No-bake Key Lime Cheesecake has all the great flavors of a key lime pie and cheesecake rolled into one! Its light and creamy filling and the cookie crust makes for the perfect dessert!
You only need a few ingredients and about 20 minutes to make this delicious pie! It's one of the easiest desserts every and so good! The first no-bake dessert I ever made was this rich and creamy chocolate pie and after that I was pretty much hooked on no bake desserts! They are so easy to put together, you never have to worry if you cooked them long enough, and they taste wonderful!
If you want to make a more traditional baked key lime pie, here is a delicious recipe that I made in a pressure cooker.
If you are looking for more cheesecake recipes, here are some of my favorites!
Frequently Asked Questions
In this recipe, I used a 7 ¼" springform pan from Pampered Chef, but you can use any size you have. Just keep in mind that if you are using a larger size, you may need to increase the cookie crust ingredients and your pie will not be as tall as mine. You can always adjust the ingredients by adding another block of cream cheese, 2 Tbsp of key lime juice, 2-3 Tbsp of powdered sugar, and whip up 1 ½ cups of heavy whipping cream for a taller pie OR you can add a layer of sweetened whipped cream on the top!
You can also use a regular pie pan or a deep dish pie pan for this recipe.
I don't suggest freezing a no-bake cheesecake because the whipped cream will break down in the freezer and your pie will be runny. The key lime no-bake cheesecake will last at least 4 days in the refrigerator.
The main difference is in the ingredients and, of course, baking or not baking. A regular baked cheesecake has eggs in it for structure and a no-bake cheesecake uses whipped cream instead. The whipped cream when folded into the cream cheese mixture gives the filling structure and results in a light and creamy pie filling.
Ingredients & Substitutions
There are just a few ingredients in a no-bake cheesecake and you can get creative with substitutions to make your own amazing pie.
I used ginger snaps to make my cookie crust because I think it pairs perfectly with the key lime flavor, but you can use whatever you want to create your own version. Many people will use a simple graham cracker crust and you can do that in this recipe by using graham cracker crumbs instead of the gingersnap crumbs and the rest of the ingredients will be the same.
You could also use a different type of cookie, like Nilla Wafers to make a Nilla Wafer crust. Digestive biscuits will also work just fine.
The most important thing when making your crust is to have the right ratio of cookie or cracker crumbs to butter. You want just enough butter to combine with the crumbs so it adheres to the springform pan. Other than that, everything is optional. You can make the crust sweeter by adding more sugar or you can omit the sugar. You can add whatever spices you like.
If you are short on time, skip the homemade crust and buy an already prepared graham cracker crust.
Key Lime Cheesecake Filling
Cream Cheese: For this recipe, I recommend using the block style of cream cheese and keep it full fat for the best results. The cream cheese spreads will not work as well in a cheesecake.
Key Lime Juice: If you can find fresh key limes, then you can certainly use them. I would zest at least 2 before juicing enough key limes to have ¼ cup of juice. You would probably need about 3 good size (golf ball size or bigger) key limes for ¼ cup of juice. I can never find them near me, so I use Nellie & Joe's key lime juice and it works great! I don't recommend using regular limes in this recipe, you won't get the same flavor and the pie will be very tart.
Lime Zest: You can skip the lime zest if using bottled key lime juice or zest a regular lime and then juice it and freeze it for later, or simply throw the zested lime in the freezer until you need a little lime juice!
Key Lime Oil: This ingredient is totally optional, but does add a nice boost of key lime flavor. I had this recipe tested without using it and it was still delicious, so no worries if you don't have it or don't want to buy it, the cheesecake will be wonderful without it.
If you do want to buy some, I get from Amazon and you can find it HERE: Key Lime Oil
Whipped Cream: I use heavy whipping cream and whip up my own whipped cream, but you can also use Cool Whip if you prefer. Cool Whip is usually sweetened, so if you don't want a really sweet pie, I would decrease the powdered sugar to ½ cup.
Sugar: I used powdered sugar in this recipe because I felt like granulated sugar might result in some grittiness to your filling since we aren't baking it. You can use granulated sugar if you prefer, but make sure to REDUCE the amount by half. So, instead of 10 Tablespoons of powdered sugar, use 5 Tablespoons of granulated sugar.
You can also decrease or increase the amount of sugar to taste.
