No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake is a quick and easy no bake cheesecake with a burst of tangy lime flavor in every bite. Serve it frozen for an extra refreshing treat!
I created this recipe for #SummerDessertWeek! I was sent samples by some of the sponsor companies but, as always, opinions are 100% my own. Thank you Dixie Crystals for the sugar and Circulon for the awesome springform pan that makes this recipe extra awesome!
Key lime pie is one of my favorite desserts because I just love the tangy zip of lime to balance out the sweetness. I love my recipe for the pie, but I was thinking of how to enjoy that flavor in the summer without heating up the house by turning on the oven. I immediately thought of a simple no bake cheesecake. The only challenge that I could foresee is how to keep that zippy lime flavor to shine through the cream cheese base.
I accomplish that with a couple of easy tricks which I’ll get into a little later. Just know that after a few trials, I hit upon the right balance of intense lime flavor while still tasting like a cheesecake. Be advised that no bake cheesecakes are lighter and fluffier than their baked counterparts, which err on the side of creamy density. Also know that every good cheesecake starts with a delicious crust. For this no bake key lime cheesecake, I use a classic graham cracker crust.
How to make a graham cracker crust:
Graham cracker crusts are simple affairs, so use the highest quality ingredients and tools available. For me, that translates to national brand graham crackers, good butter, Dixie Crystals pure cane sugar and my favorite Circulon non-stick spring form pan. After finely crushing the graham crackers and tossing them with the sugar, I drizzle melted butter over top and stir until the crumbs and sugar are well coated with the butter. After pressing the mixture into the bottom of the pan, I do something a little different than most recipes–I freeze the crust.
You heard me. How many “no bake” cheesecake recipes have you seen that tell you to bake the crust for 5 to 8 minutes? That defeats the purpose of a no bake recipe. I find that freezing the crust helps it stay together better than baking the crust.
What can I substitute for graham cracker crumbs in the crust?
While graham crackers are my preference because they are lightly sweet, feel free to experiment with just about any simple cookie. I’ve had good success with vanilla wafer cookie crusts, as well as pretzels in a crust for a salty-sweet twist.
The filling for this no bake key lime cheesecake has a hefty amount of freshly squeezed lime juice and lime zest blended with the cream cheese and sugar. The filling gets its structure from freshly whipped cream, as well as a touch of lime gelatin. Yes, Jell-O. I know, I know. There is a method to the madness, I promise!
Does that tiny amount of Jell-O really add anything to the recipe?
While I state that the gelatin is optional in the recipe card, I highly encourage you to use it. The gelatin gives additional stability to the filling so that it holds together while still being light and fluffy. It also lends a touch of color so it’s obviously a lime cheesecake. If you choose to omit the gelatin, then you must chill the cheesecake overnight to ensure that it sets.
What if I can’t find key limes?
Key limes are preferred because they are more tangy than other varieties. If key limes are hard to come by, then feel free to use another variety of lime. I’ve also had good success with the more readily available Persian lime. Whatever you do, do not use bottled lime juice! Bottled juices do not have the same bright flavor as fresh, and tend to have bitter undertones.
Want to be positive that the no bake key lime cheesecake will set beautifully?
Freeze it! That’s right. Once the cheesecake is assembled, pop it in the freezer for an hour or two. I actually serve it frozen because it is just so refreshing on a hot summer day. Simply run a sharp knife through hot water, dry it off, and slice the cheesecake. To serve chilled, allow the frozen cheesecake to sit at room temperature for an hour before slicing.