Need a quick and easy dessert that’s sure to impress? Try our classic No Bake Lemon Cheesecake recipe. Perfect for serving at family dinners, BBQs or special occasions. Made with loads of fresh lemon and coconut flavor, this recipe is sure to create the creamiest cheesecake yet.
The graham cracker crust, creamy cheesecake middle of “it’s so tasty it reminds me of summer” coconut, and zingy lemon flavor made for a great combo. Cool and refreshing for a scorching weekend. Yum!
Now I know homemade baking can be a scary thing for many people. This recipe ideally skips all of the typical fuss and stress around home baking. A simplified base with a perfectly smooth frosting and some simple decorations is all you need.
Be sure to grab the full recipe & check out the full video tutorial in the recipe card below. And if you try this recipe (I mean you totally should be), tag me on Instagram @imancake and use the hashtag #BakingWithMANCAKE.
Want even more delicious cheesecakes? Then check out these recipes!
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PRO TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST CHEESECAKE RECIPE
- The quickest way to a smooth cheesecake is cream cheese that is whipped smoothly. Save some time and grab whipped cream cheese from your grocery store rather than cream cheese blocks.
- If you can’t find whipped cream cheese, start off with really room temperature cream cheese. Leave it out the night before or zap it in the microwave for 20 seconds at 50% power. If the cream cheese is too firm the batter will not be smooth.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugars until completely smooth.
- No Graham crackers? No problem! Sub in your favorite cookie like Biscoff or Oreos.
- If you’re cursed with cracking then bake in a water bath and leave that oven closed for an hour after turning off and before removing. Slow and steady wins the race for a nice smooth uncracked cheesecake.
- Try not to open the oven, the rush of cold air into the oven will not be good for your delicate cake.
- Don’t be frightened if your cheesecake seems underdone after an hour of baking, it will firm up.
- When you wrap the cheesecake up Have a piece of paper towel under the plastic or foil. This will absorb condensation and your surface will be unmarred by water droplets.
Pro Tips For The Best Cheesecake
- Start off with really room temperature cream cheese. Leave it out the night before or zap it in the microwave for 20 seconds at 50% power. If the cream cheese is too firm the batter will not be smooth.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugars until completely smooth. and you’ll do well to scrape the bowl down a few times!
- Sometimes sour cream can have a tendency to clump. Make sure it’s really room temperature then give it a quick whisk in a bowl to improve it’s consistency.
- Pack that crust really well so you get nice clean pieces that hold together.
- This cheesecake is best when chilled overnight so try and wait before you cut it.
Cheesecake is one of those crazy-easy desserts with just a handful of ingredients and limitless possibilities, but as is often true with things that are easy, small mistakes can upset the cheesecake entirely.
Here are four of the most common cheesecake mistakes and how you can avoid them so you make the perfect no-bake cheesecake each time.
Baking the crust
No-bake truly means you do not have to bake the dessert. If you’d like to make this a no-bake and omit the eggs then remember to care for your crust.
Trying to bake a crumb crust for a no-bake cheesecake will make for a soggy crust, as no-bake crusts have more fat. Trying to use a baked crust (even one with less butter) means your filling will ooze into the crust and make it soggy.
Try this instead: Most importantly, you should make sure to chill the crumb crust at least 10 minutes before filling it, but even longer is better. If you’re quite familiar with crumb crusts you’ll notice that no-bake versions have a higher ratio of butter to graham cracker crumbs. This makes for a sturdy crust when refrigerated.
Mixing the filling for longer than the recipe says
I once tried mixing my filling with my stand mixer – it has always been my go to for creamy cheesecake filling so I thought it would make mixing even easier. To my surprise, I found a super-soft cheesecake waiting the next day as a result.
Try this: Make sure you use room-temperature cream cheese (more on that below) and use a hand mixer or mix by hand to avoid breaking the emulsion created by the cream cheese.
Using cold cream cheese
I always get messages of, “Do I really need to use room temperature ingredients?” My response is always an eager, “Yes!” Your cream cheese needs to be room temperature before mixing. Trying to whip cold cream cheese into the filling will result in little lumps.
Try this: Pull the cream cheese out of the fridge at least an hour before mixing. Unwrap the cream cheese and cut it into cubes if you’re in a hurry to get the cake in the fridge.
