The easiest no-bake gingerbread cheesecakes for the winter holiday season. Delicious last-minute dessert for Christmas dinners and parties. Contains no powdered sugar - just creamy cheesecake goodness!
I created these no-bake gingerbread cheesecake cups for quick and easy holiday entertaining. Like my last recipe for pumpkin cheesecake cups, this heavenly dessert requires no baking but still tastes so rich and delicious! I really love that they can be made in an hour and they look absolutely fabulous set out on a Christmas dessert table. You can decorate it any way you like and they will look and taste fantastic!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Easy - No-Baking!
- Quick - this gingerbread spice cheesecake can be prepared and ready to eat in just one hour.
- Delicious - rich, creamy, filled with holiday spices and not overly sweet. The crust is SO addictive too!
- Unique hybrid cheesecake style that is neither too dense or light.
- No powdered sugar - doesn't contain powdered sugar which can sometimes leave an aftertaste or is hard to incorporate, resulting in sugar clumps.
- Convenient portions - for holiday gift giving and events. Hygienic servings for party tables.
The Difference Between No-Bake & Baked Cheesecakes
Both no-bake and baked cheesecakes both usually contain cream cheese as a common thread. However, the major difference is in the preparation. No-bake cheesecakes require no baking time and get set by being chilled in the fridge whereas baked cheesecakes are heated in the oven. In terms of ingredients, no-bake cheesecakes most likely contains no eggs or flour (because it doesn't get to be heated in the oven). Some say that the texture of baked cheesecake is more dense due to the eggs and less incorporation of air inside the batter. On the other hand, many no-bake cheesecake recipes use powdered sugar or condensed milk which creates a lighter texture. This recipe uses neither so it's more like a hybrid between both types of cheesecakes, not too dense or light but still rich and creamy! (If you like dense and rich cheesecake-like cakes also try my easy Chocolate Cream Cheese Pound Cake or Matcha Cream Cheese Pound Cake.)
What is Gingerbread Spice?
The spices that make up gingerbread spice are quite similar to pumpkin spice. They both contain a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and other spices like cloves and all spice in varying degrees. Pumpkin spice is more heavy on cinnamon while gingerbread focuses on both ginger and cinnamon on a more equal level. In addition, black pepper is sometimes added to gingerbread for an extra spicy "kick". The result is a spice blend that releases a warm and inviting aroma. It's what makes holiday baking a perfect way to combat those dark dreary days of winter.
Ingredients You'll Need and Substitutes
- White baking chocolate - use a good white chocolate intended for baking as chocolate chips and other ready to eat white chocolates contains additives that are not suitable for melting into baked goods. I have tried using white chocolate chips in this recipe, I found the taste to be comparable but the texture was a bit grainy. Pictured in the photo above are white chocolate callets.
- Cream cheese - use the full-fat brick type as cream cheese in a tub is too soft for use in this cake. It needs to be softened to a spreadable consistency, microwave it on medium at 8-10 second intervals. Make sure it is no longer hot when it is added to the batter.
- Butter (for the cheesecake) - unsalted, it needs to be at room temperature for the mixture to incorporate together. If using salted butter, omit the salt in the recipe, it may or may not be too salty, depending on the type of butter you're using.
- Sour cream - is added for a tangy taste. This can be substituted with a few drops of lemon juice, according to taste.
- Ground cinnamon - all the spices together can be substituted with gingerbread spice.
- Sea salt - highlights the flavors and contrasts with the sweetness in the desert. It can be substituted with half the amount in table salt.
- Graham cracker crumbs - purchasing pre-crushed crumbs is more convenient. You can also make your own crumbs by placing graham crackers inside a Ziploc and crushing it with a dough roller. Digestive cookies also work too. Gingerbread cookies will also make a great substitute. If using it, omit the lemon zest and gingerbread spice used in the crust.
- Brown sugar - I used Demerara, it's a type of brown sugar, containing molasses in a smaller amount than dark brown sugar so it has a more mellow caramel flavor. It can be substituted with other brown sugars or granulated sugar.
- Butter (for cookie crust) - unsalted, melt it completely in the microwave on 15 second intervals.
- Lemon Zest - I prefer to use organic lemons for this recipe since we are taking the top part of the skin off for the zest.
Tips for Making No-Bake Cheesecakes
- Since this no-bake cheesecake requires no oven time, the proper incorporation of all the ingredients is integral. To ensure all the ingredients become one homogenous mixture, all the cheesecake ingredients need to be at room temperature. Not too hot, not too cold.
- Graham cracker/crumbs flavors can vary from brand to brand. Mix with melted butter and add sugar to taste as you go along.
- Melt the chocolate over a pot of hot water to ensure even melting and prevent separation of the chocolate.
- Line the cupcake tray with paper cupcake liners only. Do not use silicone or aluminum foil liners as these materials are too firm and won't peel off nicely. FYI: skipping the liners won't work as the cheesecakes won't release nicely from the cupcake tray.
- To speed up the setting process once the cheesecakes are assembled, place the tray in the freezer for 15 minutes. When they come out, the paper liners will be stuck to the cupcake tray, place in the fridge for another 15 minutes so they can be released more readily. They can be eaten right away. For the best results, let it chill in the fridge for another hour or so.
