I love cheesecake! Always have, always will.
There’s something so special about the filling that makes me fall in love all over again every time I eat a slice, as if it was my first time ever trying it.
With every bite, I go crazy over the slightly sour yet lightly sweet flavor and the sinfully rich and creamy texture.
And when you pair that with a buttery graham cracker or cookie crust, what a perfect match!
Unfortunately, my love connection with this dessert isn’t as strong as it used to be – I try not to consume too many desserts made with dairy, due to stomach issues.
Which means no thick, over-indulgent slices of cheesecake for me.
And I’m sure we can wallow in our tears together – many of you likely suffer from this issue!
We are so used to only nibbling on the tiniest, skinniest slivers of cheesecake, to prevent any impending digestive doom later.
Maybe we’ve all considered, at some point, that this would be our sad fate forever.
Or so we thought…
Today, I’m happy to say that I have created a delicious dairy-free cheesecake recipe, and I’m excited to finally share it with you.
And the process is virtually the same as making any other basic cheesecake recipe!
Let’s give a little love to each layer, and take a look at each one more closely.
To start – did you know Oreos are vegan?
They ARE! And while we’ve already included them before in this vegan raspberry cake, I also couldn’t resist using them as the perfect base for this dairy-free chocolate cheesecake.
Along with some melted vegan butter and a little salt, the cookies are pulverized in the food processor to create a sweet and aromatic crumble. Once you press the mixture into a springform pan and bake it, you can move on to the filling.
With more help from alternative products like dairy-free cream cheese and sour cream, a thick and delish chocolate cheesecake filling is easy to achieve when these are combined with eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and melted bittersweet chocolate.
Once you – patiently – allow the cheesecake to bake, cool, and set completely, you’ll be rewarded with a thick and rich chocolate cheesecake.
Surprise all of your guests with thick slices of this dairy-free dessert at the end of a meal – even the dairy lovers will fall hard for it!Print
Can you make cheesecake without dairy? Our dense and delicious recipe is the answer. With a rich and creamy chocolate filling, it’s the perfect alternative.
For the Crust:
- 24 Oreo chocolate sandwich cookies
- 2 tablespoons vegan unsalted butter, melted
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Filling:
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds plain vegan cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup plain vegan sour cream, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
For the Crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
- Place the Oreos in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and process into fine crumbs. Add the butter and salt and pulse until combined. The mixture will be crumbly, but should easily clump when pressed together.
- Transfer the crumbs into an ungreased 8- or 9-inch springform pan. Press the crumbs firmly and evenly into the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the pan.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and bake the crust for 8-10 minutes, until dry and fragrant. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool as you make the filling.
For the Cheesecake:
- As the crust bakes, melt the chocolate in a double boiler on the stovetop or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave. Set aside to cool. Boil water in a kettle, and keep it hot as you prepare the filling.
- Place the cream cheese and sour cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix together at medium speed until completely combined and smooth, about 1 minute.
- Mix in the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and salt at medium speed until completely combined, 1 minute more. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and briefly remix.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs to the mixture one at a time, incorporating each one before adding the next. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and briefly remix.
- With the mixer still on low speed, add the melted chocolate and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and briefly remix.
- Pour the batter onto the crust and spread it into an even layer.
- Tightly cover the bottom and sides of the pan with 2 layers of aluminum foil. Place the pan inside a large baking or roasting pan with tall sides. Transfer to the oven and carefully fill the roasting pan halfway with the hot water.
- Bake until the cheesecake is fully set around the edges with just a slight jiggle in the center, 60-75 minutes.
- Remove the roasting pan from the oven and remove the springform pan from the water bath. Dispose of the aluminum foil.
- Place the springform pan on a cooling rack and let the cheesecake cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 6 hours to set, or preferably overnight.
- When set, remove the ring from the springform pan, slice the cheesecake into wedges, and serve.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Cheesecake
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Dessert
Keywords: cheesecake, dairy-free, chocolate, Oreo
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
Set out the equipment you will need. Get out your food processor fitted with the blade attachment, as well as your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Set out an 8-inch or 9-inch springform pan and a large baking or roasting pan with tall sides. Fill a kettle with water.
For the crust, measure out the Oreos and kosher salt. Measure and melt the vegan butter.
For the filling, all of the ingredients should be at room temperature in order to combine more homogeneously. Measure and keep out the vegan cream cheese and vegan sour cream. Crack 4 large eggs into a bowl and keep these on the counter as well, to warm to room temperature as you prepare the crust.
Choose dairy-free alternative products that are unflavored. And don’t be alarmed if you can’t find dairy-free cream cheese in a block format at the store, as many vegan brands do not sell that format!
For this recipe, I used Kite Hill’s Dairy-Free Plain Cream Cheese, which is available on Amazon.
Measure out the granulated sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and kosher salt.
