Vegan Cheesecake

This luscious vegan cheesecake nixes the dairy in favor of a filling made with coconut cream, tofu and cashews or macadamia nuts instead of the traditional eggs and cream. Coconut oil and nuts make for a rich-tasting and crunchy crust, so nobody will miss the butter.

Prep Time:
35 mins
Additional Time:
5 hrs 25 mins
Total Time:
6 hrs
12 slices

If you think it's impossible to make a rich-tasting cheesecake without dairy products, you need to try our delicious Vegan Cheesecake recipe. It's made with a luscious blend of coconut cream, tofu, and cashew or macadamia nuts (instead of eggs, cream cheese and sour cream), plus the crispy crust is made with pecans and oat flour rather than graham crackers. And, great news if you're entertaining guests with dietary restrictions: the cake is not just vegan, it's also gluten-free!

Tips for Making Vegan Cheesecake

pouring water from kettle into bowl of nuts

1. Soak the Nuts for the Cheesecake Filling

The first step in making this cheesecake is to soak the nuts for the filling—soaking the nuts softens them and makes for a creamier filling. For this cheesecake, you can use cashews or macadamia nuts. When I was developing this recipe, we tried both and all the testers agreed that both were delicious. Cashews are the cheaper option and create the smoothest texture, but macadamias give this coconut cream-based dessert a luxurious tropical feel.

pressing crust into pan

2. Make the Pecan-Oat Crust

While the nuts are soaking, make the nut crust by using a food processor to pulse toasted pecans, oat flour, melted coconut oil, maple syrup and a little salt. Be sure to only pulse until the mixture comes together—otherwise you'll end up making nut butter instead of a crust.

Ingredient note: Oat flour, which is made from finely milled whole oats, is a good source of dietary fiber and whole grains. Look for it with other whole-grain flours or near gluten-free flours. Or make your own, by grinding old-fashioned rolled oats in a blender or food processor until they're the texture of flour. Just be sure to buy oats or oat flour that are labeled gluten-free: oats themselves are gluten-free but are often cross-contaminated with wheat or barley.

After you've prepared the crust, press it into a springform pan that's been coated with cooking spray (you don't want your crust to stick!) and then bake it until it's set but not browned. You can move on to making your filling while the crust is baking and cooling.

filling in blender

3. Make the Filling and Bake the Cake

The filling for our cheesecake is super-easy to make: Simply drain the nuts, then whirl them together with a few other ingredients—including coconut cream and silken tofu—in a food processor or blender until very smooth. Be sure to buy silken tofu, not firmer varieties, as this type of tofu makes for the silkiest filling (as its name would suggest). Lemon zest gives the cake a wonderful bright flavor. Don't forget the salt in the mixture either—salt is a flavor enhancer that's just as important in sweet dishes as savory ones. Pour the mixture into your prepared crust and bake the cake until the edges look very slightly dry and the center appears only slightly jiggly but not liquidy.

4. Finish and Serve

After baking the cake, be sure to let it cool for at least three hours for the best texture and flavor. To serve, run a sharp knife along the edge of the pan—pressing against the pan, not the cake—to loosen the pan sides before removing. Decorate the cake with your favorite fruit, such as strawberries; some lemon zest is a nice touch too. Then all that's left is to slice, serve and enjoy!

vegan cheesecake with strawberries and citrus zest

Check Your Wallet: Traditional Cheesecake vs. Vegan Cheesecake

For a look at the price difference between traditional and vegan cheesecake, we turned to vegan celebrity chef Chloe Coscarelli (aka Chef Chloe on Instagram and YouTube). Coscarelli admits that the vegan version of cheesecake does cost slightly more to make than the traditional version: The vegan cake costs $16.05 to make, while a traditional cheesecake clocks in at about $12.40 (that's about 30 cents more per slice for the vegan version). "This is because we're using premium ingredients like pecans, coconut cream, maple syrup and cashews to get that delicious, creamy taste you expect from a cheesecake," Coscarelli explains, adding that it's worth every penny.

Environmental Impact: Traditional Cheesecake vs. Vegan Cheesecake

In terms of the environmental impact, our vegan cheesecake has a softer footprint than traditional cheesecake, which is full of dairy ingredients, including butter. Butter ranks third among 10 common climate-damaging foods, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, falling just behind beef and lamb. It takes a whopping 21 pounds of milk to make just 1 pound of butter.

Nutritional Comparison: Traditional Cheesecake vs. Vegan Cheesecake

As for nutritional differences, our vegan cheesecake has 174 fewer calories than traditional cheesecake per serving. It also has 2 grams of fiber per serving, compared to 0 grams in traditional cheesecake, and is 10 grams lower in saturated fat and about 300 milligrams lower in sodium.

Vegan cheesecake is a wonderful dessert year-round—you can vary the toppings according to the season, using berries in the spring and summer and citrus fruits in the winter. It would be delicious any time of year with a drizzle of chocolate sauce or some decorative chocolate curls, too.



  • 1 ½ cups raw cashews or macadamia nuts

  • 8 ounces silken tofu

  • 1 cup coconut cream

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • teaspoon salt


  • 1 cup pecans, toasted

  • 1 cup gluten-free oat flour (see Note)

  • cup melted coconut oil

  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. To prepare nuts for filling: Place cashews (or macadamias) in a heatproof medium bowl. Cover with boiling water by 1 inch and let soak for 1 hour.

  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.

  3. To prepare crust: Process pecans in a food processor until finely ground. Add oat flour, coconut oil, maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon salt; pulse until just combined. Firmly press into the bottom of the prepared pan.

  4. Bake the crust until set but not browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

  5. Drain the cashews (or macadamias) and transfer to a blender or food processor. Add tofu, coconut cream, cornstarch, vanilla, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt. Blend until very smooth. Scrape into the crust. Place the cheesecake on a rimmed baking sheet.

  6. Bake the cheesecake until the edges look very slightly dry and the center appears only slightly jiggly but not liquidy, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack until room temperature, about 1 hour. Refrigerate, uncovered, until very cold, at least 3 hours.

  7. To serve, run a sharp knife along the edge to loosen the pan sides and remove.



Ingredient Note: People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should use oats and oat products, such as oat flour, that are labeled "gluten-free" as oats are often cross-contaminated with wheat and barley.

Learn more about how to make this vegan cheesecake.

To make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Equipment: 9-inch springform pan

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

337 Calories
23g Fat
29g Carbs
6g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 337
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 29g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 18g
Added Sugars 16g 32%
Protein 6g 11%
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 11g 54%
Vitamin A 5IU 0%
Vitamin C 1mg 1%
Folate 6mcg 1%
Sodium 134mg 6%
Calcium 22mg 2%
Iron 2mg 8%
Magnesium 53mg 13%
Potassium 168mg 4%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

Related Articles