{Recipe} Cream Cheese Pie

This week my sister gave me a flat of fresh strawberries (that she had picked in her own garden/farm/orchard).  Those pretty berries were all I needed to start thinking about delicious fruit desserts.  Now normally I’m an all chocolate girl, but in the summer, there is just something so beautiful about desserts that incorporate the bounty of the season.  And here in California we are blessed with an almost unlimited supply of gorgeous fruit.

I realized it had been quite a while since I’d made my husbands favorite dessert, cheesecake (it’s really cream cheese pie, but in our house we call it cheesecake… more on that in a minute).  I thought the strawberries would complement the cheesecake perfectly, so my plan was set.

I used to make this cheesecake for my husband when we were dating (as teenagers), and most years I try to make it for his birthday.  It’s really a pretty simple dessert to make, the step that takes the most time is chilling it for 2-3 hours.

Although in our house this has always been called cheesecake, the correct title is Cream Cheese Pie.  True cheesecake is a dense,  baked dessert usually containing 3 or more packages of cream cheese, along with eggs, sugar and a few other ingredients.  Cheesecake is usually baked in a straight sided springform pan.  In contrast, this recipe (Cream Cheese Pie) produces a very sweet, smooth dessert that is not baked, but is chilled (and must be kept chilled) to be firm enough to cut.

The recipe is from my Grandmother (although I’m not claiming she created it).  My Grandmother was a Home Economics teacher in the 1950’s-60’s and this is one of the recipes from her recipe file.

Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/2 cups (about 20 squares) graham crackers, finely crushed

1/3 cup butter, melted

3 Tablespoons sugar


Heat oven to 350*F

Mix together crumbs, butter and sugar (I usually just do this right in the pie plate).

Once combined, press the mixture firmly against the bottom and side of a 9 x 1 1/4 inches pie plate.

Bake 10 minutes, or until light brown.  Remove from oven and cool.

Cream Cheese Pie

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature

1 (15oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup lemon juice (fresh if possible)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Slowly add the condensed milk, beat until fully incorporated.  Add lemon juice and vanilla.  Mix until smooth.

Pour mixture into a cooled, Graham Cracker Crust.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours.

Before serving, top with fresh fruit, fresh strawberry sauce (recipe below), or toppings of your choice.  Also delicious plain.

Fresh Strawberry Sauce

1 basket/pint strawberries

2 Tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons corn starch

3 Tablespoons water

Chop/blend about half of the strawberries (5-7 strawberries) and the water in a food processor or blender.  Pour the blended strawberries (and their juice) into a mesh strainer, sitting over a bowl.  Use a large spoon or spatula to press the mixture through the strainer.

In a small saucepan, mix the sugar and cornstarch. Slowly add the strained strawberry juice, whisking to combine.  Heat mixture to a boil and boil about 1 minute.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Chop remaining strawberries into pea sized pieces and add to the cooled strawberry/sugar mixture.  Chill until ready to use.

Top a slice of the Cream Cheese Pie with the Fresh Strawberry Sauce, and voila…

Or, you can skip the Strawberry Sauce and simply top with fresh fruit.

Or… if you think it’s not really dessert unless there is chocolate involved, then by all means…

Drizzle with chocolate sauce, caramel and chocolate chips.

Now, the only problem is chosing a piece…

For my husband, the choice is easy…

All he wants with his cheesecake is a fork!  Exciting, no… but still delicious!

Now, which slice do you want?


  1. Oh, I want ALL of them!! Looks absolutely delicious! Thank you for the recipe 🙂

  2. I'm getting on the first plane…
    these look so delicious Glory.
    I love love your spatula.
    have a great week.

  3. Oooh yummy, that looks so good. My mom used to make a "no-bake" cheesecake pie, I think the recipes was on the Philly Cream cheese package, it was always my favorite "cheese cake". This one sounds really good too…I definitely want to try it 🙂 thanks for sharing, (again!)

  4. Very beautiful and delicious too!
    I loved it!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. wow, beautiful and deliciuos in any way! plain, it looks so pure and nice… and with strawberries it gets a little diva touch.. likelike that!!! 🙂

  7. I can't wait to try it! With the strawberries for me, mmmmmmmmm……… Thank you!

  8. Wow! I want' hem all!!!

  9. wow this looks so good!!!
    just what i was lloking for to make for a family reunion!!
    i´ll let you know what everybody thinks about it!
    again thanks for the great recipe!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. I made this pie and it was delicious. But it turned out to be a little bit flat and "runny" (your pie looks thick and fluffy).
    What am I doing wrong?

  12. Anonymous- This pie does need to be refrigerated for several hours, and served directly from the fridge or it will be too soft to cut. In warm weather it can be helpful to even put it in the freezer for a short time before cutting.

  13. You have to try it with raspberries.. sugared of course. Really really out of this world!

  14. My mother used to make something like this! Unfortunately, I lost her recipe in recent years. Thank you for this.

  15. Is the lemon juice necessary? Can the amount be lessened or removed altogether?

  16. Hi Glory, can I make a mango sauce by substituting the strawberries for mangos? Thank you

  17. Sounds great but didn’t turn out. I ended up adding more cream cheese because it was too rich and even with that we thought it was still too rich. Also, it didn’t set up at all even after 4 hours. I use a similar mixture for my fruit dip, so I like the flavor but it just did not work as a pie.

    • Hi LeeAnn, Sorry you didn’t enjoy the recipe. I guess “too rich” is never spoken in our house ! This is my husbands favorite dessert ever, and I have made it for him dozens of times. It is on the soft side, and depending on the temperature of the ingredients and your fridge, it may need a bit more cooling time. You could even pop it in the freezer for a bit to make it easier to cut.

  18. your recipes are truly amazing, really appreciate all the little details that you put in for us to understand. great work 🙂

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  20. I made this and added extra cream cheese also added some crushed pineapple in place of the lemon juice. Yummy. Thanks for sharing. Strawberry topping. also !

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  22. Looks delicious! I don’t really care for lemon dessert though… Can you taste the lemon juice? I’m debating replacing the lemon juice with something else.

    • Hi Bailey,
      The lemon flavor is not overpowering at all.  If you don’t care for lemon, I would simply reduce the amount to 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh orange or lime juice would be nice too).  You do need a bit of that acid to offset the sweetness and make a balanced dessert.  Feel free to experiment and see what works for you.
      Happy baking!  

  23. I used to make this all the time and lost the recipe….although I remember having to mix it with an electric mixer for like 20 minutes or something like that. Hope it works just as well with less mixing time. Can it be completely frozen for later use and then thawed?

  24. This is the EXACT recipe that MY grandmother used to make! Tonight’s dinner needs 1.5 tablespoons of sweetened, condensed milk, and I was trying to figure out what to do with the rest … I think it’s time my kids tasted Cream Cheese Pie! 🙂

  25. Awesome pie!!!! I made it directly as suggested (except more crackers because I’m a fatty and like crust), and it came out wonderful!!!!! Thanks for the amazing recipe!                                  

  26. Hello! I love this recipe, I have made it 4 times.

    Although it’s tasty, every time I’ve made it, it comes out still pretty loose, like almost runny. And I usually leave it to chill overnight.

    Is there a way to make it not as runny?

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