This ultra creamy and rich New York style baked vegan cheesecake tastes just like the classic: super creamy, soft, and tangy! Yet is entirely egg free, dairy free, gluten free, and refined sugar free! No cashews needed!
The Best Vegan New York Cheesecake
Before going vegan, the only cheesecake I actually enjoyed was a New York style cheesecake. It’s so much creamier than regular cheesecake, and has the most irresistible crust.
I wanted to finally create a vegan baked cheesecake that tasted nearly identical to the classic New York cheesecake while being entirely dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free, lower in sugar, and gluten free.
Well, we have it, folks.
This is my all time favorite baked vegan New York style cheesecake that’s ultra creamy and decadent yet doesn’t weigh you down. It’s slightly tangy with notes of vanilla, and is undetectably gluten free with the sweet oat crust.
This cheesecake is baked to perfection, with that classic fluffy and soft texture, just perfect when topped with some amareno cherries and fresh coconut whipped cream!
What’s the difference between New York cheesecake and baked cheesecake?
You might be wondering what’s really the difference between a New York cheesecake and a regular baked cheesecake.
Well, New York cheesecakes tend to be much larger, richer, and creamier than regular baked cheesecakes. That’s why I actually think that vegan baked cheesecakes are already naturally more like a New York style cheesecake rather than a classic cheesecake.
New York style baked cheesecakes also have the addition of heavy cream and more sour cream (not to mention more cream cheese) than a regular cheesecake.
Of course, in our case, the heavy cream is actually coconut milk and the sour cream is vegan! Yes, there is a vegan sour cream, and I talk about that in the recipe card, so don’t worry!
Equipment you’ll need for this vegan cheesecake
We’re keeping this New York style cheesecake really simple, down to the equipment needed.
Before beginning, make sure that you have:
- 8″ or 9″ springform pan
- Deep baking sheet
- Large food processor (you can also use a stand mixer or large bowl with a hand mixer)
How to make a baked vegan cheesecake (EASILY!)
Now, traditionally, you’ll use a water bath for baked cheesecake. I’ve experimented with both a water bath and no water bath, and the verdict is in: use the water bath. If you want a super fluffy and soft cheesecake that tastes just like the classic, then you’ll need to use a water bath.
A water bath is really quite simple, and we go over how to make one
In terms of ingredients, we’re keeping the tradition of incorporating both cream cheese and sour cream into this vegan cheesecake…only, ya know, dairy free 😉 For this vegan New York style cheesecake, you’ll need:
- Oats: For all of my cheesecake recipes, I love using rolled oats. Make sure they’re gluten free certified if needed.
- Vegan butter: you can also use coconut oil here if it’s easiest for you, as I did in the video. I’ve used both vegan butter and coconut oil, and love them both. Please note that the vegan butter will give this cheesecake more of a classic taste, so if you’re making this for any skeptics, use the vegan butter! I recommend Miyoko’s, Forager Project, or Flora Plant Butter for vegan butter here.
- Medjool dates: using dates will help bind the crust together and give the cheesecake a really sweet graham cracker-like crust!
Vegan Cheesecake Filling:
- Vegan cream cheese: it’s crucial that you use the right brand of dairy free cream cheese here, as some brands are good, while others are….eh. I recommend Violife Cream Cheese. They’re my absolute favorite dairy free cream cheese. Plus, Violife is also nut-free. Another good option is Miyoko’s, but again, for the best taste, I recommend Violife. I’ve tried both Trader Joe’s and Kite Hill, and while they’re good, they’re not my favorite.
- Vegan sour cream: for sour cream, I used Forager Project and swear by it- they’re truly amazing! Forager is found at most grocery stores across the nation.
- Coconut milk from a can: I recommend coconut milk from the can for ultra creaminess. I’ve also tested this recipe with creamy full-fat oat milk, and it works wonderfully!
- Maple syrup: I absolutely love using maple syrup with this vegan cheesecake. You won’t taste the maple at all, yet the entire cheesecake is naturally sweetened and refined sugar free.
