Recipes » Dessert Recipes » Strawberry Icebox Cake

Strawberry Icebox Cake

| |
5 from 7 votes
This easy no-bake Strawberry Icebox Cake is a vintage treat that features layers of graham crackers, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream for a delicious dessert with no baking required.
Prep Time 20 minutes
A serving of strawberry icebox cake on a white plate.

Too hot to cook? No problem! This easy no-bake Strawberry Icebox Cake is a vintage treat that features layers of graham crackers, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream for a delicious dessert with no baking required.

This recipe is one you may have seen before. It’s an old-fashioned Strawberry Icebox Cake just like our grandmothers made.

A serving of strawberry icebox cake on a white plate.

According to my research, icebox cakes originated in the 1920’s as a way for Nabisco to promote some of their cookie wafer products. The original icebox cakes were simply cookies layered with whipped cream and allowed to stand until the cookies softened and became very much like a thin cake layer.

This old fashioned icebox recipe uses plain graham crackers layered with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Yum. This is the easiest recipe I know for a no-bake strawberry dessert. Just layer everything in a dish and let it sit for a while. Slice and serve!

Why We Love This Recipe


  • Quick to Prepare. This strawberry refrigerator cake recipe takes 20 minutes of easy hands-on preparation. The remainder of the time is spent in the fridge.
  • No Baking Required. Keep the house cool with this recipe. You won’t need the oven at all!
  • Great to Make Ahead. In fact, you need to make it ahead of time. I recommend allowing it to sit for at least four hours, and up to overnight, before serving.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING …

“This was the EASIEST no bake I have ever done and it will continue to be part of my hot summer cool desserts.”
— Lynne

About the Ingredients


All ingredients needed to make the cake.

This post contains affiliate links.

  • Fresh StrawberriesChoose strawberries that are plump, ripe, and bright red without any visible blemishes. If you can taste one before buying, even better!
  • SugarA small amount of granulated, white sugar is used to sweeten the berries and start the juices flowing.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream, Confectioner’s (Powdered) Sugar, Vanilla ExtractThese three ingredients are combined to make the whipped cream that is slathered between the cake layers. See the instructions below for details.
  • Graham CrackersThese form the “layers” of the cake and may be substituted with other types of cookies as outlined later in the post.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

How to Make Strawberry Icebox Cake


Prepare the Strawberries

  1. Start by washing, hulling, and slicing 2 pounds of fresh, ripe strawberries.
  1. Place the sliced strawberries in a medium bowl and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Toss lightly to combine, and allow to sit for about 15 minutes.

TIP: Allowing the strawberries to sit for a few minutes with the sugar will start some of the juices flowing.

Whip the Cream

  1. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Take care not to over-whip the cream. Add the confectioner’s (powdered) sugar and vanilla extract. Whip again briefly to combine.

Must Have Hand Mixer

6 Speed Hand Mixer with Flex Edge Beaters and Whisk Attachment

Check it out >

KitchenAid Hand Mixer

Layer the Cake

  1. On a platter or baking pan, spread a small amount (just enough to hold the first layer of crackers in place) of the whipped cream. Begin layering starting with the graham crackers, then a layer of strawberries, and a layer of whipped cream.
  2. Continue until you have four layers in all, ending with a layer of whipped cream.
  3. And now, here’s the hardest part of making this dessert. You have to cover it and let it sit in the refrigerator (or “icebox” if you like) for at least 4 hours! No, you can’t slice it right now and dive into that whipped cream, strawberry, graham cracker goodness. You must have patience. Something I sorely lack. But your icebox cake needs that time for all the cream and strawberry juices to be absorbed into the cookies and work its magic.
Finished cake with strawberry slices on top.
  1. When you’re ready to serve this stack of deliciousness, just cut it into squares and top each with a fresh strawberry.
A serving of strawberry icebox cake on a white plate.

Recipe Variations


  • Drizzle the top lightly with chocolate syrup.
  • Substitute the strawberries with blueberries, blackberries, raspberries…whatever’s currently in season and fresh!
  • Substitute all or part of the graham crackers with vanilla wafers, Oreos, shortbread cookies, gingersnaps, or digestive biscuits. I often add one or two layers of Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers or Pepperidge Farm Chessman Cookies. Just be sure that the cookie you choose is a sturdy, crispy cookie. Soft cookies won’t work well in this recipe.

This Beautiful Strawberry Watercolor Art Print Would Look Great in YOUR Kitchen!

