The bottom layer of this pumpkin cheesecake is lightly flavored with lemon, while the top is pumpkin spiced; eaten together, they’re just plain heaven.
[Insert standard “this is not a fat-free recipe” disclaimer here. Geez, what was I thinking when I named this blog!]
I know most of you who celebrate Thanksgiving have already figured out your menus. I’m probably the only slacker who still doesn’t know what she’s cooking! I’m lucky, though. I’m going to my in-laws’ celebration which is essentially a huge pot-luck. We can usually count on there being some side dishes prepared vegan just for us, so I can get away with bringing just a dish or two.
At this point, I’m relatively sure that I’m making Bryanna’s Soy and Seitan “Turkey” and The Best Vegan Green Bean Casserole. But I’m absolutely positive that I will be bringing this delicious dessert.
This vegan pumpkin cheesecake is without a doubt the most delicious dessert I’ve had in a long time. The bottom layer is lightly flavored with lemon, while the top layer is pumpkin-flavored without being heavy; eaten together, they’re just plain heaven. No, it’s not fat-free, but I challenge you to find a lower-fat cheesecake that tastes this good. But I warn you–you won’t be able to stop at just one piece of this luscious cheesecake.
Since I first posted this recipe, it has become our traditional holiday dessert. I make it for both my husband’s and my extended families’ Christmas celebrations, and I never have leftovers to bring home.
In recent years, we’ve made this cheesecake with Kite Hill plain vegan cream cheese, which has no added oil, and it works just fine. I no longer believe you have to use Tofutti brand cream cheese for the pie to turn out right.
For more of my favorite fall and winter holiday recipes, please check out my Thanksgiving archives.
Vegan Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake
- 8 ounces vegan cream cheese Such as Kite Hill Almond cream cheese or Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese non-hydrogenated version in the yellow container
- 12 ounces extra-firm silken tofu Mori-nu brand in aseptic package
- 1/2 cup agave nectar or sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree canned, not pumpkin pie mix
- 2 teaspoons rum optional
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar or natural sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg (so much better than pre-ground)
- 1 pre-made 8-inch graham cracker crust or oatmeal cookie crust
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Put the "Cheesecake" ingredients (cream cheese through vanilla) in a food processor and puree until completely smooth. It should be silky smooth–not chalky or lumpy.
- Remove a heaping cup of this mixture from the processor and spread it in the bottom of the crust.
- Add the "Pumpkin" ingredients (pumpkin through nutmeg) to the ingredients remaining in the food processor and process until well blended. Smooth it carefully over the white layer in the crust, heaping it slightly in the middle.
- Bake until the center is almost set, about 50-60 minutes. (Insert a toothpick. If it comes out liquidy and cold, give it more time, until the center is firm.) Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 3 hours. Serve to delighted guests. (Don’t tell them it’s vegan, and they won’t know!)
Nutritional info is approximate.
I hope all of you who celebrate it have a happy Thanksgiving!
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Carla ChadwickNovember 12, 2018 at 1:11 pm
THANK YOU for this recipe!
I used to make a double-decker pumpkin and cheesecake pie every year for 10+ years before I became a vegan,. Last year was my first vegan Thanksgiving and I didn’t have an alternative, so we had apple pie instead. Although it was good, it was a poor substitute for our annual traditional pie. So I went looking for a *real* substitute and found your recipe. I just made it last night as a trial run for Thanksgiving and we love it! It’s very similar in taste to the non-vegan version but it has the advantage of being totally cruelty-free. Believe me, I’m doing a happy dance here in Atlanta. 🙂
Thank you again. I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season.
Eve-MarieNovember 22, 2018 at 10:04 am
Hi – I had a little trouble with this recipe and hoped you could advise so I get it right the next time. The two layers raw both tasted amazing, so I know it will be a great dessert if I do it right! After an hour of baking the whole pie was very jiggly ( not just in the middle) so I baked longer. Next time I checked it the pie was literally boiling (the filling was bubbling). So I took it out. The chilled pie tastes great but the filling is way too soft, and the two layers kind of mixed together so you can’t see there are two layers. I believe I followed the recipe exactly except cut it in half and baked in a 5” pie pan, and used Daiya cream cheese. Also the cornstarch I used was purchased in Europe and is slightly courser than the cornstarch I buy in the U.S. Should I have taken it out when it was still very jiggly? Any suggestions would be appreciated, thank you!
Susan VoisinNovember 22, 2018 at 1:19 pm
It could be that the Daiya cream cheese just doesn’t have the same properties as Tofutti cream cheese. But it also may be that the cornstarch wasn’t the same as we use in the US. The cornstarch is very important for thickening.
Eve-NarieDecember 1, 2018 at 9:42 am
Good to know – thsnks for your reply!
