Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars (Vegan + GF)

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Squares of our vegan pumpkin cheesecake bars

 Friends, they’re here! Your new favorite fall dessert has arrived. After the success of our Apple Butter Cheesecake Bars and Strawberry Cheesecake Bars, we knew what we had to do: Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars! All the best parts of creamy cheesecake and sweet and spicy pumpkin pie combine in a glorious, decadent, and surprisingly easy dessert. Not only that, but they’re gluten-free and plant-based too!

Whether you’re making them for the holiday table or whipping up a batch for yourself when the pumpkin spice craving strikes, we’re sure you’ll love them! With simple ingredients and just 1 blender required, let’s make pumpkin cheesecake! 

Cashews, coconut cream, coconut oil, almonds, maple syrup, almond, vegan cream cheese, oats, salt, vanilla, coconut sugar, and pumpkin pie spice

How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

These pumpkin cheesecake bars start with a simple 6-ingredient oat-almond crust that tastes much like a graham cracker crust! Oats and almonds blend with salt, coconut sugar, and pumpkin pie spice for a naturally sweetened and wholesome base with major fall vibes.

Oats, almonds, coconut sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a blender

The dough comes together with the help of coconut oil, which ensures it’s the perfect texture for pressing into a pan. Our favorite hack for preventing a crumbly crust is to pack it using a drinking glass over parchment paper. Then it’s ready to go in the oven to par-bake before adding the filling!

Pressing crust into a pan using a drinking glass over parchment paper

While the crust is baking, we transition to the pumpkin swirl filling. In the same (rinsed out) blender* you used for making the crust, cashews blend with coconut cream and vegan cream cheese for a rich and creamy filling with the same classic tanginess of real cheesecake! Maple syrup provides sweetness, arrowroot or cornstarch thickens it, and salt and (optional) vanilla infuse even more flavor!

*Note: Using a high-speed blender is a game-changer for creamy smoothies, sauces, desserts, and more! Find our blender recommendations in our unbiased blender review. Or for a lower cost option, a Nutribullet also does a great job of getting cashews creamy!

Dollops of darker pumpkin filling on a lighter filling as the base

Pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice bring the pumpkin pie element, with more of them going into part of the filling to create two colors that get swirled together using a toothpick or knife.

Parchment-lined baking dish showing pumpkin swirls in the cheesecake filling

After baking, all that’s left to do is let it cool in the fridge where the gorgeous swirls will emerge in full force. Then slice into bars and enjoy!

Knife resting beside pumpkin cheesecake bars

We hope you LOVE these pumpkin cheesecake bars! They’re:

Classic
Rich
Creamy
Decadent
Pumpkin-infused
Nutty
& Perfect for fall!

They’re the perfect make-ahead dessert for Thanksgiving, fall birthdays, or any time the pumpkin or cheesecake craving strikes!

More Pumpkin Dessert Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Showing the creamy texture inside a partially eaten pumpkin cheesecake bar

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars (Vegan + GF)

Creamy, dreamy, decadent cheesecake bars infused with pumpkin spice. Plant-based, gluten-free, and just 1 blender required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Close up shot of squares of pumpkin swirl cheesecake
4.56 from 9 votes
Prep Time 6 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time 7 hours 55 minutes
Servings 16 (Slices)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

CRUST

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats* (certified gluten-free as needed)
  • 3/4 cup raw almonds*
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar (plus more to taste)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 4-5 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

