This incredible vegan cheesecake is a must try for cheesecake lovers. A perfectly, simple vegan vanilla cheesecake is full of flavor, creamy texture, and a great base for any toppings.
Is cheesecake a cake or a pie? That is the question that we so often think about, but does it really matter? Your first bite of this incredible vegan cheesecake will have you wondering why you never attempted this before.
There are very few ingredients and the process to whip it together is simple; however, it does take time and patience.
The one thing that you don’t want to do is rush this process or skip any steps. We spent a lot of time on creating this recipe to something that we thought would be easy and accessible for most people to make while still creating the perfect flavor, texture, and taste.
Cheesecake dates back to 5th century BC Ancient Greece, so it’s nothing new. Recipes have been past down for centuries now and everyone has their own subtle difference.
When making a vegan version, the issue arises with the base of many cream cheeses being so oil heavy that it’s hard to get the same texture. We highly encourage you to follow all the steps in this recipe for perfection
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INCREDIBLE VEGAN CHEESECAKE INGREDIENTS:
Below are notes about the ingredients before we get into the full recipe located lower in this post on how to make this dairy free cheesecake:
- vegan graham crackers – finding vegan graham crackers can be a challenge; however, Nabisco original are vegan friendly, or if you have time you can make our homemade vegan graham cracker recipe
- vegan sugar – Cane sugar is what we are using. If you want to learn more about why your sugar may not be vegan, you can learn more by clicking on the link.
- salt – to help the flavors pop and really bring out the flavors
- nutmeg – this is just a subtle addition to the crust; however, it’s really great and we highly recommend
- vegan butter – We are using vegan butter for richness and to help combine our ingredients for the crust. It’s easy to use and delicious
- vegan cream cheese – Our favorite vegan cream cheese is Wayfare and after testing many times, it’s our favorite to make vegan cheesecake with also
- vegan sour cream – sour cream is traditionally added to many cheesecakes for tang and texture and we are adding it here today
- cornstarch – this is helping bind our ingredients together while keeping the recipe smooth and not flavored by any other ingredient like flax
- vanilla – cheesecake and vanilla goes hand in hand but in order to get a superior flavor, vanilla powder is our favorite way to get the vanilla. Vanilla bean is more accessible and that’s why we list that in the ingredients first.
- oat flour – again to help with binding and smoothness, we really like the addition of oat flour in our version of vegan cheesecake; however, it’s completely optional.
SUBSTITUTIONS AND VARIATIONS:
- vegan graham crackers – sub for hard cookies like vanilla wafers or digestive biscuits
- vegan sugar – brown sugar could be used in the crust and you could do half cane and half brown for the actual cheesecake. We have not tried, but things like coconut sugar and date sugar should also work
- vegan cream cheese – While Wayfare is out favorite, we would next recommend Tofutti and then Violife. We love the flavor of the Violife, however, it’s heavily oil based and because of that can affect the texture of the cheesecake if not followed precisely. The Wayfare is bean based and the Tofutti tofu based which really seem to help the texture and binding process.
- vegan sour cream – you can sub the sour cream with non-dairy vanilla yogurt or coconut cream (thick part of canned coconut milk)
- cornstarch – sub with tapioca starch if needed
- vanilla – while we recommend vanilla powder or vanilla bean first, vanilla extract can also be used
- oat flour – we prefer oat for the texture and taste, however, you can use All Purpose Flour, almond flour or tapioca starch). We recommend that you measure out 32g for any substitution since weight can vary for these other ones.
- lemon juice – this ingredient is optional because we only recommend adding if you aren’t using sour cream. If using the sour cream it already has the tang; however, if you use yogurt or coconut milk, add the lemon juice.
How do I make the best vegan cheesecake recipe?
- Follow the instructions pretty please. Baking is a science, especially when making a dairy free/vegan cheesecake. Every step has a purpose to ensure the perfect vegan cheesecake.
- Spoon the dry ingredients (like flour) into the measuring cups for accurate measuring, then use a butter knife to evenly level the flour. This ensures the right amount of flour has been added.
