The creamiest vegan lemon cheesecake topped with eggless lemon curd. This cheesecake is no-bake and made with less than 10 ingredients. You don't need any cashews, coconut oil or agar powder!
This delightful lemon cheesecake was adapted from my popular strawberry cheesecake recipe.
Ingredients you'll need
This vegan lemon cheesecake uses less than 10 ingredients that you can get in major stores (in countries like the USA, Canada, and the UK).
Vegan cream cheese for a classic cheesecake flavor and texture. As this cheesecake doesn't need to be baked, most brands of cream cheese will work. If you don't have access to vegan cream cheese, check out my baked vegan cheesecake recipe.
Fresh lemon juice and zest for the best lemon flavor!
Vegan-friendly cookies. I used accidentally vegan cookies that are available in major supermarkets in Australia. Alternatively, you can use graham crackers with a little sugar.
Coconut cream for texture. Alternatively, you can use more cream cheese. Firm silken tofu will work but you'll need to blend it and your final cheesecake will be softer.
When you scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this post, it may look like a lot of ingredients. However, similar ingredients are used in the crust, filling and curd, so it's not too many ingredients
A complete list of ingredients, quantities and instructions are in the gray recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Making the crust
Add the cookies to a small food processor and pulse until it forms fine crumbs. Add the melted vegan butter or coconut oil and pulse until combined.
The mixture should resemble wet sand. Press the mixture into the bottom of your cake tin and you're done.
How to make the cheesecake filling
This vegan lemon cheesecake gets its unique creaminess (and setting ability) from a foundation of lemon custard or eggless lemon curd. No cashews, no coconut oil, just traditional stovetop cooking!
To make the 'lemon custard base', add the coconut cream, lemon juice and cornstarch to the saucepan. Whisk the mixture to dissolve the cornstarch - this will help prevent any lumps of cornstarch!
Place the saucepan over medium heat and heat for 5 minutes or until thickened. The mixture may separate and that's absolutely fine! It's ready when it has thickened and you can't 'feel' the powdery cornstarch. Then, remove the saucepan from the heat.
Next, add all your cream cheese to the saucepan and whisk until smooth. The residual heat from the saucepan will help soften the cream cheese and make it easier to mix. You can use either a spatula or a hand mixer for this step! Just make sure there are no lumps of cream cheese at the end.
Alternatively, you can mix the cream cheese and lemon mixture in a food processor or a mixing bowl. I mixed the ingredients in my saucepan for convenience (and for less dirty dishes).
Now you'll have an incredibly creamy yet dairy-free cheesecake mixture. It already tastes SO GOOD at this stage but it'll turn even more creamy over time. Don't eat it all yet! Pour the mixture into your cake tin, smooth the top and let it set.
How to make vegan lemon curd (optional)
You know that saucepan we just used? Don't clean it - we'll use it to make the lemon curd.
The eggless lemon curd has similar ingredients to the cheesecake filling. The only different ingredient is turmeric, which is added for color. All ingredient amounts are in the gray recipe box at the bottom of my post.
It's really easy to make vegan lemon curd topping. Simply, add all the ingredients to your saucepan, whisk and heat until thickened! The curd will thicken further when it cools down.
Pour the curd on your vegan lemon cheesecake and let it set further or serve immediately.
The lemon curd is also amazing served with my vegan lemon cake (layered) vegan lemon poppy seed muffins or lemon blueberry cake!
Other ways to decorate the cheesecake
Apart from vegan lemon curd, you can also top your dessert with:
- Fresh berries, mango slices or even kiwi fruit!
- An easy mixed berry compote or strawberry compote, similar to my other vegan cheesecakes.
- Passionfruit puree, like my baked passionfruit cheesecake!
- Coconut yogurt or whipped coconut cream
- Chopped macadamia nuts and flaked coconut
Make sure you cook the filling and curd on the stovetop for long enough! Use the images in the blog post as a guide. The filling and curd should thickly coat the back of a spatula. Cooking times will vary depending on your stovetop.
More vegan cheesecake recipes
Vegan Lemon Cheesecake
- ~2 cups (200g) plain sweet cookies, gluten-free if needed (note 1)
- ⅓ cup (75g) vegan butter, margarine or coconut oil, melted
- 1 cup (240g) thick scoopable canned coconut cream, (note 2)
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar, or light-coloured sweetener of choice
- ⅓ cup (70g) lemon juice and zest, or to taste (I used ~2 lemons and weighed the lemon juice and lemon zest together)
- ¼ cup (30g) corn starch / corn flour
- ~2 cups (480g) vegan cream cheese, room temperature (2 x regular tubs)
Vegan lemon curd (optional)
- 1 cup (120g) dairy-free milk
- 1 tablespoon corn starch / corn flour
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30g) lemon juice and zest, or to taste (I used ~½ lemon and weighed the lemon juice and zest together)
- Pinch of turmeric
- Line an 8-inch (20 cm) spring-form or loose-bottom cake pan with parchment paper.
To make the crust:
- Add the cookies to a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse until combined. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom of your cake pan. Set aside.
