You will be amazed by this silky smooth, luscious vegan cheesecake made from silken tofu! The filling is so smooth and creamy but with no dairy, no nuts, and no vegan cream cheese even. Using crushed up gluten-free ginger biscuits for the base and the syrup from a jar of stem ginger mixed into the filling, it has a subtle gingery flavour that pairs beautifully with the fresh lemon. It tastes divine, looks really pretty with some berries strewn on top, and hardly takes any effort to make as well! Definitely a recipe to try out – even on your most sceptical dinner guests!
Why You Will Love This Easy Vegan Cheesecake Recipe
- Amazing creaminess – no-one will believe it’s dairy-free!
- Quick and easy to make – no-bake means no water bath hassle - just a bit of whizzing in the food processor and cooling in the fridge and it's done!
- Nut-free – suitable for people with allergies or a sneaky treat in the school lunchbox.
- High protein from the silken tofu (which is far healthier than fake cream cheese).
- Delicious flavour from the stem ginger syrup!
There are a lot of vegan cheesecake recipes out there, so I wondered whether I really needed to add another to the mix. But I couldn’t find what I was looking for! I wanted natural, simple ingredients, no baking or water baths, and nut-free (so that I could give some to the kids for their nut-free school lunchboxes and I could serve it to dinner party guests without worrying about potential nut allergies).
Looking at the many recipes on the web, they all either used vegan cream cheeses which I didn’t want, or had nuts in them. For the sake of completeness, I did experiment with a nut version using raw cashews for thickening. I felt the cashew nuts affected the flavour too much though and they also made the filling too heavy and pastey rather than light, soft creaminess that I was looking for.
So, after much experimenting, I decided to use agar agar to thicken my silken tofu based creamy filling. The result was amazing! Soft, light cheesecake but with no fear of collapse!
If you haven’t heard of agar agar (paid affiliate link) before, it’s a natural vegetarian alternative to gelatin that is made from seaweed. It’s easy to use – you just sprinkle it onto a cold liquid, then gently heat it for 5 minutes, stirring, until it dissolves. Then you add it to your base mixture and put it into the fridge to set.
- Ginger biscuits (cookies) – you can use store-bought vegan and gluten-free ginger biscuits or if you can’t find any, you could easily make some of these stem-ginger biscuits which work well too!
- Silken tofu – this is what gives the amazing creaminess to this cheesecake. I like to use organic silken tofu. It is not the same as the other types of tofu and is usually not in the same place in the supermarket either! It’s usually in tetrapak shelf-stable packaging, often found amongst the Japanese ingredients in the supermarket. This recipe calls for a whole pack but if you have a larger packet, you can use the leftover silken tofu to make some scrambled tofu or this delicious creamy artichoke and spinach dip!
- Coconut oil – this is used both in the base (for setting the biscuit crumbs) and in the filling (to help with smoothness and setting). It doesn’t give a coconut flavour but feel free to use melted vegan butter in the biscuit base instead or leave it out of the filling for a less rich option.
- Maple syrup – there is quite a lot of maple syrup in here but it doesn’t give an overpoweringly sweet dessert. Since I live in the Middle East, date syrup is often cheaper and easier to find than pure maple syrup so I have substituted it many times without any problem. The date syrup will change the colour to a soft caramel brown but the taste is just as good!
- Stem Ginger Syrup – this is the syrup from a jar of stem ginger (paid affiliate link). Use the stem ginger pieces cut up to decorate the cheesecake or use them to make stem ginger biscuits, and then use the syrup from the jar to make this recipe. It has a wonderful gingery flavour!
- Lemons – the zest and juice is used to counterbalance the sweetness for that perfect cheesecake flavour. Ideally, you would use fresh lemons which will give about 30g lemon juice from 1 lemon.
- Coconut milk - The coconut milk is used for melting the agar agar powder into so you really need it to be a runny liquid. If your coconut milk has separated in the tin, just whisk it together before pouring rather than just scoop out the thick coconut cream from the top.
