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How to Make Lemon Cheesecake, No Baking Required
2024/04/09

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Is there anything better than fresh  after dinner? "There's something about the addition of lemon—both the zest and the juice—that just adds a nice citrusy freshness," Ree Drummond says. This creamy, no-bake lemon cheesecake is no exception! It's bright, refreshing, and comes together with just 20 minutes of prep—no oven, cooking, or heating required. It's much lighter in texture than baked , but a filling of cream cheese, sour cream, and homemade whipped cream ensures it's still tangy and smooth. Cradled in a buttery graham cracker crust, this is heaven by the slice on a hot summer day!

What's the difference between baked and no-bake cheesecake?

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A classic baked cheesecake needs to, well, bake in the oven, so that's when this version can come in handy! Instead, no-bake cheesecake chills in the fridge before it's ready to be sliced and eaten. That said, you'll still need one of your for this recipe. No-bake versions also don't contain the eggs that baked versions do.

What's in the filling for no-bake cheesecake?

It's a luxuriously thick and fluffy concoction of cream cheese, sour cream, and . There's also sugar, a touch of vanilla, and in this version, bright lemon juice and zest.

Can you use low-fat cream cheese in no-bake lemon cheesecake?

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For this recipe, choose regular full-fat cream cheese. Low-fat cream cheese can affect the texture of the cheesecake and inhibit the filling from setting up properly. 

Can you use bottled lemon juice for no-bake lemon cheesecake?

Stick with fresh lemon juice for this cheesecake. Bottled juice just doesn't have the same bright, lemony flavor as freshly squeezed juice. You'll need lemon zest for this recipe anyway, so grab some lemons, zest them, then juice away!

Does no-bake cheesecake need to be refrigerated?

Yes, it does! The cheesecake needs to be refrigerated, initially, to set up, but it should be stored in the fridge any time you're not slicing and enjoying it.

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Just wrap the cheesecake in plastic wrap to help keep it tasting fresh.

Why isn't my no-bake cheesecake firm?

If you're having trouble getting your cheesecake to set, it may just need to chill in the refrigerator for longer. For best results, a no-bake cheesecake should chill for a full 12 hours, or keep it in the fridge overnight. Slicing into your cheesecake before it has fully chilled and firmed up may result in a softer texture.

I want to add toppings! Any recommendations?

Since this cheesecake is a bit tart from the lemon juice, you may want to top it off with . If you want to double down on the lemon flavor, add a dollop of

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. Of course, a spoonful of whipped cream never hurts either.

16

sheets graham crackers

1/2 c.

light brown sugar

1/2 c.

salted butter, melted

3

(8-oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 c.

granulated sugar

1/4 c.

powdered sugar

2 tbsp.

fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp.

finely grated lemon zest 

1/4 c.

sour cream

1 1/4 c.

heavy cream

1 tsp.

vanilla extract

Lemon slices, for topping

Whipped cream, lemon curd, or , for serving (optional)

Step  1 For the crust: To a food processor, add the graham crackers and brown sugar. Process until finely ground, about 1 minute. With the processor running, slowly pour in the melted butter.

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Process the mixture until it is the texture of coarse sand. Transfer to an 8-inch springform pan. Using a measuring cup, press the crust into the bottom of the springform pan and about 2 1/2 inches up the sides. Press firmly to pack and make an evenly thick crust. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes. Step  2 For the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until softened and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the granulated sugar; beat to combine. Add the powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sour cream. Beat until very smooth, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

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Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Step  3 In the same bowl of the stand mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream and vanilla. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. Add one-third of the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and gently fold in with a rubber spatula until completely combined. (Scoop the mixture from the bottom of the bowl and fold over the top to combine the mixture, without letting all of the air out of the whipped cream.) Add the remaining two-thirds of the whipped cream and continue to gently fold until completely combined.

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Step  4 Remove the crust from the freezer and add the filling. Gently push into an even layer and smooth the top with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 2 days. Step  5 Loosen the cheesecake from the springform pan. Top with lemon slices. Cut pieces with a warm knife and serve with a dollop of whipped cream, lemon curd, or sweet strawberries.

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