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This no-bake vegan cheesecake is the best! It's made with no-nuts, no-blending, no-cooking, and goes straight into the refrigerator to set. It's easy to make, smooth, fluffy, rich and creamy and it cuts perfectly.
We serve it with a fresh berries sauce but you can use any of your favourite toppings. You can even make it in small glass jars.
What to expect: rich, creamy, cheesy, soft, and fluffy, with a slight tanginess to it. It cuts very well and neatly. The texture is light and airy. You can make it round or in small jars. It's a refreshing treat.
While this is not an Italian recipe (on this blog we do vegan Italian recipes), in Italy we have adopted and we love no-bake cheesecake like if it were our own recipe. For this reason I decided to make one.
Ps. If you like cheese desserts, you'll love our vegan ricotta and chocolate chips pie.
We tested this no-bake vegan cheesecake recipe several times to come up with the simplest possible instructions and with the best texture, while maximising flavour and minimising points of failure.
Also, we wanted to make a vegan cheesecake that doesn't require a blender, cashews, or baking, but that still had an easy-to-cut consistency to it.
We even tried adding agar agar (a plant-based gelatine) several times, to get a firmer cake, but the procedure is just too messy and complicated, and in the end the cheesecake without agar agar had a better, firmer texture to it.
The most important tip to get the best no-bake, no-nuts, vegan cheesecake is to let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours (but better overnight) to allow the ingredients to set, and then to freeze it for just 30 minutes before serving.
Ingredients & Substitutions
For the base
- Cookies: pick your favourite vegan cookies. I use some pretty basic vegan digestives, but you can go for vegan grahams crackers, chocolate biscuits, oat biscuits, or even oreo shells. There are no rules, except that the biscuits should be dry and crunchy.
- Vegan butter or margarine: you can replace vegan butter with margarine. I use one that is made with a canola oil and cocoa butter base. But any will work.
- Salt: this is optional. I like to add a pinch of salt to the base, to lift its flavour. But that's entirely up to you.
For the vegan cheese filling
- Vegan cream cheese: pick a cream cheese whose flavour you really like. This is the most important thing. In the US some of the best ones are Tofutti and Traders Joe.
- Vegan whipping cream: there are several ones on the market depending where you live, if you are not sure have a look at this guide for vegan whipping creams. I use one that is already sweetened.
If you cannot find vegan whipping cream, you can replace it with coconut cream, or with the hard part of refrigerated full-fat coconut milk.
- Powdered sugar: if your whipping cream is NOT sweetened, then double our powdered sugar quantities.
- Vanilla: you can use vanilla extract or the seeds of a real vanilla bean.
- Lemon juice: this is optional, but we add it to give the cheesecake some tanginess to it.
For the topping
- Our favourite topping for this cake is a red berry sauce and mixed berries because they look beautiful, and because they make the cheesecake lighter and fresh. You can also top it with vegan nutella, or with vegan lemon curd.
You can either make this cake in a springform pan (the one that opens on the side) or in small glass jars, or even small glasses. Either way, it will look and taste delicious. We used a springform pan that is 9 inch or 23 cm in diameter.
You will also need an electric hand mixer to whip up the cream.
How to scale this recipe?
This recipe is easy to scale. We calculated the scaling number for you. Pick the springform pan that you want to use for your cake, then multiply all the ingredients in our recipe box by the scaling number in this table.
|Springform pan size||Scaling Number|
|4 inch (10 cm)||0.22|
|5 inch (13 cm)||0.31|
|6 inch (15 cm)||0.44|
|7 inch (18 cm)||0.60|
|8 inch (20 cm)||0.79|
|9 inch (23 cm)||1|
|10 inch (24 - 25 cm)||1.23|
Mistakes I made
- Not enough cooling: the first time I made this no-bake vegan cheesecake I only left it in the refrigerator for 4 hours, but that is not enough. Then I tried 6 hours, and that is not enough.
The best result comes from 8 hours or longer. It really makes a difference when you slice it and eat it, so really try to make this cake the day before you want to eat it.
- Too long in the freezer: the second time I made this no-cashew cheesecake I tried putting it in the freezer to see what would happen. Basically, up to 30 minutes in the freezer is great. The cheesecake gets a bit firmer, and it's easier to cut, while still being soft and fluffy.
But don't leave it for longer than 30 minutes, as ice starts to form, and the cake won't be as smooth and fluffy.
- Blending the cookies: don't blend the cookies too finely. It's best if there are some bigger crumbs. They add a nice texture and crunch to the vegan cheesecake.
