Lemon No-Bake Icebox Cake

5 from 1 vote

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A deliciously sweet, refreshing and creamy no-bake lemon icebox cake that everyone will love. This will be your new go-to dessert when you’re in a pinch.

No-Bake Lemon Icebox Cake

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I’m slowly falling in love with J.Crew and Anthropologie clothes. I used to only kinda-sorta like their clothes but now, I’m not exactly sure what happened. Some switch in my brain turned on and now all I do is browse their sites for anything and everything. I bought Brooke a few shirts and Blake some shorts and a little J.Crew bowtie and once it all arrived, I just about died.

Bowties on babies may just be the cutest thing ever. Especially my baby. That blonde hair blue eyed boy is seriously already a heart breaker…and he’s not even 2 yet.


I’m also debating getting these jeans or these jeans for myself. The only thing holding me back is {1} the price {2} I think the skinny legs come with the jeans when you purchase them and {3} um…back to reality…my thunder thighs don’t fit into anything I order online. It’s like they know I’m going to be getting clothes so they purposely stay large or something. In my mind {the land of dish fairies, no whiny kids and Mom-hibernation} I’m a size 0. So when the clothes arrive, I have heart palpitations when they don’t pull up past my knees. And then I have to go through the hassle of sending everything back! Standing in line at the post office for at least 30 minutes with an active 22-month old is another main reason to avoid online shopping altogether.

So yeah, maybe I’ll be rethinking the actual buying portion?! But for the time being, my obsession lives on! #internetwindowshopper

Anyways, over the years of blogging, I think I’ve covered how much I love lemony things, especially lemon desserts…with the occasional lemon inspired dinner thrown into the mix. 

Well last week I went through a phase of sorts and made lots and lots of different kinds of icebox cakes. {Thus solves the thunder thigh mystery…} I had my friends try a few kinds, but the one that seemed to be everyone’s favorite was this lemon one. It’s so sweet and creamy, plus really light and refreshing, which in my opinion, every lemon dessert should be.

If you’ve never made one of these bad boys before, you are in for a real treat. So so so so so ridiculously easy and they always turn out perfectly with zero baking! It’s the best kind of cake you can make.

Here’s how to do it:

Cake ingredients

Start by mixing cream cheese, sugar and lots of lemon zest together in a bowl until thick, smooth and creamy. Then add in some heavy cream and whip until the mixture is light, fluffy and thickens back up again. {You’re essentially whipping air into the cream and cream cheese mixture.}Layering icebox cake

To assemble the actual cake, all you do is layer up the creamy filling mixture you just made with some lemon shortbread cookies that were dipped in milk. So, your layers will go: cookies-cream-cookies-cream-cookies-cream. 3 layers of each.

No-Bake Lemon Icebox Cake

Cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 hours or longer. You just want everything good and cold before you cut into it.

No-Bake Lemon Icebox Cake

I love seeing the yellow speckles of lemon zest in the top of the cake, and the design of the cookies! Yum yum 🙂

No-Bake Lemon Icebox Cake

When completely chilled, you’ll see it cuts just like a regular cake would. And you can even see all those yummy layers in there too! Mmm….

No-Bake Lemon Icebox Cake

Feel free to add on some whipped cream and strawberries. This part is optional, but delicious!

If you need a fast dessert that will blow people away, then this is just the cake for you. Enjoy, friends!

5 from 1 vote

Lemon No-Bake Icebox Cake

A deliciously sweet, refreshing and creamy no-bake lemon icebox cake that everyone will love. This will be your new go-to dessert when you're in a pinch.
servings 12 servings
Prep Time 12 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 12 hrs 15 mins


  • 16 oz cream cheese 2 blocks, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of 1 1/2 lemons
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 34 lemon shortbread cookies 1 1/2 bags Pepperidge Farms 6 oz. bags or 2 boxes lemon Girl Scout Cookies
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • whipped cream for garnish, optional
  • strawberries for garnish, optional


  • Line 8x8 baking dish with plastic wrap and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whip cream cheese, sugar and lemon zest until smooth and creamy.
  • Stir in heavy cream and whip 1-2 minutes or until filling starts to thicken.
  • Dip each cookie one by one into the milk and line the bottom of dish with cookies to cover {cut cookies in half to fit in properly.}
  • Pour 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture over cookies and smooth the top.
  • Repeat layering cookies and cream until you have 3 layers of each.
  • Cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 hours or overnight.
  • Cut into squares and serve with cream and strawberries.


