Vegan Cheesecake (No tofu or cashews!)

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5 from 1331 votes
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This baked vegan cheesecake is made without cashews, nuts, and without tofu, but you’d never tell- It’s so rich, thick, and creamy! No fancy kitchen mixers needed. 

vegan cheesecake

It’s no secret that I love cheesecake. Although up until now, they’ve been of the no bake variety. We’ve had the classic no bake cheesecake and the chocolate version, but now? We have, what I consider, the BEST Vegan Cheesecake.

No seriously, I dare you to find a better baked cheesecake out there, especially one with such a simple ingredient list! Unlike many vegan desserts, this cheesecake is made with no dairy, no nuts, and definitely no tofu.

It’s thick, creamy, and rich, without being heavy at all. This vegan cheesecake recipe was actually inspired by the Cheesecake Factory’s New York Style cheesecake, which has the most delicious flavor (and also was the only vegan option available there!).

Not only is this cheesecake vegan, but it can easily be made gluten free and sugar free.

I made my non-vegan friends try it out, and no one could tell- it tastes like the real deal! 

vegan cheesecake no tofu

How to make a vegan cheesecake

The Ingredients

  • Dairy free cream cheese– Use a good quality vegan cream cheese, preferably one with minimal or no added water in it. This will ensure the cheesecake remains creamy once it has been baked. You want your cream cheese to be softened. 
  • Sugar– Either white sugar or unrefined white sugar is best. You can try to keep it sugar-free, by using erythritol or monk fruit sweetener. 
  • Corn starch– Allows the cheesecake to remain intact, and holds it all together. You can also use arrowroot starch. 
  • Dairy Free milk– I used unsweetened almond milk, but you can also use oat milk, coconut milk, etc. 
  • Lemon Juice– Reacts with the cream cheese and sugar to give the cheesecake a slight tang. You won’t taste the lemon at all. 
  • Vanilla Extract– Always add it to my baking! 
  • Pie Crust– Use your favorite homemade or store-bought 8-inch pie crust. I made a simple vegan graham cracker crust, but any will work. 

The Instructions

Start by preparing your pie crust, or using a store bought crust. Next, prepare your cheesecake filling mixture. Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese with sugar until smooth and creamy. Now, add the milk, cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Continue beating on low, until combined, before turning it up and beating on high, until smooth and creamy. Be sure to regularly scrape down the sides. Transfer the cheesecake filling into the pie crust and spread out the top, using a rubber spatula. Bake the cheesecake for 40-45 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and let cool in the cake pan completely. Once cool, place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight. 

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How to make a vegan graham cracker pie crust

As mentioned before, any pie crust will work. As I want the cheesecake to be the center of attention, I used the simple graham cracker crust.

To make– 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup vegan butter, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

In a large mixing bowl, add your ingredients and mix well, until combined. Transfer to an 8-inch pie plate. Refrigerate while you prepare the cheesecake mixture.

Cheesecake Tips

  • If you use a store bought crust, be sure it is vegan friendly and made without eggs. Also be sure it has no nuts, to keep it nut free.
  • You must regularly scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl when blending the cheesecake mixture. Sometimes, the cornstarch can stick to the sides, which will cause the filling to be less stable. Remember, the cornstarch is what thickens the cheesecake. 
  • If possible, refrigerate your cheesecake overnight. This gives it the best firm texture, especially when it comes to slicing the cheesecake.
  • To slice the cheesecake, use a slightly wet and extra sharp knife. 
  • While perfect on its own, feel free to dress up the cheesecake with fresh berries, whipped cream, or even serve it with some ice cream.
  • For a gluten free cheesecake, swap out the cornstarch or tapioca starch or arrowroot starch. 
  • For a sugar free cheesecake, replace the sugar with a sugar free alternative, like erythritol. 

Storing and Freezing Tips

To store: Store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator, either in a sealable container or covered with plastic wrap. Refrigerated cheesecake will keep well for up to 7 days. 

To freeze: Freeze individual slices of cheesecake in a freezer friendly container. They will freeze well for up to 6 months. 

best vegan cheesecake

More Vegan Desserts to make

dairy free cheesecake

Vegan Cheesecake (No tofu or nuts!)

