If you're a fan of the perfect blend of tart and sweet, this no-bake lemon cheesecake might just become your new go-to dessert. Light, fluffy, and boasting an authentic citrus flavor, this recipe offers a refreshing departure from overly sweet cakes. The top features? Its a tangy burst of lemon and it's incredibly simple to whip up at home!
If you're looking for more cheesecake recipes you need to checkout my no-bake strawberry cheesecake or these raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake bars. Now, let's delve into why this particular no-bake lemon cheesecake recipe will become your new favorite.
⭐️ Why You'll Love This Easy Lemon Cheesecake
- Perfect Balance: This cheesecake strikes the perfect balance of tangy and sweet, with the creamy consistency of the filling beautifully offsetting the crunch of the crust.
- Effortless Preparation: It's a no-bake recipe, which means no oven time is required - a blessing for those sweltering summer days.
- Versatility: The recipe allows room for customization. You can add your unique twists with different garnishes and substitutions.
- Perfect for any occasion: It can grace the table at family dinners, birthdays, anniversaries, or any special celebration that calls for a delightful sweet treat.
- Everyday Ingredients: Made with everyday ingredients, easily available at your local grocery store, this recipe is as convenient as it is delicious.
- Cream Cheese: Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature to ensure a smooth, creamy texture for your cheesecake.
- Sugar: This is needed to balance the tartness of the lemons and sweeten the cream cheese.
- Lemon Juice and Zest: These provide that authentic, citrusy flavor. Always opt for fresh lemons for the best taste.
- Vanilla Extract: This ingredient adds an extra layer of depth to the flavor profile of the cheesecake.
- Whipped Cream: This gives our cheesecake that fluffy, airy, and light texture that we all love.
- Graham Cracker Crust: This is the perfect base for our cheesecake, providing a contrasting crunch to the creamy filling. *You can use graham cracker crumbs and skip blending them yourself.
See recipe card for quantities.
📖 Substitutions & Variations
- Consider adding a homemade lemon curd topping for an extra punch of citrusy goodness.
- Or you can also mix in some berries for a fruity twist, which also adds a beautiful pop of color to the dish.
- If you prefer a less tangy dessert, use half the quantity of lemon and replace it with orange juice. It will still give you the citrusy flavor but with a bit less tartness.
- For those looking for a dairy-free option, there are great alternatives to cream cheese and whipped cream available in the market.
👩🏻🍳 Simple steps to make lemon cheesecake
- Blend the graham crackers. (or digestive biscuits) into a fine powder using a food processor.
- Melt the unsalted butter. and combine it with the crumbs. The butter is what binds our crumbs together, creating a solid crust that holds up against our filling.
- Press this mixture firmly into the bottom of your springform pan to form your crust, then place the crust in the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling.
- Beat the cream cheese first. This is an important step to remember before adding the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. This ensures your cheesecake will be lump-free.
- Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. This step is crucial as it gives your cheesecake a thicker, more luxurious consistency.
- Taste the filling before setting it in the crust. This allows you to adjust the sugar or lemon levels according to your preference. Remember, this is YOUR cheesecake, so make sure it suits your taste!
- Chill the cheesecake for at least 6 hours or overnight for the best results. The waiting might be the hardest part, but it's well worth it for that perfect slice.
Hint: A springform pan lined with parchment paper can make the process of removing the cheesecake much easier.
No-bake lemon cheesecake without gelatin
Our no-bake lemon cheesecake recipe does not use gelatin for two main reasons:
- Creaminess and Firmness: The combined richness of cream cheese and the fluffy texture of whipped cream, when well mixed and chilled, ensures the cheesecake is firm and luscious.
- Inclusivity: Excluding gelatin makes this recipe suitable for those following vegetarian or vegan diets, or for anyone who prefers not to use animal-derived products.
As a result, we achieve an ultra-creamy and well-structured cheesecake without the use of gelatin.
Here is a list of necessary equipment to make this no-bake lemon cheesecake:
- Mixing Bowls: You'll need at least two - one for the crust mixture and another for the cheesecake filling.
- Electric Mixer: This is essential for achieving a smooth and creamy consistency for your cheesecake filling.
- Zester or Grater: To zest the lemons for that fresh lemon flavor.
- Citrus Juicer: To extract juice from the lemons.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons: For accurate measurement of ingredients.
- 9-inch Springform Pan: This type of pan makes it easy to remove the cheesecake once it's set.
- Rubber Spatula: To mix ingredients together and to smooth out the cheesecake filling in the pan.
- Paring Knife: To loosen the cheesecake from the edges of the pan before removal.
Remember, having the right tools at your disposal will make the process easier and more enjoyable.
- Fridge: Once prepared, the cheesecake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. This makes it a great option for prepping desserts in advance!
- Freezer: This cheesecake freezes well. You can freeze it whole or in individual slices for up to a month. This is perfect if you want to save some for later or prepare ahead of time for a party.
- Reheat: If you've frozen your cheesecake, simply thaw it in the fridge overnight before serving. It will taste as fresh as the day you made it!
💡 Top tip
Remember, always ensure your cream cheese is at room temperature before you start mixing to avoid lumps. If you've forgotten to take the cream cheese out of the fridge ahead of time, a quick tip to bring it to room temperature is to cut it into small pieces and spread them out on a plate.
Absolutely! If you're a fan of limes, feel free to substitute the lemons with them for a different yet delicious flavor profile.
If your cheesecake isn't firm, it probably needs more time in the fridge. This recipe requires ample chilling time to set properly. To speed up the process you can place the cheesecake in the freezer for a couple of hours.
Cream cheese is recommended for the traditional cheesecake texture and flavor. Mascarpone could make the cheesecake too rich and heavy. And doesn't provide enough structure to the chilled cheesecake.
Absolutely! For a crustless cheesecake, simply follow the same steps for the filling and omit the crust. Enjoy!
This no-bake lemon cheesecake is the epitome of a refreshing, easy, and delightful dessert. You'll get non-stop compliments when you serve this at your next gathering.
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Easy No Bake Lemon Cheesecake
- 2 cups (165 g) graham cracker crumbs
- ½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter melted
- 16 oz (450 g) cream cheese softened at room temperature
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream whipped to soft peaks
- Juice and zest of 2 lemons
- Whipped cream and additional lemon zest or lemon slices
Making the Crust
- In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until well combined.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan to form the crust, and place in the fridge to set while preparing the filling.
Making the Cheesecake Filling
- In a large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy.
- Gradually add the sugar, beating well until fully incorporated.
- Fold in the whipped cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust in the springform pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.
- Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 6 hours, or ideally overnight, to allow it to set.
Garnishing and Serving
- After the chilling time, run a small, warmed paring knife around the edge of the springform pan to loosen the cheesecake.
- Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan.
- Just before serving, garnish the cheesecake with additional whipped cream and lemon zest. Slice and enjoy!
- Be sure to use a springform pan for easy removal of the cheesecake.
- The cream cheese should be at room temperature to ensure a smooth and creamy texture.
- The cheesecake needs to be refrigerated for at least 6 hours, but for the best results, refrigerate it overnight.
- If you prefer a less tart cheesecake, reduce the amount of lemon juice and zest used.