No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

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This no-bake chocolate cheesecake is one sweetheart of a dessert.

It’s a total crowd pleaser. And it couldn’t be easier to make.

My favorite part? You don’t have to fuss around with the oven.

I can’t take credit for this idea.

It’s largely based on a recipe I saw in a holiday baking issue of Food & Wine, contributed by cookbook author and recipe goddess Grace Parisi.

 

I made a few tiny tweaks (added vanilla, substituted half and half for the water).

All I can say is: It’s pure genius. (Thank you, guys!)

This little baby has all the tangy, chocolate-y gorgeousness of a cheesecake—without having to deal with the (let’s be real) stress of baking one.

I mean, come on:

You make it by layering a lush, chocolate syrup-infused cream cheese concoction with crisp chocolate cookies.

Then, wrap the whole business up and snuggle it in the fridge overnight.  

In the morning, by some Divine Act of Decadent Alchemy, it’s transformed into a melt-in-your-mouth-then-dance-on-the-table chocolate cheesecake. 

I’m SOLD. 

Read on for step-by-step photo instructions for how to make one yourself.

Scroll to the bottom of the post for a printable recipe card

There’s only one catch to making this cheesecake

Since all the magic happens in the fridge, you need to make it the night before you want to serve it. 

Easy, peasy with a tiny bit of planning. 

Ingredients for no-bake chocolate cheesecake

So, you can make this with a handful of ingredients you can find at most big grocery stores. 

You’ll need chocolate syrup.

I tried this stuff this time, it was pretty good! But use your fav.

 

The star of this cake is Nabisco chocolate wafer cookies.

(And no, this isn’t a paid ad for our dark cookie overlords at Nabisco. It’s just years of pure, unadulterated chocolate wafer love.)

They’re these things here:

They’re super thin and very dry and crunchy. 

If you can’t find them in person, you can order them in a pinch on Amazon.

I bet you could totally try this with other chocolate wafer cookies, but I’ve never tested any other brand.

(If you do, leave a comment below, let us know what you used and how it turned out?)

What kind of pan should you use?

You want an 8-inch round cake pan.

A springform pan or pan with a removable bottom is ideal. Here’s mine:

You can find a similar one here on Amazon.

Want to bake a traditional chocolate cheesecake? 

Check out our favorite, step-by-step photo recipe for Chocolate Cheesecake here.

It’s a classic at our house, especially around the holidays. 

Alrighty, enough yapping. To the kitchen!

No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

2 packages Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers (you need about 70)
24 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature (that’s 3 bricks in the US)
1 cup Hershey’s chocolate syrup
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Yields one 8-inch cheesecake, serves 6-8

Prep your cake pan 

Grab your cake pan (mine has a removable bottom).

Line it with enough plastic wrap to hang over the edges by 4-5 inches, like this: 

Basically, you want enough plastic wrap hanging over so that you can completely wrap your cheesecake up once you have it in the pan. 

 

It doesn’t have to be pretty or perfect. It just has to work. 😉

Make the chocolate cheesecake base

Put the cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a large bowl if mixing by hand).

Beat it until it’s smooth and fluffy.

You want it to look about like this:

Beat in the chocolate syrup, half-and-half, and vanilla extract until fluffy and uniform. 

You want it to look about like this:

We’d be talking soft peaks if this were whipped cream. 

This is your finished cheesecake base. Give it a taste.

If you want to tweak the flavor at all (or just, you know, eat a few spoonfuls), now’s the time to do it. 

Make the cookie crust for your no-bake chocolate cheesecake

Grab your chocolate wafer cookies. 

Put 20 in a ziptop bag. Keep the other 50 aside for the next part. 

Bash these little guys into crumbs using a rolling pin or other appropriate device. 

You want a coarse cookie meal. This is going to be your outside crust. 

 

Set the bag of crumbs aside.

You’ll use them to finish your no-bake chocolate cheesecake tomorrow

Assemble your no-bake chocolate cheesecake

Grab your lined pan.

Overlap 9 cookies in an outer ring like this:

 

Punctuate the center with another cookie. 

This is the only layer to fuss over precise cookie placement a little (if you’re so inclined), since it’s going to be the top of your no-bake chocolate cheesecake (you’ll invert it onto your serving platter). 

Plop about 1/4 of the cheesecake mixture on top of the cookies and smooth it out, keeping the cookies in place as best you can. 

Repeat with 3 more layers.

(9 cookies in an outer ring. 1 cookie in the middle. 1/4 of the cheesecake mixture on top.) 

If one chocolate cookie breaks, you won’t perish.

Just set the cookie pieces in place and keep moving…it will be just fine.  

When you’ve finished the 3 additional layers, set the last 10 cookies in place on top. 

