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No Bake Lemon Cheesecake

Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 12 servings

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This No Bake Lemon Cheesecake is made with lemon juice and zest and no artificial flavors! It sets and slices perfectly and is even great frozen! Includes step by step recipe video.

whole no bake lemon cheesecake with whipped cream
Table of Contents
  1. How to make No Bake Lemon Cheesecake:
  2. How to store No Bake Lemon Cheesecake:
  3. December 2019 updates to the original recipe from May 2017:
  4. More lemon desserts you’ll love!
  5. Real Deal No Bake Lemon Cheesecake Recipe

If there are two things I love in this world, it’s lemon and cheesecake.

Especially a light, airy, and just tangy enough No Bake Lemon Cheesecake like this one!

As a kid, I didn’t enjoy citrus or lemon desserts very much at all. It seemed wrong that they just weren’t that sweet!

Now that I’m older (more experienced and more mature, I’d like to think 😉 ), my tastes have changed and I much prefer a tangy lemon dessert with the right amount of sweetness over some sugar-laden cake with several inches of frosting.

slice of lemon cheesecake being pulled out

If you feel the same, I know you’ll love this Lemon Cheesecake, and you might also enjoy these Lemon Cheesecake Bars, this Lemon Icebox Pie, or this Easy Lemon Meringue Pie recipe!

How to make No Bake Lemon Cheesecake:

This No Bake Lemon Cheesecake is easy to make, but there are a few important steps and tips I’m going to highlight here — see the full instructions down below.

  1. Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature — this ensure your cheesecake will be smooth and creamy with no lumps!
  2. Beat your cream cheese first to make sure it’s smooth, before adding the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla.
  3. Beat the cream until stiff peaks form, before adding it to the cream cheese filling. This will ensure a thicker cheesecake.
  4. Taste before you add it to the crust — this way you can add more lemon or more sugar if you prefer!
  5. Pour it in the crust, and let it chill overnight if you can, but at least 6 hours. If you don’t let it chill thoroughly, you won’t be able to slice it.

How to store No Bake Lemon Cheesecake:

You can store in this prepared Lemon Cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (make sure your ingredients are as fresh as possible when you start!).

You can also freeze this Lemon Cheesecake as a whole (I recommend leaving any whipped cream topping off of the cheesecake until serving if you are going to freeze it), or in individual slices for a quick treat.

If you want, you can even serve this cheesecake partially frozen! I recommend letting sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving so it is nice and creamy.

whole lemon cheesecake missing one piece

December 2019 updates to the original recipe from May 2017:

My original No Bake Lemon Cheesecake recipe was made with Greek yogurt and gelatin, but I wanted to simplify the recipe and still get great results.

The new and improved recipe takes no time at all and just a few ingredients! It still has great lemon flavor and is light and fluffy.

I know there are a few people who really loved the original recipe, but I encourage you to give this one a try! It is just as delicious, but fewer ingredients and steps.

In my book, that’s a win!

slice of no bake lemon cheesecake on white plate

More lemon desserts you’ll love!

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Real Deal No Bake Lemon Cheesecake

4.34 from 3 votes
A smooth, extra creamy No Bake Lemon Cheesecake made with lemon juice and lemon zest and no artificial flavors! It’s firm enough to stand up to being cut.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 12 servings
Calories 436.98cal

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (375g)
  • 1/2 cup butter melted

Filling:

  • 3 packages cream cheese (24oz or 750g total) full fat
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • zest of 2 lemons (1 if you want a milder flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (30-35% fat ONLY)

Instructions

  • Line a 9" Springform pan with parchment paper — optional but makes for easy removal once set!
  • Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter and press into prepared pan, and about 1/2" up the sides.
  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
  • Add the powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  • In a separate medium-sized bowl, beat the heavy cream on high until stiff peaks form. Add the whipped cream to the bowl with the cream cheese and use a spatula to gently fold it together, being careful not to deflate the cream.
  • Taste the filling, and add more sugar or more lemon zest if you want it sweeter or more lemony.
  • Pour filling into crust, cover and refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours or overnight is even better! Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

Notes

*NOTE that some adjustments have been made to the recipe since this video was made.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 436.98cal | Carbohydrates: 28.83g | Protein: 4.97g | Fat: 34.28g | Saturated Fat: 19.46g | Cholesterol: 102.86mg | Sodium: 370.19mg | Potassium: 123.96mg | Fiber: 0.59g | Sugar: 18.22g | Vitamin A: 1213.82IU | Vitamin C: 1.54mg | Calcium: 81.13mg | Iron: 0.94mg

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Kelsie says

    This looks yummy! I want to make this for Father’s day. Do you use salted or unsalted butter for the graham cracker crust?

  2. Dell Causseaux says

    Would it work to use cool whip for the whi cream? And if so do you have any idea how much?

    • Ashley Fehr says

      It might, but I don’t think it would be as firm as homemade whipped cream so your cheesecake might not slice properly. You would likely add a cup or two.

      • Dell Causseaux says

        Ashley, I’m not going to say I’m lazy, I’m going to say I’m tired because I’m78 and always look for shortcuts.LOL! I made this recipe using pre-made shortbread crust instead of graham cracker(only because I accidently picked up the wrong one), and I did use one 8 ounce container of store brand cool whip type whip cream. And I did add a little extra lemon just because I love lemon flavor. The remainder, I stuck strictly to your recipe. It came out absolutely delicious and sliced beautifully!! Each slice standing on its on..no runny cheesecake here!! It was awesome!!! I will definitely be making this often. I would send a picture, but it just didn’t last that long!!! Thank you for sharing!!!