- Arrowroot starch: you can also use cornstarch here if you can’t find arrowroot! This replaces eggs in more traditional New York Style cheesecake recipes.
Please keep in mind that the full ingredient measurements are found down below in the recipe card. This is just a summary! Next we’ll go over how to make this baked vegan cheesecake.
Step 1: The gluten free vegan cheesecake crust
I could eat this crust by itself, it’s so good! Plus it’s so easy and really quick to make. A quick trick for softening your dates in just 10 minutes:
Simply pulse the oats into a flour in your food processor. Add in the vegan butter along with the dates, and pulse again until it forms a dough.
Press the dough into your prepared springform pan and bake the crust on a baking sheet to par-bake it.
Remove from the oven and set aside so we can prepare the creamy vegan cheesecake filling!
Step 2: The vegan cheesecake filling
Again, I could eat this filling with a spoon, and it’s just as simple as the crust. No need to soak any cashews or anything. The only thing you need to make sure you’ve done is allow both the cream cheese and sour cream to come to room temperature so that they’re easy to cream.
Cream together the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Then add in the coconut cream, maple syrup, vanilla, and arrowroot. Pulse again until smooth, then pour the filling over the crust.
Create the water bath for the cheesecake. Please watch the video on how to do this, and check out Handle The Heat’s Water Bath tecnique article.
Once your water bath is made, bake in the oven! You’ll notice that the cheesecake is really wobbly and won’t seem done, even though the top has formed a “crust” almost. This is completely normal. Vegan cheesecakes often don’t look fully done, because the arrowroot starch needs to cool in order to set everything.
You’ll also notice that the top of the cheesecake might look lightly golden. DO NOT WORRY! Your cheesecake isn’t burnt. In fact, the cheesecake will lighten up during the cooling process. It’s the coolest part about this vegan cheesecake!
Once baked, you’ll allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 1 hour. Then place the cheesecake to fully set in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge.
Do I really need a water bath for my cheesecake?
The answer is yes, you do need to use a water bath for a baked vegan cheesecake, especially if you want the texture of a classic cheesecake. The reason being is that cheesecakes love moisture, and a water bath helps to create a really moist environment in the oven, which typically runs dry.
If you were to not use a water bath, your cheesecake would come out super dry, like a block of cheese. Not fun, nor pleasant to eat. Trust me, making a water bath for the cheesecake is not as difficult as it seems! The only part you need to really make sure you do right is wrapping the bottom of the cheesecake and the walls in tin foil. This will prevent any water from leaking into your cheesecake.
Baked New York Cheesecake Tips & Tricks
While I want to emphasize that this baked vegan cheesecake is extraordinarily easy, that doesn’t mean we can get sloppy with technique! Here are a few tips to make sure that your vegan New York cheesecake comes out perfect every time:
- Allow the cream cheese and sour cream to come to room temperature. You will have a really hard time creaming together the ingredients if you don’t do this! Give the ingredients a few hours to soften. You should be able to indent a fingerprint into the cream cheese easily.
- Give your cheesecake time to cool at room temperature first. This will ensure that everything cools evenly. It’s also good to not put something piping hot into the fridge!
- How to slice your cheesecake: once your cheesecake is ready to be sliced, you can run a butter knife along the edges of the pan to release the cheesecake from the spring form pan. Then carefully undo the buckle and place your cheesecake onto a serving platter!
- Top your vegan New York cheesecake with Amareno cherries: this is my all time favorite way to serve cheesecake, especially because it’s such a rich and decadent dessert, you need something slightly lighter to balance the flavors, textures, and density. I recommend the Amareno Fabri cherries!
You are just going to LOVE this baked vegan New York style cheesecake as much as I do! This New York cheesecake is:
- So easy to make
- Perfectly soft and tangy, like a classic cheesecake
- Creamy, yet light and refreshing
- Perfect for graduations, birthday parties, summer holidays, and more!
- An absolute crowd pleaser, whether you’re vegan (and gluten free!) or not!
If you try it, make sure to leave a comment and a review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ so that others may find this recipe!
