Woolworth Ice Box Cheesecake (No-bake)

Woolworth Ice Box Cheesecake

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Who doesn’t remember the Woolworth Ice Box Cheesecake, a light and refreshing icebox dessert made famous by Woolworth’s lunch counter back in the 1960s? It was a special occasion favorite in my family, and I have fond memories of waiting impatiently for my own slice of this frozen dessert. It’s so delicious, you won’t believe it doesn’t require baking—it is the easiest cheesecake you’ll ever make.

Here is my super easy, no-bake, classic icebox cake recipe. It’s the same one that Granny used when I was a little girl on our farm. My favorite part? The bottom layer is a thin layer of crisp graham cracker with a touch of coarse brown sugar sprinkled on top! How delicious!

How to prepare the no-bake Woolworth Ice Box Cheesecake


  • 1 (3 ounce) package lemon Jell-O
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, light
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons lemon juice ( less if you don’t want to much lemon)
  • 1 can Carnation Evaporated milk, well chilled
  • Graham crackers, crushed

Woolworth Ice Box Cheesecake

Directions  :

Follow these simple steps to prepare the famous Woolworth Ice Box Cheesecake:

  • Start by preparing the lemon Jell-O. Pour the Jell-O mix into a bowl and add 1 cup of boiling water. Stir until the Jell-O is completely dissolved. Let this mixture cool off until it reaches a slightly thick consistency.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and lemon juice. Use an electric mixer to blend these ingredients until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  • Once the Jell-O has thickened, gradually incorporate it into the cream cheese mixture. Continue to use the mixer for a uniform and smooth texture.
  • In a separate bowl, take the well-chilled Carnation Evaporated milk and whip it until it’s fluffy. This step is key to achieving the light and airy texture of the cheesecake.
  • Gently fold the whipped evaporated milk into the cream cheese and Jell-O mixture. Mix these together until they are well combined, but be careful to maintain the fluffiness of the whipped milk.
  • Prepare your 9 x 13-inch pan by lining the bottom with crushed Graham crackers, creating a firm and even layer.
  • Carefully pour the cheesecake mixture over the layer of Graham crackers. Spread it evenly with a spatula or spoon.
  • Finish by sprinkling a layer of crushed Graham crackers on top of the cheesecake mixture. This adds a nice texture and appearance to the final dessert.
  • Place the pan in the refrigerator and let the cheesecake set. It should chill for several hours, preferably overnight, to ensure it’s completely set and the flavors have melded together.
  • Once set, the cheesecake is ready to be served. Enjoy this no-bake delight as a refreshing and creamy dessert!

Frequent Asked Questions:

What type of Jell-O is used in the Woolworth Ice Box Cheesecake?

The recipe calls for a 3-ounce package of lemon Jell-O, which provides a refreshing citrus flavor to the cheesecake.

Is it necessary to use boiling water for the Jell-O mixture?

Yes, boiling water is essential to properly dissolve the lemon Jell-O. This step ensures that the Jell-O integrates smoothly into the cheesecake mixture.

Can I use regular cream cheese instead of light cream cheese?

Yes, although the recipe specifies light cream cheese, you can certainly substitute it with regular cream cheese. If you do, expect the texture and flavor to be slightly richer compared to using light cream cheese.

How much lemon juice should I use if I prefer a milder lemon flavor?

The recipe typically calls for 4 tablespoons of lemon juice. However, if you’re aiming for a less intense lemon flavor, feel free to reduce the amount. Adjust it according to your taste preferences to achieve the desired level of lemony tang.

What is the role of Carnation Evaporated Milk in the recipe?

Carnation Evaporated Milk plays a significant role in the recipe. When well chilled and beaten, it adds a fluffy, airy texture to the cheesecake. This key ingredient makes the cheesecake light and creamy, enhancing its overall texture and mouthfeel

Is there a specific type of graham crackers to use for the crust?

Any variety of graham crackers will work for the crust. They should be crushed into fine crumbs for a consistent and firm base.

How thick should the Jell-O mixture be before adding to the cream cheese?

The Jell-O mixture should reach a slightly thickened consistency, indicating it’s beginning to set but isn’t fully solid yet. This consistency ensures it blends seamlessly with the cream cheese.

What size pan is ideal for this cheesecake?

For this recipe, a 9 x 13-inch pan works best. This size offers ample space for both a thin crust and a generous layer of the cheesecake filling.

How long should the cheesecake be chilled before serving?

You should chill the cheesecake until it firmly sets, which typically takes several hours. For optimal texture and flavor, overnight chilling is ideal.

Can this cheesecake be frozen for later use?

Yes, you can freeze the Woolworth Ice Box Cheesecake. For best results, wrap it thoroughly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. When you’re ready to serve it, thaw the cheesecake in the refrigerator.

Woolworth Ice Box Cheesecake

The Famous Woolworth Ice Box Cheesecake (No-bake)

Woolworth Ice Box Cheesecake: A classic no-bake dessert that's quick to prepare and loved by all generations.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
6 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • 1 3 ounce package lemon Jell-O
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 8 ounces cream cheese light
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons lemon juice less if you don’t want to much lemon
  • 1 can Carnation Evaporated milk well chilled
  • Graham crackers crushed


  • Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Cool until slightly thickened.
  • Beat cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice with mixer until smooth. Add thickened Jell-O and beat well.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the Carnation milk until fluffy. Add cream cheese/Jell-O mixture and beat well with mixer.
  • Line bottom of 9 x 13-pan with crushed Graham crackers.
  • Spread filling over and top with more crushed Graham crackers. Chill.
Keyword Easy Cheesecake, No-Bake Cheesecake, Vintage Dessert, Woolworth Recipe


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