- Agar agar powder (paid affiliate link) – don’t be afraid of this little known ingredient! It is really easy to use as long as you follow my instructions to add it to cold liquid first and then bring to the boil, then stir over a very low heat until it dissolves. It takes about 5 minutes. I buy the clearspring brand which is usually in the Japanese ingredients section of the supermarket. It may also be in the baking ingredients section near the gelatine since it is a widely used vegetarian / vegan alternative to gelatine.
Please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for full list of ingredients and their quantities.
How To Make This Recipe
Despite being an impressive dessert to wow your guests with, it is surprisingly quick and easy to make this vegan silken tofu cheesecake!
For the cheesecake base:
You can either make the base in the food processor or by hand, depending on your preference.
- In a food processor: put the ginger biscuits into a food processor and pulse until they resemble breadcrumbs. Then, with the motor running, add the melted coconut oil and whizz for a few moments just until the oil is dispersed throughout the biscuit crumbs.
- By hand: put the biscuits into a sealed ziplock bag and bash it with a rolling pin to break them up into crumbs. Then you can pour the biscuit crumbs into a large mixing bowl and mix in the coconut oil with a wooden spoon.
Next, pour this biscuit crumb mixture into an 8” / 20cm springform cake tin that has been lined on the bottom with baking paper (parchment paper). See the "top tips" below for advice on the best type of tin.
Press the biscuit mixture down into the tin with your hands and knuckles to ensure that it is firmly packed and evenly spread across the whole base of the tin. Cover the tin with a plate or cling film and then put it in the freezer to firm up for a few minutes while you make the filling.
For the cheesecake filling:
To make the filling, place all the filling ingredients (except the coconut milk and agar agar) into the food processor or a high-speed blender and whizz on high speed until smooth and silky without a trace of tofu bits! This should take about a minute since silken tofu is so soft, but you may need to stop and scrape down the sides a couple of times to ensure that everything is blended well.
You can have a sneaky taste at this stage to make sure you like the flavour and don’t want to tweak anything. Silken tofu is perfectly safe to eat raw.
Then pour the coconut milk into a very small saucepan and sprinkle the agar agar over the surface. Put the pan on a high heat to bring it to the boil (without stirring), then the moment it comes to the boil, turn down the heat to medium-low, and stir the agar agar into the coconut milk.
Keep stirring the coconut milk mixture constantly until the agar agar has completely dissolved. This will take around 5 minutes (and I promise you this is the only tedious part of this recipe!).
You need to control the temperature quite carefully at this point.
- If it boils too fiercely, the liquid will evaporate too much and it will go too thick for the agar agar to dissolve properly.
- Conversely, if the temperature is too low so that it is not even simmering, then, again, the agar agar will not dissolve.
So, what I usually do is set the temperature to medium-low then stir over the heat and every time it starts to boil too fast, I pull it away from the heat for a few moments, still stirring, then return it back to the hot plate once it has stopped bubbling.
In just a few minutes of stirring on and off the heat, you will see the little bits of agar agar disappear into the coconut milk. At this point, turn the food processor back on (with the tofu mixture still in it) and pour the agar agar mixture into the food processor while it is running. Whizz it into the tofu mixture for 1-2 minutes until it is really well blended into the mixture.
Then, pour the mixture into the cake tin on top of the biscuit base. Spread it with a spatula to even up the top, if necessary, then cover the tin and put it back into the fridge, set on a plate to catch any leaking syrup.
Refrigerate the cheesecake for a minimum of 4 hours to ensure that the mixture is well set. Then check to see whether it has set by lifting the cake tin up and tilting it to one side. It should stay perfectly un-moving (but see the top tips below if it has not set properly). If set, then remove the cheesecake from the tin and transfer to a plate for serving.
This is a summary only. Please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this page for full instructions.