  3. Margie says

    Instead of using graham crackers, can I use something else and is it the same measurements?

    Thanks!

  4. Barb says

    Can you just pour this filling into a premade pie crust, if you don’t have a springform pan?

  5. Jomama says

    Your “tips” say you don’t need to pre-whip the shipping cream, but then the directions say to whip the cream before folding it into the cream cheese mixture. Super unclear.

      • Lenore says

        Thanks, Ashley. That makes sense. And, yes, I’ve made this twice since my husband came home with a bag full of lemons! I prefer to freeze it and then let it set at room temp for maybe 10 minutes before cutting it. Thanks for the wonderful recipe. One more question……..have you ever substituted full fat evaporated milk for the whipping cream?

  6. Peri says

    Trying the recipe, right now. I had a box of lemon up Girl Scout cookies that I’m trying for the crust and making individual servings in a muffin tin! Wish me luck! 🤞🏼

    I’d love to follow you and see more recipes, but I’m having an issue with pop-up ads covering half of the recipe/video. Do you have any suggestions on how to deal with this? Even using the x to close it doesn’t help. Another (larger) ad takes its place. Computer instead of tablet? 🤷🏼‍♀️😒

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I’m sorry to hear that Peri! Once the ad is closed, another should not pop up. I have tried it out on my phone and haven’t had any issues with closing the pop up.

  7. Dorothy says

    Made this no bake lemon cheesecake yesterday and my family loved it,,soooo yummmy😋 thank you for sharing your recipe…

  8. Lyn Christiansen says

    Am I missing something here or what? Looked everywhere for the gelatin in the recipe and couldn’t find anything about it. So, just where does it come into this cheesecake, I really want to know

  9. Angela says

    How come no sugar is added to the graham cracker crumbs? Is that correct it’s just graham cracker crumbs and butter?

  10. Joanne Wiebe says

    Hi. Made your no bake lemon cheesecake. It turned out to be cheesecake soup 😔
    I followed your video and directions. The one difference is I used a stand mixer rather than a hand mixer. I was very disappointed. I ended up whipping more whipping cream and folding it into the lemon cheesecake batter.
    Any ideas of what went wrong? Thanks! Joanne

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I’m sorry to hear that Joanne! The stand mixer shouldn’t make a difference, as long as it was whipping at high speed until thick and fluffy. Was it soupy before chilling? Because the long chill in the fridge really does make a difference. It sounds like maybe you adding more cream before pouring it into the crust?

  11. Kerry Rousselle says

    I made this to take to a dinner party last evening and it was a hit! I want to add that it was my very first time making any type of cheesecake, so the fact that it turned out enough to take to dinner, was a bonus….brave or just crazy!! Lol! Anyways, I’m very happy with the results! BTW, I used Greek yogurt, but no gelatin and it was perfectly fine.

    Cheers!

  12. Jennifer says

    I don’t know what went wrong, but I could not get this to whip up thick for the life of me. I used the beater attachment for about 10 minutes and then switched to the whisk attachment. Whisked it on high for probably another 20 minutes total. Tried adding more powdered sugar. At the end I even tried meringue powder to no avail. It still had the consistency of melted ice cream. I finally just poured it into a premade crust and stuck it in the fridge over night. Today it has the consistency of pudding and a vague powdery flavor/texture from the extra sugar and meringue powder. My kids will still enjoy it even so. But I’d still love to know what went wrong! I added the right amounts of zest, lemon juice, and about 1/2 tsp of Boyajian lemon oil. Could it have been the oil? I’ve used it in whipped cream, frosting, and baked cheesecake before without any problems.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Jennifer! I’m sorry that happened! I don’t think such a small amount of oil would make a difference. There are a few things that can cause a thinner filling. I would check the fat and water content of your cream cheese, to ensure that it is full fat and I’ve found that store brand varieties sometimes have a higher water content than name brand. I would check to make sure that your cream is heavy cream and at least 30-35% fat. The high fat content is needed to get a thick fluffy filling!

  13. Melanie says

    I’m really glad have made an updated recipe without the gelatin. Members of my family don’t eat pork for religious reasons and gelatin does contain some. Hopefully I’ll be able to successfully attempt this when the weather gets warmer

  14. Evy says

    Hi I really liked the original recipe with gelatin & yogurt. I made it last year for thanksgiving and wanted to do it again this year. I saw you updated the recipe. Could you please share the amount needed for each ingredient? Thanks!

    • Ashley Fehr says

      2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup butter (melted). Filling: juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup (zest it before juicing!)), 1 package unflavored gelatin (about 7g), 2 packages light cream cheese (16oz), 1 cup vanilla 0% Greek yogurt, zest of 1 lemon (or 2 lemons for big lemon flavor!), 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 1/4 cup powdered icing sugar, 1 cup whipping cream (not whipped)

  15. Jim Poage says

    I believe I missed something. When you add yogurt, how much and do you reduce the cream cheese? Same with gelatin; how much and does it change any other measurements? Feel like I failed to click on alternative recipe but looked for it 3 times.

  16. Alyssa says

    Hello! Do you happen know what I’d need to do to make this in a 9×13 pan? Would just doing 1.5x the recipe work, or will it need to be doubled?

  17. Libby says

    Is there anything I can substitute for the Greek yogurt? I just can’t handle the taste. Sour cream maybe?

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