Can I make this a Keto No-bake cheesecake?
Absolutely! For the crust I would use ground almonds and butter. Use a sugar substitute instead of the of powdered sugar and it would be best to use one that isn't gritty in texture. Swerve has a powdered sugar variety that is a 1:1 ratio for replacing powdered sugar, so that will work perfectly. Everything else can stay the same and you will have a delicious keto key lime cheesecake!
Can I Make a Different Flavor of a No-bake Cheesecake recipe?
Of course! The basic recipe for the easy filling can be customized to any type of no-bake cheesecake you want to make. Here are some ideas:
Basic Vanilla No-bake Cheesecake: Make the crust with vanilla wafers or graham crackers. Make the filling with 2 packages of cream cheese, ¾ cups powdered sugar, 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract, 3 Tablespoons of milk, and 1 cup of heavy cream, whipped (about 2 cups)
Coffee Flavored No-bake Cheesecake: Use Oreo cookies for the crust. See this recipe for No Bake Chocolate Pie for the ingredients and amounts. Make the filling with 2 packages of cream cheese, ¼ cup of strong coffee (room temp or cold), 2 tsp of vanilla extract, 1 tsp of espresso granules mixed into the coffee for a more intense coffee flavor, ¾ cup powdered sugar and 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, whipped. I made this version and it was delicious!
Caramel No-bake Cheesecake: Make the crust with vanilla wafers or even make a brownie crust like I did in my Turtle Cheesecake recipe (baking required for that). Make the filling the same as the basic vanilla filling, but swirl in caramel after folding in the whipped cream. You can easily swirl it in by drizzling the caramel over the top of the pie and using a butter knife to pull the caramel through the pie.
There are tons of other flavor combinations that you can make, get creative, have fun, and make your perfect no-bake dessert! Let me know what you come up with! You can post on Social Media and tag me at #TheSaltedPepper with your creations!
How to Make Easy No-bake Key Lime Cheesecake
The first thing you want to do before you even start making the key lime cheesecake is get out your cream cheese. It needs to be room temperature for it to incorporate easily and be nice and creamy, not lumpy. This can take several hours, so plan ahead of time.
I do not recommend microwaving to soften the cream cheese because that changes the texture too much.
The Pie Crust
I like to make the crust first and put it the freezer or the refrigerator while making the filling. To make the crust, finely crush 8 ounces (about 2 cups) of gingersnaps. You can do this with a plastic bag and a rolling pin or use a food processor or bullet style blender. In this recipe, you want the crumbs to be fine. Pour the cookie/cracker crumbs into a bowl and add in the sugar and cinnamon if using. Melt the butter (it makes no difference if it's salted or unsalted) and add to the cookie crumbs.
Mix to combine and pour into your 7-8" springform pan, or a pie pan will work. If using a pie pan, deep dish will work the best to accommodate the filling. You can line your springform pan with parchment paper if you want, but I didn't find that it was necessary.
Start by pressing the cookie/butter mixture along the sides of your pan. If it adheres easily, you have enough butter in the cookie crumbs. If it immediately falls off the sides, add a little more melted butter to the cookie crumbs. Once the sides are formed, press the remainder of the cookie crumbs to create a solid bottom.
Once the crust is formed, place the pan in the freezer or the refrigerator while preparing the filling. This is optional, but I did find that the crust held together better and the pie set up faster with the crust cold.
The Key Lime Cheesecake Filling
Prepare the filling by first whipping the heavy cream. You can do this by hand with a whisk, with an electric mixer or a KitchenAid mixer. You can also use cool whip instead of making your own whipped cream, see the substitution section above for more information.
In a stand mixer, pour your heavy cream into the bowl and using the whisk attachment, start off on a medium speed until the cream begins to thicken. Once it is slightly thick, turn the speed to high to finish whipping the cream. You want the whipped cream to be soft and fluffy, if you whisk it too much it will start to become stiffer and that makes it more difficult to incorporate into the cream cheese mixture.
Once the whipped cream is the correct texture, transfer it to a mixing bowl. You should have around 2 cups of whipped cream.
