No-Bake Vegan Cheesecake
This no-bake vegan cheesecake is made with just a few simple, wholesome ingredients and has the most delicious zesty lemon flavour and smooth, creamy texture.
Whether it’s a special occasion or just a warm summer evening, this lemon cheesecake is always a hit. I like to stash individual slices in the freezer so we can pull them as needed to enjoy anytime. You can even make it it in a square baking dish and slice into squares for a smaller serving size suitable for everyday.
Though always impressive, this recipe is quite easy to make. You’ll just need to blend up the maple pecan crust and creamy lemon filling, layer them in a cheesecake pain and then the hardest part, wait for it to set!
- Dietary Features: Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free.
- Easy to make with you don’t have to turn the oven on!
- Just 7 simple ingredients needed.
- Perfectly sweet and zesty lemon flavour with a light, smooth texture.
- Wonderful summer dessert recipe. Try it topped with a fresh strawberry or blueberry glaze!
Complete list of ingredients with amounts and full instructions is located in the recipe card below. This section covers ingredient and substitution considerations.
- Pecans: Pecans are slightly sweet so they work well for the crust but you can also use raw almonds or walnuts.
- Maple Syrup: Sweetens and binds the crust. An alternative for the crust is 1/2 cup of soft, moist pitted dates (soak dates in hot water for 15 minutes before use if dry). Be sure to use the maple syrup in the filling though, or you can substitute it with agave or honey (not vegan). If you don’t want to use maple syrup in the crust, there are some alternative date-based crust options included below.
- Raw Cashews: Use plain cashews with no added oil or salt. You’ll need to soak these for at least 6 hours but preferably overnight. See below for a “quick soak” method you can use in a pinch.
- Coconut Cream: You can use store-bought coconut cream or make your own using 2 cans of coconut milk.
- Lemon: You’ll need 1/3 cup lemon juice, which might be 2-4 lemons depending on how juicy they are. I like to use a citrus squeezer to get the most juice out of them. You’ll also need lemon zest (from the peel) from the lemons.
- Soy Lecithin: Totally optional but lends to a creamier final consistency. Liquid or powder works.
Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Before You Start: Soak the cashews for at least 6 hours up to overnight. Overnight is best for the smoothest, creamiest cheesecake. If you can’t find store-bought coconut cream, you’ll also want to place 2 cans of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight.
Step 1: Add the crust ingredients to a food processor and blend into a dough you can press between your fingers.
Step 2: Press the dough firmly into a 8-9-inch springform pan.
Take a few minutes to really press it firmly into the pan, making sure the top is smooth and even. You can keep it a flat layer or press it up the sides if you want the crust to wrap around the edges of the cheesecake.
Quick Tip: If you don’t have a spring form pan you can use any 8 or 9-inch baking dish or deep pie tin lined with parchment paper. If using a square baking dish, line with parchment paper so it sticks out over the edges. That way you’ll easily be able to lift the cheesecake out and cut into squares.
Step 3: Add all of the filling ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy. Pour the mixture over the crust and smooth with spatula if needed.
Quick Tip: If you don’t have a citrus planer use a fine grater or slice off a few chunks of peel and finely chop with a knife.
Freeze the cheesecake for at least 2 hours then thaw for 20-30 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
Soy lecithin is a food additive used as an emulsifier, meaning it encourages ingredients to remain combined mixture rather than separate (think oil and water). It also helps to thicken and stabilize.
It’s optional and I’ve made many no-bake cheesecakes without it but you do get a smoother, creamier result, more like a traditional baked cheesecake if you use it.
You can purchase a small bag of soy lecithin here or liquid lecithin here if you’d like to try it.
The filling might not come out quite as smooth but you can still make the cheescake as long as your blender is somewhat powerful and you soak the cashews overnight.
Canned coconut cream is fairly common in grocery stores but if you can’t find any, place 2 cans of good quality full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight. When you’re ready to make the cake, open the cans and carefully scoop the thick coconut cream off the top, leaving the coconut water behind. You should get about 1/2 cup of coconut cream per can.
Reserve the coconut water for smoothies, curries or freeze in an ice cube tray to add to smoothies.
Yes, I would highly recommend some kind of soak for the cashews for best results. If you can soak them overnight, great. If not, you can do a “quick soak”.
If you have a couple hours, place the cashews in a bowl and pour boiling water over them and let them soak for 2 hours. If you don’t have time, boil the cashews in a small pot of water for 10 minutes then straining and proceeding with the recipe.
- I have a number of raw cheesecake recipes you can explore for different crust options. This mango cheesecake has a date, almond and coconut crust or you could try the walnut date crust from my pumpkin cheesecake.
- A drizzle of this vegan caramel sauce would be yummy on top!
- Cheesecake must be stored in the freezer.
- Store whole or in slices so you can pull individual servings as needed.
- Store in an airtight freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
- Thaw briefly at room temperature or for a 1-2 hours in the fridge before serving.
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For the Crust
- 2 cups of pecans (200 g)
- 4 tablespoons of maple syrup (70 g, or 1/2 cup soft and moist pitted dates)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cheesecake
- Soak the cashews for at least 6 hours up to overnight in a bowl of water. When you’re ready to make the cake drain and rinse.
- Add the ingredients for the crust to a food processor and blend into a moldable dough.
- Prepare a 8 or 9-inch springform pan and press the dough into the pan using your hands until you have a flat, uniform surface. I like to make one layer for the crust but you can also press the dough up the sides of the pan for a thinner crust that wraps around the sides of the cheesecake.
- Add the drained cashews to a high-speed blender with the rest of the cheesecake ingredients and blend into a very smooth and creamy consistency.
- Pour the cream over the crust in the pan and smooth using a spatula if needed.
- Place the cake in the freezer for 2 hours up to overnight.
- Let thaw briefly at room temperature or in the fridge for 30-60 minutes before slicing and serving.
If you can’t find store-bought coconut cream, place 2 cans of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight. When you’re ready to make the cheesecake, open the cans and carefully scoop the thick coconut cream off the top. Each can should produce roughly 1/2 cup of coconut cream. The water left behind can be reserved for smoothies, curries and soups.
If you don’t have a citrus planer to make the lemon zest, a fine grater works or you can slice off a few chunks of lemon peel and mince with a knife.
Cheesecake must be stored in the freezer. Store in slices or whole in an airtight container for up to 3 months. If freezing for an extended period, consider wrapping in foil or saran to prevent freezer burn. If cake is frozen, thaw briefly at room temperature or in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving.
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 587
- Sugar: 21 g
- Sodium: 15 mg
- Fat: 43 g
- Carbohydrates: 33 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Protein: 9 g
Keywords: no-bake cheesecake, no-bake lemon cheesecake, raw vegan cheesecake