Boston Cream Icebox Cake — Boston cream pie meets an eclair in an easy no-mixer, no-bake dessert! Vanilla pudding, whipped topping, graham crackers, and lots of chocolate! Perfect for parties or anytime you don’t want to turn on your oven!!
Easy Pudding Icebox Cake Recipe
What do you do when you have a sweet tooth in the summer and don’t want to turn on your oven? Make an icebox cake of course. This is the easiest ‘cake’ you’ll ever make because there’s no mixer and no baking.
If you’ve never made an icebox cake, they’re wonderfully rich and luscious. It’s the type of cake that’s hard to resist going in and straightening the rows with a fork every time you open the fridge or freezer.
Icebox cakes usually consist of layers of graham crackers or Oreos with filling in between the layers. The fillings usually involve whipped topping, pudding, ice cream, or something soft and creamy.
The filling softens the layers of graham crackers or Oreos and turns them into a cake-like texture.
This version plays on a Bostom cream pie that meets an eclair. The vanilla pudding and whipped topping just melt in your mouth while the graham crackers add subtle crunch and texture. The chocolate topping is smooth and silky with additional chocolate chips sprinkled because you can never have too much chocolate.
My family said it’s one of my best desserts ever and it’s so ridiculously easy that I’m tempted to go on an icebox cake-making craze.
What’s in This Boston Cream Cake?
For this icebox cake recipe, you’ll need:
- Instant vanilla pudding packets
- Whipped topping
- Cold milk
- Graham crackers
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
Note that you must use cow’s milk in this recipe, otherwise your pudding won’t set properly.
Is There a Whipped Topping Substitute I Can Use?
I’ve had readers report success using homemade whipped cream instead of whipped topping. I haven’t tried it myself though, so I can’t say for certain that your Boston cream icebox cake will turn out exactly like mine.
Can I Use Another Type of Chocolate Chip?
Yes, however I prefer using semi-sweet chocolate chips rather than milk chocolate chips because the pudding icebox cake is already plenty sweet. But use whatever you have on hand!
How to Make an Icebox Cake
To make this Boston cream refrigerator cake, you’ll first need to whisk together the pudding mix, milk, and whipped topping.
Then, add a layer of graham crackers to the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan that’s been lined with aluminum foil. Spread half the pudding mixture over the graham crackers. Repeat this process once more, ending with a final layer of graham crackers.
In a saucepan, melt the chocolate chips, sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla. Pour the chocolate mixture over the icebox cake, then wait a few minutes before sprinkling additional chocolate chips on top.
Cover the pan and freeze for 4 hours before slicing and serving. You can store this pudding icebox cake in either the fridge or freezer, depending on the texture you’d like.
Can I Prep This Dessert in Advance?
Yes! This is a great no-bake dessert to make in advance. You have to let the refrigerator cake chill for at least 4 hours anyways before serving it, but it will last up to 5 days in the fridge.
Tips for Making a Refrigerator Cake
Don’t worry too much about your graham cracker layers looking perfect. Once you top this Boston cream cake with chocolate and slice into it, you won’t notice if a few graham crackers are crooked!
You definitely do NOT want to use sugar-free or cook and serve pudding mix for this graham cracker icebox cake recipe. Regular instant pudding mix is a must and can’t be substituted.
This is a great cake to make before a big party or potluck. It stays good for a few days in the freezer, and over time the graham crackers soften up. If you’ll be serving this outdoors, keep this cake in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to serve, otherwise it’ll melt!
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- two 3.5-ounce packets instant vanilla pudding (not cook-and-serve, not sugar-free)
- one 8-ounce container whipped topping, thawed (I used fat free)
- 3 cups cold milk (I used skim; use cow’s milk and not soy, almond, etc. because pudding won’t set up)
- one 14.6-ounce box graham crackers (I used Honeymaid lowfat honey)
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil; set aside.
- To a large bowl, add the pudding mix, whipped topping, milk, and whisk to combine; set aside.
- Add an even, flat layer of graham crackers to completely cover the bottom of the pan, breaking crackers as necessary for complete coverage.
- Add half the pudding mixture and spread evenly over graham crackers.
- Add another layer of graham crackers to cover completely.
- Add the remaining pudding mixture and spread evenly.
- Top with a final layer of graham crackers. Note – I was about half of one graham cracker short (about 2 square inches) and didn’t have complete coverage in one corner but it worked out okay; set aside.
- To a medium saucepan, add 1/2 cup chocolate chips, butter, sugar, milk, and heat over low heat to melt, whisking continuously.
- Add the vanilla and whisk to combine.
- Evenly pour the chocolate mixture over the top graham cracker layer, lightly smoothing with a spatula as necessary.
- Wait about 5 minutes for chocolate to cool slightly before evenly sprinkling with the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips (if you add them too soon, they’ll be prone to melting into the already melted chocolate).
- Cover pan and freeze for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Slice and serve. Store cake in the fridge or freezer based on preference (fridge for more of a melty texture or freezer for a more solid texture) for up to 5 days, noting crackers will become softer as time passes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 282Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 174mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 2gSugar: 24gProtein: 4g
More No-Bake Dessert Recipes:
Chocolate Candy Bar Icebox Cake — This icebox cake is made with a filling consisting of chocolate pudding, milk, and whipped topping. The filling goes in between layers of graham crackers and over time in the freezer, the filling softens the crackers so you’re left with a ‘cake-like’ texture.
Frozen Chocolate Pudding and Wafer Cake — Chocolate wafers, chocolate pudding, and M&M’s are so good together in this easy version of an icebox cake.
Easy No-Bake Tiramisu – FAST, no-bake, and infused with the richness of espresso, Kahlua, a luscious creamy filling, and dusted with cocoa powder!! Decadent and authentic but SO EASY!!
No-Bake Peanut Butter Silk Oreo Pie — The pie is easy, no-bake, and uses a storebought Oreo cookie crust. It’s full of rich peanut butter flavor and perfectly sweet and creamy from whipped topping.
No-Bake White Chocolate Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bars – EASY, no-bake bars that are soft, chewy, supremely GOOEY, spiked with extra marshmallows, and white chocolate!
S’mores Bars – SO EASY, NO-BAKE, just FOUR ingredients, and ready in FIVE minutes!! It doesn’t get any better than that and no campfire required! A hit with kids and adults at parties, potlucks, and picnics!
Old Fashioned Banana Pudding — The pudding reminds me of the banana pudding my grandma used to make. It’s sweet, creamy, and thick with notes of vanilla.