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No-Bake Christmas Cranberry Cheesecake combines layers of orange-flavored cranberry sauce in a simple, creamy, no-bake cheesecake.

No Bake Cranberry Cheesecake

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This delicious No-Bake Cranberry Cheesecake is a must-make dessert for Christmas.

It’s a simple, no-bake cheesecake on top of a buttery graham cracker crust. Swirls of fresh orange-cranberry sauce throughout lend a sweet-tart flavor to every bite of creamy sweet cheesecake, and it’s a wonderful perfectly-sweet (but not too sweet) dessert to end any special meal.

Why You’ll Love No-Bake Cranberry Cheesecake

  • It’s no-bake, so it’s super easy to make.
  • It’s so festive and vibrant – this cheesecake will look great on the dessert table!
  • You can make it ahead of time and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
No Bake Cranberry Cheesecake

Special Tools

  • Food processor
  • Mixer (stand or hand)
  • 8-inch or 9-inch springform pan – we used a 9-inch

Key Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Cranberries – Fresh or frozen will work just fine in this recipe
  • Orange – Fresh orange zest and orange juice is combined with the cranberries to create a flavorful, sweet cranberry sauce.
  • Cream Cheese – You’ll need three 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese for this cheesecake. Don’t be tempted to substitute lower fat cream cheese – the finished consistency will be too soft.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – Just one can is needed to sweeten the cheesecake.
  • Gelatin – A packet of plain gelatin helps thicken the cheesecake, giving it a soft but smooth consistency.
  • Lemon Juice – Lemon juice cuts the richness and balances the sweetness of the cream cheese filling.
  • Graham Crackers – A simple graham cracker crust sits at the base of the cheesecake.

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No Bake Cranberry Cheesecake

Chef’s Tips –

To save some time, you *could* potentially use a canned or jarred cranberry sauce in this recipe, but make sure it isn’t overly tart. Having said that, we strongly recommend making the orange-cranberry sauce included in this recipe. It takes only minutes to prepare, and the citrusy sweet-tart flavor is so perfect with the cream cheese filling.

Note that this recipe makes about two cups of chunky cranberry sauce. Half will be used to assemble the cheesecake. The other half can be served as a topping over each slice.

No Bake Cranberry Cheesecake - A Family Feast

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How do I make a No-Bake Cranberry Cheesecake?

  1. Simmer the fresh cranberries, orange zest, orange juice, and some sugar together in a small saucepan until the berries soften and the mixture starts to thicken. Set aside to cool.
  2. Prepare a graham cracker crust by crushing graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor. Mix with melted butter and sugar, then press into the bottom of a springform pan. NOTE: You can bake the graham cracker crust for a firmer cheesecake bottom. OR you can freeze the crust while you prepare the rest of the cheesecake. (We baked ours for easier slicing, allowing it to cool completely before filling.)
  3. Bloom the gelatin by dissolving it in a small bowl of cold water. Allow the gelatin to sit and soften in the water.  Then add two tablespoons of boiling water to the bowl and stir to fully dissolve any clumps.
  4. Whip the cream cheese with a mixer until light and fluffy, then add sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and the dissolved gelatin to the mixing bowl. Mix again to fully combine.
  5. Pour half of the cream cheese mixture into the springform, over the prepared and cooled graham cracker crust and evenly spread over the crumbs, all the way to the edges of the pan.
  6. Spoon a half cup of the cooled cranberry sauce over the top of the cream cheese mixture in dollops all across the top. Then, take a knife and gently swirl the cranberry sauce into the cream cheese. (Don’t over swirl – you want distinct cranberry swirls in the cheesecake base.)
  7. Repeat, pouring and spreading the second half of the cream cheese mixture over the swirled layer, then dollop and swirl another half cup of the cranberry sauce over the top.
  8. Gently tap the springform pan against the countertop to remove any air pockets.
  9. Refrigerate for at least six hours or overnight to firm up.
  10. Run a thin knife around the inside edge of the springform pan, then loosen the outer ring and carefully lift off.
  11. Cut into slices to serve as is, or with leftover cranberry sauce over the top (an extra sprinkle of orange zest is a nice touch)!
No Bake Cranberry Cheesecake

Frequently Asked Questions

How far in advance can I make this cheesecake? Because this No-Bake Cranberry Cheesecake requires time to chill to set, we recommend making it the day before serving, but no more than three days ahead.

