This No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake takes the delicious key lime flavor we love in key lime pie and kicks it up a notch. This delicious layered cheesecake offers up intense key lime flavor that everyone will love.
Key lime is one of our favorite citrus flavors. It packs a punch of intense tart goodness that is so delicious when paired with sugar in desserts. Of course, one of our favorite desserts is key lime pie. We’ve enjoyed it for years, and we’ve made it quite a bit.
We love key lime pie, but we wanted to try something different using that key lime flavor that we love so much. We didn’t want to go too far afield from the classic key lime pie, but we did want something that would switch things up. That’s when we decided on this no bake key lime cheesecake.
Key lime pie is rich and creamy just like cheesecake, so we thought it made sense to simply create a cheesecake that used key lime flavor. We view it as a super thick key lime pie with a little extra cream cheese richness and no meringue. It’s so good, and it’s the perfect dessert for any occasion.
The Tropical Trail to No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake
This no bake key lime cheesecake is one of the most delicious things we’ve ever concocted, but we wouldn’t be able to enjoy it without cheesecake or key lime pie themselves. After all, this dessert is a combination of the two. Before we go any further, I want to take a quick look at the history of both cheesecake and key lime pie.
History of Cheesecake
Cheesecake has a long, long history. In its earliest forms, cheesecake is mentioned by Aegimu, a 5th century BC physician. A later, more closely related version called sambocade can be found in Forme of Cury, an English cookbook from 1390.
Because of its similarity to modern cheesecake and its mention in Forme of Cury, many food historians credit England as the birthplace of the modern cheesecake.
Over hundreds of years, Europeans began removing the yeast that was a common ingredient in the earliest modern cheesecake recipe and began adding beaten eggs instead. Around the 18th century, with the overpowering yeast flavor done away with, cheesecake became more of what it is today.
The cheesecake that we all make today is the result of the creation of commercially available American cream cheese. Developed in 1872 by William Lawrence who was looking for a way to recreate Neufchatel, cream cheese is the result of Lawrence creating an “unripened cheese”.
History of Key Lime Pie
Key lime pie is an American dessert made with key lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk. It’s served in a variety of ways including with or without a meringue topping or whipped cream, in a pie or graham cracker crust, or with no crust at all.
No one knows exactly when key lime pie was invented. A 1926 restaurant menu includes lime pie, it doesn’t specify key lime. A widely circulated story asserts that William Curry’s cook Aunt Sally invented it in the late 19th century, however, this story seems to have appeared around 1995, so it’s almost certainly incorrect.
Food historians generally agree that key lime pie is probably a variation of the Magic Lemon Cream Pie recipe which was published in a promotional brochure by a condensed milk company, Borden, in 1931. A 1933 Miami newspaper article mentions a tropical lime chiffon pie, while an icebox lime pie was mentioned as a specialty of the Florida Keys in 1935. A recipe called Key Lime Pie was published in 1940.
Really, all food historians know for sure is that the key lime pie was invented sometime between 1931 and 1940 when the first official reference of key lime pie was recorded. Over the years, Florida has become the home of key lime pie. In the 1950s the pie was promoted as Florida’s “most famous treat”, and in 1987, it was called “the greatest of all regional American desserts”.
No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake
If you love the flavor of key lime pie, this no bake key lime cheesecake will be an instant hit with you and your family. Using that classic, smooth key lime flavor and combining it with rich, creamy cheesecake, you get a dessert that like a key lime pie on steroids. This decadent key lime cheesecake is deep, prepared over a graham cracker crust, and garnished with limes and frosting around the edges to create a dessert that’s as beautiful as it is delicious.
It’s also super easy to make. You’ll see several steps when you look at the recipe, but upon further inspection, you’ll quickly realize that they’re all simply a matter of mixing, spooning, and layering. This is a 100% pure, no bake dessert, so you’ll never have to turn on the oven. It’s so good and so easy, it makes the perfect treat for any occasion.
Ingredients and Assembly
Most of the time, we’ll put a generalized list of ingredients and directions in our post so readers can get a feel for the recipe. However, there are several ingredients used in this recipe and a few different mixing and layering steps involved with bringing it all together, so we’re forgoing that today.
Don’t worry, though. It’s not a sign that this recipe is a super-involved monstrosity of a recipe. It simply means that, although the recipe is quite easy, you’ll need to mix and layer a few different things. It just makes more sense to give it all to you in the recipe card below.
Although it requires several steps, this is a super easy cake to make, so you won’t be spending all day in the kitchen. It’s also extremely difficult to really screw it up. That being said, there are some tips that will help ensure you get the absolute best no bake key lime cheesecake possible.
Use Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice
If you don’t have access to key limes – and a lot of us don’t – we highly recommend using Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice. It’s absolutely the closest thing to fresh-squeezed key lime juice you can get without squeezing it yourself. You should be able to find it in the baking aisle at your local grocery store. If not, you can order it online.
Usually, we say that you can substitute certain ingredients in recipes, but for this one, the old saying is true: accept no substitutes. You absolutely cannot make this without key lime juice and get the same flavor. Regular limes won’t do it. You also have to use whole milk. Don’t use 2% and don’t go the other way and use half and half or heavy cream. Whole milk is the sweet spot.
