The Ingredient That Will Take Your No-Bake Desserts Up A Notch

There is something so blissful about preparing the perfect treat and not having to turn on the oven. Though we will never turn down a gooey, warm chocolate chip cookie or a freshly baked brownie, desserts that can come together without having to turn on the 350-degree oven just somehow always feel easier.

However, preparing a no-bake dessert often means different ingredients than what you might find in an oven-baked dish. For example, you most likely will not be using egg to bind ingredients, nor will you be adding heat to stabilize the dish. And in that case, you'll need other ingredients to fill those gaps, or the dessert could turn out a disaster.

Thankfully, baker Jessie Sheehan told The Kitchn that there is one ingredient that is considered the saving grace of no-bake desserts; its flavor and texture work their magic to pull together the perfect treat. It's used in some popular desserts, but it turns out that it's much more useful than you may have known.

You should be adding cream cheese to your no-bake desserts

If you're struggling for that perfect tang, consistency, or stability in your no-bake dish, then cream cheese has entered the chat. This versatile ingredient is widely known for its use in cold frosting, hot dips, or just on its own as a spread (via Taste of Home). We called it versatile for a reason.

The Kitchn suggests adding cream cheese to your dish in order to give it more stability; Sheehan compares it to a pudding base that's been set with heat. Cream cheese can set a pie all on its own, no heat required. There are even easy methods for softening cream cheese if you're in a hurry.

Though cream cheese does have a slight tanginess to it, it's not an overpowering flavor. This means it takes on the other flavors around it, which helps explain why it creates such great stability and texture without dramatically affecting the flavor. Next time you're preparing something like a no-bake pie, don't be afraid to add some cream cheese to the mix; you won't regret it.