Lemon Icebox Cake

5 from 3 votes

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Lemon Icebox Cake is a deliciously sweet, refreshing, creamy no-bake summer dessert option that everyone will love. This will be your new go-to dessert when you’re in a pinch! If you’ve followed me for a while now, you probably already know how much I love lemony things, especially lemon desserts…with the occasional lemon-inspired dinner thrown into the mix. 

A slice of lemon dessert with creamy layers and a lemon slice garnish on top.

Why You’ll Love This No Bake Lemon Icebox Cake Recipe

Last week I went through a phase of sorts and made lots and lots of different kinds of icebox cakes. 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 an icebox before, you are in for a real treat. So so so so so ridiculously easy and they always turn out wonderfully, with zero baking! It’s the perfect dessert.

Ingredients for lemon ice box cake neatly arranged on a marble countertop.

Main Ingredients Needed

You don’t need much to make this delicious lemon icebox cake–just simple ingredients here! Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Cream Cheese– softened. Lots of tangy creaminess here.
  • Sugar- used to sweeten.
  • Lemon Zest- for extra lemony flavor.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream- used to thicken and add structure.
  • Lemon Shortbread Cookies- You can use 1 1/2 bags Pepperidge Farms (6 oz) bags or 2 boxes lemon Girl Scout Cookies. OR, make your own Shortbread Cookies and replace the vanilla for lemon extract.
  • Milk- used to dip the cookies in for layering.
  • Whipped Cream– for garnish, optional. See my whipped cream tutorial.
  • Fresh berries or other fresh fruit-  for garnish, optional but highly recommended.


  • Substitute vanilla wafers for shortbread cookies
  • Use graham crackers for a different texture
  • Use Cool Whip instead of making your own whipped cream
A slice of lemon cake with white frosting, garnished with a lemon peel and whipped cream on a white plate sprinkled with gold-colored sugar.

How To Make Lemon Icebox Cake

For full recipe details, including ingredient measurements, see the printable recipe card down below. Here are the step by step directions to make this easy lemon no bake dessert recipe!

Step 1: Prep Baking Dish

Line the bottom of the pan (8×8 casserole dish) with parchment paper and set aside.

baking paper placed in a glass dish with one edge folded over the side.

Step 2: Make the Lemon Filling Mixture

In a large bowl, whip softened cream cheese, sugar, and lemon zest until smooth. 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 mixture.

Step 3: Assemble Cake

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

  • cookie layer #1
  • cream mixture #1
  • cookie layer #2
  • cream mixture #2
  • cookie layer #3
  • cream mixture #3

Dip each cookie one by one into the milk and line the bottom of dish with cookies to cover. If needed, 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.

Step 4: Cover + Refrigerate

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

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

Step 5: Cut + Serve

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! Just cut into squares and serve! Feel free to add remaining whipped topping and garnish with lemon slices or fresh berries. This part is optional, but delicious!

Storage + Make Ahead Directions Lemon Icebox Cake

Lemon Icebox Cake will store well covered in the fridge for 1-2 days. Which means this a great make ahead cake! Just store in the fridge until ready to serve.

To Freeze: This cake is a great one to freeze for later. Wrap well in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 1 month. Allow to thaw overnight in the fridge before cutting and serving.

A slice of lemon cake with whipped cream on a speckled plate, garnished with a lemon slice, with a fork taking a piece.

More Icebox Recipes to Try!

More Lemon Cake Recipes to Try!

A slice of lemon dessert with creamy layers on a plate, garnished with a lemon slice and zest.

This Lemon Icebox Cake is a simple and delicious no-bake dessert perfect for hot summer days or special occasions. Enjoy the tangy lemon flavor and creamy filling with each bite. Add your own twist with different cookie variations or garnishes. Give it a try for a refreshing treat that’s sure to be a hit! The printable recipe card is below. Enjoy, friends! 🙂

If you make this recipe, I would really appreciate it if you would give it a star rating and leave your review in the comments! If you have a picture of your finished dish, post it on Instagram using the hashtag #laurenslatest and tagging me @laurens_latest.

A slice of lemon dessert with creamy layers on a plate, garnished with a lemon slice and zest.
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5 from 3 votes

Lemon Icebox Cake Recipe

A deliciously sweet, refreshing, and creamy no-bake lemon icebox cake that everyone will love. This will be your new go-to dessert!
servings 12 servings
Prep Time 12 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 12 hours 15 minutes



  • Line 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
    baking paper placed in a glass dish with one edge folded over the side.
  • In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, whip cream cheese, sugar, and lemon zest until smooth and creamy. Stir in heavy cream and whip 1-2 minutes or until the filling starts to thicken.
    A hand mixer blending ingredients into a smooth cream in a glass bowl.
  • Dip each cookie one by one into the milk and line the bottom of the baking dish with cookies to cover (cut some cookies in half to fit in properly). Pour 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture over the cookies and smooth the top.
    A person dipping a cookie into a bowl of milk.
  • Repeat layering cookies and cream until you have 3 layers of each.
    icebox lemon cake on parchment paper next to a glass of milk.
  • Cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 hours or overnight.
    Plastic wrap being stretched over a baking dish
  • Cut into squares and serve with whipped cream on top and garnish with fresh lemon slices, berries or even candied lemons.
    Icing being piped onto a layered lemon dessert on a decorated plate.



Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 227mg | Potassium: 104mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 767IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Lemon Icebox Cake

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Recipe Rating

60 Responses
  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Link Love : Sharing Favorite Summertime Recipes | A Still Magnolia

    […] No-Bake Lemon IceBox Pie from Lauren’s Latest is the perfect mix of sweet, tart, cool, and refreshing. […]

  4. Deb

    5 stars
    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!

  5. Monica

    5 stars
    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!

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    […] and Jo Copycat Savannah Smiles– Recipe 4 Living Lemon Pastry Cremes– The Village Cook Lemon Icebox Cake– Lauren’s […]

  7. Kathy

    5 stars
    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.

  8. Judy

    5 stars
    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. preety

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

  12. 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…

  13. 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.

  14. Katie

    5 stars
    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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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 !

  20. 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!

  21. 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!

  22. 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.

  23. 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.


  24. 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!!

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

    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.

  27. 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???

  28. 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!

  29. 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.

  30. 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!