This vegan lemon cheesecake is an absolute must for lemon dessert lovers. It is bursting with fresh lemon flavor as well as an undertone of creamy vanilla from the cashew cheesecake layer.

The creamy cheesecake layer is topped with a batch of homemade vegan lemon curd which takes these bars to the next level.

Just like my vegan mango cheesecake, this no-bake recipe is the perfect light and refreshing treat for spring and summer.

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What to expect from this recipe

  • Fresh and light, with a creamy consistency.
  • Bursting with citrus flavor from real lemons.
  • Easy to make and requires no baking.
  • Eggless, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

🍋 Ingredients needed

You just need 8 simple ingredients and a batch of vegan lemon curd to get cracking on making these creamy cheesecake bars.

top down view of ingredients measured out for lemon cheesecake on a metal tray.Pin

Notes about the ingredients

  • Shredded coconut gives the base a delicious coconutty flavor. You can also use toasted coconut flakes for a hint of buttery toasted flavor.
  • Medjool dates work as both the sweetener and binding agent for the crust. If your dates are hard, try soaking them in some warm water for 30 minutes before using them.
  • Coconut oil solidifies at room temperature, acting as a setting agent for the cheesecake filling. If you omit this ingredient, your cheesecake won't be as stable.
  • Cashews: These nuts are perfect for no-bake cheesecakes due to their creaminess and slightly cheesy flavor.
  • Vegan cream cheese gives the lemon cheesecake a delicious tangy taste and creamy consistency. You can use coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk in place of cream cheese. Just make sure that the coconut milk is chilled the night before and only use the thick creamy part from the top of the cans.
  • Vegan yogurt is a game-changer when it comes to no-bake cheesecakes. It adds flavor, tanginess, and lightness to the recipe, just like in my vegan lemon tart. Sometimes, vegan cheesecake recipes are based solely on coconut milk or vegan cream cheese, which can make them on the richer and heavier side.
  • These lemon bars are sweetened with a touch of maple syrup, you can also use agave nectar. If you want to make them refined sugar-free, just skip the lemon curd layer and add a little more lemon zest to the filling to taste.
  • Be sure to use freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest, not bottled store-bought versions. This is a vegan lemon cheesecake, after all, so using fresh lemons will give you the best flavor.

🥣 How to make vegan lemon cheesecake

(Full ingredient quantities and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post)

Being no-bake makes the crust and filling of these bars incredibly straightforward to make. The crust is made from a combination of coconut and cashew, which compliment the lemon and vanilla flavors of the cheesecake layer so well.

Make the crust

First add the dry ingredients (toasted coconut flakes, cashews, and flaky salt) to your food processor and blitz them down to a crumb consistency. Breaking them down into a crumb before adding the wet ingredients will prevent there from being big chunks of coconut in the crust.

Add in the dates and blitz again until everything sticks together and you're left with a dough consistency.

Line the base and sides of an 8" square pan with parchment paper and press the dough into the base of the pan using a spatula or flat-bottomed glass.

top down view of no-bake crust in a square pan with lemons scattered around the table.Pin

Make the filling

The cashews will need to be soaked ahead of time which gives them a silkier, creamier mouthfeel. Plus, it helps with making the blending process much easier on your kitchen equipment! Add the cashews to a bowl and cover them with filtered water. Leave them to soak for about 4 hours, then rinse them clean and drain before use.

Once you've soaked the cashews, the filling couldn't be easier. Simply add all of the ingredients to your high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the filling into the pan and gently tap it on your work counter to remove the air bubbles. Place in the freezer to set for about an hour while you prepare the lemon curd topping.

Lemon curd topping

While the cheesecake sets in the freezer, now is a good time to prepare the vegan lemon curd for the topping.

Pour the lemon curd over the set cheesecake in an even layer and smooth it out with a spatula. As the cheesecake layer is frozen, the lemon curd should stay in place but if it is on the runner side, pop it in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes before slicing.

square pan with lemon curd cheesecake inside.Pin

❄️ Storage instructions

Place the cheesecake in an airtight container and refrigerate. It'll stay fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days.

