This stunning dairy-free pumpkin cheesecake is a delicious twist on a Thanksgiving favorite. It also doubles as a dazzling Christmas party option or just an indulgent way to enjoy leftover cans of pumpkin year round. It’s so rich, creamy, and flavorful that no one will guess it’s actually vegan friendly. Plus, it’s easy to make and can be adapted to almost any dietary need.
Decadent Dairy-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake that’s Blissfully Easy
Some of you might remember this as our vegan pumpkin cheesecake recipe. It was in the first edition of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook. I made the painful decision to remove it in the 2nd edition to make room for some new recipes. But this amazing egg-free and dairy-free pumpkin cheesecake should not be forgotten! To ensure it lives on, I’m adding it to our recipe section online. The original version of this incredible dessert was created by my good friend Hannah of Bittersweet. I’ve updated it with some more options and also have ingredient notes and tips in the FAQs below.
What Cream Cheese Alternatives are Best for Dairy-Free Cheesecake
When Hannah first developed this recipe, way back in 2007, there weren’t many dairy-free cream cheese alternatives on the market. She tested with Tofutti (contains soy), which was pretty much the only game in most towns. Fortunately, it worked great!
Since that time, we’ve found that Daiya (top allergen free) works well in cheesecakes (even if you don’t like Daiya on its own) and also that Treeline and Kite Hill (both contain nuts) work well. We’ve heard that Violife (top allergen free) is a good option for dairy-free cheesecake, but haven’t tested it in this specific vegan pumpkin cheesecake recipe yet. You can also see our Best Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Taste Test for more options and notes. Let us know how it goes if you try another brand vegan cream cheese!
What Cookies Do You Recommend for Dairy-Free Cookie Crusts?
For years, I used Enjoy Life crunch cookies, but those have sadly been discontinued. I also like Mi-Del Snaps for chocolate and gingersnap cookies. Most brands of graham crackers are dairy-free, including many generics, but you can even make your own Vegan Chocolate Graham Crackers! For gluten-free and allergy-friendly options, we like Partake Cookies.
Which Brand of Butter Alternative Do You Recommend?
Lately, I’ve been using Country Crock Plant Butter because it’s flavorful and a good budget option in my local area. But most brands of spreads or sticks should work just fine. However, I do prefer to use a type that is salted. The touch of salt heightens the cookie flavor.
Can I Use Pumpkin Pie Mix Instead of Pumpkin Puree?
This dairy-free pumpkin cheesecake recipe is formulated specifically with pure, simple pumpkin puree. Do not directly substitute pumpkin pie mix. If you do, you will likely need to adjust some of the other ingredients, like the sweetener.
Can I Substitute Pumpkin Spice for the Spices?
It will have a slightly different spice taste, but you can substitute 2 1/4 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg in this vegan pumpkin cheesecake recipe. Keep in mind that pumpkin spice usually contains a little bit of cloves, too.
Can I Substitute Almond Milk or Oat Milk for the Creamer?
It might work, but I haven’t tested it. The cheesecake might not be quite as rich and might not set up quite as well with a thin milk alternative.
Does this Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Freeze Well?
We have found that this dairy-free pumpkin cheesecake freezes well, but there could be some variation based on the dairy-free cream cheese alternative that you use. You can cover and freeze the pie once it is baked, completely cooled, and refrigerated until set. Do not attempt to cover and freeze it until set. Let it defrost in the refrigerator before serving.
Can I Make this as a No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake?
Baking is required to meld the flavors, remove moisture, and help the cheesecake set up. It might work as a no bake option if you substitute coconut cream or cashew cream for the creamer. But it also might set up softer.
Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Just be sure to choose the cookies, cream cheese alternative, and buttery spread that suit your dietary needs. See the post above for recommendations.
- 2 cups vegan chocolate cookie crumbs or graham cracker crumbs (see Cookie Note below)
- 6 tablespoons dairy-free buttery spread or sticks, melted
- 2 (8-ounce) tubs dairy-free cream cheese alternative (see post above for suggestions)
- 1¼ cups pumpkin puree
- ⅓ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup plain dairy-free creamer or canned coconut milk (lite or regular)
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF and lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Optionally line the bottom with a piece of parchment cut round to fit.
- Pour the cookie crumbs into a medium bowl. Add the melted dairy-free butter, and stir until all crumbs are moistened.
- Press the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of your prepared pan until it is well-packed and even.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese alternative, pumpkin puree, sugars, creamer or coconut milk, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg until smooth.
- Pour the filling on top of your baked crust, and even it out with a spatula. Drop the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
- Bake the cheesecake for about 45 to 50 minutes. It won’t seem the least bit done, and will be very loose and perhaps even bubbly around the sides.
- Let the cheesecake cool completely at room temperature (this might take a couple hours). Then refrigerate it until chilled and set, at least 4 hours, or even overnight.
- Release the springform side and slice to serve.