Smooth and creamy, this delicious gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake is also both dairy-free and vegan, but you’d never know it! Made with cashews and coconut oil for creaminess, and a base of almond meal, this is the perfect dessert for pumpkin season and fall in general. Serve this during Thanksgiving and the holidays and impress your guests!
For the Crust:
For the Pumpkin Filling:
- 2 cups raw unsalted cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour in hot water or overnight
- 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons agar agar powder
- 1/4 cup water
- Pecans, for topping (optional)
- Grease and Line: Grease and line a small round springform pan with parchment paper (I used a 7-inch pan, but feel free to use a larger pan. Just note that the cake will be less tall if you use a wider pan).
- Process Crust Ingredients: process the almonds in a high-speed blender or food processor until you get a fine meal. In a large bowl, mix the almond meal with melted coconut oil, sugar, and cinnamon until ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Form the Crust: Press the almond meal mixture down firmly onto the base of the prepared springform pan with the back of a spoon to form a level crust. Place the pan in the freezer and let the crust set until firm for 30 minutes.
- Prepare Pumpkin Filling: While the crust is freezing, prepare the filling: process the soaked cashews, pumpkin puree, almond milk, sugar, melted coconut oil, ground cinnamon and nutmeg in the electric blender until you get a thick, creamy mixture.
- Add Agar Agar: Dissolve the agar agar powder in 1/4 cup of water and then pour the agar agar mixture into the blender. Process all the ingredients together until you get a homogeneous filling.
- Pour Filling into Pan and Freeze: Pour the filling mixture over the crust and let the filling chill for 2 to 3 hours in the freezer (or 4 to 6 hours in the refrigerator) until firm.
- Garnish: Top gluten-free vegan pumpkin cheesecake with pecans before slicing and serving.
Raw Almonds: I like using raw almonds to form the crust, but you may also use other nuts such as hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecan nuts if you prefer.
Sugar: I used granulated white sugar in this pumpkin cheesecake recipe, but you may also use brown sugar if you prefer. If you are diabetic or insulin-resistant, I highly recommend that you use Lakanto monkfruit sweetener (a 1:1 sugar substitute with zero glycemic index and doesn’t raise your blood sugar).
Raw Cashews: Make sure to soak the raw unsalted cashews in order to soften them and make the filling creamier. I recommend soaking them overnight in filtered water if you have the time, or for at least 1 hour in hot water if you are in a rush. Cashews are fundamental in this recipe to get the non-dairy creaminess that would otherwise come from normal cream cheese, so I do not recommend substituting the cashews with anything.
Pumpkin Puree: If you have fresh pumpkins available, here’s my easy recipe to make your own homemade pumpkin puree! Not only will it taste better and is cheaper than store-bought, homemade puree is also free of the nasty additives and preservatives that canned pumpkin usually comes with to make it shelf-stable!
Almond Milk: I like using an unsweetened version of my 5-minute homemade almond milk, but you can also use other non-dairy milks such as cashew milk, coconut milk, rice milk, oat milk, soy milk or even sunflower seed milk.
Coconut Oil: I prefer using refined coconut oil (as it has a more neutral taste) as opposed to extra virgin coconut oil (which has a stronger coconut flavor). Since coconut oil will firm up as the cheesecake chills, which is necessary for the cheesecake to maintain its shape, I do not recommend substituting it with other oils.
Spices: For the pumpkin filling, I added ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg for some pumpkin pie flavor. Alternatively, you may substitute the spices with 3 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice directly.
Agar Agar Powder: Together with the coconut oil, the agar agar powder helps to solidify the cheesecake, but if you are not vegan, feel free to substitute it with equal amounts of unflavored gelatin powder.
How to Store/Freeze the Cheesecake: If not planning on eating it right away, you can either store the cheesecake in an airtight container or cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. To freeze, place it in a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months, and then thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before eating.
This recipe was originally published in 2016, but has since been republished to include step-by-step photos, recipe notes and substitutions, as well as clearer instructions.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Chilling Time: 3 hours
- Category: Dessert
- Method: No-Bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake