Cherry delight is a classic crowd-pleaser that’s sweet and simple. It’s made with a buttery graham cracker crust, amazing cream cheese filling, and luscious cherry pie topping. This easy no-bake dessert recipe is perfect for sharing with your loved ones and is a great make ahead treat for potlucks, holidays and other celebrations!
Dessert always poses kind of a problem in summertime. When it’s 90 degrees out, the last thing you want to do is run the oven for an hour to bake a cake or a pie. So you end up sticking to ice cream and fresh fruit – both very tasty, but you can get tired of them after a while.
Cherry Delight is the perfect solution!
what is cherry delight?
Not only is cherry delight a great no-bake dessert for summer, but it’s also a major favorite to bring to potlucks, for serving during the holidays (especially Christmas and Valentine’s Day) and is a family favorite we love to enjoy for really any celebration.
Cherry delight is an amazing dessert with layers of cherries, creamy cheesecake filling, and a crumbly, buttery graham cracker crust. And you can make it without so much as touching your oven. After a good hour or so in the fridge, it comes out cool, creamy, fruity, and so delightful. This dessert makes the perfect end to a summer meal or special occasion treat that you MUST try!
This incredibly easy cherry delight recipe is made with just 5 basic ingredients, plus the crust and topping. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Crust. You can buy a pre-made graham cracker crust to save time, but I prefer a homemade graham cracker crust. And it’s actually very simple to make with graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar.
- Cream cheese. Make sure you use a block of real cream cheese, not cream cheese spread. We like Philadelphia’s cream cheese best. You will want the cream cheese softened to room temperature, so it’s easy to mix with the other ingredients.
- Cool Whip. You’ll need one 8-ounce container. Do not try to replace the Cool Whip with another whipped topping, such as whipped cream in a can. Cool Whip will yield the BEST results.
- Confectioners’ sugar. Powdered sugar is used to sweeten the cream cheese filling.
- Lemon juice. This gives the dessert a tiny amount of tartness, but doesn’t make it overly lemony. It’s a really delicious addition!
- Vanilla extract. For an extra boost of flavor!
- Can of cherry pie filling. Any pie filling will actually work for the topping, but cherry is definitely my favorite. See more topping options below.
how to make cherry delight
Not only is the ingredient list short and sweet, but making this cherry delight is a breeze! Here’s a quick rundown of how to make this deliciousness:
- Crust. Make or buy a graham cracker crust (my favorite!). I love a good homemade graham cracker crust and this one is so easy, I recommend just making it yourself. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a large bowl, then press the graham cracker mixture into a 9×9″ baking dish or 9-inch pie plate. Allow the crust to set in the fridge for about an hour.
- Cream cheese filling. Using an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese until fluffy. Then, stir in the Cool Whip, confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and vanilla with the cream cheese until smooth.
- Assemble the dessert. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the graham cracker crust. Pour the cherry pie filling over the cream cheese mixture and spread in an even layer.
- Refrigerate. Place the dessert in the refrigerator until firm, at least one hour or overnight. The longer it is refrigerated, the better it will set up.
- Serve. Enjoy and try not to eat the whole cherry delight! Easier said than done!
tips for success with this recipe
- Graham crackers. For the crust, you can buy graham cracker crumbs from the grocery store (you’ll find them down the baking aisle), or make your own by pulsing 10 full sheets of graham crackers in your blender or food processor.
- Cream cheese. Allow the cream cheese to fully soften to room temperature, so it is easy to mix and the filling doesn’t end up lumpy.
- Cool Whip. Be sure to place the Cool Whip in the refrigerator to thaw completely before mixing, this usually takes about 3.5 – 4 hours. Or leave it out at room temperature for about an hour.
- Refrigeration time. For best results, be sure to refrigerate the cherry delight for at least 1 hour, but overnight is even better. The longer you refrigerate this dessert, the sturdier it will be and easier to slice. Do not freeze to set it. It will be difficult to slice and the filling and texture won’t be as smooth.
- Slicing. Use a clean, sharp knife to cut into slices for serving. For extra neat slices, wipe your knife clean with a paper towel between each cut.
substitutions and additions
I’m pretty fond of cherry delight served with a topping of cherry pie filling, but there are lots of tasty ways to get creative with this treat. Here are a few ideas:
- Oreo Delight! Try using Oreo cookies for the crust, instead of graham crackers, and then top the dessert with Oreo crumbles and cookies. Sounds amazing! This Oreo addition could be done with or without the cherry pie filling. You can find the Oreo crust recipe in this Oreo Pie post.
- Toppings. Cherry pie filling pairs really well with the tang of the cream cheese layer, but some other toppings that would be delicious are fresh berries, chocolate drizzle, salted caramel drizzle, or any other canned fruit pie filling, such as strawberry, raspberry or blueberry.
- Double the recipe. Serving a crowd? Doubling the ingredients to make two desserts works well. I would recommend using a very large spoon to fold in the two containers of Cool Whip, when you get to that step in the instructions.
Because of the necessary refrigeration time, cherry delight is a great make-ahead dessert! You can make the dessert up to 2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate before adding the topping. You can also make just the crust up to 2 days ahead of time. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days before adding the cream cheese filling and then the topping.
storing leftover cherry delight
This cherry delight recipe is great leftover! It will keep well, covered, in the refrigerator for up to about 5 days. I seriously doubt it will last that long, though!
can you freeze cherry delight?
Cherry delight can be frozen!
Once the cream cheese filling has been added over the crust, wrap the dessert in plastic wrap. For the best texture, allow the dessert to set in the refrigerator for about 6 hours before placing in the freezer. Before freezing, I like to wrap aluminum foil around the plastic wrap for extra freezer protection. You can freeze the dessert for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, thaw in the refrigerator or on the countertop, add the cherry topping, slice and enjoy!
You will not be disappointed by this easy Cherry Delight dessert – it’s so simple and a total crowd pleaser! I also love that it can be made days ahead of time, so on the day of your party all you need to do is slice, serve and enjoy!
If you try this no-bake cherry delight recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
For the crust
- 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs* , (10 full graham cracker sheets)
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1/4 cup sugar , (I use slightly less than 1/4 cup)
For the filling
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 (8 ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed
- 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling , (or other favorite pie filling)
- Combine all crust ingredients and firmly press with fingers into a 9×9-inch pan or 9-inch pie dish.
- Using a stand or hand-held electric mixer, whip softened cream cheese until fluffy. Stir in the Cool Whip, confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and vanilla with the cream cheese until smooth.
- Spread cream cheese mixture over graham cracker crust.
- Pour cherry pie filling over cream cheese mixture and spread in an even layer. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight. I chill mine overnight for best results. The longer this dessert is refrigerated, the better it will set up.
- Cut into squares and serve!