I was compensated by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas for my time in developing this recipe and post. All opinions are my own.
This No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake starts with a homemade graham cracker crust and is topped with a no-bake vanilla bean cheesecake layer, strawberry cheesecake layer, and a homemade vanilla bean whipped cream!
I can’t even begin to express how excited I am to share this no-bake strawberry cheesecake recipe with you all. Not only are the layers in this dessert absolutely gorgeous, but that homemade vanilla bean whipped cream is also amazing. Like, I want to put it on anything and everything, or just eat it with a spoon.
Another reason I’m excited to share this recipe with you all is because it uses Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, which is my absolute favorite vanilla brand.
The recipe starts off with an easy homemade graham cracker crust. And because I’ve been obsessed with layered desserts lately, I decided to do a vanilla bean cheesecake layer and a strawberry cheesecake layer. The instructions may seem a little long, but several ingredients repeat themselves so don’t be alarmed! I can assure you that this cheesecake is easy to make, it just takes a little extra time to get those gorgeous layers. But it’s worth the extra effort, trust me.
For the vanilla bean layer, I used Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste and it is absolutely AMAZING. Their Pure Vanilla Bean Paste is extremely convenient to have on hand and it adds those pretty little specks of vanilla bean to your desserts. I love replacing the vanilla extract in my vanilla cupcake recipe with their vanilla bean paste. I use it in the frosting too because the flavor is phenomenal.
I also used their Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract in the strawberry layer along with some strawberry puree. Their Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract has a sweet, creamy flavor with velvety after-tones and makes for an excellent all-purpose vanilla. It’s perfect for any sweet or savory recipe, which I love.
One other thing to note is that this recipe does call for some unflavored gelatin. The only thing you need to do to prepare the gelatin is to sprinkle it on top of some water, let it sit for a few minutes, then microwave it for a few seconds to dissolve it. That’s it.
The main reason I added it to this recipe is because it’s completely homemade, and I was a little concerned that between the homemade whipped cream and fruit puree in the cheesecake it might not hold its shape too well.
Thankfully, my wonderful blog friend Ashley from The Recipe Rebel (who I just met last week!) explained to me how she uses unflavored gelatin in her no-bake cheesecakes and they always hold up perfectly. I followed her instructions exactly and I’m happy to say that the layers hold up AMAZINGLY well!
And lastly, the homemade vanilla bean whipped cream! You guys, this stuff is good. My only concern was that sometimes homemade whipped cream doesn’t hold up too well. Have you ever added whipped cream to something and noticed that it just kind of falls a little flat?
After a little research, I realized that I could just use the same unflavored gelatin I used in the cheesecake in the whipped cream to stabilize it and get it to hold it’s shape.
The verdict? I loved it! The stabilized whipped cream held its shape for DAYS, even after sitting at room temperature for a little while. It’s easily become my new favorite homemade whipped cream recipe. Plus, just look at those vanilla bean specks! It’s almost too pretty to eat.
This easy strawberry cheesecake would even be a fun treat for Memorial Day or 4th of July, with some sliced strawberries and fresh blueberries on top.
Ingredients in This Recipe
Many of the ingredients in this homemade strawberry cheesecake recipe are used in both the strawberry and vanilla cheesecake layers. Here’s what you’ll need to make this no-bake dessert:
- Graham crackers: You’ll need either 9 full sheets of graham crackers, or 1 and 1/4 cups of store-bought graham cracker crumbs.
- Brown sugar: I added some sugar to the crust to sweeten it slightly and add a caramel-y flavor.
- Butter: Always use unsalted butter when baking because the amount of salt in salted butters varies between brands.
- Unflavored gelatin: Helps the no-bake cheesecake layers hold their shape, as well as the whipped cream on top.
- Cream cheese: Use brick-style cream cheese, not spreadable kind that comes in a tub. Full-fat cream cheese will deliver the best results.
- Powdered sugar: Because this is a no-bake cheesecake recipe, I used powdered sugar to sweeten the filling. Powdered sugar doesn’t make the cheesecake layers grainy whatsoever.
- Vanilla: I used both Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste and their Pure Vanilla Extract to flavor this dessert.
- Strawberries: Fresh or frozen berries will work. You’ll be pureeing them for the strawberry cheesecake layer.
- Heavy whipping cream: Needs to be fridge cold so that it whips up properly. Look for a heavy whipping cream that’s at least 36% fat.
