A celebratory funfetti vegan cheesecake that's easy enough to make anytime, with a smooth and creamy, no-bake filling and buttery graham cracker crust. Or omit the sprinkles and add your favorite toppings for a versatile cheesecake recipe perfect for any occasion!
I made the first test batch of this cheesecake recipe last month for my birthday. I didn't use enough butter in the crust, though, which led to a crumbled mess after slicing. But it was only the two of us celebrating, and we're not the types to be bothered by a failed crust. We broke out our spoons and enjoyed every bite.
Now this easy vegan cheesecake recipe is dialed in and ready for sharing! If you're a fan of simple-to-prepare desserts that also happen to be really versatile I think you'll love it. This cheesecake is:
- decadently creamy
- versatile - try it without sprinkles and with spices, citrus zest, or fruit toppings
- perfect for making in advance
- bright and cheerful thanks to colorful vegan sprinkles!
- and basically foolproof
Similar to my Cranberry Cheesecake, the base of this recipe is made with a combination of raw cashews, vegan cream cheese, and coconut cream.
I love this particular combination because each ingredient contributes to the overall texture and flavor without any one ingredient overpowering the others.
Here's a list of everything you'll need to make this vegan cheesecake:
- 11 sheets of vegan graham crackers. Finding graham crackers that don't contain honey can be difficult. Nabisco Original grahams are widely available and are accidentally vegan.
- 2 Tbsp organic cane sugar
- 6 Tbsp vegan butter
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews. See notes below about soaking in water, or get fancy with a soak in champagne! Keep reading for instructions.
- 2 containers vegan cream cheese (16 oz.)
- 1 cup solid coconut cream (see photo below). Place a can of full-fat coconut milk in the refrigerator 1 to 2 days in advance. Open the can and scoop out ONLY the solid portion. Reserve the liquid for a stir fry or soup.
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp vanilla
- ⅔ cup organic cane sugar
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- up to 4 Tbsp non-dairy milk. This helps with blending if the cashews weren't soaked.
- ¼ to ⅓ cup vegan sprinkles. I use these vegan sprinkles made by Sweetapolita.
Step By Step Instructions
- Use a food processor to turn the graham crackers into crumbs. Add the sugar and melted butter, and pulse to combine.
- Press the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan. A large ramekin works well to press the crust in evenly. Use your fingers to compact the crust around the edges. Bake the crust at 350 degrees for about 9 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Now blend the filling: combine the cashews and liquid ingredients in a blender. Blend until chunky and mostly broken down. Add the sugar, salt, and coconut cream, and blend until smooth.
- Add the cream cheese, and blend again. Refrigerate until cool.
- Once the filling is cool, add about 1 tablespoon sprinkles onto the cooled crust. Pour half of the cheesecake filling onto the sprinkles.
- Scatter another heaping tablespoon of sprinkles, then pour in the rest of the filling. Decorate the top of the cheesecake with as many sprinkles as you like. Now freeze the cheesecake, uncovered, for 2 to 4 hours before slicing.
Adding the ingredients to the blender exactly as described helps prevent prolonged blending, which would warm up the filling. So blend it just enough to make sure it's 100% creamy. If the mixture does get warm, refrigerate it until cool.
Making sure the cheesecake filling is cool is important so the sprinkles don't melt.
Use a good quality, non-stick 9-inch springform pan. There's no need to oil the pan. The butter prevents the crust from sticking, and the sides of the cheesecake will easily separate from the pan once it has been properly frozen/chilled.
Make sure you use only the solid portion of a chilled can of coconut milk, and measure out 1 cup. If it's a little bit less than 1 cup that's okay.
Freeze the cheesecake for at least 2 hours, preferably 3 to 4, before slicing and serving. To test whether the cheesecake is cold enough, lightly press the center with a finger. The filling should feel very firm.
For serving, the cheesecake is fine at room temperature for about an hour but otherwise should be kept refrigerated.
