The ultimate summer no-bake dessert is this chocolatey, gooey, toasty, & creamy S'mores Icebox Cake. Layers of graham crackers, marshmallows creme, & chocolate pudding are the best way to bring the s'mores making indoors.
This S’mores Icebox Cake recipe is fantastic to enjoy all summer. It's perfect for potlucks at holiday cookouts, 4th of July/Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, birthdays, pool parties, & BBQs. But let's be honest, this refrigerated cool & dreamy dessert is good any time of year.
I admit, I love desserts that require no cooking or oven, like all the ones I share below. They are so easy & great to make when the weather is warm & it helps to keep your house cool. This recipe was inspired by my Homemade Snickers Bars which also have layers of chocolate & marshmallow nougat.
Why this Icebox Cake is Amazing
Here are all the reasons you, your family, & friends will love this S'mores Icebox Cake.
- No oven, stove, baking, or cooking
- Great for when the weather is hot to keep you and the house cool
- Only 20 minutes to prep
- A great make-ahead dessert recipe
- Feeds a crowd & great for parties
- It's a great cold dessert for something cool to eat in the summer
- Leftovers are even better
Ingredients for S’mores Icebox Cake
Most of the ingredients used in icebox desserts are ready-made items. The main concept behind an icebox cake is layering creaming filling between store-bought cookies or wafers.
For this recipe, the premise is the same & you may already have many of the items in your pantry already. All you need is 6 items & a few more if you want to make a deluxe version with tasty toppings.
- Graham Crackers - I use Nabisco Honey Maid since they taste great & fit almost perfectly in the 9x13 baking dish.
- Instant Chocolate Pudding - two small 3.9oz boxes of Jell-O instant pudding & pie filling is recommended for the chocolate layers.
- Milk - use only WHOLE milk that is COLD straight from the fridge.
- Cool Whip Topping - this needs to be thawed at room temperature.
- Marshmallow Fluff/Creme - the sticky sweet marshmallow cream layer is so good & one jar of fluff is all you need.
- Mini Marshmallows - for that squishy chewy vibe that makes S'mores irresistible.
- Hershey's Chocolate Bars - the classic ingredient makes a great topping
- Chocolate Sauce - optional for topping & extra richness
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to Make S’mores Icebox Cake
Don't wait for your camping trip to enjoy some S'mores. I assembled this recipe in my large 9x13 Pyrex baking dish. It is the perfect size for 15-20 servings, depending on how big you make these pieces. Trust me, you will want a big helping since it is so light, airy, & refreshing.
It is quick to make this refrigerator icebox cake. In less than 20 minutes it is assembled & in the fridge ready to chill. Like making a lasagna, layering all the yummy ingredients is most of the work. The hardest part is waiting for it to set but boy is it worth it!
Here are the main steps needed to prepare & layer the ingredients for this S'mores Icebox Cake recipe:
- Make the instant chocolate pudding
- Mix together the marshmallow cream layer
- Layer the graham crackers, marshmallows, & pudding
- Refrigerate for hours
- Top, toast, & decorate to serve
In a large bowl add the two pudding packets & the cold milk. Use a hand mixer to combine. Refrigerate to chill while prepping the remaining steps.
Add a layer of graham crackers to the bottom of the 9x13 baking dish. Cover the entire bottom & break crackers if needed so they fit snuggly as shown above.
In a large bowl combine the marshmallow fluff, thawed Cool-Whip, & ½ of the bag of mini marshmallows.
Layer the Icebox Cake
Now that the pudding and the marshmallow ingredients are mixed together, it is time to layer them with the store-bought graham cracker cookies.
Grab an offset spatula and all the bowl of pudding from the refrigerator. Once all the items are ready, time to assemble the cake.
Spoon ⅓ of the marshmallow & cream layer on top of the graham crackers. Using an offset spatula spread it out evenly to cover the surface.
Spoon ½ of the pudding on top of the marshmallow layer. Spread evenly so that it is covering as much of the bottom 2 layers as possible.
Repeat the steps so that there is another layer of graham crackers, ⅓ of the marshmallow mixture, & the remaining half of the pudding. For the top add a 3rd layer of graham crackers & the final bit of the marshmallow cream.
Sprinkle the top with the other ½ of the mini marshmallows. Place it in the refrigerator for 4 hours or longer.
How Long to Chill an Icebox Cake?
Most icebox cakes, like this one, need a minimum of 4 hours in the refrigerator. This allows the ingredients to be set so it slices easily & won't fall apart when served.
But most importantly, that time allows the flavors to come together. The cream will penetrate the cookies, like the graham crackers in this recipe. This will soften them and result in the cake-like texture you want to achieve.
I think this chocolate pudding icebox cake tastes better the longer it refrigerates. If you plan ahead, I recommend making this at least 8 hours before you want to serve it.
You can even make it the day before & let it come together overnight. This is ideal for when you want to serve this midday or at lunch.
Topping & Serving
After hours of chilling the icebox cake is ready to top, cut, & serve. I like to add more ingredients on top for extra deliciousness & to make it pretty. I want it to scream S'MORES by the time it is ready to serve. No one will have to wonder what is inside those yummy layers.
