This creamy and decadent No Bake Chocolate Chip Cheesecake is SO easy to make and requires absolutely zero oven time. That means you can keep your home cool, while still serving up delicious treats for your family all year long. This is a no bake dessert that you'll come back to again and again! There are endless variations and possibilities!
Since we live in a relatively temperate climate, we don't own a proper air conditioner. Most of the year is cool, cold, or absolutely freezing, so it just seems weird to invest money in something that will only get used a few times a year. Every July we have ourselves rethinking that decision, but we manage to get through yet another sweltering summer with a few tips and tricks.
A long-standing tactic has been to avoid using the oven as much as possible. Hence the mission of this blog is to provide easy and oven-free recipes! And while I make excellent use of our Air Fryer, Instant Pot, and Slow Cooker, every once and while a gal needs a nice cool dessert! That's when this No Bake Chocolate Chip Cheesecake comes in.
This no-bake cheesecake recipe is a favorite in our home, and we've made endless variations in the past. It's perfect for summer entertaining, and it's such a cinch to make even during the dog days of Summer. I've included a list of possible variations at the bottom of this post, as well as some substitution ideas if you have dietary restrictions. I hope you love this cheesecake as much as my family does, and feel free to leave a review and comment to let me know how it turned out for you!
For the Homemade Graham Cracker Crust:
- Graham Crackers: I like to use a sleeve of graham crackers, which is about 9 full size sheets. If you want to use graham cracker crumbs instead, use about 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs.
- Sugar: Just a little touch of granulated sugar gives the homemade crust a special touch!
- Butter: I like to use salted butter, but if your butter brand is particularly salty, you may opt to use unsalted butter and add a few pinches of salt to the mixture.
- Cream Cheese: Ensure your cream cheese is softened, otherwise it won't mix properly. If you are in a rush, you can follow this method for softening cream cheese from My Baking Addiction. Also be sure to use brick style cream cheese, as spreadable cream cheese is not as dense and won't set up with the other ingredients.
- Thawed Whipped Topping: You can find this in your freezer section. I like to use the "Cool Whip" brand, but generic is fine too. Set it out on the counter at the same time you do your cream cheese, and it should be perfectly thawed.
- Powdered Sugar: Also known as icing or confectioners sugar. Powdered sugar is used when you need a creamy result. Regular granulated sugar would result in a grainy texture and would not be as smooth. Don't substitute this ingredient!
- Vanilla: Just a touch of vanilla extract adds a classic flavor to our no bake chocolate chip cheesecake.
- Mini Chocolate Chips: While you can use regular sized chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips are preferred here. They distribute more evenly through the cheesecake filling, thus dispersing their chocolatey goodness all over. This ensures that every bite has several chocolate chips. Regular sized chips may tend to clump together a bit more.
Ganache Topping (Optional):
- Chocolate Chips: For the ganache, I like to use ⅓ of a cup of regular chocolate chips, but if you only purchased mini chocolate chips, that's totally fine! You can use ⅓ of a cup plus 1 tablespoon of mini chocolate chips in place of the regular chips.
- Heavy Cream: You will need just 2 tablespoons of heavy cream!
While many graham cracker crusts need to be baked, this one does not! As long as you pack it firmly (not tight) and chill it adequately, you do not need any time in the oven to firm up the bottom layer of your favorite no bake dessert! This is a win-win-win for those of us who like to keep our ovens out of commission as much as possible!
How to Make a No Bake Graham Cracker Crust:
- Start by adding 9 sheets of graham crackers (1 sleeve) to the bowl of a food processor. Add 1 tbsp. of white granulated sugar and pulse until it is broken down.
- Once the graham cracker and sugar combo is a fine crumb, pour the prepared graham cracker crumbs into a medium sized bowl.
- Add in ½ cup of melted butter.
- Stir well with a rubber spatula, until all of the crumbs are moistened.
- Line an 8X8 glass baking dish (I love Pyrex brand) with two overlapping sheets of parchment paper, trimmed to fit. (see the second image on the right). This will make for easy removal of your No Bake Chocolate Chip Cheesecake!
- Gently, but firmly press the graham cracker mixture into the lined baking dish. Pat it down with your fingers or the rubber spatula, ensuring it is evenly spread throughout and packed down.
- Place the dish in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes while you prepare the cheesecake filling.
Preparing the Cheesecake Filling
Add to a large bowl: softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla.
Use a hand mixer or a stand mixer to beat until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the edges of the bowl and beat again.
Add your container of thawed whipped topping and fold it in using a rubber spatula until the mixture is uniform.
Add in the mini chocolate chips and fold them in until evenly distributed.
Then, add the cheesecake filling on top of the chilled graham cracker crust. Use your rubber spatula to spread it out evenly.
Place the cheesecake in the fridge to chill while you prepare the ganache, if using. If you are forgoing the addition of chocolate ganache, simply cover tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours before slicing and serving.
Adding the Chocolate Ganache
Adding an optional chocolate ganache drizzle is a nice touch, but not needed if you'd rather keep things super simple! Even still, this easy chocolate ganache requires just 2 ingredients and really doesn't take much time at all!
- First, add ⅓ of a cup of regular chocolate chips to a small heatproof glass bowl. If you don't have regular chocolate chips, you can use ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon of mini chocolate chips.
- Then, heat 2 tbsp. of heavy cream in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Once it is very warm, but not boiling, pour it on top of your chocolate chips. Ensure the chips are completely covered.
