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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Boston Cream Icebox Cake
Boston cream pie meets an eclair in this no-bake Boston Cream Icebox Cake! Vanilla pudding, whipped topping, graham crackers, and lots of chocolate!
- 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.
I really should’ve reviewed this a long time ago! This is a big favorite amongst my extended family. My nieces and I love putting it together in the summers at family gatherings, and it’s even been a hot ticket item on Christmas Eve. Some family members love adding freshly sliced bananas to their cake. :) This time around my niece has asked for it for her birthday cake. It’s definitely one I keep on hand, because it’s so well liked. Thank you!
Thanks for the 5 star review and it’s great to hear that this is a family favorite cake, from Xmas Eve to a birthday cake! That’s so nice and glad it’s a big hit!
This Boston Cream is delicious and easy. I might try it with chocolate pudding as well.
Thanks for the 5 star review and I hope you can give it a try with chocolate pudding, too!
You can make pudding with soymilk you just have to use less than what the box says to use
I loved this and so did my kids! We had fun making it too. The only thing I did different was I didn’t realize I used 2 6 oz boxes of instant pudding until I dumped it in, then since it was waaaay too sweet I added another cup of milk. It was very, very good! Very rich and dense and sweet, which went perfect with the graham crackers and semi-sweet chocolate.
Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad it was great and that you were able to think on your feet after the extra pudding got dumped in. Good job!
I made this recipe using homemade whip cream and it was amazing! I will be making it again this summer.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad it worked great with homemade whipped cream and you’ll make it again!
I mean no offense, but I am distressed by your insistence on high-sugar pudding mix. I’m diabetic, and I speak for myself and at least some others as well. I’ve made an almost identical dessert for years using sugar-free ingredients. It works just fine.
Well that’s great that sugar-free works. It’s not that I am opposed to low sugar options. The issue is that sometimes in recipes the aspartame or whatever is used as the sugar substitute does not work well in the oven, does not allow things to set up properly if it’s a no-bake dessert, etc. There are reasons I call for the things I do – which is to avoid the average person from a baking failure. Sometimes SF options work; sometimes they don’t. But I don’t want someone making something and then being mad at me that I didn’t say not to use SF if they have a flop. Trust me, I get enough emails already!
Hi! I made this on Sunday and my family LOVED it! It tastes delish and is the easiest thing ever to make! I used shaved chocolate on top rather than chocolate chips, just for looks. I also used extra creamy cool whip. Freezing it makes it easy to cut into beautiful, neat squares but you have to let it thaw to have that creamy eclair custard texture.
I’m glad your family loved it and that it was so easy for you to make, too!
I do not have room in my freezer for this. Can I just put it in the fridge until it sets?
I never have omitted freezing it entirely so not sure what to say. I hope the fridge is cold enough for it to set up for you.
This looks amazing and is the perfect summer dessert! I need to try this asap!
It really is so good!
I used a pint of heavy cream, whipped it, and added the pudding as per the instructions. It was a huge hit at work
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you!
What kind of texture would you get if the cream was left unshipped? I don’t own a mixer.
Ummixed maybe? Unshipped…not sure.
I whisked this dessert entirely by hand.
Hahaha, sorry. I meant “unwhipped”. Stupid autocorrect made it unshipped again. Instant pudding and Cool Whip are hard to find where I live so I’m planning to make cooked pudding and use regular all-purpose cream but since I don’t own a mixer, I can’t whip the cream. So I’m wondering how using liquid cream will affect the texture of the final cake.
I really can’t say. Good luck with your dessert and let me know how it goes for you with what you used.
I live in South Africa, but don’t know what kind of whipped topping you get. Can I use ordinary cream and whip that into the chocolate pudding.
Thanks for the delicious recipes.
I don’t know if you can get Cool Whip or something like that, but that’s what I used. I don’t know how the chocolate pudding will set up with real whipped cream because whipped cream tends to deflate in a way that Cool Whip doesn’t. You can give it a try though – I just can’t speak to the results since I haven’t tried it that way.
It turns out fine with real whipped cream and it does not have any of the Cool Whip chemicals that way. You can whip up the whipped cream with the vanilla instant pudding at the same time. It holds well either frozen or refrigerated. This is a lovely dessert and my mom’s favorite! My mom is a big fan of Cool Whip but I still use the real whipping cream. Lol. Thanks for the idea.
Glad it worked out great for you with scratch whipped cream and that you loved it!
This is the most perfect and delicious summertime treat!!! yum yum yuuuum!
Looks delicious! I have shortbread cookies on hand, could those be substituted for the graham crackers?
I haven’t tried it that way but if you do, LMK how it goes!
Oh this is a perfect summer dessert…I always love how perfectly square your pieces are..I’m making this today since I have everything I need.
Awesome! LMK what you think of it!
You know I’m totally in love with this!!
Oh my word. This looks amazing! I’ve never been a big Boston Cream fan, but I think that’s all about to change. Thanks Averie.
This is definitely one of the best icebox cake flavors ever! And the way you get those super-neat cuts…amazing. Most photos of icebox cakes show a much messier result!
I kept it super frozen until the moment of truth…tried to avoid some of the mess for the photos but the messier it looks, the better it tastes :)
This looks light but dreamy, and best of all – – cold!! Boston cream is something I tend to forget about unless I come across an actual cake or pie in the grocery store ( a rare sighting ). I can see how the icebox cake wheels could get turning–lots of fun possibilities for cookies/graham crackers and pudding.
This was a huge hit with my family, even more so than traditional Boston Cream!
I made your recipe for “BOSTON CREAM ICEBOX CAKE” yesterday. I served it with three other homemade deserts; a lemonade pie, NY cheesecake, and a white buttermilk cake. Unanimously, your cake won the prize! Everyone LOVED it! Even those who don’t normally eat dessert were getting seconds. They loved the fact that the pudding was frozen. The men were raving! Thank you for making my dinner party a huge hit! Can’t wait to make it again.
Glad to hear my recipe won the prize and was the most loved! Great to hear! I am glad even the guys were raving. Great that you will make it again too! :)