How to Make It - Step By Step
Make the Crust
Melt butter in microwave, heat on medium at 15 second intervals. Mix melted butter with graham cracker crumbs, spices, lemon zest and sugar (to taste) until homogeneous. Evenly distribute graham crust mixture into each cupcake cavity lined with paper cupcake liners, around halfway up the cup. Press down to compact as much as possible for a firm crust that won't fall apart easily. Place in fridge to set while making cheesecake.
Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, hang it over a pot of bowling water, do not let it touch the water. Stir until it's completely melted. Set aside to cool to room temperature before use.
Whip Butter & Cream Cheese
Soften cream cheese in the microwave on medium for 10 seconds. It should be at a spreadable consistency. In a large mixing bowl, whip room temperature butter until it's fluffy. Check that the cream cheese cheese is no longer hot, add to butter and whip together until just incorporated.
Fold in Remaining Ingredients
Add the remaining ingredients into the butter-cream cheese mixture. Gently fold together until homogenous.
Assemble & Chill
Evenly distribute gingerbread cheesecake into each cavity of the cupcake tray filled with graham cookie crust. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to set. (The liners will end up sticking to the tray.) Place tray in the fridge for 15 minutes before attempting to remove from baking tray. (For the best no-bake cheesecake texture, chill in the fridge for a minimum of one hour.) Gently pry out cheesecake from tray with a butter knife. Remove liners. Immediately before serving, top with whipped cream and a light dusting of cinnamon.
How to Serve Gingerbread Cheesecake
After the cheesecake cups chill and set in the fridge, it's time to get creative! You can even have your kids help decorate as a fun holiday activity. The best part is that each gingerbread cheesecake is individually portioned. Each child can get their own cheesecake to do something creative with and you'll still have plenty left over for your guests. Before serving, these gingerbread cheesecakes can be topped with whipped cream and dusted with some ginger & cinnamon spice. You can add elegant winter decorations like dried citrus slices, cinnamon sticks, fresh rosemary, mint leaves or cranberries. For something cute, try topping it off with gingerbread man macarons , meringue mushrooms, meringue kisses or cookies, Christmas sprinkles, macarons or mini candy canes. It's best to add the whipped cream and decorations only before serving to prevent deflation and melting.
How to Store Gingerbread Cheesecake
With the busy lives we lead during the winter holiday season, these cheesecake cups can make party prepping so much more convenient because they can be made in advance. They can be stored in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 3 days without compromising the freshness or texture (as per above, don't add decorations or cream until serving). They can also be frozen for up to one month and thawed in the fridge for a few hours before serving. If you know you will be freezing them for future use, keep the cheesecakes in their original cupcake liner and wrap them individually with plastic wrap after the initial chilling step in the freezer. Then place them in a Ziploc bag for easy storage.
No-Bake Graham Cookie Crust
- 200 grams graham cookie crumb*
- 48 grams brown sugar
- 90 grams unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp lemon zest
No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake
- 155 grams white baking chocolate
- 130 grams cream cheese, softened*
- 70 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
- 45 grams sour cream
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/16 tsp sea salt
- Handheld mixer
- Heat-proof bowl
- Cupcake tray
- Paper cupcake liners
No-bake Graham Cracker Crust
- Melt butter in microwave, heat on medium at 15 second intervals.
- Mix melted butter with graham cracker crumbs, spices, lemon zest and sugar (to taste) until homogeneous.
- Evenly distribute graham crust mixture into each cupcake cavity lined with paper cupcake liners, around halfway up the cup. Press down to compact as much as possible for a firm crust that won't fall apart easily.
- Place in fridge to set while making cheesecake.
No-bake Gingerbread Cheesecake
- Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, hang it over a pot of bowling water, do not let it touch the water. Stir until it's completely melted. Set aside to cool to room temperature before use.
- Soften cream cheese in the microwave on medium for 10 seconds. It should be at a spreadable consistency.
- In a large mixing bowl, whip room temperature butter until it's fluffy.
- Check that the cream cheese cheese is no longer hot, add to butter and whip together until just incorporated.
- Add the remaining ingredients into the butter-cream cheese mixture. Gently fold together until homogenous.
- Evenly distribute gingerbread cheesecake into each cavity of the cupcake tray filled with graham cookie crust.
- Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to set. (The liners will end up sticking to the tray.)
- Place tray in the fridge for 15 minutes before attempting to remove from baking tray. (For the best no-bake cheesecake texture, chill in the fridge for a minimum of one hour.)
- Gently pry out cheesecake from tray with a butter knife. Remove liners. Immediately before serving, top with whipped cream and a light dusting of cinnamon.
- No-bake gingerbread cheesecakes should be kept in the fridge in an air-tight container. It can be enjoyed for up to 3 days without change in texture or freshness. Enjoy!
1. Graham cookie crumbs can be made by crushing graham crackers in a Ziploc bag with a dough roller. Graham cookie can be substituted with gingerbread cookie crumbs (omit lemon zest and spice).
2. Use full fat cream cheese in block form. Cream cheese spreads will be too soft for this recipe.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving Calories 449Total Fat 32gSaturated Fat 18gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 54mgSodium 216mgCarbohydrates 36gFiber 4gSugar 17gProtein 5g
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although indulgewithmimi.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.