Option: Champagne-Soaked Cashews
This is completely optional and doesn't significantly alter the flavor of the cheesecake, but it can be a fun twist, especially if you're making the cheesecake for someone who loves champagne!
To do it:
Place raw cashews in a large, shallow bowl. Cover with about 1 cup sparkling wine or champagne (find vegan options on Barnivore.com), and soak for 1 hour. Refrigerate ¼ to ⅓ cup of the remaining champagne (do whatever you want with the rest). 😉
Drain the cashews, and replace the milk called for in the recipe below with the reserved champagne. Now you have a no-bake champagne cheesecake!
More Vegan Desserts:
I hope you love this easy vegan cheesecake. If you try the recipe be sure to comment below and let us know!
Easy Vegan Birthday Cheesecake
For the crust:
- 11 sheets vegan graham crackers (about 2 cups crumbs) - *Nabisco original grahams don't contain honey.
- 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
- 6 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
For the filling:
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews - See Notes re: soaking.
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- up to ¼ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk or other non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup solid coconut cream - See Notes.
- ⅔ cup organic cane sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 16 ounces vegan cream cheese, cold
- approx ⅓ cup vegan sprinkles - I use Sweetapolita's vegan options.
- Place a can of full-fat coconut milk in the refrigerator at least 24 hours in advance. Use a good quality brand (I like the Whole Foods 365 coconut milk). This will ensure the solid coconut cream separates from the liquid.
- If not using a high-speed blender, soak the cashews in water overnight or quick-soak them in hot water for about an hour. Option: see instructions above for champagne-soaked cashews.
Make the crust:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 C).
- In a large food processor pulse graham crackers into crumbs. Add sugar and melted butter, and pulse several times to combine. Press mixture into a 9-inch non-stick springform pan. The flat bottom of a glass or ramekin works nicely to tamp down the crust. Use your fingers to press in the crumbs around the edges.
- Bake for about 9 minutes, then set aside to cool. If you have time, once the crust has cooled, refrigerate until ready to fill.
Blend the filling:
- If you soaked the cashews, drain and pat dry. Next, blend the cashews with the liquid ingredients (lemon juice, vanilla, and ¼ cup milk, if using) until incorporated but still chunky. Once the cashews are mostly broken down, add the coconut cream, sugar, and salt, and blend until smooth. Stop as needed to scrape down the sides of the blender, and use a tamper if your blender comes with one.
- Add the cream cheese and blend just until smooth. Refrigerate the filling until cool, 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on how warm the mixture got during blending.
- Scatter about 1 tablespoon of sprinkles onto the crust. Pour half of the cheesecake filling on top. Add another heaping tablespoon of sprinkles, then pour in the rest of the filling. Smooth the top with a spoon or silicone spatula. Decorate the cheesecake with as many sprinkles as you like.
- Place cheesecake in freezer, uncovered, for at least 2 hours, preferably 3 to 4. Carefully release the sides of the springform pan. Transfer cheesecake to a serving platter, slice, and serve. See storage tips below.
SoakingIf not using a high-speed blender, soak the cashews first, either overnight or for 1 hour in hot water. Then drain, rinse, and pat dry. Or get fancy with a soak in champagne! See tips in post, just above the recipe card.
Coconut CreamIt's very important to only use the solid cream portion of coconut milk. To ensure that it separates from the liquid part, refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk for 1 to 2 days in advance. Reserve the liquid to use in another recipe, like a soup or this easy red lentil curry.
StorageThe cheesecake is fine at room temperature for up to 1 hour, depending on exactly how cold it was before serving. Otherwise, keep the cheesecake refrigerated. The cheesecake can be frozen overnight, however there's a slight chance the color of the sprinkles will fade. It will also need several hours in the refrigerator to soften/thaw before serving. If making for a special event it's best to prepare the cheesecake about 5 hours in advance. This allows for 3 to 4 hours in the freezer just before serving.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com. For the most accurate nutrition information we recommend calculating it yourself to reflect the specific ingredients used in your dish.