- Let the chocolate and heavy cream sit for a few minutes, and then go back and stir it together until smooth. If your chocolate chips haven't fully melted, you can heat the mixture in the microwave for 5 seconds at a time, stirring in between intervals until it is smooth and melted. OR you can use a double boiler method on the stovetop.
- Once it's melted, prepare a piping bag or freezer bag with the tip cut off. Spoon in the ganache and drizzle it over the surface of your cheesecake. You can also use the back of a spoon if you're not too worried about a fancy drizzle pattern.
- Once the drizzle is complete, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours.
Less Calories: If you want to make this lighter in calories, you can subsitute light cream cheese for the regular cream cheese used in this recipe. You can also use sugar free or light frozen wipped topping. Omitting the chocolate ganache will also reduce the total calories.
Sugar Free, Keto, or Low Carb: Use a sugar free whipped topping (or homemade stabilized whipped cream), a keto-friendly cup for cup powdered sweetener (like Swerve Confectioners sweetener), and use this recipe for a keto graham cracker crust in place of the graham cracker crust. Also be sure to purchase sugar free chocolate chips like Lily's Brand.
Gluten Free: Use gluten-free graham crackers to make the crust, and verify all of your chosen brands for the remaining ingredients as "Gluten-free". Most chocolate chips are gluten-free, but it's important to check the packaging to be sure.
Chocolate Chunk: Use 1 cup of roughly chopped chocolate in place of the mini chocolate chips.
Cookies and Cream: Substitute the mini chocolate chips for coarsely chopped Oreo cookies. You may omit or keep the chocolate ganache topping, as desire.
Fruit: Omit the chocolate chips, as well as the ganache and use a small can of fruit pie filling of your choice. Strawberry, cherry, and raspberry are all popular and delicious options.
Fresh Fruit: Omit the chocolate chips and chocolate ganache topping, and use cleaned and trimmed fresh fruit to add to the top of the cheesecake. I recommend berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. They tend to hold their shape better!
Chocolate Covered Strawberry: Omit the chocolate chips and top the plain cheesecake with fresh sliced strawberries. Drizzle with the chocolate ganache topping.
No Bake Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie: Use a deep dish pie dish instead of an 8X8 baking dish to prepare the recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can! Once the cheesecake is completely cooled, wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Cover that in a layer of aluminum foil and label with a permanent market. Freeze for up to one month. Ensure to thaw completely before serving.
Ensure that you followed the directions and used the proper ingredients. For example, no bake cheesecake uses brick-style cream cheese. If you bought you cream cheese in a tub, it will not have the same consistency and will result in a soupy cheesecake. Also, be sure your cheesecake has been sufficiently chilled. 4 hours is the recommended minimum.
A traditional cheesecake is baked in a water bath and uses eggs. A no bake cheesecake cannot use eggs, and so often makes use of commercial products such as cool whip to give it that creamy texture.
Be sure to use the appropriate ingredients, such as brick style (not tub or whipped) cream cheese. Also, be sure to give your cheesecake enough time to chill and set up. If you are still having issues, you may have measured your ingredients incorrectly or accidently purchased a larger container of something than the recipe called for.
More No Bake Desserts
- Lazy Cheesecake Salad
- No Bake Peanut Butter Bars
- Butterscotch Haystacks
- Berry Cheesecake Salad
- No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
No Bake Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 sleeve of graham crackers about 9 sheets
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ cup melted salted butter
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Filling
- 2 8oz bricks cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 12oz container frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips
Chocolate Ganache Topping (optional)
- ⅓ cup regular chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Add the graham crackers and white graulated sugar to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the crackers are broken down and have become fine crumbs.
- Add the crumb mixture to a medium sized bowl. Pour in the melted butter and stir with a rubber spatula until combined and all the graham crumbs are moistened.
- Line an 8X8 glass baking dish with two pieces of parchment paper, trimmed to fit and overlap each other.
- Press the graham cracker crumb mixture into the lined pan, firmly but gently. Ensure it is evenly distributed and there are no loose crumbs.
- Place the baking dish in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill while you prepare the cheesecake filling.
- Add the cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar to a large sized bowl. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat the mixture until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again.
- Add the thawed whipped topping to the bowl, and use a rubber spatula to fold it in until thoroughly combined.
- Add the mini chocolate chips and fold them in until they are evenly distributed.
- Remove the chilled graham cracker crust from the fridge and spread the cheesecake filling on top of the crust. Smooth it over to ensure it is evenly spread. If making the chocolate ganache, return to the fridge for 5 minutes while you prepare the ganache. If you are not, cover the no bake cheesecake tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours before serving.
- For the chocolate ganache: Add the chocolate chips to a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream over medium-high heat on the stovetop, or for 5 second intervals in the microwave. Once it is very hot, but not boiling, pour it over the chocolate chips. Ensure the chocolate chips are underneath the hot cream.
- Let the chocolate chips and heavy cream rest for 2-3 minutes, and then stir well to combine into a smooth ganache. If the chocolate is not fully melted, you can use the microwave to warm it in 5 second intervals, stirring between each interval. You can also use a double boiler on the stovetop.
- Once the ganache has cooled slightly, transfer it to a piping bag or a freezer bag with the tip cut off. You can also spread it using the back of the spoon, as long as your ganache is still very warm.
- Pipe the ganache over the surface of the cheesecake until it has been used up completely.
- Once finished, cover the cheesecake tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
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