This incredibly decadent No-Bake Caramel Turtle Brownie Bottom Cheesecake is nestled on top of a baked brownie and smothered in melted chocolate, homemade caramel sauce and chopped pecans.
Disclaimer: ONLY the cheesecake portion of this recipe is no-bake. The brownie crust will need to be baked. If you want a FULLY no-bake cheesecake, you will need to use a different crust recipe. See crust variations WITH RECIPES below!
Let's talk cheesecake. Have you ever made a no-bake cheesecake before? If not, you are in for a real treat! Baking a cheesecake can sound like such a daunting and intimidating task because of all the steps involved and things that can go wrong like over-mixing, cracked tops, etc. This is the most incredible cheesecake recipe that requires no baking! The flavor is exactly the same as a baked cheesecake. The texture is a bit lighter than a traditional, more firm cheesecake, but I promise you won't even miss it once you taste it!
Why you'll love this recipe
- No-bake cheesecake, you guessed it, does not need to be baked! Perfect for those warm days you don't want to keep your oven on for too long.
- The brownie crust DOES need to be baked though. Short-cut with a brownie mix.
- The brownie bottom combined with he caramel cheesecake filling is absolutely delicious.
- The texture of this no-bake cheesecake is so smooth and creamy, it's addicting!
- This no-bake cheesecake recipe is the perfect make-ahead dessert since it needs time to chill in the fridge!
No-Bake Cheesecake Ingredients
- Cream Cheese: Room temperature, regular full-fat cream cheese for best results.
- Sugar: I use a combination of granulated sugar and light brown sugar for a deeper flavor.
- Prepared Caramel sauce: Recipe provided below! (You can also use store-bought.)
- Frozen whipped topping: I like to use frozen whipped topping aka cool whip rather than homemade whipped cream because it makes the cheesecake much more sturdy.
- Spices: Cinnamon & Nutmeg
- Brownie Crust: Use your favorite box of brownies. You can also use this base recipe to make homemade brownies for the crust!
Homemade Caramel Sauce Ingredients
- Sugar: Granulated sugar
- Heavy cream: For smooth richness.
- Butter: Unsalted butter to control salt content in this recipe.
- Vanilla Extract: For flavor.
- Salt: Offsets sweetness a bit.
Need a no-bake crust? Recipes here!
- 24 Oreo cookies
- 5 tbs unsalted butter, melted
- 18 graham crackers
- 2 tbs light brown sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
For both recipes, pulse cookies/graham crackers into a fine crumb in a food processor. Add rest of ingredients until crumbs are moistened. Press into prepared springform pan. No need to bake! Continue on with the recipe as directed.
Substitutions & Variations
- Sub store-bought caramel sauce if you do not want to make it from scratch.
- Leave out spices and caramel in the filling for a classic cheesecake flavored no-bake cheesecake!
Cheesecake Topping Ideas
- To make your cheesecake "Caramel Turtle" style you will need:
- chopped pecans
- prepared caramel sauce
- hot fudge sauce
- Flakey sea salt
- Chopped nuts of choice
- Toasted coconut
How do you make an easy no-bake cheesecake?
Tips for making a perfect no-bake cheesecake
- Use high-quality ingredients: If you splurge on anything in this recipe, let it be the cream cheese!
- Speaking of cream cheese, letting it come to room temperature for about an hour or two before you plan to make the cheesecake will ensure that it will incorporate well with no cold lumps.
- Give the cheesecake time to set up properly. If you don't wait long enough, it will be too soft to cut into slice. While still delicious, you won't have nice clean slices.
- Use a springform pan for easy removal of the cheesecake.
- No-bake cheesecake is the perfect canvas for all sorts of toppings!
How to make homemade caramel sauce
Store cheesecake in the refrigerator wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
After cheesecake is set in the refrigerator, wrap the entire pan in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It stores extremely well.
Yes, you can make no-bake cheesecake ahead of time. In fact, it will need to be made at least 6 hours ahead of time, or overnight, so that it has time to set and firm up.
I don't recommend this as it will not set evenly.
Yes! Without toppings, wrap the whole pan of cheesecake in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and it will be just as good as the day you made it!
Sure! I would only recommend homemade whipped cream, DEFINITELY not the store-bought can. Be sure to beat your whipped cream until stiff peaks form to ensure it will give the cheesecake enough structure to firm up and cut into slices
More no-bake recipes you'll love
Did you make this recipe?
Please leave a ⭐️ review below and tag @sprinkle_some_sugar on Instagram!
