If there’s one thing we love around here, it’s dessert. And this holiday season, chances are, we’ll all be leaning into desserts more than ever before. Sweet treats instantly uplift your spirits, all while offering an incredibly impressive subject for your next Instagram shot. And this recipe is ready and dressed for success.
Cranberries can get a bad rap around the holiday season. Yet somehow, when you pair cranberries with other flavors, such as fresh oranges, they automatically get a pass. And we fully embrace that combination. On their own, cranberries can be incredibly tart, but balancing them with citrus and adding plenty of sugar and cream cheese can create a delicious dessert that’s ready for the holidays in no time.
This no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake is the perfect combination of holiday flavors all wrapped up into one easy recipe. There’s no baking required, and you’ll only need a handful of easy-to-find ingredients to pull it off. The hardest part is waiting for your no-bake cheesecake to fully set — but trust us, it’ll be worth the wait.
Gather the ingredients for this no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake recipe
The first step to making this easy no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake recipe is to make sure you have all of the ingredients on hand. Each ingredient for this recipe should be easy tofind at any grocery store, allowing you to put together a beautiful, flavorful cheesecake in no time at all.
You’ll need to make a crust for this no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake. To do that, gather Nilla Wafers and melted unsalted butter to put together a simple crust. For the filling for this no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake, you’ll need cream cheese, whipped cream, sugar, fresh cranberries, the zest of one large orange, and the juice of one large orange.
If you prefer to make your own homemade whipped cream, add heavy whipping cream to your ingredients list. If you’re not up for making whipped cream on your own and you’d rather shave off a few minutes of prep time, you can also opt to use a store-bought whipped cream or whipped topping option instead.
Make the crust for this no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake recipe
Putting together a homemade crust for this no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake only requires two ingredients, and it can be made in just a few steps.
Start by crushing your Nilla Wafers into fine crumbs. Using a food processor is the best way to do this. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a plastic storage bag with a zipper. Add the Nilla Wafers to the bag, seal the bag, and then crush the Nilla Wafers using a rolling pin until you have fine crumbs.
Melt the butter and let it cool slightly. Then, pour the melted butter and the crushed Nilla Wafers into a bowl. Stir with a large fork to mix until clumps begin to form. Once your mixture is ready, press it into a springform pan. Utilizing the bottom of a measuring cup can help to compress the crumbs into the springform pan. Once your crust is prepared, put it in the freezer to set while you prepare your cheesecake filling.
Can you use another type of crust for this no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake recipe?
The beauty of the crust for this no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake recipe is that it doesn’t have to be baked in the oven. We chose to utilize Nilla Wafers for this particular recipe because of the way the vanilla flavor of the wafers pairs so well with the orange and cranberry. However, you could certainly play around with different crust options to switch up the flavor.
Want to go bold? Utilize crushed Oreos and melted butter to make a chocolate crust for this no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake. Or you could go the classic route and use crushed graham crackers to make a simple graham cracker crust.
Not interested in making your own crust from scratch? You can definitely opt to skip that step if desired. Pick up a store-bought graham cracker crust, or even a chocolate crust, and pair it with the no-bake cranberry orange filling in the same way.
Crush the cranberries for this no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake recipe
Before you start to make the filling for your no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake, you’ll need to crush the cranberries for this recipe. Whole, raw cranberries tend to have an incredibly tart taste to them, so the idea of adding them in raw may seem a little strange. However, when paired with cream cheese, sugar, and the flavor of orange, it all comes together flawlessly to make a ridiculously delicious dessert.
Be sure to wash your raw cranberries before using them for this recipe. Once washed, put your one cup of cranberries in a food processor. Pulse the food processor until your cranberries are just broken up and barely mashed. Be sure not to pulse the fruit so much that the cranberries are too juicy for your cheesecake filling. Too much additional liquid added to the filling will make it hard for the cheesecake to set.
Make the whipped cream for this no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake recipe
Making fresh whipped cream to use for this no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake is incredibly simple if you have a stand mixer or a hand mixer on hand at home.
To make whipped cream, add two cups of heavy whipping cream to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Turn your mixer on at medium-high speed, and whip the cream for about seven minutes. Once peaks begin to form, you’ll know your whipped cream is done and ready to be used.
If using a stand mixer isn’t an option, you can use a mixing bowl and a metal whisk. It’s a bit of an arm workout to tackle it this way, but whisking the cream vigorously for about 15 minutes will eventually form peaks. Using store-bought whipped cream or whipped topping is certainly an option as well.
Make the filling for this no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake recipe
Once your Nilla Wafer crust is prepared and your cranberries are crushed, it’s time to make the filling for your no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake.
Start by adding the softened cream cheese into the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix in the sugar. If you don’t have a stand mixer, a hand mixer will work for this step, or you can use a large bowl with a wooden spoon. If the cream cheese is softened, you shouldn’t have any issue mixing it without a stand mixer.
Once the cream cheese and sugar are well-mixed, add in the orange juice and zest. Rub the orange against a zester, and turn it as you go. Be sure not to push too hard to avoid the pith of the orange. Once the zest is added, cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice from both halves into the bowl. Stir to mix well. Lastly, fold in the crushed cranberries and whipped cream, and stir to combine.
Chill and serve this no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake
Once your filling is prepared, it’s time to assemble your no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake. Remove the Nilla Wafer crust from the freezer, and scoop the filling mixture into the crust. Use a spatula to smooth the top of the cheesecake. Once it’s ready, put the cheesecake in the fridge to set for at least two hours.
After a few hours in the fridge, when your cheesecake is set and ready, it’s finally time to dig in. Trust us, it’s worth the wait time. To decorate your cranberry orange cheesecake, toss additional fresh cranberries in sugar and add them on top. Peel a piece of orange rind and twist it for an additional garnish, if desired.
To best cut your no-bake cheesecake, release the spring on your springform pan and remove the bottom. Cut your cheesecake with a very sharp knife. Wiping or rinsing the blade between cutting slices will help to make your slices smooth. Keep any extra cheesecake covered in the fridge.
This no-bake cranberry orange cheesecake is the perfect combination of holiday flavors all wrapped up into one easy recipe. There’s no baking required, and you’ll only need a handful of easy-to-find ingredients to pull it off. The hardest part is waiting for your no-bake cheesecake to fully set.
- 2 (8-ounce) bricks cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup whipped cream
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- Zest of one large orange
- Juice of one large orange
- 3 cups Nilla Wafers, crushed (for the homemade crust)
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (for the homemade crust)
- If you’re making your own Nilla Wafer crust, pulse the Nilla Wafers in a food processor until fine. If you don’t have a food processor, crush the Nilla Wafers in a plastic storage bag with a zipper. Mix the crushed Nilla Wafers with the melted butter. Utilize a fork to mix until clumps form. Press the mixture into a springform pan, and then put it in the freezer to set while you prepare your filling. If you’re using a store-bought crust option, start with the next step.
- Crush your cranberries in a food processor. Don’t pulse them so much that they turn to juice. You’ll want broken-up chunks.
- Whip the cream cheese and sugar using a stand mixer, hand mixer, or in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Add in the juice and zest of one orange. Fold in the cranberries, and then fold in your homemade or store-bought whipped cream with a spoon.
- Remove your crust from the freezer, and scoop the mixture into your crust. Smooth the top of your cheesecake, and then place it in the fridge to set for two to three hours.
- Toss additional fresh cranberries in sugar to add as a topping. Top with orange peel as garnish, if desired.