Rushing the chill
The filling needs proper chilling, a minimum of three hours but preferably overnight, to set into sliceable sections. Freezing the cheesecake results in a too-hard-to-enjoy crust and filling; a shortcut process I always find messing up when I freeze my cheesecake and wait for it to get to room temperature.
Try this: The cheesecake should be shiny and firm to the touch when set. You can move the cheesecake to the fridge for 30 minutes before slicing, but freezing any longer will make for a frozen cheesecake without the same delightfully creamy texture as the just-refrigerated version.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW CAN I MAKE THIS GLUTEN FREE?
Substitute the crackers for 1 1/2 cups of quick oats. Make the recipe as directed below BUT you will bake the crust at 350F for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Chill before adding the filling in.
CAN I USE COLD INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING?
No, you really want room temperature ingredients for the filling. Cole ingredients will not form a smooth, homogenous mixture and you’ll be left with a lumpy cheesecake. You can aways warm up your cream cheese and sour cream in the microwave with 20 second bursts at 50% power.
WHAT CAN I SERVE THIS WITH?
CAN YOU FREEZE CHEESECAKE?
Yes, wrap the cake well in plastic then foil and freeze for up to two months. When you’re ready to eat just transfer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
WHATS A SUBSTITUTE FOR GRAHAM CRACKERS?
You can use chocolate sandwich cookies, or almost any cookie you enjoy the make the crust, it’s very forgiving.
HOW DO YOU AVOID CRACKS?
Anyone who has made cheesecakes probably has had issues with cracks forming on the surface as the cake bakes. This happens because the cake is cooking quicker towards the edges, while the center is still liquidy. AKA the center is not rising with the edge of the cake, and so the cracks develop.
Bake at a lower temperature for a longer time. Doing this will gradually warm the filling and cause less uneven expansion and cracking.
Keep the oven CLOSED! Don’t open it to check on things and when the time is up turn the oven off and leave it closed of an hour or so. You want the cake too cool gradually and the extra oven time allows the center to bake just a little longer at an even lower temperature. This Either way, I have to admit that a cracked cheesecake doesn’t taste all that bad!
Baking your cake in a water bath, or Bain-Marie helps reduce this problem and works like a giant cake strip (if you don’t use cake strips you need to start, you can buy them or make your own). The steam from the water also helps keep the top from drying out too quickly.
WHAT DO YOU DO IF IT CRACKS?
Eat it! it still Tastes great and is so easy to cover with extra dollops of whipped cream or candied nuts! You can also make a traditional sour cream topping by whisking together 1 pint sour cream, ¼ cup sugar and 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract. Spread over the cake once slightly cooled and bake another 10 minutes at 325F. If you’re making this topping and the cake has cracked then you can let the cake cool in the oven for 20 minutes after baking then raise oven temp to 325F, spread topping on and bake 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely and chill overnight before removing from pan.
HOW SHOULD YOU GARNISH CHEESECAKE?
This cheesecake is AMAZING plain but a big dollop of whipped cream is always welcome. Mix 2 cups or whipped cream with a 1/4 cup powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla extract until stiff peaks form then add dollops onto each piece or pipe dollops along the edge with a star tip. Doesn’t get any simpler than that but let your creativity shine when it comes to garnishing. No two cheesecakes are ever the same.
HOW TO BAKE CHEESECAKE IN A WATER BATH
Have you ever made one of my cheesecakes and felt stumped when you got to the part about using a water bath? Let’s explore both the how and the why of baking cheesecake in a water bath!
I know that water baths can be intimidating for novice and advanced bakers alike. So let’s dive into why I think it’s best to use a water bath, though I don’t always at times (I like to bake on the edge), and my favorite leak-proof method for making one!
WHY USE A WATER BATH FOR CHEESECAKE?
Before we get to the “how,” let’s talk about the “why.”
WHY do cheesecake recipes call for a water bath?
Believe it or not, cheesecake is actually pretty delicate. It would be very easy for the heat from the oven to cause the edges to overcook, the top to crack, or the whole thing to become rubbery.
By using a water bath, we keep the oven moist and help moderate the heat so that the edges do not cook faster than the middle of the cheesecake.
