This easy Philadelphia no bake cheesecake is a classic dessert that never goes out of style. Fabulous on its own or pair it with your favorite toppings.
This no bake Philadelphia cheesecake is one of those recipes everyone needs in their repertoire. An easy vanilla cheesecake that's perfect to make ahead.
Serve it on its own to let the classic flavors shine. Or decorate to your heart's content with everything from fresh seasonal fruit to a vibrant compote or curd, rich chocolate ganache or sticky caramel sauce. The possibilities are endless!
Of course if a whole cake is just too much cheesecake (never!) why not try making my no bake mini cheesecakes. Same great taste, but a miniature version!
Recipe tips and frequently asked questions
What is Philadelphia no bake cheesecake?
Philadelphia no bake cheesecake, also known as Philly cheesecake or simply no bake cheesecake is a classic cheesecake that's made by chilling it in the fridge instead of baking in the oven. It is made with Philadelphia cream cheese, hence the name (although works with other brands too) and has a cookie crust.
Why did my no bake cheesecake not set?
A couple of reasons. The first is it hasn't been left in the fridge for long enough. The absolute minimum time needed to set a no bake cheesecake is four hours. However it's much safer to make it the night beforehand and let it set overnight for at least 12 hours. Second, the cream may not have been whipped to stiff peaks - this can lead to runny cheesecake.
How do I make my no bake cheesecake firmer?
To make your cheesecake firmer you can let it set for longer. Overnight or even two nights is usually best. Or next time you can add some gelatine or vegetarian alternative like agar agar to help it set firmer. See my posts on passion fruit cheesecake and no bake mango cheesecake for how to use these options respectively.
Why is my no bake cheesecake base soggy?
The main reason no bake cheesecake base is soggy is because the base was not chilled for long enough. Warm melted butter is added to cookie crumbs to make the cheesecake base. If the base is too hot when you add the cheesecake filling on top it can make the filling weep, resulting in a soggy cheesecake base.
Make sure you chill your base for at least an hour before filling. You can also make it ahead as it will keep well in the fridge for a few days.
Can you use vanilla extract in no bake cheesecake?
You sure can. In fact I use vanilla extract in this recipe to give it extra flavor.
What to serve with Philly no bake cheesecake
This classic no bake cheesecake is fabulous on its own but also lends itself to a wealth of delicious flavors. Try it with your favorite fresh fruit or some tasty options include:
- A classic strawberry compote
- Passion fruit coulis
- Raspberry compote
- Mango coulis
- Cherry compote
- Peach compote
Philadelphia cream cheese: full fat cream cheese is best for this recipe for that classic creamy cheesecake taste. If you use light cream cheese it may not set properly. If you can't get Philadelphia you can try using a different brand.
Cream: I use thickened cream which has a fat content of about 34%. You could also use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream which is similar.
Vanilla extract: sometimes also called vanilla essence, depending on where you live. You can use either, or imitation vanilla essence, depending on your preference and budget.
Lemons: a dash of lemon juice helps balance the sweetness of the cream cheese frosting filling. Fresh is best, I don't recommend bottled lemon juice.
Graham Crackers or Digestive biscuits: are a type of sweet plain cookies with wholegrain which are the classic cheesecake base. It also works well with most types of sweet cookies, including nila wafers or chocolate flavored cookies such as Oreos. For a gluten free version try replacing the cookies with your favorite gluten free cookie (note I haven't tested this so can't say for certain if the base will set properly)
Unsalted Butter: because butter makes most things taste better. In this case it binds and sets the base.
How to make Philadelphia no bake cheesecake
See the full recipe card at the end of the post for ingredient amounts and instructions.
To make the base
Break the cookies up and blitz them into crumbs in a food processor. If you don't have a food processor you can put them into a plastic bag on a chopping board, cover with a tea towel and bash (carefully) with a rolling pin, or even the base of a small pot.
Melt the butter in a microwave or in a pot on the stove. Add the butter to the crumbs and mix well.
