Best Dairy-free Cheesecake

Leave the dairy out with this Dairy-Free Cheesecake recipe, made with a surprise ingredient! You won’t believe how creamy and delicious this cheesecake is until you make it yourself. There are a couple more steps than usual, but it’s so completely worth it. I’ve made this recipe several times and everyone loves it! Be ready for requests for seconds!

A slice of dairy free cheesecake sits on a white plate with berry sauce drizzled over the top.

I have made a lot of vegan cheesecakes in my tenure as a secular vegan. I love to reiterate my version of veganism. It’s a passionate and compassionate attitude toward my vegan life. Because I love being vegan, but I don’t embrace a rigidness about my diet. I get more into this in my post on 10 Ways to be Vegan.

So, one of my favorite vegan cheesecakes is my vegan New York Style Cheesecake. I love this one so much! In fact, I morphed it into my Vegan Oreo Cheesecake.

But then it dawned on me, there may be folks that just have issues with dairy. They’re not necessary vegan, but they’d love to have a dairy-free cheesecake. What’s the difference? I skipped the vegan cream cheese in this recipe. I realize that may be just splitting hairs, but it works in my mind.

How to Make Dairy-free Cheesecake

Let’s go into the process I use to make this delicious cheesecake. It begins with a vegan meringue. I go into the steps of making vegan meringue on another post. The surprise ingredient I use to make a dairy-free meringue? Chickpeas.

I know. I know. It sounds strange. But you have to trust me on this. It works!

A mixing bowl shows how fluffy vegan meringue can be.

I created a meringue to make this dairy-free cheesecake light and fluffy.

Three Interesting Ingredients:

There are three ingredients in this recipe that you may find either strange to use in a cheesecake or unusual (something you may not have either heard of or worked with before). These are:

  • chickpeas (otherwise known as garbanzo beans)
  • agar agar flakes
  • xanthan gum

There is a purpose to each of these ingredients and it works to help create a thick, but creamy cheesecake.

The crust has been pressed into the bottom of the pan.
Graham cracker crusts pressed into the bottom of a springform pan.

Graham Cracker Crust

First, we’ll create a graham cracker crust. You can either use store-bought graham cracker crumbs, or make your own. I use a food processor for this step. The ingredients are:

  • graham crackers
  • coconut oil

Keeping it pretty simple here. Sure, you could add some additional sugar, but I find the slightly sweet taste of graham crackers to be enough. Add more sugar if that suits you. The one thing I know, is I like a nice, thick graham cracker crust.

Who’s with me?

The ingredients for this dairy-free cheesecake are in the bottom of a food processor.
The ingredients for this dairy-free cheesecake are in the bottom of a food processor.

Cheesecake Filling

The next step is to make the dairy-free cheesecake filling. Here are the ingredients involved:

  • chickpeas
  • sugar
  • cream of tartar
  • xanthan gum
  • cashews
  • tofu
  • canned coconut milk
  • all-purpose flour
  • vanilla
  • lemon juice

There are a few steps involved in making the filling, beginning with the liquid from a can of chickpeas. It’s an unusual first step, I know. But what we’re doing here is creating a meringue.

Once the meringue is done, then combine the other filling ingredients, including the chickpeas, in a food processor.

Next, pulse until everything is nice and creamy. That may take up to a minute of processing. Once it’s smooth, pour it into the bowl with the meringue and stir to combine.

There you have it. Dairy-free cheesecake filling.

A cheesecake is in the pan wrapped with aluminum foil.
Wrapping the pan with aluminum foil, preparing this cheesecake for a water bath.

Preparing a Water Bath

I like to cook my vegan cheesecake in a water bath. It’s not really that complicated. It just requires wrapping the bottom of your springform pan in aluminum foil and then setting it in a larger pan, like a roasting pan. Then you add a couple of cups of water to the roasting pan. That water creates steam in the oven and keeps the cheesecake moist while baking.

That moisture helps prevent cracking.

Nobody wants a big crack down the middle of their cheesecake!

A slice of dairy free cheesecake with berry drizzle over the top and more berry topping in a bowl behind it.

Berry Sauce

Finally, make the berry sauce to spread over the top of your cheesecake. Here are the ingredients I used:

  • agar agar flakes
  • agave nectar
  • water
  • mixed berries

I used agar agar flakes, a variety of sea vegetable that creates a jello-like consistency. You can use it in place of gelatin  in your recipes. I love working with it!

That said, if you don’t have any agar agar, feel free to replace it with a two tablespoons of cornstarch. Just be sure to mix it with the water before bringing it to a boil. Then add the fruit and remove from heat. I like to have the berry sauce be a little on the thick side, which is why the agar flakes works so perfectly.

Looking down on plated slices of dairy free cheesecake with berry filling in a bowl between them.

