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This No Bake Lemon Cheesecake is a rich and creamy cheesecake with bright & zesty fresh lemon flavor – lemon juice and lemon zest! A buttery graham cracker crust filled with an easy to make no bake lemon cheesecake filling.
For more delicious lemon desserts be sure and check out this No Bake Lemon Pudding Pie, Lemonade Pie, and this very popular Lemon Lover’s Cake (Whipped Lemon Pudding Frosting).
No Bake Easy Lemon Cheesecake Recipe (Fresh Lemon Juice + Lemon Zest)
Making no bake cheesecake is one of my favorite ways to get a delicious, show-stopper, simple prep desert on the table. Whether it’s for family visiting, guests, a gathering, or party a no bake cheesecake is always a great idea.
This no bake lemon cheesecake is perfect for summertime with it’s bright and fresh citrus flavor. Or try this No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake for a Fall desert. Or keep that fruit flavor going with No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake and No Bake Black Forest Cheesecake.
- Graham Cracker Crumbs – You can either use already crushed graham cracker crumbs (found in the baking aisle at the store) or crush whole graham crackers.
- Melted Butter – I prefer using unsalted butter for graham cracker crusts, but if you prefer salted butter then that works too.
- Granulated Sugar – Sweetener for the lemon cheesecake.
- Lemon Zest
- Cream Cheese – I only recommend using full-fat cream cheese when making a no bake cheesecake. The flavor is much better than lite cream cheese, and it sets and thickens better.
- Fresh Lemon Juice – Squeeze the juice from the lemons you zested.
- Lemon Extract – This adds a little boost of extra lemon flavor. It’s not totally necessary, it just really depends on how lemon-y you want the cheesecake.
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Cool Whip – If you prefer homemade, beat 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream + 1/3 cup powdered sugar in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Use this in place of the store-bought Cool Whip.
How To Make a No Bake Lemon Cheesecake (Step-by-Step Directions)
- Prep : Grease the inside of a 9-inch springform pan with softened butter. The crust only gets put into the bottom of the pan (it does not go up the sides) so make sure you focus most of that on the bottom of the pan and spread some extra up the sides for the cheesecake. Set aside.
- Make The Graham Cracker Crust : Stir together the graham cracker crumbs + melted butter until well combined and it resembles wet sand. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom only of the prepared 9-inch springform pan. Freeze for 20 minutes.
- Lemon Cheesecake Filling : In a large bowl, add the sugar and lemon zest, use your clean hands to rub it together until the sugar is somewhat coated and the lemon is very fragrant. Add in the cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon extract (if using), and heavy whipping cream. Beat with an electric hand mixer until it’s smooth and creamy. Fold in the Cool Whip and mix until thoroughly combined. Spoon the lemon cheesecake filling over top the crust.
- Chill Time : Cover the springform pan with plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or overnight is even better.
- Serve : Serve the cheesecake chilled from the fridge. Top the cheesecake or each slice with whipped cream and fresh lemon slices if wanted. Enjoy!
Storage Instructions For No Bake Lemon Cheesecake
- Refrigerator : Cover the springform pan with plastic wrap, or transfer the individual slices to airtight containers, and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Leftovers are really good even on day 2 or day 5.
- Freezer : Cover the springform pan with plastic wrap and again in foil, of freeze the individual leftover slices in freezer-safe containers, and freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw, place the cheesecake in the fridge overnight. Please note that that texture of the cheesecake may change slightly once frozen and then thawed. Because of all the dairy in it (cream cheese mainly) it can take on a slightly different texture once thawed from frozen.
How Long Should A No Bake Cheesecake Chill In The Fridge?
Because this lemon cheesecake is a no bake recipe, the fridge chill time is essential in creating that thick and set cheesecake that slices perfectly. The chill time is basically the ‘cook time’ for a no bake recipe.
This no bake cheesecake needs at least 6-8 hours in the fridge at a minimum. Overnight is even better, so plan ahead and make it the day before for the best results.
Recipe Tips For Easy Lemon Cheesecake
- Why Rub Sugar + Lemon Zest? : This is actually the most important step in making this lemon cheesecake. Rubbing the sugar and lemon zest together releases all that bright and fresh lemon flavor. You will start to smell it after just a moment and the sugar will get that great lemon flavor on it too.
- Lemon Extract : If you prefer a natural flavored lemon cheesecake then don’t use lemon extract. I think the cheesecake is perfectly lemon-y as is without the lemon extract. Use the extract if you want a brighter and stronger lemon flavor. Or just use half of it and see what you think.
- Cream Cheese : To avoid lumps in the cheesecake batter make sure the cream cheese is close to room temperature. I don’t recommend leaving it out on the countertop for more that 2 hours as it might spoil. Making sure the cream cheese is softened to room temperature is important to attaining a smooth, lump-free cheesecake batter.
No Bake Lemon Cheesecake
Graham Cracker Crust
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
Lemon Cheesecake Filling
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest
- 24 ounces full-fat cream cheese softened
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
- 8 ounces Cool Whip thawed
- Prep : Grease the inside of a 9-inch springform pan with softened butter. Concentrate most of it on the bottom and then move it up the sides of the pan. Set aside.
- Graham Cracker Crust : In a mixing bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until well combined. The mixture should look like wet sand. Firmly press it into the bottom of the prepared springform pan.2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Loosely cover the springform pan with plastic wrap to foil and place it in the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Lemon Cheesecake Filling : In a large bowl add the granulated sugar and lemon zest. Use your clean hands to rub it together until it's very fragrant. About 1-2 minutes.1 cup granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons lemon zest
- Add the cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, lemon juice, and lemon extract (if using) into the bowl of sugar and lemon zest. Beat with an electric hand mixer until smooth and combined.24 ounces full-fat cream cheese, 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- Using a silicone spatula, stir in the Cool Whip and mix until thoroughly combined.8 ounces Cool Whip
- Chill Time : Evenly spread the lemon cheesecake mixture into the springform pan over top the crust. Cover the springform pan with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours, or overnight is the best (recommended).
- Serve : Serve chilled from the fridge and garnish the whole cheesecake, or each slice, with whipped cream (store-bought or homemade) and a lemon slice.