Pumpkin Cashew Cheesecake

I’m so in love with cashews, it’s not even funny. I think it’s a perfect little nut (seed?) and I’m amazed how it can make an amazing Paleo and Vegan ‘cheesecake.’ Creamy and sweet, how could you not love cashews? And paired with pumpkin, which EVERYONE loves, for a cheesecake? It’s just heaven.

Paleo Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin cheesecakes are the one dessert I look forward to in the fall. It was such a tease when the Cheesecake Factory puts them out for a limited time, which attracted a mass horde of hungry broads fighting for the last slice. And leaving none for me. Doesn’t matter, I learned how to make a cashew based pumpkin cheesecake that tastes incredible and stimulates heavenly enjoyment.

Paleo Pumpkin Cheesecake

A cashew cheesecake is really simple with the proper tools but requires soaking and refrigeration time. Raw cashews are soaked for about 4-6 hours, and will swell up like a sponge. It’s best not to soak it for much longer than 8 hours, since it may get a funny texture.

The soaked cashews are then pureed to a creamy bliss. I first did the pureeing with an immersion blender and big bowl (in my Avocado Kale Cashew Parfait) before I finally invested in a food processor. I know I gushed about the appliance before but I have to do it again. When it comes to Paleo desserts, food processors are Godsend! Some have pureed the soaked cashews in a high quality blender, like a fancy shmancy Vitamix. But, I’m not cool enough for a designer blender. Are they even worth it?

The pumpkin and the rest of the ingredients are blended in, poured over a coconut caramel cookie crust, and chilled to a delectable Paleo and vegan cheesecake. Easy Peasy.

Paleo Pumpkin Cheesecake

OK, let me get technical for a bit. I wouldn’t shoehorn in Paleo ingredients if it didn’t taste amazing and would throw the calorie count off the charts. I know some people were concerned about calories when replacing cashews with cream cheese.  Surprisingly the cashew cheesecakes are similar are often less than a lot of cream cheesecake recipes. Since cashews have a natural sweetness, a cashew cheesecake would use less sugar than the cream cheese version. But let me tell you, pumpkin cashew cheesecake will rouse your taste buds!

Convinced? I can seduce you with math if you like.

Or maybe just one more picture.

Paleo Pumpkin Cheesecake


Paleo Pumpkin Cashew Cheesecake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Paleo and dairy free cashew-style 'cheesecake'.
Serves: 12
For the Cookie Crust
  • ½ cup of Packed Coconut Flour
  • 6 Tablespoons of Shortening or Grassfed Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons of Coconut Nectar or Raw Honey
  • ½ cup of Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
For the Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
  • 1½ cups of Raw Cashews
  • 1 cup of Pumpkin Puree (may be canned)
  • ¼ cup of Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ cup of Maple Syrup, Grade B
  • 3 Tablespoons of Coconut Sugar
  • ¼ cup of Full Fat Coconut Milk
  • ⅔ cup of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, liquid
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 teaspoons of Cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoons of Nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon of Cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon of Ginger
  • ½ teaspoon of Salt
For the Cookie Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 365F.
  2. Combine the coconut flour, shortening/butter, and nectar/honey in a food processor.
  3. Pulse until combined.
  4. Mix in the shredded coconut.
  5. Spread the dough across the bottom of an 8-inch spring form pan, and a little up the sides.
  6. Bake at 365F for 8 minutes.
  7. Let cool to room temperature. It is delicate at this point, so resist touching. It will hold better when contacted with the pumpkin filling and fully cooled.
For the Pumpkin Latte Filling
  1. Cover the cashews in water and soak for at least 4 hours, but preferably no more than 8 hours.
  2. Drain completely and dry with paper towels. Try to remove as much water as you can.
  3. Add the patted dry soaked cashews to a food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth.
  4. Add the pumpkin, lemon juice, maple syrup, coconut sugar, coconut milk, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and salt.
  5. Pulse until smooth and fully combined. You may add more coconut sugar and/or spices at this point if you like. I added up to a tablespoon of cinnamon because I love it! Adjust seasoning to your taste :)
  6. Transfer the filling to the 8-inch spring form pan.
  7. Refrigerate for about 6 hours until set.
  8. Dollop with whipped coconut cream and enjoy!

Sharon’s Notes

  • The best part about this recipe is that you can taste as you go and tune the spices and sweetness to your liking, but keep the liquids, fats, and pumpkin ratios the same.
  • If you prefer less sweet desserts, omit or reduce the coconut sugar.


  1. Kathy Austin says

    This pumpkin cheesecake was dessert yesterday…even with a power outage (3 hours in the freezer instead of 6 hours in the fridge). Wonderful and will be made again!!! Even my non-paleo brother liked it! That is high praise! Thank you so much!

  2. says

    For weeks I had been searching for a dairy-free pumpkin cheesecake recipe to bring to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving. My daughter has a cow’s milk protein allergy and we also try to stick to clean/Paleo eating. Tonight I decided to test out your recipe to see if it was something that I could bring to a house full of Standard American Diet folks who are mostly unused to eating Paleo. I was highly impressed at the results! The filling was flavorful, creamy and set up nicely. I may cut the sugar just a bit the next time I make it for my family as we are now used to eating desserts that are less sweet, but I’ll be making it as is for Thanksgiving. I also tried a variation where I mixed in some strained (to thicken) vanilla goat’s milk yogurt and that was great too. I don’t have ratios since I was just using trial and error until I came up with a flavor and consistency I found appealing. Thanks for the recipe! It’s fantastic. As an aside, you saved me a lot of money too! I was going to use a local Vegan baker to make me a cheesecake until I found out that she charged EIGHTY dollars for a cheesecake that serves 10-12! I know the ingredients are pricey, but I could probably make several of these for that price.

    • Sharon says

      Thank you for the comment, Claudia! I’m so glad you liked it and hope it’s a hit for the holiday! It’s awesome that it saved you money too!! 😀

  3. Stacey Oswald says

    So excited to make this for Christmas this year! But before I do… do you know how far in advance I can make this? Ie. can I start making it tonight if I’m serving it on Christmas day? Or should I make it the day before instead?

  4. connie says

    For someone who hasn’t eaten real dairy in 3 years, this tasted exactly as I remembered real cheesecake! This dessert is incredibly rich, flavorful, and delicious. I made this without adding the coconut sugar in the filling and made it with sweetened coconut in the crust/held back the liquid sweetener. The lemon was a little overpowering for me; for those who like cheesecake but don’t necessarily love the tang, I would reduce it to 2-3 tbsp.

  5. Holly says

    I’ve been dreaming about eating this for the last 2 wks, since I first found it. I agree with Connie about the sweetness. For Paleo or Paleo AIP- it’s super-sweet. I should have realized and adjusted the sweetness from the start. I forgot to buy lemon and so used lime juice and found this to be a bit much also. It tastes a bit like a cross between key lime pie (there’s a recipe to pull out!) and pumpkin cheesecake. I would decrease sweeteners and lower the juice (and stick to lemon!). I wonder if Apple cider vinegar might be another good option for the acid – but would lower the amount of acid no matter which one, to maybe 2T. Thank you for the foundations of a great, modifiable recipe! Happy Autumn. :)

    • Sharon says

      Thank you for giving the recipe a try! I’ll make a note about the sweetness. I’m not sure about apple cider vinegar, I haven’t tried but don’t have a good feeling about that. I find limes to be stronger than lemons, so I’ll also make a note about that substitution :)

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