5 from 1331 votes
This vegan cheesecake is truly the best vegan cheesecake recipe you'll ever make- No nuts, no dairy and no tofu needed, but it's so thick, rich and ultra creamy. Easy and simple ingredients and no fancy gadgets needed- It's easily made gluten free.
Servings: 12 Slices
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes

Video

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 8-inch pie crust Homemade or store bought * See notes
  • 16 oz vegan cream cheese room temperature ** See notes
  • 2/3 cup sugar *** See notes
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch can use tapioca starch or arrowroot starch
  • 3 tablespoon milk of choice I used almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • Prepare your pie crust in an 8-inch pan, and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
    cheesecake crust
  • In a large mixing bowl, add your softened cream cheese with sugar and beat on low, until smooth and creamy. While still on low, add in the cornstarch, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Continue beating on low until combined. Once combined, turn up to high and continue beating, until smooth.
    cheesecake filling
  • Transfer your cheesecake into the prepared pie crust. Bake the cheesecake for 40-45 minutes.
    dairy free cheesecake
  • Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Once cool, refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Notes

* I used a simple vegan graham cracker crust. See the post for ingredients and instructions. 
** Use a good quality vegan cream cheese like Tofutti or So delicious. 
*** White sugar or uncut sugar. To keep it sugar free, use erythritol or monk fruit sweetener. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1SliceCalories: 180kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 2gFat: 13gSodium: 127mgPotassium: 52mgVitamin A: 508IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 42mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 14g
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just a reminder that you should edit this recipe and remove erythritol from substitution notes since the FDA issued a warning about that sweetener saying that it has been linked to strokes and heart attacks. Monkfruit does work well, as does pure stevia extract, both of which are natural and safe. By the way, I haven’t tried the recipe yet, but will do so soon, and thanks!

      1. That is great! I love using allulose and BochaSweet in all my baking, but unfortunately it doesn’t crisp. Finding recipes that specifically use these sweeteners are very helpful rather than finding out that it doesn’t work out. I really appreciate this, Arman!

      2. 5 stars
        I have had to greatly alter the way I eat whwn I found out that I have several food sensitivities. The journey in finding foods I can prepare and eat has proven quite difficult. But to my great surprise, I was so excited when I found your recipes! Super big YAY!
        I do have a question about this recipe. I use arrowroot powder (starch) on occasion but not enough to completely know how to use it. Do I need to turn the arrowroot starch into a slurry first before adding it into this recipe?
        Thanks so much!

  2. 5 stars
    I was very skeptical about this recipe, because eating vegan teaches you to lower your expectations when it comes to trying to match a non vegan food. I love eating vegan, but the matching game is often a flop…I thank those who left comments about the weird consistency of the cake when it comes out of the oven. I would have totally dumped it in the trash otherwise! LOL! After a night in the fridge, the end result was absolutely amazing! The texture was my biggest surprise! So similar to the dairy version! I used vegan cream cheese from Trader Joe’s made of coconut cream. I used arrow root starch, and all came out great! Thanks so much! This will become my go to dessert to share!!

      1. 5 stars
        I’m happy to report the cheesecake came out beautiful. I definitely recommend to leave it in the fridge overnight. I use Violife cream cheese and it worked perfect. I only have one question regarding the taste, in my opinion doesn’t taste really cheesy maybe because I used a little bit more of cream cheese and vanilla and the rest of the ingredients because I had a 9 in baking pan instead of eight but I didn’t add more lemon. My husband absolutely loved it and I did too but for me tastes more like a custard than cheesy.The texture was excellent. This recipe is a keeper, so yes! Violife works as long as you eat the cheesecake next day.

    1. 5 stars
      Omg. I just to get it out of the oven is not even golden and is really loose but I use Violife cream cheese I’m just hoping to leave it overnight in the fridge and I will do the trick😢😱

  3. Hi, I just have a 6″ round pan with a removable bottom. Could I make this cheesecake in that size, and if so, how long would I bake it? I would be using half BochaSweet and half allulose, but powdered. Also, instead of using tapioca starch or cornstarch, is it possible to use bamboo fiber?
    Thank you.

