Don't forget to check out the Tips & FAQ section in the post!
This fluffy no bake cherry cheesecake has a delicious tangy cream cheese filling with a sweet cherry topping and is super easy to mix together without the hassle of baking.
Homemade cherry cheesecake with graham cracker crust is a classic dessert that’s always a family favorite. It’s super easy to make and doesn’t require any baking, so you can whip this one up quickly.
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This cheesecake is both creamy and fluffy with a slight tanginess to it and just makes the perfect cool summer dessert.
It does take a while to chill and firm up, so it’s always best to make this the day before you want to serve it. It’s totally worth the wait.
So, if you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing dessert that requires minimal effort, this fluffy no-bake cherry cheesecake is the perfect solution.
Now let’s talk about just some of the ingredients in this jello no bake cherry cheesecake. (The printable list of all ingredients are in the recipe card below.)
For the crust:
Graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter: This recipe makes a 13×9 inch cheesecake or two round cheesecake pies.
You can either buy two graham cracker pie crusts, graham cracker crumbs or graham crackers and crush them up yourself.
You’ll add the sugar and butter to add sweetness and help the crumbs stick together.
Ingredients for the filling:
Lemon jello and lemon juice: This just gives the cream cheese a nice tangy flavor. It isn’t an overwhelming lemon flavor though so the cheesecake won’t actually taste like a lemon pie.
Cream cheese and sugar: You’ll need cream cheese for cheesecake, but you’ll want to use a name brand like Philadelphia. I’ve tried store-brand cheesecake before and it’s just not as good.
You’ll also want to make sure that the cream cheese is softened so that it stays smooth when mixed.
Make sure to add the sugar because cream cheese alone isn’t sweet.
Evaporated milk: This is canned milk, but not sweetened condensed milk. This recipe is based on an older cheesecake recipe that called for Milnot, which is a brand of evaporated milk.
Milnot can be used here, but basically, any brand of evaporated canned milk can be used.
Ingredients for the topping:
Cherry pie filling: This is optional, but I’m assuming that since you’re here, then you probably like cherries on your cherry cheesecake.
Of course though, you can add any toppings you like instead of cherry pie filling. You can even just leave it plain, which is also good.
(Make sure to check out the FAQ section below in this post for ingredient and substitution questions.)
How to make this cheesecake:
Let’s talk about how to make no bake cherry cheesecake (The printable instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Make the crust:
First, you’ll need to make the crust. You can use two pre-made graham cracker pie crusts or you can make your own crust by buying graham cracker crumbs or crushing graham crackers.
You’ll also want to spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
If you make your own crust, after your crumbs are prepared, add the butter and sugar and mix well. You may need to adjust the amount of butter.
Add the crumbs to a 13×9 inch baking dish and use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the mixture into the bottom of the pan and up the sides only slightly.
Place in the fridge to chill while making the cheesecake filling.
Make the filling:
Now make the filling. First, take the dry lemon jello mix and mix it with the boiling water. Place that into the refrigerator until it’s cooled down and slightly thickened.
Now take a large mixing bowl, and mix together the cream cheese, granulated sugar and lemon juice with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until everything is smooth. Set that bowl to the side.
Next, add the cooled-down jello mixture and mix with an electric mixer until the mixture is smooth.
Take another large bowl and add in the chilled evaporated milk. Mix it for several minutes on high speed until it is fluffy.
Gently fold the whipped evaporated milk into the cream cheese mixture.
Pour the filling into the crust and chill the cheesecake for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.
Make the topping:
After the cheesecake has chilled, add the cherry pie filling if desired or you can add any toppings you like and even leave it plain.
Store this cheesecake in the fridge and enjoy it cold.
(Remember that the full instructions will also be in the recipe card below.)
Best No Bake Cherry Cheesecake (Light and Fluffy)
- 3 cups graham cracker crumbs (or use 2 pre-packaged graham cracker crusts)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (may need to add an additional 1/4 cup)
- 1 (3 ounce) box lemon jello (not pudding)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, near room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk, chilled (not sweetened condensed milk-see FAQ section in the post)
- 2 (21 ounce) cans cherry pie filling, optional
For the crust:
- Lightly spray a 13×9 inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
- Use either boxed graham cracker crumbs or crush enough graham crackers to make 3 cups of crumbs.(I used a food processor to crush up the crackers.) You could also use two, pre-made graham cracker crusts to make two cheesecake pies.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Mix well and break up any large crumbs. If the mixture feels a little dry, add another 1/4 cup melted butter and mix again.