- Melted butter: you need to melt the vegan butter, but you also need to let it cool down before adding it to the crushed cookies. If you add it hot, the cookies will get mushy.
- Cooling time: as I mentioned above, it's best to let this no-bake no-cashew cheesecake set in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Then, put it in the freezer for 30 minutes just before serving it.
- Don't mix too much: it's important to preserve air while you mix the vegan cream cheese with the whipped cream. So, don't over-mix it. Whisk first with the electric hand mixer for just a minute, but then use a silicone spatula and gently mix moving the spatula from the bottom to the top of the bowl, like it you were incorporating air.
You can store this no-bake vegan cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The longer it stays in the refrigerator, the soggier the cookie base gets.
You can also freeze this cheesecake for up to 2 months. To freeze, first let it set overnight in the refrigerator. Let thaw in the refrigerator for 4 hours before eating it.
Some people like to eat it frozen, like a cream cheese ice cream.
No-bake vegan cheesecake
For the base
- 230 g (8 oz) vegan grahams crackers or oreos, digestives, or other vegan cookies
- 120 g (4 oz) vegan butter or margarine
For the cheese filling
- 500 g (16 oz) vegan cream cheese Tofutti, Trader Joe's, or other
- 400 g (14 oz) vegan whipping cream or canned coconut cream
- 60 g (4 tbsp) powder sugar double that if you use unsweetened whipping cream or unsweetened coconut cream.
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ lemon, the juice
For the topping
- 250 g (9 oz) raspberries or strawberries fresh or frozen
- 2 - 3 tbsp sugar
- ½ lemon, the juice
- 250 g (9 oz) mixed berries fresh (optional)
- 10 mint leaves (optional)
For the vegan cheese cake
- Take the vegan cream cheese out of the refrigerator and set aside. Then melt the vegan butter and set aside to cool down.Now crush or blend the vegan cookies not too finely, then add them to the lukewarm melted butter and mix with a spoon.Transfer the crushed cookies into a springform pan that you previously lined with parchment paper. Press them down with a spoon to make a solid base. Just the base, no sides. Put in the freezer while you prepare the filling.NB: If you choose to make it in small jars or glasses, my advice is not to press the crushed cookies. Just add them to the bottom of the jars.
- In a bowl, whip the cream. When the cream starts to whip, add powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Keep whipping till you have a very stiff whipped cream.
- Add the cream cheese to the whipped cream. Whisk with your electric hand mixer to incorporate. Do not whisk too much. Just a minute.
- Take a silicon spatula and fold the whipped cream and the cream cheese together, making sure they are well incorporated. Be gentle, you want to keep them airy. Check the bottom of the bowl, there might be unmixed parts there.
- Transfer the mix on top of the crushed cookie base. Level the top with the back of a spoon. Let rest in the refrigerator for a minimum of 8 hours, but better overnight closer to 12 hours.
For the red berry syrup
- In a small pot add fresh raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Mash the berries with a fork or with a hand blender, then pass them through a sieve if you want a smooth red berry syrup. Let cool down.
Building the cheesecake
- When the cheesecake has set, remove the side of the springform pan. If it's sticky you can run a knife through the edges of the cake. Transfer onto a serving plate.
- Pour the red berry syrup on top of the cheesecake and spread it evenly with the back of a spoon. Then add fresh berries on top and put the cheesecake back in the refrigerator.
- For best slicing results, put the cheesecake in the freezer 30 minutes before serving. Do not keep in the freezer for more than 30 minutes.
- If you want to do it in glasses, or small jars, then add the crushed cookies at the bottom without pressing them down, then add the cheesecake filling on top, and set in the refrigerator. Garnish with fresh fruit before serving.
- I use sweetened whipping cream. If yours is unsweetened, or if you use coconut cream, then you need to double the powdered sugar measurements.
- For best results, use a vegan cream that is made for whipping. If you cannot find it, the you can replace it with coconut cream. If you cannot find coconut cream, then you can use regular full-fat coconut milk, but only use the solid part, not the watery part.
- If you don't have a spring form pan, you can use small glass jars, or small glasses.
- If you don't like our topping, feel free to use any other topping of your choice.
- Note that the US measurements are not an exact conversion to the metric system. This is done on purpose to adjust US measurements to US packaging sizes.
Let us know in the comment below if you try this no-bake, no-cashew, no-blender vegan cheesecake at home, or take a picture and tag us on Instagram @italiaplantbased.