CHEESECAKE FILLING

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup coconut cream*
  • 8 ounces vegan cream cheese* (Toffuti is best, or Kite Hill brand)
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (DIVIDED)
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice (DIVIDED)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C) and line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  • CRUST: Add oats, almonds, salt, coconut sugar, and pumpkin pie spice to a high-speed blender and blend on high until the mixture resembles a fine meal.
  • Add the lesser amount of coconut oil to the blender and pulse or blend until well combined (we find that using the tamper on our Vitamix helps this process a lot)! The mixture should hold together when squeezed in your hand. If too dry, add the extra coconut oil. Transfer the mixture to the lined 8×8 dish and spread evenly. Place parchment paper on top and press the dough into your pan using a flat-bottomed object, such as a drinking glass, to firmly and evenly distribute the crust.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the corners are golden and the center of the crust is lighter in color and dry to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  • CHEESECAKE FILLING: While the crust is cooling, rinse your blender and make your cheesecake batter. Add raw cashews, coconut cream, vegan cream cheese, arrowroot or cornstarch, maple syrup, 1/2 cup (100 g) pumpkin purée, 1 tsp pumpkin spice blend, salt, and vanilla (optional), to the blender (if altering batch size, adjust amounts accordingly). Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  • Set aside 1/2 cup of the cheesecake batter you just blended, then pour the remaining cheesecake batter on top of the slightly cooled crust. To the now empty blender, add your reserved 1/2 cup (120 ml) cheesecake batter, your remaining 1/2 cup (100 g) pumpkin purée, and your remaining 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (if altering batch size, adjust amounts accordingly). Blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Gently tap the 8×8 dish on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles from the cheesecake layer, then dollop ~1/4 cup-sized scoops of the darker pumpkin cheesecake mixture you’ve just blended to the top of the filling and use the back of a knife or a toothpick to swirl.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes — until the edges are slightly brown and the center is still slightly jiggly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  • Cover the pan loosely with a kitchen towel or parchment paper and place in the refrigerator to chill for 6-8 hours or (preferably) overnight. After chilling, the top should have a glossy texture and the swirls will appear distinct.
  • To serve, gently lift the cheesecake out of the pan and cut into 16 equal squares. Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Video

Notes

*Our favorite coconut cream is Savoy brand. We highly recommend coconut cream over full-fat coconut milk. But if you can’t find coconut cream, buy a couple of cans of full-fat coconut milk, refrigerate overnight, and scoop the cream off the top.
*We would not recommend trying to substitute anything in place of the vegan cream cheese. It’s essential to get that creamy, cheesy texture in this recipe.
*For all other substitution questions (including oats and almonds), see our Recipe FAQ.
*Prep time includes cooling for 6 hours.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount of coconut oil and without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 16 servings)

Serving: 1 bar Calories: 222 Carbohydrates: 19.7 g Protein: 3.9 g Fat: 14.7 g Saturated Fat: 7 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.4 g Monounsaturated Fat: 3.8 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 99 mg Potassium: 135 mg Fiber: 1.8 g Sugar: 10.9 g Vitamin A: 1563 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 37.1 mg Iron: 1.1 mg

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  1. Kelly says

    These were delicious!! So creamy! The texture was amazing. I followed the recipe exactly for the filling. For the crust I used vegan, gluten free ginger snaps. Yum!!

  2. Rachael says

    Delicious! I made the recipe as written (apart from forgetting to put parchment paper under the crust) and it came out so yummy. It is flavorful and balanced without any one flavor dominating. I will make it again and again.

  3. Josefina Hendry says

    Hi,

    This recipe looks delicious. I was wondering if I could use either Daiya plain cream cheese or cashew homemade cream cheese as I am allergic to tofu and my store does not carry other brands. Thank you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Josefina, we haven’t tried it with Daiya, but we do think it would be preferable to homemade. Let us know if you try it!

      • Josefina Hendry says

        Hi there,

        Thank you for replying to my comment. I did try this recipe and it was delicious. Unfortunately, I did not have raw cashews bc I had used my last to make some cream cheese, so what I ended up doing was using that homemade cashew cream cheese instead of raw cashews. Also, I did not have coconut cream, so I used can coconut milk, but used a bit less. I also used Daiya cream cheese bc that’s what my closest store carries. The result was very good, but a bit soft. I will definitely be making this one again. Thank you.

  4. Nicole says

    I am so excited to try this for Thanksgiving! I am hosting my parents, and my father loves cheesecake, so this will be a special treat.

    I’d like to make it in a 8″ or 9″ springform pan. How long would you recommend I bake the crust?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! Hi Nicole! The timings are the same for that size of pan. We hope everyone enjoys the cheesecake bars!

