Candy Cane Lush Layered Dessert is the no bake treat of your dreams! Simple enough that even the kids can help, it’s one of the best peppermint desserts you’ll ever make. Fluffy whipped topping and candy cane cheesecake layers come together for a truly lush texture — hence the name!
Give yourself a break with this easy no bake dessert featuring the best of winter flavors: peppermint!
A sweet vanilla cookie crust is topped with creamy cheesecake filling and a fluffy whipped topping, all with that fresh, minty flavor threaded through the entire dessert.
Peppermint desserts are a top choice for winter holidays, and I have no shortage of recipes for you to choose from!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Golden Oreos – These vanilla-flavored sandwich cookies form a sweet, buttery crust without overwhelming the other flavors in candy cane desserts.
- Cream Cheese – Opt for brick form, as opposed to tubs, and allow it to soften on the counter for at least 30 minutes before starting the recipe.
Softened cream cheese whips up much smoother for a lump-free filling!
- Instant Pudding – Be sure it’s an instant mix and not the kind you have to cook on the stove. Otherwise, it won’t set up properly.
This recipe calls for white chocolate-flavored pudding mix, but vanilla, French vanilla, and cheesecake flavors work just as well.
- Milk – Any kind will do, as long as it’s cold! For a thicker pudding layer, try half & half instead.
- Peppermint Extract – Don’t try to substitute regular mint extract. It leans towards spearmint, which will make your dessert taste like toothpaste. Yuck!
- Cool Whip – Puts the fluff in lush peppermint desserts! Because this comes frozen, be sure to let it soften in the refrigerator overnight.
In a pinch, you could use a homemade stabilized whipped cream instead. It will only affect the texture of leftovers.
Tips for Making Candy Cane Cheesecake
- Keep the layers separate and distinct.
The easiest way to achieve this is by popping the pan into the freezer as you prepare each layer — especially after adding the crust.
It may not seem like enough time, but just a few minutes in the chilly air will help the crust and each filling set up enough so the next layer doesn’t seep through.
- Get perfectly clean slices with a few simple tricks.
First, line your pan with parchment paper, leaving a bit hanging over each of the longer sides. When the dessert is set, simply lift the entire slab up and out of the pan!
Place on a cutting board, then run a large knife under hot water. Dry thoroughly before pressing the blade straight down through the layers.
The heat from the knife will glide through quickly and easily, creating perfect slices with no fuss.
For extra clean edges, pop peppermint desserts in the freezer for about 15 minutes before slicing.
- Don’t forget toppings!
Adorn each slice with a mini candy cane, or simply sprinkle extra crushed candies on top. For a more elevated touch, add a tiny sprig of mint leaves.
Storing Peppermint Desserts
Candy Cane Lush will keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator, though you’ll lose some of the fluffy texture over time.
Keep well covered or transfer slices to an airtight container for best results.
You can also freeze this layered dessert for up to 1 month! Transfer it to the refrigerator the night before serving, or let it thaw on the counter for 1 hour, so it can soften enough for eating.
Kitchen Tools You Will Need
- 9×13 Baking Dish – This set is one of my favorites! It comes with a lid for easy storage and is great for casseroles too.
- Parchment Paper – Use this to line your baking dish for easier slicing!
- Food processor to pulverize the cookies for the layered dessert crust
- Mixing Bowls – I like to have a variety of sizes on hand, and this set has them all.
- Electric Hand Mixer – I’ve had this one in my kitchen forever and it still works beautifully.
- A sturdy silicone spatula can be used for scraping, stirring, and smoothing and is easy to clean too!
Candy Cane Desserts FAQ
There sure are! Nothing goes better with candy cane desserts than chocolate, so swap those Golden Oreos for the classic cookie variety.
Vanilla wafer cookies, graham crackers, or Biscoff are fantastic crust alternatives as well. And you can try different flavors for the pudding layer — check out the ingredient section above for ideas!
Yes, you can prepare this no bake layered dessert up to 24 hours in advance. Keep in mind that it needs about 4 hours in the refrigerator to set either way.
In the refrigerator, it will take about 4 to 5 hours to soften completely. Just pop it in the night before you need it, and it will be ready to go!
For a faster method, float the sealed tub in a bowl of cold (not lukewarm) water for about 30 minutes.
Avoid using the microwave, as it will often thaw unevenly with some parts still frozen and others melted.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Delicious Peppermint Dessert Recipes
Candy Cane Lush Layered Dessert
- 36 vanilla Oreo cookies
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 package, 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 16 ounces whipped topping, 2 8 ounce tubs
- 6.8 ounces white chocolate instant pudding mix, 2 3.4 ounce boxes
- 2 1/2 cups cold milk
- 3/4 cup crushed candy canes
- More candy canes for garnish
- You can line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper to make slicing easier but it is not necessary.
- In your food processor crush all the cookies into crumbs.
- Place the cookies into a large bowl and add the melted butter.
- Stir until well blended.
- Press the cookie crumbs into the bottom of a 9×13 glass baking dish.
- In large bowl using an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, peppermint extract and powdered sugar until smooth.
- Fold in 1 container of whipped topping.
- Gently spread the cream cheese mixture over the cookie mixture.
- In medium bowl, whisk together the dry pudding mixes and milk until combined.
- Add in the crushed candy canes.
- Spread over the cream cheese layer.
- Top with the remaining container of whipped topping.
- Sprinkle more crushed candy canes or whole mini one on top.
- Refrigerate for 4 hours or freeze.
- Slice and serve!
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published November 2023
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