Cheesecake is one of the most decadent and delicious desserts you can order in a bakery or make at home. Its rich, creamy texture is unlike anything else on earth.
Most cheesecake recipes are designed to produce entire cakes, enough to feed multiple people. If you’ve got leftovers, what can you do with them? Can they be frozen?
In this article, we’ll look at what no-bake cheesecake actually is in the first place. Then, we’ll talk about freezing it: what happens to the cake, how to freeze and thaw it, and, most importantly, how it will turn out.
Finally, we’ll also look at some alternative storage options for your delectable treat. By the time you reach the end of this page, you’ll be able to enjoy cheesecake any time you want it!
What Is No-Bake Cheesecake?
First, let’s get a handle on what we’re talking about. It might seem obvious, but a no-bake cheesecake is a type of cheesecake that does not need to be baked in the oven.
The main reason for this, and the main difference between a no-bake cheesecake and a regular cheesecake, is that a no-bake cheesecake does not contain eggs. Raw eggs can be dangerous for people, especially young children, pregnant women, and the elderly, as well as people with compromised immune systems.
In many ways, a no-bake cheesecake is simpler to make than a traditional cheesecake because the process of baking a cheesecake can be tricky. Instead, the no-bake kind sets in the refrigerator rather than the oven.
To get started, here are a few highly rated no-bake cheesecake recipes that you might want to try:
- The indomitable Martha Stewart brings us this recipe
- Try a fluffy cheesecake
- For those of us watching our waistlines, you can make a low-fat no-bake cheesecake
- You can even make vegan no-bake cheesecake
It Has to Be Kept Cool and it Has to Cool First
Let’s be clear about one thing from the outset: a no-bake cheesecake must be kept chilled at all times. This is because the cheese can spoil if left at room temperature. Therefore, even unfrozen or never-frozen cheesecake should be kept in the refrigerator to be safe.
One more item to note before we move ahead: cheesecake also has to cool before it freezes. This means that you need to cool down the cake (whether it was baked or not) in the refrigerator before you put it in the freezer to keep.
Some recipes for no-bake cheesecake call for the cake to be put in the freezer immediately. Those are the only exceptions to this rule!
Do Eggs Make a Difference?
Since one of the main differences between baked and no-bake cheesecakes is whether or not they have eggs in them, you might be wondering: is it the eggs that make a difference in freezing?
The answer is no, not really; many baked goods that contain eggs freeze beautifully. The differences that exist have more to do with the chemical reactions around the baking process itself, but also, it’s worth mentioning that the best practices for freezing both baked and no-bake cheesecakes are very similar.
Next, let’s look at what some of those are.
The Science of Freezing a No-Bake Cheesecake
Now that you have your no-bake cheesecake ready to go, let’s explain what actually happens when you put it in the freezer.
Freezing is actually a complicated process that involves a series of physical and chemical reactions. Freezing baked goods is always a little bit tricky because there are often a series of ingredients that all need to be taken into consideration.
The trickiest of these is the cheese because when it freezes, the water content in cheese can separate from the milk curds, which means that when thawed, it may remain separate and can be grainy in texture.
Generally speaking, freezing soft cheeses, such as the kind used in cheesecake, is not going to yield great results. For that reason, we recommend finding a recipe that uses cream cheese rather than ricotta or another soft cheese, since it will freeze better.
How Will No-Bake Cheesecake Fare in the Freezer?
In general, you can freeze no-bake cheesecake with pretty good results in the freezer. That said, the longer you keep it frozen, the worse the quality will be, so you will want to thaw it within about two months.
In addition, you should never thaw and then refreeze a cheesecake of any kind. Every time you do so, the overall quality will deteriorate, and the texture especially will become mealy and unpleasant.
Instead, consider freezing desserts in individually wrapped containers and thawing them one at a time when you and your guests are ready to enjoy them.
In summary: yes, you can freeze no-bake cheesecake with fairly good results (although of course, nothing is as good as fresh). Let’s look at how to go about this process to yield the tastiest outcome.
How to Freeze No-Bake Cheesecake
Just throw it in the freezer and forget it until you need it, right? Wrong! Just as with most baked goods, there is an art to freezing no-bake cheesecake that helps prolong its life and preserve its goodness.
One of the most important things to do when you freeze your no-bake cheesecake is to store it in an airtight container, for a number of reasons. First and foremost, airtight containers prevent air from getting in and, most of all, moisture from escaping, since this will cause your frozen food to be dry and mealy when it is defrosted.
Sometimes you can tell when this has happened because you will see little ice crystals, often referred to as “freezer burn,” on your food. If this happens to your cheesecake, you can cut away the sections with freezer burn on them and just eat the rest.
What constitutes an airtight container? Look for items that are heavy-duty and thick; many will even boast about their freezer burn prevention qualities on the packaging.
Never thaw and then refreeze your cheesecake (or any baked good, for that matter). Every time you do, precious moisture is lost, meaning that when you finally eat it, it will taste dry and grainy.
It might be easier to freeze your cheesecake in smaller sections — either individual slices or quarters of the cake. This way, you can thaw them one at a time and you can find little pockets of space in your freezer where they can fit.
How to Thaw No-Bake Cheesecake
We can’t emphasize this enough: do not thaw no-bake cheesecake on the counter or at room temperature.
For one thing, the change in temperature will be too fast and dramatic, accelerating the chemical reactions and impacting the quality of the cake. You will find that not only will room temperature defrosting be uneven (sections of the cheesecake, particularly the center, will be still frozen while others are thawed and soft), but the taste and texture will lose quality as well.
For another, counter defrosting can actually be dangerous. Remember that unless you made a vegan option, there is cheese in your cheesecake! Cheese already has bacteria in it that can multiply rapidly, destroy your cheesecake, and endanger your health if not kept cool.
Therefore, you must thaw no-bake cheesecake in the refrigerator. Give it about four or five hours; if you’re serving guests, you can even let it thaw in the fridge overnight to be safe.
How Long Can No-Bake Cheesecake Stay Frozen?
Theoretically, you can leave no-bake cheesecake in the freezer for as long as you like; it isn’t going to grow mold or deteriorate in any damaging way while it is in the freezer.
That said, the longer it remains frozen, the more of its flavor and texture it will lose. Generally speaking, it’s best to eat the cheesecake as soon as is feasible after it is frozen.
Try to thaw and enjoy your no-bake cheesecake within a month, or two at most, for optimum flavor and texture.
Other Options for Keeping No-Bake Cheesecake Fresh
Store it in the back of the refrigerator: Another option for added freshness is to store your no-bake cheesecake in the coldest part of your refrigerator, which is usually the back.
The ingredients won’t completely freeze, but the lower temperature will slow down the decomposition process without the impact of actually freezing. In addition, make sure that it is in an airtight container in the refrigerator to protect the taste and quality.
Find a recipe that calls for freezing: There are some no-bake cheesecake recipes out there that actually have you set the cake in the freezer rather than the refrigerator. The vegan option that we linked to above is one of those.
Overall, you’re going to have better results from something designed to be frozen in the first place. That said, you still don’t want to keep it frozen too long: a couple of months, and even frozen no-bake cheesecake starts to lose freshness and quality.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.