Can I freeze it? You can, but the cheesecake may become a little watery as it thaws.

How do I store leftovers? You can resecure the springform ring and cover with plastic wrap. Then store in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Can I make this other times of year, or only for Christmas? Of course you can make it anytime of the year. Freeze some fresh cranberries while they are in season, or look for frozen berries in the freezer section of your supermarket.

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No Bake Cranberry Cheesecake - A Family Feast

Recipe adapted from Eagle Brand‘s website.

You may enjoy these other cheesecake recipes:

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No Bake Cranberry Cheesecake

No-Bake Christmas Cranberry Cheesecake

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 6 hours 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 7 hours
  • Yield: 8 slices
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: no-bake
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Cranberry Sauce

3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup orange juice (from approximately 2 large oranges)

4 tablespoons orange zest (from the same 2 large oranges)

Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (approximately 12 graham crackers)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

7 tablespoons melted butter

Filling

2 tablespoons cold water

1 packet unflavored gelatin

2 tablespoons boiling water

3 8-ounce blocks cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (approximately 1 1/2 to 2 large lemons)


Instructions

  1. Combine cranberries, sugar, orange zest and orange juice in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the berries soften and start to burst, and the mixture thickens (approximately 15 minutes.) Set aside to cool.
  2. Pulse graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor to crush into crumbs, or place in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin into crumbs.
  3. Pour the crumbs into a bowl and mix with the sugar and melted butter. Stir to combine, then press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of springform pan. (Use a small glass or bowl to press the crumbs down firmly.)
  4. At this point, you can bake the graham cracker crust at 325 degrees F for 15 minutes, for a firmer cheesecake bottom crust. OR you can freeze the crust – keeping this entirely no-bake – while you prepare the rest of the cheesecake. (We baked ours for easier slicing, allowing it to cool completely before filling.)
  5. Place the cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the top. Let it sit for five minutes to fully soften and start absorbing the water (this is called “blooming” the gelatin). Then add two tablespoons of boiling water to the bowl and stir to fully dissolve any gelatin clumps. (The gelatin should be a clear liquid at this point. You can microwave it for a few seconds to heat more if it is still not liquidy.)
  6. In a mixing bowl, whip the softened cream cheese with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy – about three minutes. Pour in the can of sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and the dissolved gelatin to the mixing bowl. Mix again to fully combine, scraping the bowl as you go to make sure the filling is completely smooth with no clumps.
  7. Pour half of the cream cheese mixture into the springform, over the prepared and cooled graham cracker crust. Use an offset spatula or the back of a flat spoon to evenly spread the cream cheese over the crumbs, all the way to the edges of the pan.
  8. Spoon a half cup of the cooled cranberry sauce over the top of the cream cheese mixture in dollops all across the top. Then, take a knife and gently swirl the cranberry sauce into the cream cheese. (Don’t over swirl – you want distinct cranberry swirls in the cheesecake base.)
  9. Repeat, pouring and spreading the second half of the cream cheese mixture over the swirled layer, then dollop and swirl another half cup of the cranberry sauce over the top.
  10. Gently tap the springform pan against the countertop to remove any air pockets.
  11. Refrigerate for at least six hours or overnight to firm up.
  12. Run a thin knife around the inside edge of the springform pan, then loosen the outer ring and carefully lift off.
  13. Cut into slices to serve as is, or with the remaining cranberry sauce spooned over the top. An extra sprinkle of orange zest is a nice touch to add too, if you’d like.

Keywords: no-bake cranberry cheesecake

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