So here's the thing: this is a cheesecake, but it is no ordinary cheese cake. I want you to imagine a heavy, dense New York style cheesecake, the kind that sits like paste on your tongue. Now, I want you to forget everything you know about that cheesecake. Instead imagine a cheesecake unlike anything you've ever had---imagine a thick, buttery graham cracker crust topped with the fluffiest, lightest cheesecake ever. Imagine eating sweet, rich clouds of cheesecake---lemony, sun-drenched clouds. Now you are beginning to understand Milnot cheesecake.
So, what exactly is Milnot? Good question. I realized, as I was making this cake for the first time on my own, that I had absolutely no idea what Milnot was. As a child, all I knew is that it was very special and it tasted delicious in this cake. And that's really all you need to know. (For those of you who are curious, I did a little research. Milnot is evaporated milk with the animal fat removed and replaced with vegetable oil. Originally this shelf-stable "filled milk" was useful--and inexpensive to produce--before there refrigeration became widely available.) The really interesting thing about Milnot, though, is that it whips up like whipping cream when you beat it with an electric mixer.
Whipped Milnot is the key ingredient in this fluffy-soft cake. The only problem is that Milnot is hard to find. (That is why this cake is so special!) The Milnot Company, which produces this canned miracle milk, is based in Ohio and is now owned by Smuckers. For some reason, Milnot is not widely available on the West Coast. When I was growing up, my mom resorted to having relatives from Chicago and Ohio import as many cans of Milnot as they were willing to carry.
I randomly found cans--two for a dollar!--at a Grocery Outlet near my house, so I snapped them up to make this cake. If you come across some Milnot, I suggest you do the same. (You can also order it online!) Your idea of cheesecake will change forever.
No Bake Milnot Lemon Cheesecake
- 1 small package of lemon Jell-o
- 1 cup boiling water
- 16 oz. of cream cheese (2 packages)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 12 oz. can Milnot, chilled
- 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
- Dissolve Jell-o in boiling water and chill in the refrigerator until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cream the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Melt butter and stir into graham cracker crumbs, mixing until completely combined. Press crumbs into an 13x9 inch baking pan. Set aside.
- Beat the chilled Jell-o into the cream cheese mixture until completely combined and smooth.
- In a large bowl, whip the chilled Milnot until it forms soft peaks. Fold the whipped Milnot into the cream cheese mixture.
- Pour Milnot filling evenly onto the graham cracker crust. Refrigerate for 8 hours.
This is the recipe my husband's grandmother used for ages to make this wonderful treat. Everytime we all got together on the farm (yes, in the Midwest) for a visit or reunion or holiday, Grandma's Cheesecake was what everyone was looking forward to eating, and it never lasted long! It was the first to go, and for years (before the Internet) I was entrusted with Grandma's recipe for her wonderful dessert, which was quite an honor then for a daughter-in-law. I still have the handwritten, slightly tattered original recipe she dictated to me as I wrote it down in her kitchen on the farm one hot summer day. Now that Grandma is no longer with us, we can relive some of her kitchen magic by making this great dessert!ReplyDelete
God Bless America So happy to find this recipe. Carnation evaporated milk is my substitute,ReplyDelete
Carnation will not work... it does not whipReplyDelete
Chilled It will whip just fine as a substituteDelete
Yes, I have used Pet and Carnation evaporated milk....make sure it's chilled overnight in fridge....it works just fine...but not at room temp.....don't have milnot in our area.Delete
I have used both Carnation and Pet Evaporated Milk and they work fine but not at room temp....be sure to chill in fridge overnite...milnot is not available in our area.Delete
Carnation evaporated milk chilled works fine. I use it all the time.Delete
My mom used to make this recipe growing up. She said that Pet milk changed it's recipe somehow it no longer whips like it used to and She chilled it. so she stopped making the recipe :(Delete
One of my first cooking moments. Mom entrusted me to make the cheesecake using the recipe straight from the back of the can. Making it again for fathers day in memory of my daddy & my mama.ReplyDelete
This is a Milnot original recipe, and yes it will only work with Milnot ,not the P word or C word. It so rich it whips! And be sure not to use a plastic bowl or utensils, they hold grease in them and keep it from whipping. It makes the best scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes! I was fed Milnot in place of baby formula when I was a baby back in the early 1950s.ReplyDelete
You are wrong. Have made this for 40 years using Carnation Evaporated Milk, it whips up just fine. Use metal bowl and utensils because plastic lets the milk warm up too quick then it won't whip, not because of grease in the plastic.Delete
My mother made this cake for years, but her's had pineapple in it. So yummy, and my favorite!ReplyDelete
My mother in-law recently passed away and we inherited her recipe box full of two generations of recipes. We were excited to find this recipe, but unfortunately, it was common for her to write the ingredients down, but not the instructions. So to find this recipe on-line was awesome because the ingredients were exactly the same. We were able to fill in the gaps we needed to make an incredibly delicious cheesecake. We are baking memories in Illinois!ReplyDelete
My grandma passed away on April 13th this year. She always would make this special treat for us when she came to visit or on special occasions. Thank you so much for posting this. You gave me back a special part of her today.ReplyDelete
I was just wondering is the lemon jello used just to flavor or do you actually need the gelatin that's in the jello for the cheese cake?ReplyDelete
The jello is necessary to help the cheesecake set.ReplyDelete
My mother used cherry jello and didnt use cream cheese in it. I could eat the whole thing. So yummy!ReplyDelete
I had a recipe for years although only made once or twice.ReplyDelete
recently I wanted to make this as my recipe called for strawberries and the recipe made 3pies.
