No Bake Lemon Cheesecake is creamy and easy to make. Layered with Graham Cracker crumbs, sweet and tangy lemon curd and topped with softly whipped cream.
Cheesecake recipes are very popular on my blog. Like my Cheesecake Factory Original Cheesecake, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake and Samoa Cheesecake, this recipe is a perfect dessert option for a crowd!
No Bake Lemon Cheesecake Recipe
No Bake Lemon Cheesecake individually portioned desserts are always a hit at any party. The creamy texture, the gorgeous flavor of lemon from the freshly squeezed lemon juice and grated lemon zest make this dessert irresistible.
Served layered in glasses, the Lemon Cheesecake Parfaits are very easy to serve and also will look stunning on any dessert spread table.
This dessert is so easy to make, it’s done in 30 minutes or less, after that you should have the patience for it to chill, or if you are anything like me, just dive straight into that creamy goodness. To keep the recipe No-Bake and very hassle-free I used store-bought lemon pie filling, sometimes shortcuts are the best and we should totally take them!
Try my No Bake Samoa Cheesecake:
No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake Guidelines:
- Use full-fat cream cheese – if you are making and intend to eat cheesecake, don’t substitute the regular cream cheese for the fat-free version, you are loosing on creaminess. I mean, a cheesecake shouldn’t be the dessert where you try to cut some calories. To save money on the cream cheese, look for, in house labels, I know that Whole Foods and Shoprite have their own cream cheese that usually is on sale and very reasonably priced.
- Also, use full fat/whole milk greek yogurt – yogurt by itself already has fewer calories, so always use whole milk Greek yogurt, if you want it to taste rich and creamy
- Make your own whipped cream – to top these parfaits I used homemade whipped cream, obviously full fat, the texture is so much better than the one from a tube!
- In addition, don’t skip the lemon zest – lemon zest will add extra flavor and freshness to this rich dessert.
- Plain Graham Cracker crumbs – I like the lemon flavor to shine, so using plain graham cracker crumbs is key. In addition, you can top them with some crushed crackers. It is super delicious!
How to make lemon zest?
Follow the easy steps below:
- Rinse the lemon.
- Set your tool over a cutting board. A microplane produces a very fine zest, perfect for baking and cooking. If you don’t have a microplane, use the smallest holes on an ordinary grater.
- Grate the yellow skin of the lemon only. Grate just enough to get through the yellow skin, this way you can avoid the bitter white pith underneath.
- Rotate the lemon and repeat. Once the white pith is exposed, rotate the lemon and zest the next strip of peel. Repeat until most of the peel is removed, or until you have enough zest for your recipe.
Can you use lemon juice instead of lemon zest?
Yes! Lemon zest adds a citrus flavor to your recipes, including desserts, main dishes, and more. If you don’t have a lemon and a zester handy, you can the zest with regular lemon juice. 1 medium-size lemon = approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest = 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.
What to top the No-bake Lemon Cheesecake with?
It is a perfectly satisfying and delicious dessert as is. However, if you want to add some additional toppings, you are more then welcome to do so. Some of our favorite toppings would be:
- Shaved chocolate
- Graham crackers
Love No Bake desserts? Check out my collection:
- Rainbow Cheesecake Cupcakes
- Crepe Stuffed New York
- Meyer Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake
- Chocolate Hazelnut Bars
- Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake
- Peanut Butter
Tools/Ingredients I used to make this recipe:
- Glasses – regular, wide wine glasses, serve a dual purpose, for drinks and for pretty desserts
- Lemon Pie Filling – for when you are too lazy to make your own, or just want to skip an extra step and speed up your recipe making the process
- Gelatin – I like using a little in this recipe to ensure the cheesecake is firm, it’s especially important if you want to make it in a pie dish, where you would have to cut it into slices.
- Graham cracker crumbs – these are graham crackers that have been made into crumbs for you, so you can skip dirtying your food processor, I find these crumbs super convenient and a time saver
Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 0 minutes Total time: 30 mins
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 7 grams gelatin (unflavored)
- 16 ounces cream cheese, full fat (room temperature)
- 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt (room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 3 cups whipped cream or Cool Whip*
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 21 oz cans lemon pie filling (lemon curd*)
Whipped Cream Topping:
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Add lemon juice to a small, microwave safe bowl and sprinkle evenly with gelatin. Let it stand for 1 minute, then whisk to combine. Microwave on high for 15 seconds, whisk and microwave again for 10-20 seconds, whisk until dissolved. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Add the cream cheese to a large bowl and beat until fluffy. Add the Greek yogurt and beat until combined. Stop to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat to fully combine.
- Add the gelatin mixture, lemon zest and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
- Add the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy and fully combined.
- Fold in the whipped cream and beat on low until combined. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat for 3 minutes until fluffy and thickened.
Layer the dessert into glasses in the following order: 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs, cheesecake filling, lemon curd, cheesecake filling, 1 tablespoon graham crackers crumbs and again the filling.
- To make the layering easier and mess-free add the cheesecake filling to a piping bag and cut the tip; same for the lemon curd.
Whipped Cream Topping:
- Add heavy whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixer, add the sugar and beat starting on low speed and gradually increasing to high speed. Beat until soft peaks form and the cream is stiff.
- Add the whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and pipe the whipped cream on top of the cheesecake parfaits.
- Garnish with graham cracker crumbs.
- Refrigerate until set, at least 4-6 hours.
*Cool Whip is an American bread of ready to use whipped cream. Here I mean 3 cups of whipped cream not liquid whipping cream that needs to be whisked. Make sure you beat the whipping cream and measure 3 cups of whipped cream if you don't have pre-made whipped cream on hand. Whipped cream is the result of whisking heavy whipping cream, you need about 1.5-2 cups of heavy whipping cream to get 3 cups of whipped cream. Whisk 2 cups of COLD heavy whipping cream with 3-4 tablespoons of sugar on high speed until soft peaks form. Make sure you don't overheat, the cream should be fluffy and hold it's shape.
*You can use homemade lemon curd or any store bought brand of lemon pie filling/lemon curd.