Extra smooth and creamy, Old Fashioned Cream Cheese Pie is an amazing Icebox Pie. With a graham cracker crust and sweetened sour cream topping, this easy pie is perfect for the Holidays or as a summertime dessert.
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Old-Fashioned Cream Cheese Pie: Sweet, Smooth Nostalgia
Luxurious, creamy and oh so amazing Cream Cheese Pie!
Until recently I had forgotten about this dessert from my childhood.
We used to make this Ice Box Pie often for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Unfortunately, since the passing of my parents it went into the deep recesses of my memory.
That is until I found my Mom’s handwritten and very well loved Cream Cheese Pie Recipe.
It had all the personalized tips written all over it. Evidence of a tried and true cherished family dessert and I am excited to share it with you.
Cheesecake vs Cream Cheese Pie (aka Icebox Pie)
Although very similar with taste, cheesecake and cream cheese pie have much different textures. Cheesecake tends to be thicker, with an almost cake like consistency. Cream Cheese Pie on the other hand, has a very smooth almost pudding like texture. Also, the addittion of the sour cream topping adds a glorious creamy richness.
Graham Cracker Crust Steps
- Process graham crackers into crumbs…
- until they resemble resemble sand.
- Add melted butter.
- Mix well.
- Place into a 9 inch pie pan.
- Using the back of a measuring cup press crumble mixture into the bottom and sides of the pie pan. Bake at 350℉ for 10-12 minutes.
Note: An 8 inch pie pan may be used for this recipe. If so, reduce graham crackers to 8 whole graham crackers (rather than 12) and reduce butter to 4 tablespoons (rather than 5 1/2). All other recipe instructions remain the same.
Cream Cheese Pie Filling Steps
- Using softened cream cheese, beat until smooth using a stand or hand mixer.
- Beat in sugar, vanilla and lemon juice making sure to scrap down sides of bowl with rubber spatula.
- Add in one egg at a time making sure to beat well. Scrap down the sides of the bowl after each addittion.
- Pour cream cheese filling into baked graham cracker crust.
- Smooth out filling and bake at 350℉ for 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix together sour cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
- Let pie cool for 5 minutes and add sour cream topping to the top of the pie.
- Gently spread topping evenly over pie and bake at the same temperature for an additional 10 minutes.
Best Tools For Easy Production
One of the more challenging elements of baking is getting ready to start and realizing you don’t have all the tools you need. This can cause a mad dash to the store where you are forced to buy what they have on hand rather than the kitchen tools that you would rather have. To help save you the hassle, here are the tools I recommend (or just head over to my Amazon Store for all the helpful kitchen tools).
Variations to Old Fashioned Cream Cheese Pie
- Replace the vanilla extract with lemon extract and add lemon zest to the filling for a bright citrus flavor.
- Experiment with different toppings such as Blueberry or Cherry Compote .
- Incorporate different spices, such as cinnamon or nutmeg, to the graham cracker crust.
- Serve with sliced fresh fruit like berries, peaches, or mango.
- Swirl in other flavors like caramel, chocolate, or pumpkin spice into the filling.
- Substitute goat cheese or ricotta for a lighter, tangier flavor.
- Use a pre-made graham cracker crust to simplify the recipe.
- Garnish the pie with grated chocolate or toasted nuts before serving.
How To Store Old Fashioned Cream Cheese Pie
Once the pie is baked, remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes at room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator uncovered for 5 hours before serving. This pie can be made up to 2 days before serving and will last for approximately 4-5 days when covered with plastic wrap.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a different type of crust instead of graham cracker crust?
Yes, you can use different types of cookie crusts in place of the graham cracker crust in this cheesecake recipe. The process is the same – crush the cookies, combine with melted butter, and press into the baking pan. Just swap out an equal amount of your chosen cookie for the graham crackers. The flavor combinations are endless! Some alternatives include:
- Chocolate Wafer Crust– Crush chocolate wafers instead of graham crackers for a delicious chocolate flavor.
- Gingersnap Crust– Use crushed gingersnaps for a nice spicy, molasses flavor.
- Shortbread Crust– A buttery crust with pure shortbread cookies such as Lemon Shortbread Cookies, will provide a decadently buttery and denser crust.
- Digestive Biscuit Crust– British-style digestive biscuits make a nice neutral crust.
- Vanilla Wafer Crust– For a sweeter, softer textured crust than graham.
- Speculoos Cookie Crust or Biscoff Cookie Crust– These European cookies creates a buttery spiced crust.
How can I tell if the graham cracker crust is done baking?
- Color– The edges of the crust should be lightly browned or golden. The bottom may be a shade darker than the sides. If the crust is still very pale or blonde, it likely needs just a bit more time.
- Firmness– Gently press the center of the crust with your finger. It should feel set and firm.
- Aroma– The crust will give off a gorgeous nutty aroma when it is done baking.
Do I need to use regular cream cheese or can I use lower fat versions?
If wanting to lower fat, try neufchatel cream cheese which has about 1/3 less fat than regular cream cheese. Just keep in mind that the results will yield a softer pie filling.
How do I know when the Cream Cheese Pie is fully set and done baking?
Cream Cheese Pie has a much softer and almost pudding like consistency compared to cheesecake. Because of this, there isn’t as much attention needed to the consistency as there is with cheesecake. Generally speaking the 15-20 minutes is more than enough for the pie to set.
However, if the edges of the Cream Cheese Pie turn a very light golden brown it is definitely done baking.
More Cherished Holiday Desserts
Old Fashioned Cream Cheese Pie
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 1/2 cups graham crackers crumbs *about 12 whole graham crackers
- 5 1/2 tbsp butter *melted
Cream Cheese Pie Filling
- 12 oz cream cheese *softened
- 2 lg eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
Sour Cream Topping
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Graham Craker Crust
- Preheat oven to 350℉.
- Place graham crackers in a food processor and process until crumb are formed or place them in a zipped topped plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
- Place crumbs into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add melted butter to crumbs and mix until well combined. Mixture will be granular and look similar to rough sandy.
- Transfer cookie crumbs into a 9 inch pie pan. Using the back of a 1/4 cup measuring cup press cookie mixture tightly into the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides.
- Bake for 10-12 mins. Remove from oven and set aside.
Cream Cheese Pie Filling
- To a stand mixer or large mixing bowl add cream cheese and beat until smooth.
- Add sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Continue beating umtil well combined.
- Add 1 egg and beat until smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl and repeat with second egg.
- Pour filling into graham cracker crust. Bake for 15-20 mins.
- Pull from oven and let cool for 5 mins.
Sour Cream Topping
- Meanwhile, mix sour cream, sugar and vanilla together until smooth.
- Gently spread sour cream mixture over pie.
- Return to oven to bake an additional 10 mins.
- Let cool for about 10 mins and then place in refrigerator to chill for 5 hours before serving.
- This Cream Cheese Pie tastes amazing on its own. However, a spoonful of lemon curd or cherry pie filling makes it even tastier.
- An 8 inch pie pan may be used for this recipe. If so, reduce graham crackers to 8 whole graham crackers (rather than 12) and reduce butter to 4 tablespoons (rather than 5 1/2). All other recipe instructions remain the same.