 

VOILA:

Wrap up your no-bake chocolate cheesecake

Fold the plastic wrap (the ends that you left hanging over the pan) over the top to cover it completely. 

You don’t have to press down hard, just make sure you’ve got all the surface covered and didn’t leave any spots exposed. 

Refrigerate your no-bake chocolate cheesecake overnight

Pop the pan into the fridge overnight.

And that’s it! Have a cocktail. Go to bed. Let the fridge work its magic.

In the morning, you’ll wake up to chocolate cheesecake bliss. 

The next day: Finish your no-bake chocolate cheesecake

The next day, take your cheesecake out of the fridge. 

 

Remove it (still all wrapped up) from the pan. 

Carefully peel back the plastic wrap to reveal your masterpiece. 

Invert it onto your serving platter.

Here’s how I did that. 

Aaaaaaannnnnd, flip her over…presto!

Take off the bottom of the pan (if using a pan with a removable bottom).

Then carefully peel off the plastic wrap and discard.  

Here’s your (almost) finished no-bake chocolate cheesecake:

Put the crust on your no-bake chocolate cheesecake

Remember those cookie crumbs you made? 

Press handfuls of the crumbs on the edge of your cheesecake to make a nice crust. 

Cover the whole outer edge of your cheesecake.  

You’ll wind up with extra crumbs on your serving platter. 

Sweep them off and clean up the edges a little. 

And you did it! One sumptuous, no-bake chocolate cheesecake!  

Serve and enjoy!

Slice your no-bake chocolate cheesecake with a sharp, non-serrated knife, wiping the blade in between cuts to keep your slices neat

We like to plate up fat wedges with piles of whipped cream and drizzles of chocolate sauce.  

No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

Yields Yields one 8-inch cheesecake, serves 6-8

This little baby has all the tangy, chocolate-y gorgeousness of a cheesecake—without having to deal with the (let's be real) stress of baking one. You make it layering a lush, chocolate syrup-infused cream cheese concoction with crisp chocolate cookies. Then, wrap the whole business up and snuggle it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, by some Divine Act of Decadent Alchemy, it's transformed into a melt-in-your-mouth-then-dance-on-the-table chocolate cheesecake. The one catch? You have to make it the night before.

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

2 packages Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers (you need about 70)
24 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature (that's 3 bricks in the US)
1 cup Hershey's chocolate syrup
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Line an 8-inch cake pan with enough plastic wrap to hang over the edges by 4-5 inches. Basically, you want enough plastic wrap hanging over so that you can completely wrap your cheesecake up once you have it in the pan. 
  2. Put the cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a large bowl if mixing by hand). Beat it until it's smooth and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the chocolate syrup, half-and-half, and vanilla extract until fluffy and uniform. 
  4. Grab your chocolate wafer cookies. Put 20 in a ziptop bag. Keep the other 50 aside for a minute. Bash the 20 cookies into crumbs using a rolling pin. You want a coarse cookie meal. This is going to be your outside crust. Set the bag of crumbs aside. You'll use them to finish your no-bake chocolate cheesecake tomorrow. 
  5. In your lined pan, overlap 9 cookies in an outer ring, then add one cookie in the center.
  6. Plop about 1/4 of the cheesecake mixture on top of the cookies and smooth it out, keeping the cookies in place as best you can. 
  7. Repeat with 3 more layers. (9 cookies in an outer ring. 1 cookie in the middle. 1/4 of the cheesecake mixture on top.) 
  8. When you've finished the 3 additional layers, set the last 10 cookies in place on top. 
  9. Fold the plastic wrap (the ends that you left hanging over the pan) over the top to cover it completely. 
  10. Refrigerate your no-bake chocolate cheesecake overnight
  11. The next day: Finish your no-bake chocolate cheesecake
  12. The next day, take your cheesecake out of the fridge. Remove it (still all wrapped up) from the pan. Carefully peel back the plastic wrap to reveal your masterpiece. 
  13. Transfer it to your serving platter. Take off the bottom of the pan (if using a pan with a removable bottom). Then carefully peel off the plastic wrap and discard.  
  14. Press handfuls of the chocolate cookie crumbs on the edge of your cheesecake to make a nice crust, covering the whole outer edge of your cheesecake.  
  15. Sweep any extra crumbs off your serving platter and clean up the edges a little. 
  16. And you did it! One sumptuous, no-bake chocolate cheesecake! Slice your no-bake chocolate cheesecake with a sharp, non-serrated knife, wiping the blade in between cuts to keep your slices neat. 
  17. Serve fat wedges with piles of whipped cream and drizzles of chocolate sauce.  
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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie works as an advertising copywriter in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

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