No-bake Mini Cheesecakes in a pretzel crust that's shaped into a cup are easy and festive! Dress them up with blueberries and strawberries for a patriotic, red, white and blue dessert! Or, come up with your own creation using the tips below.
This no-bake cheesecake recipe is for cheesecake lovers who:
- Need the convenience of a 3 ingredient recipe. There's no need to plan ahead, just keep a few items on hand and the cheesecake "fix" can be satisfied very quickly.
- Don't have time to make a real cheesecake. Real cheesecake is the best (in my humble opinion.) But, it takes time and talent to make a cheesecake that doesn't crack or in some way turn out just the way it should. On the other hand, it's very hard to mess up this recipe.
- Want to make dessert ahead of time. You can freeze this recipe! We did it all the time at our meal assembly kitchen.
- Want to control the ingredients. Depending upon the products used, this recipe can be low-cal, low-fat, vegan and sugar-free.
The basic filling is perfect for trifles, full-sized cheesecakes or dip. Or, fill up a pretzel crust "cup" that has been healthified by swapping out butter for applesauce!
No-Bake Cheesecake Tips
The no-bake filling is made by combining softened cream cheese, sugar, and whipped topping, such as Cool Whip.
Using a hand mixer, combine cream cheese and sugar until it's light and fluffy Next, fold in the whipped topping. I usually give it a short whirl with the mixer again after this step just to be sure everything was well combined.
The filling thickens as it rests in the refrigerator. We suggest waiting at least an hour. Or, it can be made several days ahead of time.
Alternative: Fruit or other toppings can be folded into the filling at this point too!
The nutritional information in the recipe card below is for full-fat ingredients. But, this basic recipe works for low-fat products, fat-free products, and even vegan substitutes.
For sugar substitutions, we recommend using a baking blend that substitutes one for one with sugar because of the bulk that is added. Other options may work but the yield will be much smaller.
If you're used to a certain type of product, such as low-fat, then you will love the result. If you want a closer variation of the real deal, then stick to full-fat products.
Pretzel Crust "Cups"
We took a recipe for standard, buttery (and yes...very delicious) pretzel crust, such as this one by Southern Living and replaced the melted butter with apple sauce. It worked!
It's less sweet and a just a tad chewier than the traditional version. But, it's a very nice base for the creamy no-bake mini cheesecakes.
To make the little cups, press about 2 Tablespoons of the mixture into a cupcake tin coated with cooking spray. Bake the cups and allow them to harden before adding the cheesecake filling.
The fun thing about making mini-sized cheesecakes is that you don't actually have to commit to a topping. Put out a topping bar, much like you would for an ice cream party. Some toppings to try:
- Chocolate chips
- Coconut flakes
- Crushed candy
- Crushed cookies, like Oreos
- Chocolate sauce
- Caramel sauce
We added strawberries and blueberries for this recipe which makes the recipe perfect for Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day!
How to Freeze
The no-bake filling can be stored in the refrigerator after adding it to the cups. When you're ready to serve, place the mini cheesecakes in the refrigerator for several hours to defrost. For best results, add fresh fruit toppings just before serving.
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No-Bake Mini Cheesecakes in Pretzel Crusts
- 2 cups finely ground pretzels Measure after chopping
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 8 ounces whipped topping
- 2 cup Your favorite berries such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, washed and sliced
- Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
- Combine pretzels pieces and brown sugar in bowl.
- Add applesauce to the dry mixture and stir to thoroughly incorporate.
- Place about 2 Tablespoons of the mixture in the well of a muffin tin that has been coated with cooking spray.
- Press mixture firmly to the bottom and sides.
- Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes or until cups begin to firm up and are slightly browned.
- Allow pretzels cups to rest in the muffin tin for several minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool.
- To make the filling, add cream cheese and sugar to a large bowl.
- Using a hand mixer, beat and combine the cream cheese and sugar until it is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Fold in whipped topping and stir to thoroughly incorporate.
- To assemble, spoon creamy mixture into cups and top with berries.
- Keep dessert cups refrigerated until ready to serve.