Philadelphia Ready-To-Eat Cheesecake Filling

Is the convenience worth the fat?

Philadelphia Cheesecake Filling
Fiona Haynes

There's a product that is often next to the cream cheese in the dairy aisle of most grocery stores. It offers the ultimate in convenience desserts: Philadelphia’s Heavenly Classic Ready-To-Eat Cheesecake Filling. And by "ready-to-eat" they mean no baking is required. The package suggests that a consumer should simply buy a ready-made 9-inch pie shell, pour in the ready-to-eat cheesecake filling, add some "Baker’s chocolate, fresh berries, or Oreo crumbles," and voila! Your cheesecake is ready to go. The result is a super-quick, no-bake cheesecake. But is the convenience worth it?

Saturated Fat Nightmare

Cheesecake is hardly central to a low-fat diet, but a little indulgence from time to time may keep you on the dietary straight and narrow. So is Philadelphia's Ready-To-Eat Cheesecake Filling a product you should consider for fulfilling those secret cheesecake urges? For most people, the answer is probably not.

The fat content is staggering. Without the crust, one-eighth of the filling delivers 17 grams of total fat (26 percent of daily value), 10 grams of saturated fat (50 percent of daily value), plus 240 calories with 150 of them coming from fat.

If those numbers seem shockingly high, remember that's just the filling! Add in the crust, and those daily values increase to 42 percent for total fat and 65 percent for saturated fat. This assumes you use a regular Honey Maid brand graham cracker crust. If you happen to choose a Keebler crust, the fat content, including trans fats, is much higher. You can, of course, buy a reduced-fat graham crust, but given the fat content of the filling, you are not going to save a whole lot of fat and calories overall. 

Low-Fat Taste at a High-Fat Price

All this fat is crammed into a 370-calorie dessert (including the crust). If you can eat your remaining daily 1200-1600 calories without consuming any more fat, then go ahead and enjoy your slice of cheesecake. It's more likely that the average person would rather use any designated treat calories eating a thin slice of New York cheesecake or having a scoop of my favorite premium brand of ice cream.

Plainly said, the taste and texture of the cheesecake filling don't justify the high-fat content. At least with a slice of real cheesecake or a scoop of ice cream, you can understand why they are so high in fat: they taste rich and are dense and creamy. But this ready-to-eat cheesecake filling is too light and tastes artificially smooth. It's more characteristic of many low-fat products, which this clearly is not. There is simply not enough body and taste to justify ingesting all of those fat calories to satisfy a cheesecake craving.

So, no matter how appealing a no-bake cheesecake may be, using Philadelphia's Heavenly Classic Ready-To-Eat Cheesecake Filling is likely to disappoint a cheesecake lover. It's almost always better you go the traditional route or use reduced-fat or fat-free cream cheese for a satisfying yet guiltless dessert.