No-Bake Cherry Cheese Pie with Helpful Tips
This classic cherry cheese pie is simple to make but there’s a trick to making sure that it turns out just right.
This cherry cheese pie recipe only has 6 ingredients and is such a beautiful dessert especially considering how easy it is to make.
And most importantly, it tastes really good.
You may have seen this recipe before, it’s been around for a long time, at least going back into the 1970’s.
It’s become a tradition to make it for the holidays in my kitchen.
There are a couple versions of this recipe that I’ve seen the most of, where the only difference is how much lemon juice (reconstituted lemon juice from a bottle) is used.
In one version 1/2 cup is used (the cheese pie filling is a little creamier and a bit more tart) and in another version 1/3 cup is used (the cheese pie filling is a little thicker and just a bit less tart).
Between the 2 versions, the difference in the amount of the lemon juice used is 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons (the difference between 1/2 cup and 1/3 cup).
In this recipe I use an amount of lemon juice that’s just about in the middle of the 2 versions mentioned above.
When I wake up early on Thanksgiving morning to get started on all of the cooking and baking, this is one of the first things I make.
Although it’s a no-bake recipe, I make it early so that it has a lot of time to chill in the fridge.
The Trick to Making this Pie Filling Smooth and Creamy:
The trick is not to make a common mistake that I’ve made a number of times and that is…don’t put all of the ingredients in the mixing bowl at once.
It’s really important to add the ingredients in the specific order that’s listed in the instructions.
So often if I’m baking something I’ll get a little ahead of myself and just put all of the ingredients in the mixing bowl at the same time.
For this pie, it will ruin it if it’s made this way.
Most importantly, for this pie the lemon juice and vanilla extract must be stirred in right at the end.
Never add those ingredients when mixing the cream cheese and condensed milk together.
If the lemon juice is mixed in too soon, the pie filling will be a mushy mess.
Tip For Chilling and Storing the Pie in the Refrigerator:
Also, here’s a really helpful way to store this pie in the refrigerator…
For me, on Thanksgiving and Christmas my fridge space is at a premium.
If I so much as reach for celery, something can easily fall out of the fridge on my foot.
So when it comes to this cheese pie, once it’s made the only option is to put plastic wrap over it and put it in the fridge right?
What a mess that could make in a crowded fridge and there’s lots of potential for smashing the pie too.
There’s a better way by using the plastic top that comes with the pre-made pie crust.
You first remove the label that’s on the plastic lid from the pie crust, wash and dry it and then turn it over in the opposite direction that the pie crust was packaged in.
This creates a “dome” to not only protect the pie but allow light things to be set on top of it in the refrigerator.
To secure the lid, the foil edges from the pie tin (that the pre-made crust is in) are lifted up so that the plastic lid can fit inside the edges.
Then when storing the pie, the foil edges are pinched down over the edges of the plastic lid to secure it in place.
This packaging trick really comes in handy.
Tip For the Cherry Topping:
Another important thing to consider is that some guests may not like cherries or want them on top of the pie.
So an option is to NOT put the cherries on top of the entire pie ahead of time.
Instead, put the cherry topping in a pretty serving dish and serve it chilled on the side with a spoon for guests to help themselves.
I personally like this cheese pie without the filling on top sometimes. It’s so good as is.
Also, spooning the cherry topping over each separate piece is such a pretty way to serve the pie because it drips down the sides and the color contrast looks so appealing.
And if you really want to get creative you can serve this cheese pie with a variety of different toppings and allow your guests to choose whatever flavor they like.
Right next to the cans of cherry pie filling on the shelf at the grocery store there are generally other varieties such as blueberry and apple pie filling toppings to choose from.
Or fresh berries would be nice too.
Let’s check out the ingredients and how to make this wonderful pie.
Some of the images and instructions below are the same as the tips I mentioned above.
Cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, reconstituted lemon juice, vanilla, graham cracker crust, and cherry pie filling
A printable recipe with the measurements and instructions is located at the bottom of this post.
Here’s how to make it.
