This No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake recipe is dedicated to my husband’s late grandmother, Dorothy. I first met Damon’s family when he invited me to his mom’s house for Easter dinner. I brought a cheesecake (that I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning baking after attending a Prince concert) and the family was nice enough to tell me it was good. But I noticed that a certain no-bake looking cheesecake was devoured very quickly. Later in that day, Grandma Dorothy sat next to me on the couch and we bonded over talk of food. Keep in mind that this woman raised 8 (EIGHT!!!) children and was the beloved matriarch that could do no wrong. Talking to her was a bit intimidating, but I quickly grew to love her. Anyway, while we were chatting, she informed me that the no-bake cheesecake was lovingly referred to as the “French Dessert” by her family.
Dorothy used to make dinner and dessert for her family every night. French Dessert was invented one day when Dorothy had nothing planned for dessert, so she took out a few ingredients she did have, put them together, and voila! French Dessert was born. Obviously there’s nothing French about it, but I love how much the family loves it, and I especially love that a few of them still make it.
I’m not a big fan of cheesecake (don’t hate) but I remember liking a no-bake cherry cheesecake once when I was a kid. I just don’t remember who made it or where to find the recipe. So, I finally decided to make my own version of a no-bake cheesecake, using the same ingredients that Grandma Dorothy used. And just to confirm, the cheesecake part isn’t baked, but the crust does need to be baked for 10 minutes.
Since I topped it with a tart strawberry topping, I decided to add a bit of saltiness by doing a pretzel crust instead of the traditional graham cracker crust. Trust me, it works. I may or may not have had 4 slices of this cheesecake over the span of just 3 days. It’s that good!
So, if you’re not a lover of cheesecake (are there any others out there?) then you should give this recipe a try. It may just be the thing that converts you.
This can be made in an 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan. The 8×8 will just be a bit thicker.
No Bake Strawberry CheesecakeCourse: BakingCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Unsalted Butter 113g
Sugar 3 Tbsp
Philadelphia Cream Cheese 16 oz.
Sweetened Condensed Milk 150g
Lemon Zest, half a lemon
(about 1 Tbsp)
Vanilla 2 tsp
Heavy Cream 120g
Strawberry Topping (recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a blender or food processor, pulse the pretzels and sugar until large broken pieces are formed.
- Melt the butter and slowly add to the pretzel pieces while pulsing. You should now have smaller pretzel pieces but it shouldn’t be a powder.
- Pour into a 9×9 baking dish and press firmly into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
- Add the sweetened condensed milk and beat for 30 more seconds.
- Add the lemon zest and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Add the heavy cream and beat for 30 seconds.
- Pour into cooled crust and spread until it’s even. Refrigerate overnight.
- Top with strawberry topping and serve.
- I used mini pretzel twists, but sticks would work fine too.
- The cheesecake has to set up overnight. Don’t rush the process!
strawberry topping Directions
- In a small saucepan, combine 16 oz strawberries, 4 Tbsp cornstarch, 3 Tbsp sugar and the juice of half a lemon.
*I used frozen strawberries that were thawed. Fresh strawberries would work fine too.
- Stir over medium heat and cook until the mixture thickens.
- Remove from the heat and refrigerate until ready to use.