I've been making no bake cheesecakes for a long time, and I absolutely love their easy method, creamy flavour and how amazingly versatile they are. In this guide I am sharing with you all the tips and tricks I have learnt from years of experience in making no bake cheesecakes. I have aimed to answer any question you might have about making a no bake cheesecake, troubleshoot any issues you might have had in the past, and give you lots of fun and tasty ideas for creative ways to enjoy this delicious dessert! I also answer the number one question I get asked about no bake cheesecakes with both a step by step photo guide and video - how to remove a no bake cheesecake from the tin! At the end of this post you can also find a delicious recipe for a Vanilla No Bake Cheesecake.
What is a no bake cheesecake and how is it different from a baked cheesecake?
No bake cheesecakes are made without eggs and are set in the fridge for several hours. The main ingredients are cream cheese and double cream, and they are whisked together until thick. Baked cheesecakes are made with eggs and require baking to set them. Both cheesecake options are delicious, but I prefer no bake cheesecakes because they super creamy, mousse-like and absolutely yummy. Plus they are also so easy to make! Once to try them you will be a no bake cheesecake convert!
How does a no bake cheesecake set?
Double cream is the key to setting a no bake cheesecake. When it's added to the cream cheese and whisked until thick (or some people whip up the double cream first then fold it in) and then refridgerated, it creates a perfectly thick set cheesecake.
What is the best tin to use?
A springform tin is essential for making a no bake cheesecake, as you can't flip it out of the tin like you would with a cake. Springform tins have a removable base that is released when the clip on the side of the tin is unlocked, making for an easy release of your cheesecake. Lots of these tins have a lip on them, so you must flip the base over so the lip doesn't get in the way of you removing the cheesecake from the tin. Further down in this post, I show you how to remove a no bake cheesecake from the tin. I use a 23cm springform tin for all of my cheesecake recipes, you can use a slightly smaller tin too, it will just create a deeper cheesecake. If you would like to convert this recipe for a much smaller tin, please check out my Conversion Guide.
Do you need to line the tin?
No, you do not need to line the tin. No bake cheesecakes do not stick to the tin so lining it is unnecessary. I find that trying to remove any lining is more hard work, and has more chances of damaging the cheesecake.
How to make a No Bake Cheesecake...
You only need six basic ingredients to make a simple vanilla no bake cheesecake: biscuits/cookies, butter, cream cheese, double cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract. Of course, if you want to experiment with more daring flavours, or decorate the cheesecake more extravagently, the ingredient list will grow. Sometimes, a little lemon juice is also added. This does not make the cheesecake taste of lemon, it just adds a nice tang to the flavour.
What biscuits/cookies are best for the base?
The traditional and most commonly used option are Digestive Biscuits, or if you're in the US then the alternative would be Graham Crackers. However there are lots of options for your cheesecake base! You can use Oreos of any flavour, Biscoff biscuits, custard creams, bourbon biscuits, and many more. If you use any cream filled biscuits, you will need to reduce the amount of melted butter to 100g. You can also have a cookie base or a brownie base to your cheesecake! Check out all of the Cheesecake recipes on my blog for all of the options.
Mascarpone or cream cheese?
You can use mascarpone instead of cream cheese, it behaves the same and will set well. However I personally much prefer cream cheese. I find mascarpone overly creamy and rich, it's too overwhelming to eat a lot of. Cream cheese has that nice 'tang' to it, however if you can only find mascarpone, you can use lemon juice to cut into the creamyness.
What is the best cream cheese to use?
In the UK, our cream cheese is not sold in blocks and is not as thick as it is in the US. The brand Philadelphia is the cream cheese I use the most often to make my cheesecakes, as it has the thickest consistency and there is the least amount of liquid in the pack. I have made many cheesecakes with supermarket own brand cream cheeses too, and they have worked great. If you can, it is worth spending a little more for Philadelphia in my opinion.
Does the cream cheese need to be room temperature?
