Creamy, easy no-bake cheesecake just makes sense during the summer since it’s chilled overnight, and you don’t have to heat your oven, prepare a water bath, or worry about cracks on the surface, etc.
There is a time and place for a conventional cheesecake, but my version of this no-bake cheesecake has a thick ginger-rich cookie crust with a filling that’s light, fresh, and citrusy.
This is MY version of a no-bake cheesecake.
I made it up one day for my daughter’s birthday, inspired by her grandmother’s lemon “cheesecake” that used a lemon flavored instant pudding mix, but I wanted to use fresher ingredients.
While she doesn’t really ask for it anymore, every once in a while, I will surprise her.
Using fresh lime zest and ginger snaps processed into fine crumbs, the combination of zesty ginger and bright lime meets in the middle with a scrumptious creamy center.
I can usually find ginger snaps year-round in grocery stores close to the Nilla Wafers or on the top shelf in the cookie aisle.
I make mine in a deep-dish Pyrex pie plate, but I’ve also done it in an 8×8 casserole dish.
Springform is pretty but not necessary and the crust tends to crumble a bit more since this isn’t baked.
Just don’t use too large of a dish because you want a nice, thick cookie crust.
We like a less-sweet cheesecake pie, so I only use a half cup of powdered sugar, but you can increase this to ¾ or a full cup if you’d like.
You don’t need a food processor to destroy the cookies. You can use a rolling pin to crush the cookies in a sturdy zipper baggie.
Just make sure your crust crumbs are pretty fine and uniform in size.
- You want softened cream cheese that you beat without adding anything else. It makes sure you aren’t creating lumps. Lumps = bad.
- A food processor works the fastest to pulse the cookies into crumbs, but you can just use a baggie and rubber mallet or rolling pin (and a sturdy surface) to crush these into uniform crumbs. Because the crust doesn’t bake, you want to make sure the crumbs aren’t TOO large, or they won’t stick together in the chill/rest process.
- For once, it’s okay (and necessary!) to melt the stick of butter. Softened butter won’t incorporate well.
- If you aren’t comfortable using your fingers to press the crust into the pan, you can use a flexible rubber spatula, it just might take a little longer.
- While you can start cutting very soft pieces of cheesecake immediately, to really let the lime zest and ginger snaps meld with the creamy center, give it two hours or three or four hours, or overnight or just until you can’t stand to wait any longer… to rest in the refrigerator.
- Because the two starring flavors complement each other so well, I haven’t found a sidecar that really works with this finished piece. You could do a bit more whipped cream on top if you find that the ginger or lime are too strong for your guests.
- Pressed for time? Skip whipping the cream first and just pour it in last to your bowl of ingredients and mix thoroughly. It will make for a denser, less fluffy cheesecake pie, but the taste will be the same otherwise.
- 1 box of good quality ginger snaps, crushed into 2 cups of cookie crumbs.
- 1 stick of butter, melted
- 2 pkgs of full fat cream cheese, softened
- ½ c of powdered sugar
- 1-1/2 c of heavy cream, whipped
- 2 large limes
- 3 T of lime juice
- Take your packages of cream cheese out of the fridge and make sure they are soft, but not melted.
- Crush or food process the ginger snaps so that you have a full two cups of crumbs. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can add them to a sturdy zipper baggie and beat them with the flat side of a rolling pin. They don’t need to be powdered; just have the crumbs be a uniform cracker-crumb consistency.)
- Add to a mixing bowl.
- Melt the butter completely. Pour butter over the cookie crumbs. Mix with a fork or wooden spoon. If you’ve used unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt here. If you REALLY love the flavor of ginger, add a ½ t of powdered ginger now, but if you have good quality snaps, you may not need it. Sometimes I add ½ t of powdered cloves here, too, or pumpkin-pie spice.
- Press the cookie-butter mixture into your glass pie pan with your fingers, making sure the crumbs go up the side. Ensure you can’t see the pan through the crust, and overall that it’s even. Set aside.
- Zest the two limes and set aside. Slice two round “wheels” off the limes and juice the rest. Set aside zest and juice separately.
- In a mixing bowl, whip the cream into stiff peaks. Set aside.
- In another larger bowl, add the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Add the powdered sugar gradually, then the lime juice. Beat until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream and lime zest.
- With a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into the prepared cookie crust and pile it high, smoothing the cream cheese mixture until it’s evenly spread across the center of the crust’s surface.
- Optional: Garnish by laying the two lime wheels flat in the center of the cheesecake.
- Cover with cellophane or foil, trying not to touch the cream filling with the cover. Chill for three hours or overnight.
The bottom line
The ginger and lime make a natural pairing in this no-bake cheesecake.
You can cover this with foil or cellophane wraps and refrigerate at least three hours, overnight, or grab a knife and start cutting everyone a soft but decadent piece of no-bake cheesecake.
You may end up with a little more filling than your pan will hold.
This is most certainly a happiness problem, so store the extra filling in a container with a lid and eat it with a spoon at your leisure.
It’s not overwhelmed with citrus flavor, like key lime pie might be, but you definitely get a nice bite of fresh lime as you sink your teeth all the way into the thick, buttery ginger cookie crust.
Since the bottom is not baked, you get the snappy but not tough crumb crust that’s made softer overnight.
Also, you don’t need vanilla. The whipped cream is adding lift and richness, but with so much lime and ginger flavor, I’ve noticed when I added vanilla extract, it’s just lost here.
I might as well save my vanilla, so I don’t use it in this recipe. If you can’t imagine life without it, feel free to incorporate at the same time as the lime juice.
This isn’t like any other no-bake cheesecake I’ve come across. There’s always a time and place for plain cheesecake, but this isn’t it.
Hope you like this! Let me know if you give this one a try!