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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.

no bake lemon cheesecake whole with whipped cream and lemon wedges

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 πŸ˜‰ ), 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.

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. Add the cream (no pre-whipping required!), and beat on low until it’s incorporated, but don’t stop there. Beat with an electric mixer on high until the filling is thick and fluffy. This might take a few minutes, but if you don’t do it you may end up with cheesecake soup, and no one wants that.
  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.
no bake lemon cheesecake slice being pulled out with lemons in the background

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.

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!

no bake lemon cheesecake with bite on white plate

More lemon desserts you’ll love!

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Real Deal No Bake Lemon Cheesecake

3 from 1 vote
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.
  • Add whipping cream and beat on low until combined, then beat on high for 3-4 minutes until fluffy and thickened (the mixture should hold stiff peaks on the beaters — see the recipe video for the texture and thickness you are looking for). 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.

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. 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

  2. Angela says

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

  3. Joanne Wiebe says

    Hi. Made your no bake lemon cheesecake. It turned out to be cheesecake soup πŸ˜”
    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?

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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

  7. 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)

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. Libby says

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

  11. nadia javed says

    Hi, can you tell me the weight of 1 package of cream cheese? We get different sizes where I live…and I’m DYING to try this ASAP!!! thank you so much!

  12. Debbie says

    Ashley, did you add sugar to the fresh fruit before using it as a topping. It’s beautiful. Just wondering if it would be too bitter.

    Thank you,
    Debbie

  13. Kimberly says

    I don`t want to sound lost, but what is powdered icing sugar ?? I really want to make this. please help me. Thank you.

  14. Kaitlyn says

    Not only the best cheesecake that I`ve ever made but is the best that I ever ate. My son is going insane when I`m making this desert.

    • D Higgins says

      I will definitely try this since lemon is one of my family’s favorite flavors. I was wondering how it would be to substitute lime and lime zest and juice to make a Key Lime type cheesecake as well? Just wondering.

        • Donna Higgins says

          Made the lemon cheesecake for Mother’s Day dessert and everyone loved it! My little grandson had to have two servings! Thanks and next I will try it as a key lime no bake cheesecake. Although I got your other key lime recipe in my mail today and that one looks yummy too.I really liked the consistency of the lemon cheesecake. When I sliced it, it came right out of the pie pan in nice pieces and held up beautifully. Very creamy. Definitely will make this again.

  15. Glenda says

    Okay, so I have no idea what I did wrong with the cheesecake, but it certainly didn’t set up at all! I think I followed the recipe just like it said (except that the gelatin/lemon juice mixture wasn’t totally cool…could that have been my problem?). I thought things were looking pretty good until I added the real cream….and then it seemed to get runnier rather than stiff. Was I supposed to beat the cream first? So right now the mixture is still in the mixing bowl chilling overnight in the fridge. Any ideas for how to make it stiffen up? It was supposed to be dessert for a banquet tomorrow evening. =) Thanks for any help offered!

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Glenda! I’m so sorry to hear that! I add the cream and then beat until fluffy, so I would beat it on high until it starts to thicken up. I hope that helps!

      • Glenda says

        So, here is the outcome of what I thought was going to be a flop….I left the mixture in the mixing bowl and put it into the fridge overnight. Checked it out this morning and thought I’d probably need to try to add more gelatin or freeze it or something….and it had all set up nicely! =) Imagine that! But then it was in the mixing bowl and certainly wouldn’t transfer nicely to my pan. So I whipped it up again and poured it into my (larger than 9×13) pan….and stuck it back into the fridge hoping that it would set up again. And it did! I was so grateful! To top it off, I actually added another thin layer of lemon topping that you cook up in the microwave, cool, and spread on top. Made the whole dessert amazing! I ended up serving it at the banquet this evening and getting a host of compliments on how delicious it was. So, all that worrying last evening for nothing. Thanks for the delicious recipe. (Oh, and if you’re wondering how I’m talking about this evening already….I live in Thailand and our day is about over when yours is beginning.)

        • Ashley Fehr says

          Hi Glenda! I am so happy to hear that it worked out for you! That lemon topping sounds incredible — we can never have too much lemon here! I’m glad it was a success for you!

        • Leslie says

          I am so glad you left this comment because I had the same issue – I beat it for a long time and nothing happened. So I came to see if anyone else had the same problem and when I saw yours set anyway I went ahead and poured it in the crust. In the morning it was set perfectly and ready for my son’s birthday! Next time I may try whipping the cream separately and then folding it in.

  16. Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry says

    No judgment here! I totally get using box mixes and jello from time to time. But this cheesecake looks like utter perfection without that shortcut.

  17. Sarah @Whole and Heavenly Oven says

    Totally not gonna question your use of a shortcut ingredient every now and then! After all, you’ve got two little ones to chase after every day! πŸ˜‰ I ALWAYS love your cheesecakes, but I think this one just takes the “cake.” LOVE how creamy and luscious it looks! (p.s. we’re no-bake cheesecake buddies today!!)

  18. Monica says

    Hi can you tell me the exact weight of the cream cheese per package please? Can’t wait to make this cheesecake – looks lovely!

  19. Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary says

    Giiirl, I’d never judge you for using jello! But then again, I’m not classy. hahahaha. πŸ˜‰ Either way, I’m totally fine with you posting all the cheesecakes, no bakes, and lemony desserts possible! Bring.It.On! Love this “real deal” cheesecake! So pretty and I bet it tastes even better! Cheers, girlfriend!

  20. Serene @ House of Yumm says

    This is beautiful Ashley!! And I absolutely struggle with foodie shame sometimes too. I do my best to avoid box mixes and Jellos. But hello!!! I have kids. I think that gives us some kind of a pass in that area. This cheesecake looks fantastic though πŸ™‚ Love it!

  21. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says

    This real deal lemon cheesecake sounds incredible, Ashley! Your other version sounds delicious too, but I’m loving the real lemon flavor in here. And I love that you used Greek yogurt, too…I always trying to sneak that into my baked goods whenever I can!

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