  4. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! I used Philadelphia vegan cream cheese for the first time (it has only just become available here in Luxembourg). Pie crust with homemade digestive biscuits. I used lime juice and added lime zest. It looked a bit weird and wobbly just out of the oven but quite perfect once cold. Thank you for this recipe and Happy New Year!

  5. 5 stars
    Everyone one loved this cheesecake and didn’t realize it was vegan. The only change I made to the recipe was to use crushed Biscoff cookies for the crust. Making this again for the holidays.

  6. 5 stars
    This was so excellent! I’m allergic to gluten, dairy, and cane sugar, so finding a good recipe for some things is extremely difficult. I used cashew cream cheese and I paired this with an almond flour crust and it was delicious. Nice and creamy, perfect flavor, just beautiful. I will definitely be making it again.

  7. 5 stars
    This was amazing, I have tried multiple vegan cheese cake recipes. This one by far is the easiest, and soooo yummy. I have tried different plant base cream cheeses, I love Philadelphia Plant-based original. So creamy and taste so good. Thank you for this recipe.

  8. 5 stars
    Do not use the Simple Truth plant based cream cheese. It will boil over into a giant mess. The first time I made it I used a sunflower seed based cream cheese and it tuned out amazing.

  9. 5 stars
    Thanks for this delicious recipe! I didn’t think I would ever eat cheesecake since I have to avoid dairy! But So Delicious brand dairy free cream cheese, and this recipe have come together to make it possible, and I am thankful! I didn’t have cornstarch, but since arrowroot starch is listed as an alternative, that’s what I used. I have to admit that I thought it was going to be a flop, because it didn’t set up like a normal cheesecake in the oven, and looked like it never would! I left it in longer, thinking it was surely going to set up more, but it never got past the “pudding” look in the oven. I took it out, and let it cool completely on the counter, casting wary glances at it every now and then, and hoping that somehow it would turn out. It was less jiggly going into the fridge, and the next day, when I served it, it was like a normal cheesecake texture! My husband, who is a cheesecake lover, and who was enjoying his dairyfull cheesecake, tried a bite of mine, and declared he couldn’t tell the difference! My dairy free daughter says it’s almost too good to be true!

  10. I want to make this single serving cheesecake for an event. What would be cooking time and how will I know that my cheese cake is baked?

  11. Has anyone tried subbing the lemon juice in this recipe? My son can’t have citrus, as well as dairy/gluten/nuts. I know some recipes say you can sub with vinegar, but I don’t want to risk ruining such an expensive to make cheesecake 😅
    Thanks!

    1. 5 stars
      Usually the sub for lemon juice is white vinegar or cream of tartar. Maybe make a half or quarter batch for mini cheesecakes to see if it comes out well? so you don’t use up many ingredients. In my experience, both have worked well in other recipes, although I haven’t tried it with this one yet.

  12. I’m not vegan but am trying this for my brother’s birthday as requested (he’s vegan). Is there a vegan cream cheese brand that you would recommend? Thank you

  13. 5 stars
    So I made two of these cheesecakes simultaneously with two different brands (aka types of vegan cream cheese) The Toffuti regular cream cheese turned out perfect and delicious, hence the 5 stars. MMM, and I made a Chambord coulis for a topping!

    The second used Daiya strawberry flavored cream cheese. This is a tapioca starch based cheese. The filling tasted great and looked very similar to the Toffuti in texture, but a bit thinner in consistency. I added a touch more arrowroot. As I pulled the pies out after 45 minutes, I accidentally knock the oven rack and the Daiya pie spilled all over the oven! It was a translucent soupy like liquid! I put the pies in the fridge after cooling, I wanted to see if the Daiya pie would solidify. Nope, just the top layer did, but the inside at least thickened up a bit and turned back almost to the original pink. It tastes decent, but can’t serve it to anyone.

  14. 5 stars
    I made this once and am making it again tomorrow. I used Follow Your Heart Cream Cheese, Oat milk, Cornstarch, and Mi-Del pie crust, which is a gluten-free Graham-style pie crust. So my cheesecake was gluten-dairy free and excellent!!! Turned out great! I also have a gluten dairy free chocoalte chip cookie recipe that is better I think than reg chocolate chip cookies. I’ve made them both ways and prefer the “un-leaded” version.

