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How to Thicken a No-Bake Cheesecake

How to Thicken a No-Bake Cheesecake

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As opposed to regular recipes, the no-bake ones pose a little challenge. How so, you might wonder?

Well, with regular recipes, we knew what to do when something went wrong. If it’s too thick, add this, if it’s too thin, add that, and so on. 

However, when it’s a no-bake recipe? That’s a little bit tricky! That’s why today, I’ll share with you some of the tricks I use to thicken a no-bake cheesecake—one of my favorites!

Ready to save your no-bake cheesecake? Let’s start!

How To Thicken A No-Bake Cheesecake

No-Bake Cheesecake: Pitfalls to Avoid

Chefs and baking enthusiasts constantly come up with variants of traditional dessert recipes that don’t rely on baking and can still satisfy your sweet tooth. 

One of the most popular desserts is the no-bake cheesecake.

A cheesecake is often a fickle recipe in the first place, and even experienced bakers might have some trouble getting it to work right. 

This is why a no-bake cheesecake is right up the alley for people who don’t want the hassle of dealing with too many ingredients.

Now, where’s the pickle? 

It doesn’t usually taste or feel like the baked one. Depending on the ingredients you have chosen, you might find that the texture of your no-bake cheesecake is completely off the target. 

You start to slice your cheesecake, and suddenly everything crumbles, or you realize the cheesecake is too watery or can’t hold its shape well. 

Well, not anymore!

While many things can go wrong when substituting traditional cheesecake ingredients and methods, there are a few ways that you can try to fix your cheesecake.

But first, you should know what is wrong to avoid these problems in the future. 

What Can Go Wrong?

Scoop Of Cream Cheese

Bear in mind that by nature, no-bake cheesecakes have a slightly different texture than standard cheesecakes. But if your cheesecake is too runny, it is time to run through the possibilities below:

 1. You Used the Wrong Type of Cheese

One common problem with cheesecakes is that the cream cheese adds too much moisture, which makes the cake runny. 

This usually happens when you opt for a low-fat cream cheese. A baked cheesecake includes eggs and other ingredients to add thickness to the cake.

So, if you don’t add anything to help offset the cream cheese’s water content, there’s a good chance that you’ll have some trouble with the cake’s texture.

2. You Skipped an Important Ingredient

Yes, the main ingredient in the filling is cream cheese, but you need something to help it set. This is the secret ingredient in the recipe: double cream. 

When whipped, double cream or heavy cream adds stiffness, helping your cheesecake set and not turn out too runny or watery.

So, if you follow a faulty recipe that misses this crucial ingredient, you can expect a runny cheesecake that can’t be properly sliced. 

Strawberry Cheesecake

3. Everything Is Too Warm

Remember that this is a no-bake recipe, so there’s no heat or other ingredients like eggs to help hold the ingredients together. 

If the cream cheese is too warm, your no-bake cheesecake will probably be too runny. 

This can also happen if you serve your cheesecake right after it’s done, without letting it set. 

How to Fix the No-Bake Cheesecake

Now that you have a good idea of what can go wrong with a no-bake cheesecake, you must learn the best way to fix this issue without messing up with the ingredients. 

As someone who prepared no-bake cheesecakes numerous times, I tried many ways to help thicken the texture.

Here are my tried and tested tips to avoid a runny no-bake cheesecake:

1. Use the Right Cream Cheese

I know that low-fat cream cheese is quite popular, especially if you want to reduce your fat intake. 

Yet, unfortunately, without enough fats, this dessert won’t hold its shape. So, unless you’re OK with your cheesecake crumbling, you should always pick a high-fat option. 

If you need another reason to avoid low-fat cream, here’s one: Low-fat cream isn’t that healthy since you still consume saturated fats. 

2. Add Double Cream

Double cream is like the unknown soldier that can make or break your no-bake cheesecake. When whipped, it turns into stiff peaks that help your cheesecake hold its shape. 

As a matter of fact, it’s the secret to the whole recipe. 

So, if you follow a recipe that doesn’t require adding double or heavy cream, I’d recommend finding another one. 

3. Fix the Temperature

No, you shouldn’t work with cold cream cheese. Cold cream cheese won’t easily blend into your recipe, and your cheesecake might not turn out how you want. 

However, after you’ve mixed everything to make your filling, you should let your no-bake cheesecake chill for a few hours. 

This gives the cream cheese and double cream time to set. Ideally, I’d let my cheesecake set overnight to ensure it’ll hold its shape when I start slicing it. 

However, if you don’t have that much time, you should at least let it chill for a couple of hours. 

4. Use Gelatin

What if you’ve done all the previous steps, and your cheesecake is still too runny? Adding gelatin has always been my secret weapon. 

It’s a natural thickener used in many recipes to help thicken sauces, custards, and other foods. 

Gelatin itself is flavorless, and you can add it to your recipe without any taste, texture, or flavor issues.

It just adds some sturdiness to the cream cheese filling, ensuring that your potentially runny cheesecake won’t have any structural issues.

But be careful because you don’t want to go crazy with the gelatin. Too much gelatin will result in a strange and gummy cheesecake while adding too little won’t fix the problem you are trying to deal with.

So, how do I determine the amount of gelatin to add to my no-bake cheesecake?

This depends on the amount of other ingredients in the cheesecake and the size of the cake itself. I recommend that you start slowly and stir the gelatin into the filling. 

You’ll quickly see if you’re reaching the texture that you want to achieve. If not, add a little bit more. 

Final Thoughts

Nothing compares to the disappointment of a dessert dish that didn’t turn out how you imagined. 

Thankfully, you don’t have to serve a messy, runny cheesecake just because you chose a no-bake recipe. 

From a runny mess to a firm and tasty no-bake cake, you can rest assured knowing your cheesecake can be saved, and you’ll have a treat to enjoy for the next several days!

Just figure out what you’ve done wrong, and you can use any of the tips I suggested to reach the texture and taste that will dazzle everyone.

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Thursday 7th of July 2022

Can someone please help me?!?! My no back cheesecake is runny and I have gelatin but not sure how I'm supposed to use it. Do I need to still mix it into hot water and then add it to the mixture... or do I add the gelatin straight into the mixture?

Sarah B.

Thursday 14th of July 2022

Hi Bruce!

Yes, you would still mix it with hot water to activate it. This recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoestring explains how to add it (about a third or so down the page). I hope this helps!

Colin Gee

Tuesday 15th of June 2021

I have followed this No-Bake Cheesecake recipe precisely. After 8 hours in the fridge there is absolutely no sign that this is going to set.Looking at the ingredients I am wondering why it would set. Is there a missing ingredient ? I am now adding gelatine in an attempt to rescue it.


Sunday 6th of March 2022

@Colin Gee, The last two no bake cheesecakes I made were runny. In trying to figure it out I decided that maybe I was mixing my cream cheese too long. I tried it again, but this time only mixed the cream cheese long enough to make it smooth with no lumps, not long at all. Surprisingly it came out perfect. I did not add anything different and it worked.