Serving the No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake
This no bake key lime cheesecake is perfectly perfect in every way, as Mary Poppins would say. There’s no need to add anything to it at all when serving it. Of course, many of us love to put whipped cream on our pies and cheesecakes when we serve them, but in this case, it would only detract from the flavor. So just serve it up exactly as the recipe describes. It will be a HUGE hit.
Storing the Cheesecake
This cheesecake will keep well in the refrigerator for up to five days in an air-tight container. For longer storage, you can freeze it for up to a month. And the great thing is that cheesecake freezes very well. So you don’t have to worry about losing quality or flavor.
To defrost it, simply take out the cake or a piece – depending on how you froze it – and let it defrost in the refrigerator. That’s it!
Try This No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake for Yourself
This no bake key lime cheesecake is rich, creamy, so limey, and so, so good. It features that smooth tartness of key limes and the rich, sweet flavor of cheesecake all rolled up into one amazing dessert package. It’s truly one of the best key lime desserts you’ll ever eat.
Give this key lime cheesecake a try, and we are absolutely positive that you and your family will love it. So will any guests you have over. It’s the perfect dish for a family dessert, potluck, or summer get-together. So give it a try. It’s so easy and so good, there’s no reason not to!
If you love Key Lime pie, you’ll love this cheesecake! It’s cool, and creamy, and just delicious. This would be perfect to serve anytime. It’s got a thick graham cracker crust, that’s sweet and crunchy, and it’s really a stunning dessert with the gorgeous color contrasts. Trust me, everyone is going to love this one, so put it in your favorites!
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No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake combines the best of key lime pie and cheesecake into one easy, delicious treat. It's the perfect dessert.
- 1 sleeve of graham crackers
- 1 Tablespoon of sugar
- 3/4 of a stick of butter – melted
- 3 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese – softened
- 1/2 cup of Nellie and Joe's Key Lime Juice
- 1 can of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- 1 small package of Cheesecake flavor Instant Pudding
- 1/4 cup of whole Milk
- Lime colored – gel food coloring
- Green food coloring gel
- TO GARNISH:
- 5 – 6 Key Limes – if available – or – 5 or 6 regular limes
- 1 cup of sugar – placed in a shallow dish
- 1 can of prepared frosting – to pipe
- Lime colored sprinkle mix – sprinkles of choice
Line a 7 inch Spring-form pan with parchment paper, and set aside.
In the blender, or food processor, place the graham crackers, and sugar, and blend until coarse crumbs form. Pour crumbs into a bowl, and pour melted butter on crumbs.
Stir well to coat crumbs in butter. Pour crumbs into Spring-form pan, and press evenly to form crust. Place pan in the freezer.
Slice 2 or 3 of the limes in thin slices, and lay slices on paper towels for a few minutes, to drain excess juice.
Remove crust from freezer, and place a bowl, smaller than the Spring-form pan, in the middle of the Spring-form pan.
Dip Lime slices in sugar, on both sides, and place slices along the outside of the Spring-form pan, between the pan and the dish – see photo. Place the Spring-form pan back in the freezer.
In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, place the softened cream cheese, Key Lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and powdered sugar, and mix on low until all ingredients are blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the Cheesecake flavor Instant Pudding, milk, and mix again until completely blended, thick and fluffy.
Place 1/3 of the cheesecake batter in a separate bowl, and place the bowl in the refrigerator. In the mixing bowl, add several drops of Lime food coloring gel, and a couple of drops of green food coloring gel. Continue to add a drop or two at a time, until you reach the color desired. Remove the Spring-form pan from the freezer, and remove the bowl in the center.
Make sure the limes are pressed against the outside of the pan. Pour half of the lime green colored cheesecake batter into the pan. Place the pan back in the freezer, for at least four hours. Place the remaining lime colored cheesecake batter in the mixing bowl, in the refrigerator.
After four hours, remove the Spring-form pan from the freezer, and pour the white cheesecake batter in the Spring-form pan, on top of the lime colored layer. Place the pan back in the freezer for 3 hour. Remove the pan from the freezer, and pour the remaining lime colored batter on top of the white batter layer, forming the top layer of the cheesecake. Place the pan back in the freezer, and leave it overnight for best results.
Before serving the cheesecake remove the pan from the freezer, and remove the outside of the Spring-form pan.
Place the Frosting in a pastry bag with a large star tip, and pipe the frosting on the top of the cheesecake in a swirly ribbon around the edge of the cheesecake. (You can also pipe large dollops of frosting around the edge if you prefer). Sprinkle with a Lime green sprinkle mix.
Cut the remaining limes in slices, and cut the slices in half. Place the half slices around the top of the cheesecake, in the frosting (see photo). Dip the remaining lime pieces in sugar, and serve on the side as a garnish. Serve, and Enjoy!
NOTE: I could not get Key Limes, so I used regular Limes for the garnish. But, I used the Key Lime Juice – Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice – for the cheesecake. Nellie and Joe’s is the closest thing to fresh squeezed Key Lime juice you can get without squeezing it yourself. If you’re not familiar with Key Limes, they are smaller than regular limes, not as green, and have a smoother, much less acidic flavor than regular limes do. You can’t just use regular limes for a Key Lime pie, or dessert, you will not get the same flavor. You should be able to find Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice on the baking isle of most grocery stores. If you can’t find it in a local store, you can purchase it online. Once you open it, it must be kept refrigerated, which means, you can use it again and again, and make any Key Lime recipe you choose.