No Bake Classic Woolworth Cheesecake

No Bake Woolworth Cheesecake is a classic, light and lemony dessert and will be the perfect addition to your Easter or Mother’s Day menu!
No Bake Woolworth Cheesecake is a classic, light and lemony dessert and will be the perfect addition to your Easter or Mother’s Day menu!

I love those recipes that we all grew up with, they are just too good to miss out on. 

Woolworth’s Cheesecake

A while back, a family friend asked me if I had the recipe for Woolworth’s cheesecake. I didn’t even remember that anybody even told me they had a cheesecake, so I surely didn’t have the recipe. Anyway, that of course provoked me to launch an internet search for the recipe. Now I can’t be certain if this is the actual recipe… there are a lot of them out there, but this is the one I tried.
The first time I made it, I thought “wow… this is a LOT of dessert”… So invited some friends over and shared it with them.
I kind of regretted it afterwards…..

Well, because it was so amazing.

Now while this is called “cheesecake”… it’s really not.   Not by a long shot…
I would rename it “Lemon Fluff Dessert” or “Lemon Fluff Ice Box” something, but it is really, really delicious.  And for lemon lovers who are looking for light (not in calories, but in filling) dessert for a spring get-together, this is it!

No Bake Woolworth Cheesecake is a classic, light and lemony dessert and will be the perfect addition to your Easter or Mother’s Day menu!

No Bake Cheesecake

Which makes it perfect for a warmer weather, so you don’t have to heat up your house by turning on your oven for hours.  It just sets up in the fridge. And you can even make this a day or two in advance and just let it hang out in the fridge until you are ready to serve it.

The Cheesecake Graham Crackers base

I especially like the graham cracker crust on this dessert, it is simply wonderful.  Alternatives for a graham cracker crust could be a vanilla sandwich cookie crumbs crust, or vanilla wafer crust.  But the graham crackers crust is so easy and it tastes great, there’s really no need to change it.

Cheesecake(Lemon Fluff) Filling

The easiest part! The ingredients in the cheesecake filling are simply cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice (this really gives it a special touch), lemon jell-o (for stability – keeps it fluffy) and evaporated milk.

While rich, it has a slightly aerated texture which is quite different from a New York cheesecake which is much denser and calls for twice as much cream cheese as this recipe!

TIP:  I have made this with the chilled evaporated milk and also with heavy whipping cream.  I couldn’t tell much difference in the texture or taste. Use either one you have on hand.  The biggest trick is remembering to chill the can milk and that’s what led me to try it out with whipping cream.

No Bake Woolworth Cheesecake is a classic, light and lemony dessert and will be the perfect addition to your Easter or Mother’s Day menu!



4.79 from 42 votes
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No Bake Classic Woolworth Cheesecake

No Bake Woolworth Cheesecake is a classic, light and lemony dessert and will be the perfect addition to your Easter or Mother’s Day menu!

Keyword Cheesecake, Lemon, no-bake
Prep Time 10 minutes
Rest 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8
Author Sarah Kozowski

Ingredients

  • 1 3oz lemon Jell-0
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 box graham cracker crumbs (3 cups) more for thicker crust divided
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1 8oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 can evaporated milk, well chilled or 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

Instructions

  1. Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Cool until slightly thickened.

  2. Mix 3/4 graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until well blended, press into bottom of the 9 X 13 pan to form a crust. Save rest of crumbs to sprinkle on top of dessert.

  3. Beat the Evaporated milk/heavy cream until fluffy.

  4. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice with mixer until smooth.

  5. Add thickened Jell-O and slowly mix in whipped evaporated milk.

  6. Spread filling over the crust and sprinkle with reserved graham cracker crumbs on top.

  7. Chill at least 2 hours and up to overnight, store covered in refrigerator.  

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There’s never a bad reason to have cheesecake, and this Summer Berry Cheesecake is perfect any day of the year.

New York Style Cheesecake – Tall, creamy, thick, smooth and it slices beautifully. And more as you may have noticed there is No CRACKS….Absolutely Perfect !!

New York Style Cheesecake – Tall, creamy, thick, smooth and it slices beautifully. And more as you may have noticed there is No CRACKS….Absolutely Perfect !!

No Bake Woolworth Cheesecake is a classic, light and lemony dessert and will be the perfect addition to your Easter or Mother’s Day menu!

No Bake Woolworth Cheesecake is a classic, light and lemony dessert and will be the perfect addition to your Easter or Mother’s Day menu!

About Sarah Kozowski

Hi! Welcome to my blog! I’m Sarah– I do part-time job at a kindergarten and in my free time i love to cook, take photos and go jogging. I'm recipe developer, photographer, writer, and taste tester behind this blog. I develop my recipes and photos through good old fashioned trial and error, some days I have more success than others, as you can judge by the photos here. Grab a cup of coffee (or beverage of your choice) and stay with me awhile, poke through recipes, pick your favourite and reach out to me if you have any questions!

80 thoughts on “No Bake Classic Woolworth Cheesecake

  1. This is a recipe from Jello brand back in the seventies they produced cookbooks. My mother made this often. I do not remeber Woolworths ever having this dessert. They would have served more of a New York style cheesecake, as the first store was in New York.

