No-Bake Woolworth Icebox Cheesecake


The History Behind Woolworth Cheesecake

Have you ever heard someone ask, “What’s the big deal with Woolworth Cheesecake?” It’s a question that plagues both history buffs and foodies alike. Allow me to clear the air. The Woolworth cheesecake is named after the iconic F.W. Woolworth Company, a retail store that left an indelible mark on American consumer culture. But here’s a curveball—it’s not really a cheesecake!

no bake Woolworth cheesecake

The Woolworth’s version is a no-bake delight that resembles a cheesecake but is much lighter and fluffier. This recipe became a crowd favorite, often served at social gatherings and potlucks. Despite the general belief, this dessert isn’t an original Woolworth creation. However, it was so frequently seen at their lunch counters that it earned the name ‘Woolworth’s Cheesecake’.

For anyone interested in Woolworth-inspired dishes, it’s important to note that these recipes often showcase simpler times and ingredients. Compared to today’s exotic and complex flavor profiles, Woolworth recipes offer nostalgia and an almost quaint, back-to-basics appeal.

Now, are you keen on diving into desserts with a blend of history and simplicity? You might enjoy my Banana Pudding Cheesecake Squares , a recipe that also has an interesting backstory.

Here’s a table for a quick comparison between Woolworth Cheesecake and a traditional New York Cheesecake:

AspectWoolworth CheesecakeNew York Cheesecake
Cream Cheese Quantity8 oz16 oz
Baking RequiredNoYes
TextureLight & FluffyDense
Preparation Time2-3 hoursOvernight

So the next time you come across Woolworth Cheesecake, you’ll know it’s more than just a delicious treat—it’s a piece of Americana.

How is This Recipe Different from a Traditional New York Cheesecake?

Oh, the cheesecake world! So vast, yet often, we find ourselves ensnared in the creamy folds of the New York Cheesecake. But hold on! The Woolworth Cheesecake is here to offer a twist—err, a fluff? A classic New York cheesecake is dense, rich, and oven-baked. However, Woolworth’s version is a no-bake wonder, eliminating the need to fire up the oven and get into a sweaty mess.

no bake Woolworth cheesecake

The Woolworth Cheesecake incorporates lemon flavors, thanks to the combination of lemon juice and lemon Jell-O. These ingredients not only give it a zesty edge but also contribute to its lighter, fluffier texture. On the contrary, a New York cheesecake is often vanilla-flavored and lacks any aerating agents like Jell-O.

Worried about calories? Well, you should be, for both versions! While the Woolworth Cheesecake is lighter in texture, it’s not exactly a low-calorie dessert. Then again, is any cheesecake?

So what are your options if you’re looking for a twist in your regular cheesecake routine? If you are fascinated by the variety of flavors and textures, you might find my Strawberry Srunch Cheesecake Cones a delightful change.

For an easy comparison, here’s a list:

  • Baking: Woolworth = No-bake, NY Cheesecake = Baked
  • Flavor: Woolworth = Lemon, NY Cheesecake = Usually Vanilla
  • Texture: Woolworth = Light & Fluffy, NY Cheesecake = Dense & Creamy
  • Preparation Time: Woolworth = 2-3 hours, NY Cheesecake = Overnight, plus cooling

Indeed, variety is the zest of life, and the Woolworth Cheesecake brings its own idiosyncrasies to the dessert table. Step aside, New York cheesecake!

Can I Substitute Ingredients in the Lemon Fluff Filling?

Ah, substitution—the go-to maneuver for both novice cooks and culinary rebels. But when it comes to the Lemon Fluff Filling in Woolworth Cheesecake, it’s not as straightforward as swapping chocolate chips for nuts in a cookie recipe. Let’s dig in, shall we?

The essential elements in the Woolworth Cheesecake filling are cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon Jell-O, sugar, and evaporated milk or heavy whipping cream. Each plays a significant role in both flavor and texture.

First, the cream cheese: Go full-fat if you can. Reduced-fat cream cheese often contains additives that can mess up your dessert’s texture. Lemon juice and lemon Jell-O are essential for that zesty flavor and stability, so no substitutes there!

The recipe calls for evaporated milk, but it also gives you the freedom to use heavy whipping cream. Both work well, so this is one area where you can make a swap without sweating bullets. Just make sure whichever you use is well-chilled before whipping.

For those looking for a recipe that allows room for ingredient swaps, check out my Raspberry Icebox Cake. You can use different fruits and even experiment with the cream!

In summary, substitutions are possible, but they come with their set of caveats. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Cream Cheese: Stick to full-fat.
  • Evaporated Milk or Heavy Whipping Cream: Both work, must be well-chilled.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar is best.
  • Lemon Elements: No substitutes.