  5. Colleen Haviland says

    I made this to bring to Thanksgiving dinner as a vegan and gluten free option. The only modification I made was to use white sugar. I added the vanilla. My first time using vegan cream cheese and I was pleasantly surprised. I use a counter top oven which seems to bake everything a lot faster than the recommended time so the top started to get dark brown and I removed it about 10 minutes earlier than the minimum time. It is delicious and I will make it again.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Colleen! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

  6. Sarah says

    I made this yesterday and just took a bite after letting it sit overnight. The texture and taste of the filling is perfect! The recipe itself is very easy. However, my crust on the bottom burned horribly and I’m not sure where i went wrong. :( It was baking middle rack, 350F, for the lower end of both baking cycles and I didn’t make any substitutions. I didn’t notice because of the parchment paper… maybe my oven just runs hot!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sarah! Bummer! It could be that your oven is hot, or that the type of pan you used was heating the crust more than usual? We have an oven thermometer inside our oven to ensure that our temperatures are accurate, so that could be worth a try! Hope you continue to enjoy the filling, regardless! Thanks so much for the 5 stars!

  7. Steff says

    Loved this! Used real cream cheese (low fat, 1:1 replacement) and added a tiny amount of bourbon to the dark pumpkin filling (will try with more next time). Pretty proud of myself for my first attempt at making my own cheesecake, especially one that’s not ridiculously sweet.

  8. Kate says

    This Pumpkin Cheesecake is to die for!! I loved it’!! It smelled so fabulous that I had to try it warm from the oven. This however was a mistake. All I could taste was coconut cream. Disappointing. I put it in the fridge overnight and then magic happened….It was amazing and tasted just like the pumpkin cheesecake, made with dairy, that I remembered. It has been 12 years since I have had this dessert and I am thrilled to find such an excellent recipe to replace the old dairy version. Thank you!!
    **Key is to chill**

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      LOVE to hear this! Thanks so much for the lovely review, Kate. So glad this recipe lives up to your memories!

  9. Baiba says

    Dear Minimalist Baker Team,
    I made the cake as it is similar to your apple cheesecake. I guess this is the first time I found a recipe of yours not to be tasty. The cake looked beautiful, it was simple and healthy. But the taste was totally off. Had to serve it with ice-cream. I swapped cream cheese for more cashews and coconut cream, but don’t think that could have made such a difference to ruin the cake. Maybe it could have worked with pumpkin butter and not adding any pumpkin to the base filling.
    But I love Minimalist Baker forever :))

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Baiba, we’re so sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy the result! The vegan cream cheese is key for the tangy flavor and correct texture and we definitely think that’s where it went wrong. If you’re up for giving it another try, we think your experience will be quite different with the addition of vegan cream cheese.

      • Baiba says

        Wouldn’t have guessed that cream cheese is key here! :o But then it makes sense, Minimalist Baker still makes everything tasty.
        Unfortunately vegan cream cheese is either not available or the quality would be poor here where I live. So I would probably go for another cake – I made your coffee cake today, absolutely fabulous!
        Xoxo

        • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

          Aw, shucks on not having access to good vegan cream cheese! We’re glad to hear the coffee cake was a success! xoxo

  10. Jessica says

    This looks so delicious, I can’t wait to make them for my baby shower in December. I’m wondering if I can sub the cashews for more coconut cream. Also, for example when I make coconut whipped cream, I let the liquid drain from the bottom of my cans of coconut cream and just use the solid, do you do this for this recipe? or leave the liquid in? Thank you!!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jessica! For the coconut cream, you use both the liquid and solid portions. Our coconut cream usually isn’t separated quite like coconut milk, if yours is we suggest blending it to get a cohesive texture before measuring. As for cashews, they are quite important for the right texture, both for creaminess and for the cheesecake to solidify. If you can’t have them, we’d suggest soaking macadamia nuts and using those instead. Let us know what you think if you give the recipe a try!

