Making desserts can be a challenge for a lot of people, but not with this easy lush dessert recipe. As a layered dessert, it looks fancy and complicated, but in reality, it takes minimal effort. You’ll be the star of the party if you bring this layered dessert!
This is one of my Dessert recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
Now that school is back in session, our free time is at an all-time low. And I’m pretty sure that’s how pretty much every parent is feeling this time of year!
Whenever I’m asked to bring a dessert to a gathering or party, and I’m pressed for time (or just flat out exhausted), I usually bring a lush dessert.
The layers are beautiful, and it’s deceptively simple to make! Other than baking the crust (for less than 10 minutes), the rest of the dessert is no-bake, and it’s a natural make-ahead recipe.
How to make cherry cheesecake lush dessert?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Make graham cracker crust. You can use store-bought graham cracker crumbs (which is what I normally do to save time), or you can crush your own using a food processor or add the crackers to a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin or heavy skillet.
- Spread and bake. Spread the crust into the baking dish, pressing down to really compact it, and bake until golden brown.
- Make cheesecake layer. While the crust is cooling, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Then fold in some of the whipped topping.
- Layer. Add cheesecake layer to the crust, then top with the pie filling, the whipped topping, and almonds.
- Chill. This will take 1-2 hours, or you can let it chill overnight.
I do highly recommend using a hand mixer or stand mixer to whip the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. It’s hard to get the mixture as smooth and creamy if you’re just using a whisk or rubber spatula, and in a no-bake filling, you want the creamy texture.
Variations of this recipe
- Graham crackers – as I mentioned above, I typically use store-bought graham cracker crumbs to save time, but you can crush your own using a food processor (this will give you the most uniform crumbs) or add the crackers to a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin or heavy skillet.
- Sugar – feel free to slightly adjust the amount of powdered sugar, but I wouldn’t go crazy and add a TON more, or use drastically less, since you want the texture to be similar.
- Whipped topping – this recipe was developed with regular Cool Whip, but it should work well with other types of frozen whipped topping, and with homemade whipped cream if you prefer.
- Pie filling – try this recipe with other types of pie filling for a fun twist!
- Topping ideas – in addition (or in place) of the almonds, try using shredded coconut (sweetened would be best), or a drizzle of chocolate over the top.
- Reduced sugar – while not tested, you should be able to reduce the amount of sugar in this dessert by using sugar-free cool whip, no sugar-added pie filling, and sugar substitutes in place of the powdered sugar (Swerve is a good brand for this).
While the name might seem odd, it’s essentially a layered dessert. You may have heard it called by other names, such as dessert lasagna, eclair cake, icebox cake, dream dessert, etc. No matter what it’s called, this layered dessert is made with some kind of cookie crust, 1 or more layers of pudding/cheesecake, possibly a layer of fruit, and a layer of whipped cream.
No, because the graham cracker crust needs to be baked. However, after that brief 7 minute bake, the rest of this dessert doesn’t involve any more baking.
Making lush desserts ahead of time
This recipe is great for those who don’t really love to bake, or who want something super easy to throw together.
Not only does it use a lot of shortcuts from the store (cool whip, pie filling, graham cracker crumbs, etc), but it can also be made entirely ahead of time.
I wouldn’t make this more than 1-2 days ahead though, since the textures will get softer the longer it sits.
I haven’t tested freezing this specific recipe, although I’ve frozen something similar, so I think it could be frozen for longer storage.
I would freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 1-2 months, then thawed in the refrigerator before serving.
Leftover cheesecake lush (dessert lasagna) should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoyed within 3-4 days.
I’ve had this mixer for years, and it still works just as well as it did the day I got it. It’s perfect for just about anything!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs we use store-bought crumbs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- 8 oz cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar whisked to remove any lumps
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 16 oz frozen whipped topping thawed, and divided
- 2 (21 oz each) cans cherry pie filling
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds optional but recommended
- Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9×13" baking dish.
- Combine graham crackers and melted butter until well mixed.
- Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish, spreading and pressing down with your hands or the bottom of a drinking glass until it's an even layer.
- Bake for 7 minutes, then remove from the oven and let fully cool.
Make cheesecake filling
- To a mixing bowl, add the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat with a hand mixer (or use a stand mixer and it's mixing bowl), until combined and smooth.
- Gently fold in half (8 oz) of the thawed whipped topping, using a rubber spatula, until fully mixed.
- Add the cheesecake filling on top of the cooled graham cracker crust, spreading it in an even layer.
- Top the cheesecake with cherry pie filling, then top with the remaining 8 oz of whipped topping and sliced almonds.
- Cover loosely, then refrigerate for 1-2 hours, or overnight.
- Serve cold and enjoy!
Want to save this recipe for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own recipe box!
- I’ve estimated this recipe serves approximately 12, but feel free to divide it up into as many servings as you’d like.
- Make sure the frozen whipped topping (such as Cool Whip) is completely thawed.
- If you’re using whole graham crackers to make the crumbs, you’ll want 15-16 whole rectangular crackers. A food processor is your best bet for uniform crumbs.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.