Rich and creamy vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake made with a gingersnap crust and topped with toasted pecans for the perfect vegan Thanksgiving dessert. It's so good, no one will believe it's vegan!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.
This year, for the first time in the 11 years that I've been vegan, I'm going to be attending an ALL-VEGAN Thanksgiving.
Over the past decade, I've been to all kinds of Thanksgivings. Thanksgiving at the in-laws (when I was married), ones at my parents' house, some meals in my friend's houses, and even one in the airport while traveling abroad. In all those years, in all those homes, I have always had to celebrate the holiday of gratitude and thanksgiving while in grief over the beautiful creatures that had to die for the inconsequential holiday experience.
This year, that's all going to change.
This year, as I celebrate the harvest of the season, my dear friends and family, and immense gratitude for life's good adventures, I get to do it in a way that aligns with some of my deepest values of how we should live and eat.
And because I'm the vegan expert in the family, my mom has asked me to plan the menu that we will all contribute to this year's Thanksgiving.
Vegan Thanksgiving Menu
- Portobello Mushroom Gravy
- Sage and Garlic Cream Biscuits
- Apple and Hazelnut Thanksgiving Stuffing
- Balsamic Brussel Sprouts
- Wild Rice & Pecan Stuffed Acorn Squash
And of course, this classic vegan pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.
Recommended Ingredients & Equipment
This vegan pumpkin cheesecake is a variation of the cheesecake I've been bringing the last few years to my Thanksgiving gatherings. What makes this cheesecake so incredible (besides the creamy pumpkin cheesecake filling that is spiced to perfection and baked into the smoothest, silkiest custard) is the gingersnap crust.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Vegan Gingersnaps - For gluten-free, make sure to look for vegan and gluten-free gingersnaps. (<<affiliate link)
- Vegan Butter - Look for a high-quality non-hydrogenated vegan butter. I recommend either Earth Balance or Miyoko’s.
- Vegan Cream Cheese - I recommend either Daiya or Tofutti. You can also make homemade cream cheese.
- Granulated Sugar - Check out my guide to vegan sugars and alternative sugar replacements. For a healthier sugar alternative, I recommend coconut sugar.
- Pumpkin Puree - Make sure to use canned pumpkin and NOT pumpkin pie filling.
- Extra-Firm Silken Tofu - It’s very important that you use silken tofu. Silken tofu is a shelf-stable product found usually in the international food aisle of most well-stocked grocery stores. Like regular tofu, silken tofu comes in soft, medium, firm, and extra firm. For this recipe, I recommend using extra-firm.
- Vegan Sour Cream - There are a lot of vegan cream cheeses and sour creams on the market. I suggest looking for Daiya or Tofutti brands. You can also make homemade sour cream.
- All-Purpose Flour - For gluten-free, use a 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour Baking Blend. (<<affiliate link)
- Vanilla Extract
- Spices - You will need ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves
For this recipe, you’ll need basic kitchen equipment such as a mixing bowl, utensils, and a 9" springform cake pan . You will also need a blender or food processor and basic kitchen utensils. (<<affiliate links)
Check out the full list of my recommended kitchen tools and gadgets.
How to Make Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
Step One - Make the Crust
For the crust I use just two simple ingredients: gingersnaps and vegan butter. You can find vegan gingersnaps at your local grocery stores. Most gingersnaps happen to be vegan but it's a good idea to always check.
To make the crust, pulse the gingersnap cookies in a food processor to a uniform crumb. Once cookies are broken down, slowly add melted butter and process until well combined.
The crust should stick together when pressed between your fingers. Transfer crust onto the prepared cake pan, evenly pressing the crust down around the bottom of the pan with your fingers, and set aside.
Step Two - Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
Clean out your food processor and combine cream cheese and granulated sugar, blending until smooth and well combined, scraping down the sides as necessary.
Add pumpkin, tofu, and sour cream and blend again. Add flour, spices, and vanilla and blend until combined.
Pro Tip: This recipe calls for silken tofu. Unfortunately, regular tofu just won’t work. With regular tofu, you will end up with a grainy base with tofu chunks that just never break down. Make sure to buy firm or extra firm; this is important for getting the correct pudding-like texture.
Step Three - Bake the Cheesecake
Pour cheesecake batter into prepared pan. Place on a baking sheet in the lower rack of your oven. Add ½" of water to the baking sheet to give it steam. This will allow the cheesecake to bake uniformly.