HOW TO MAKE A WATER BATH FOR CHEESECAKE
- prepare the springform pan with foil
- prepare the baking pan for the water bath
- preheat oven
- add graham cracker crust to pan and then cheesecake batter
- place in the oven
- pour water into the baking pan, being careful not to splash into the batter
- bake for directed time
The biggest issue people tend to have with water baths is leaking. Again, I’ve done this a lot, so I’ve come up with a method that works best for me.
First, I prepare the springform pan itself. I like to line the bottom of the pan with foil, fasten on the side piece, and tightly wrap the outside and sides of the pan with TWO layers of heavy duty foil.
Yes, two layers. Yes, heavy duty foil.
Why? Less chance of getting a hole through both layers!
Now, at this point I like to take the extra step of placing the foil-wrapped pan inside an oven bag while baking. It provides a little extra leakage insurance. Totally optional, but worth the effort!
This whole setup gets placed inside a larger pan. I like to use a roasting pan or a large sheet cake pan with high sides.
Now here is where I give you my two tips to keep things from spilling:
First: I get the springform pan set up in the oven bag and roasting pan before I add the cheesecake filling to the pan.
Second: Move the roasting pan onto your oven rack BEFORE adding the boiling water for the water bath.
Trust me, you don’t want to try to carry a pan half full of boiling water across the kitchen and get it into the oven without spilling it everywhere.
Once the roasting pan is on the oven rack, you can add the boiling water until it comes about halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
I know this sounds like a lot of steps, but they are really quite simple! I promise, the more you use a water bath when baking, the more it will become second nature.
And when the result is perfect cheesecake? It’s always worth the extra effort.
WHAT YOU CAN FIND IN MY KITCHEN
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If you’ve tried this tasty treat then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you!
- 3 cups finely crushed graham crackers
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 4 packages cream cheese (32oz) at room temperature
- 1 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1 cup of shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup heavy whipped cream
- 5 cups heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- Grease your cheesecake pan and set aside. If preferred, you can also lay down cut to size parchment paper.
For the Cheesecake Crust:
- Crush the graham crackers in a food processor until crumbs are fine.
- Combine crumbs with melted butter, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl until well incorporated.
- Add crumbs to cheesecake pan, distributing evenly, and pressing down flat firmly as you work the crumbs up the sides of the pan.
For the Cheesecake Filling:
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese for about 2 minutes until whipped smooth. I like to start on a low speed and work my way up to a high speed.
- Add sifted powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, shredded coconut, and vanilla extract. Continue to beat on a medium-low speed.
- Top off with heavy whipped cream and blend in on a low speed until it is worked into the cheesecake batter. After about a minute, beat on a high speed for 3 minutes until fluffy and thickened. This will also be a good spot to taste the filling. Depending on your preference, you can add more sifted powdered sugar or lemon zest if you're looking for more lemon flavor; same goes for the shredded coconut.
- Fill your graham cracker crust with the lemon-coconut cheesecake filling.
- Smooth out with a spatula.
- Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
For the Whipped Cream
- Once your cheesecake has fully set and you're ready to serve, prepare your homemade whipped cream.
- Add heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and sifted powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl.
- Whip on a high speed until stiff firm peaks form.
- Pipe on dollops of whipped cream along the edge of the cheesecake.
- If you have any left over shredded coconut, you can be cheeky with cheesecake and lightly sprinkle more shredded coconut on top for a more refreshing tropical flavor.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: Be sure to allow your dairy ingredients to reach room temperature. Room temperature ingredients not only combine more effortlessly (no over-mixing needed) but they also trap air so much better. This trap air will expand and produce a fluffy texture during your baking process.
- Prepared Pan: There will always be the "next best way to prepare your pan" article. Simply put however, the most effective way i find in my kitchen is a light rub of shortening around the sides, parchment paper on the bottom of the pan (for majority of baking pans), & a very light dusting of flour (cocoa powder for chocolate baked goods) all throughout.
KitchenAid 5 Qt. Artisan Series Stand Mixer
KitchenAid 7-Speed Digital Hand Mixer
3 Piece Spring Form Pan Set - 4-inch, 7-inch, & 9-inch
Pyrex Glass Mixing Bowl Set (3-Piece)
Wilton Disposable Piping Bags (100 Count)
Decorating Tip Start Set (6-Piece)
Wilton Offset Spatula
Cuisinart Plus Food Processor
Pyrex 4-Piece Glass Measuring Cup Set
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