No-Bake Cranberry Cheesecake is as easy as it is elegant. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or just treating yourself, this cheesecake is the perfect blend of convenience and sophistication.
Why You’ll Love This No-Bake Cranberry Cheesecake
Looking for a show-stopping dessert that’s as easy to make as it is delicious? Let me introduce you to this No-Bake Cranberry Cheesecake! It’s not just another cheesecake recipe; it’s a delightful journey of flavors and textures that will have you and your guests coming back for seconds. Here’s why you’ll fall in love with this recipe:
- No-bake ease. With just a brief (and optional) stint in the oven for the crust, this is a great dessert to make when your oven is busy making your big meal.
- Perfectly creamy texture. The cheesecake filling is smooth and creamy, making every bite a luxurious experience.
- Visually stunning. With its vibrant cranberry swirl, this cheesecake is as beautiful as it is delicious – perfect for impressing guests.
- Make-ahead magic. Because this cheesecake needs to chill for several hours, it’s a great candidate for preparing in advance.
What You’ll Need
See the recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions. Here are some notes about the ingredients needed to make your no-bake cranberry cheesecake.
- Cranberries – You can use fresh or frozen cranberries.
- Granulated sugar
- Orange zest and juice – You’ll need more juice for the cheesecake filling, too, so you can prep that at the same time.
- Biscoff cookies – Grind these finely. You’ll need an entire 250g package, so get extra if you want to snack on some, too.
- Granulated sugar
- Unsalted butter – Melt this before mixing. It helps hold the crust together.
- Cream cheese – Let this come to room temperature for easier mixing and a smoother filling. Full-fat cream cheese works best.
- Granulated sugar
- Orange juice
- Heavy cream – Look for heavy cream or heavy whipping cream.
How to Make No-Bake Cranberry Cheesecake
You’ll be making three components for this cranberry cheesecake, but each one is easy to make with a short list of ingredients. Ready to get started? Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Get cooking. Place the cranberries, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and water in a heavy saucepan, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Simmer. Decrease the heat to medium-low, and let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries are soft and have begun to burst. This should take about 10 minutes. Stir well, breaking up any berries that didn’t burst.
- Cool. Let the cranberry sauce cool completely. If you like, you can run it through a fine mesh sieve.
- Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 350°F. If you opt not to bake the crust, skip ahead to the next step.
- Mix the ingredients. Combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until well-mixed and thoroughly moistened.
- Form the crust. Press the crust mixture into the bottom and about 1 & 1/2 inches up the sides of an 8-inch springform pan.
- Bake. Place the pan on a lined rimmed baking sheet just in case there are any leaks in your pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, and then let it cool to room temperature. If you’re not baking the crust, instead place it in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
- Start mixing. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and orange juice until the mixture is smooth and well-combined.
- Whip the cream. In another mixing bowl, use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Start at low speed, and work your way up to high over a minute or so to reduce splatters.
- Finish mixing. Add about a third of the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture, and stir gently until combined. Then add the remaining whipped cream, and fold gently. Mix just until combined, taking care not to over-mix.
- Start layering. Spread about half of the cheesecake filling in the bottom of the cooled crust. Top with about half of the cooled cranberry sauce, dolloping small portions over the top. Repeat the layers.
- Swirl. Use a thin knife or wooden skewer to swirl the cranberry sauce into the filling.
- Refrigerate. Cover the cheesecake, and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to let it set and become more firm.
- Serve. When you’re ready to serve the cheesecake, carefully and slowly remove the sides of the pan. Garnish as desired.
Does the Crust Have to be Baked?
If your oven is busy with other tasks, you can certainly skip the baking step. However, if it’s feasible for you, I recommend baking it briefly as described in the recipe below. Just that brief time in the oven will make the crust more firm and less likely to crumble. Baking this crust also brings out a toasted, caramel-like flavor in the cookies.
Tips for Success
I think you’ll find this cranberry cheesecake recipe to be simple and straightforward. Here are a few tips to help make sure your dessert turns out perfectly:
- Use fine cookie crumbs. Make sure the cookies are finely ground for a consistent base. If it’s too coarse, the crust won’t hold together well. I like to grind them in a food processor, but you can place them in a zip-top bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
- Divide the work. You can make the cranberry sauce a day in advance if you want to spread out making this cheesecake.
- Bring the cream cheese to room temperature. It will mix more smoothly and make for a lump-free filling.
- Gently swirl the filling. Use a thin knife or something comparable to create a marbled effect. Don’t mix too much to keep distinct swirls.
- Want to use a 9-inch springform pan? While the smaller 8-inch pan will create a nice, tall cheesecake to show off all those layers, a 9-inch pan will work, too.
There are several tweaks you can make to make this recipe more attuned to your tastes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Change the crust. Instead of Biscoff cookies, try graham crackers, gingersnaps, or vanilla wafers.
- Use your favorite cranberry sauce. You can easily substitute your favorite cranberry sauce recipe or prepared variety (not the jellied kind) here. The recipe I’ve included makes about 2 & 1/2 cups of cranberry sauce. Aim for that amount or adjust to your tastes.
- Add spices. For a slightly different flavor profile, add a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom to the filling.
- Go with a lemon twist. Substitute lemon zest and juice for the orange.
- Make individual servings. Layer the crust, cranberry sauce, and cheesecake in glasses to make individual desserts.
When it’s time to serve your no-bake cranberry cheesecake, be sure to remove the sides of the pan slowly and be ready with a thin knife if needed to separate it from the pan. Then serve it as it is in all its swirled glory, or add a finishing touch. Here are some ideas for added garnishes for serving:
- Whipped cream. Keep going with the creamy texture here with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. Go with a simple version or add a bit of orange zest or a dash of cinnamon. If you like, combine that topping with one of the ones below or your own idea.
- Sugared cranberries. Lean into the cranberry flavor by topping slices with some homemade sugared cranberries.
- Citrus zest. Sprinkle some orange or lemon zest over the cheesecake for a vibrant, citrusy aroma.
- Mint leaves. A few mint leaves can add a pop of green color and a refreshing contrast to the sweet flavors. They look especially pretty combined with sugared cranberries.
- White chocolate shavings or curls. These can add an elegant touch and a hint of richness.
- Crumbled cookies. Sprinkle some crushed Biscoff cookies over the top for added texture and to hint at the crust flavor.
How to Store
Keep your no-bake cranberry cheesecake covered or in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator. It should keep in the refrigerator up to 5 days. However, the fresher it is, the better the taste and texture.
Can This Cheesecake Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze this cranberry cheesecake. Wrap it tightly and store it in the freezer for up to a month. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before serving.