Craving a luscious, creamy cheesecake but it is too hot to turn on that oven this summer? I have the perfect no bake cherry cheesecake recipe, a dessert that combines the rich flavors of cheesecake with the tangy sweetness of fresh, in-season cherries, without requiring any time in the oven.
No bake anything is what we are all about over here in the summer. The last thing I want to be doing is heating up my house with the oven. And baked cheesecakes can often be dense and heavy, which is not something you really want in the summer months.
This simple and creamy no bake cherry cheesecake recipe is super light and fluffy, and virtually impossible to mess up. It is a great chilled dessert for the summer months. And with cherries being at their peak in June and July, it is the perfect time to showcase them in a dessert.
Why you'll love this recipe
Is there ever a reason not to love a creamy cheesecake recipe? I don't think so, but there is a few reasons you will absolutely love this particular recipe:
- It is easy to make with minimal ingredients. I use my cherry compote to top this cheesecake, which is easy to make and uses fresh sweet cherries (and has a million other great uses, so def try it out). And the cheesecake itself has minimal ingredients.
- The crust is adaptable. I use vanilla wafers for this, but you could most certainly use graham crackers or even golden oreos for this crust.
- It is super light and creamy. Since this is a no bake cherry cheesecake, you do not have to worry about beating too much air into it (which is what causes cracks in a baked cheesecake). In fact, you want to beat air into this to make it light and fluffy.
- No oven require. Not even for the crust. A little brown sugar helps add some moisture the crust and hold it together.
- The cherry topping is fresh and homemade, not canned pie filling.
Ingredients for the cheesecake filling
No bake cheesecake recipe means no eggs, no flour, and just a few simple ingredients.
- Cream cheese
- Heavy cream. This will be whipped into stiff peaks and get folded into the cream cheese after it has been beaten.
- Powdered sugar. Just a little bit.
- Sour cream. While not necessary, I really like the extra tang just a little sour cream adds to the filling.
- Vanilla extract.
- Cherry compote. Super simple to make with just cherries, sugar, the tiniest bit of lemon juice (optional), and a little water. Cooked down a thick chunky sauce in a saucepan and cooled, it is the perfect topping.
Ingredients for the crust
Just three things:
- Vanilla wafer cookies. I use these because I always have them, but you can use graham crackers or even golden oreos if you prefer.
- Brown sugar. I use this instead of white sugar (which is what I use when I bake the crust), because of its moisture content. The moisture helps hold the crust together much better.
- Butter. Adding melted butter also holds this together. And if you want to get really fancy, brown the butter a bit.
This is a straightforward and simple to make cheesecake. No bake cheesecakes can often be too soft and don't set up properly. But the large amount of cream cheese along with the stiffly whipped cream ensure this cheesecake holds up to slicing.
Combine the cookies and brown sugar in a food processor until it is crumbs and add your melted butter and process just a bit longer. Press the mixture in the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
For the cheesecake filling, start by beating COLD heavy cream in a COLD metal or glass bowl. Why the emphasis on COLD? Because this will ensure maximum volume in your whipped cream. I use a stand mixer, but you can totally use a hand mixer as well. If using the stand mixer make sure to use the whisk attachment and not the paddle.at this until STIFF peaks form, you do not want soft whipped cream, like something you'd top a cake or a pie with, you want it stiff and firm.
Set the cream aside and beat the ROOM TEMPERATURE cream cheese and the granulated sugar with the paddle attachment (or use a handheld mixer). Beat on medium high speed until all the sugar is fully incorporated and the mixture is light in color and a little fluffy, 6-8 minutes. Add the sour cream, powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
To finish the filling fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture with a spatula. Do not beat the whipped cream into the cream cheese with a mixer, this will deflate it. Put the whipped cream into the cream cheese and take the spatula and fold from the bottom over the top gently. You will have to do this multiple times until it is incorporated.
The filling gets poured into the crust and will go into the fridge to set up 12 hours AT LEAST. Since this is a no bake cheesecake, refrigerating is how the filling sets, and this takes at a minimum 12 hours. This is best when made the day before you'd like to serve it.
After the filling has set, you can pour the cherry compote on top and spread evenly over the cheesecake.
Ingredient swaps and variations
No bake cheesecake is easily adaptable, and a cherry cheesecake is no exception. Here is few ideas:
- Make different fruit compote instead of cherry. Blueberry, strawberry or raspberry would be great.
- Change up the crust a bit. Use chocolate cookies for an interesting twist.
The two most important things you must do when making no bake cherry cheesecake is to really whip the cream well - stiff peaks means stiff peaks, and to make sure to let it sit in the fridge long enough (12 hours at least) to really set up.
Can I freeze this?
So one of the nice things about this cherry cheesecake is that it is totally freezable, AFTER you let it set in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before you want to serve it.
Other great dessert recipes
Check out these other great desserts to make for your next party
- stand mixer or hand mixer
- 9-inch springform pan
For the cherry compote
- 1 lb sweet cherries pitted
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon water
For the crust
- 2 cups vanilla wafer cookies crushed (about 60 cookies)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 6 tablespoon melted butter salted or unsalted
- ¼ teaspoon salt if using salted butter omit this
For the cheesecake filling
- 24 oz cream cheese three packages
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 11/4 cups heavy cream
To make the cherry compote
- Place all the ingredients in a sturdy saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, and the cherries give off all of their juices, about 10 minutes. Continue to cook over medium heat 5-10 minutes more until the liquid had reduced to a thick syrup.
- Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm in the saucepan. Lightly chop/puree the cherries into the syrup using an immersion blender (or food processor or blender) if desired for a slightly smoother. Chill in fridge until cold.
To make the crust
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until fully incorporated. Dump into a 9-inch springform pan and press into the sides and bottom until super firmly packed. Make extra sure to press good into the pan otherwise the crust will fall apart when serving. Chill the crust until ready to fill.
To make the cheesecake filling
- In a chilled bowl of a stand mixer, beat the heavy cream until STIFF peaks form (or use a hand mixer). Make absolutely sure the cream is whipped well, you do not want soft whipped cream. Set the whipped cream aside.
- In a separate bowl, preferably of a stand mixer, but also can be a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and sour cream and continue to beat until incorporated.
- Take a spatula and fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Be sure to do this gently so you do not deflate or soften the whipped cream. This takes several turns with the spatula to become fully incorporated.
To assemble the cheesecake
- Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the top with a butter knife or offset spatula. Let it set in fridge for at least 12 hours WITHOUT the cherry compote on top. This will ensure the cheesecake firms up and holds together without the cherries melting into the cheesecake filling.
- When chilled, spread the cherry compote on top and keep chilled in fridge until ready to serve. Run an offset spatula or knife around the outside of the crust to separate the crust from the pan, and then release the springform sides. Slice with a knife run under hot water for clean and even slices.