    1. actually, this is exactly like the one they made in the ’70s, I had it many times growing up. They may have also sold ‘real’ cheesecake also, but this is the one I remember

    2. Yes, Woolworth’s called it Icebox Cheesecake. When I saw the photo here, I knew exactly what it was, and saved the recipe! I always enjoyed it, and I hope I’ll make it soon!

    3. I have made this many many times an received the recipe from a cook at Spokane’s down town Woolworth’s. This was served there regularly. The original does not call for lemon juice or the use of heavy whipping cream as a substitute.

    4. That is logical, but not true. I grew up near a Woolworth’s during the 70’s and they served this, not N.Y. style. Woolworth’s foremostly was created to be an affordable store. I read F.W.’s bio as a kid. He had a vision for a nickel and dime shop where affordability was chief factor. So it makes sense that they would hone on a dessert that is scarfable and reminiscent of cheesecake, but much more cost friendly both to make and buy than a N.Y. cheesecake. I don’t recall the price, but it was a fraction of what a N.Y. Cheesecake slice was. 🙂

    5. Actually, no. My grandmother would take me to Woolworth as a special treat and we’d share a slice of their cheesecake. I thought I adored cheesecake. Imagine my surprise when I encountered a New York cheesecake and discovered how different it was (I don’t like it nearly as much).

      1. I loved Woolworths icing !!!! Especially on their cakes. Would you know the recipe for that ?????? Missing that deliciousness for years !!!

    6. This looks & sounds exactly like the dessert that my Mother & Grandmother used to make. Never heard this name..,we always knew it as “lemon bisque”. Our whole family LOVED it & still do!!!

      1. I can’t tell you how many times my lunch mates and I had this dessert at the Sault Ste. Marie, MI Woolworth’s lunch counter. It was our favorite but no one would give us the recipe Glad to find it here. The one I remember was taller than your picture, though. Can’t wait to make it. I suppose it would be taller using a smaller pan. I’ll say thanks for the memories now.

    7. This is what I remember but mine is so sift it runs off the crust. Recipe says evap milk or heavy cream. I didn’t have heavy cream but can milk do I used it. Apparently it doesn’t firm up with the milk. Wish I’d known. Maybe change the recipe.

    8. This is definitely Woolworth’s cheesecake. I don’t really remember what it was called at their lunch counter but as soon as I tasted it….there was no doubt in my mind that this is exactly the same! My Mom and I would always have lunch at Woolworth when we went shopping and she had a real sweet tooth so we would often share a piece of this cheesecake for dessert. I always loved it! What a wonderful memory. from many years ago.

    9. I used to eat this at the Woolworths in Newark NJ during the eighties and early 90s almost every day after school at their in-store food counter. Perhaps they did not carry it at the one near you,

    10. I was a Woolworth’s waitress when I was in high school. This was a big seller and their banana splits. Now I am attempting to make one.

    1. I worked at Woolco, in the Red Grille, and made this exact cheesecake every week. We always kept evaporated milk in the freezer, and would take out on day cheesecake was to be made, so it could soften, but not defrost completely, whipping in a semi frozen state. We didn’t use lemon juice, and added vanilla to cream cheese and sugar mix, and chilled it for hours before incorpoating into milk and jello whip. Personally, I always thought it was too light, but people loved it! The cheesecake does not look like the picture shown here, but it is close.

        1. 1 tsp vanilla instead of the lemon juice..also 2 tbsp powdered sugar to the graham crackers..3/4c water instead of 1 c.

    2. I worked at Woolworths from 1964-1968 in downtown Detroit Michigan. This was my first job. I remember eating this cheesecake. Good stuff!

        1. At the Woolworths I worked at in 1974 we made chicken salad using canned chicken breast, canned celery and Miracle Whip type “salad dressing”

    1. No. But press it well onto the bottom of the pan, so you can spread the filling out easily without disturbing the crust. Not difficult.

    1. My mom and aunt made it with the lemon jello and drained crushed pineapple, using the juice in place of the boiling water….still mixed and boiled with jello together on the stove. The crushed pineapple was placed on top with the remaining cracker crumbs….

  2. You must have froze this cake and cut for presentation!? lol
    It doesn’t look like this during serving! It’s a lot more fluffy and bubbly and sometimes droopy! lol This is the BEST Icebox cheescake around. My grammy made this every Easter for years and years. I sure do miss her! Classics never die!

  3. You must have froze this cake and cut for presentation!? lol
    It doesn’t look like this during serving! It’s a lot more fluffy and bubbly and sometimes droopy! lol This is the BEST Icebox cheescake around. My grammy made this every Easter for years and years ( i use her recipe). I sure do miss her! Classics never die!

  4. I made this and it was wonderful. I did not whip my milk quiet enough and it was still fluffy and good. I will make this again and beat my milk longer. Thanks for this receipe.

  5. I remember my mother using different flavors of jello especially strawberry, obviously she left out the lemon juice. It took me years to find the recipe because she had forgotten all about it and never knew what I was talking about when I would try to describe it to her.

