Creating a lemon no-bake cheesecake with gelatin is a straightforward yet satisfying process that promises a delightfully bright and lemony flavor. I'll guide you through each step, ensuring a creamy texture without the need for baking. This hassle-free recipe guarantees a smooth and delicious cheesecake, rich with the zesty essence of lemon.
If you love no-bake desserts, let me share a few others I think you will like. What about these no-bake rocky road squares that are easy and loaded with chocolate? If you love chocolate, maybe this no-bake chocolate coconut pie is rich and delicious.
What is no-bake cheesecake?
A no-bake cheesecake with gelatin is a type of cheesecake that doesn't require baking in the oven to set. Gelatin is added to the cheesecake mixture to help it firm up and hold its shape without the need for baking. The gelatin acts as a stabilizer, helping the cheesecake set as it chills in the refrigerator.
Graham cracker crust:
Graham crackers- this is obvious. You can use regular crackers or gluten-free if needed. I grind these in my food processor or blender to crumbs.
Granulated sugar- You won’t need much for the crust, but I like to sweeten it just slightly.
Butter- Butter is what will bind the graham crackers and sugar together.
Unflavored gelatin- I like to use powdered gelatin, which I am showing in this recipe.
Lemon juice- DO NOT use lemon juice concentrate, you will want freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Lemon zest- the zest is what gives the strong flavor you are looking for, the oils in the zest are where the best flavor is.
Cream cheese- You can use regular or low-fat.
Granulated sugar- For sweetening the filling.
Pure vanilla- I always add vanilla to enhance the flavor.
Toppings- I used blueberries and walnuts, but you can choose whatever fruit you like.
How to make
This recipe is so easy to do, the only process that might be new to you is using gelatin, I will explain this. I want you to be able to do this perfectly the first time.
- Start by making your graham cracker crust. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press this into the individual containers, as I did, or into an 8-inch pie pan.
- To bloom the gelatin. Add the gelatin and water into a small microwave-safe bowl. Mix them and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Then, heat this in the microwave for about 10 seconds. You want it to liquefy but don’t heat it.
- Add the softened cream cheese into a bowl with the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix well.
- While the mixer is still on, pour in the gelatin slowly.
- Once it is all mixed in, pour over the crust.
- Move this to the fridge and let it sit for at least 2 hours, then top it as you like.
While this is such an easy recipe, let me share a few thoughts that will ensure you make these cheesecakes perfectly the first time.
Bloom the gelatin: Preparing gelatin through blooming for a no-bake cheesecake guarantees even distribution, smooth texture, and optimal setting properties, avoiding clumps and ensuring a well-formed dessert upon chilling. Don't rush this process. Hydrate, and then heat to liquefy.
Room temperature ingredients: This is really important in regards to the cream cheese. You will never get the creamy texture you are looking for without it being softened first.
Properly set the cheesecake: The cheesecake filling will set rather quickly with the gelatin, but be sure to chill for about 1-2 hours to ensure the cheesecake texture you are looking for.
Add gelatin slowly: Be sure to have your mixer running when you drizzle in the gelatin, if not, it will not be evenly distributed.
Topping ideas for no-bake cheesecake
- Fresh Berries: Add fresh berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries. They offer a contrast and a burst of natural sweetness.
- Fruit Compote: Prepare a fruit compote by cooking down fruits like berries, peaches, or cherries with a bit of sugar to create a luscious topping that adds both flavor and texture.
- Lemon or Lime Zest: For a citrusy kick that complements the cheesecake, sprinkle fresh lemon or lime zest on top. It adds brightness and enhances the overall flavor.
- Chocolate Ganache: Drizzle or spread a layer of chocolate ganache for a decadent touch. It pairs wonderfully with the creamy texture of the cheesecake.
- Caramel Sauce: A drizzle of caramel sauce adds a rich, indulgent sweetness to the cheesecake.
- Whipped Cream: Dollop or pipe whipped cream on top for a classic, airy finish.
- Toasted Nuts: Add a delightful crunch and nutty flavor by sprinkling chopped, toasted nuts like almonds, pecans, or hazelnuts on top.
- Fruit Jam or Jelly: Swirl fruit jam or jelly on the surface for a pop of concentrated fruit flavor.
Lemon No-Bake Cheesecake With Gelatin
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
Lemon Cheesecake Filling
- ½ cup water
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 10 ounce cream cheese
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Peach balsamic infused strawberries
- 3-4 cups toppings
- Start by prepping your crust. I like to pulse the graham crackers in my food processor until they are small crumbles. Add in the sugar and melted butter and pulse to combine again. My desserts were small, so I only used about 1-2 tablespoons per cup. I pressed mine into the bottom of the cup. Next up is the filling. Sprinkle gelatin over water and set aside. Mix it in gently. You may have a few small chunks, don't worry about that. Let this sit for 5 minutes. While it is sitting, start on the cream cheese. Mix the cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, juice, and vanilla together with a hand mixer. Once the mixture is smooth, microwave the gelatin for about 10 seconds to liquefy. While the mixer is running, pour in the gelatin slowly and mix completely to combine. Pour a little over ¼ cup of the filling over the crust. It will already be pretty thick, so spread it across the back of a spoon if you want. Place dessert cups into the fridge and let them set for at least 2 hours until set. Top as you like and serve.