Top Tips & Troubleshooting
- For this recipe, you need to use a cake tin that has a removable base (a "springform pan") otherwise it is almost impossible to get the cheesecake out of the tin. I like to turn the removable base over so that it is inserted into the cake tin the “wrong way” with the rim facing down. This makes it much easier to slide a flat spatula under the cheesecake to move it onto a plate for serving.
How to remove the cheesecake from the tin?
- Once you have checked the cheesecake has set, then carefully unclip the side of the cake tin and ease it open, making sure all the sides release without tearing the cheesecake. Then carefully lift the outside rim of the tin up over the cheesecake to remove it.
- To transfer the cheesecake onto a plate, carefully push a flat spatula under the baking paper on the cake tin and turn the base to pull the spatula around the whole of the base to loosen the baking paper from the tin base. Once you have gone around the whole base, then carefully lift the cheesecake (and the baking paper) off the tin and onto the plate.
Preventing leaks in the fridge
- Another tip is to always place the cheesecake tin onto a plate or tray before putting it into the fridge so that if it leaks some sticky liquid from the tin (due to the rim being the wrong way – see the previous tip) then it won’t make a big mess in your fridge!
If for any reason you find that your cheesecake has not set or that it has a grainy or bitty texture, it is likely that the agar agar did not fully dissolve in the pan or that it did not blend fully with the tofu mixture.
You can easily fix this problem by spooning the filling into a pan and gently re-heating it. Stir the mixture over the heat to dissolve the agar agar again and distribute it throughout the filling mixture. Then you can pour the mixture back into the cake tin over the biscuit base and refrigerate again for 4 hours.
Serve this vegan silken tofu cheesecake as an impressive plant-based dessert to wow your guests at dinner parties. It is delicious served with some fresh fruit or berries on top and a dusting of icing sugar. Or you could whizz up some candied ginger pieces into a powder and sprinkle that on top for even more gingery yumminess! Or simply sprinkle with shaved dark chocolate and scatter with pomegranate seeds! The decorating choices are endless!
You can also make this cheesecake in smaller tins for individual serving sizes or even this romantic heart-shaped tin that's perfect for dinner-a-deux!
A quick note about managing expectations...
Vegan cheesecake is different to dairy cheesecake! It is similar in look and texture but it has a somewhat different flavour. If you are expecting it to be exactly like your traditional cheesecake, then I am worried you will be disappointed. But if you are expecting a delicious vegan and gluten-free dessert, then you will be very happy since this is an impressive and truly scrumptious dessert (vegan or not!) and definitely the best vegan cheesecake I have ever tried!
This recipe has been very carefully created with many iterations and failures along the way. Since I don’t want anyone to have a bad experience, it is really important to follow the recipe exactly!
However, if you are not a fan of ginger and want to use another flavour instead, you could use this as a base recipe, substituting the stem ginger syrupfor another flavour. Here are some ideas for you to try:
- add some melted chocolate instead of the stem ginger syrup for a vegan chocolate cheesecake;
- add espresso powder instead for a coffee flavoured vegan cheesecake;
- make a fruit flavoured version with whizzed up frozen strawberries or raspberries instead of the ginger syrup
Making Ahead & Storage
One of the most brilliant things about this vegan silken tofu cheesecake recipe is that it is a perfect make-ahead dessert for easy entertaining. You can make the base up to 3 days in advance and store it in the fridge. For best results, make the filling in the morning on the day you are serving it or up to 24 hours before so that the biscuit base does not go too soggy while it is in the fridge.
This ginger cheesecake also freezes really well! There was a stage that I was doing so many tests of this recipe that my family got a bit cheesecaked out! So, I put one of the cheesecakes into the freezer to test whether it would freeze well. Unbelievably, it defrosted perfectly and I was able to serve it in exactly the same way as a freshly made cheesecake. So, this means you can get really ahead and store your silken tofu cheesecake in the freezer then defrost it in the fridge a day before you intend to serve it.
