These no bake lemon blueberry cheesecake bars are one of my proudest dairy free recipes to date. The dairy free cheesecake filling is unbelievably creamy, smooth, lemon-ey, and filled with juicy blueberries. It's all on top of a buttery graham cracker crust that is seriously out of this world. Honestly, people probably won't even believe you when you tell them these bars are dairy free!
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If you don't eat dairy, I bet you thought cheesecake was something you'd just never be able to enjoy again, right? Well, I'm happy to report that that's not the case. This recipe is going to make all your dairy free cheesecake dreams come true!
How can a cheesecake be dairy free?
A traditional no bake cheesecake is made with cream cheese and whipped cream or heavy cream. We are simply substituting both those ingredients for dairy free options, so this recipe uses dairy free cream cheese and coconut whipped cream. And best of all, its actually easy to make a dairy free cheesecake, and it tastes just like the real deal!
What is a no bake cheesecake?
Well, it's exactly what it sounds like. There is no oven required for no bake cheesecakes. While a traditional cheesecake is made with eggs, the no bake version is made with cream cheese, whipped/heavy cream, and in some cases, gelatin. It is then placed in the fridge for a few hours/overnight to set. I love no bake cheesecakes because they are creamier and have a more mousse-like consistency.
For these dairy free lemon blueberry cheesecake bars, we use 3 key ingredients:
- Dairy free cream cheese: Depending where you are in the world, dairy free cream cheese can actually be found in most major grocery stores. It's consistency is almost identical to regular cream cheese so it substitutes perfectly in this recipe. Just make sure you get the plain kind for these bars!
- Coconut cream: Canned coconut cream is used to replace whipping cream/heavy cream in these cheesecake bars. However, they actually have zero coconut flavour. This is partly due to the fact that we only use 1 cup of the whipped cream, and also because the lemon and tangy cream cheese flavours are stronger than the subtle taste of coconut whipped cream. I'm a big fan of coconut whipped cream, you'll notice I use it in a lot of my recipes 😉
- Gelatin: I tested this recipe 3 times without gelatin before I finally decided to incorporate it, but the lemon blueberry cheesecake filling just wouldn't set without it. It came out more like a mousse (which was delicious, so let's just say a mousse recipe is coming to the blog soon!). The gelatin helps the cheesecake filling set so that you can easily slice them and eat them with or without a fork.
Making the buttery graham cracker crust
Okay, so the first step in making these cheesecake bars is to prep the graham cracker crust. This graham cracker crust is buttery and thick, just like a crust should be (where are my cheesecake crust lovers at?!), and its super quick and easy to make.
In a blender or food processor, grind up 30 square graham crackers until they are very fine, almost a flour-like consistency. Transfer to a medium bowl and add in the granulated sugar and melted butter, then whisk until combined.
Transfer the mixture into an 8x8 square baking pan (lined with parchment paper) and pat it down in an even layer on the bottom, making it as flat as possible. I like to use the back of a measuring cup to pat it down firmly. The pan now goes into the freezer so that the crust can firm up while we make the filling.
Making the Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Filling
To make the filling, take the canned coconut milk. out of the fridge without shaking it. The coconut milk needs to be chilled for 8 hours first, so that the coconut cream hardens and separates from the coconut water. If it isn't chilled for long enough, the whipped cream won't work.
If you've never made coconut whipped cream before, I recommend checking out my tips and tricks here. Alternatively, you can also use store-bought coconut whipped cream in the same quantity (1 cup).
Scoop out the thick creamy layer of coconut cream, leaving the liquid behind (tip: freeze leftover liquid in an ice cube tray for smoothies!). In a chilled mixing bowl, begin whipping the coconut cream on high speed until it stiffens and peaks start to form. It should be the consistency of whipped cream.
Transfer the whipped cream into a small container and put it in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the filling. Next, make the gelatin by adding the gelatin powder to water and microwaving it for 20-30 seconds. It should be hot and liquid.
In the same bowl that you whipped the cream in, add the cream cheese and whip until smooth and creamy. Add in the vanilla, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest and mix until all are combined. Then fold in the whip cream until it's just combined (careful not to over-fold), followed by the blueberries (fresh or frozen is fine!).