How to Make a No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake
First, you’ll make the homemade graham cracker crust. It’s as easy as combining melted butter, brown sugar, and graham cracker crumbs in a mixing bowl and then pressing it firmly into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
Set the crust in the fridge while you make the filling. Dissolve the gelatin in some water and set aside. Beat together the powdered sugar and cream cheese until smooth, then stream the gelatin mixture into the bowl.
At this point, you can divide the cream cheese mixture between two mixing bowls (one for the vanilla cheesecake layer, one for the strawberry cheesecake layer). The vanilla cheesecake layer gets flavored with vanilla paste, and the strawberry layer gets flavored with vanilla extract and strawberry puree.
Next, you’ll need to whip the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Divide the whipped cream between the two mixing bowls and gently fold it in until combined.
Remove the crust from the fridge and begin layering the cheesecake: the vanilla layer goes in first and is then topped with the strawberry layer. Let the no-bake strawberry cheesecake chill for about 4 hours before piping the stabilized whipped cream on top!
This homemade strawberry cheesecake will last up to five days in the fridge, but it’s best served within 24 hours of making it. Slices can also be frozen for up to three months. When ready to enjoy, thaw overnight in the fridge.
- Since I wanted this recipe to be completely no-bake, I skipped baking the crust. I’ve always found that the crust holds up just fine and cuts perfectly without baking it. If you’re worried about the crust not holding together, you can pop it into the oven for about 8-10 minutes at 350°F and then let it cool before adding the filling.
- You’ll need a 9-inch springform pan for this recipe. A regular 9-inch pie plate will not work for this recipe, as it’s too short and the filling would spill out.
- You can make the strawberry puree with fresh or frozen strawberries. If using frozen, let them thaw completely before pureeing.
More Strawberry Desserts to Make!
- No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake
- Strawberry Shortcake
- Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes
- Strawberry Cream Cheese Turnovers
- Strawberry Sweet Rolls
No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake
- 9 full-sheet graham crackers (or 1 and 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs)
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter (melted)
No-Bake Cheesecake Filling:
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) water
- 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
- 16 ounces brick-style cream cheese , softened to room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups (180 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
- 1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 cup strawberry puree (see notes)
- 1 and 1/2 cups (360 ml) cold heavy whipping cream
Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream:
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 4 teaspoons water
- 1 cup (240 ml) cold heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup (30 grams) powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
- Sliced strawberries
To make the crust:
- Spray the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Break the graham crackers into pieces and place them into a food processor. Process the graham crackers until you have fine crumbs.
- Scoop the graham cracker crumbs into a large mixing bowl, add the brown sugar and melted butter and mix until fully combined.
- Scoop the graham cracker mixture into the prepared springform pan and firmly press it down into one even layer. Transfer to the refrigerator.
To make the no-bake cheesecake filling:
- Add ¼ cup water to a microwave-safe bowl and sprinkle 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin on top. Allow to sit for a few minutes.
- Transfer the gelatin mixture to the microwave and microwave until the gelatin is fully dissolved, this will take just a few seconds. Set aside to cool.
- Add the cream cheese to a large mixing bowl; using an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and mix together until well combined. Slowly add in the gelatin mixture to the cream cheese mixture and mix until fully combined.
- Separate the cream cheese mixture evenly between two large mixing bowls. Add 1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste to one of the mixing bowls and mix until well combined.
- Add 1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and the strawberry puree to the other mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Set both bowls aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, whip the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form.
- Scoop half of the whipped cream into the vanilla bean cream cheese mixture and gently fold it in until well combined.
- Scoop the remaining half of the whipped cream into the strawberry cream cheese mixture and gently fold it in until well combined.
- Remove the crust from the refrigerator. Scoop the vanilla bean cheesecake mixture on top of the crust and spread it into one even layer.
- Next, scoop the strawberry cheesecake mixture on top of the vanilla bean layer and spread it around into one even layer, making sure to smooth out the top.
- Cover the no-bake cheesecake and transfer it to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to firm up.
To make the vanilla bean whipped cream:
- Add 4 teaspoons water to a microwave-safe bowl and sprinkle 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin on top. Allow to sit for a few minutes.
- Transfer the gelatin mixture to the microwave and microwave until the gelatin is fully dissolved, this will just take a few seconds. Set aside to cool.
- Add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip the mixture until it starts to thicken, then turn the mixer to low speed. Slowly pour in the gelatin mixture until well combined. Increase the mixer to medium speed and continue mixing until stiff peaks form.
- Pipe the whipped cream on top of the no-bake cheesecake as desired. If adding the sliced strawberries on top, add them just before serving the cheesecake.
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