Calories: 377kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 280mg | Potassium: 105mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 767IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: No-Bake Icebox Cake

Lemon No-Bake Ice Box Cake...the best dessert for summer! Easiest recipe in the world.

Polaroid photo of granola bars

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Recipe Rating

60 Responses
  1. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness

    Is it wrong that I want to whip up this cake RIGHT now and get it frozen so it’s raedy in time for when I want to eat breakfast? Lemon anything is my jam..and no bake? SIGN ME UP. Pinned!

  2. Karen @ On the Banks of Salt Creek

    I ADORE lemon desserts. My guys, they tolerate them as long as it isn’t to often.
    Thanx for a great and simple recipe.

  3. Melissa

    This looks great! I’m making it this weekend!

    Just an FYI; The Girl Scouts no longer make lemon cookies aka Savannah Smiles 🙂

      1. Lauren

        They’re still available in Oregon! I first tested this recipe with Savannah Smiles and then tried the Pepperidge Farm kind. Both equally delicious!

  4. SaraLily

    What an adorable and deliciously lemon idea! I love it! I always love no-bake easy cakes. Some people don’t even know the difference when they eat them! This one looks super easy, too. Can’t go wrong there! And how can ANYONE resist lemon???

    1. Lauren

      The pepperidge farms cookies are called lemon sweet and simple cookies. They come in white, 6-oz. bags. And yes, the Girl Scout Savannah Smiles are lemon flavored shortbread cookies.

  5. Maggie Moran

    You should try the pants by Chico’s or Talbots. They stretch a big and feel very comfortable. Also I like Chico’s sizing as I wear a 1.5!

  6. Bonnie P

    Do you just pull the Saran Wrap off the individual peice of cake before serving it? In my mind I’m picturing it getting all nasty and stuck to things when I cut a peice to serve. If I don’t use the wrap will it stick to the dish?

    1. Lauren

      I cut this with a butter knife, so it never went through the plastic in the first place. If you get your knife or serving spatula underneath the first piece of cake without breaking the plastic wrap, the rest of the pieces should come out just fine without cutting through the plastic. If you’re worried about it, remove the whole cake out of the pan using the excess plastic wrap around the edges. Then peel the plastic off down the sides and slice.

  7. Gina

    A few comments here:
    You summed up how I feel about ordering online EXACTLY…it’s as if I’m ordering the legs too. All the JCrew styles are skinny sticky legs – not like mine. I’m not overweight per say but my weight is in my hips and thighs…skinny jeans are not my friend.
    And – now I have something delicious to do with all those boxes of Savannah Smiles my daughter has yet to sell! YUM!!

  8. Pat

    I love to have dessert and coffee for breakfast and this certainly fits the bill! Love lemon ~ doesn’t everyone? ~ so can’t wait to make this. I just bought 1 box of the lemon Girl Scout cookies and they’re gone but………I love the Pepperidge Farm lemon too. Will certainly be making this and soon!

    Just found your blog and so glad I did ~ am a new follower and have subscribed via email.


  9. Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg

    Reasons why I never buy clothes online: my thighs. Actually, I prefer thrift stores when buying jeans because they’ve already been worn in by other curvy women. I’ll have to agree with you on Anthropologie. If I had unlimited funds to spend, all of my dresses would be from that store (sighs to the poor life). On the other hand, TREAT YO SELF! This lemon icebox cake looks divine. What a perfect spring birthday cake or Easter treat.

  10. Michelle M.

    I have to make a dessert for my sons’s football team fish fry fundraiser. Do you think I could double this and put it in a 9×13 pan with good results?
    New to your website and I love it!

  11. Sandra @ A Dash of Sanity

    This dessert is brilliant! Oh my goodness, I can’t get over how good it sounds! 🙂 Pinning, Stumbling and Yumming!

  12. Jody G

    I couldn’t wait to make this and boy it didn’t disappoint!! was a huge hit at a family BBQ this weekend. Our local store didn’t have the peppridge cookies but had the new lemon crisp from fig newton and they were delicious!
    Thanks for another keeper recipe !

  13. Fran R

    I’m Thinking bout graham crackers Instead of cookies to lessen the ca
    lories as I am on weight watchers. Your lemon ice box cake sounds wonderful as is, though. Thank you for the idea. PS your children are beautiful. Love this site.

  14. Kerry Montgomery

    Sounds delightful! I’m thinking of trying it in muffin/ cupcake liners for a work function. Do you think it would set up enough to work?

