This no-bake mascarpone cheesecake is made with a buttery brown sugar graham cracker crust that gets filled with a light and fluffy mascarpone cheesecake filling. Top the cheesecake with caramelized peaches, or your favorite fruit of choice for an easy yet completely delicious dessert made from scratch!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
No-bake - This is such a great no-bake dessert option for those hot summer days! That means no oven, no hot water bath, and it also comes together super quick. If you really don't even want to turn on your stovetop for the caramelized peaches, just add fresh fruit or the strawberry sauce from my mini strawberry cheesecakes!
Flavor & Texture - This cheesecake is not too sweet, and is much lighter in texture than a baked traditional cheesecake due to the mascarpone and whipped cream. By adding a touch of lemon and sour cream, it helps to brighten up the mascarpone filling.
Versatile - Because the mascarpone mixture is pretty much a blank canvas, you can really choose your own path on the flavors you'd like to incorporate! See the variations section for ideas and cater this to fit your special occasions!
- Graham cracker crumbs. For the cookie crust. See the variations section for more ideas of what can be used.
- Mascarpone. Also known as Italian cream cheese or mascarpone cream cheese, and far less sour tasting than standard cream cheese.
- Heavy whipping cream. Note that you must use heavy whipping cream (or double cream in the UK) for the correct fat content. This should be cold from the fridge when incorporating it into the recipe.
- Lemon juice. This helps to bring brightness and a bit of acidity to the dessert, which is more akin to the tang in a traditional cheesecake.
- Sour cream. Use full-fat sour cream, this also helps to bring extra flavor to the filling.
- Vanilla extract. This is something that cannot be left out! If you have vanilla beans or vanilla paste, that's even better.
- Fruit. This recipe uses peaches that get caramelized into a gorgeous caramel. However, use whatever type of fruit you'd like! See the variations section for more ideas.
Note you will also need a 9" springform pan with a removable bottom for this recipe. See the recipe card for full ingredients list and quantities.
Variations & Substitutions
There are quite a few ways that you could mix up this recipe to make it your own!
- Crumb Crust - chocolate graham crackers, Biscoff cookies, Oreos, or vanilla wafers. Use the same amount.
- Fruit - fresh strawberries, raspberries, mango, or fresh berries are all great toppings. You could also swap the lemon for lime juice!
- Other toppings - try drizzling on melted dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate to serve. You could also spread on some easy lemon curd for an extra lemony version!
- Cream cheese - use a combination of cream cheese and mascarpone for a slightly tangier version of the cheesecake. Swap 8oz of cream cheese for 8oz of mascarpone.
- Mini - turn these into individual no-bake cheesecakes by assembling the ingredients in cupcake liners in a muffin tin or add them to small mason jars!
How to Make This Recipe
Before beginning, line the bottom and sides of the springform pan with parchment paper. Watch a quick video on the best way to do this!
Graham Cracker Crust
One: Use a food processor to pulverize the graham crackers into fine crumbs, then mix them together in a medium bowl with melted butter, brown sugar, and salt.
Two: Press the cookie or biscuit base into the bottom and sides of the springform pan, going about halfway up the sides of the pan. Freeze while you make the cheesecake filling.
No-Bake Cheesecake Filling
Three: Beat together the mascarpone (note this can be cold or room temperature) in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until combined, then add the sour cream and lemon juice.
Switch to the whisk attachment and drizzle in the heavy cream, whipping until fluffy stiff peaks form.
Four: Pour the cheesecake mixture into crust and spread evenly using an offset spatula.
Hot tip! Rub together 1 tablespoon of lemon zest with the sugar before adding it to the mascarpone for a brighter flavored lemon cheesecake.
Five: Combine butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and sliced peaches to a saucepan over medium heat.
Six: Once bubbling, add heavy cream and toss to combine. Remove the peaches and reduce the syrup. Allow to cool slightly, then recombine and add the peaches to the top of the cheesecake or slices.
How to Stabilize No-Bake Cheesecake
The best way to stabilize a no-bake mascarpone cheesecake is by incorporating gelatin. To do this, combine 2 teaspoons of powdered gelatin with 2 tablespoons of boiling hot water, and heat and stir until just dissolved (keep it slightly warm so it doesn't seize).
