By Gail Sessoms

Start to finish: 10 minutes prep; 3 hours chill Servings: 8 Difficulty level: Beginner

close-up of a slice of lemon cheesecake
credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Garnish the cheesecake with citrus fruit slices to keep it light and simple.

In the mood for an easy to make, decadent dessert that can satisfy even the sweetest tooth? Look no further than our no-bake cheesecake recipe. This delicious dish, adapted from an Eagle Brand recipe, achieves its thick, creamy texture through the combination of condensed sweetened milk and cream cheese followed by time to chill and set. When it's all ready to eat, go ahead and serve it plain or add your choice of fruit topping.

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 9 to 12 whole graham crackers
  • ½ cup sugar, white or brown
  • ¼ cup butter, melted

Cheesecake

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 small can fruit pie filling, chilled

Directions

Pie Crust

Use a food processor to reduce the graham crackers to crumbs. You can also break the graham crackers into smaller pieces, place them in a Ziplock bag and use a rolling pin or bottle to crush the graham crackers.

You will need about 1 ½ cups of finely ground graham crackers, according to the recipe on the website Crazy for Crust.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a bowl and use a fork to mix thoroughly.

Add the butter to the mixing bowl and use the fork to fold it in with the dry ingredients.

Pour the graham cracker mixture into a pie shell or dish and firmly press the mixture along the bottom and sides of the dish, up to the top edge. The more pressure you apply the better the crust will hold up.

Refrigerate the pie crust for one hour before adding the filling.

Mix, Assemble and Refrigerate the Cheesecake

Add the softened cream cheese to a medium mixing bowl and use a mixer to beat the cream cheese until it is fluffy. Use a low to medium setting and beat for about two minutes.

Pour the condensed milk into the mixing bowl and beat until thoroughly mixed with the cream cheese.

Mix in the lemon juice and vanilla extract.

Spoon the cheesecake filling into the chilled graham cracker pie crust and smooth so the surface is even.

Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator to chill for three hours. Chill for an additional hour if the cheesecake needs more time to set.

Remove the pie from the refrigerator and add fruit such as cherry or blueberry evenly on the top, if preferred.

Serve the cheesecake while it's chilled.

Flavored Filling Suggestions

  • Skip the fruit topping and flavor the cheesecake pie filling.

  • Make a chocolate cheesecake with melted bakers chocolate and top it with whipped cream sprinkled with chocolate shavings.

  • Replace the vanilla extract with a different flavor. For instance, use almond extract and combine whipped cream and coconut flakes for the topping.

  • Add color and flavor to the no-bake cheesecake with flavored powdered gelatin, dissolved in boiling water, or flavored drink crystals.

Variations and Tips

Variations

  • Drizzle a little fruit syrup over the cheesecake.

  • Create a fresh fruit topping of peaches or a mixture of fresh fruit that includes berries, kiwi and bananas. Wash the fruit and, if necessary, peel and cut.

  • Heat a couple tablespoons of marmalade or preserves and drizzle over the cheesecake instead of using a fruit topping.

Tips

  • Use a pre-made graham cracker crust to save time.

  • Crazy for Crust recommends using the bottom of a glass to compress the crust into a pie dish.

  • Experiment with different ingredients to add to the cheesecake, but be careful with liquids that might prevent the pie filling from setting.

  • Refrigerate leftover cheesecake to protect from spoiling and to maintain the consistency.