This vegan pumpkin cheesecake is rich a creamy with cozy spices and warm pumpkin flavor. This perfect fall dessert is easy to make and doesn't require any baking (no bake cheesecake!). It's naturally gluten-free and makes a perfect vegan thanksgiving dessert.
I shared a tutorial on how to make vegan cheesecake last year. Ever since I've been testing new vegan cheesecake recipes like turtle cheesecake and this vegan pumpkin cheesecake recipe! It's rich and creamy, like traditional cheesecake, but it's completely vegan and dairy free.
No need to turn the oven on for this one because it's completely raw. It couldn't be easier to make and the pumpkin spice flavor is so cozy. It's the perfect vegan Thanksgiving dessert!
Reasons to Love this Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
- You don't need any silken tofu, water bath, or baking.
- Perfect for the holiday season.
- Everyone will enjoy it at Thanksgiving dinner (vegan or not)
- Full of cozy fall flavors.
Grab These Ingredients
Here are the key ingredients for this vegan cheesecake recipe and why they're important to this pumpkin cheesecake. Skip down to the recipe card for exact measurements.
- Pecans: raw and unsalted pecans are best. We like to buy our nuts in bulk from nuts.com because they're more affordable.
- Dates: this sticky, sweet ingredient helps hold the crust together and adds sweetness.
- Salt and a bit of water for flavor and to thin it out as needed.
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Cashews: this is the base of the vegan cream cheese and gives the recipe structure. It has a mild flavor, which allows the pumpkin spice to shine.
- Full-fat coconut milk: buy this in the baking or international aisle and use only the thick cream of the coconut milk. It gives the recipe a silky smooth texture.
- Pumpkin puree: make sure not to purchase pumpkin pie filling! This is the 100% pure pumpkin in the can, or you can use homemade pumpkin puree.
- Coconut oil: grab refined coconut oil because it has a much more milk coconut flavor so you won't be able to taste it.
- Pure maple syrup: this fall-inspired sweetener pairs well with the pumpkin and adds some great maple flavor to each bite. You can swap this for coconut sugar.
- Molasses: a rich, thick syrup with bold spice and flavor. Grab it in the baking aisle.
- Vanilla extract and salt
- Pumpkin pie spice: cinnamon, ginger, clove, and nutmeg are combined in this recipe, but you could also use pre-made pumpkin pie spice
How to Make Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
Here are the simple steps to make this easy vegan pumpkin cheesecake. Jump down to the recipe card for the full instructions.
Make the Crust
Prep the pan: Line a square cake pan with parchment paper (or use a springform pan with a circle of parchment paper in the bottom).
Blend the crust: Place the crust ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor with sea salt and blend on high for 1-2 minutes, until the pecans break down and mix. Stop and scrape the sides as needed.
Press into the pan: Once it's combined, press the crust mixture into the bottom of the pan lined with parchment paper. You could also use a traditional springform pan. Press evenly to the bottom and spread to the edges of the pan.
Make the Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
Blend the vegan cheesecake: Place the soaked cashews in a high-speed blender or food processor with all of the filling ingredients. Blend on high for 2-3 minutes, or until the filling is very creamy and no visible cashews remain.
Pour onto the crust: Pour the pumpkin filling over the prepared pie crust in the square pan. Spread the filling evenly to the sides and corners of the pan, doing your best to smooth the top as well. Drop the pan against the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
Freeze: Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and place the vegan pumpkin cheesecake in the freezer for at least two and a half hours to set.
Serve: Once they're set, remove them from the freezer and slice them into squares. Add a dollop of vegan whipped cream on top of the cheesecake with crushed pecans. Or make this whipped coconut cream with a drizzle of vegan caramel sauce.
Pro tip: run a sharp knife under hot water before each cut to get clean, smooth pieces.
How to Soak Cashews for Vegan Cheesecake
You can a few options to soak the cashews, just like in this easy cashew cream.
- Overnight: Place the cashews in a large bowl and soak overnight. If you aren't going to use them within a day, drain the water and store the soaked cashew in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- 1-Hour: Boil water and soak the cashews in the hot water for 1 hour. Drain and rinse under cold water.
- 5 Minutes: Cover the cashew with water and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Drain the water and rinse under cold water to cool the cashews down before working with them.
Mini cheesecakes: press the pie crusts into the bottom and sides of a muffin tin then divide the filling evenly between them and freeze as directed.
Graham cracker crust: use 2 cups of crushed gluten-free and vegan graham crackers (like Simple Mills) and mix them with 5 tablespoons of melted vegan butter and ¼ cup brown sugar then press it into the bottom and sides of the pan and bake it at 350°F for 10 minutes. You could also use gingersnap cookies to make the crust like in these pumpkin pie bars.
Large round cheesecake: press the crust into the bottom and sides of a springform pan. Pour the vegan cheesecake filling on top and freeze as directed. Slice into triangles like a traditional pie.
Yes, you can freeze vegan pumpkin cheesecake. In fact, I highly recommend you always store these bars in the freezer. They're meant to eat cold and hold their shape the best in the freezer.
For best results, place 2 cups of cashews in lukewarm water for at least 6 hours. I recommend soaking them overnight for about 12 hours. Just place the raw cashews in the water, cover and soak until ready to use. I also tested this recipe with cashews microwaved on high for 5 minutes and it works just as well.
If you forget or don't have enough time, you can boil water, remove from heat, and place cashews in hot water for at least one hour. You can also microwave the cashews with water on high for 5 minutes. In both instances, you'll drain the cashews prior to blending in the recipe!
Freeze the pumpkin cheese solid on a baking sheet or in the original baking pan. Transfer the cheesecake to a freezer bag or airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Store the cheesecake in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More Pumpkin Desserts
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
- 2 cups raw unsalted pecans
- 1 ¼ cups pitted dates (about 8-10 dates)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1-3 tablespoons water as needed
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
- 2 cups raw unsalted cashews soaked in water overnight (Note 1 quick options)
- ½ cup full fat canned coconut milk cream only
- ⅓ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted and cooled
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice storebought or homemade (Note 2)
- High speed blender or food processor
- 9x9 inch baking pan (Note 3)
- Soak the cashews
- Line an 8x8 inch or 9x9 inch square pan with parchment paper with enough overhang to pull the bars out when they're done.
- Add the pecans, dates, salt, and 1 Tablespoon of water to a high-speed blender or food processor. Pulse and blend until it comes together into a sort of sticky dough and starts to pull away from the edges, about 1-2 minutes. Add a splash of water as needed if it's not coming together. You may need to use the tamper or scrape the sides down to help it blend fully.
- Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan, spreading evenly to the edges.
- To make the cheesecake, combine all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend for at least 2 full minutes, or until the mixture is smooth and creamy and no visible cashew pieces are left.
- Pour the cheesecake filling on top of the prepared crust. Smooth out the top to the edges of the pan and tap the pan against the counter a couple of times to release any air bubbles.
- Cover with foil or plastic wrap an place in the freezer to set for at least 2.5 hours or until completely firm. Cut and serve frozen. Foor best results, use a sharp chef's knife and run it under hot water before slicing. Wipe it clean and run it under water between each cut.
- Serve with vegan whipped cream, vegan ice cream, chopped nuts, and/or caramel sauce. Cheesecake will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.