thank you I believe this will replace the one I lost...
I grew up in a small town in Illinois (north of O'Hare) and have been living in Colorado the last 37 years. I am dying to make a cheesecake using Mascarpone Cream Cheese and Milnot. Looking on-line wow has it been become expensive, but worth it. Still have the Milnot recipe books from my childhood. Happy HolidaysReplyDelete
I'd love to know how it is with mascarpone! That sounds amazing.Delete
I have been looking and asking eveyone I know about the Milnot Cheesecake recipe I lost years ago.I am so excited to find it again. The people I ask did not know what Milnot was. Could not believe they didn't know what it was. I will now intoduce them to Milnot Cheesecake.ReplyDelete
Can you use a flavor besides lemon jello?ReplyDelete
Yes! I have only ever tried lemon flavor, but you can use whatever flavor you like. Another reader recommends using cherry jello.Delete
I made this recipe and it actually filled 2 graham cracker pie crusts.ReplyDelete
Very interesting! I'm looking for a recipe for a chocolate cake with cracker crust made in a large springform pam using Milnot and possibly unflavored gelatin. My aunt always made in and got her Milnot when visiting cousins in Illinois. Can anyone help me?ReplyDelete
As a child in the 1960's and oleo-margarine could not be legally sold in Wisconsin (I'm not kidding - this is the dairy state) Milnot could not be sold in WI. We lived on a farm, but my mother would have my uncle bring up a case from Chicago so my mother could make this cheesecake. A few of her select friends would be given cans of Milnot too. Basically my mother was running a Milnot smuggling operation in central Wisconsin. This recipe is delicious. It's nice to just be able go to a store and buy now in Wisconsin.ReplyDelete
Ok, so my husband asked for me to make his mom's miracle cheesecake. It had Milnot in it. They don't sell it in Ohio so the last time we went back to IL, we bought a bunch of cans. But her recipe is different: she actually cubes up 2 or 3 different colors/flavors of jello and folds those into it as well. I made it and he loved it!ReplyDelete
FOR THOSE THAT ADD CRUSHED PINEAPPLE TO THIS RECIPE:ReplyDelete
My mom used to make this recipe for us when we were kids and we loved it, but she always added crushed pineapple. Can anyone tell me the recipe variation to add pineapple.....How big of a can of crushed pineapple, do you drain it or add the the pineapple juice, and at what point do you add the pineapple in to the recipe? THANKS! :)
use a small can of crushed pineapple in juice - well drained.Delete
ooo yea my husband grandmother use to make this as well. Yummy Today is mt turn 7/26/214 witch is my grandmothers Birthday . wish me luck,!!!!!!!ReplyDelete
My grandmother who is very dear to me used to make this cake, she always use orange flavored jello. recently my aunt found the recipe and gave it to me I tried it but unfortunately I'm living in Michigan and Milnot is not available, its definitely not the same without it,.I will be stocking up next time I go to Illinois!!ReplyDelete
For anyone interested in the fascinating history behind Milnot do a Google search" Josh Blackman and Milnot"ReplyDelete
This is also known as the Woolworth Cheesecake because it was sold at Woolworth lunch counters.ReplyDelete
No crushed pineapple. My grandmother and mother made this as wellReplyDelete
Ok, my mother made this for years and I loved it. In my adulthood I made it several times then couldn't find Milnot regularly. Went on the net and found I could order it - but didn't. Anytime I go any place I check if they carry Milnot - BINGO in a small town in Colorado I found, First Choice, in Walsenberg CO. Got some. Now this receipe is Not quite Woolworths Cheesecake, which uses evaported mile and lots of lemon juice (I've made it.) The Milnot cake is much better. Making a couple today.ReplyDelete
Instead of a graham cracker crust, try vanilla wafers. We think it's wonderful! Use 1 1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafers (about 6 oz), 3 Tablespoons melted butter, and 1/2 cup sugar. Our recipe for the dessert is called Lemon Bisque.ReplyDelete
