Let’s start with the assumption you love cheesecake. Okay. Good. But there are two types of cheesecake eaters in this world. There are those who want their cheesecake slice to act as a sugar-bomb, satisfying every ounce of sweet tooth they have. They top their cheesecakes with syrupy fruits or decadent chocolate and caramel. And then there are those who really just want to sit down with a bowl of berries and slightly sweetened freshly whipped cream (possibly because they already had three cookies with their afternoon coffee earlier), and so they want a cheesecake that represents the best of summer freshness.
This No-Bake Berry Cheesecake Recipe falls into the latter of those two categories. It’s as simple to put together as it is fresh-tasting. The graham cracker crust comes together easily, with slight sweetness from both white and brown sugars, giving it a bit more of a sweet depth. The cheesecake mixture is on the fresh side, balanced with a pinch of lemon zest, but still plenty rich with that heavy cream, whipped into goodness. And then the berries come through in a jam layer as well as fresh berries on top.
These mini-desserts were put together in several layers, with an extra crust layer in the middle because it seems to be everyone’s favorite part of a cheesecake, and this way you get a little crust in every bite.
No-Bake Berry Cheesecake Recipe
(yields 2 large cups or 4 small)
8 graham crackers
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
8 ounces full-fat cream cheese, softened*
Pinch of fresh lemon zest
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar**
1 cup heavy cream
10 fresh raspberries, or more to taste***
1 cup raspberry jam****
*Get a block of cream cheese, and be sure not to use a tub of cream cheese spread.
**If you’re looking to satisfy a serious sweet tooth, use up to 3 tablespoons sugar in the cheesecake mixture. You could also use an additional tablespoon of brown sugar in the crust.
***Don’t limit yourself to raspberries here; your berries and jam could be strawberry, blueberry, or blackberry…or a mixture of one kind of a jam and a different kind of berry. These would also be excellent with peach or apricot jam, topped with fresh peaches!
****If you’re looking for something super sweet, you might want to look for a jam with a higher sugar content.
For the Crust: Grind your graham crackers into fine crumbs using a food processor. Add melted butter and white and brown sugars and pulse several times until you have a coarse, sandy mixture. (Alternately, you can place the crackers in a ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to crush them finely. Then just transfer the crumbs to a bowl and stir in your melted butter and sugars.) Set aside.
For the Cheesecake: Place softened cream cheese, lemon zest, vanilla extract, granulated sugar, and heavy cream in a large bowl. Starting on the lowest speed to avoid splatter, blend thoroughly (scraping down sides as needed) until mixture is thick and stiff.
Assembling the Ingredients in a Jar
The portions of your layers will totally depend on the size of your glass cup. The measurements given here reflected the size of the stemless wine glasses used, but please adjust accordingly if you’re using something larger or smaller!
Also – If you’re aiming for beauty and not speed here, you’ll want to use a paper towel to wipe down the sides of the glass after spreading each layer.
For ONE cup, from bottom to top:
Layer 1: ¼ cup of graham cracker crust. Press into the bottom of the cup with a narrow bowl or cup, or use your fingers.
Layer 2: about ½ cup of cheesecake mixture. Use a spoon or small rubber spatula to smooth this layer and press it all the way to the edge of the glass; do your best not to mix the crust layer up into this layer.
Layer 3: ½ cup jam. Smooth to the edges.
Layer 4: ½ cup cheese cake mixture. Use a spoon or small rubber spatula to smooth this layer and press it all the way to the edge of the glass; do your best not to mix the jam layer up into this layer.
Layer 5: heaping ¼ cup graham cracker crust. Gently spread with your fingers, and lightly press.
Layer 6: ⅓ cup of cheesecake mixture. Use a spoon or small rubber spatula to smooth this layer and press it all the way to the edge of the glass; do your best not to mix the crust layer up into this layer.
Layer 7: fresh berries!
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, ideally 3 — or up to a day before enjoying!
These jars featuring the No-Bake Berry Cheesecake Recipe are perfect for a summer night, for you and the one you love to sit by your backyard fire, cheesecake cups and spoons in hand, maybe a glass of red wine nearby. They are perfect for an afternoon with a friend, or even with your morning tea.
Thank you, Liz! This is pretty much the perfect dessert in my opinion. Gorgeous to look at. Delicious. Rich. Not too sweet. Thank you for adding some fruity goodness to the
P.S. — More Desserts for Two!
Credits: Images, styling & recipe by Liz Berget for Design Mom