No Bake Cheesecake with Agar-Agar

I promised to find the cheesecake recipe for a cooking workshop I participated in.  Easy right?  Not.  The workshop only lasts 4 hours.  I thought, we can just do a no bake recipe and it'll have enough time to chill if we put it in the freezer.  I settled on a Martha Stewart recipe, and decided to test it with actual fresh cheese, instead of cream cheese.  It was a disaster.  One of the cheeses had started to have a little bit of funky flavor, and it ruined the whole cheesecake.  So I tried it again, with regular cream cheese.  Even after 24 hours it was soupy.  So I called on my pastry chef friend for help.  The answer- Use Gelatin!  Unfortunately gelatin takes at least twice as much time to jell as the workshop actually lasts, and half the people in the group are either vegetarian or muslim.  So I was left with the choice of trying agar-agar, or eating warm cheesecake in the middle of summer.

I'd never used agar-agar, so I took to researching it.  I never could find a plain no bake cheesecake recipe made with agar-agar.  Apparently mango cheesecake dominates in this category.  I also found that a lot of sites give you information that's totally inaccurate, for instance, telling you that you can just substitute agar-agar for gelatin.  Agar-agar is much stronger than gelatin, and you could end up with something more like cheesecake jello if you don't adjust the measurements.  Whereas gelatin isn't supposed to be boiled, agar-agar has to be boiled for 4-5 minutes to activate.  The hot agar-agar is then supposed to be blended into something that's already warm.  Otherwise you can end up with lumps.  Neither can be frozen.  What's great about the agar-agar though, is that it starts to firm up in 15 minutes, even before it cools down, and will stay firm at room temperature.  So on the third try, I finally came up with my own recipe that turned out great.  It's a light summer time cheesecake, that you don't have to turn on the oven for, and you don't have to wait 24 hours for either.

No Bake Cheesecake with Agar-Agar


For the Crust :
50g - ¼ Cup Sugar
125g - ½ Cup Melted Butter
240g - 2 Cups Sablés Anglais crumbs (apx. 16 cookies) McVities brand

For the Filling :
450g - 16 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese
400g - 14 oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk (Lait sucré concentré, a 397g can)
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
2-4 Tbsp. Juice of ½ a lemon
¾ tsp Powdered Agar-agar (1.5 g or half a 3g package)
33cl - 11 oz. Whipping Cream – In France use Elle & Vire,
Crème liquide entière professionnel 35% from Monoprix


Make the Crust :
-Process the sablés anglais into fine crumbs in a food processor.
-In a bowl, mix the cookie crumbs with the sugar, then add the melted butter, and combine.
-Press the mixture firmly and evenly into your pie plate.

Make the Filling :
You need two sauce pans, and electric beater, a whip, a metal strainer, two bowls, a spatula and spoons.

Prepare the ingredients :

-Put the powdered agar-agar in a sauce pan with a cup of water.

-Put the sweetened condensed milk in a second sauce pan.

-Start by whipping the cream. Beat the cold whipping cream with an electric beater until stiff peaks form. Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

-In a second bowl, beat the cream cheese, vanilla, and lemon juice together.

-Start heating the agar-agar, boil for 4-5 minutes. At the same time, heat the sweetened condensed milk on low heat. You may need to whip the agar-agar as it boils so that it's well incorporated.

-Pour the agar-agar into sweetened condensed milk through the strainer. Quickly whip the agar-agar and the sweetened condensed milk together with a whip.

-Immediately after, use electric beaters to incorporate the hot mixture a little bit at a time into the bowl of cheese mixture.

-Fold in the whipped cream with a spatula until it's well incorporated.

-Pour the filling into the crust and refrigerate until completely cooled.

Post by Dori, 9 July 2015


Anonymous said...

I spent a lot of time looking for a recipe for a basic cheesecake with agar agar, that also explains how to use the agar agar to make it work. Your recipe is detailed and clear, and it worked like a charm! Thanks for sharing it :)

Dori said...

Thank you. I had the same problem finding a cheesecake recipe with agar agar, and the circumstances forced me to get creative :)

g4m4t4tsu said...

Thanks for the recipe. I'm Indonesian so Agar is more familiar here. My last no bake cheesecake turns a bit less firm and the other sites I found always use gelatin. May I ask what's the size or diameter of the pan you use in this recipe?

Dori said...

It's a standard american pie plate. It's 20cm in diameter at the bottom of the plate, and 25 cm in diameter at the top of the plate.

Make sure your agar agar is activated. If it isn't boiled first like I mention in the recipe it won't work.

Anonymous said...

Hi, will this recipe work if i exclude the whipping cream?

Dori said...

I don't think so. It would be extremely dense and wouldn't fill the pie pan. If you don't have access to beaters or whipping cream, you can just buy a can of whipped cream and use that. Just eye the amount. If you still want to try and experiment without the whipped cream, or less of it, be sure to add more cream cheese, since the whipped cream is about 40% the volume.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Will try it out this Christmas weekend :)

Dori said...

Let us know how it turns out :)

Anonymous said...

Will definitely try this Thanks. Shri

Paradise Food said...

I have agar agar flakes...
Can u tell me how much of it I have to use in this cheesecake ?

Dori said...

Hi Paradise Food,

This was the first time I'd ever worked with agar agar, so I am no expert, however after looking around, I found that most people recommend 3 times flakes as powder, and that you have to let the flakes soften in the water for about 10 minutes before boiling. You might try looking at this website for more info on agar agar.


Tekla Bach said...

Thank you!
I have looked for a way, to use agar-agar in cheesecakes without lumps. And no recepies have given me a proper instructions on how. This is easy to understand! It shows how to blend the agar-agar into something warm and not risk overheating the cheese.
I will emidiatly try it in the no bake brownie - vanilla cheesecake with rhubarbcurd i have been dying to construct.

Dori said...

Thanks! Let us know how it works for you :)

Maria Ballerini said...

Hi Dori,
When you said cannot be frozen, or something similar, did you mean the final cheese cake cannot be frozen? We are looking for a cheesecake to serve at our wedding in a months time and want to make as much as possible in advance ie: freeze it.

Dori said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dori said...


Don't freeze anything with Agar Agar or Gelatin. I've never tried it, but according to what I've read it'll break down it you freeze it. Both will keep in the refrigerator though.


Melissa Furlong said...

Thanks for the recipe. It turned out fantastic!!!!!!

Melissa Furlong said...

Thanks for this fantastic recipe!!! Soon yummy!

Melissa Furlong said...

Great recipe!!!!! Thanks

Dori said...

Great! I'm glad you liked it.

Dhevina said...

Hi can I exclude the condensed milk n add sugar.if exclude can I follow the other measurement

Dori said...

Dhevina, I think you'd have trouble trying to replace the sweetened condensed milk with just sugar, because it serves as a medium to blend the agar agar that's just boiled for a 4-5 minutes. The way I understand it you're not supposed to pour hot agar agar into something cold, but into at least a warm liquid. If you blended the granulated sugar into the cream cheese mixture and then added the hot agar agar I have no idea what would happen. If you give it a try, let us know how it worked out.