    1. Lauren

      I might pop them into the freezer for a few minutes just to make sure you could pull the paper liners off and to keep them all together.

  15. Sarah D.

    Hi Lauren! I’m thinking about making this ahead for Easter…. do you see any reason why I couldn’t freeze it? Maybe take it out an hour or so before I need it?

    1. Lauren

      I might recommend just leaving it in the fridge for a few days prior. Cream cheese gets grainy once frozen, then defrosted.

  16. Patti Priest

    It’s made & in the fridge for Friday night dinner guests! Couldn’t find ANY lemon shortbread cookies at my grocery, so used Vortman’s shortbread & added lemon juice to the milk I dipped them in! Also added some fresh lemon juice to the filling, because lemon is my husband’s favorite & it needed a little kick! Can’t wait to hear his & my guests comments; know they’ll love it!

  17. Katie

    I made this last night and had a piece earlier this evening following dinner, it’s delicious! I altered it by using the juice from one lemon to compensate for only having one lemon and regular shortbread cookies. It had a great lemon flavor and was very creamy. This recipe is a keeper!

  18. Amy

    This sounds wonderful! Can anyone recommend a good substitution for the lemon zest? I was told to stay away from all citrus zests due to kidney stones.

  19. charlotte

    I immediately saw these as individuals done in cupcake liners for a bake sale that is coming up. . .and since the cookies are round already, that should work perfectly. will have to check back in after we attempt it…

  20. preety

    It’s looks super duper delicious… Can’t wait ne longer.. I’m making it tomorrow.. My 3yr old girl will go crazy…

  21. Jane

    This sounds really yummy; a light and refreshing palate cleanser dessert…with a Moscato…GOOD LORD! However, I would like to say that 12 hrs prep time could hardly be considered “in a pinch”… And size zero and thunder thighs should never be mentioned together when speaking primarily to women…jus sayin darlin, that’s a good way to get a good old-fashioned eye roll and a gigantic ” PULEEZE”. Have a fantastic day!

    1. Lauren

      If you re-read those sentences, you’ll notice that I say “in my mind I’m a size 0”. The reality is I’m a size much larger then that!!

      1. Jane

        Ha! Correct!…those brackets messed with me! Besides, if I had my choice between being a size 0 and eating this dessert…dessert wins EVERY time!

  22. Rana

    This reminds me of the kind of cakes they make in Serbia. They call them “torte” and use cookies dipped in milk or chocolate milk. No baking! I love lemon desserts also! Can’t wait to try this.

  23. Judy

    I couldn’t find the lemon cookies. I used Pepperidge Farms Chessmen and dipped them in frozen lemonade concentrate (thawed). It was tart, lemony and delicious. Quick and easy to put together.

  24. Kathy

    I made this last weekend for a party and it was a hit. I got asked for the recipe from several people. I used the Pepperidge Farm Lemon Shortbread Cookies. We had to travel, so I put it in a cooler with ice. I will say, it softened up quite a bit, and would not cut into squares. We just scooped it with a spoon. Delicious. I will make this again.

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  26. Monica

    I made this for a BBQ and it was the perfect way to end on a sweet note on a hot, summer day! I made it two days in advance and it was still perfection! I decreased the sugar a bit, and next time will make it a little tart with extra lemon zest! Thanks so much for this recipe!

  27. Deb

    I made this for christmas dessert last weekend because my mother in law Loves, Loves, LOVES anything with lemon. Of course since there was cream cheese involved it was a win-win situation! It was soooo good, thank you Lauren!

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  29. L.C. Meirson

    Not to be daft, but the picture shows the cookies not cut in half.? How does cutting round cookies in half enable you to cover the whole thing? Also, do you just literally dip the cookies in milk or do you soak them a bit so they really are moist? As you can tell, I’m not much of a cook, but like you, I love love lemon and I’m actually up for giving this a try.

    1. Lauren

      There was a row at the back in that photo where the cookies are cut in half to line that side of the pan. The whole cookies didn’t fit perfectly in four perfect rows, so lining the flat edge of the halved cookie along the edge of the pan works really well. I just quickly dipped each cookie into the milk. Didn’t soak it completely because it will have quite a few hours in between the cream cheese layers in the fridge to continue to soften.

  30. Elon Hawkins

    5 stars
    This sounds amazing! I love how it incorporates beets. I’m definitely trying this one. Lemon bake icebox cake is best. Thanks