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What is better than a traditional cheesecake? Dare I say, vegan pumpkin cheesecake! This fall-themed dessert is perfect for Thanksgiving or any of your cheesecake needs.
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
Y'all, I did it - I combined two of my favorites (pumpkin everything + cheesecake) and created a heavenly dessert that we literally can't stop eating. Seriously, the first time I tested this pumpkin cheesecake recipe, I put it in the fridge, took a nap, and woke up to half of it gone because my husband and son loved it so much.
After the initial test, I did some tweaking and now it's even better. This pumpkin cheesecake has the perfect amount of pumpkin, spices, sweetness, and creaminess.
Traditional cheesecakes use a few ingredients that are not vegan - namely, cream cheese and eggs. Both are pretty easy to replace. We'll simply be using vegan cream cheese (my favorite lately has been the Go Veggie cream cheese) and cornstarch. Cornstarch will help the cheesecake set like eggs would.
How to Make Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
First, let's prep the crust! The crust is simply graham cracker crumbs and vegan butter. Make sure to read the ingredients as many graham cracker brands contain honey. The generic store brand at my local store (Kroger) is vegan. I prefer to pulse the graham crackers in the blender to create crumbs. You could also place the crackers in a baggie and crush them with a rolling pin.
Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter. Then, press into the bottom of a springform cheesecake pan using something with a flat bottom, like a measuring cup.
To prep the filling, mix the cream cheese together to get a smooth consistency. Separately, whisk together the pumpkin and cornstarch. Combine with the cream cheese.
Mix in the remaining ingredients until just incorporated. Be careful not to mix too much. We don't want too much air in our batter or the cheesecake will deflate.
Bake for an hour on the middle rack - the cheesecake will still be super jiggly and the middle will look uncooked. No worries! It will set up just fine once cooled and placed in the fridge overnight. Keep it in the pan while cooling and setting.
Before opening your springform pan up, I recommend running a knife along the edges to make sure the cheesecake isn't sticking to the pan.
When serving, top this pumpkin cheesecake with whipped cream and cinnamon or enjoy as is!
What is the best vegan cream cheese to use?
The best brands of vegan cream cheese to use for this recipe are: Go Veggie, Kite Hill, and Trader Joe’s brand.
I tested Miyoko’s cream cheese out while filming the recipe video for this cheesecake - it resulted in a significantly denser cheesecake that cracked. The flavor was also much more tart as the cream cheese is cultured and very overpowering. I do not recommend using Miyoko's.
While I love my homemade cream cheese, it is just not as silky smooth as store-bought cream cheese and doesn't set the same way. I would personally recommend just buying the vegan cream cheese for the best results. If you do end up trying it, let me know how it turns out, but don't hold me liable!
Can I Use Pumpkin Pie Spice?
Absolutely. This recipe calls for cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg which are all the same spices used in pumpkin pie spice. You can substitute 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice in place of those ingredients.
What Can I Use Instead of Coconut Oil?
The coconut oil has two purposes in this recipe: creaminess and to help the cheesecake set when cooled. The best substitution would be vegan butter (low-salt like Miyoko's would be the best), the second best would be another type of oil (with mild flavor like canola, grapeseed, or avocado.)
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- ½ cup melted vegan butter
- 4 (8 oz) containers of vegan cream cheese - room temperature
- 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin purée
- ¼ cup cornstarch - or arrowroot powder
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
- Mix graham cracker crumbs and melted butter together. Press into a 9-inch springform cheesecake pan evenly using a flat-bottomed object like a measuring cup.
- In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese together until smooth.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and cornstarch until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Mix it into the bowl with the cream cheese.
- Mix in the remaining ingredients (sugar, coconut oil, lemon juice, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.) You can use an electric hand mixer on low or mix by hand - either way, don't overmix, just mix until everything is incorporated.
- Pour the pumpkin cream cheese mixture into the pan and spread out evenly. Give the pan a few gentle taps on the counter to fill in any gaps.
- Bake for 1 hour. The cheesecake will still be jiggly, especially in the middle, but it will get firm when it sets in the fridge.
- Let cool on the counter for 2-3 hours. Then place in the fridge for at least 10 hours (or overnight, ideally.)
- Serve cold. Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.