Strawberry Watercolor Print - Kitchen Wall Art
Strawberry Watercolor Print – Kitchen Wall Art

from: Etsy

Storage Information


Store any leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. This cake is easiest to store in a rigid container rather than wrapping with plastic – plastic wrap sticks to the whipped cream and makes a bit of a mess, to be honest.

It’s also possible to freeze the completed cake. Assemble the cake on a freezer-safe baking pan or dish. Place the cake and pan, uncovered, in the freezer for 24 hours. Remove the frozen cake from the pan and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Place the wrapped cake in a sturdy container and freeze for up to 3 months.

A serving of strawberry icebox cake on a white plate.

Questions About Strawberry Icebox Cake


Is this strawberry dessert recipe gluten-free?

For a gluten-free option, substitute with gluten-free graham crackers or other sturdy, gluten-free cookie.

How many servings does this recipe make?

It depends, of course, on the size of the slices, but it should yield about 10 servings more or less.

Can I use whipped topping instead of making whipped cream from scratch?

Of course, you can use Cool Whip whipped topping if you like. But there’s really nothing better than homemade! It only takes a few minutes and tastes so much better.

Have you tried this recipe? I’d really appreciate you giving it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card or in the comments section.
AND REMEMBER TO SIGN UP FOR MY FACEBOOK GROUP.
If you’d like to hang out with me and lots of other online Southern Comfort Food lovers, make sure to join my FREE PRIVATE Facebook group.

Recipe

A serving of strawberry icebox cake on a white plate.

Strawberry Icebox Cake

This easy no-bake Strawberry Icebox Cake is a vintage treat that features layers of graham crackers, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream for a delicious dessert with no baking required.
5 from 7 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 401kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 20 whole graham crackers

Instructions

  • Wash the strawberries and spread them on a double thickness of paper towels to dry.
  • Hull and slice the strawberries into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar, toss to combine and allow to sit for about 15 minutes.
  • Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract. Whip again briefly to combine.
  • On a platter or in a baking pan, spread a small amount of the whipped cream. Begin layering starting with the graham crackers, then a layer of strawberries, and a layer of whipped cream.
  • Continue layering until you have four layers . End with a layer of whipped cream.
  • Cover loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until the graham crackers and cookies have softened.
  • Cut into servings and top each with a fresh strawberry.

Notes

  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. This cake is easiest to store in a rigid container rather than wrapping with plastic.
  • To freeze – assemble the cake on a freezer-safe baking pan or dish. Place the cake and pan, uncovered, in the freezer for 24 hours. Remove the frozen cake from the pan and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Place the wrapped cake in a sturdy container and freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 205mg | Potassium: 257mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1060IU | Vitamin C: 54mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

Share on Facebook Pin Recipe
Tried this recipe? Pin it for Later!Follow @LanasCookingBlog or tag #LanasCooking!
This fresh strawberry icebox cake is a no-bake treat featuring layers of graham crackers, chocolate wafers, strawberries and whipped cream. https://www.lanascooking.com/strawberry-icebox-cake/

— This post was originally published on April 22, 2013. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




64 Comments

  1. So I’m not sure what I did, but I didn’t have enough ingredients to make 4 layers. Barely had enough of any of the ingredients. Ran out of whipped cream all together, and had to make more (and I wasn’t doing thick layers either). Managed one layer of graham crackers and one layer of chocolate wafers. Will it still turnout? I only made a 9 x13 pan (which is what I thought it looked like you used from your picture.).

    1. Erin – I really don’t know what may have happened. You can see the photos above where I assembled the cake using exactly the ingredients called for in the recipe. I assembled mine in a small baking dish just for convenience. It didn’t actually fill the pan. It doesn’t really matter what size pan or platter you make your cake on so long as you stack it in layers with 5 graham crackers (or 12 chocolate wafers) per layer.

      1. Fyi, 2 layers works fine. It was still a huge hit. :) I also melted some doc.chocolate with some coconut oil and drizzled it over the top of the cake. When it cools, it becomes hard (kind of like magic shell). It was an awesome compliment to the rest of the cake. Yummy!

  2. Hi Lana,
    I tried your Strawberry Icebox Cake yesterday. My husband just loved it! And his mom too! I did use the whipping cream as it was my first time with it and I just love it. Took no time at all. The remaining slices tasted even better the next day as the juices really incorporated into the crackers. You are right, it does need the original 4 hours to soak in.

    This was the EASIEST no bake I have ever done and it will continue to be part of my hot summer cool desserts.

