These no-bake vegan cheesecake bars are as luscious as they look. They’re made with an easy, raw crust of cashews and dates and the cheesecake filling is cashew and coconut cream- based.
This recipe was slightly updated on July 25, 2023.
We’re no-bake dessert girlies over here at Fit Foodie Finds. They’re the perfect treat when you don’t want to use your oven.
These vegan cheesecake bars are lemon-flavored and made with a chewy date and cashew crust (inspired by our cashew cookie Larabar recipe). The filling is next level. Soak cashews so that they become soft and then blend them nice and smooth with coconut cream, maple syrup, lemon juice, and coconut oil.
What is in these vegan cheesecake bars?
- Raw cashews: cashews are in both the crust and the filling. Make sure to purchase raw, unsalted cashews as the filling will turn out much better. We tested these with roasted and much preferred raw.
- Dates: purchasing soft dates is important. Combined with ground cashews, they make up the crust.
- Coconut cream: for this recipe, we used coconut cream which is slightly different than full-fat coconut milk. You can find this at most grocery stores right by the canned coconut milk!
- Coconut oil: the coconut oil will help with the setting process because it solidifies at room temperature!
- Maple syrup: we’re using maple syrup in these as the sweetener.
- Lemon: we’re going big with lemon flavors in this recipe. You’ll use the juice and the zest.
Ingredient Swaps and Variations
This vegan cheesecake is a great base to use and run with. Don’t love lemon? Use a different citrus such as lime or orange or none at all. You can even make this recipe in a spring-form pan and serve it looking more like classic cheesecake. Or, whip it up in a muffin tin like cheesecake bites.
a few tips
- Soak your cashews: soaking your cashews is extremely important in order to get the filling silky smooth. You can either quick soak them with boiling water or let them sit on a bowl of water over night.
- Blend filling until smooth: make sure to blend the filling until smooth. You don’t want any little lumps!
- Let set in freezer: we found that letting your bars sit in. the freezer for at least 2 hours was important because if it’s too soft, your bars will fall apart when sliced.
Why do you have to soak cashews for vegan cheesecake?
In order to make vegan cheesecake filling you must use soaked cashews. Soak the cashews to soften them so you can easily blend them into a smooth cheesecake filling.
What is vegan cheesecake made of?
Vegan cheesecake is typically made of a cashew or coconut-based filling and some kind of no-bake crust such as nuts and dates.
Vegan Dessert Recipes
- Pumpkin Almond Butter Freezer Fudge
- Healthy Peanut Butter Cups
- Chocolate Protein Ice Cream
- Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
- Salted Date Caramel Cups
We recommend storing these bars in the freezer and letting them thaw a bit before eating. Definitely don’t store them on the countertop as warmer temperatures will make them melt and get too soft.
How to Serve Vegan Cheesecake Bars
These bars are best eaten slightly thawed from frozen. We loved eating thes with whipped coconut cream, but you could also serve them with whipped cream (not vegan). We also highly recommend serving with fresh lemon zest and your berry of choice!
Lemon Vegan Cheesecake Bars
- Soften the cashews. Place two cups of cashews into a medium bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let them soak for at least an hour or overnight. This step is crucial as it softens the cashews so they turn into a creamy filling.
- Prepare the crust. Add the cashews to a high-speed food processor and blend on low until they turn into a cashew flower. Add the pitted dates and ¼ teaspoon salt. A process on high until the ingredients form a dough that forms a ball.
- Line a 9×9-inch pan with parchment paper. Gently press the crust evenly into the bottom of the pan. Salt the top of the crust with the flakey sea salt. Set aside.
- Once cashews have soaked for the appropriate amount of time (cashews should be soft and squishy), strain the water from the cashews. Transfer them to a high-speed blender.
- Add the coconut cream, maple syrup, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the blender and blend on high until completely smooth and creamy.
- When the filling is a smooth consistency, add coconut oil and mix one more time to fully combine all ingredients.
- Transfer the cheesecake filling on top of the crust. Spread it out evenly with a spatula and garnish with lemon zest. Transfer the pan into the freezer for 1-2 hours to set.
- When bars are hard and ready to eat. Remove from the freezer and slice them into small squares. Top them with vegan whip and lemon zest.
- Serve immediately or store them in the freezer until ready to serve
Tips & Notes
- This recipe was slightly updated on July 25, 2023.
- When coconut cream comes in a can it is usually separated into a hard coconut cream and coconut water. We only use the coconut cream portion. The only instance this may not be the case is if it is stored in a hot place. Be sure the coconut cream is stored in a cool, dark place. Use the coconut cream and discard the water.
- We do not recommend using coconut milk for this recipe.
- Be sure to use raw cashews that have been soaked for at least an hour in hot water.
- If you end up with a grainy cashew filling, that means you haven’t blended the mixture enough. If you do not have a high-powered blender, this can sometimes be an issue as well.
Photography: photos taken in this post are by Ashley McGlaughlin from The Edible Perspective.