- We highly recommend sifting the ingredients into the bowl. This loosens the ingredients and make sure there are no clumps leading to the perfect vegan cheesecake.
- Make sure to line with parchment paper and grease your pans. No one likes a cheesecake that can’t come out of the pan. It’s one of the most frustrating things and doing these two things will help.
- Do not, do not, do not be tempted to open the oven during the hour that it is in the oven but the oven is turned off.
- When the cheesecake is removed from the oven, place on a cooling rack to allow the cakes to cool evenly to room temperature. Do not be tempted to rush this process or throw it in the fridge early.
- Let the cheesecake cool as instructed. DO NOT RUSH. Let it cool completely.
How do I make this vegan cheesecake faster?
Everyone wants the best vegan cheesecake but doesn’t want to take the whole day to make and let it cool. Unfortunately, after much testing, we have found that this is currently the best way for us to recommend making.
If you want a faster cheesecake, we recommend making one of our no bake cheesecake recipes below:
What is Andrew’s favorite vegan cheesecake version?
In the video (shown below), we mention that there’s a favorite Andrew version. This is the exact version and brands that we found to create an epic vegan cheesecake.
- Use Wayfare cream cheese for the base of the cheesecake batter. It’s our favorite!
- In the batter, to do 1 cup vegan cane sugar and ½ cup brown sugar. The molasses in the brown sugar make the cheesecake richer and adds a deeper flavor.
- Instead of sour cream, use Yoplait Oui Non-Dairy Vanilla Yogurt – it’s smooth, no weird artificial taste, and adds even more vanilla flavor to the cheesecake. Since using this, we do add the lemon juice.
- We love using vanilla powder – it uses a superior flavor and is worth ever penny. It does add specks to your cheesecake though.
- Add 2 pinches of salt (¼ teaspoon) instead of ⅛ teaspoon to bring out the flavors even more.
- Add in the oat flour. It provides for better binding, more smoothness and a better thickness.
Frequently Asked Questions:
It’s almost impossible to find both vegan and gluten free graham crackers, so we’d recommend making our homemade vegan graham cracker recipe and subbing out a 1:1 flour blend. Or find a hard gluten free vegan cookie to use and sub for that.
For vegan butter, use a soy free vegan butter like Flora or Earth Balance soy free.
For the cream cheese – see our vegan cream cheese review to find one that is safe for your allergens.
For the sour cream – see our vegan sour cream review to find one that is safe for your allergens.
Vegan cheesecake should be covered and stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Vegan cheese, when stored properly, will last for 7 days in the fridge.
Yes! We recommend covering a baking sheet with wax paper and then placed slices individually on the paper. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freezer the slices. This allows you to pull out individual pieces as your need. Then more to an air tight freezer container for up to 3 months.
What other vegan dessert ideas could I make?
If you love this vegan dessert, you will love some of our other ideas! Want even more inspiration? Check out all our vegan dessert ideas.
- Vegan Lemon Meringue Pie
- The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake
- Vegan Caramel Apple Pie
- No Bake Vegan Chocolate Fudge
- Traditional Vegan Apple Pie
- Vegan Blueberry Pie
- Vegan Pecan Pie
- Easy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vegan Brownies
- No Bake Vegan Smores Bars with Dark Chocolate Mousse
- Vegan Chocolate Cookies and Cream Milkshake
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Incredible Vegan Cheesecake
For the Crust
- 7 oz (198g) vegan graham crackers (or hard cookies like vanilla wafers or digestive biscuits)
- 2 tablespoon vegan cane sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
- 5 tablespoon unsalted vegan butter, melted
For the Cheesecake Batter
- 32 oz vegan cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups vegan cane sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup vegan sour cream (*see post for substitutions)
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla powder, or 2 teaspoon extract)
- ¼ cup oat flour, Recommended but Optional (*see post for substitutions)
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice* (omit if using sour cream but add if using a substitution)
- 1 quart boiling water
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Grease a 10-inch (25 cm) springform pan with nonstick spray. Line the inside edges of the pan with parchment paper.
For the Crust
- In a food processor, combine the graham crackers, sugar, salt, and nutmeg (if using). Pulse together until fine crumbs. And melted vegan butter. Pulse to combine until the texture is similar too wet sand.