Bake the cheesecake for 60-75 minutes, checking for doneness after 60. The cheesecake should still have a little wobble, but start pulling away from the sides and cracking a little on the top when it's done.
Remove it from the oven and let cool for 60 minutes before putting in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours. Letting it cool first at room temperature prevents the cheesecake from cracking.
Serving and Storing
Serving - Serve chilled with pecans or coconut whipped cream.
Storing - Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or the freezer for up to 2 months
Make in Advance - This cheesecake can be made in advance. Once it is completely cool, tightly wrap the cheesecake in plastic wrap and store it until ready to serve. If serving from the freezer, give it at least 6 hours to thaw in the refrigerator.
Frequently Asked Question
What is silken tofu?
Unlike regular tofu, silken tofu has a creamy texture making it the perfect egg replacer for creamy pies such as Vegan Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Cream Pie as well as custard-based desserts such as Lemon Bars.
When blended, it incorporates completely with the other ingredients giving the recipes a thick and creamy (pudding-like) consistency without adding any strang tastes.
Do I have to use silken tofu?
Yes, for recipes that call for silken tofu, you do. Unfortunately, regular tofu just won’t work. With regular tofu, you will end up with a grainy base with tofu chunks that just never break down. It’s not good. Believe me, I’ve made this mistake.
More Vegan Pumpkin Dessert Recipes
- Classic Vegan Pumpkin Pie
- Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream
- No-Bake Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pie
- Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
- 2 cups vegan gingersnaps
- 6 tablespoon vegan butter, melted
- 24 ounces vegan cream cheese, 3 (8 oz) tubs
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 12 ounces extra firm silken tofu
- ¼ cup vegan sour cream
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9" springform cake pan with parchment paper and spray the bottoms and sides thoroughly. Set aside.
- To make the crust, pulse the gingersnap cookies in a food processor to a uniform crumb. Once cookies are broken down, slowly add melted butter and process until well combined. The crust should stick together when pressed between your fingers. Transfer crust onto the prepared cake pan, evenly pressing the crust down around the bottom of the pan with your fingers, and set aside.
- Clean out your food processor and then combine cream cheese and granulated sugar, blending until smooth and well combined.
- Add pumpkin, tofu, and sour cream and blend again, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add flour, spices, and vanilla and blend until combined.
- Pour cheesecake batter into prepared pan. Place on a baking sheet in the lower rack of your oven. Add ½" of water to the baking sheet to give it steam. This will allow the cheesecake to bake uniformly.
- Bake for 60-75 minutes. Check for doneness after 60. The cheesecake will be wobbly, but start pulling away from the sides and cracking a little on the top when it's done. Remove from oven and let cool for 60 minutes before putting in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.
- Serve chilled with pecans or coconut whipped cream.
- Do I have to use silken tofu? Yes, for recipes that call for silken tofu, you do. Unfortunately, regular tofu just won’t work. With regular tofu, you will end up with a grainy base with tofu chunks that just never break down. It’s not good. Believe me, I’ve made this mistake.
I made this for Thanksgiving and something went wrong. I don’t know exactly what. I baked it for 68 min, the top was cracking and the sides were coming from the edges. Sat in the fridge for a lil over a day and when it came time to cut it, everything on the inside was mushy. It ended being more of a cheesecake pudding with some crust. It was delicious either way and everyone ate it and loved it!! It was soooo YUM! Just not solid.
This seemed like a common problem this year. Not sure why because other people have made it without an issue. Will troubleshoot and adjust the instructions if necessary.
I followed the recipe exactly and the cheesecake never got firm. I baked it for 90 minutes and it was still runny. Finally just cooled it and put in the fridge hoping it would set up. It was basically pumpkin pudding. Tasted delicious, but a failure as a cheesecake.
This seemed to be an issue with several readers. I will test the recipe again and see what is happening.
Yamir Oliveras says
I just baked this! My cake pan was too small so I made an additional squared cheesecake with the rest. Instead of the graham crackers crust I made it with almond flour. I also never buy pumpkin purée. I just processed some raw pumpkin with a bit of vanilla almond milk. Can’t wait to taste it!!