No-Bake Caramel Turtle Brownie Bottom Cheesecake
- 1 box brownie mix + ingredients on the box
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbs water
- 6 tbs heavy cream
- 2 tbs unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 16 oz cream cheese softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup prepared caramel sauce*
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch nutmeg
- 4 oz cool whip
- ¼ cup pecans chopped
- ¼ cup caramel sauce
- ¼ cup hot fudge sauce
- Preheat oven and grease a 9" springform pan. Optional: Cut out a circle of parchment paper and line the bottom of the pan for easier removal.
For the brownie crust
- Combine all brownie ingredients until smooth, pour into prepared pan and bake according to manufacturer's instructions on the box.
For the Caramel Sauce
- In a medium-sized heavy bottomed pot, heat water and sugar on HIGH heat and whisk just until the sugar is dissolved. It's important that you have high heat or you run the risk of seizing up the sugar, turning it into a solid mess.
- Once sugar is dissolved, whisk gently and constantly until the melted sugar turns a dark amber color, this will take about 5 minutes or so. The darker the amber color, the more intense caramel flavor you will have.
- After it turns dark amber, slowly and carefully pour in heavy cream. It will bubble up violently so you will need your whisk to whisk it very fast until it comes back down and it will start looking like caramel at this point. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Allow to cool completely.
For the cheesecake filling
- In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and both sugars until smooth. Stir in the ¼ cup of caramel sauce and spices until combined. Fold in cool whip and mix until everything is incorporated and distributed completely. Top the baked and cooled brownie with the cheesecake mixture and spread into an even layer. Chill in refrigerator for minimum of 6 hours or overnight.
- Before serving, garnish cheesecake with remaining caramel sauce, hot fudge sauce and chopped pecans.
- *You can use store-bought caramel sauce, if desired.
- Storage: Wrap tight with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To Freeze: Without toppings, wrap entire pan in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Top with caramel sauce, chocolate and pecans before serving.
Angelic Sinova says
I am OBSESSED with no bake deserts right now! This turtle cheesecake looks AMAZING <3
I'm trying to make the caramel right now. I dissolved the sugar and water and it boiled and then turned crystaly again, now there are chunks... Am I doing this right? Can you list your steps for making the caramel sauce please?
Me to!! I'm on my second batch. It crystallizes before it turns amber colored.
I'm sorry this happened, guys. This has happened to me before and I usually find that it happens when I stir the mixture too much. Here's what you can do to fix this problem: Follow the first step of whisking the water/sugar mixture to dissolve the sugar. After this step, you need to just swirl the pan (ONLY) a few times and not whisk at all. By whisking and stirring too much, this disturbs the caramelization process causing it to crystallize. Hope this helps!! Did either of you get it to work eventually?
kelly shanley says
yes that is right. i make caramel sauce all the time and ive never stirred or whisked it once once it starts to boil and it comes out perfect every time, but u really have to watch it tho. once it starts to turn color it can burn in seconds, so i never leave the stove, lol
Maria Igrejas says
How about using the caramel already made just saying
Go right ahead. I prefer homemade but that will work just fine.
If using already made caramel, it's just going on top of the cheesecake, right? Lol, I'm no baker so I'm going to use already made caramel instead of messing anything up!
That's perfectly fine! No, you will need to add it into the cheesecake as per the recipe.
Confused, so i make the no bake mix and add it to the cream cheese mixture? Sorry
I'm sorry but I don't understand your question.. As the instructions state for the filling, you beat the cream cheese and both sugars until smooth, stir in caramel sauce and then fold in the cool whip. That mixture goes on top of the cooled, baked brownie. Hope this helps!
I just made the cheesecake left it in the fridge overnight and most of today. But when went to cut the cake it was a soupy and unable to cut. Shouldn't it have stiffened a little bit?
Followed the instructions.
Yes, it should have. While no-bake cheesecake is a much softer cheesecake than traditional, it should now have been soupy or unable to cut. Perhaps you didn't allow the caramel to cool to room temperature?
Susan flynn says
This looks delicious! I would love to make it this weekend but we live int the UK and don't have Cool Whip, could I use fresh cream that I have whipped? x
Yes, that would work just fine! Just substitute one for the other.
how long will the extra caramel sauce keep? At least a day or two? I want to make it a few days ahead of Easter. Thanks!
Yes, I have kept the extra at room temperature for two days with no issues!
Looks yummy! Can I just use store bought caramel sauce?
Yes, definitely! You can also use soft caramels + a little heavy cream to make an easy caramel sauce. 🙂
I made this for a family bbq thiS weekenD and it was a hit ! I may freeze it instead of just cool in the fridge as we thought it was quite soft. Very much enjoyed by all.
Awesome!! I bet it would be great frozen too 🙂
Maybe you can tell me what I did wrong. My cheesecake layer is about half the height of yours and too soft. Do you think putting it in the freezer for a bit would help the texture?
