Cranberry Cheesecake Mousse is smooth, fluffy, and full of tart flavor from fresh cranberries! With a crunchy graham cracker crumble, you get all the elements of a cheesecake without all the work of making one. It’s the ideal ending for any holiday meal. Serves 6.
about this cranberry cheesecake mousse
Of all of the mousses I’ve made this year, this happens to be my favorite.
I LOVE everything cranberry this time of year. The tartness and bright flavor of the fruit goes well with everything sweet AND savory. If cranberry sauce isn’t on the table with turkey, you know I’m going to be the one throwing a fit about the absence of my favorite condiment.
This cranberry cheesecake mousse is a no-bake dessert that is a must-make for the holiday. Why?
- It’s easy to make ahead of time and can easily be stored in the fridge for a couple of days.
- The flavor is bold and the perfect balance of sweet and tart. It’s the ideal ending to any holiday meal you have planned.
- The TEXTURE. So creamy, so luscious, so smooth. Plus there this lovely layer of crunchy graham cracker crumble on the bottom!
Not to mention it only takes you about 15 minutes of active cooking time to pull it all together!
graham crackers – I recommend grabbing the brand you like to eat! Personally I always go for Honey Maid.
sugar – you’ll need granulated sugar for the crumble and confectioner’s sugar for the mousse.
butter – unsalted butter is all you need for this recipe.
cranberries – I highly recommend using fresh cranberries. You can also use leftover cranberry sauce – if it’s not already smooth, be sure to puree it with an immersion blender or high-speed blender.
cream cheese – full-fat is best for this recipe, but you can use low-fat if you prefer. Let it soften before using it.
vanilla – a high-quality vanilla extract is a must for all your recipes! My favorite is Nielsen Massey – their Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract is so good.
orange zest – you will need the zest of about 1/2 a fresh orange.
whipped cream – homemade is best! Simple add heavy whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high speed until light and fluffy. You can also use store-bought, if you want to. Just note that it is sweeter than homemade and that will make the overall dessert a bit sweeter.
this recipe’s must haves
I like to use a stand mixer or an electric handheld mixer with a large bowl to make the mousse, as well as the whipped cream. Note that you’ll have to clean out the bowl of the mixer in between making the whipped cream and the mousse.
I used Oui jars of yogurt for these cups! It’s an easy way to reuse those adorable glass jars. You can also use small mason jars or stemless wide-mouthed wine glasses.
here’s how to make cranberry cheesecake mousse
Place graham crackers in a food processor and process until they are fine crumbs. Add sugar, cinnamon, and butter, pulsing until the mixture comes together in small pieces.
Dump the crumble onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Spread out and bake for 10 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside and cool to room temperature before assembling.
If you are using fresh cranberries, be sure to roast them at 425˚F for about 15 minutes until bursting and tender. Smash it all up with the back of a fork or puree in a blender.
Add cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and orange zest to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the roasted cranberries.
Remove bowl from mixer and fold in whipped cream gently.
Add a layer of the crumble to the bottom of 6 dessert dishes or jars.
Top with equal amounts of the mousse. Smooth out the tops and wipe the edges with a wet paper towel for a cleaner presentation.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 2 days, before serving.
When ready to serve, make fresh whipped cream to place on top and garnish with fresh cranberries.
tips for success
short on time? This mousse can be serve on its own if you don’t have time to make the crumble! You can also spread a layer of chocolate fudge sauce on the bottom of the jars to save time.
let’s talk toppings. I like a dollop of fresh whipped cream and a couple fresh cranberries to garnish. You can also garnish with some fudge sauce, chocolate shavings, extra crumble, cranberry sauce, or whatever else sounds good to you!
what is cheesecake mousse made of?
Cheesecake mousse is a no-bake dessert that is made by combining whipped cream with a whipped cream cheese base made of cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, orange zest, and cranberries.
how is mousse different from whipped cream?
Mousse is rich, airy dish which uses whipped cream plus either beaten egg whites or beaten cream cheese (like for this dessert) and a puree for added flavor. It’s denser than whipped cream, and much smoother.
can I freeze cranberry cheesecake mousse?
Yes you can! Start by spooning the cranberry cheesecake mousse into an airtight, freezer-safe container. It can be frozen for up to 8 weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator until it can easily be spooned out and served.
Make sure that you do not freeze fresh whipped cream for the topping. Instead, make it fresh to serve with the mousse once it has thawed.
how far in advance can I make cranberry cheesecake mousse?
You can make these mousse cups up to 1 to 2 days in advance! It’s a fantastic make-ahead dessert option for any upcoming holiday gathering.
Need some more inspiration for dessert? Check out my dessert recipes page!
what to serve with cranberry cheesecake mousse
This flavorful dessert is perfect for serving at the end of a heavier meal because it is light and airy! I think it’s ideal for a holiday dinner party dessert, or to bring to a holiday party.
Here are some of my favorite holiday hearty meals to serve this time of year:
- Gnocchi bolognese bake is the ultimate comfort food, plus it’s a one skillet meal!
- A classic holiday meal is herb crusted rack of lamb. The herb rub is ideal to pair with the rich rack of meat!
- For a simple flavorful meal, try this cranberry rosemary walnut stuffed sheet pan pork tenderloin meal.
how to store and reheat
Store. Store assembled in the cups in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. All you have to do is cover them with plastic wrap.
Freeze. Add to an airtight container and freeze up to 8 weeks. Thaw it in the refrigerator until it can easily be spooned out. Make the fresh whipped cream when the mousse is thawed!
Finally, if you make this cranberry cheesecake mousse recipe, please be sure to give this recipe a rating or leave a comment! I love to hear when you all make recipes, and I do take the time to respond to every single comment. Feel free to drop questions below too, if you have them!
Oh and be sure to tag me on Instagram if you make the recipe! I love being able to see these recipes come to life in your homes – it’s my favorite thing to look through those photos. It really means the world to me!
- 1 cup fresh cranberries (or 1/2 cup leftover cranberry sauce*)
- 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp grated orange zest
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped**
- Garnish: fresh cranberries
- 1 sleeve graham crackers (9 total crackers)
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil.
On the first rimmed baking sheet, add cranberries and roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Reduce oven temperature to 325˚F.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add graham crackers and process until fine crumbs. Add sugar and melted butter for crumble, then pulse until the mixture comes together to form small nuggets.
- Dump the mixture onto the second prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until light golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.
- Add cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract, and orange zest to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in cranberry puree until incorporated. Gently fold in whipped cream with a spatula.
- Divide the crumble among 6 dessert dishes. Top with equal amounts of the mousse, spreading the top with the back of a spoon to even out. You can also pipe the mixture into the dishes if you prefer.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Serve with whipped cream on top.
*If you are using cranberry sauce, you can use 1/2 cup total in place of the cranberries. be sure to blend it before using and add where the recipe instructions state to beat in the cranberry puree.
**to make the whipped cream, add heavy whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high heat until light and fluffy!