Yes! Every weekend while shopping in the mall (as a fifth grader) I would go into Woolworth and purchase this totally awesome Icebox Cheesecake! A friend gave me the recipe, but it only calls for 8oz. cream cheese. Plus, I didn't incorporate the whipped Milnot well, missing some at the bottom of the bowl. Oh well. Just have to try again... Anyhow,mine has not turned out like I remember. So sad. I'll try a cold glass bowl for whipping and not be afraid to whip in the Minot instead of folding. Get it all even.ReplyDelete
I've made this alot lately for my mom now that she's not able. Try a metal bowl, cold blades & put your milnot in the fridge overnight. I'm sure you will have success.I whip low speed at first, then increase little by little. But whip for 15 minutes. Good luck!Delete
I can't wait to try this recipeReplyDelete
My mother used to make this cheesecake and we've been looking for it for sometime. Hope its the right one. Thanks to everyone for your comments BD
My aunt gave me this recipe 40 years ago and I lost it but I have thought about this wonderful delight since then. SO glad to find the recipe and that I am not the only one who appreciates this light treat for desert. Easter I am surprising everyone with it!ReplyDelete
I made this recipe for years until last year when I tried to make it and the Milnot would not whip up anymore. I tried 5 cans of Milnot and none of them would make stiff peaks anymore. I called Milnot and asked what happened. They change vegetable oil in Milnot to Palm Oil and it no longer whips up. I told them they needed to make it the way they used to. The gentleman I spoke with told me he would bring it to the attention of the test team, but I've not heard anything. This was last June in 2016.ReplyDelete
My mom made this back in the 1960's with frozen strawberries. I remember she whipped the milnot. THANKS we have been searching for this recipe for yearsReplyDelete
HELP! All other versions call for 8 ounces instead of 16 ounces cream cheese. Which is it? Other difference is size of jello box. Does anyone know?ReplyDelete
I have made this recipe for years. Last July the Milnot would not whip up due to the change of the oil. I called Milnot and they have no plans to change the recipe back to the original. Does anyone know of a canned milk that will whip up which we can substitute for the Milnot? Milnot could not help me.ReplyDelete
My mother-in-law (St. Louis, MO) made this recipe for decades, which she called Graham Cracker Pie. It is my husband's and my son's favorite birthday dessert. We have always used just one 8-oz brick of cream cheese but I usually double the crust. Soooo yummy. But I, too, have been having MAJOR issues lately whipping the Milnot and was interested to see the previous post about oil change in the recipe. I thought I was over-whipping it in my Kitchenaid mixer. It still tastes great but the texture is lacking. Bummer.ReplyDelete
Looked and called around and couldn't find Milnot.Most people have never heard of it... Low and behold, I walked into a small affiliated grocery store to get bread and there on the discount table was 13 cans of Milnot. I almost fainted! I asked the manager if he would lower the price if I bought all 13 cans. Got them at 5o cents a can..childhood memories: things made with Milnot. Sister always made tapioca pudding then added whipped Milnot on top and 3 or 4 somewhat tart cherries on top...Wonderful combination served in tall ice cream glasses. ENJOY THE MILNOT RECIPES AND MEMORIES.ReplyDelete
I commented earlier..I just whipped Milnot with chilled glass bowl,chilled beaters and Milnot. It whipped up fine..Just like old times!!!ReplyDelete
If you can’t find Milnot, you can substitute stiffly-whipped whip cream for this recipe. I have been making this cheesecake dessert for years this way. I originally had this dessert while working at Phantom Tanch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon where I came across a similar recipe which appears in the Harvey House cookbook as Lemon Chiffon Cheesecake Dessert. I like to substitute lime jello and key lime juice. I would definitely recommend NOT using evaporated milk. Fold in cool whip or very heavily whipped whip cream.ReplyDelete