Recipe Review

This 6-Ingredient No-Bake Cheesecake Is as Easy as It Gets

published Sep 7, 2022
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Cheesecake on plate with fork and water labeled 'Allrecipes'.
Credit: Photo: Dane Tashima; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen; Design: Kitchn

When I searched for no-bake cheesecake recipes to test against each other, this one definitely grabbed my attention. A no-bake cheesecake recipe that touts just six ingredients, 10 minutes of prep time, and a couple hours of chilling? Yes, please! 

At a glance, the recipe offered me the promise of tasty nostalgia, in the form of old-school cafeteria-style cheesecake — with Cool Whip in the cream cheese mixture and canned pie filling glistening atop the pie. And with an average rating of 4.8 stars, it seemed as if other people liked it too. The only thing that gave me pause was the three tablespoons of vanilla extract called for in the filling. A couple of reviewers mentioned that they used less vanilla, and one reviewer said that that amount of vanilla is “a bit too much,” but no reviewers declared that it ruined the cheesecake. I was intrigued and ready to give the recipe a try.

Credit: Photo: Dane Tashima; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen; Design: Kitchn

How to Make Allrecipes’ No-Bake Cheesecake with Cool Whip

As promised, making this one was incredibly easy. Start by beating together softened cream cheese, sugar, and that large amount of vanilla extract. (My gut told me to reduce the amount, but my assignment was to test the recipes as they are.) The recipe lists an optional teaspoon of lemon extract, which I chose to leave out.

After the cream cheese mixture is smooth and creamy, fold in thawed Cool Whip, then scrape the mixture into a store-bought graham cracker crust. The recipe then directs you to top the cheesecake with canned strawberry pie filling before chilling. I left that off and served it on the side so that I could taste the cheesecake on its own first. 

My Honest Review of Allrecipes’ No-Bake Cheesecake with Cool Whip

First, let me say that somehow, against all odds, three tablespoons of vanilla extract did not overwhelm the dessert. Believe me — I’m as surprised as anyone! I cannot explain the science behind this phenomenon, but I am certainly amazed and puzzled by it. (I used a new bottle of pure vanilla extract, by the way, so it shouldn’t have lost its potency.) The vanilla flavor was definitely there, but it wasn’t harsh.

The crust (the recipe calls for a 9-inch) was very full, with the filling mounded in it. Some reviewers said they couldn’t fit all the filling, but I was able to get it all in there. With the mounded cheesecake top I could definitely see it being a challenge to keep the canned pie filling from sliding off.

Two hours of chilling was enough to set the filling, but I liked it better after it had chilled for about seven hours. Slices cut cleanly, and they were impressively tall. The filling was fluffy and airy, more akin to a chiffon pie than a cheesecake, and it seemed a little oily on my palate. The flavor left a little to be desired, as I wanted more cream cheese tang; it tasted more like a marshmallow than a cheesecake. It’s not a bad recipe at all (my kids loved it), but if you’re looking for a rich, tangy cheesecake fix, this isn’t the recipe for you.

If You’re Making Allrecipes’ No-Bake Cheesecake with Cool Whip, a Few Tips

  1. Use less vanilla. Three tablespoons didn’t overpower the cheesecake, but that’s still a lot of vanilla — which is a pricey ingredient. I suggest decreasing it to one or two tablespoons (the latter amount would be a full one-ounce bottle).
  2. Seek out a bigger crust. You can still use a store-bought graham cracker crust for convenience, but try to find a 10-inch crust instead of a 9-inch one. Many supermarkets stock this size, which will more comfortably hold all the filling and the fruit topping.
  3. Try whipped cream. It will add a step, but you could try whipping heavy cream to stiff peaks and folding it into the filling in place of the frozen whipped topping. The richness and density of cream would be a tasty swap. The tub of Cool Whip measures about three cups, so start with 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream to get to that amount.

Overall rating: 7/10