- Pour the crumbs into the prepared 13×9 inch pan.
- Use clean hands or the bottom of a measuring cup to press the mixture into the bottom of the pan and part way up the sides.
- Place in the fridge to chill while making the cheesecake filling.
For the filling:
- In a small bowl, mix the lemon jello mix with the boiling water and mix well. Place into the refrigerator until it's cooled down and slightly thickened while you mix the rest of the filling. (Don't let it completely firm up. It just needs to be cooled down and no longer warm.)
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cream cheese, granulated sugar and lemon juice with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Set aside.
- Add the cooled down jello mixture and mix with an electric mixer on medium-high until well combined.
- In another bowl, add the chilled evaporated milk and mix with an electric mixer on high for several minutes until very fluffy.
- Gently fold the whipped evaporated milk into the cream cheese mixture.
- Pour the filling into the crust (or pre-made graham cracker pie crusts.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.
- (This recipe makes a lot of filling and if you're using the pre-made graham cracker pie crusts, then you may have a bit extra. Store the extra in the fridge and just eat as a mousse or as a fruit dip.)
For the topping:
- After the cheesecake has chilled, add cherry pie filling to the top if desired. You do not have to add the cherry filling if you prefer the cheesecake plain.
- See the notes section for notes about cheesecake texture, for best ways to store, serve and for more questions.
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Tips & FAQs:
No, there are other options in the recipe card below if you don’t want to make your own crust.
Feel free to add more melted butter, as noted in the recipe card.
You do need to use some type of jello because that’s what will firm up the cheesecake. If not, it’ll really never fully firm up much.
Just note that the cheesecake doesn’t taste heavily of lemon, but you can use a different flavor jello flavor if you like.
Make sure to use jello mix, not pudding mix. Those are different.
I’ve never tried using pudding instead of jello, but I don’t think the cheesecake will set up as well if you use pudding mix instead of jello.
Evaporated milk is canned milk. It has more fat content than regular milk. It is not the same as sweetened condensed milk.
No. Regular milk does not have enough fat content in it to whip up like evaporated milk.
No, sweetened condensed milk is something very different than evaporated milk and will not work the same in this recipe.
Maybe, although I have not tried that out. I think that if you do that though, it won’t be quite as creamy, but you’re welcome to try it if you want.
No. You can of course leave it off or add the toppings of your choice. It’s your cheesecake, so you can make it to your preference.
Did you allow the jello to cool down sufficiently? It doesn’t need to be firmed up, but it can’t be warm or hot. Also, did you beat the milk long enough? It should be whipped on high for several minutes until it’s quite fluffy.
Also, make sure that the cheesecake has chilled for at least 6 hours and preferably overnight. It does need that long to firm up.
If the cheesecake is runny, see the above question. If it’s just not as firm as a baked cheesecake, that’s normal for a no-bake cheesecake.
As noted in the recipe card, this cheesecake is a no bake cheesecake and does not have the same consistency as a baked cheesecake. It does not firm up as much as a baked cheesecake.
It will firm up enough to cut, but will still be a light and fluffy consistency and at the same time, creamy. It’s not meant to have the same consistency as a baked cheesecake.
If you want it to firm up enough to cut it and get slices out of the pan, you do. It just takes time for the entire cheesecake to chill throughout and firm up. If you eat it before then, it’ll just be too runny.
I have never frozen this cheesecake. Historically cream cheese can be weird when frozen and defrosted and I’m not sure if the whipped consistency would survive, but you’re welcome to test it out if you want.
This cheesecake should be covered and stored in the refrigerator and may last up to 5-6 days.
Serve this cheesecake cold, with your favorite toppings, or just plain.
Supplies used for this recipe:
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- 13×9 inch baking dish
- Mixing bowls
- Silicon spatula
- Electric hand mixer or stand mixer
- Measuring cups and spoons