This no-bake vegan cheesecake is easy enough to make anytime and special enough for holidays and parties. With a rich and creamy filling and a buttery graham cracker crust that's ready in minutes. This basic vegan cheesecake recipe is totally versatile, too! Include sprinkles for a funfetti birthday cheesecake, or skip the sprinkles and add spices, citrus zest, and serve with fresh berries and fruit sauce.
I made the first test batch of this cheesecake recipe last month for my birthday, hence the idea to use sprinkles and create a celebratory birthday cheesecake.
I didn't use enough vegan butter in the crust, though, which led to a crumbled mess of graham cracker after slicing. But it was only the two of us celebrating, anyway, and we're not the types to be bothered by a bit of mess. We broke out our spoons and enjoyed every bite!
The Perfect No-Bake Vegan Cheesecake
Now this easy vegan cheesecake recipe is dialed in and ready for sharing! If you're a fan of easy-yet-special vegan desserts that taste AMAZING enough to serve the picky eaters in your life, you're going to love this one.
This dairy-free no-bake cheesecake is:
- decadently creamy with a truly authentic cream cheese flavor
- versatile - try it without sprinkles and with spices, citrus zest, or fruit toppings
- perfect for prepping in advance of a party
- and essentially foolproof!
Similar to my Vegan Cranberry Cheesecake, the base of this recipe is made with a combination of raw cashews, vegan cream cheese, and coconut cream.
This combination works 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:
For the graham cracker crust:
- vegan graham crackers - Nabisco Original grahams are widely available and are accidentally vegan.
- organic cane sugar
- vegan butter - use butter sticks, not whipped varieties, like Earth Balance or Country Crock's plant-based butter
For the filling:
- raw cashews - see notes below about soaking in water, or get fancy with a soak in champagne! Keep reading for instructions.
- vegan cream cheese - any unflavored vegan cream cheese you like will work here; for cheesecakes I usually use Tofutti
- coconut cream (see photo below) - this is the solid portion in a can of full-fat coconut milk. Plan ahead and 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 curry or soup.
- fresh lemon juice
- pure vanilla
- organic cane sugar
- non-dairy milk - helps with blending if the cashews weren't soaked
- optional vegan sprinkles - I use these vegan sprinkles by Sweetapolita.
See recipe card below for amounts and full instructions.
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.
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.
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, and you're using sprinkles, refrigerate the filling until cool so it doesn't melt the colors.
For the best results I recommend making the recipe exactly as written. Unfortunately, this isn't the type of recipe that's open to a lot of experimentation with the base ingredients.
It's possible you could use a different nut or seed instead of cashews, but keep in mind that nuts with skins, like hazelnuts or almonds, will alter the color of the cheesecake. Blanched almonds are an option.
Raw sunflower seeds are also a contender, though I haven't had a chance to test this yet.
For a gluten free vegan cheesecake, feel free to use a different crust recipe. Unfortunately, I don't think vegan gluten-free graham crackers exist! Those darn gluten-free brands so often use eggs for binding.
An oat-based crust like this one over at HungerThirstPlay seems like the best option. To make it vegan simply use vegan butter and maple syrup instead of honey.
Option: Champagne-Soaked Cashews
This is totally 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! How fun is that?
Fresh fruit like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries are always beautiful and delicious with cheesecake. Make a simple fruit sauce on the stovetop by following the basic blueberry sauce instructions in this Vegan Trifle recipe.
Or go the chocolate route with an easy vegan chocolate sauce and chocolate chips or shavings.
And finally, a dollop of So Delicious non-dairy Coco Whip is always great.
Storing and Making in Advance
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.
The cheesecake is fine at room temperature for an hour or so, depending on how cold it was before serving. Otherwise, keep it refrigerated.
It can be frozen overnight, but if you use sprinkles there's a chance their color may fade. After extended time in the freezer the cheesecake needs 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 time for prep plus 3 to 4 hours in the freezer just before serving.
More Classic Vegan Desserts:
I hope you love this easy vegan cheesecake. If you try the recipe leave a comment and star rating below to let us know!
Easy Vegan Cheesecake (No-Bake Filling)
For the crust:
- 11 sheets vegan graham crackers (about 2 cups crumbs) - *Nabisco original grahams are accidentally vegan
- 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
- 6 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
For the filling:
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews - See Note 1
- 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 Note 2
- ⅔ cup organic cane sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 16 ounces vegan cream cheese, cold
- approx ⅓ cup vegan sprinkles, optional - 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 not quite smooth. 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. If using sprinkles, refrigerate the filling until cool, 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on how warm the mixture got during blending (heat melts the colors in the sprinkles).
- If using sprinkles, scatter about 1 tablespoon 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. If not using sprinkles or any other additions simply pour all of the filling into the crust and smooth the top.
- 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.
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.