I have read a lot of cheesecake recipes whilst doing research for this blog post that say it must be room temperature. However, a lot of the recipes were from the US so maybe this has to do with the different texture of their cream cheese, as I have never needed to use room temperature cream cheese when making no bake cheesecakes. I take it straight out of the fridge, and mix it with my electric hand mixer, and it always goes lovely and smooth with no lumps. If you are using UK style cream cheese, then straight out of the fridge works great in my experience.
Do you need to use double cream (heavy cream)?
Yes, you need to use double cream as it has the highest fat content, which not only helps to thicken the cheesecake mixture, but it also helps it to set. Double cream has a fat content of 48%. If you cannot get double cream where you live, find the highest fat content cream you can.
Do you need to sieve the icing sugar?
I don't sieve the icing sugar when I make a no bake cheesecake, I use the brand Tate & Lyle and I've never had an issue with lumps. Of course, you can absolutely sieve it if you are concerned about lumps.
Is gelatine necessary to make it set?
No, as long as all the steps are followed and the correct ingredients are used, no bake cheesecake will set without gelatine, or other setting agents like agar agar. I'm not able to advise on using gelatine as all of my recipes are vegetarian so I don't use gelatine at all because it is an animal product.
Before you start, it is important that you make sure to the base of your springform tin has the flat side facing up. The bases of many springform tins have a slight 'lip' on them. Make sure it is clipped into the tin with the lip facing down, leaving a nice flat surface on top. This will help considerably with removing the cheesecake from the tin!
How to turn the biscuits/cookies into crumbs?
The fastest way to do this is by using a food processor. If you do not have a food processor, you can place the biscuits into a bowl and gently crush them with the end of a rolling pin. If you do not have a rolling pin, you could use the end of a wine bottle, or another glass bottle that you might have in your kitchen. Please be careful if using anything glass.
Do I need to bake the base?
No, you do not need to bake the base of a no bake cheesecake.
Once the biscuits have been turned into crumbs, stir in some melted butter or baking spread until all of the biscuit crumbs are coated with the butter and the mixture looks like wet sand.
Press the mixture into the springform tin, I use the back of a spoon to smooth it down and compact it together. Once you're happy with it and the biscuit base is smooth and level, pop it in the fridge while you make the filling.
To make the cheesecake filling, add the cream cheese and icing sugar to a mixing bowl and mix until smooth with a handheld electric mixer, or place in the bowl of your stand mixer and mix with the paddle attachment until smooth with no lumps.
Then, add the double cream and continue to mix until the filling is thick. You want it to get to a stage where you can scoop some up with your spatula or spoon and you have to give it a tap on the side of the bowl or slight flick of the wrist to get the mixture off the spoon. If it’s sloppy and slides right off the spoon without any encouragement needed, then you need to mix it more.
Tip the filling into the tin, covering the biscuit base. Use a palette knife to smooth it out as much as you can, then place into to fridge to set the cheesecake.
How long should I whisk the filling for?
It is hard to give an exact time as depending on what type of electric mixer you use, and what speed you set it at, the time will vary. I use an electric hand mixer (mine is a kMix) and I set it to speed 2 (it has speed 1-5, with 1 being the lowest). I mix for around 30-45 seconds, then once it starts to thicken I turn the speed down to 1. I stop to check the consistency, then mix a little more until I'm happy.
How long does the filling need to set for?
You need to set the cheesecake for a minimum of 4 hours in the fridge, however if you can leave it longer then I would suggest doing so. I always make my no bake cheesecakes the night before and leave them to set overnight in the fridge. Waiting for it to be ready is that hardest part, but trust me, it is worth the wait!
How do I remove a no bake cheesecake from the tin?
First, make sure you have a plate or cake stand ready to move your cheesecake onto, you will also need a butter knife, and a couple of palette knives or a cake lifter. Unclip the tin slightly, then run a butter knife around the edge to loosen it. You may need to stop as you go around and wipe the knife on some kitchen roll.
Next, fully unclip the tin and place your hand underneath on the base of the tin. Push the cheesecake upwards and let the sides of the tin gently fall onto the work surface. Then use your other hand to support the cheesecake while you take your first hand out from the tin (you will be wearing it as a bracelet at this point so roll your sleeves up first!). Place the cheesecake with the base of the tin still attached on your work surface and run your palette knife around the edge to loosen it from the base.
