Easy Icebox Cake

published Aug 6, 2023
Icebox Cake Recipe

Turn whipped cream and Oreos into the ultimate no-bake summer dessert.

Serves6 to 8

Prep20 minutes

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photo of an icebox cake with Oreo thins as the filling and chocolate curls as a topping on a marble surface
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

Icebox cakes are the retro dessert that have stood the test of time. Layers of crisp chocolate cookies and sweetened cream soften in the refrigerator, resulting in what you’d swear were slices of tender chocolate cake covered in fluffy whipped cream frosting. It’s the simple yet elegant dessert you can make all summer long. The best part: It requires no baking at all. 

Why Is It Called Icebox Cake?

Although we now call them refrigerators, 100 years ago, kitchen chill chests were kept cool with large blocks of ice. Hence, the name “icebox.” Instead of using an oven, icebox cakes are made by layering whipped cream and cookies together, and then refrigerating the cake for several hours in the icebox. The whipped cream softens the crisp cookies, yielding slices of tender, cake-like layers for a simple, no-bake dessert. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

What Is a Substitute for Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafer Cookies?

Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers — a crucial element of the classic chocolate-and-cream icebox cake — were abruptly discontinued in early 2023. With the thin chocolate cookies absent from grocery store shelves, and icebox-cake season quickly approaching, we had to find a substitute. Our top cookie pick is even better than the original. 

  • Oreo Thins: Oreo Thins are our new go-to for icebox cakes. Oreo Thins are a trimmed-down version of the classic sandwich cookie. These cookies have a rich chocolate flavor, a crunchy texture that softens when smothered in whipped cream, and a thin layer of vanilla filling that adds texture to icebox cakes.
  • Chocolate graham crackers: Cinnamon and honey graham crackers are used in fruity icebox cakes, so the chocolate variety — which has a subtle chocolate flavor — is a natural substitute.  They can be difficult to find in stores, so if you see a box, make sure to grab it. 

How Do You Serve Icebox Cake?

Icebox cakes are the ultimate make-ahead dessert for summer because the whipped cream needs at least eight hours to soften the crisp cookies into a cake-like texture. To serve, invert the cake onto a serving platter and discard the plastic wrap. Generously coat the sides and top of the cake with the reserved whipped cream before topping with chocolate curls or sprinkles. 

How Do You Store Icebox Cake?

Covered with plastic wrap, leftover icebox cake can be refrigerated for up to two days (the whipped cream may deflate with longer storage). Assembled icebox cakes can be frozen for up to one week, then thawed in the refrigerator. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

More Icebox Cake Recipes To Try

Icebox Cake Recipe

Turn whipped cream and Oreos into the ultimate no-bake summer dessert.

Prep time 20 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info


  • 2 cups

    cold heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup

    powdered sugar

  • 2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 32

    thin chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreo Thins (about 8 1/2 ounces)

  • Chocolate curls or sprinkles, for garnish (optional)


  1. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap so that at least 3 inches hang over the edge on all 4 sides.

  2. Place 2 cups cold heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Beat with the whisk attachment on medium speed until barely thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes more.

  3. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the whipped cream in the bottom and up the sides of the pan in an even layer.

  4. Spoon about 1 heaping teaspoon of the whipped cream onto a cookie. Top with another cookie and another 1 heaping teaspoon of whipped cream. Continue layering cookies and whipped cream, until you have a stack of 8 filled cookies. Lay the stack on its side against one short end of the loaf pan. Repeat with the remaining cookies and whipped cream until you have 4 rows of cookies arranged side-by-side in the loaf pan.

  5. Spread 1 cup of the whipped cream over the rows of cookies in an even layer. Fold the excess plastic wrap over to cover the cake. Place the remaining whipped cream in an airtight container. Refrigerate the cake and whipped cream until the cookies in the cake are completely softened (a knife should slide easily through the center of the cake), at least 8 hours or up to overnight.

  6. When ready to serve, uncover the cake. Invert the cake onto a serving platter and remove the plastic wrap. Spread the reserved whipped cream all over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish the cake with chocolate curls or sprinkles if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The cake can be prepared and refrigerated up to 1 day in advance.

Graham cracker variation: Chocolate graham crackers can be substituted for the Oreo Thins. You’ll need 12 full chocolate graham cracker sheets (about 8 ounces). Break the graham crackers in half crosswise. Build stacks of 8 graham crackers sandwiched with 1 tablespoon whipped cream, and arrange in 3 rows in the loaf pan or on a platter.

Platter variation: If no loaf pan is available, spread 1 cup of the whipped cream onto a 10x4-inch rectangle on a platter. Build stacks of 8 cookies and whipped cream (use 1 teaspoon whipped cream for Oreo Thins or 1 tablespoon whipped cream for graham crackers). Lay the stacks on their side, and arrange in 4 rows for Oreo Thins or 3 rows for graham crackers. Cover the cookie log with the remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate until the cookies are completely softened (a knife should slide easily through the center of the cake), at least 6 hours or up to overnight. Just before serving, garnish with chocolate curls or sprinkles if desired.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days. The cake can also be frozen for up to 1 week. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.