Tip into the lined cake tin. Press down with the back of a spoon and chill for at least one hour, and up to twenty-four hours before filling. You want to press down enough for the base to hold together but not too firmly to your base will be too hard.
Hot tip: do not skip chilling the base. If it's too hot when you add the filling it can make the filling weep, resulting in a soggy cheesecake base. If you are pressed for time on the day you can make the base the day before and store it in the fridge.
To make the Philadelphia cheesecake filling
Slice and juice the lemon. Beat the cream cheese briefly to soften. Add the lemon juice, sugar and vanilla to the room temperature cream cheese and beat on low until combined and the sugar has all dissolved.
Hot tip: Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature. This can take anywhere from thirty minutes to one hour depending on where you live. If your cream cheese is too cold it won't mix in properly and is one of the main causes of lumpy or grainy cheesecake.
In a separate bowl whip the cream until firm peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mix until well combined. Pour the cheesecake filling onto the prepared base and smooth down. The filling will be quite thick, so take care to smooth it down right to the edges and try to press out any air bubbles. Chill in the fridge for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
Once set remove from the tin and carefully peel back the baking paper or acetate. Carefully slide a large knife between the base and baking paper to loosen it, then transfer to a serving plate or board. Smooth the edges with a spatula.
Decorate to your heart's content and you're done! I have kept things clean and fresh this time with some fabulous fresh berries.
How to serve
To serve this classic no bake cheesecake pop onto a plate, slice and enjoy! To get a smooth slice you can dip a large sharp knife in hot water, dry it quickly then carefully slice the cake. It goes without saying the knife will be Hot. You may need to put a tea towel over the end to avoid burning your fingers on the hot metal.
Fabulous on their own or decorated to your heart's content. Why not try it drizzled with some fresh fruit or one of my fresh fruit coulis or compotes such as raspberry coulis, passion fruit coulis, mango coulis or a classic strawberry sauce. Or mix things up with some cookie crumbs or a chocolate ganache. Delicious!
How to store
This no bake vanilla cheesecake will store well undecorated in the fridge for up to five days, preferably in a covered container, but will be freshest if eaten within three days.
Undecorated individual slices or the whole cake wrapped and frozen for up to two months, but best eaten within a month for better taste and texture.
Have you made this recipe? Tell me how it went in the comments below and tag me on instagram so I can see your delicious creations! @keep_calm_and_eat_icecream
Looking for more yummy cheesecake recipes?
Why not try making
Philadelphia No Bake Cheesecake
- Spring form cake tin, 7" x 2.5" (18cm x 6.5cm)
- Electric hand beaters or stand mixer
- Stick/immersion blender with chopping bowl attachment or food processor
For the cheesecake base
- 2 & ⅓ cups (250gms) Digestive biscuite or graham cracker crumbs
- 1 stick (½ cup/ 115gms) unsalted butter
For the cheesecake filling
- 2 x 8 ounce tubs (450gms total) full fat cream cheese
- ½ cup (110gms) white sugar
- 1 & ½ teaspoons vanilla essence
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup (250mls) thickened cream
- Fresh berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
To make the cheesecake base
- Line the base and sides of a springform tin with baking paper.
- Break up the cookies and blitz briefly in a food processor into crumbs.
- Melt the butter by cubing, adding to a microwave proof bowl and microwave for a minute or two.
- Pour the melted butter into the biscuits crumbs and mix until it resembles fine bread crumbs.
- Pour into lined springform tin and press down at the bottom to form the base. Do not press to firmly or your base may become to hard.
- Chill in fridge for at least one hour and up to overnight.
To make the cheesecake filling
- NB Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature.
- Whip the cream until firm peaks form. In a separate bowl add the lemon juice, sugar and vanilla to the room temperature cream cheese and beat on low until combined and the sugar has all dissolved.
- Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mix until well combined.
- Put the cheesecake filling onto the prepared base and smooth down. Chill in the fridge for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
- To serve remove from the spring form pan, pop onto a plate and enjoy! Decorate to your hearts content or gobble it up as it is. Delicious!
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