No Bake Lemon Cheesecake

This No Bake Lemon Cheesecake recipe is creamy, tart and easy to make! It’s full of lemon flavor and such a great dessert for spring and summer!

No Bake Lemon Cheesecake collage - slice and whole cake

NO BAKE LEMON CHEESECAKE RECIPE

Lemon is one of my favorite flavors for this time of year! With Easter coming, it’s such a cheerful color and flavor for pretty much any dessert. And when it comes to cheesecake, lemon is a must-have recipe.

I’ve been bringing you guys some great classic no bake cheesecakes lately, like this Best No Bake Cheesecake and Easy No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake, so finally this No Bake Lemon Cheesecake had to happen. Stick around a few more weeks, and there’ll be a yummy strawberry one too. Bring on the no bake cheesecakes!

This cheesecake starts with a vanilla wafer crust, has a lovely lemon filling and some whipped cream on top. It’s decorated with some lemon slices and raspberries for a fresh, springy look! So let’s talk about how to put this baby together.

HOW TO MAKE NO BAKE LEMON CHEESECAKE

The best cheesecakes have a good, flavorful crust that’s not too thick and not too thin. I made this crust with vanilla wafer cookies because I’m a fan of the flavor, but feel free to swap it out for a classic graham cracker crust, if you prefer. Once the crust is made, pop it in the fridge to firm up while you make the filling.

When I set out to make this cheesecake, I knew I didn’t want to use Jello. I have nothing against it, but I wanted a true, fresh lemon taste. The tricky thing about a fresh lemon cheesecake though, is that you need a fair amount of lemon juice in order to really be able to taste the flavor in the cheesecake, but that thins out the filling. So to get that flavor and have a thick enough cheesecake, I used two things.

No Bake Lemon Cheesecake - creamy, tart and easy to make! It's full of lemon flavor and such a great dessert for spring and summer!slice of lemon cheesecake

The first is the built in powder of lemon juice combined with cream – in this case, sweetened condensed milk. When combined, the acid in lemon juice basically “spoils” the milk and therefore thickens it.

The second thing is a little gelatin. I tried to avoid the gelatin, because I know it can seem intimidating to use if you haven’t used it before and it adds a couple more steps. But the cheesecake just didn’t firm up as much as I like for a cheesecake without it. That said, I really don’t care for cheesecakes that have too much gelatin in them. When that happens, you really taste it and you not only sacrifice flavor, but also texture. This no bake cheesecake has just the right amount so that you get the right amount of firmness, without sacrificing anything.

So to add both things to the cheesecake, you’ll start with the gelatin. Sprinkle the powder over the lemon juice so that it can “bloom”. Gelatin needs a cool liquid for this step. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then heat it a little until it’s melted.

Stir the gelatin and lemon mixture into the sweetened condensed milk (just enough milk to help things thicken, but not so much that the cheesecake tastes heavily of sweetened condensed milk) and let it sit while you move on to the next steps.

No Bake Lemon Cheesecake with slice removedlemon cheesecake with bite on fork

The rest of the ingredients are exactly what you’d expect:

Cream cheese
Sugar
Sour cream
Lemon zest (more lemon flavor!)
Heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar, which makes whipped cream

The whipped cream is gently folded into the cheesecake filling, so that it doesn’t deflate. Add the filling to the crust and then let it set in the fridge for 5-6 hours. With the combination of the gelatin and the cream, the lemon cheesecake firms up perfectly!

The final No Bake Lemon Cheesecake is so creamy and refreshing! It’s a wonderfully light dessert that’s easy to make and perfect for the warm weather coming our way! It’s been getting warmer here already and our boys LOVE being outside! I can see us hanging outside and enjoying the warm days all summer long – with a slice of this No Bake Lemon Cheesecake right beside me. Sounds perfect!

No Bake Lemon Cheesecake side viewclose up of No Bake Lemon Cheesecake slice

MORE LEMON DESSERTS FOR YOU TO LOVE

Lemon Cheesecake
Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake
Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
Lemon Curd (would also be great as a topping on this cheesecake!)
Lemon Cake with Lemon Bavarian Cream
Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes
Lemon Mascarpone Cream Pie (also no bake!)


Read transcript
NOTE: There is a full 24 ounces of cream cheese used in this recipe. In the video, the third bar of cream cheese is hidden beneath the two on top.

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No Bake Lemon Cheesecake Recipe | Easy No Bake Cheesecake
Recipe

No Bake Lemon Cheesecake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours, plus refrigeration
  • Yield: 12-14 slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: No Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This No Bake Lemon Cheesecake is creamy, tart and easy to make! It’s full of lemon flavor and such a great dessert for spring and summer!


