Easy No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits combine two of my favorite kinds of desserts – cheesecake and fresh cherries. An added bonus – these little parfaits couldn’t be easier to make. A no-bake cheesecake filling on top of a crushed cookie crust is topped with a bright cherry compote. Top with a little extra whipped cream, and you have a beautiful summer dessert!
Easy Cheesecake Filling
Let’s start with how easy these No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits are.
First, there is no need to turn on the oven. While most traditional cheesecakes are baked and can be quite temperamental to make sure they don’t crack, we don’t need to worry about that with this recipe.
In fact, we only need a few ingredients for the filling. And, before you know it, you have a cheesecake filling that rivals the flavor of most baked cheesecakes.
- Cream cheese – The only rule with the cream cheese is it must be at room temperature. Trying to mix cold cream cheese until it is smooth is next to impossible. I would say 9 times out of 10 you will end up with lumps.
- Maple syrup – Or any sweetener of your choice. I like maple syrup for the flavor, it is healthier than granulated sugar, and because it is liquid, it helps make the cream cheese smooth.
- Lemon juice – I believe (in my opinion) the appeal of cheesecake is the slightly tangy flavor. So we are going to add a little lemon juice to accomplish this.
- Whipped cream – This is needed in the no-bake filling to make it light and fluffy. And it lightens the entire flavor of the cream cheese filling.
- Vanilla extract – Lastly a little vanilla to drive home the cheesecake flavor.
No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits
Now that we’ve covered the no-bake cheesecake filling, you really have the option to assemble the no-bake cheesecake as you like.
Because I think desserts are so appealing in little parfait glasses, we are going with more of a deconstructed cheesecake for this recipe. We have all the components to make an actual cake:
- Cheesecake filling – The beauty of this particular recipe is we are starting with a base flavor. Flavor it any way you like for future recipes.
- Cookie crust – I am a fan of Vanilla Wafers, but graham crackers would also be great. Or, how about Biscoff cookies – if you want some spicy notes to the crust.
- Fruit topping – Cherry for this recipe, but again, there may be endless options for fruit substitutions. Strawberry, Blueberry, Peaches, Raspberries, Pineapple … you get the picture. 🙂
- Whipped cream – Every slice of cheesecake I’ve had has a dollop of whipped cream.
Since it is summer, cherries seem to be the most obvious fruit topping option. Not to mention they are also the quintessential cheesecake topping. However, this is not your average cherry filling from a can. It’s much better. Again, my opinion.
We are making an extremely easy cherry compote. Essentially just cooking the cherries a bit so they release their juices and become syrupy. And to match the flavor combo in the cheesecake filling, we are adding a touch of maple syrup.
You don’t need to cook the cherries for too long. Though, if you wanted to go to a full-on cherry jam, I would recommend simmering for 30-40 minutes to really cook down the cherries and get the full jam texture.
Tips For Making No-Bake Cheesecake Parfaits
- Make the cherry compote first – Even the night before works. It takes the longest to prepare, and giving it time to refrigerate will allow it to thicken even more.
- Bring the cream cheese to room temperature – I said it before, but it is worth repeating. We want the cheesecake filling to be smooth and room temp cream cheese gets us there.
- Use maple syrup for a rich buttery flavor – I love the buttery taste of maple syrup. But, if you have another sweetener preference, swap it 1:1. You can even add more or less to adjust for your sweetness preference.
- Give the parfaits time to chill – They don’t need too long in the refrigerator, but it is nice to have a no-bake cheesecake filling that has had time to set up a bit.
- Get creative with the fruit topping – First, try the cherry. Then next time, follow the steps for the compote to try another fruit. Next on my list may be pineapple … It is summer anyway! 🙂
More No-Bake Dessert Recipes
- No-Bake Key Lime Bars
- No-Bake Cranberry Mousse Cheesecake
- Mini Orange Creamsicle No-Bake Cheesecake
- Rainier Cherry Mousse
- Chocolate Butterscotch Pudding Parfait
- Cranberry Granita Pudding Parfaits
No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits
- 2 – Serving Glasses
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup - sweeten to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 and 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup - sweeten to taste
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3/4 cup Vanilla Wafers, crushed
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Crush the Vanilla Wafers in a food processor. Or you can put them in a Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Transfer the cookies crumbs to a small bowl and stir in the melted butter. Stir until well combined.
- Press the cookie mixture into the bottom of your serving glasses. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the parfaits.
- The Cherry Compote can be made the night before.
- In a small saucepan, add the cherries, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Cook over medium-low heat until the cherries start to break up and release their juices. At least 20 minutes. Transfer the cherry compote to a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to assemble the parfaits.
- In a small mixing bowl, use a hand-held mixer and beat the heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract to stiff peaks. Set aside.
- In another small bowl, add the cream cheese, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Use a hand-held mixer and mix until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the cream cheese filling and carefully fold to combine thoroughly. Fold in the remaining whipped cream until the filling is smooth and creamy.
- Spoon equal amounts of the cream cheese filling into the serving glasses, on top of the cookie crust. Refrigerate again, for at least 2 hours to give the cheesecake some time to set.
- When ready to serve the parfaits, spoon equal amounts of the cherry comopote into the serving glasses, on top of the cheesecake filling. Top with more whipped cream (optional), and enjoy!
- The cream cheese must be at room temperature for it to beat smooth and creamy.
- You can substitute any cookie you like for the cookie crust.
- Other sweeteners can be substituted for the maple syrup. And you can adjust the level of sweetness to your taste.
- I recommend fresh cherries, but frozen cherries will work too. You may have more liquid with frozen cherries.
- Folding in a 1/3 of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture at first ensures the filling mixes to smooth and creamy, and free of any unnecessary whipped cream lumps.