In New York, we love our bagels with a heavy schmear of cream cheese, so it’s no wonder that New York-style cheesecake uses a lot of cream cheese. It’s known for being rich, dense, and slightly tangy, much like a true New Yorker.
This vegan cheesecake recipe is inspired by our Bubbe’s classic cheesecake, which she would make when she came to visit us for holidays or special occasions. It was made with love and a sprinkle of sass and always tasted silky smooth, perfectly tangy, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Our vegan cheesecake captures the richness of our Bubbe’s cheesecake with a buttery graham cracker crust and decadent cream cheese filling. It uses only simple ingredients—no nuts or blender needed! The next time you need a dessert that wows without the dairy, look no further than vegan cheesecake.
Ingredients for a Classic Vegan Cheesecake
- Graham crackers: A simple buttery graham cracker crust is a must. While most graham crackers have honey in them, Nabisco Graham Crackers are naturally vegan!
- Vegan cream cheese: There are plenty of cream cheese brands out there, but for this recipe we like Tofutti. It’s tofu-based, giving it a thick and creamy texture. Trader Joe’s vegan cream cheese has a similar texture and will also work in this recipe.
- Coconut cream: With a higher fat content than regular coconut milk, coconut cream adds fluffiness and richness to the cheesecake.
- Granulated sugar: To ensure your sugar is 100% vegan, look for granulated sugar labeled as “organic” or “vegan.”
- Coconut oil: The melted coconut oil in the filling helps boost the creaminess of the cheesecake while binding everything together.
- Cornstarch: The cornstarch thickens the creamy filling. You can also substitute with arrowroot powder.
- Lemon juice: When the lemon juice combines with the cream cheese and sugar, it creates the subtle tanginess that mimics sour cream in a classic cheesecake.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Vegan Cheesecake
Many of the tricks to great cheesecake still apply for vegan cheesecake:
- The cream cheese should be softened to room temperature to ensure an ultra-creamy and smooth filling.
- Gently tap the pan a few times on the counter before baking to prevent air bubbles.
- Refrigerate the baked cheesecake overnight for the best possible texture. It firms up nicely and the flavors meld together.
- For perfect slices, run your knife under warm water between each cut.
This vegan cheesecake pairs well with fresh berries to balance out the richness. It would also be delicious with mixed berry chia jam. For a simple presentation, add a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a dollop of coconut whipped cream.
Vegan Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
- Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vegan Marshmallows
- Vegan Pumpkin Pie
- Vegan Brownies
- Vegan Chocolate Pudding
Preheat the oven and prepare the pan:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Lightly grease the sides of a 9 or 10-inch springform pan using vegan butter or oil. Cut out a circular piece of parchment paper to line the bottom.
Prepare the crust:
Add the graham cracker crumbs, melted vegan butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt to a medium bowl. Mix until fully combined.
Firmly press the crust evenly into the bottom of the springform pan, allowing an edge about an inch high to form on the sides.
Make the filling:
Add the softened cream cheese to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the coconut cream and sugar and beat together until well combined.
Add the cornstarch, melted coconut oil, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides partway through, about 1 minute.
Bake the cheesecake:
Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Tap the pan gently a few times on the counter to help remove any air bubbles. Bake until the cheesecake is slightly loose in the center and starting to brown around the edges, 45 to 55 minutes (depending on the size of your pan). Note that the cheesecake will set up quite a bit in the fridge.
Let cool on a cooling rack for 20 minutes and then transfer to the fridge for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight.
Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake and remove the sides of the springform pan. Top with coconut cream and fresh fruit or jam, if desired. Serve.
Store in the fridge for up to 5 days covered in plastic wrap or in an airtight container.
Love the recipe? Leave us stars and a comment below!