Dairy-Free Key Lime Cheesecake Bars


It’s day two of the Dairy-Free Recipe Potluck, a delicious event leading up to the 21-Day Dairy-Free Challenge, and I’m happy to welcome one of my favorite new cookbook authors, Cara Reed. 

Cara is masterful at recreating comfort and nostalgic foods without dairy, eggs, and wheat. She shares many enticing recipes at her blog, Fork and Beans, and has recently released a gorgeous cookbook, Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking. And within that treasure trove of sweets and treats, lies an amazing dairy-free recipe for key lime cheesecake bars.

Key Lime Cheesecake Bars - Dairy-Free, optionally Vegan and Gluten-Free

But have no fear, this isn’t simply a tease! The recipe for these indulgent, yet somewhat virtuous dairy-free key lime cheesecake bars from Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking is below, to help tackle those sweet creamy cravings as you venture the 21-Day Dairy-Free Challenge.

Cara Reed of Fork and BeansCara isn’t shy about sharing her dietary journey; it’s personally detailed here on Fork and Beans. But when asked why she is dairy-free and why she chooses to create dairy-free recipes, she shared the following insight:

“I was diagnosed with a dairy allergy over 3 years ago so I have to avoid it, however it has made me that more creative in the kitchen, trying to figure out fun and great-tasting substitutions. You wouldn’t believe the miracle cashews perform in its place! I also feel so much better when my body isn’t crowded with dairy. I feel lighter, less bloated, and my acne disappears when I do so it’s been a blessing to find out about this food allergy. I am healthier and happier for it and have found that not eating dairy can be easy and still taste just as good! “

Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking by Cara Reed (sample Dairy-Free Key Lime Cheesecake Bars Recipe)And she proves that a hundred times over with the recipes in Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking. There are delights like Tagalongs, Fudge-Striped Cookies, Upside Down Sticky Pecan Biscuits, Lemonade Stand Cupcakes, German Chocolate Cake, Lazy Man’s Tiramisu, and of course, the amazing Key Lime Cheesecake Bars below.

For more from Cara, see her latest recipes at Fork and Beans, follow her on Facebook and Pinterest, get a glimpse of her recipes in action on YouTube, or check out what she’s up to now on Instagram.

Special Diet Notes & Options: Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, optionally vegan / plant-based,  and vegetarian.

The Dairy-Free Recipe Potluck is sponsored by So Delicious Dairy Free and the 21 Day Dairy-Free Challenge.

Take the So Delicious 21 Day Dairy-Free Challenge

Dairy-Free Key Lime Cheesecake Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe was reprinted with permissions from Cara's cookbook, Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking.
Serves: 12 bars
For the Crust:
  • 1 ½ cups graham crackers (see note below)
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
For the Filling:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and grease an 8x8-inch pan.
  2. Place the graham crackers in a food processor until a crumbly flour forms. Add the oil and mix completely.
  3. Press the graham cracker mixture into the prepared pan with your fingers until nicely packed and bake until 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool.
  4. Combine all the ingredients for the filling together in a high-speed blender until completely smooth. If it is still difficult to blend add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until smooth. You want a thick filling.
  5. Pour the filling over the crust, cover with foil and chill in the fridge for several hours until firm. If you have the patience, allow it to set overnight.
  6. Just before serving, top with So Delicious CocoWhip, if desired.
If using store-bought graham crackers, be sure that they fit your dietary needs. Most brands are dairy-free, but we usually prefer organic options, like Erewhon. For gluten-free grahams, try Enjoy Life or Kinnikinnick. Note that most graham crackers are made with honey, and thus not strictly vegan (read the label!). To solve that problem, Cara offers a homemade gluten-free, vegan graham cracker recipe in Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Pingback: 12 Top Dairy-Free Recipes for Healthier Indulgence

  2. Hi I live in queens New York and the only so delicious I can get is the coconut milk , I can’t seem to find cashew milk or the coco whip. Thank you:)

    • Hi Shelly, you can sub cashew butter, but it would be quite a bit less. The cashews condense down when made into a butter. It would be around 12 ounces – if I were personally testing it, I would start with about 1 1/4 cups cashew butter – it’s usually close to half.

  3. We are nut free in our home due to severe allergies. Is there a substitute for the cashews, or could we just leave them out?

    • Hi Lindsey, cashews form the base, so you need to substitute, not omit. Though not tested (this is a contributed recipe!), I think a firm or super-firm silken (must be silken) tofu would work in place of the cashews. Omit the milk beverage, only adding your milk beverage of choice as needed – the tofu would already have moisture added. Coconut cream may also work, but it would need to be a very thick cream. I would personally avoid using seeds as a substitute, as they aren’t quite as creamy as cashews and have a more pronounced taste.

  4. The recipe says to soak the cashews but it doesn’t say in what. So my question is, what do we soak them in and do we drain whatever we soak it in and discard it before proceeding with the recipe?

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