I’m finding this pumpkin cheese recipe after Thanksgiving which is very unfortunate because this would have looked GREAT on my holiday table! I’m not fully vegan myself but cater to a bunch of family that is so I’m excited to see what they think when I make this recipe! Thanks for the post!
HI... I am excited to try this recipe, but I am wondering what can I use in place of the tofu? I am allergic to soy so I need a non-soy option. Thanks!!
I would suggest a cashew-based cheesecake if your son can't do soy. Here's one I like: https://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-pumpkin-cheesecake/
What can i substitute for the vegan sour cream. I am having a hard time finding that. I can't wait to try this cheesecake on my family! Thanks 🙂
You could make your own: https://cookieandkate.com/2018/vegan-sour-cream-recipe/ or substitute an additional 1/4 cup of silken tofu for texture.
Need a bit of help. My food processor is not mixing the cream cheese. I have a vitamix blender but I don't think that will be able to blend the cream cheese either. I do have a stand mixer. Should I try that instead? Would it be helpful to let the cream cheese stand at room temp for a while? I feel like I'm missing something ... I'm at step one and having trouble!
I'm surprised your food processor wasn't mixing the cream cheese. Did you combine it with the sugar? I can't imagine it won't eventually get smooth if you keep scraping it down in between. If that doesn't work, you can do a stand up mixer but in that case the cream cheese should be at room temperature. Good luck!
For our last family get together I made my nieces a vegan potato salad, which was my first vegan anything cooking. For Christmas I am making them your cheesecake, because I really love baking. Must I put the tofu in the food processor, or will it be smooth from a Kitchaid?
Yes, you really need to get this pureed. A blender might work but a food processor is best. And make sure it's silken tofu.
Oh yes, we searched and searched, and read some articles, to find what each tofu type means. Then, I ordered it off Amazon...then I found it at the Commsisary. I will use the food processor 🙂 I want these girls to really enjoy this.
Thanks for the quick reply
Oh my gosh! I just remembered I have a hand blender...the stick thing. I’ll use that 🙂
benedetta fabris says
Love this recipe!! I want to make it for thanksgiving!
I can't find vegan sour cream in Italy, how can I sub that?
Can I store the cake in the fridge for three days??
This looks incredible! I had this saved for a while and think I am going to make it for Thanksgiving. How far in advance do you think I can make it?
Thanks! You could make it several days in advance and keep it frozen until the morning of Thanksgiving.
Hi! I made your cheesecake yesterday and I am really amazed how it turned out. Really fluffy-like but not too soft, nice firm to cut but melting in the mouth and a beautifull colour. I think I tasted the tofu a little bit, but that didn't mind me.I think next time I am going to up the spices a little bit. and also the sour creme (and make this al little more sour also). I gave three pieces to my mother for her visitors and they all really loved it and were astonished that is was all vegan! Awesome when this kind of reactions occur! My Love also really liked it. What I also loved was the low amount of sugar. All in all a recipe that I am saving and...spreading if you don't mind. I live in the Netherlands so will translate it to Dutch so it is more accessible for people who do not read English that easily. Many thanks and greetings from Holland.
So glad it was a hit! Thanks for sharing the recipe with your friends.
This looks amazing!! Where do you get your vegan ginger snaps and what brand?
I typically can find that at New Seasons or Whole Foods. I can't remember the brand off the top of my head, but it's not very difficult to find vegan gingersnaps, a lot of them just happen to be vegan.
Wow this pumpkin cheesecake looks amazing. And those pecans on the top really make it perfect in my eyes. Can't wait to make it once I get the ingredients.
Thanks so much Winnie!
What is your favorite brand of vegan cream cheese and vegan sour cream for this recipe? This looks delicious!
My favorite kind is Tofutti for both. And thanks!
Is there some other ingredient to replace the tofu, as someone who suffers from thyroid disease, soy is not a good option. Soy is an endocrine disruptor and people with thyroid issues should avoid soy products. Any recommendations? I absolutely LOVE pumpkin cheesecake and miss it since eliminating dairy from my diet...
This recipe relies on the tofu. Here is a cashew-based cheesecake that doesn't need tofu and I trust her recipes: https://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-pumpkin-cheesecake/ or here is another one I found that is more traditional but uses flaxmeal for a binder.
I have thyorid issues (genetic) and soy has never given me a problem. We love soy in our house. It must be hard to rat anyyhing you do mot make personally because almost everything has soy in it.