Drizzle the liquid gelatin into the cheesecake filling during the soft peak stage (with the mixer running), then continue whipping until stiff peaks form.
- Line the entire pan with parchment paper for easiest removal.
- Use a ⅓ cup measuring cup to press the crust into the springform pan - it fits the job perfectly! You could also use the bottom of a glass to press it in.
- The mascarpone can actually be cold or at room temperature for this recipe, but the heavy cream should be very cold.
- Use a bit of gelatin to make sure the cheesecake is extra set for instances where travel is long or the cheesecake may need to be out of the fridge for longer than an hour prior to serving.
Is cheesecake better baked or no-bake?
This is completely a personal preference. It comes down to whether you want to turn your oven on, and the texture you prefer. A baked cheesecake will be much denser, while a no-bake cheesecake is quite light and airy.
No. While similar, mascarpone high a less tangy taste and is slightly looser in consistency. Additionally, mascarpone has a higher fat content than cream cheese and is made with butter fat, while cream cheese is made strictly with milk fat.
Add the graham crackers to a zip-top bag, and remove all the air and seal. Place it on top of a dish towel, then use a rolling pin or bottom of a saucepan to crush the crackers as finely as possible.
Storage and Freezing
Store the no-bake mascarpone cheesecake in the fridge covered in plastic wrap for up to three days. If using gelatin, the cheesecake will keep for an extra day or two. Note that the crust will begin to weep and get slightly soggy, but will still hold shape.
The mascarpone cheesecake also freezes quite well. I like to freeze it directly in the spring form pan for about two hours, then I remove it, tightly cover it with plastic wrap, and aluminum foil, then place it into a sealed zip-top bag. Freeze for up to three months. Unwrap completely, then thaw in the fridge before slicing and eating.
More Cheesecake Recipes to Try
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No-Bake Mascarpone Cheesecake
- Food processor or high speed blender
- Stand mixer with paddle and whisk attachment (or hand mixer)
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (250g), 16 sheets of full graham crackers
- ¼ cup light brown sugar 50g
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon optional
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted (141g)
- 18 oz mascarpone cold
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar 133g
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
- 1¼ cups heavy whipping cream 300ml
- 3 peaches pit removed and sliced into ¼" slices
- ¼ cup light brown sugar 50g
- ¼ cup unsalted butter 57g
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream 30ml
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- Rum optional
- Pulverize the graham crackers until fine, sandy crumbs form and transfer to a bowl.
- Add the sugar, salt, cinnamon and use a fork to toss. Then, add the melted butter and toss the mixture to combine and until all crumbs are fully moistened.
- Lightly grease a springform pan then line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.*
- Press the crumbs into the bottom and halfway up the sides, being sure to compact it super well, including the corners.
- Add the pan to the freezer and prepare the cheesecake batter.
No-Bake Mascarpone Cheesecake Filling
- Using the paddle attachment, beat together the mascarpone cheese and sugar for one minute on medium speed, then scrape down the sides.
- Add the sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla and mix to combine, then scrape down the sides again then switch to the whisk attachment.
- Add the heavy whipping cream and mix on medium speed to combine, then switch to high speed and whip until light and fluffy - about two minutes.
- Add the cheesecake filling to the chilled crust, spreading evenly, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours to set.
- Remove the pits from the peaches ands slice them into ¼" slices.
- Add the butter, sugar, and cinnamon to a large pan and place over medium heat. Stir until melted, then add the peaches and toss to coat.
- Continue stirring occasionally until the peaches begin to soften, then use a slotted spoon to remove them to a plate.
- Allow the sugar mixture to bubble and reduce to thicken it slightly, stirring with a rubber spatula. This will take about 2 minutes. Then, add the heavy cream and stir.
- Allow it to cook for about a minute, then turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla and rum, if using. Allow the caramel to cool in the pan, away from the heat source.
- Toss the peaches with the caramel sauce, then add the peaches to the cheesecake or cheesecake slices.
Note this is a great option if the cheesecake needs to travel or be stored out of the fridge for more than one hour.
- Combine 2 teaspoons of powdered gelatin with 2 tablespoons boiling hot water. Stir to combine and dissolve.
- Drizzle in (with the mixer running) the warm gelatin mixture once the cheesecake filling hits soft peaks, then continue whipping until light, fluffy stiff peaks form.