Cherry Cream Cheese Dessert Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 15 min.
It could not be easier to put together this pretty cherry cream cheese dessert. Serve in parfait glasses or martini glasses to turn this simple treat into a fancy one.

Updated: Jan. 08, 2024

This cherry cream cheese dessert is begging you to pull out those vintage parfait glasses that have been collecting dust in your cabinets. Too pretty to be hidden in ramekins, these layered dessert cups look stunning inside clear glass dishes. They are sure to dress up holiday buffets lined with standard desserts like cupcakes and cookies. And, despite their elegant looks, these dessert cups are easy to make with little kids.

Inspired by cherry cream cheese pie and upgraded with an irresistible graham cracker crust, cherry cream cheese dessert is a cream cheese recipe you’ll always go back to.

Cherry Cream Cheese Dessert Ingredients

  • Graham crackers: The sweet hint of honey in graham crackers gives the base of this dessert a more interesting flavor than regular pie pastry could. Plus, the crackers are perfect for crumbling into crust.
  • Cream cheese: Cream cheese is a perfect mild cheese to act as the filling for these dessert cups. You can use regular or reduced-fat cream cheese in this recipe.
  • Sweetened condensed milk: Since the cream cheese is so thick, you’ll need the sweetened condensed milk to loosen it a bit (and lightly sweeten it!).
  • Cherry pie filling: Glossy, thick and ruby red, this ingredient is—quite literally—the cherry on top of this dessert. Make your own homemade cherry pie filling, or pick up a can at the grocery store to keep your prep work simple.

Directions

Step 1: Make the graham cracker crust

Wet Ingredients in a small bowlTMB STUDIO

In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Mix until the graham cracker crumbs are blended well with the butter and no dry chunks remain. Divide the crust evenly among eight dessert cups. Four rounded teaspoonfuls in each dish should be enough to cover the bottoms of the cups.

Step 2: Create the cream cheese layer

Whisking the ingredients TMB STUDIO

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth. Gradually add the sweetened condensed milk until blended and soft. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Spoon 1/4 cup of the cream cheese mixture into each dish.

Step 3: Top with pie filling

Strawberry layering on desert TMB STUDIO

Top the cream cheese layers evenly with the pie filling. Again, this should be about 1/4 cup in each dish. Don’t forget to serve with spoons!

Cherry Cream Cheese Dessert Variations

  • Use chocolate graham crackers: Chocolate and cherry desserts always hit the spot, and you can adapt this recipe to get a hint of chocolate in each bite. Swap out regular honey graham crackers for chocolate graham crackers.
  • Add other pie fillings: Cherries aren’t the only fruit you can use in this recipe! Try strawberry, blueberry or peach pie fillings. Or, better yet, serve a mix of options so guests can choose their favorite.
  • Try a different cheese: If you’re not a fan of cream cheese, or if you want to use another soft cheese you have in the fridge, you’re in luck. Some of the best cream cheese substitutes to use in this recipe include mascarpone and ricotta cheese.
  • Serve it in pie form: You can forgo the individual parfait cups in this recipe and a graham cracker pie crust instead. Spread the cream cheese layer over the crust, then top with the cherry pie filling, and chill in the fridge to set the layers. Note that because this is a soft cheese mixture, it won’t have quite as much structure as something like a cheesecake.

How to Store this Cherry Cream Cheese Dessert

Store the fully assembled cherry cream cheese dessert in the fridge for up to two days. To make the ingredients last longer, create just the cream cheese mixture, and store it in the fridge for up to four days. When you’re ready to assemble, create the crust, then layer the pie filling just before serving.

Can you freeze cherry cream cheese dessert?

There are a few desserts and baked goods you shouldn’t freeze, and cherry cream cheese dessert is one of them. The dairy doesn’t hold up well to defrosting, and you might end up with a soggy layer of graham crackers and running cream cheese.

Cherry Cream Cheese Dessert Tips

How can I serve this if I don’t have small mason jars?

Small mason jars or parfait cups are clear and allow for a beautiful display with layered desserts, but when displays don’t matter, just use small ramekins or dessert bowls. Sometimes we just need to appease our sweet tooth, stat!

If formal presentation is what you’re after, serve the cream cheese desserts in stemless wine glasses, or be ultra-fancy and use martini glasses or champagne coupes.

Can I use fresh berries instead of pie filling?

It might not be quite as sweet, but if you’d like to use fresh fruit, pitted cherries will do the trick! You can also use a blend of your favorite fresh fruits like strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.

Watch how to Make Cherry Cream Cheese Dessert

Cherry Cream Cheese Dessert

Prep Time 15 min
Yield 8 servings.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 12 squares)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • FILLING:
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Divide among 8 dessert dishes, about 4 rounded teaspoonfuls in each.
  2. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add milk until blended. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla. Spoon 1/4 cup into each dish. Top with pie filling, about 1/4 cup in each.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 418 calories, 18g fat (11g saturated fat), 56mg cholesterol, 228mg sodium, 59g carbohydrate (51g sugars, 1g fiber), 7g protein.

Pretty layers of graham cracker crumbs, tasty filling and fruit topping make these cherry cream cheese desserts a standout! For a nice change, you can substitute blueberry pie filling or another fruit flavor for the filling called for in the recipe. —Melody Mellinger, Myerstown, Pennsylvania