Happy cheesecake baking!
More vegan cheesecake recipes you’ll love
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This ultra creamy and rich baked vegan New York style cheesecake tastes just like the classic yet is entirely egg free, dairy free, gluten free, and refined sugar free! No cashews needed!
- 2 cups (180 grams) rolled oats, gluten free as needed
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) vegan butter or coconut oil, room temperature
- 155 grams pitted medjool dates (about 7 medium dates without pits), soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes
Vegan Baked Cheesecake:
- 22 ounces (600 grams) vegan cream cheese, room temperature
- 5.3 oz (150 grams) vegan sour cream (such as Forager Project) or dairy free yogurt, room temperature
- 3/4 cup (170 grams) full fat coconut milk or oat milk
- 1/2 cup (170 grams) maple syrup
- 3 tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3–4 cups water
- Optional toppings: fresh berries, amareno cherries, coconut whipped cream, coconut caramel
- Preheat the oven to 400F and line a 8 or 9″ springform pan with parchment paper. Grease the edges of the pan with a bit of cooking or coconut oil as well.
- Make the crust: Drain the dates and set aside. In a food processor, pulse the oats until they’re a rustic flour (you can still have some oat pieces partially whole). Add in the vegan butter and dates, and blend again until it becomes a sticky dough. Press the dough onto the bottom of the springform pan. Place the pan into the oven with a baking sheet underneath it to prevent any drips. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust turns lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F.
- Make the cheesecake filling: In a large food processor or stand mixer (or large bowl with hand mixer), cream together the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Add in the maple syrup, coconut milk, vanilla, and arrowroot. Pulse again until smooth. Pour the cheesecake filling into the springform pan, and smooth the top.
- Create the water bath: wrap the bottom of the springform pan with tin foil to prevent the water from seeping into the cheesecake. Please make sure that your tin foil is wider than the diameter of the spring form pan. If it is not, you can use multiple pieces of foil to wrap the bottom of the pan. See notes section. Boil the 3-4 cups water. Place the springform pan into a deep set pan, and pour the boiling water into the pan, surrounding the cheesecake.
- Bake the cheesecake: Place the baking sheet into the oven to bake for 55-65 minutes, or until the the top of the cheesecake has formed a “crust” but is still light in color. The water should also be completely dissolved. Please see the video tutorial. The cheesecake should still be very wiggly. This is completely fine and should be that way. This cheesecake will not seem cooked at all when you first turn off the oven. After 55-65 minutes and the cheesecake has formed the top crust, turn off the oven and slightly crack the oven. Allow the cheesecake to rest in the oven for an hour.
- Chill the cheesecake: After an hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes. Then place the cheesecake into the freezer to chill for 4 hours.
- When ready to serve, top with fresh berries, cherries, or jam, and enjoy! Store any leftover cheesecake in an airtight container and in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Arrowroot Starch: make sure that your arrowroot starch (also called powder) is stored properly and is still active. Improperly stored or expired arrowroot will not work. You can also swap in an equal amount of cornstarch.
Sour cream: Currently the only dairy free band I know that sells a vegan sour cream is Forager Project, which is what I used here. I’ve also tested this with plain unsweetened coconut milk yogurt, and got very similar results!
Maple syrup: if you don’t want to use that much maple syrup (it is a lot, I totally get that), you can swap in 3/4 cup regular sugar or coconut sugar. Keep in mind that using coconut sugar will make this cheesecake look caramel in color rather than cream colored.
Water bath: using a water bath is extremely necessary for this vegan cheesecake recipe. Water baths are the key to a super fluffy and soft cheesecake that doesn’t dry out or crack in the oven. To make the tin foil wrapping and prepare a water bath correctly, we show you how in the below tutorial. However, Handle The Heat has a whole article on how to create a water bath, so please read that as well if this is your first time making a water bath for a cheesecake.
Please read the above blog post for all tips & tricks on how to make this baked vegan cheesecake, as well as watch the quick YouTube tutorial! Thank you!
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