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!
Happy (no) baking!
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.