- Pour into prepared pan and press the graham cracker crumbs into the prepared pan, using a measuring cup or the bottom of a glass to compact in an even layer.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.
For the Batter
- In a large bowl, using a hand or stand mixer, combine the vegan cream cheese, sugar and the salt. Blend until well-combined and fluffy, about 3 – 5 minutes. No lumps should remain.
- Add the vegan sour cream, sift in the cornstarch and beat to incorporate for about 1 minute or until cornstarch is dissolved.
- Sift in your flour (if using), scrape out and add your vanilla bean and mix again to combine.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture into cooled crust and wrap the outside of the springform pan tightly with foil. Place the pan in a large baking dish (or roasting dish).
- Place the dish in the oven and fill the dish with 1 inch (2 cm) of boiling water. Close oven door and let bake for 60-80 mins*.
- Without opening the oven door, turn off the heat and let the cheesecake rest for 1 hour.
- Remove from oven and let it rest for 2-3 hours until it gets to room temperature. Then cover and place in refrigerator overnight (minimum 6 hours).
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So I make cheesecakes and I used to be vegan. I decided to try my hand at making a “Vegan” cheesecake, because I’ve had vegan cheesecakes and they typically don’t taste good. 😒 I made my vegan cheesecake pretty much the exact same way I make my regular cheesecakes, just using vegan products of course. I prepped and mixed and put it in the oven. 330 degrees for 75 min, turn off the oven and open oven door and left it alone until it cools! I have to say it did not look promising. It was still very wet and shaky when I turned off the stove.
Let me tell you what vegan products I used. Violfe Original Cream Cheese (I wanted to use Wayfare but it’s not sold in California). Nabisco Graham Crackers (yes they’re vegan) Country Crock Plant Butter (for the crust) Silk Dairy~Free Heavy Cream and Organics Tofu~Silken.
Now I did not watch any “How To” videos on how to make vegan cheesecakes until after I figured that I’d failed (I still might have, haven’t tasted it yet) l let it cool and stuck it in the fridge. At this time it seemed to have solidified some and was no longer wet.
What amazed me was that when I watched your YouTube video was the similarities in how we made our cheesecakes. Especially since this is my first vegan cheesecake and I did not look for direction ahead of time. 🤔😊 I meant to use flour, but forgot to because I typically don’t use in my cheesecakes. But I do and did use cornstarch. Also no lemon.
I am hoping since watching your video that my vegan cheesecake turns out well, even if I have to make adjustments to the next one. Thanks for the inspiration to keep trying to get it right!
You got this!
How is this possible? Everything you do is incredible, so I’m ashamed to have been so skeptical but my expectations for this cheesecake where low. Then BAM, my world changed and I’m a believer once again! It is absolute perfection, thank you for all your hard work to help make vegan living both easy and delicious. I would absolutely serve this to my dairy-loving friends, it’s just sooooo good!
Yay! Love when that unexpected surprise comes and blows you away!
So to clarify for safety reasons, this cheesecake is gluten free, dairy free, and nut free?
Hi Aaron, we cannot guarantee that because we don’t know what products you are using. It definitely can be, but you will need to ensure the graham crackers, vegan butter, cream cheese and sour cream you are using do not contain any of those ingredients that you cannot have
You’re not lying when you call this cheesecake “incredible.” It was so good! I used 1 cup of cane sugar and a 1/2 cup of brown (like Andrew’s version) and I definitely tasted the caramely richness. I also used cinnamon in the crust instead of the nutmeg. It’s a really good recipe!
You are the Master in the Vegan Category of Recipes. Hands Down
Can’t wait to try this. Many many years ago before going vegan I used to make the best cheesecakes supposedly at least that’s what I was told LOL and I make some no-bake vegan ones now I’m really looking forward to trying this recipe 👍 thanks for the recipe ☮️ I’ll.let you guys know how it goes
Hope you enjoyed it
hard work pays off . Made this cake/pie for sis’ baby shower. Absolutely wonderful
So happy to hear that you enjoyed the cake pie HAHA. Thanks for leaving a review!