To make the filling:
- Add the coconut cream, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch to a medium size saucepan and whisk to dissolve the cornstarch. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir the mixture constantly for 5 minutes or until it resembles a thick lemon curd. It's ok if the mixture separates! Remove from the heat.
- Add the cream cheese to the saucepan (note 3). Mix until the cream cheese is fully combined with the coconut cream mixture. There shouldn't be any lumps and your mixture should be a little thick (refer to the images above).
- Pour the mixture into your lined cake pan and smooth the top. Cover the cheesecake and place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or until set.
To make the vegan lemon curd (optional):
- Add all ingredients to a medium-sized saucepan and whisk to dissolve the cornstarch. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly for 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens. The curd will thicken more when it cools down.
- Remove the cheesecake from the cake pan, pour or spread your lemon curd on top and serve!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- Alternatively, you can use 150g graham crackers and 50g granulated sugar.
- If you can, avoid buying light canned coconut cream or even full-fat coconut milk as they contain less 'thick scoopable cream' compared to regular canned coconut cream. Otherwise, you'll need to buy too many cans to get the required amount of coconut cream in the recipe. If you don't want to use coconut cream, you can substitute it with more vegan cream cheese. Or, you can use firm silken tofu if you add it to a blender (your cheesecake will also be softer).
- Adding the cream cheese to the saucepan allows the residual heat to soften the cream cheese (it makes mixing easier and there's one less dish for you to clean)! Alternatively, you can add all the cheesecake filling ingredients to a food processor or mixing bowl and mix until smooth.
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I made the cheesecake and lemon curd but skipped the crust, instead using a store-bought graham cracker crust. This was really tasty! Especially the cheesecake layer was great. I could not get my lemon curd layer to thicken and it was a little more liquidy than I like for curd. Next time I'll make the cheesecake layer as written again but play around with the lemon curd layer to get it thicker. Definitely would make this again. It tasted good the first day, great the second day, and amazing on the third and final day. I think the longer it sat in the fridge the better it got! Good recipe, thanks!
Kaycee Quine says
Looks amazing!! Just wondering if there's a substitute for the corn starch / flour?
Hi Kaycee, arrowroot powder may work but I haven't tried it myself so I can't vouch for results. I hope that helps!
This sounds lovely but where do you buy vegan cream chese?
Hi Biddy, in Australia, I normally buy vegan cream cheese from health food stores and some major supermarkets. It depends on your country 🙂
Carole Schmidt says
My cheesecake layer was a bit soft, almost custard like instead of cheesecake. Curd layer was perfect. What did I do wrong?
Hi Carole, sorry to hear that! It could be a few reasons. Did you use thick spoopable coconut cream? A runnier coconut cream will cause the filling to not set. Also, was your filling thick and creamy (like the pictures) before you poured it into the cake pan? If so, it could be that the cream and corn starch wasn't cooked for long enough on the stovetop. I hope that helps!
Tim Wyncoll says
Superb recipe! Been looking for this for years. Dead easy. I made it in little pots - like the desserts you see in supermarkets in the UK. Best cheesecake I’ve ever made! Thank you for the recipe. Strawberry next!
Aw I'm so happy you enjoyed this cheesecake Tim!
I made this and it was lovely!! I am UK based and used the Sainsbury’s original cream cheese and used a Graham Cracker crust (ready made) as I had it in the cupboard already. I did make the lemon curd topping but used arrowroot instead of cornflour, this made it more transparent and I got lovely compliments from our guests who are not vegan, so I am grateful for the recipe xx
I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe and thanks for the tips about your substitutions too. Thanks so much for your feedback Ruth!
Delicious, so easy to make.
So glad you enjoyed this! Thanks Pip 🙂
Jessika Korostenski says
Delish!! Really really nice. Loved the sweet and tangy flavour and definitely the best vegan cheesecake I’ve tried. Highly recommend:)
Aw, I'm so glad to hear! That's a really lovely compliment :). thanks so much for taking the time to leave your feedback x
Te Marie says
Absolutely delicious!!! Melt in my mouth amazing!! And super easy to make too!
Yay! That's amazing and I'm so glad to hear!
Do you have to put the canned coconut cream in the fridge to let it separate before you use it? Looking forward to this....YUM!
It depends on the can and your climate! The brand that I use is almost always separate unless it's a 30 C (85 F) Summer day. I hope that helps 🙂
Is there anything to replace the coconut cream? Would elmea plant based double cream work if it was whipped? Coconut gives me stomach ache.
My other readers have tried similar recipes using Elmlea and Oatly cream and they worked well! The whipping won't work for this recipe as you'll need to heat it in a saucepan.
It is a beautiful recipe, thank you.
Adding coconut milk doesn't give coconut flavor in the end?
I'd love a lemon cheesecake but not a coconut one.
Thank you! I found the coconut taste was overpowered by the cream cheese and lemon juice. I'm not a fan of the coconut flavour of raw cashew cheesecakes and this lemon cheesecake isn't like that. My other readers have tried my other similar cheesecake recipes with oat and soy based creams so they work too!
Hope that helps!