No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake
This easy No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake with Nilla wafer crust and white chocolate is wonderfully refreshing and perfect for summer!
Although it’s not REALLY summer yet, I always feel like Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the season. Let’s kick things off with a recipe for key lime cheesecake that is totally no bake (you don’t have to turn on your oven!) and so refreshing and bursting with flavor that you’ll feel like you’re eating it sitting next to the water enjoying a light breeze. That’s the best, right?!
I’ve always encouraged readers to send me their favorite recipes, and nearly two years ago Mary shared this no bake key lime cheesecake with me, saying that this is her most requested recipe. After making it, I could totally understand why! It’s absolutely stunning to look at, the texture is creamy perfection and the flavor is bright, refreshing, but not overpowering.
And if you needed any more convincing, she said everyone tells her it’s even better than The Cheesecake Factory key lime cheesecake. Let’s do this!
How To Make No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake
The key lime cheesecake starts with a Nilla wafer crust, which is a little deviation from the traditional graham cracker crust. Mary said that she prefers the Nilla wafers, as she found the graham cracker crust a little too overpowering for this cheesecake.
The filling consists of lime juice, heavy cream and white chocolate, which it beaten into cream cheese that has been sweetened with lime zest-infused sugar. Finally, whipped cream is folded into the mixture to give it a mousse-like texture.
Gelatin is used to stabilize the entire filling, keeping it nice and firm, which makes slicing a breeze.
While many no bake cheesecakes are made with sweetened condensed milk, this one skips the sweetened condensed milk in favor of the white chocolate and gelatin, which I think makes for a superior filling. Not too sweet, and a perfect mousse-like consistency once the whipped cream is folded in.
Tips for Making the Key Lime Cheesecake
Below are some recipe notes that may be helpful when making the cheesecake:
- Fresh key lime juice is essential for the flavor; resist using bottled key lime juice. If you cannot find fresh key limes, use equal amounts of lime juice and lemon juice.
- Do not use the zest of the key limes – the peel is too thin. Use regular limes for the zest in the recipe.
- If you’d like a frozen texture, instead of refrigerating overnight, place the cheesecake in the freezer overnight and serve straight from the freezer. You can also wrap the cheesecake in plastic wrap, then foil, and freeze for up to 1 month.
Key Lime Cheesecake Crust Ideas
While graham crackers are usually the defacto go-to for crusts when it comes to light-flavored pies and cheesecakes like this, I LOVED the Nilla wafers for something a little bit different, and the flavors paired really well. However, there are so many different options for key lime pie cheesecake crusts that would be delicious! Some ideas:
- Graham crackers
- Nilla wafers
- Toasted coconut crust
- Coconut macaroon crust
- Oreo crust
- Gingersnap crust
- Animal crackers
How to Decorate Key Lime Cheesecake
I went with a very simple whipped cream piped around the border with lime slices, but there are a myriad of ways you can dress this up for serving! Here are some topping ideas:
- Strawberry, blueberry or raspberry sauce
- Sour cream
- Whipped coconut cream
- Mango ribbons
- Mango mousse
- White chocolate curls
- Candied lime peels
- Lime curd
- Dollop of Cool Whip for quick and easy!
Can You Freeze Key Lime Cheesecake?
Yes! As a matter of fact, the reader who sent this recipe to me said the original Paula Deen recipe that this is based off of called for freezing the cheesecake.
If you’d like a more ice cream cake-like texture, you could totally do that and serve it straight from the freezer. Or you could wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then foil, and freeze for up to 1 month.
If you need a no bake dessert to take you through the summer, this key lime cheesecake is IT!
And if you’re feeling lime-y and would like some other dessert ideas, check out my key lime pie and key lime pie bars.
Happy (no) baking!