So if you’re planning on making any swaps, proceed with caution and a taste for adventure!

How Far in Advance Can You Make This Cheesecake?

Ah, the art of timing. Preparing a dessert like the Woolworth Cheesecake needs planning, but the good news is that it’s not a last-minute ordeal. Unlike the New York Cheesecake, which often requires overnight chilling plus additional cooling time, the Woolworth version offers more flexibility.

For best results, make this dessert at least 2 hours ahead of serving time. This allows the cheesecake to set and flavors to meld. However, if you’re a plan-ahead kind of person, you can also prepare it a day or two in advance. Just make sure to cover it well and store it in the refrigerator to retain its freshness.

no bake Woolworth cheesecake

Timing becomes crucial when you’re hosting or attending an event. Can’t decide between a same-day or advance prep? Well, guess what—Woolworth Cheesecake doesn’t mind either. In fact, its flavor often intensifies when given more time to chill.

Here’s a simple guide to help you time your cheesecake preparation:

  1. Minimum Time: At least 2 hours before serving.
  2. Optimal Time: 4-6 hours before serving.
  3. Maximum Time: Up to 2 days, stored in the fridge.

Want something with a quicker prep time but equally impressive? My Strawberry Cream Cheese Icebox Cake is a delightful treat that doesn’t require extensive planning.

So there you have it. Woolworth Cheesecake is flexible, allowing you to play around with your schedule while ensuring a delicious result.

Can I Use This Recipe for Making Cheesecake Cupcakes ?

You say cheesecake, I say cupcakes; why not have both? Imagine having your own individual portion of Woolworth Cheesecake in the form of a cupcake. A luscious, lemony bite without the need to share? Yes, please!

Transforming this no-bake recipe into cupcakes isn’t as complicated as you might think. The principles remain the same; the only variables are the container and the setting time. To turn your Woolworth Cheesecake into cupcakes, follow these steps:

  1. Crust: Press the Graham cracker crust into cupcake liners instead of a pie dish. Use about 1-2 tablespoons per liner.
  2. Filling: Distribute the Lemon Fluff Filling evenly among the cupcake liners.
  3. Setting: Given the smaller size, these cupcakes will set much faster—generally within 1 to 1.5 hours.

Tables can help! Here’s one to guide you:

ElementsRegular Woolworth CheesecakeWoolworth Cheesecake Cupcakes
Graham Cracker CrustPressed into a 9-inch pie dishPressed into cupcake liners
Lemon Fluff FillingSpread in the pie dishPortioned into cupcake liners
Setting Time2-4 hours1-1.5 hours

Cupcake form can add a personalized touch to an already charming dessert. They are easy to distribute, fun to decorate, and perfect for parties, picnics, or any occasion where individual servings are more convenient. Not to mention, they’re super cute!

no bake Woolworth cheesecake

No-Bake Woolworth Icebox Cheesecake

When you crave a tangy, creamy dessert that doesn’t require a hot oven or complicated techniques, look no further than this timeless Woolworth Cheesecake. Ideal for Easter, Mother’s Day, or any spring gathering, it’s as simple as mixing and chilling.
4.20 from 10 votes
Print Pin
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Lemon Cheesecake, No-bake dessert, Woolworth Classic
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Duration: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 576kcal


  • Lemon Jell-O 3 oz
  • Boiling water 1 cup
  • Graham cracker crumbs 3 cups, additional for thicker crust
  • Melted butter 1 stick
  • Cream cheese 8 oz
  • Granulated sugar 1 cup
  • Fresh lemon juice 5 tbsp
  • Well-chilled evaporated milk or heavy whipping cream 1 can or 1 1/2 cups


  • Jell-O Preparation: Dissolve the lemon Jell-O in boiling water and set aside until it reaches a semi-solid consistency.
  • Crust Formation: Combine 3/4 of the graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Firmly press this mixture into the base of a 9×13-inch pan. Reserve the remaining crumbs for topping.
  • Creamy Texture: Whisk the chilled evaporated milk or heavy whipping cream until it forms soft peaks.
  • Cheesecake Mixture: In a different bowl, blend together cream cheese, granulated sugar, and lemon juice until it achieves a silky texture.
  • Combine & Fill: Mix in the semi-thickened Jell-O to the cream cheese mixture. Gradually fold in the whipped cream or evaporated milk.
  • Final Touch: Pour the entire blend over the previously prepared crust. Garnish with the leftover graham cracker crumbs.


Calories: 576kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 360mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 40g

1 Comment

  1. Wanda Stigall

    5 stars
    Looks so good definitely going to make it.

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