A creamy, tart, no-bake lemon cheesecake that can be made in minutes without ever turning on the oven! Served over a simple graham cracker crust, this sweet & tart summertime treat is a simple party pleaser that’s perfect for your next get-together!
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably in no mood to turn on the oven right now. Even with the air conditioning set a few degrees cooler than my wallet is comfortable with, a 350 degree oven quickly warms up the house and makes the kitchen too hot to bear.
Recently I’ve been avoiding this by keeping my desserts as oven-free as possible and making a lot of refreshing, no-bake desserts. This no-bake lemon cheesecake is my most recent bake-less dessert, and not only does it not require turning on the oven, but it is a perfect refreshing warm-weather treat!
Classic cheesecake recipes often need to bake in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, and the thought of leaving my oven running that long in the summertime heat just wasn’t realistic. Recently I’ve been experimenting and even developed my own no-bake cheesecake recipe, which inspired me to play with different flavors and methods.
What better flavor for a hot summer day than tart, refreshing, lemon? I really do love all things lemon including Lemon Meringue Pie Cheesecake!
I played with this recipe a few times using just natural lemon flavoring, but when I broke out the Lemon Jello is when everything really started to come together. The lemon flavoring gave this no-bake lemon cheesecake the best flavor out of all of the variations that I tried, and is very simple to use. Just dissolve the gelatin mixture into hot water, but let it get back to room temperature before stirring it into your cheesecake mix.
You can use a store-bought graham cracker crust (though it will end up being pretty full!), or you can use my favorite graham cracker crust recipe, which I’ve included in the recipe below.
No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 7 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 package lemon Jell-O 3 ounces
- 16 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream*
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest freshly grated
- Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugars in a medium-sized bowl. Add melted butter and use a fork to combine ingredients well.
- Pour mixture into a 9″ or 10″ springform pan. Use the (clean!) bottom of a measuring cup to firmly pack crumbs into the bottom of the pan and gently press up the sides. Use your fingers to pack crumbs tightly into the sides of the pan.
- Place in refrigerator or freezer while you prepare cheesecake filling.
No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake
- Pour Lemon Jello gelatin mix into 1 cup very hot water and stir well. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, stir cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth and well-combined.
- Add sour cream and stir well.
- Mix in vanilla extract.
- Only once jello mixture is no longer hot to the touch, gradually pour into cream cheese mixture. Stir slowly at first (to avoid splashing) and then increase speed until mixture is completely combined (pause to scrape down sides of the bowl periodically). Stir very well.
- In a separate bowl, pour your heavy cream and use an electric mixer with whisk attachment to beat to stiff peaks.
- Fold whipped cream into cheesecake mixture until well-combined.
- Fold in lemon zest, if using.
- Pour over graham cracker crust and transfer to refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight to chill.
- If desired, top with whipped cream before cutting and serving.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Hi Holly…can I substitute LEMON CURD for the lemon jello in this recipe ? Thanks !
I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure Liz. Since this is a no-bake dessert I worry that with lemon curd instead of jello that it will not set properly. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!
I made this last night and it is amazing! The flavour is out of this world!!
So the consistency is softer though, and I’m wondering if it’s because of this:
(This is a stupid thing I did): I dissolved the gelatin and got it to room temp, but I kept stirring it, I wasn’t sure if I was actually supposed to let it set – usually I set it in the fridge after a while. Should I have dissolved and then let it set first till room temp?
Also, having done that, if that’s the reason, will it become firmer the longer it sits in the fridge?
Hi Rabia, you did everything right! It will become firmer as it sits in the fridge.
I normally don’t comment on recipes, but I have to say – this is the best lemon no bake cheesecake I’ve ever made! It has an incredibly smooth velvet texture. Thank you so much for this recipe!
Perfect! Smooth, creamy and a perfect lemon taste. I always stabilize my whipped cream so I did for this. This will be served all summer in our South Carolina home. Beat the heat!
Are you suppsed to use a hand help mixture for this part?: “Only once jello mixture is no longer hot to the touch, gradually pour into cream cheese mixture. Stir slowly at first (to avoid splashing) and then increase speed until mixture is completely combined (pause to scrape down sides of the bowl periodically). Stir very well.”
For ease, you can use a mixer or you can combine it by hand if you prefer.
Does the cool whip make the finished product much sweeter? I’m thinking that because the cool whip has sugar but heavy cream does not, the finished product might be too sweet.
We have only made this recipe as written so I couldn’t say, but you could try making it with zero sugar Cool Whip if you are concerned about sweetness!
I was so pleased to find a recipe that I could tweak to make gluten free. I did make some changes after my Mom made this cheesecake. I added 1 tsp of lemon peel to the crust, but I also used 1/2 C of lemon juice with the boiling water to prepare the lemon Jello. It maximized the lemon flavor of the finished product. This cheesecake is so beautiful once it’s ready to serve: tall and rich. This recipe is no-fail AND no-bake! Hooray! Thank you so much!
Those sound like delicious additions Milaka! Thanks for sharing.
Have you ever made a strawberry version using fresh strawberries juiced, to sub part of the jello water? When I did that with lemon juice, it made a more potent flavor. :) To make it gluten free, I used gf animal crackers (without frosting). It was akin to a shortbread crust.
We have not tried this recipe in a strawberry version but that sounds so delicious Milaka. We do have this Strawberry Cheesecake Pie Recipe that we love as well.
Love your idea of some added lemon juice. Will next time.
Love easy recipes !!!
I have made this one in lemon and also tweaked it to a strawberry. Both were very nice!