For the Pie Filling:
In a large bowl, add the cream cheese…
…and beat with a mixer until light and fluffy.
Pour the condensed milk in the bowl and beat until thoroughly blended.
Add lemon juice…
…and vanilla extract.
…stir with a spatula or large spoon until light and creamy.
…pour the cream cheese mixture into the graham cracker crust…
…and gently spread the cream cheese mixture evenly on the top.
Peel the label off of the lid of the graham cracker crust and wash off the plastic lid.
Open up the foil edges around the crust pan.
Turn the lid over, opposite of the way that it was originally on the crust pan, and set it over the cheese pie.
Close the foil edges over the plastic lid around the entire pie, and…
…set the pie in the fridge for at least 3 hours to chill.
Once chilled, and just before serving, cut each piece of the cheese pie and set them on serving plates.
…top each piece with the cherry pie filling and enjoy.
Thank you so much for stopping by CCC!
Here’s a version of this cheese pie recipe without the crust; it’s served layered, in small glasses…“Layered Cherry Cheese Pie in a Glass”.
And here’s a version of this cheese pie made in small graham cracker crusts…”Mini No-Bake Cherry Cheese Pies“.
More Holiday Desserts You May Like:
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No-Bake Cherry Cheese Pie
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons reconstituted lemon juice (from a bottle)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pre-made graham cracker crumb crust 9 inch
- 1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling
For the Cherry Pie Filling:
- Transfer the cherry pie filling from the can into a serving bowl that has a lid (or a serving bowl with plastic wrap over it)*. Chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.* using a serving dish is recommended because it's nice to offer guests the option of either topping their piece of cheese pie with the filling or eating it plain.
For the Pre-Made Pie Crust:
- There should be a label that is lightly glued to the plastic lid that is covering the pre-made graham cracker crust. Carefully peel the label off. Wash and dry the plastic lid and set the lid aside (it will be turned upside down and used as a convenient lid to cover the cheese pie).
- Open up the foil edges around the pan that the graham cracker crust is in. Set aside (after the pie filling is added in the crust, the lid is put on top and the foil edges are pinched to secure the lid).
For the Pie Filling:
- In a large bowl, add cream cheese and beat with a mixer until light and fluffy. Don't add in the condensed milk, lemon juice or vanilla extract yet.
- Pour the condensed milk in the bowl and beat until thoroughly blended. Don't add in the lemon juice or vanilla extract yet.
- Stir in the lemon juice and the vanilla extract until combined.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture into the graham cracker crust.
- Turn the plastic lid (that was originally on the pre-made pie crust) over, opposite of the way that it was originally on the crust pan, and set it over the cheese pie (the edges of the plastic lid should set within the opened edges of the foil crust pan).
- Close the foil edges over the plastic lid (so that the lid is secure and won't slide off of the pie pan).
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.
- Once chilled and just before serving, cut each piece of the pie that will be served and set them on the serving plates.
- Top each piece of pie with the chilled cherry pie filling.
Recipe adapted from “Easy Cherry Pie” by Borden Inc. “They’ll Love It!” recipe cookbook booklet, 1976.
- Making this pie in advance so it has plenty of time to chill (set) in the refrigerator should give the cheese pie filling a nice consistency.
- When adding the ingredients to the mixing bowl, make sure to follow the directions. The cheese pie filling will not set properly if all of the ingredients are added to the mixing bowl at the same time.
- Use the plastic lid from the pre-made pie crust to cover the cheese pie after it's made.
- An option is serve the cherry pie topping on the side when serving the pie (rather than adding it to the top of the entire pie). This gives guests the option to top their piece of pie with the cherries or enjoy the pie without a topping.
- Transfer the cherry pie topping from the can to a pretty serving dish with a lid (or covered with plastic wrap) and chill at least 2 hours. Then all you have to do when serving it on the side is remove the lid and add a spoon for your guests.
- Other varieties of pie filling can be used for toppings instead of, or in addition to the cherry pie filling topping. Also, fresh berries would made a nice topping too.
This recipe was originally posted on November 23, 2013.