raw strawberry cheesecake

This no-bake strawberry cheesecake perfectly balances rich, buttery macadamia nuts and tangy, fruity strawberries. It’s magically decadent yet light. The recipe is vegan (dairy-free, egg-free), grain-free (gluten-free), soy-free, and refined sugar-free.

I have said many times that one of the things I appreciate the most about raw desserts is their simplicity – “Unlike traditional baking, it’s not an exact science, so it leaves plenty of room for creativity.”

However, in many cases, there are no straight substitutions. Every ingredient is unique. So, before making any substitutions when making raw cakes, here are four things to consider:

  • Flavor: when substituting ingredients, you typically want to keep the same flavor profile the recipe developers had in mind. So, if a recipe calls for blueberries and all you have are strawberries (which are usually more acidic), you will need to add a little bit more sweetener. If you are replacing cacao powder with powdered carob (which is sweeter), you might want to reduce the amount of overall sweetener. In addition to balance, there are also prominent flavors to consider. Pine nuts, with their resinous flavor, for instance, might not be the best replacement for rather bland cashews.
  • Texture: a lot of recipes play with textures. Think of a smooth ice cream covered in crunchy chocolate or chewy pancakes topped with fluffy coconut whipped cream. Contrasting textures keep food interesting. What you want to avoid are undesired textures. If a recipe calls for cashews to make smooth cream cheese filling, you will need to look out for grittiness issues when using macadamia nuts instead.
  • Consistency: have you ever made a raw cake that never set properly, melted too quickly, or wasn’t creamy enough? I certainly have. Replacing ingredients with the same consistency isn’t as straightforward as achieving a desired flavor or texture. If a cake tastes too sweet, you balance it out with a little bit of lemon juice. If a filling isn’t smooth enough, you blend it a little longer. With consistency, you usually don’t find out until a few hours later when the dessert has had a chance to set/chill/dehydrate. A great example is tempered chocolate. If you replace cacao butter with coconut oil (which has a  similar consistency), you end up with chocolate that is too soft and melts quickly. 
  • Color: this one is rather obvious. If you’re making white coconut frosting, you probably wouldn’t want to swap light (golden) maple syrup with very dark maple syrup. Another thing to remember is that some colors don’t blend well.

With this in mind, let’s look at the ingredients for this no-bake strawberry cheesecake and talk about their substitutions (you will understand why in a second).

no-bake strawberry cheesecake

Tips for Making No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

Ingredients

Most raw cheesecakes call either for cashews or coconut cream (or both). This strawberry cheesecake is different because it doesn’t contain either of those ingredients. However, the ingredients for this no-bake cheesecake are on the pricier side, which is why I will also share the best substitutions. 

Cheesecake Crust

  • Almonds and pecans: it doesn’t really matter which nuts you use for the cheesecake crust. I alternate them all the time – almonds, pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts are probably my favorites. You can also use seeds, such as sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, or even oats (to bring the cost of the cheesecake down).
  • Medjool dates: most raw cheesecake recipes call for dates – sweet, caramel-y, juicy, and sticky. I love Medjool dates, but other types of dates work too. If you only have dried dates, soak them in warm water first so they soften up and blend easily.

strawberry cheesecake crust ingredients

Cheesecake Filling

  • Macadamia nuts: subtly sweet, buttery, and rich is what macadamia nuts taste like. Compared to other nuts, macadamia nuts have not only the highest concentration of fat but also the highest price tag. If you’d like to replace them, cashews are the best substitute – neutral in flavor, smooth and creamy when blended, and pale in color. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you can use cashew butter instead of whole nuts.
  • Strawberries: it wouldn’t be strawberry cheesecake without strawberries. The acidity of strawberries counteracts the richness and heaviness of the macadamia nuts and lightens up the cheesecake. The best substitute would be raspberries (for raspberry cheesecake) or blackberries (for blackberry cheesecake). Whichever fruit you use, make sure to adjust the sweetness of the filling accordingly.
  • Coconut oil: the primary function of coconut oil in this recipe is to help the filling set. If your coconut oil is solid, warm it up first to help the filling blend more evenly and consistently. 
  • Maple syrup: any liquid sweetener works here. I live in Canada, so I usually have plenty of maple syrup. If you prefer coconut nectar or raw honey, go with that. Just make sure you adjust the amount you use. Coconut nectar, for instance, is less sweet than maple syrup, while honey is sweeter than maple syrup.
  • Vanilla extract: the tartness of strawberries pairs beautifully with the sweetness of vanilla, bringing out the subtle flavor profiles of both as a result. Vanilla extract is probably the most common, but fresh vanilla bean or vanilla paste is great too.

strawberry cheesecake filling ingredients

How to Make Raw Strawberry Cheesecake

Making raw cakes is an easy but slow process. It consists of a lot of blending and a lot of waiting. 

