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This New York-style vegan cheesecake is extra thick, creamy, and just as tangy as the classic. It’s made with a vegan graham cracker crust, a nut-free filling, and topped with a spoonful of sweet strawberry sauce. All you need is 10 simple ingredients.
We’ve added a few cheesecake recipes to the blog (Cheesecake Brownies and No-bake Pumpkin Chai Cheesecake), but we were missing a classic NY-style baked cheesecake. This version is not only DELICIOUS, but it’s also our easiest cheesecake recipe yet! No high-speed blenders or prep work is required.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Vegan graham crackers – It is true that most graham crackers are made with honey, but vegan graham crackers do exist! Nabisco Grahams Original Graham Crackers are widely available in stores and online. Or, you can make your own homemade vegan graham crackers.
- Vegan butter – Melted vegan butter is mixed with graham crackers to make the perfect, buttery cheesecake crust. If needed, substitute the butter with a neutral oil and a ¼ teaspoon of sea salt.
- Vegan cream cheese – In order to make a vegan cheesecake without cashews, we opted for store-bought Tofutti’s vegan cream cheese. It’s tangy, rich, and makes a thick New York cheesecake filling. Kite Hill Cream Cheese is another good option, but note that it does contain nuts.
- Sugar – Granulated sugar is used to sweeten both the cheesecake filling and the strawberry cheesecake sauce. We do not recommend substituting a liquid sweetener.
- Cornstarch & Oat Milk – A cornstarch slurry is used to stabilize the cheesecake filling and help it set properly. We mixed our cornstarch with unsweetened oat milk. Opt for any unsweetened milk of your choice.
- Lemon juice – Used to balance the sweetness in the strawberry sauce and add tanginess to the cheesecake without dairy. We highly recommend freshly squeezed lemon juice over bottled.
- Vanilla Extract – Optional, but adds depth of flavor to the sweet cheesecake filling.
- Strawberries – We used fresh strawberries, but you could also use frozen, or another type of berry like blueberries, blackberries, or a mixture of berries.
- Salt – Essential to balancing the sweetness! Don’t skip this.
- Electric handheld mixers
- 9” or 10” Springform pan
- 9×13 baking dish (or similar in size)
- Small saucepan
How to Make Vegan Cheesecake without Cashews
This vegan cheesecake recipe has three components: the vegan graham cracker crust, the filling, and the strawberry sauce for the topping.
Make the Graham Cracker Crust
- Process the graham crackers and vegan butter. Pulse the graham crackers and vegan butter together in a food processor until the mixture resembles wet sand.
- Transfer the crust mixture to a springform pan. Press the crust into the bottom of a springform pan and about 1” up the sides of the pan until even.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Blind bake the crust for 10 minutes to help prevent the crust from becoming soggy. Set aside while you make the cheesecake filling.
Make the Cheesecake
- Mix together the cream cheese and sugar. In a large bowl, beat the vegan cream cheese and granulated sugar together with an electric hand mixer until well combined and creamy. Alternatively, you could do this in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Make a cornstarch slurry. In a separate, small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the oat milk until completely dissolved.
- Add the remaining ingredients to cream cheese and sugar. Pour this cornstarch mixture into the larger bowl with the cream cheese and sugar along with the oat milk, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Mix again until combined.
- Pour the filling over the crust. Spread until smooth using a spatula or the back of a spoon.
- Prepare a water bath. Fill a 9×13” (or similar-sized) baking dish with boiling water and place this on the bottom rack of the oven.
- Bake. Place the cheesecake on the center rack of the oven and bake for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, turn the heat off but leave the cheesecake in the oven for another 45 minutes.
- Chill. Once the cheesecake is ready, allow it to chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
Strawberry Topping Instructions
- Simmer the strawberries. Add the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt to a saucepan over medium heat. Allow the mixture to bubble, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. During this time, the juices will release, and the sauce will thicken.
- Allow to cool. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Keep this sauce stored in the fridge until ready to slice and serve.
Although serving cheesecake year-round is always appropriate, it’s extra special around the holidays. Serve this rich and creamy vegan dessert with any of our 50+ Easy Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes or our 50 Favorite Vegan Christmas Recipes.
Drastic temperature changes can cause your cheesecake to crack. Avoid opening the oven door while the cheesecake is baking to prevent this.
Yes, lightly greasing the bottom and sides of the springform pan will help prevent sticking and encourage the cheesecake to come out smoothly when the springform is removed. You can do this with vegan butter or coconut oil.
Although inserting a toothpick into the center of baked desserts is a popular trick for testing their doneness, this doesn’t work for cheesecakes. Instead, when the cheesecake is ready, it will be mostly set and slightly wobbly in the center. As it cools, it will continue to firm up.
More Baked Vegan Dessert Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Classic Vegan Pumpkin Pie – If you’re looking for the perfect fall dessert, this is it!
- Vegan Apple Pie with Coconut Oil Crust – Another classic fall dessert that will be a winner.
- Date Sweetened Vegan Pumpkin Pie – A refined sugar-free pumpkin pie with all the flavor.
- Vegan Apple Galette – A delicious dessert packed with fall flavors.
- No Bake Pumpkin Chai Cheesecake – A cheesecake inspired by autumn with so much flavor.
- Vegan Cheesecake Brownies – Combining the delicious flavors of cheesecake and brownies into one delicious dessert.