    1. Tracey Way, I appreciated what you said as so many times over the years we’d ask Mom about classic recipes she made in the 50’s & 60’s and she would say “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    1. You got me thinking bout the jello- I think the pudding with hot water would be yucky, I also looked it up on other sites- use the gelatin. It also mentioned in comments vanilla was used instead if the lemon juice. It didn’t say how much but when I make it will add 1 tsp.

      I’m going to make it soon and hope it comes out.. If you love an easy recipe try small cheesecake!

  6. Can I double the ingredients for serving to more people or for a taller cheesecake using a spring form pan?

  7. I made this dessert for the first time. It was super yummy. My Mom and I are already trying to figure out what other flavors we could make – cherry, strawberry, orange and even lime. The dessert will be make again!

    1. I used raspberry jello and puréed some fresh Raspberries which I drizzled over the top right before serving it! So refreshing and flavorful 😋

    2. I made it with strawberry jello and then topped it with whipped cream and sliced strawberries. It was an absolute hit.

  8. This is a fantastic cheese cake. I used heavy whipping cream for this. I also used sugar free jello. I added about a tsp of vanilla to the cream cheese mixture as well. I brought this to a Father’s Day celebration. People who did not like cheese cake loved this as well. I served it with fresh strawberries. It’s a fantastic recipe.

  9. Got this recipe off the back of a can of Milnot evaporated milk in early 1970’s. Been making it ever since and it is the most requested dessert by my family! Co workers also requested it frequently. Best ever “cheese cake”

  10. Could you use the instant jello lemon pudding mix instead? I accidently picked up the wrong one. What would the difference be?

  11. Yes I remember this from the Woolworths in Toledo Ohio, and I am making one tomorrow, thanks for the recipe…..

  12. I read all the comments and me not being a good Baker just learning I see I made a couple of mistakes. Will try again. Ty.

  13. I read all the comments and I see I made a couple of mistakes and me not being a baker just learning I will try again. Ty.

  14. i have made this recipe and it is fabulous. Have you ever tried to freeze it? I want to make individual mini cheesecakes for Christmas, and freeze them to pull out as needed.

  15. Grama had diabetes and in years past we had to take her to the doctor for a fasting blood test. When she was done she needed to eat so we went to Woolworths in Nebraska City. I was occasionally able to get a piece of this delicious cheesecake while she had bacon and eggs. Then we had to go back to the doctor and find out her test results. Now I can make this recipe and think of her quiet strength.

  16. Excellent recipe. I made it exactly as written. My dad loved it. I’m thinking of trying again and putting a layer of lemon curd in between the graham cracker and the ‘cheesecake’. I think it’ll be like a lemon meringue pie….

  17. I sounds like a great recipe, but how much is a can of evaporated milk, 1 stick of butter and 1 cup of sugar?? I am from Ireland and used to grams and ozs.
    Sorry to be causing hassle but would love to try this recipe.
    Many Thanks, Mary

    1. a cup of sugar is 250 grams or 8 oz, a stick of butter is 113.3 grams or 8 Tablespoons and a can of milk is 354 grams or 11 ounces. I hope this helps.

  18. I just made this and 3 bags of Graham crackers was waaaay too much. I used a whole box as directed but didn’t use about 3/4 cup of the crumbs. Also had to use 1 -1/2 sticks of butter because one stick was not enough. I had lime jello and lime juice so I used that. It is DELICIOUS!!

  19. you can use any kind of jello in this and not put lemon juice in and just use jello for flavoring have mad with cherry, strawberry, and lime for different holidays . have used recipe for years.

  20. Thank-You For this recipe..It was served in our school cafetereia and I would have to have several yummy yummy..

  21. This already taste delicious. I just put it in the fridge to chill. The 10 minute prep time was more like 40 minutes for me. It was fluffy. I beat the chilled evaporated milk forever. Can’t wait to see how it turns out in a couple hours. Thank you so much for sharing this yummy treat.

  22. I think I’m going to try making this with just whipping cream next time. I doubled the recipe and forgot I didn’t have enough whipping cream. So I did a can of condensed milk and 1 1/2C whipping cream. I whipped it with an electric whisk for so long and as soon as I’d stop, the bubbles would quickly dissipate. I suspected it was either the condensed milk wasn’t creamy enough (2%) or it was just that condensed milk doesn’t really whip very well. It still turned out delicious and creamy. Just not as fluffy as I was hoping for. I make a jello dessert that has cream cheese, jello, mandarin oranges and a tub of whipped cream folded in. It’s very similar.

    1. Try evaporated milk next time! My grandmother’s old recipe calls for evaporated milk or Milnot. I think condensed milk is very different form evap milk, which might have made the whipping difficult. Hope that helps!

  23. I forgot to whip the evaporated milk and added it to the mix. I just put it into the freezer and praying that it will congeal faster

  24. I love this recipe but make with a few changes:
    Double the jello and creamcheese to add to the firmness and enhance the lemon and cream cheese taste
    Freeze the bowl (metal) and beaters to before whipping the evaporated milk
    Use filled evaporated milk (look up Milnot cheesecake and you will find a similar recipe). Look for a black and white cow on the label

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