Carole B. says
Sorry to hear about your eye - I had same injury caused by a snapping plastic skirt hanger - VERY painful!
This recipe immediately made me think of the turtle pie we used to get at the ice cream shop (no longer made/very different now) which was my spouse's fav - think I'll try this for Father's Day. Love that it is easy too!
Thanks! Ouch, I forgot about that little eye incident lol, so painful. This is perfect for him then! Even though it's not ice cream, cheesecake is the next best thing. 😉
This looks so yummy! I was a little disappointed that this "no bake" dessert has a BAKED brownie crust. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it's worth it (and I plan to try it one day), but I was looking for a truly no bake recipe. I may try using a pre-made chocolate cookie pie crust instead (no oven will be available so have to sub something for the brownie crust). Thanks for sharing!
The No-Bake was intended for the cheesecake because you don't have to bake it. Sorry for the confusion! Yes, a pre-made cookie crust will be delicious too. I hope you enjoy it!
I think the ratio for the caramel sauce is incorrect. It won't thicken as written. Looking into other caramel sauce recipes... they call for 1 cup of sugar (brown) to 1/2 cup to cream.
Nope, it is not incorrect. I use this recipe all the time. It thickens up perfectly when it comes to room temperature.
Hi Jessica! This looks divine!!
I am planning to make this on coming weekend. As you said above in response to one comment, that instead of cool whip we can use fresh whipped cream as well, will we be required to whip the cream with extra sugar (apart from what is required in the cheesecake filling i.e. 1/2 cup granulated sugar & 1/2 cup brown sugar) or simply whipping the fresh cream will be fine?
LOVE this cheesecake.. it's everything you promised and more in the flavor department. It is absolutely decadent and looks so impressive too. The only thing I'd change is the name ~ you do have to bake the brownie crust, so the no bake name is misleading.
This looks amazing! I'm not overly fond of coolwhip, however; could you suggest a substitute?
So this techniquly is not a no bake... You still have to bake the brownie bottom. Kinda disappointed.
The "no-bake" is aimed towards the cheesecake portion of the recipe. If you have an issue with baking the brownie, simply pour the cheesecake mixture into a chocolate graham cracker crust.
This tasted and looked great. However I ended up having to buy the caramel sauce after failing to make it myself twice. I think that if the instructions were a little more clear I probably could have figured it out. Also, the cheesecake part never stiffened up, even after I put it in the freezer for a couple of hours. It was very hard to cut and serve. I followed the instructions, so not sure why the cheesecake wasn't as stiff as it should have been (when I took it out of the freezer, it was the same texture as when I first mixed the ingredients together). Tasted good, but was still disappointed
Usually when we make a cheesecake and is to runny we gradually add powdered sugar to help thicken. Do sugar little bit at a time for thickness
Has anyone tried to freeze this?? Wanting to make for Christmas baking but don't want it to go bad before I can get all my goodies out.
You can definitely freeze it! Make sure it is wrapped very well with plastic wrap and foil. Just remove it from the freezer the morning of and it should be perfect in time for dessert. 🙂
Either one! Mixer is definitely way easier though and produces smoother results. I usually use my hand mixer.
Indeed it is delicious! I made this for hubby's birthday because he loves turtle anything. Actually made it twice now. I used one egg with the brownie mix was still plenty thick. First time I melted caramel candies with sweetened condensed milk for the caramel sauce. I had plenty leftover I could use to dip apples in. Then I actually froze it for 4-5 hours which didn't set it as much as I would have like. I put on the topping before serving. We really enjoyed it. I refrozen the leftovers and it was better the next day. The caramel got kinda chewy, the crust too but I liked the filling extra firm better. Now I am trying the caramel sauce in the recipe. Will definitely refrigerate the sauce overnight it is runny, maybe my bad. Either way thank you for the recipe, I'm sure I will keep making it as everyone loves it!
Tessa Stokes says
I didn't use both sugars in the mix as I thought it would be too sweet. And it was the right thing to do , as it was so rich even without the brown sugar. It one of the BEST puddings/cheesecakes I've ever made & all my family LOVED it. Try it everyone , you will not be disappointed.
I made this and while it was delicious, it was extremely "goopy," for lack of a better word. It did not have nice clean, straight edges when I cut it--it was super soft, and started to sink into the open spots as soon as I'd remove a piece. I think I still have the pics; I can send you're curious. I accidentally used "light" Cool Whip; do you think that could make that much difference? Need to make another cheesecake again today for a family function (boyfriend's family) tomorrow and would love to try this again but am nervous....
P.S. I'm sure this is assumed but I followed the recipe to the letter other than the "light" whipped topping oversight.