Pour the filling into the baking pan over the graham cracker crust and let it set in the fridge for 8 hours/overnight. It should be shiny on top once it is set.
How to serve lemon blueberry cheesecake bars
Once the bars have set, slice them using a very sharp knife, in one swift motion. Wipe down the knife with a damp cloth or paper towel in between each cut.
Store the cheesecake bars in covered container in the fridge, and when serving, I recommend letting them soften for around 10-15 minutes at room temperature (they get creamier as they sit out of the fridge).
So as I mentioned above, these bars contain gelatin and graham crackers, which are unfortunately not vegan. However, this recipe makes an AMAZING lemon blueberry cheesecake mousse if you want to make it vegan. If you're into something a bit more mousse-like, I absolutely recommend it, so here are the substitutions:
- Replace the graham crackers with a vegan cookie of similar consistency and texture, such as Biscoff cookies.
- Omit the gelatin.
- Follow the instructions as written in the recipe below, but instead of using a baking pan, divide the mouse between a few small glasses or dessert cups instead!
More Recipes You'll Love
- Wacky Chocolate Cake with Fudgy Buttercream (Vegan)
- Stuffed Cookies and Cream Cookies (Dairy Free)
- Sugar Cookie Chocolate Ice Cream (Dairy Free)
If you make this recipe, tag me on Instagram @cookiedoughdiaries so I can check it out! If you want to save this recipe for later, you can also pin it using the Pinterest button below.
No Bake Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake
- Handheld or Standing Mixer
- 8x8 inch Square Baking Pan
Graham Cracker Crust
- 30 graham crackers
- 2½ tbsp granulated sugar
- ¾ cup vegan butter, melted
Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Filling
- 2 cups dairy free cream cheese
- 1 can full-fat canned coconut milk * for 1 cup whipped cream*
- 1½ tbsp gelatin (or 1.5 packs)
- 6 tbsp water
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 1½ tbsp lemon zest (to taste)
- 2-2½ tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup (I use fresh, but frozen works fine!)
Graham Cracker Crust
- Line a 8x8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving the edges hanging over the pan. This will make it easier to remove the cheesecake bars from the pan later.
- Place a large mixing bowl into the freezer for 10-15 minutes to chill while you make the graham cracker crust.
- Place graham crackers into a blender or food processor and pulse until they become a fine crumb texture. Transfer to a medium bowl.
- Add butter to a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 15-30 seconds, or until melted. Add to graham cracker crumbs along with granulated sugar and whisk until combined.
- Transfer the graham cracker mixture to the baking pan, and pat it down to create an even bottom layer. Take the flat bottom of a measuring cup and firmly press it down all over. Place the baking pan in the freezer while you make the cheesecake filling.
Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Filling
- Grate 1 tbsp of zest from a lemon, set aside. Squeeze 2 tbsp of lemon juice, set aside.
- After the bowl has chilled, remove the canned coconut milk from the fridge (do not shake it). Scoop out the coconut cream and place it in the bowl, leaving behind the liquid.
- Whip the coconut cream until stiff peaks form and the consistency is similar to that of whipped cream.
- Transfer whipped coconut cream into a small container/bowl and place in the fridge.
- Add 6 tbsp of water to a small bowl then pour gelatin powder in. Mix with a fork until combined, then place in the microwave for about 20 seconds or until liquid. Set aside.
- Add dairy free cream cheese to the bowl that was used to whip the cream. Using the wire whip attachment of a standing mixer (or use a handheld mixer), mix the cream cheese until it's smooth and creamy.
- Add vanilla and powdered sugar and continue to mix until fully incorporated, using a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the lemon juice and lemon zest and mix.
- Pour the slightly cooled gelatin into the mixture (if it has hardened, place it in the microwave for another 10 seconds until liquid). Mix for another 30 seconds.
- Remove coconut whipped cream from the fridge and very gently fold it 1 cup of it into the cream cheese filling until just incorporated. Finally, fold in the blueberries.
- Remove the graham cracker crust from the freezer and pour the cheesecake filling over it, smoothing it out on top. Place in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
- Once the cheesecake has set, pull parchment paper out gently, then with a very sharp knife, cut the bars into squares. Enjoy!