Then use either two palette knives, or a cake lifter, to lift the cheesecake from the base of the tin and move it onto your serving plate. You can also move the base closer to the plate and slide it from the base to the plate. You may need to use a butter knife again to smooth around the sides. And your cheesecake is ready to either serve, or decorate and then serve!
How long does a no bake cheesecake last for?
It can last up to 5 days in the fridge, however I like to eat it within 2-3 days as I find any whipped cream decoration is not as enjoyable after this time.
Can I make a low fat version?
You can make this recipe using low fat cream cheese, but it will affect how well the cheesecake sets and it could collapse when you take it out of the tin or slice it. What I would recommend doing instead for a low fat option, is making mini cheesecakes in small pots or jars. This will support the cheesecake filling. You might like to try my Healthy Cheesecake Pots recipe!
Can you freeze a no bake cheesecake?
Yes! You can freeze the cheesecake without any decoration, however you do need to let it set in the fridge first. Setting it in the freezer will affect the texture and it won't be as nice. Once it's set in the fridge, you can remove it from the tin and put the cheesecake in a box or tupperware. You could also slice it up, and freeze in portions. Then you can easily defrost a few slices at a time depending on when you'd like some cheesecake!
Decorating options and variations
There are SO many ways to decorate a No Bake Cheesecake. My favourite way is with whipped cream, melted chocolate or caramel sauce. Fruit, lemon curd and fruit coulis are also delicious options. You could also decorate your cheesecake with a chocolate ganache, your favourite chocolate or sweets, melted Nutella or Biscoff spread, macarons, meringue kisses, cookies or biscuits... the options really are endless and you can be creative and really make it your own!
Adding melted chocolate
You can stir 200g cooled melted chocolate into the cheesecake mixture for a delicious chocolate cheesecake. I recommend adding the melted chocolate before adding the double cream, as this reduces the chance of the chocolate 'seizing'. This is essentially when the chocolate starts to set in little bits instead of mixing smoothly into the filling. If it does seize, don't worry as the cheesecake is still perfectly edible!
Recommended Equipment and Ingredients*
|23cm Springform tin||Electric hand mixer||Mixing bowls|
|Food processor||Wilton 2D Piping nozzle||Piping bags|
|Angled palette knife||Cake lifter||Kitchen scales|
*I earn a small amount of money if you buy the products after clicking on the links. You will not be charged anything extra for this. Thank you for supporting The Baking Explorer!
How to make a No Bake Cheesecake video
No Bake Cheesecake recipes on The Baking Explorer...
Vanilla No Bake Cheesecake
For the biscuit base
- 300 g Digestive biscuits crushed
- 135 g Butter melted
For the cheesecake filling
- 750 g Full fat cream cheese
- 125 g Icing sugar
- 2 tsp Vanilla extract
- 300 ml Double cream
For decoration (optional)
- 200 ml Double cream
- 1 tbsp Icing sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- Fresh berries optional
- To make the base use a food processor to whizz up the biscuits into crumbs, or gently crush them with a rolling pin in a bowl
- Mix in the melted butter and press the mixture into the bottom of a 23cm springform tin. Put it in the fridge for 30 minutes to set
- For the cheesecake filling use a food mixer with a whisk attachment or an electric hand whisk to mix together the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla extract until smooth with no lumps
- Add the double cream and whisk until it is very thick and holds it's shape
- Smooth the mixture into the tin on top of the biscuit base, then put it in the fridge overnight, or for at least 4 hours, to set
- Remove from the tin and put on your serving plate. Smooth the sides with a butter knife to create a neater finish
- Whip up the double cream with the icing sugar and vanilla, and pipe it all around the edges of the cheesecake
- Serve immediately with fresh berries if you like, store any leftovers in the fridge and eat within 2-3 days
NB. This post is NOT sponsored by any of the brands I have mentioned, I am recommending them based on my own experience with using them.
If you like this, check out more of my Cheesecake recipes!
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