One year ago: Firecracker Cake
Two years ago: Baking Basics: Chocolate 101
Six years ago: Mojito Cupcakes
Eight years ago: Pea in a Pod Baby Shower Cookies
No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake
For the Crust
- 2 cups (220 g) crushed Nilla Wafers
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (113.5 g) unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling
- 4 tablespoons fresh key lime juice
- 1⅔ cups (396.67 ml) heavy cream, divided
- 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- 7 ounces (198.45 g) white chocolate, finely chopped
- ⅔ cup (133.33 g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
- 16 ounces (453.59 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- Make the Crust: In a medium bowl, whisk together the cookie crumbs and sugar. Add the melted butter and, using a fork, stir together until evenly moistened. Press into the bottom and partway up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
- Make the Filling: Place the key lime juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat until warm to the touch. Whisk in 1/3 cup of the heavy cream and the gelatin until combined and bring to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat, add the white chocolate, and stir until smooth. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
- In a small bowl, rub together the sugar the lime zest until all of the sugar has been moistened with the zest.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar mixture on medium speed until light, fluffy and smooth. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slow beat in the cooled white chocolate mixture until completely combined and smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- In a clean bowl and with clean and dry beaters, beat the remaining 1 1/3 cups heavy cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold it into the cream cheese mixture, then pour it into the crust and smooth the top into an even layer.
- Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator, release the cheesecake from the springform pan and transfer to a serving plate. Leftover cheesecake can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Do not substitute bottled key lime juice; fresh key lime juice makes the flavor!
- If you cannot find fresh key limes, use equal amounts of lime juice and lemon juice.
- Do not use the zest of the key limes - the peel is too thin. Use regular limes for the zest in the recipe.
- If you'd like a frozen texture, instead of refrigerating overnight, place the cheesecake in the freezer overnight and serve straight from the freezer. You can also wrap the cheesecake in plastic wrap, then foil, and freeze for up to 1 month.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
It was very delicious one of the best recipe i made , friends love it very refreshing the taste. I want to post a picture but no idea how on the comment section
I made the crust with Biscoff cookies and i like my key lime very puckery so I added an extra tbsp of fresh key lime juice. It was very good me and my kids love it very much. Thank you for this recipe!!
Hi Michelle! May I make this in a 9 x 13? Or maybe a jelly roll pan? I have to take this to an Easter event and more servings are needed. Also, would I double for a larger pan?
Can the ingredients be doubled and made in a 9 x 13 cake pan ?
Hi Karen, Unfortunately there will be too much batter for a 9×13 if you double the recipe.
I made this cheesecake for my nieces birthday. It was delicious! So creamy and refreshing. I decorated it with piped whipped cream and strawberry slices. We really liked the combination of strawberries and key lime.
Thanks for another great recipe!
Hi Pam, So thrilled that you enjoyed this, and happy birthday to your niece! Thanks for taking the time to stop back and share a review!
Thank you for sharing the recipe! No bake cake is the best in this hot weather. Can’t wait to try this delicious cheesecake.
This looks so yum. I recently made one which I had to bake and it took forever. This one sounds so much more appealing. I will give this recipe a try. Thank you for sharing!
E || OH LA LATKES
I love the idea of making key lime cheesecake! It’s perfect for summer parties!
Wow thank you, it looks so yummy!!! I HAVE to try it, but there are no nilla wafers where I live. With what can I substitute them?
Hi Aline, So many options! See the section in the actual post above about all of the different ideas for a crust and pick one you think you might like :)
I love all things citrus! I’m so excited to try this recipe. I’ve made a pie with frozen lemonade/limeade, Cool Whip & Eagle Brand for 40+ years. But sometimes we had to eat it with a spoon because it didn’t set up. This looks like a winner! Thanks
I’m vegetarian and don’t eat gelatin. What can I substitute, or can it be omitted? Thanks!
Hi Marjorie, I haven’t tried it, but I’ve read that agar powder is a good substitute for gelatin, although the texture will be a little different. You can substitute 1:1… Enjoy!
Love the tip on the gelatin! My first thought when I saw the picture was “How did she get such a clean slice.?!” Good to know!
My family loves key lime pie and cheesecake! Guess I know what I’m making when they come to visit next month! Can’t wait to try it! Also, a crust suggestion: my favorite crust for cheesecake is crushed butter cookies. I find graham cracker flavor is too strong for my tastes…..I mostly want to taste the cheesecake! :)
Oooh thank you so much for the crust suggestion!
YUM- this looks so good. I am going to try it this weekend! My question for you is– do you refrigerate overnight with plastic wrap on top, then do your toppings on day 2?
Hi Angela, Yes, that is what I did! Enjoy!
they’re all so nice ;)