(Almost) No-Bake Pineapple Dream Dessert is a delicious summer dessert! Cream cheese, pineapple, whipped topping and graham crackers – so simple!
A CREAMY (ALMOST NO-BAKE) DESSERT
To celebrate summer, I thought I’d share this old school recipe made with graham crackers, crushed pineapple, cream cheese and Cool Whip It was pretty popular in the 70’s. It’s simple to make but it’s served chilled so it is refreshing and surprisingly does not taste heavy at all. This 8×8-inch dish can be cut into 12-15 pieces so it serves more than you would think. Do yourself a favor and bring back this favorite dessert and make it a 1970’s summer to remember.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
You can use salted or unsalted butter, whatever you have. Just make sure that it is butter and not margarine. Generally I will use unsalted but I’ve made it with salted and it still tastes great.
Yes! This is a great substitution. It would taste very much like an orange creamsicle!
Yes, you can make it with homemade whipped cream but the Cool Whip holds up better in this recipe. Unfortunately, homemade whipped cream doesn’t stay stabilized as long as whipped topping.
I’ve only ever used the canned fruit for this recipe so I can’t say whether it would work with fresh cut fruit.
This dessert needs to be kept covered in the refrigerator where it will keep for up to 3 days. Pineapple Dream Dessert can also be frozen. Wrap with plastic wrap then aluminum foil and it will keep for up to 3 months. To defrost, put into the refrigerator overnight.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- graham cracker crumbs – I just crush them up myself but you can buy graham cracker crumbs to save yourself that extra step.
- salted butter – it’s gotta be real butter. Do not try to substitute with margarine or butter substitutes. Also, I prefer salted butter here. It does not make this taste salty. It just adds a nice balance of flavor with all the other sweetness going on.
- cream cheese – it needs to be fully softened to room temperature. If it isn’t, you’ll end up with a very lumpy filling that you won’t be able to smooth out.
- powdered sugar – I really recommend using powdered sugar over granulated here so it will be smooth and not grainy.
- whipped topping (COOL WHIP) – if you’ve never purchased this before, you will find it in the frozen section near the desserts and ice cream. You need to let it thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours (or overnight) before you can use it.
- crushed pineapple – it’s important that you drain it really well. Too much moisture and the dessert won’t set up properly.
HOW TO MAKE PINEAPPLE DREAM DESSERT:
Preheat oven to 300F degrees. Crush the graham crackers. I just put them in a Ziploc bag and pound them. You can also just buy graham cracker crumbs too. Whatever works for you. I just happened to have these graham crackers for s’mores.
Also, at this point, go ahead and get your pineapple drained. I just throw it in a strainer and let it drain while I get to work on everything else.
Melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter in the microwave using a medium, microwave-safe bowl.
Add 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs to the melted butter and stir until combined.
Measure out 2 CUPS of the crumb mixture and press it firmly into the bottom of an 8×8 or 9×9 square baking dish.
It helps to use the bottom of a flat measuring cup or glass to press the mixture down.
Bake crumb mixture for about 8-10 minutes and then allow to cool completely.
You’ll have some crumb mixture left over. Just hang onto it because you’ll need it for the topping. Measure 4 ounces (1/2 block) softened cream cheese. Most cream cheese is sold in blocks of 8 ounces and have these handy dandy little markings on them to help you measure it out easily.
Beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy.
It helps to use an electric mixer or a stand mixer for this.
If using a stand mixer, turn it down to low and add the powdered sugar slowly until it is all incorporated and smooth.
Now add in a big ole heaping tablespoon of the drained pineapple and give it a good stir.
Next, spread the cream cheese mixture over the baked and cooled graham cracker crust.
In a separate bowl, combine the whipped topping with the remaining drained crushed pineapple.
Stir well. It will get thick and clumpy. Spread whipped topping mixture over the cream cheese layer. I just drop it by the blob-full all over and then gently spread it using the back of my spoon.
Now, sprinkle the rest of the graham cracker crumb mixture on the top.
Cover with plastic wrap.
Then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. This is a great dessert to make the night before you actually need to serve it.
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
Pineapple Dream Dessert (+Video)
For the crust:
- ½ cup salted butter
- 2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs,
For the filling:
- 4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 block), softened to room temperature
- ½ cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 8 ounce container frozen whipped topping (COOL WHIP), thawed
- 20 ounce can crushed pineapple (drained really well)
- Preheat oven to 300F.
For the crust:
- Crush graham crackers. Also, drain 20 ounce can crushed pineapple.
- Melt 1/2 cup salted butter in the microwave in a medium, microwave-safe bowl.
- Add 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, to the melted butter and stir until combined.
- Measure out 2 CUPS of the crumb mixture and press it firmly into the bottom of an 8×8-inch or 9×9-inch square baking dish (whichever you have)
- Bake crumb mixture for about 8-10 minutes and then allow to cool completely.
- You’ll have some crumb mixture (1/2 cup) left over. Just hang onto it because you’ll need it for the topping.
For the filling:
- In a stand mixer (or using an electric mixer), beat 4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 block), softened to room temperature and 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature until creamy.
- If using a stand mixer, turn it down to low and add 2 cups powdered sugar slowly until it is all incorporated and smooth.
- Now add in a heaping tablespoon of the drained crushed pineapple and give it a good stir.
- Next, spread the cream cheese mixture over the baked and cooled graham cracker crust.
- In a separate bowl, combine 8 ounce container frozen whipped topping (COOL WHIP), thawed with the remaining drained crushed pineapple.
- Stir well. It will get thick and clumpy.
- Spread whipped topping mixture over the cream cheese layer. I just drop it by the blob-full all over and then gently spread it using the back of my spoon.
- Now, sprinkle the rest of the graham cracker crumb mixture on the top.
- Cover the whole dish with plastic wrap. Then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before slicing and serving.
- Please refer to my FAQ’s and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.
Originally published: June 2015
Updated & republished: May 2020
Recipe credit: Amanda’s Cookin