  15. Is there any particular brand of dairy free cream cheese you use for this? Baking this for a friend but I don’t know which dairy free cream cheese will produce the right results!

  16. 5 stars
    This cheesecake came out super delicious! If I didn’t know it was vegan I wouldn’t have guessed. I have loads of fresh mangoes now. Any suggestions for adjustments to incorporate mango puree?? Thanks!

  17. My wife has been a vegan now for 14 years, and vegetarian for 27 years. One of the desserts she missed most was a cheesecake. She force herself to appreciate the Daiya frozen cheesecake but that didn’t satisfy that craving. We came across this recipe and I took her back 30 years!!! She really enjoyed everything about it! Thanks Arman, keep the recipes coming!

  18. Hello,I want to make these into mini cheesecakes. Do I have to change the bake time? Decrease or increase baking time?

  19. Can this recipe be used as a basic recipe and then make chocolate or any other flavour you might want?

  20. 5 stars
    I made these into mini cheesecakes today and they are delicious! I used a truvia sweetener blend and baked for 15 minutes. Will definitely make again!

  21. 5 stars
    Okay…this is the best recipe that I’ve tried hands down! I made mini cheesecakes and split the batter to make different flavors. SO GOOD! Thank you!

  22. Okay…this is the best recipe that I’ve tried hands down! I made mini cheesecakes and split the batter to make different flavors. SO GOOD! Thank you!

  23. 5 stars
    I made this for Christmas with all plant based, organic ingredients and it was delish. I used Kite Hill cream cheese and I added a pinch or two of black salt to the bottle of Just Eggs shook it up just before adding to the cream cheese. Thanks for sharing your wonderfully delicious recipes.

  24. I followed the recipe step by step and baked it for 45 minutes, I took it out and it was underdone. I’m putting the pie back I into the oven for 20 more minutes, any advise???????

  25. Hi!
    I made the cheesecake and baked it for 45 minutes and when I took it out the sides were cracked and the inside why still underdone.. do you know why this happened?

  26. 5 stars
    Would the bake time / recipe be the same if I were making this in a 6″ springform pan? Would I need to half the recipe?

  27. 5 stars
    I made this cheesecake twice and it turns out perfect. It tastes really good and has a great consistency. I love that it does not crack on top. I am not vegan, but I would eat this cheesecake instead of a regular one.

    1. 5 stars
      Both my kids are both GF and DF and very picky. This recipe was a grand slam! I used Kite Hill cream cheese and for the crust I used Gluten Free MI-DEL Ginger Snap cookies. Amazing flavor!

  28. So how can you make this with no cashew or tofu? Sorry this confuses me since the cream cheese is either made from tofu or cashews? Is there a brand that does not make it with these because I can’t find it.

      1. 5 stars
        Hi
        I am used to using 32oz cream cheese when making a cheesecake (my grandmother’s recipe). It’s the tall type cheesecake. How long would I cook this for if I doubled the recipe and would it them require a water bath to help even the cooking?
        I have made this recipe and it was delicious BTW.
        Thanks
        Julie

  29. Is there a substitute for vegan cream cheese that can be used for this recipe, like silken tofu for example? And would there be any other changes if substituted?

  30. I don’t need it to be vegan – Would you modify the recipe at all to use regular dairy fat free cream cheese? Looks delicious 😋

    1. Hi Vee! Yes, standard cream cheese can be used- I wouldn’t recommend fat free or reduced fat, as it can dry out.

      1. 5 stars
        5 Stars for how easy is to make this Vegan cheesecake, is in the oven. I only had a 9 inch springform pan and I used violife cream cheese I will post the results I have not seen anybody using VioLife cream cheese but it’s all I had. Also I made extra graham crackers crust with coconut oil instead of butter and did not put cinnamon I use containers of 7.05 Oz of cream cheese and added a little bit more of vanilla extract and cornstarch we’ll see. Any input from anyone? I’ve been a vegan for almost 19 years and vegetarian before that I love to cook but not a fan of baking😃 so the easy the recipe the happier it makes me 😊