  1. Process the cheesecake crust ingredients. Add the almonds and pecans to a food processor bowl fitted with an S blade and process until the nuts are coarsely ground. Be careful not to over-process the nuts; they should retain some texture. Add the dates to the food processor and process until all the ingredients begin to stick together. The mixture will be tender and slightly crumbly, but it should be sticky enough to hold together when you press it between your fingers. If it’s too dry, pulse it a little bit more.
  2. Press the mixture into a springform pan. Transfer the crust mixture to a lightly greased 6-inch/15-cm springform pan and press it firmly into an even base layer and edging. I like to have the crust a little bit higher up the wall sides to create a rustic effect, but it’s optional. You can simply press the mixture evenly along the base for a classic flat cheesecake crust.
  3. Blend the cheesecake filling ingredients. Add all the cheesecake filling ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth.
  4. Assemble the cake. Pour the filling on top of the crust in the springform pan and spread it evenly, smoothing out the top. Tap out any air bubbles.
  5. Chill. Cover the springform pan with a piece of paper towel (to trap any condensation), and then double-wrap the entire springform pan with plastic wrap for the best chance of preserving the cake’s taste and texture. Transfer the wrapped cake to the freezer for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight. The more frozen the cake, the easier and cleaner the removal from the pan.

strawberry cheesecake filling in a Vitamix blender

how to make strawberry cheesecake

How to Serve Strawberry Cheesecake

Once the cheesecake is properly chilled, release the clamp and remove the band. You can either lift out the round base or place the springform pan on a wide jar and drop down the band. The cheesecake should have a smooth, clean-sided finish. You can keep it on the base or transfer it to a platter. 

If you let the cheesecake freeze fully, it will be very firm straight out of the freezer. So, let it thaw briefly, for 10-15 minutes, before slicing. The cheesecake will melt if left out at room temperature for too long.

You can serve the cheesecake as is or top it with some fresh strawberries.

How to Store Strawberry Cheesecake

  • Freezing: transfer the strawberry cheesecake to an airtight container and freeze it for up to 1 month. 

strawberry cheesecake recipe

More Raw Cheesecake Recipes

If you’d like to try more raw cheesecakes, here are a couple of recipes to get you started:

  • Raw lime cheesecake: light, mellow, citrusy, and refreshing… It’s one of the most popular recipes on the blog and for a good reason.
  • Raw chocolate cheesecake: this dessert is everything you want in a chocolate cheesecake – chewy crust and a rich and creamy filling with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. 

If you try any of these recipes, please leave a comment and rate the recipe below. It always means a lot when you do.

strawberry cheesecake
5 from 14 votes

Raw Strawberry Cheesecake

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Freeze time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 12 slices
This raw strawberry cheesecake perfectly balances rich, buttery macadamia nuts and tangy, fruity strawberries. It's magically decadent yet light.

Ingredients
 

Cheesecake Crust

  • 1/2 cup (72.5 g) almonds
  • 1/2 cup (49.5 g) pecans
  • 3/4 cup (127.5 g) Medjool dates, , pitted

Cheesecake Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups (201 g) macadamia nuts, , soaked*
  • 1 1/2 cups (216 g) fresh strawberries, **
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut oil, , melted
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Process the cheesecake crust ingredients. Add the almonds and pecans to a food processor bowl fitted with an S blade and process until the nuts are coarsely ground. Be careful not to overprocess the nuts; they should retain some texture. Add the dates to the food processor and process until all the ingredients begin to stick together. The mixture will be tender and slightly crumbly, but it should be sticky enough to hold together when you press it between your fingers. If it's too dry, pulse it a little bit more.
  • Press the mixture into a springform pan. Transfer the crust mixture to a lightly greased 6-inch/15-cm springform pan and press it firmly into an even base layer and edging. I like to have the crust a little bit higher up the wall sides to create a rustic effect, but it's optional. You can simply press the mixture evenly along the base for a classic flat cheesecake crust.
  • Blend the cheesecake filling ingredients. Add all the cheesecake filling ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth.
  • Assemble the cake. Pour the filling on top of the crust in the springform pan and spread it evenly, smoothing out the top. Tap out any air bubbles.
  • Chill. Cover the springform pan with a piece of paper towel (to trap any condensation), and then double-wrap the entire springform pan with plastic wrap for the best chance of preserving the cake's taste and texture. Transfer the wrapped cheesecake to the freezer for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight. The more frozen the cake, the easier and cleaner the removal from the pan.
  • Serve. Once set, remove the strawberry cheesecake from the springform pan. Let it thaw briefly, for 10-15 minutes, before slicing.
  • Store. Leftover strawberry cheesecake keeps well in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Notes

*Add the macadamia nuts to a medium bowl, cover them with water, and let them soak for at least 8 hours to soften up and blend easily. You can also add 1 tsp./5.7 g of salt to the soaking water to help activate the macadamia nuts and neutralize enzyme inhibitors in the nuts.
**If using frozen strawberries, let them thaw to room temperature.
***Prep time does not include soaking the macadamia nuts, about 8 hours.
***Nutrition information is approximate and may contain errors. Please, feel free to make your own calculations.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 12, Calories: 289kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 23g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 14g
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keywords: no-bake strawberry cheesecake, raw cheesecake, raw strawberry cheesecake, strawberry cheesecake, vegan cheesecake