Indulge in layers of vanilla wafer crust, sweet cherry filling, silky cheesecake and airy vanilla pudding with my easy homemade Cherry Cheesecake Lush recipe. So creamy and delicious!
Can I make this cheesecake ahead of time?
Yes, you can assemble the entire cheesecake lush up to 2 days in advance. Just be sure to store it covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Should the cream cheese be room temperature?
Yes, letting the cream cheese soften to room temperature before mixing makes for the smoothest, lump-free filling. If it’s too cold, small bits may remain unmixed.
What can I substitute for vanilla wafers?
Graham crackers or gingersnaps both make excellent substitutes. Just adjust the amount as needed to fit your baking pan. Finely crush them into crumbs before mixing with the melted butter.
Do I need to bake the cheesecake after assembly?
Nope! All the components (except the crust) are no-bake, so once it’s layered you can simply let it chill thoroughly in the fridge before slicing.
How long will the cheesecake lush last refrigerated?
Properly stored in an airtight container, it will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. The cookies may soften over time but it will still taste great!
Can I use a different flavored pie filling?
Absolutely! Cherry works wonderfully but any 21-ounce can of pie filling like blueberry, strawberry or apple can be substituted. Just avoid chunkier fillings like peach.
What size pan should I use?
A 9×13 inch baking pan is best to get the right thickness and layering of ingredients. But any similar size casserole dish between 8×12 and 9×13 inches would work.
- 1 and 1/3 cups cherry pie filling
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 and 1/3 cups chopped pecans
- 3 and 1/3 cups vanilla wafer cookie crumbs (about 76 cookies)
- 4 cups cool whip, divided
- 2 packages (8oz each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
- 2 cups milk
- 2 packages (3.4oz each) vanilla instant pudding mix
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with butter.
- Crush vanilla wafers into fine crumbs until you have 3 and 1/3 cups. Pour the vanilla wafer crumbs into a bowl and mix with the melted butter until coated.
- Press the buttered vanilla wafer crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to completely cool.
- While the crust is cooling, make the cheesecake layer. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in 2 cups of the cool whip until fully incorporated. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla pudding mixes for 2 minutes until thickened. Let stand for 5 minutes to fully thicken, then fold in the remaining 2 cups cool whip.
- Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the cooled vanilla wafer crust. Top with the cherry pie filling, spreading evenly.
- Carefully spread the vanilla pudding mixture over the cherry pie filling layer.
- Top with the remaining 1 and 1/3 cups cool whip and sprinkle the pecans evenly over top.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
- Let the cream cheese come to room temperature before beating to ensure it blends smoothly and doesn’t get lumpy.
- Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese filling until light and fluffy. This helps incorporate more air for a creamier texture.
- If you don’t have vanilla wafer cookies on hand, graham crackers make a fine substitution for the crust. Just adjust the amount as needed to fit your baking dish.
- Feel free to use another flavor pie filling instead of cherry, such as blueberry, apple or strawberry. Just make sure it’s a 21oz can.
- For best results, thaw the cool whip completely and drain off any liquid before folding it into the fillings.
- Be gentle when spreading the layers to prevent them from mixing together too much. Clean the spatula between layers.
- Chill the cheesecake lush overnight to allow the flavors to meld together. The pecan topping will also soften slightly.
- Garnish slices with fresh cherries or whipped cream if desired.
- Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The vanilla wafers may soften over time.
- For easy slicing, run a knife under hot water first and wipe clean between cuts. Dip knife in hot water as needed.