Once you transfer the whipped cream to the bowl, put the bowl back on the stand mixer. No need to clean it! YAY! Attach the paddle attachment
Add (to the bowl of the stand mixer) your room temperature cream cheese, 10 Tablespoons of powdered sugar, key lime oil (if using), zest of 1-2 limes and ¼ cup of key lime juice. I always use Nellie & Joe's key lime juice because I can never find fresh key limes. Either works great. If using fresh key limes, you will need 3-4 (depending on size) to squeeze ¼ cup juice.
Start the mixer out on a low speed to incorporate the lime juice and then once it is incorporated, increase the speed and beat the mixture until smooth.
You can also use a hand held electric mixer to make the filling.
Once the mixture is smooth, remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add about ½ of the whipped cream and gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
You want to be careful not to beat it in or deflate the whipped cream, so the folding motion is the best way to do it. Repeat with the remaining whipped cream, adding about ½ cup at a time.
Here is a quick video showing the folding technique I use.
Remove the springform or pie pan from the freezer or fridge and scoop the filling into the crust. Smooth out the top, cover with plastic wrap, foil, or silicone covers like I used and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.
Once the cheesecake is chilled, remove it from the fridge and remove the sides of the springform pan.
To remove the springform pan, I like to gently run my cake tester along the top edges of crust to make sure that when I remove the sides from the pan, the crust doesn't stick to the pan.
Depending on the style of springform pan you have, you might push from the bottom to remove the cheesecake or unbuckle the side and pull the pan upward.
You can serve the key lime cheesecake as-is or decorate with some whipped cream, lime zest or sliced limes.
Key Lime Cheesecake ~ No Bake!
Gingersnap Cookie Crust
- 8 ounces gingersnaps about 3-4 cups whole or 1½-2 cups crushed
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 4 Tablespoons butter salted or unsalted is fine
Key Lime Cheesecake Filling
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 16 ounces cream cheese full fat and NOT whipped cream cheese
- 10 Tablespoons confectioners sugar (powdered sugar) ½ cup, plus 2 Tablespoons
- ¼ cup key lime juice bottled or fresh
- 1 Tablespoon Lime zest optional
- ½ teaspoon key lime oil optional
- Before you get started, make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature.
- Finely crush the gingersnaps with a food processor or place them in a bag and crush them with something heavy, like a rolling pin. You want the crumbs to be a fine powder.
- Place the crushed gingersnaps into a mixing bowl and add 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and 4 Tablespoons of melted butter. Stir to combine.
- Pour the crust mixture into a 7-8" springform pan. Build the sides by pressing the cookie mixture along the sides of the springform pan. If the cookie crumbs are not sticking, then you will want to add a little more butter. Once the sides are done, press the rest of the cookie crumbs to make the bottom of the cheesecake. Place the springform pan in the freezer or the refrigerator while you make the filling.
Key Lime Cheesecake Filling
- Add the heavy whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixer or to a mixing bowl if using a whisk or hand held electric mixer. Whisk on medium (use the whisk attachment of a stand mixer) until the cream starts to thicken and then increase to hight until soft peaks form. You want fluffy whipped cream that will incorporate easily into the cream cheese mixture, so don't over beat it or it will become too stiff. You can also use about 2 cups of cool whip, but your pie will be sweeter.
- If you are using a stand mixer, transfer the whipped cream to a second mixing bowl. No need to clean the bowl of the stand mixer before the next step. If you are using whisk or an electric mixer, get a second mixing bowl that will hold at least 6 cups.
- Add the room temperature cream cheese to the mixing bowl or bowl of the stand mixer along with ¼ cup of key lime juice, 10 Tablespoons of powdered sugar, 1 Tablespoon of lime zest, ½ teaspoon of lime oil if using. Use the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or the beaters of an electric hand mixer and mix on low until the liquid has been incorporated, then increase the speed and beat until you have a smooth texture. This can be done by hand with a whisk, but it will take longer.
- Gently fold the whipped cream, ½ cup at a time into the cream cheese mixture until it all incorporated. You want to be gentle with this so you don't collapse the whipped cream. See post for video demo if needed.
- Once the mixture is uniform in color and smooth, scoop it into the springform pan and smooth the top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours to chill.
- Decorate the top with extra whipped cream and lime slices or serve it as is. Enjoy!
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Seeing the need for easy, delicious, and high quality recipes, she is focusing all of her efforts creating recipes specifically for the Ninja Foodi. Her recipes are easy for the home cook to follow and provide step-by-step instructions.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can.
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