This easy no-bake pineapple dream dessert is a delicious and refreshing treat that’s perfect for spring and summer. It has a crumbly graham cracker crust topped with a sweet and tangy pineapple cream filling. Let’s get started!
This luscious pineapple cream filling gets its tropical sweetness from drained crushed pineapple, which lends both flavor and texture. I like to use crushed pineapple since the smaller chunks incorporate more easily into the filling without oversoftening it. The full, vibrant pineapple flavor pairs perfectly with the rich tanginess of cream cheese. Be sure to drain off the juice completely before mixing it in. Too much liquid will prevent the filling from firming up properly. I drain mine over a mesh sieve, pressing out as much juice as possible. Discard the juice or find another use for it rather than adding it back into the dessert.
The graham cracker crust provides a crisp, nutty contrast to the smooth and creamy pineapple filling. It’s easier than pie crust to prepare while still delivering that satisfying crunch you expect in a fruit dessert. Graham cracker crust also holds up better than other crumb crusts if the filling releases moisture over time. To ensure the crust retains its crispness, let it fully chill before adding the filling. I like to refrigerate it while preparing the pineapple cream mixture. Just be sure your baking dish is large enough to contain any overflow from the creamy topping. The crust can be made ahead too for convenience. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days prior to assembly.
Can I prepare the crust and filling in advance?
Yes! Prepare crust up to 5 days ahead and store airtight at room temperature. Filling can be made 1-2 days in advance and refrigerated.
What can I use instead of cool whip?
Fresh whipped cream or homemade whipped topping. Fold it gently.
It’s too soft/runny after chilling. How can I fix it?
Drain pineapple again with cheesecloth or paper towels. Chill longer until firm. Add extra crushed graham crackers to absorb moisture.
What to do if crust gets soggy?
A: Blot moisture with paper towels. Coat bottom with chocolate to seal moisture or add extra graham cracker crumbs before adding filing.
Can I freeze this dessert?
Yes! Allow it to chill completely first. Cover tightly and freeze up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in fridge before serving.
For the crust:
- 113 g (1 stick) melted butter
- 170 g (6 cups) graham cracker crumbs (about 12 full sheets crushed)
- 80 g (1/3 cup) sugar
For the filling:
- 113 g (1 stick) softened butter
- 1 566 g (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained very well
- 226g (8oz) softened cream cheese
- 225-450 g (1-2 cups) powdered sugar
- 227 g (8 oz) whipped cream or cool whip
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- In a bowl, mix together melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, and sugar until well combined.
- Press mixture evenly into the bottom of a 23×23 cm (9×9 inch) baking dish to form a crust.
- Refrigerate while preparing filling.
- Using a sieve or cheesecloth, drain the crushed pineapple very well to extract all the juice. Set aside.
- In a bowl, beat together softened butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
- Gradually beat in powdered sugar until well combined, adding more to taste if desired. Mix for 2-3 minutes.
- Fold in the drained crushed pineapple and mix until fully incorporated.
- Gently fold in the whipped cream, being careful not to overmix.
- Pour filling over refrigerated graham cracker crust and smooth the top evenly.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight until firm.
- Be sure to drain the pineapple very well. Any excess juice will make the filling too thin.
- Use full fat ingredients like cream cheese, cool whip, etc for best texture and flavor.
- Fold the whipped cream gently to keep the airy, fluffy texture. Overmixing deflates the filling.
- Chill for at least 2 hours for the flavors to meld and the filling to firm up enough to slice neatly.
- Garnish with extra pineapple slices, toasted coconut, maraschino cherries before serving if desired.
- Can substitute graham cracker crust with vanilla wafers, digestive biscuits or gingersnaps.
Enjoy your delicious no-bake pineapple dream dessert! Refrigerate any leftovers.