You can also freeze this no-bake lemon cheesecake in an airtight container for up to a couple of months. I recommend first slicing the cheesecake into individual bars so that you can defrost them as needed. Then just allow them to sit at room temperature for an hour before serving

👩‍🍳 Recipe tips

  • Quick soak the cashews: If you forget to soak the cashews in advance, don't worry! You can quick-soak them in boiled water for an hour ahead of time. I sometimes soak them for just 30 minutes in simmering water, which also works.
  • Slice the cheesecake while frozen. This will give you clean cuts with beautiful layers. Use a sharp knife and heat it in hot water, wiping it with a clean towel between slices.
  • Make a small batch by halving the recipe and instead use a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
  • Defrost the cheesecake bars fully before serving. While these bars taste delicious, and sort of like lemon ice cream when partially frozen, they are best served completely defrosted as the filling becomes incredibly light and creamy.
slice of lemon cheesecake with bite taken out of it with a stack of cheesecake bars in the background.Pin

🍰 More Vegan Cheesecakes

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below and consider leaving a comment as well, thanks!

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Vegan Lemon Cheesecake

4.94 from 16 votes
PREP TIME: 40 mins
Chill Time: 4 hrs
TOTAL TIME: 4 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 16
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Description

This vegan lemon cheesecake has layers of creamy cashew filling and zesty lemon curd on a no-bake crust. They're also gluten-free. The perfect refreshing vegan summer dessert!

Ingredients

Crust

Filling

  • 200 g (1 ½ cups) cashews, soaked *see notes
  • 240 g (8.5 oz) vegan cream cheese, *see notes
  • 100 g ( cups) plain soy or coconut yogurt
  • 60 g ( cups) pure maple syrup
  • 50 g (¼ cups) coconut oil, solid
  • 60 ml (¼ cups) lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon lemon zest

Topping

Instructions

Crust

  • Add the toasted coconut flakes to your food processor and blitz for 1-2 minutes. Add the cashews and salt and blend again until the mixture reaches a light crumb consistency. Lastly, add the pitted dates and blend again until everything is evenly mixed and sticks together like a dough.
  • Line the base and sides of an 8" square pan with parchment paper and press the dough into the base of the pan using a spatula or flat bottomed glass. Set aside.

Filling

  • To make the filling, add all of the ingredients to your high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the filling into the pan and gently tap it on your work counter to remove the air bubbles. Place in the freezer to set for 4 hours.

Topping

  • Prepare a batch of vegan lemon curd. Allow the curd to cool slightly for 15-20 minutes.
  • Stir well and pour it on top of the cheesecake and smooth out the top with a spatula. As the cheesecake layer underneath the curd is frozen, it should help the curd to set and stay in place. If the curd is a little runny, place the cake back in the freezer to set for another 30 minutes.

Serving and Storage

  • Remove the cheesecake from the cake tin and trim off the edges with a knife. Cut into serving slices using a sharp knife heated with hot water.
  • Place the in an airtight container and refrigerate. It will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze it in an airtight container for up to a couple of months. I recommend first slicing the cheesecake into individual bars so that you can defrost them as needed. Then just allow them to sit at room temperature for an hour before serving. 

Notes

  • Soaked cashews: Soak the cashews in water for 4 hours, rinse and drain. You can also quick-soak them in boiled water for an hour ahead of time.
  • Vegan cream cheese: Swap for coconut cream or full-fat canned coconut milk. Refrigerate the tin of coconut milk overnight, then only use the thick cream from the top of the can.
  • Slice the cheesecake while frozen. This will give you clean cuts with beautiful layers. Use a sharp knife and heat it in hot water, wiping it with a clean towel between slices.
  • Make a small batch by halving the recipe and instead use a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.

Nutrition

Calories: 343kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 137mg | Potassium: 244mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 16IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg
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