MichelleNovember 26, 2019 at 3:05 pm
I want to make this and already got Daiya but I didn’t see you address the Daiya issue. Any advice? Daiya taste so much better than the Trader Joe’s one.
Susan VoisinNovember 26, 2019 at 7:18 pm
I haven’t made this with anything other than Tofutti cream cheese. I would be very careful about using any other cream cheeses because I’m not sure they will work.
ChristinaNovember 29, 2019 at 4:56 pm
I’ve made this successfully with Daiya. I’m personally not a fan of the Tofutti taste.
J LJanuary 13, 2019 at 1:18 pm
Made this last night with my boyfriend for a get-together and it was a HIT. Served this to 4 non-vegan friends, and they said it was absolutely delicious. Also had no idea it was vegan. For sure saving this as my go-to pumpkin pie/cheesecake recipe. I replaced 2 tablespoon corn starch for 4 tsp tapioca starch (read online somewhere to use less of tapioca starch when subbing for corn starch) and baked for the full 60 minutes.
MichelleNovember 27, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Okay I am preheating the oven. I have come to terms that mine isn’t going to have the pretty layers like yours. There isn’t enough pumpkin puree even when I added 2 heaping tbsps of pumpkin puree. It’s still only barely covering the cheesecake layer. I used Daiya cream cheese and after racking my brain and reading up a ton on agar agar powder, I saw hope and I was excited. But then there’s simply not enough pumpkin puree. I don’t know how you got that thick layer in your pictures. The batter is really good though! I’ll keep looking for a recipe for next year
MichelleNovember 27, 2019 at 5:41 pm
Okay 30 minutes in and my pie is bubbling. I lowered the temp to 325 and it was still bubbling. Now at 300 and still bubbling. What am I doing wrong!? So far I’m pretty unhappy with this recipe! 😭
Susan VoisinNovember 28, 2019 at 7:20 am
Something must have gone wrong from the beginning. I’ve had people tell me they didn’t have enough of the white layer, but you’re the first person who said they didn’t have enough of the pumpkin layer. Did you measure out the cream cheese layer and just use a heaping cup of it for the first layer, leaving the rest to mix with the pumpkin and spices? That’s the obvious thing I can think of that could have gone wrong, but it could also be a difference in types of cream cheese. Whatever happened, I’m sorry it’s not coming out right.
MichelleNovember 29, 2019 at 10:20 am
I just re-read the recipe and I don’t see where it says to mix the cheesecake mix with the pumpkin mix. Am I completely missing it? I might try it again using non-Daiya cream cheese and mixing the rest of the cheesecake mix with the pumpkin. My picky daughter who is 8 really likes the taste.
Susan VoisinNovember 29, 2019 at 12:23 pm
In step 3, you remove a cup of the cheesecake mixture, leaving the rest in the food processor. Then in step 4, you add the pumpkin ingredients to the ingredients in the food processor and blend it up. I’m glad your daughter likes the taste, and I hope you can make it again and have it set up right.
kateJanuary 10, 2020 at 11:37 pm
This looks wonderful. I couldn’t fit it in this year but I am going to try it for easter. Lots of time to practise. 🙂
NataliaOctober 21, 2020 at 2:15 am
Because it doesnt contain fat it isnt as rich as the normal cheesecake which might be a + or -. Either way it is a tasty, very light and healthy cake! I would recommend a pan smaller than 8 inches because the layers arent as tall as in the pictures even though I followed the recipe as stated. If you are making pumpkin puree yourself, then firstly peel the pumpkin so you dont have chunks of skin in the cream.
JoyceJanuary 6, 2021 at 12:11 pm
Hello, I made this recipe and it turned out great. I use 16 oz of the cream cheese and it works find. Wanted to know if this recipe can be frozen?
Thank you in advance. I made 2 cheesecakes.
JoyceJanuary 6, 2021 at 12:13 pm
I made this recipe and it is a 5 star. I made 2 cheesecakes and wanted to know if one could be frozen?
Susan VoisinJanuary 6, 2021 at 3:31 pm
I’ve never tried freezing it, so I can’t say for sure but I think it might be okay. I’m glad you enjoyed it!
LauraNovember 26, 2021 at 11:50 pm
I used Violife Cream Cheese. I had to bake about double-time, because it wasn’t setting. Absolutely delicious! It’s our new Thanksgiving tradition! Thank you so much for sharing!
seleneNovember 27, 2022 at 10:27 pm
This is our family favorite! I’ve found that when making a crust from scratch, it is better NOT pre-baked. Bake it with the filling instead.
A common substitution here is to use 1 cup nuts/seeds plus enough water to fill the cup (with the nuts in it) instead of the cream cheese. A favorite is pumpkin seeds. Must have a high speed blender for smoothness.
Also bake in muffin tins and store in the freezer for a single serving of yum when needed. Tasty!