How to Make a No-Bake Icebox Cake, Step by Step

Nicole Fallon

whipped cream icebox cake

Image credit: guruXOX / Adobe Stock

Looking for an easy, no-bake treat to make and enjoy with your family this summer? Try your hand at making an icebox cake! 

This classic dessert only requires a refrigerator, a baking pan, and a few basic ingredients. Layering and chilling cookies or graham crackers with whipped cream (and other fillings like pudding or fruit, if desired) will give you a fluffy, cake-like dessert without having to fire up the oven. The base recipe is endlessly customizable, so everyone can find an icebox cake variation they love, and it’s a great way for kids of all ages to help out in the kitchen!

How to make an icebox cake

Here are the basic steps to make an icebox cake. Feel free to use your favorite cookies, fillings and toppings – the only limit is your imagination.

1. Layer your favorite cookie into a baking pan.

icebox cake step 1

We used graham crackers for a s’mores-inspired icebox cake. For larger cookies such as these, you may need to break them apart to fully cover the bottom of the pan. 

2. Add a layer of whipped cream.

icebox cake step 2

You can use store-bought or homemade whipped cream for this step. (If you’re looking to make your own, here are some straightforward instructions from Food Network.) Don’t be afraid to get creative here and mix some natural flavors or colors into your whipped cream! 

3. Add a layer of additional filling if desired.

icebox cake step 3

Pudding, jam, and custard go well with sturdier cookies, such as graham crackers or ladyfingers. For more delicate cookies, we recommend skipping the pudding or custard. Instead, opt for marshmallow crème or another topping that won't soak into the cookies too much. 

4. Repeat layering process and add toppings if desired.

icebox cake step 4

We made a two-layer cake, but you can always add a third layer if you have the pan space. We also added graham cracker crumbles, chocolate and marshmallows for decoration at this step. For toppings like fruit that may become mushy, wait until the cake is chilled to decorate. 

5. Chill the cake.

icebox cake step 5

Place your cake in the refrigerator for at least four hours. For best results, chill overnight. Once the cake is chilled, add any extra toppings, then slice and enjoy!  

Popular icebox cake variations

Looking for some flavor inspiration? Here are some popular variations on the icebox cake.

  • S’mores Icebox Cake – We modeled our demonstration after this recipe from Life, Love and Sugar. Graham crackers, marshmallow whipped cream and chocolate pudding make a delicious treat reminiscent of the campfire classic.
  • Banana Pudding Icebox Cake – Enjoy the flavors of banana cream pie in this no-bake version from Key Ingredient. Layer vanilla wafers, whipped cream and pudding – banana or white chocolate pudding is recommended, but you can always substitute vanilla.
  • Summer Berry Icebox Cake – This treat from Cakescottage layers vanilla cream cheese pudding, graham crackers and whipped cream. Decorate with strawberries and blueberries, then drizzle with white chocolate for extra pizazz.
  • Oreo Icebox Cake – If you have chocolate sandwich cookies, milk and whipped cream, you can make this cake from Cookies and Cups. The secret to getting those cookies nice and soft: dunking them in milk before beginning the layering process.
  • Lemon Icebox Cake – This refreshing dessert from 12 Tomatoes combines lemon pudding with whipped cream and milk, layered with graham crackers. Don’t forget the homemade lemon frosting!
  • Tiramisu Icebox Cake – Amanda’s Cookin’ offers a no-bake take on the traditional Italian dessert. Dip ladyfinger cookies in an amaretto coffee mixture, layer with a homemade cream cheese and ricotta spread, and top with cocoa powder. 

Looking for more delicious desserts that you don't have to bake yourself? The Cookie Cups Navarre and Chanhassen locations are now open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can also get your Cups delivered via Doordash or GrubHub!

Tutorial images by Danielle Fallon

Leave a Comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published