No Bake Lemon Icebox Cake


There’s nothing better on a hot summer day than a cool, tangy-sweet dessert that comes together in a breeze. That’s why I absolutely adore this luscious no bake lemon icebox cake. Bursting with bright citrus flavor and a creamy vanilla base, it’s the perfect ending to any meal. I’ll share my easy recipe, as well as tips for transporting, storing, and customizing this sunny treat. Get ready to impress your friends and family with your own homemade lemon icebox cake!

What is an Icebox Cake?

An icebox cake is a no bake layered dessert made by stacking cookies or other dry ingredients with a creamy filling, then chilling everything together so the layers soften and meld. Graham crackers are one of the most popular cookie bases, but you can get creative with vanilla wafers, chocolate cookies, or even salty pretzels or crackers for a sweet-salty combo. The filling tends to be a pudding, whipped cream, or even sweetened cream cheese. So easy to throw together and such a fun blank canvas for flavors!

Do I Need the Ingredients on the back of the Pudding Box?

Nope! For this lemon icebox cake, all you need is a standard instant lemon pudding mix. Combine it with milk and thawed cool whip and you’ll have the perfect tangy-vanilla layer that complements the crisp graham crackers beautifully. No need to worry about eggs or anything like that.

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What does Softened Cream Cheese mean?

Several of the mix-in and topping options in this recipe call for softened cream cheese. That simply means bringing refrigerated cream cheese to room temperature before mixing it into frostings, curds, etc. The easiest way is to cut chilled cream cheese into 1-inch cubes and let it sit out for 10-20 minutes until it’s smooth and spreadable. Softened cream cheese incorporates much more easily into batters and frostings than cold cream cheese straight from the fridge.

How Long does an Icebox Cake need to be Refrigerated?

Plan on chilling your assembled lemon icebox cake for at least 4 hours before serving. Overnight is even better, as letting it rest in the fridge allows time for the graham cracker layers to absorb moisture from the filling and soften up. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or a lid so it doesn’t dry out. Properly chilled, the cake will slice cleanly and hold its shape. The assembled cake will last 2-3 days refrigerated.

How long does an Icebox Cake last?

Stored covered in the fridge, the finished lemon icebox cake will stay fresh for 2-3 days. The graham cracker layers start losing structural integrity after that, making neat slices difficult. Make it a day or two before you plan to serve it. The chilled cake also transports well in a cooler, making it an awesome portable dessert for potlucks and parties.

Topping Ideas

Part of the fun of icebox cakes is customizing them with creative toppings and mix-ins. For lemon icebox cake, I love adding brightly colored fruit like raspberries, blueberries or strawberry slices to play up the summer vibe. Shaved lemon zest makes it even tangier. Or top with sweet lemon curd or whipped cream for contrast. For crunch, sprinkle crushed graham crackers, vanilla wafers or shortbread before serving.

Tips for No Bake Lemon Icebox Cake

Use an aluminum pan or disposable foil one to transport the cake easily without worrying about returning a dish. A lidded baking pan with higher sides also contains messy fillings nicely. And don’t be afraid to get creative with the cookie layers – chocolate wafer cookies, ginger snaps or shortbread layers would all taste delicious with the tangy lemon cream. Finally, be patient and allow the full chilling time for the best texture. The patience pays off in tender, luscious results!

This bright lemony icebox cake is the perfect make-ahead summer dessert. It comes together with just a few pantry staples, slices beautifully, and feeds a crowd. I hope you’ll give this no bake cake a try soon – your friends and family will be asking you to bring it to every warm-weather get-together! Enjoy!

No Bake Lemon Icebox Cake Recipe


  • Whole Milk: 3 cups
  • Instant Lemon Pudding Mix: 2 packages (3.5 oz each)
  • Cool Whip: 1 container (8 oz)
  • Graham Crackers: 1 package (16 oz)
  • Butter (softened): 1/2 cup
  • Powdered Sugar: 2 cups
  • Milk: 2 Tbsp
  • Lemon Juice: 2 Tbsp


  1. In a large bowl, combine the lemon pudding mixes, cool whip, and milk until well blended.
  2. Arrange a layer of graham crackers at the bottom of a 9X13 pan, breaking some if necessary to fit.
  3. Spread half of the pudding mixture over the graham crackers. Add another layer of graham crackers on top.
  4. Cover with the remaining pudding mixture and a final layer of graham crackers.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix the softened butter, powdered sugar, milk, and lemon juice to create the frosting.
  6. Spread the lemon frosting evenly over the top layer of graham crackers.
  7. Refrigerate the cake for about 4 hours.
  8. Slice, serve, and relish the lemony goodness!

Note: While lemon pudding is a classic choice, feel free to experiment with different pudding flavors to create a variety of icebox cakes!

For a dessert that’s as easy to make as it is delicious, try this Lemon Icebox Cake. It’s a no-bake wonder that promises a burst of lemon flavor in every bite!


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