Keep leftovers covered (or in an airtight container) in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Yes, tofu is perfectly safe to eat raw so it is not a problem that there is no cooking involved in this no-bake tofu cheesecake recipe.
For best results with this no-bake vegan cheesecake recipe, you need to use silken tofu for ultra creaminess. You could also use soft tofu but certainly not medium, firm or extra firm tofu as these will make it harder to get the super creamy texture.
Don’t worry, there is no tofu flavour in this cheesecake! The ginger and lemon are the dominant flavours in this delicious silken tofu cheesecake.
Yes! You can freeze this no-bake vegan tofu cheesecake for up to 3 months. When you are ready to serve it, just defrost in the fridge for a day beforehand, decorate, and serve!
📖 Recipe 📖
Vegan Ginger Cheesecake (No-Bake, Nut-Free & Gluten-Free)
- 260 g ginger biscuits, (vegan and gluten-free)
- 4 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 320 g silken tofu
- 100 g maple syrup, (or date syrup)
- 3 tablespoon stem ginger syrup, (from a jar of stem ginger)
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 3 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 lemons (zest of 2, juice of 1)
- 1 pinch salt
- 100 ml coconut milk
- 2 tablespoon agar agar powder
- First, line the bottom of an 8”/20cm round cake tin with baking paper, and drain the tofu in a sieve. Shake the sieve a few times to get a bit more liquid out of the tofu.320 g silken tofu
- To make the base, place the ginger biscuits into the food processor and pulse until they go to a breadcrumb like consistency. Then, with the motor running, pour in the melted coconut oil and whizz for a few seconds until it is well mixed. (In the TM, just put the biscuits and the coconut oil into the jug and set to 10 secs. / sp. 4.5). Pour the mixture into the lined cake tin and press down with a spatula to get it flat. (Use your hands and knuckles to press it down as much as you can). Then cover the tin and put it in the fridge.260 g ginger biscuits, 4 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- Next, make the topping. Put all the filling ingredients except the agar agar and coconut milk, into a blender or food processor and whizz until really smooth and thick. (TM: 1 min. / sp. 10, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times – every 15 seconds or so).320 g silken tofu, 100 g maple syrup, 3 tablespoon stem ginger syrup, 2 tablespoon coconut oil, 3 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 lemons (zest of 2, juice of 1), 1 pinch salt
- Pour the coconut milk into a very small pan and sprinkle the agar agar powder on top. Place on a hot stove and bring to the boil, then immediately turn the heat down to low and stir the agar agar into the coconut milk. Keep stirring until the agar agar has fully dissolved. This takes about 5 minutes. Make sure that it is a really low heat so that it doesn't boil too fiercely. You might need to keep pulling it off the heat a little while you stir. If it boils too fiercely, the liquid will evaporate off and it will go too thick before the agar agar has fully dissolved.100 ml coconut milk, 2 tablespoon agar agar powder
- Once the agar agar powder has dissolved, turn the food processor on again (with the tofu mixture still in there) and slowly pour the agar agar mixture into the food processor with the motor running. Mix for a minute so that it is well distributed throughout the mixture. (TM: 1 min / sp. 4.5 while pouring in the agar agar mixture, then scrape down the sides, put the lid back on with the MC in, and set to 1 minute / sp. 7).
- Pour the tofu mixture into the tin on top of the ginger biscuit base. Then cover the tin with cling film and put it back in the fridge for at least 4 hours to set.
- Serve decorated with berries or pomegranate seeds and perhaps some thinly shaved slices of stem ginger.
- If you have any problems with the cheesecake not setting or if the filling is bitty, it is likely that the agar agar did not fully dissolve properly or that it didn't mix quickly enough into the filling mixture before firming up. If that happens, just pour (or scrape) the mixture into a pan and gently heat, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes. This will ensure all the agar agar dissolves and is stirred well into the mixture. Then pour back into the cake tin on top of the ginger biscuit base and refrigerate again.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a ⭐ star rating ⭐ on the recipe card!
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