If you have a kitchen torch, like for making creme brulee, get it out! Sprinkle on the remaining mini marshmallows on top. Next, lightly toast them by carefully torching them so they turn brown, charred, & bubbly. It will add that roasted over-a-campfire s'mores flavor to the cake.
And if you want to take this cake to the next level, sprinkle on chopped-up Hershey's Chocolate Bar & drizzle with chocolate sauce if desired. If you have any broken pieces or crumbs from the graham crackers, sprinkle those on too! Go for it, the more the yummier.
MARSHMALLOW TIP: If you want a smoother icebox cake, use twice as much of the marshmallow fluff & Cool-Whip and omit the mini marshmallows. This will give you plenty of cream layers without the squishy lil marshmallows.
So when you crave the toasty marshmallow, chocolate, & graham goodness of summer campfires, you can have it any time of year.
The correct size baking dish, hand mixer, and an offset spatula are key for success with this recipe. Here are the tools & some ingredients you will need to make S'Mores Icebox Cake.
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Storing IceBox Cake
One of the best things about this dessert is that it stores well for days. It is a great make-ahead recipe that will be delicious straight out of the refrigerator for days.
Store the S'mores Icebox Cake in the pan it is made in for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Keep it covered and slice a serving when the desire hits. But let's be honest, there is no way this lasts 5 days!!!
I do not recommend freezing this cake as the chocolate and marshmallow layers may separate & become runny.
All of these great tips are shared in the post. But these are so good and important they are worth mentioning again so you don't miss them.
- Make sure the Cool Whip topping is at room temperature.
- Use COLD WHOLE MILK for the pudding layer.
- Use an offset spatula to cream smooth layers.
- Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight for even better results.
- Add fun toppings & toast up mini marshmallows using a kitchen torch.
The name is icebox cake (not refrigerator cake) because it was invented in the 1920s as a way to promote the icebox appliance to housewives & families. Nabisco chocolate wafers and layers of cream were one of the first to be originated & enjoyed.
It was very popular in the 30s & has returned to glory recently with trendy & even gourmet versions. It is also known as a ripple cake, zebra cake, refrigerator cake, graham cake, or log in other countries.
As written, using Nabisco Honey Maid graham crackers is not gluten-free. However, it is easy to make this S'mores Icebox Cake gluten-free. Simply use your favorite gluten-free graham crackers as a substitute for the regular ones. I recommend Pamela's Honey Grahams & use two boxes to have enough. Most instant pudding mixes & the other ingredients are wheat-free.
I have not tried this recipe using large-sized campfire marshmallows. The big pieces will not mix well with the cream layer. If that is all you have, you can maybe try cutting them into smaller pieces using scissors (may need to coat them with nonstick spray.
More No-Bake Dessert Recipes
Looking for other recipes like this? For whipped topping fans try my recipe for Fruit Salad with Cool Whip. Try these other refrigerated or no-bake desserts:
S’mores Icebox Cake
- 9x13 pan
- offset spatula
- kitchen torch optional
- 1 14-15 ounce box graham crackers
- 2 3.4 ounce boxes instant chocolate pudding mix
- 3 cups cold whole milk
- 7 ounce jar marshmallow fluff/creme
- 8 ounce tub Cool Whip defrosted at room temperature
- 10 ounce bag mini marshmallows
- 1 Hershey's Chocolate Bar optional - chopped or grated
- ½ cup Chocolate Sauce optional - drizzle
- In a large mixing bowl prepare the chocolate pudding. Dump both pudding mixes & 3 cups of cold milk into the bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, combine until thick. Set the pudding in the refrigerator to use later.
- In a medium bowl add the defrosted Cool Whip & the whole jar of the marshmallow creme. Add ½ of the mini marshmallows. Fold to evenly combine.
- To the bottom of the 9x13 baking dish, add a layer of graham crackers. Break some apart as needed to fit enough to cover the entire bottom of the pan.
- Spoon ⅓ of the marshmallow mixture on top of the graham crackers. Spread out so it is an even layer - it will be lumpy thanks to all the yummy mini marshmallows.
- Spoon half of the pudding on top of the marshmallow layer. Spread out evenly
- Add another layer of graham crackers on top of the chocolate pudding. Again make sure to have full coverage and break the cookies as needed.
- Repeat with another ⅓ layer of the rest of the marshmallow filling. Then top again with the remaining pudding.
- Place a final 3rd layer of graham crackers on the top to cover the pudding layer.
- Top with the remaining marshmallow layer. Sprinkle on the remaining mini marshmallows.
- Place the S'Mores Icebox Cake in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours.
- For the toppings before serving:Using a cooking torch, roast the marshmallows until toasty & brown to your liking. Sprinkle on chopped-up Hershey's Chocolate Bar & drizzle with chocolate sauce if desired. If you have any broken pieces or crumbs from the graham crackers, sprinkle those on too! Go for it, the more the yummier.
- To serve, cut into squares & place on plates. Enjoy!
- The icebox cake will store and be amazing for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.