Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake has the creamy texture you love, with a rich chocolate flavor. It’s the perfect no-bake dessert to make for any chocolate fans in your life.
Why You’ll Love It
This healthier chocolate recipe is naturally sweetened with maple syrup, and even has a veggie hiding inside the creamy filling. But you’d never know just by tasting it!
Since the filling is made with cashews instead of cream cheese, it’s also dairy-free, vegan and Paleo friendly.
Ingredients You’ll Need
What’s in vegan chocolate cheesecake?
- Maple syrup
- Cacao powder
- Zucchini (yes, a veggie!)
- Coconut oil
- Vanilla extract
- Sea salt
That’s all you need for the filling, and I like to pour it over the same no-bake chocolate crust I use for my vegan cheesecake bars. A simple blend of pecans (or walnuts), cacao powder, maple syrup, and coconut oil brings that together in no time.
Pro Tip: If you don’t care for the flavor of coconut oil, look for a refined or “expeller pressed” version at your local grocery store. Refined coconut oil has zero coconut flavor, so you won’t taste it at all in the final dessert. I use this trick for making vegan cream cheese and homemade magic shell, when I don’t want coconut flavor.
How to Make Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake
1. Prepare the crust. Place the pecans and cacao powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with an “S” blade, and process briefly, until the texture is crumbly.
Add in the maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt, and process again until the crust sticks together.
Transfer the crust to an 8-inch springform pan that has been greased and lined with parchment paper, if you want the cheesecake to be very easy to remove later.
Press the crust evenly into the bottom of the pan, and then place it in the freezer to firm up while you prepare the filling.
2. Make the filling. Add the cashews, zucchini, cacao powder, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, and salt into a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
This will work best if your ingredients are NOT cold from the fridge, so the coconut oil doesn’t thicken up from the cold.
I typically do not soak my cashews ahead of time (because I don’t plan ahead very well) so I also add in a 1/4 cup of water to help with blending. If you would prefer to soak the cashews, cover them with 2 inches of water in a large bowl and let them soak for 2 hours.
Then drain and rinse well, before adding them to the blender. Soaked cashews will blend easier, and may not require any additional water for blending, but you can add water 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to make everything blend smoothly.
Be prepared to stop and scrape down the sides of the blender, or use a tamper if your blender comes with one, because this chocolate filling is pretty thick!
3. Chill. Remove the crust from the freezer and use a spatula to add the chocolate filling from the blender container.
Smooth the top, and then place the pan back in the freezer to chill until the top of the cheesecake feels firm to the touch, about 3 to 4 hours.
When the cheesecake is firm, you can slice and serve it chilled. It pairs nicely with fresh fruit on top, like raspberries or strawberries.
Keep in mind that the coconut oil is what holds this vegan cheesecake together, so it will melt if you leave it out at room temperature for too long. I recommend storing it in the freezer until just before serving. It can sit out for up to 30 minutes when frozen, but no longer than that!
Since this cake needs to be served from the freezer, you can store it in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
If you would rather make this in an 8-inch square pan, you can also slice it into bars for an easy treat to have on hand.
Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake
Chocolate Pecan Crust
- To make the crust, add the pecans and cacao powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with an "S" blade and pulse briefly, until the mixture looks crumbly. Add in the maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt and process again until the mixture sticks together.
- Prepare an 8-inch springform pan by lightly spraying it with oil and pressing a piece of parchment paper into the bottom of the pan. This guarantees the cheesecake will be easy to remove later. Transfer the crust to the prepared pan and press it evenly into the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the freezer to set while you prepare the filling.
- To make the filling, add the cashews, zucchini, cacao powder, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, coconut oil, and water to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Stop and scrape down the sides of the blender, as needed, to make sure everything is blended well. It will be very thick.
- Remove the pan from the freezer and add the chocolate filling on top, smoothing it with a spatula. Return the pan to the freezer and chill until the cheesecake feels firm to the touch in the center, about 3 to 4 hours.
- When the cheesecake is totally firm, it's ready to slice and serve. Be sure to serve it directly from the freezer for the best texture, as it will soften up if you leave it at room temperature for too longer. Serve with sliced berries on top, or with coconut whipped cream.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
This recipe was originally posted in 2013, and was updated in 2022. I increased the maple syrup and cacao powder in the filling by a 1/4 cup each to boost the chocolate flavor, but you can omit that addition if you prefer. I think it greatly improves the flavor, though!
If you try this Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it.