    Thank you and God Bless!

  3. I’m glad I found your site, it’s almost strawberry season here and cannot wait to try this! Thanks for the recipe. I’ve never made whipped cream before, does it take long?

    1. No, not at all, Annie. Just 3 or 4 minutes. You can always substitute with a whipped topping like Cool Whip instead.

  4. Lana, some of the questions posed to cooks indicate that the questioners have not even read the entire recipe; that’s why I wish you and others would include extras like chilling time, setting time and rising time. Thanks for reading.

  5. Love the recipe but take issue with total time being listed as 20 minutes when chilling time is one hour minimum.

    1. Hi Diane. I don’t count standing or chilling time in total time. It’s hands-on and cooking time only.

  6. I am having a group of ladies over in two weeks, if you make this icebox
    cake the evening before will it still be nice for the next afternoon? Or do you advise getting up early and making it. My friends are coming at noon.

    1. I would definitely make it the night before, Rosemarie. It needs a long standing time for all the wafers to soften. Just be sure to cover it well so that the whipped cream doesn’t dry out.

  7. We can’t get fresh OR frozen strawberries here, but occasionally get cans of strawberry pie filling…think that would work if I rinsed the strawberries?

    1. I’m pretty skeptical that would work, Marie. Maybe try a different berry or fruit. Or just leave them out. The original icebox cakes were just cookie wafers and whipped cream.

      1. Okay….maybe I COULD just make it without the fruit, but just before serving, top each serving with a bit of the strawberry pie filling??

      2. We actually have a similar dessert here called “mango float”… pretty tasty!!

  8. Just wondering if you can use cool whip or a whipped topping instead of heavy whipping cream? Just curious.

    1. I’m sure you could, Becky! I just don’t care for whipped topping so I always use whipping cream.

      1. Ok I’ve never used heavy whipping cream before . I will try it thank you. Just mix it with beaters, is it found by the milk

    2. No you can’t use cool whip because then the cookies never get soft. I used cool whip for the stand up chocolate recipe and they never got soft. There must be something different in real whipping cream that makes the cookies get soft, which is what you want. For everyone who is having trouble finding the cookies; they are called Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers and are “always ” on the top shelf in the grocery store where the cookies are located.

      1. Gerry – the difference is that Cool Whip is mostly oil. Whipping cream is a dairy product, the fattest part of the milk. Also, in each of the grocery stores where I shop the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers are *always* in the ice cream cone and toppings section.

  9. Fabulous dessert! But my market didn’t have chocolate wafers. So I bought chocolate sandwich cookies, (the cheapest kind), scraped off the frosting (used it on the left-over graham crackers), and it worked just fine.

  10. We always make icebox cake with ONLY the chocolate wafers, standing on end. Will try this with graham crackers and the chocolate wafers.

    1. Jeannie-I’m trying to figure out how you assemble it with the chocolate wafers standing on end. I’d love to know how that’s done!

  11. I don’t think I have ever made an icebox cake, but I have heard how lovely they are! This cake would be awesome for any summer bbq gathering, and looks like it tastes AWESOME!!! Love that you added the chocolate cookies along with the graham crackers:-) Hugs, Terra

    1. Thanks, Terra! This is a great summer time dessert especially because there’s no baking required! You can keep the oven off and the house cool.

  12. I’ve never made an icebox cake, but I’m loving the looks of this one, for sure!! :)

  13. Growing up, icebox cake was one of my all time favorite desserts! Love the idea of mixing the chocolate with the graham crackers -making a note to try that the next time I make an icebox cake!

    1. Nancy – I was getting the graham crackers out of the pantry and the box of chocolate wafers literally fell in my hand. I took it as a sign :-)

      1. I have been trying every supermarket to find the Nabiscos Chocolate wafers and have had no luck. Just come from a Walmart superstore.
        Can somebody please help me. I need them urgently.

      2. In my grocery stores, they’re *never* with the cookies. They’re with the ice cream cones and ice cream toppings.

    1. Shaina – that one little layers of chocolate wafers really added a nice touch to the original recipe. Just the right amount of chocolate!

  14. This looks delicious! Strawberries and whipped cream and chocolate…that’s what I call paradise in dessert. (:

    1. Isn’t that almost a perfect combination, Monica? Strawberries, whipped cream, and chocolate are always winners!

    1. Thanks, Deborah. We sure did like it. Especially the chocolate wafer layer. I may make another one with just chocolate wafers and strawberries!