Woolworth Icebox Cheesecake Recipe is a light and fluffy, no-bake dessert with a hint of lemon flavor on top of a graham cracker crust. I also have a Strawberry Icebox Cheesecake version!

Woolworth Icebox Cake Recipe from Overhead

Woolworth Icebox Cheesecake Recipe

Most people over a certain age have probably heard of, or even visited, a Woolworth store. It started out as a five-and-dime store, selling things that only cost 5 or 10 cents until it became a popular department store. And, the lunch counter was an added attraction, serving food, including its famous Icebox Cheesecake Recipe.

Adding Filling to Woolworth Icebox Cake Recipe

Woolworth Icebox Cheesecake Ingredients

There are two parts to this no-bake dessert–the graham cracker crust and the light filling. 

Graham Crackers: You can buy graham cracker crumbs to use for the crust (about 2 cups). Or, you could crush sheets of graham crackers. You will need about 14 full sheets of graham crackers for 2 cups of crumbs.

Cream Cheese: Be sure the cream cheese is at room temperature when creaming with the sugar.

Jello Mix: The lemon-flavored box of jello mix gives the dessert just a hint of lemon flavor (but not even close to overwhelming). You could even try other flavors of jello! 

Water: You will use both boiling water (212°F) and cold water (55°F) for the filling.

Evaporated Milk: Evaporated milk is super-concentrated milk that helps give the dessert filling its creamy texture. It should not be confused with sweetened condensed milk, which has added sugar. They should not be used interchangeably in recipes. Be sure to chill the can of evaporated milk in the freezer for about 30 minutes before using.

Adding Graham Cracker to Woolworth Icebox Cake Recipe

Do I Have to Freeze Icebox Cheesecake Recipe?

No, you don’t have to freeze this dessert, even with Icebox in the name. In fact, an icebox used to refer to a non-mechanical ‘refrigerator’ before we had electric refrigerators. So, you do have to store the cheesecake in the refrigerator (covered, for up to a week), but no need to make room in your freezer. The only freezing needed with this recipe is to chill the bowl and whisk attachment of a stand mixer.

Cut Into Woolworth Icebox Cake Recipe

What if My Evaporated Milk Does Not Form Peaks?

If you looked at the recipe below, you may notice the first instruction is to chill the bowl of a stand mixer, the whisk attachment, and the can of evaporated milk. If you are finding that the evaporated milk is not forming peaks, you can place the entire bowl with the contents into the freezer for 15-30 minutes and then re-whip. You’ll know it is ready to whip again when there are ice crystals on the bowl. Do not leave it longer than 30 minutes.

Evaporated milk has a lower fat content compared to whipping cream, so it’s harder to whip. This is why chilling is so important.

Fork Holding Bite of Woolworth Icebox Cake Recipe

How Does it Taste?

Heaven. Seriously! It is light as air and melts into a velvety cloud of creamy deliciousness in your mouth. It’s almost like a “cloud cheesecake”. The lemon is so subtle, if you hadn’t made it you almost wouldn’t be able to detect it is there! This dessert is worth making and there is a reason it is so famous!

More No-Bake Cheesecake Desserts

4.93 from 26 votes

Woolworth Icebox Cheesecake Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes
Chill 12 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 12 hours 45 minutes
Woolworth Icebox Cheesecake Recipe is a light and fluffy, no-bake dessert with a hint of lemon flavor on top of a graham cracker crust.



  • 2 cups (14-16 sheets, 168 g) honey graham crackers, finely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick / 113g) butter, melted


  • 1 block (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 box (3 ounces) lemon jello mix
  • ½ cup boiling water, about 212°F
  • ½ cup cold water, about 50°F
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk, chilled in freezer for 30 minutes


  • Chill the bowl of a stand mixer, the whisk attachment, and the can of evaporated milk in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. (This will help get peaks when whipping the evaporated milk.) Do not skip this step.


  • Lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, add graham crackers and sugar and mix together.
  • Add melted butter and mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated (no dry spots).
  • Reserve ¼ cup of the graham cracker mixture and set aside.
  • Press the remaining crumbs firmly into the bottom of the prepared 9×13-inch baking dish. Set aside.


  • In a medium bowl cream together cream cheese and sugar with a hand mixer. Add vanilla and mix until well blended (2-3 minutes). Set aside.
  • In a separate large bowl, add jello mix and boiling water. Whisk until the jello mix dissolves (1-2 minutes). Add cold water and set the mixture in the refrigerator for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the filling, but do not let the gelatin set.
  • To a stand mixer, add the chilled bowl and whisk attachment. Add the evaporated milk and mix on high until soft peaks form (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the jello mixture and continue to whisk for 30 more seconds.
  • Add cream cheese mixture and whisk for 30 more seconds.
  • Pour mixture into the pan and top with the reserved graham cracker mixture.
  • Chill overnight before serving.

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. I worked at Woolworths in the 70s and ate this all the time, it was delicious!
    I always asked the cook for the recipe but she said it a secret so thank you for sharing.

  2. I love seeing all your great recipes.
    Unfortunately I need to see carb and fibre counts in the NUTRITION INFORMATION..

    I am diabetic and would love to make some of your recipes but I can’t without that information.
    Hope you will consider this.
    Thank you

  3. For those who don’t have a stand mixer, i put my metal mixing bow in a sink with ice water to whip with my hand mixer. Worked just fine. Turned out great – taking to church tomorrow.

  4. I have struggled with the Milnot not whipping correctly for the last couple of years. I tried again today and it was like hallelujah! I am wondering if they changed their recipe back to the old recipe?

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