No Bake Cheesecake

This recipe might not be new to you, because it’s one of those that’s been around for a long time. It was probably one of those “What can we make with Cool-Whip?” recipes that popped up back when it started hitting the grocery store freezer cases many years ago – 1967, just in case you were wondering…

By now, you know how I feel about Cool-Whip. It’s full of chemicals, including both high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable (palm and coconut) oils. Knowing how easy it is to whip up your own homemade whipping cream, I’m just not going to use the stuff, ever. Plus, the taste comparison between Cool-Whip and homemade whipped cream is no contest.

Knowing that one of my favorite childhood desserts calls for Cool-Whip as one of the main ingredients was very, very sad for me. So, I experimented and I replaced the Cool-Whip with whipped cream, and you know what? It worked. Made my day.

This is a recipe that my Grandma made for years and years. I’m not sure we ever had a Christmas or Thanksgiving without it on the table as one of the dessert options. It still shows up at most of our family gatherings, and it still makes everyone very, very happy. This smells like, tastes like and looks like Grandma’s house. It brings back memories of sitting in her kitchen, watching her use the rolling pin to crush graham cracker crumbs, knowing something my younger siblings and cousins did not – if you hung out with Grandma in the kitchen while she was baking, she ALWAYS let you have the beaters when she was done.

True to form of most of my Grandma’s recipes, it’s simple, quick and delicious. You HAVE to use canned cherry pie filling for the topping. Don’t try to get fancy on me! I do have to note that to make this the proper, “Grandma” way, you need to make it in a glass 9×13 casserole dish.  As you can see though, I made it today in the mini cheesecake pan and it turned out nicely.

I hope you’ll give it a try – enjoy!

{Remember, I put a lot of love and time into each post here at Lemon Sugar, so I’d love to hear from you!  Please click on the comment button below and let me know what you think!  Thanks!}

No Bake Cherry Cheesecake
Yield:  24 mini cheesecakes or 1 large 9×13 cheesecake
Prep Time:  25 minutes ♦ Bake Time:  None ♦ Chill Time: at least 4 hours

Crust Ingredients:
2 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
10 Tablespoons (1 and 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

Filling Ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cold whipping cream, whipped

Topping Ingredients:
1 can cherry pie filling

In a large bowl, cream together sugar and softened cream cheese until smooth and creamy.  Set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip cream until stiff peaks form.  Carefully fold 1/4 of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.  Once combined, add the remaining whipped cream and fold in gently.

In another bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter, and stir to combine.  Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.  Use the bottom of a glass to compact the mixture.

Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the top of the graham crackers.  Top with cherry pie filling and chill, covered, for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.  Keep refrigerated until serving.


(To make in mini cheesecake pan, evenly divide the graham cracker crumbs among 24 tins.  Fill the hollows to the top with the cream cheese mixture, and chill WITHOUT the cherries on top.  After allotted chilling time, remove from cheesecake pan and top with a spoonful of cherries.)

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  • Joan@chocolateandmore

    Erin, these look wonderful and perfect for a quick fix on a hot summer day!

  • Windy Phillips

    I remember these as a kid, but didn’t have an actual recipe. This will be awesome for the summer!

  • Samantha

    Omigosh this looks just like the cheesecake my mother used to make when I was a kid! It was so good that I always requested it as my birthday cake, instead of a real cake. Our recipe was basically this, plus fresh blueberries, but I can’t actually tell you how that tasted because we always used strawberries. We pureed them and added them right in to the cream cheese/cool whip mixture. It had a lovely pink color, perfect for a little girl’s birthday!

    Thanks for bringing back such lovely memories (and now I really want to make this…and my husband has the same gripe you do about cool whip, and like you makes delicious homemade whipped cream so he can’t possibly object to this recipe!)

  • 3twentysix is..

    i am a HUGE fan of cheesecake!! for my birthdays i don’t want anything other than different types of cheesecake! i’m not big on cooking/baking…but this might be a great desert that i could make!! thanks for sharing!!

  • Tiffany/MyCrowdedKitchen

    Oh. heavens! These look scrumptious. So gald I stopped in from Thursday treasures. Love your space. I would love to invite you to share your fab with us on Fabulous Friday sometime. Have a great weekend!

  • Debi….Recipes For My Boys

    I love these Erin! Cheesecakes are a big hit at our house. Thank you for sharing again on Thursday’s Treasures Week 36. Hope you will join again next week. Following you on GC. <3 and hugs!

  • Anonymous

    Hi! I don’t know if anyone else has problems getting whipping cream to turn into whipped cream, but I always did until I learned a little trick! If you put your whipping cream, the mixer beating bars, and the bowl you plan on “whipping” in, all in the freezer for just a few minutes everything will be NICE and COLD and the whipping cream turns into whipped cream MUCH easier! Just a thought for those that might have problems with this! :)

    • Mich

      Cool tip. Or should I say cool (whip) tip. :)

  • Anonymous

    1C cold whipping cream before or after its whipped?

  • Erin @ Lemon Sugar

    @Anonymous The measurement is for the liquid cream. Measure out 1 cup, then whip it. :) Enjoy!

  • Anonymous

    Finally an easy cheesecake recipe to astound my Italian friends here in Friuli-Venezia Giulia this Saturday. We local nationals haven’t seen Cool Whip since 1989-there’s nothing like the real thing!Grazie!

  • Anonymous

    In the ingredients it says 1/2 and 1/4 c. of sugar and in the instructions it says 1 c. of sugar with the cream cheese and then 1 c. to make the crust. I want to make this but not sure if use the 2 c. or the 1/2 and 1/4 cup measurements.

    • Erin @ Lemon Sugar

      Use the smaller measures.

  • Lauren

    I really want to try to make this! This cheesecake is sooo yummy!

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  • Brandy Romesburg

    i love it,thanks!

  • Annabel

    how do I make it in the rounds like in the picture above? What to make the minis :)

  • Cricket

    I will need to try this. I just made a cheesecake filling and baked it in crescent rolls flatten out one put the filling and then layered the next crescent roll on top covered with butter and cinnamon sugar. The kids love them for breakfast because its easy to just grab and go before school. My son says its better than a pop tart or cereal bar.

    • lemonsugar

      Hope you like it!

  • J

    Do you make sweetened whipped cream? or no because there is already sugar in the cream cheese mixture (cool whip would of had whipped cream)

    • lemonsugar

      Nope, I don’t add any sugar to the whipped cream, and I can’t really tell the difference.

  • Liz Brown Burns

    So glad to see I’m not the only one and I’m not paranoid about cool whip. Used to use it years ago but once I found out what it really is, I went to whipping cream myself. It’s so easy and so much better for you. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sandy

    Just saw your post for the first time today. Know i am going to enjoy it very much…Thanks looking forward to lotsof good foods.

  • Chef Frank

    Re; your comments about Cool Whip. There is a product used in restaurants called, “On Top”, which is an edible oil product, and is used as a substitute for whipped cream. This product will leave a pasty, oily taste in your mouth.
    As a Chef, I wish they would remove it from the market, and just use whipped cream.

  • Annie

    Is there a healthy way of doing this.

  • Dianne Sorensen

    I have tried to switch to whipped cream for other recipes that called for Cool Whip, but it didn’t stand up ! If you eat it soon after preparing it, yes, but it doesn’t hold for several hours — anyone have ideas
    ? Still use partly Cool Whip and partly cream, since we don’t have the dessert too often and share it with so many we only get one serving !

  • Sarah Pody

    my cheesecake turned out awesome with in a week it was gone I am making it again this week

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