I've been making a slightly different version of this for 30 years. It's always a hit!!! SAME INGREDIENTS MAKES 2 PIES! Try this: -1 TABLEspoon of vanilla (instead of 1 TEAspoon) -2 Pre-made Graham Cracker Pie Crusts (instead of making your own...) -1 can Cherry Pie filling (chill in fridge overnite) Follow same instructions EXCEPT to get correct firmness, refrigerate 2 days OR freeze overnight & thaw at room temp 1 hr max. Cover with cherry filling & serve. ENJOY!! ALWAYS keep refrigerated.
    Reply
  • nycgirl765gmai
    22 NOV, 2015
    I've been making a slightly different version of this for 30 years. It's always a hit!!! SAME INGREDIENTS MAKES 2 PIES! Try this: -1 TABLEspoon of vanilla (instead of 1 TEAspoon) -2 Pre-made Graham Cracker Pie Crusts (instead of making your own...) -1 can Cherry Pie filling (chill in fridge overnite) Follow same instructions EXCEPT to get correct firmness, refrigerate 2 days OR freeze overnight & thaw at room temp 1 hr max. Cover with cherry filling & serve. ENJOY!! ALWAYS keep refrigerated.
    Reply