These gluten-free, dairy-free Lemon Cheesecake Bars are an easy, no-bake cheesecake dessert no one can resist! Made with an almond date crust and a sweet, creamy lemon filling, they’re refreshing, bright, and creamy. Prepare a batch or two for holidays, family gatherings, bake sales, and picnics! Vegan-friendly, too!
If you love lemon desserts as much as we do, you won’t want to miss out on more of our favorite gluten-free recipes like our Gluten-Free Lemon Bars with Coconut, 5-Ingredient Lemon Blueberry Cake, and this Lightened Up Lemon Pudding Cake!
Why You’ll Love These Lemon Cheesecake Bars
We think lemon is an underrated flavor, and when used in these dairy-free cheesecake bars, there’s so much to love! For instance, they’re:
- Made with zero baking required, meaning they’re easy to prepare and great to make ahead of time.
- Naturally gluten, dairy, and refined sugar-free, they meet a variety of dietary needs.
- One batch makes over a dozen bars, meaning they’re great for feeding a crowd!
- A better-for-you dessert, they feature healthy omega fats and can be created with protein powder to make them extra satisfying.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Ingredients & Easy Substitutions
These dairy-free lemon cheesecake bars come together with simple ingredients, many of which you probably already have on hand! Take a look below to find everything you’ll need.
For the Crust
- Pitted Dates – These help sweeten the crust while also acting like the “glue” that holds it together.
- Slivered Almonds – Used for added texture, structure, and flavor. Plus, they’re a great source of healthy fats!
- Unsweetened Shredded Coconut – These help hold the crust together and provide a satisfying, chewing element.
- Natural Pudding Mix or Protein Powder – Vanilla or cheesecake-flavored pudding mix helps create the perfect cohesion of flavors, tying the filling in with the crust.
Swap: If preferred, feel free to use your favorite vanilla protein powder in place of the pudding mix.
- Salt – Just a pinch enhances the natural sweetness.
- Refined Coconut Oil – This helps combine the ingredients, holding them together while adding a boost of healthy fats.
For the Dairy-Free Lemon Cheesecake Filling
- Raw Whole Cashews – These are our secret weapon to create a rich, creamy filling.
- Canned Coconut Milk or Coconut Cream – Used to combine ingredients, enhancing the creaminess of the filling.
- Maple Syrup – Helps sweeten the filling without the need for refined sugars. Agave nectar works well, too.
- Lemon Juice and Zest – These are crucial to creating a natural, vibrant lemon flavor.
- Vanilla Extract – Use pure high-quality vanilla extract to enhance the rest of the ingredients. Trust us, you can taste the difference!
- Refined Coconut Oil – Helps combine the ingredients, ensuring they are smooth.
- Natural Food Dye – This helps enhance the yellow color for an Instagram-worthy dessert!
How to Make No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake Bars
These dairy-free lemon cheesecake bars require a little bit of prep work and multiple steps, but they’re easy to create. Just follow the steps below!
- Prepare the Cashews. Place the cashews in a large bowl, and submerge them in water for at least 2 hours and no longer than 12. Drain and rinse the nuts, and set them aside.
Pro-Tip: For a quick option, place the cashews in a small pot, and submerge them in water. Cover the pot with a liquid, and bring the liquid to a boil. Remove it from the heat, and allow the cashews to soak for 15 minutes. Then, drain the nuts, and place them in the fridge to cool before transferring them to the food processor.
Form the Crust
- Combine. Add the dates, almonds, and shredded coconut to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until a coarse, sand-like texture is formed. Add the pudding mix and salt, and pulse again. Finally, add the coconut oil 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing to combine until the mixture is sticky.
- Press. Transfer the mixture to a parchment-paper-lined baking pan, and press it down firmly.
- Chill. Place the crust in the fridge or freezer to chill.
To Make the Lemon Cheesecake Filling
- Blend. Add the drained cashews, coconut cream, maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon zest to the bowl of a food processor or high-speed blender. Pulse or blend until well combined. Add the coconut oil, and blend again until smooth.
- Layer. Spoon part of the mixture in an even layer over the chilled crust, using a spatula to smooth it out into an even layer.
- Freeze. Transfer the bars to the freezer to harden and set.
- Prepare the Yellow Topping. While the bars are freezing, create the final yellow layer. To do so, add the food coloring to the remaining cashew cream mixture, and blend again. Pour the yellow filling over the cheesecake layer, spreading it out evenly.
- Freeze. Add extra grated lemon zest on top, and freeze until the bars are set and firm enough to slice.
- Slice and Serve. Using a sharp knife, slice your cheesecake bars, add a lemon slice on top, and serve cold!
Note: If you choose to prepare your lemon cheesecake bars ahead of time, transfer them from the freezer to the fridge for 12 hours to thaw before serving. Otherwise, they’ll be too hard to eat!
Tips and Tricks
No-bake desserts are extremely popular because they’re so easy to make. These dairy-free lemon cheesecake bars are no exception. However, we have a few extra trips and tricks to ensure you have success every single time!
- Line the Pan. Before you begin, place parchment paper in the bottom of a baking pan, making sure to leave at least 2 inches of paper over the edges. This makes it easy to lift them out when you’re ready to serve!
- Soak the Cashews Longer. Technically, you only need to soak the cashews for 2 hours in order for them to blend with the rest of the ingredients. However, for an extra creamy filling, we recommend soaking the cashews for at least 8 hours or up to 12!
- Scrape the Sides. When creating the crust and filling, you may need to stop occasionally and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the food processor or blender to ensure all of the ingredients are well combined.
- Wet Your Knife. For smooth bars and easing slicing, use a clean knife, dip it in hot water, and wipe it clean after each slice. Or, opt for a dough cutter!
Frequently Asked Questions About Dairy-Free Cheesecake Bars
If your bars are mushy or soft, they likely just need a little extra chilling time. Pop them back in the fridge or freezer until they firm up.
Yes, stored in an airtight container, these dairy-free cheesecake bars will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Yes, you’ll want to serve these lemon cheesecake bars right from the fridge or freezer just like a cheesecake.
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