We hope you love this recipe for Dairy Free Cheesecake! Know we love it…a lot! If you decide to make it, be sure and take a photo and share it with me using #namelymarly on Instagram. We love seeing your photos!

Be sure to scroll past the recipe for a fun surprise!

A slice of dairy free cheesecake with berry drizzle over the top and more berry topping in a bowl behind it.

Dairy-free Cheesecake

Take the dairy out with this Dairy-free Cheesecake. You will love the surprise ingredients I've got in this cheesecake. And there are a few steps involved, but it's absolutely worth it! 
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy-free cheesecake
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 14
Calories: 266kcal
Author: Marly


Graham Cracker Crust

  • cups Graham Crackers 1 packet
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil

Vegan Cheesecake Filling

  • 15 oz can of chickpeas
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 15 oz tub soft tofu
  • 15 oz can full fat coconut milk* (read note below)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Berry Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon agar agar flakes
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup mixed berries fresh or frozen


For the Graham Cracker Crust

  • Place the graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until it resemble a coarse crumbly flour. Add the coconut oil and pulse for another second or two to combine.
  • Press the crumb crust into an 9" springform pan. Distribute evenly across the bottom and up a little on the sides of the pan. Set aside.

For the Fluffy Dairy-free Cheesecake Filling:

  • Turn your oven to 350F.
  • In a food processor add 1/2 cup sugar and pulse for several seconds to break it down into a powder. Pour the chickpea liquid into a mixing bowl, add the cream of tartar, and mix over medium-high speed until frothy, about one minute. Then add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing between each addition. Continue mixing on medium speed until peaks begin to form. Add the xanthan gum and mix for another few minutes until this mixture resembles marshmallow fluff. Set aside.
  • Place the chickpeas from the can of chickpeas, remaining sugar, raw cashews, tofu and the coconut milk in a food processor. Pulse for several seconds to break down the cashews. Open the lid and stir down any ingredients that might have risen to the top. Pulse for several seconds, up to a minute until smooth and creamy.
  • Combine the chickpea mixture, vanilla, and lemon juice in the mixing bowl with the fluffy meringue mixture. Stir until just combined. Pour into your prepared crust.
  • Wrap the bottom of the pan in aluminum foil, being sure to cover the bottom part of the pan. Place this in a roasting pan and pour water around the bottom of the pan. This is a water bath and it will prevent the cheesecake from cracking in the middle.
  • Bake your cheesecake for 60 minutes and then turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for up to another hour (or until it's cooled). Remove from the oven and allow to cool before placing in the fridge. I recommend letting the cheesecake cool for at least four hours (or even a full day before slicing and serving.

For the Berry Sauce:

  • Prepare the berry sauce by combining the agar agar flakes, agave and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for a minute or two. Add the berries and stir to combine. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 
  • Serve each slice with Berry Sauce.


* I used Coconut Cream from Trader Joe's and/or Sprouts because it's rich and mostly cream. Whatever kind of coconut milk you use, make sure it's a kind with a lot of fat. It helps if you refrigerate the can before making this recipe because the fat will solidify and you can easily drain the liquid.  If there's a lot of liquid, you will want to drain the liquid, and use that liquid in a smoothie or some other recipe.
**It's not necessary to soak cashews for this recipe.
If you don't have agar flakes, feel free to replace with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

Celebrate National Cheesecake Day!

Today is National Cheesecake Day and I aim to celebrate. Want to join me? Well, I’ve joined with some awesome food bloggers to share with you a whole host of delicious cheesecake recipes! I’m sure somewhere in here you’ll find a favorite recipe to help you celebrate too!

Just a note of caution. Not all of these recipes are vegan. Some may not even be vegetarian. If you need help veganizing any of these recipes, just send me a note. I’ll be happy to help.

A collage of cheesecake photos with the words: Mouthwatering Cheesecake Recipes.

Delicious Cheesecake Recipes:

Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberries

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake by Ashlee Marie

Cheesecake Brownies from Creations by Kara

Vegan Cherry Cheesecake Ball

Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes by Pretty Providence

Cherry Cheesecake Popsicles by the Crumb Blog

Vegan Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake

Instant Pot Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake by Savory Experiments

Coconut Key Lime Cheesecake Bars by Real Mom Kitchen

No Bake Berry Cheesecake Parfait thanks to An Italian in my Kitchen

Vegan Raw Berry Cheesecake

Cappuccino Cheesecake from Simply Stacie

Chocolate Almond Cheesecake in Jars by Premeditated Leftovers

No Bake Vanilla Cheesecake Mousse from the Baker Upstairs

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake thanks to Super Golden Bakes

Instant Pot Cheesecake from My Mommy Style

Whatever cheesecake you’re celebrating with, enjoy!

Updated by Marly · Permalink