Measure and finely chop the bittersweet chocolate – but first double check to make sure you are using bars that don’t contain milk products!
Step 2 – Make the Crust
Place the Oreos in a food processor and process into very fine, sandy crumbs.
Add the melted butter and salt and pulse until completely combined. The mixture will be crumbly, but should easily clump together when pressed or squeezed in your hand.
Pour the crumbs into the springform pan. Using your hands or the bottom of a measuring cup, firmly press the crumbs into the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the pan.
The crumbs will stick together, creating a solid – and delicious! – crust.
To prevent the crumbs from sticking to your hand or measuring cup, place a piece of parchment paper on top of the crumbs before you begin to press down. The paper will act as a shield between you and the buttery crumbs.
Step 3 – Bake and Cool the Crust
Transfer the pan to the preheated oven. Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes. The crust will be fragrant, and will look mostly dry.
Remove the pan from the oven and set it aside to cool slightly on a cooling rack as you make the filling.
Step 4 – Boil the Water and Melt the Chocolate
As the crust is baking, melt the chocolate so it has some time to cool slightly. Adding hot chocolate to the filling may cause the eggs to scramble.
Melt the chopped chocolate completely in a double boiler on the stovetop. Remove from the heat and set aside until you are ready to make the filling.
If you prefer to melt the pieces in your microwave, use a microwave-safe bowl and heat the chocolate in 20-second increments, stirring after each one.
You should also boil the water at this point, keeping it hot for the water bath.
Step 5 – Make the Filling
Place the cream cheese and sour cream in the stand mixer. At medium speed for about one minute, combine these to form a smooth and creamy mixture.
Add the sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Mix at medium speed until completely combined, for about another minute. With a rubber spatula, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and briefly remix.
With your mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time and incorporate completely before adding the next egg.
Again, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with your rubber spatula to briefly remix.
At this point, once the eggs have been added, do not overmix the batter at a high speed. This will whip air into the cheesecake base, potentially resulting in cracking and deflating.
With the mixer on low speed, add the melted chocolate and beat until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and briefly remix.
Step 6 – Cover with Aluminum Foil and Bake in Water Bath
Tightly cover the bottom and sides of the pan with 2 layers of aluminum foil. These layers will prevent water from seeping into the bottom of the springform pan.
The safest way to create a water bath for baking is to first place the springform pan in the empty roasting or baking pan, and transfer it to the oven. Leaving the rack the pan is resting on pulled halfway out of the oven, carefully fill the roasting pan halfway with hot water from the kettle.
Don’t fill it too high! As long as the water is below the top of the aluminum foil, it should not seep into the springform pan.
Carefully push the rack in to move the pan towards the center of the oven, close the door, and bake for about 60 to 75 minutes. There should still be a slight jiggle in the center when you gently shake the pan, but the cheesecake should be mostly set.
Step 7 – Cool
Carefully remove the baking pan from the oven, and immediately lift the springform pan from the water bath. Remove the foil from the bottom, and place the cheesecake on a cooling rack to cool in the pan.
Allow it to cool for one hour at room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator, uncovered, to set completely.
This is where patience is an absolute necessity! The filling needs to fully chill and set so it can be cut into solid wedges. Allow the cheesecake to set for a minimum of 6 hours, or preferably overnight.
Step 8 – Remove from the Springform Pan and Serve
Ready to serve? We’re ready to eat!
Remove the springform pan from the refrigerator. Release and remove the collar.
If the cheesecake is sticking to the collar, it may need a little extra help! Run a small knife, like a butter or paring knife, around the edge before you remove the collar.
With a chef’s knife, slice the cheesecake into wedges, serve, and enjoy.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Simple, minimal, and modern, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your decision to serve this cheesecake unadorned, with nothing extra on top.
Letting the dessert speak for itself is a fine choice!
But for those of you who don’t think a dessert is complete without a few edible accessories, these ideas are all for you.
Consider garnishing the top of your cheesecake with any of the following dairy-free ingredients:
- Chopped or shaved chocolate bar
- Melted chocolate
- Assorted fresh fruit
- Store-bought dairy-free whipped cream
- Freshly whipped coconut cream
- Cocoa powder
- Crushed chocolate pecan toffee
- Crushed Oreos
How do you think you’ll decorate this cheesecake? Do you have other ideas for dairy-free garnishes? The comment section is open – I’ll be waiting!
Oh, the wonders of chocolate! Whether in the form of cocoa powder, chips, or bars, this magical ingredient is a go-to in so many desserts. Try it in even more made-from-scratch dairy-free sweets, like these:
- Raw Berry Cream Pie
- Almost Raw Vegan Cashew Cream Chocolate Cheesecake
- Spelt Walnut Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Sarah Hagstrom on May 20, 2015. Last updated on January 27, 2023.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.