I'm sorry that happened to you! I am unsure if the light cool whip played a role in it being goopy.. I have had a few readers tell me that this happened to them also, although I'm unsure why, they had great success freezing it for an hour before serving for a firmer texture - it will still very creamy. I hope you decide to make it again! If you do, I'd love to hear how it came out.
This cheesecake turned out okay. Has way to much cinnamon in it, it ended up tasting like a cinnamon roll with caramel which isn't bad just not what I wanted. Definitely have to freeze it for it to set up.
Lol, it looked amazing and said no-bake then the first instruction was to bake something. Moving on.
"This creamy no-bake caramel cheesecake is nestled on top of a baked brownie and smothered in lots of chocolate, caramel sauce and chopped pecans." So sorry you'll have to miss out.
Geez people. You don't have to bake the brownie,use something else... I don't know why everyone is giving her such a hard time, it is still a no bake cheesecake and she was kind enough to share it with you
Thank you so much Lexi. You're awesome. <3
Move on and leave Your Criticism off the Comments!
You can easily Adjust.
It's All about the Cheesecake.
Thank You for sharing Your Cheesecake No Bake Recipe...Exactly what I was Looking for!
Thank you! <3
There are a couple of ways you can make this cheesecake a little firmer. First you can add a little unflavored gelatin you to the Cool Whip before you mix it into everything else. Or as an alternative: there is a powdered mix you can make called Dream Whip in the baking aisle. Instead of following the directions on the package for making it, short your liquid a bit and it will make a whipped topping that is considerably stiffer. I keep it on hand because it takes so little space to store.
Thanks so much for the tips!
This certainly was a BIG hit for this thanksgiving dessert. I was nervous trying first time making and serving to my guests. Wow so delish !! We have more company next week for dinner and my husband has requested to make again. I'm sure it will freeze well too. I've never made a cheese cake before. Thanks for the recipe.
Desiree Arpin says
I made this dessert for the first time for Thanksgiving at my inlaws. It was a huge hit!! I had the best dessert. Thank you so much for this recipe.
That's so awesome!! 🙂 Thanks so much for letting me know and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, Desiree!
When i made this, the brownie was hard. I even cooked the brownie less, refrigerated it, and it was still hard. Is it suppose to be? Do i need to set it out to room temp before serving to soften the brownie?
chantal castonguay says
bonjour, je voulais faire ce gâteau, il a l'air succulent. Par contre, je ne sais pas ce qui est fouet frais de 4 oz. Désolé.
Just wondering. I've made the cheesecake in a springform pan. After chilling it for 3-4 hours can I take the springform back off to top the cheesecake with caramel and fudge sauce? Will it be set up enough?
Making this for a friends brithday and got hit with a cold the day before. So wanting to keep the recipe super simple. Question: Can I use the caramel syrup that is a topping for ice cream? Or will it not work?
Yes! Just substitute the same amount. Feel better!
I made this for Thanksgiving this year. It turned out perfect! The cheesecake was the perfect texture, andbthe caramel sauce was amazing! Thank you for helping me impress my in-laws!
You're so very welcome! So glad I could help! Haha.
I’ve made this twice and both times the brownie was very hard to cut through.
I use the same brownie mix I always use
So I need to take it out of oven before the normal time?
I’ve baked this twice and both times the brownie was hard. What am I doing wrong?
Nicole Hale says
I made this recipe and it turned out incredible! I followed everything to a T! It was a huge hit at Christmas dinner. As indicated in the post, the cheesecake is a bit softer because it is a no-bake recipe but in all honesty it was just very soft and creamy! It was perfect and will definately make it again! I wish I could post a picture here to show my end result!
Yes, it does make a softer cheesecake, but all around delish! Glad you enjoyed it! I'd love to see a picture!! You can post it on my facebook page or tag me on instagram. 🙂
I would assemble them the day before! Sounds yummy!
Artina Lomas says
I made this no bake turtle cheesecake for a family dinner and it was a smash! I'm making another today to take to work. Thank you so much for this tasty recipe!
You're so welcome!
Dawn N says
Do you remove the outer ring after chilling 3 - 4 hours
this No-Bake Caramel Turtle Cheesecake seems so delicious , will love to make this , I alwaya wants to try some new recipes. Thanks for sharing this one.
kelly shanley says
i have made this recipe quite a few times now and everyone just loves it!!. i personally found it a little on the too sweet side, so i split it up and make 2 seperate smaller cakes. works perfectly!! i use an in box chocolate cake mix instead of brownie, and i use real turtle candies chopped up for the topping instead of pecans, omg sooo good!!!
Sounds amazing, Kelly!!