Scale

Ingredients

CRUST

  • 2 1/4 cups (302g) vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 2 tbsp (26g) sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 10 tbsp (140g) unsalted butter, melted

CHEESECAKE FILLING

  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (34 lemons)
  • 0.25 oz package unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 24 oz (678g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (104g) sugar
  • 2 tbsp (29g) sour cream
  • 2 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 3/4 cup (86g) powdered sugar

WHIPPED CREAM

  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1/2 cup (58g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

1. In a medium bowl, combine the crust ingredients and mix well to combine completely.
2. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set in the fridge to chill.
3. In a medium sized bowl, add the lemon juice, sprinkle the powdered gelatin evenly over it and let stand for 4-5 minutes.
4. Heat the lemon juice and gelatin in the microwave for 10-20 seconds, until just warm and smooth.
5. Stir the sweetened condensed milk into the lemon juice mixture, then set the mixture aside to cool to room temperature.
6. In a large mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until well combined and smooth.
7. Add the sour cream and lemon zest and mix until well combined and smooth.
8. Add the cooled lemon juice mixture and mix until well combined and smooth. Set mixture aside.
9. In another large mixer bowl, add the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.
10. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture in two parts until well combined.
11. Add the filling to the crust and spread into an even layer.
12. Refrigerate cheesecake until firm, 5-6 hours or overnight.
13. To finish off the cheesecake, remove it from the springform pan and set on a plate or serving platter.
14. Add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract for the whipped cream topping to a large mixer bowl. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.
15. Pipe swirls of whipped cream around the edge of the cheesecake. Top the cheesecake off with your desired toppings, such as fresh fruit. I used lemon slices, raspberries and mint leave.
16. Refrigerate cheesecake until ready to serve. Cheesecake is best for 4-5 days.

Keywords: No Bake Lemon Cheesecake

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Recipe rating

46 Comments
  1. Mayanka Khetarpal

    HI Lindsay,
    Please help How much is .25 oz package of gelatine in grams or teaspoons.

    Thank you,
    Mayanka

    1. Lindsay

      Not really. You could try leaving it out, but it does react with the lemon juice to thicken the cheesecake a bit. If you leave it out, it might be slightly less firm.

  2. Christina

    This cheesecake was amazing! It has a wonderfully smooth, light texture and soft lemon flavor. I piped cream rosettes around the to edge and filled the center with lemon curd.

      1. Zoë

        Omg what an amazing recipe! I used orange in place of lemon and topped it with cranberry sauce. The cheesecake tastes so so delicious. Thanks for all the detailed steps and instructions 

  3. Yolihet

    I made this for my mom’s birthday and it was delicious! Everybody loved it. Thank you so much for the recipe!!!

  4. Judy

    This is the first time I have ever commented on an online recipe but this cheesecake deserves a comment. I divided it in half and made it in two pie pans so I could share it with someone else. It is absolutely fantastic!!! I’m on the way out the door to share a piece with my 91 year old Mom who is still isolated. She loves lemon and this will be a great treat for her. Thanks for this recipe. I’ll make it again and again………………………

  5. Gloria

    I’ve been wanting to make a cheese cake for a while. I was waiting for the right inspiration, I suppose. Now I have it. 😁 If I cannot find sweetened condensed milk, what can I use instead? Thanks.

  6. Monalisa

    Ok I made it.  Taking it to potluck at church.  
    I took a photo but don’t know how to upload it.   I replaced raspberries with blackberry I even used the mint I grew in my garden.     

    1. Lindsay

      That should be fine. Just keep in mind that it’s a no bake cheesecake so it’s not as firm as a baked cheesecake. They will be fine, just keep that in mind.

  7. Suzie

    Tested the recipe for our Christmas Dinner party on my work friends & it was a hit. Thanks Lindsay. Easiest cheesecake I ever made. 

  8. Sandra

    My whipping cream has been in the refrigerator for a long time(not expired) so it’s cold, however, I have been whipping for the last half an hour and it’s not getting the stiff peaks. I threw away two batches already and don’t know what else to do. Can you tell me what I could be doing wrong?

    1. Lindsay

      It’s really hard to say. Whipped cream should whip. I would check to see if it was whipping cream or heavy whipping cream. Heavy whipping cream has a higher fat content and whips better.

  9. Jennifer

    Do you think you could use homemade lemon butter instead of the lemon juice, milk and gelatin combo. I only ask as I have just made a fresh batch and looking for mew recipes to incorporate it into.

    Thanks in Advance

    1. Lindsay

      I really don’t know without trying it. I have never used butter in a no bake cheesecake before and don’t know how it would affect it.

    1. Lindsay

      I personally use challenge cream cheese. It can sometimes be hard to find, but it is a great quality cream cheese.

  10. Johnna

    This cheesecake is delicious! It’s light and bursting with lemon. Will definitely make it again. Thank you for posting this recipe. 

  11. Mary

    I made this for a dinner party and it was divine! I served it with champagne cocktails and it was fabulous. I usually don’t make no bake desserts as I love to bake, but this is definitely a recipe I will make again. 

  12. Michelle

    I made this and it did not disappoint, it was delicious! I don’t have a spring pan so I foil lined  a 9” square pan and no issue. Will definitely make again.

    1. GlutenFreeKiwi

      Drink it! Eat it with a spoon! Hide it from the kids! The possibilities are endless. Or you could make more cheesecakes until you run out of condensed milk…

      I’ve made it tonight and I’m looking forward to my coffee in the morning 🙂 

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12