No-Bake Cherry Delight

published Mar 9, 2024
No-Bake Cherry Delight Recipe

With its glossy red top, creamy filling, and salty-sweet crust, this no-bake dessert will wow everyone.


Prep25 minutes to 30 minutes

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Cherry delight.
Credit: Kelli Foster

Cherry delight, also known as cherry yum yum, is one of those American classics that can be found in dog-eared community cookbooks all over the county. It’s a no-bake dessert with a cheesecake-like filling that’s built upon a graham cracker crust and topped with cherry pie filling (and if cherries aren’t your thing, we also have recipes for strawberry delight and chocolate delight). With its glossy red top, creamy, fluffy filling, and irresistible sweet-salty crust, it’ll wow everyone.  

Why You’ll Love It

  • It takes just 15 minutes of prep with zero time in the oven. You can even prepare it hours before serving, which makes it tailor-made for a potluck, yet equally welcome at a special dinner party or a casual weeknight meal.
  • It gets better with time. If somehow there are leftovers, cherry delight tastes even better after of days in the fridge. It also makes the perfect make-ahead dessert!

Key Ingredients in Cherry Delight

  • Graham crackers: Crumbling graham crackers into a crust is about as easy as it gets, plus the hint of honey gives the dessert more flavor than you’d find in a flaky all-butter pie crust.
  • Cream cheese: Cream cheese is what makes the filling reminiscent of cheesecake. You can use regular, lactose-free, or reduced-fat cream cheese in this recipe. 
  • Whipping cream: Whipped cream lightens up the filling and gives it a fluffy mousse-like texture.
  • Cherry pie filling: Glossy ruby-red pie filling is the cherry on top of this dessert. Make your own homemade cherry pie filling, or pick up a can at the grocery store to keep your prep work simple. For a less sweet treat, opt for one with no added sugar.

How to Make Cherry Delight

  1. Make the graham cracker crust. In a food processor or small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt, and melted butter until the mixture looks like wet sand. Pack the crust into the bottom of a pan.
  2. Create the cream cheese layer. Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, then whip in the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the graham cracker crust.
  3. Top with pie filling. Top the cream cheese layer evenly with cherry pie filling, and refrigerate to let the cherry delight set before cutting and serving.
Credit: Kelli Foster

If You’re Making Cherry Delight, a Few Tips

  • Soften the cream cheese for easy mixing. Give the cream cheese at least 45 minutes to soften before beating it. This makes it easier to smooth out the cream cheese and incorporate the whipped cream for airy peaks.
  • Pack the graham cracker crumb crust with a measuring cup. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack the buttered crumbs firmly and evenly into the baking dish for a sturdy base. 
  • Clean the knife between slices. Stacked layers are part of the appeal of this layered dessert. Make sure every slice is picture-perfect by wiping the knife clean between cuts.  
  • Stretch the servings. This recipe makes 9 generously sized slices, but you can serve 12 by cutting the delight into thirds and then crosswise into fourths.

No-Bake Cherry Delight Recipe

With its glossy red top, creamy filling, and salty-sweet crust, this no-bake dessert will wow everyone.

Prep time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Serves 12

Nutritional Info


For the filling and topping:

  • 8 ounces

    cream cheese

  • 3/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2 cups

    cold heavy whipping cream

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    finely grated lemon zest

  • 1 (21-ounce) can

    cherry pie filling

For the crust:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick)

    unsalted butter

  • 12

    full-size graham crackers (about 6 1/2 ounces), or 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt


  1. Place 8 ounces cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Let sit at room temperature until softened.

Make the crust:

  1. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with 2 sheets of parchment paper, positioning them perpendicular to each other, so that the parchment hangs about 2 inches over all 4 sides of the pan to form a sling.

  2. Melt 1 stick unsalted butter in a small microwave-safe bowl in 20-second bursts until mostly melted, 40 to 60 seconds total (it will melt completely as it sits). (Alternatively, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.) Set aside to cool slightly.

  3. Break 12 whole graham cracker sheets into rough pieces and place in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Add 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Process until the crackers are the texture of sand, about 15 seconds. Add the butter and pulse to combine, 6 to 8 (1-second) pulses. (If using graham cracker crumbs, just stir 1 1/2 cups crumbs and the sugar, salt, and butter together in a medium bowl.)

  4. Transfer the mixture to the baking pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup or your fingers to press the crumbs into an even layer, making sure to reach the edges and fill the corners. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Make the filling:

  1. Add 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt to the bowl of cream cheese. Beat with the paddle attachment, starting at medium speed and gradually increase to high, until creamy and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Stop and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.

  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Finely grate the zest of 1/2 medium lemon until you have 1/2 teaspoon. Add the zest, 2 cups cold heavy cream, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract to the cream cheese mixture. Beat on low speed until combined, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until medium peaks form, about 2 minutes total.

  3. Dollop the cream cheese mixture into the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Spoon 1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling over the cream cheese mixture and spread into an even layer. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

  4. When ready to serve, grasp the excess parchment and transfer the cherry delight slab to a cutting board. Cut into 12 pieces, wiping the knife between each cut for cleaner cuts.

Recipe Notes

Ingredient substitutions: Swap out regular honey graham crackers for chocolate graham crackers.

Use other pie fillings, such as blueberry or peach pie fillings. Substitute 1/4 teaspoon almond extract for some of the vanilla extract for a nuttiness that complements the cherries.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.