      • Jessica says

        Thank you for the info and tips, I really appreciate it! Also thank you for your delicious vegan and gluten free recipes because I am plant based and I have celiac, and I can think of at least five of your recipes that I keep in rotation in my kitchen!
        * The reason for the separation is because I refrigerate my cans of coconut cream overnight for whipped cream and then drain the liquid from the bottom and just use the solid portion otherwise it won’t whip with the liquid.

  11. Christina says

    These will be on our October/November dessert list every year! Made them last night and they are so good. I just want to encourage anyone that doesn’t have all the tools to make it anyway. I didn’t have an 8×8 so increased the recipe 1.8x for a 9×13 dish. Used our food processor for the crust, it turned out perfect. The volume of the filling ingredients was too much to mix in our food processor, so I used a large bowl and a 10 year old immersion blender….I was prepared for the texture to not be perfect, but honestly, I think it is pretty perfect. Love that it’s only sweetened with maple syrup & coconut sugar. Really great recipe and can’t wait to share it with friends & family.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! We’re so glad you enjoyed them and were able to make it work with the equipment available! Thank you for sharing, Christina! xo

  12. Kendall Connell says

    Love all of your recipes! Unfortunately I cannot have cashews (or dairy) so lots of vegan recipes using cashews don’t work. What would you suggest for this recipe? Using more vegan cream cheese? Using macadamia nuts or almonds instead?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kendall! We haven’t tried this recipe with macadamia nuts, but it should work! The texture might not be quite the same, but if you soak them for at least 1 hour in boiling water you should have decent results. Let us know what you think if you give it a try!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Julie, cashew milk might work OK here but not quite as good as coconut cream! Or perhaps try a thick, dairy-free yogurt? Let us know how it goes!

  13. Beatrix says

    Any ideas for oat substitution? Many people with celiac disease, myself included, cant tolerate oats, even certified gluten free. Thanks.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi, We haven’t tried it but you could possibly substitute our DIY gluten free flour blend in place of the oats here (blend the almonds on their own and them mix everything in a bowl). It might not be as tender but it should work! Let us know how it goes if you give it a try! xo

  14. Jenn says

    How do I use real cream cheese in this recipe? I’ve grown weary of the gluten-free dairy free vegan recipes and would like alternatives.

  15. Valentina Cherednichenko says

    Hi! I only have about 5 ounces of vegan cream cheese in my fridge. Should I increase one of the other ingredients to make up for the missing little bit of cream cheese? If so, which one?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Valentina, it could work to increase the cashews and coconut cream slightly and add a little bit of lemon juice to create the tanginess of the vegan cream cheese. Let us know if it works out!

    • Rita says

      Can I use all cream cheese instead of cashews, coconut cream and vegan cream cheese. If so, how much? Don’t want to make vegan.

      • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

        Hi Rita! Unfortunately we have not tried recipe this with regular cream cheese or eggs, like a traditional cheesecake. The method we use here (baking & chilling) is quite different from regular cheesecakes, and we aren’t sure if you would have good results. Let us know if you give any substitutions a try!

      • Isabelle says

        I can’t wait to try this recipe! I can’t have coconut cream, do you think I could get a good enough result with Kite hill cream cheese only, skip the coco cream? Thanks!

        • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Isabelle, it’s possible it would work with adding a bit more cream cheese and substituting almond or oat milk? Let us know how it turns out!

  16. Bruce says

    I need gluten free as I am allergic to wheat flour but I also need to keep my sugar intake to less than 30 grams per day. The 2/3 cup of maple syrup kills this recipe for me. Why not experiment with stevia or monk fruit or other sugar alternatives?

    • Sara says

      Followed the directions, but the crust was SO burnt when I tried it in the morning. Shame for all the work and ingredients it takes.

      • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

        Oh no! We’re so sorry that was your experience, Sara! Is it possible you were using a larger pan? Or did you make any modifications?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kaitlin! We haven’t tried this without cashews, but another nut like macadamia could work if you soak it for ~30 minutes in boiling water. Hope this helps!

  17. Jessie says

    Can’t wait to make this! What brand of canned pumpkin do you recommend? Some of the organic ones don’t taste so good… lol

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jessie! Libby’s is definitely our favorite for pumpkin puree – it has the best flavor and texture.