Peanut Butter Cheesecake {Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan Option}

By Sara McGlothlin

Every year, I bake my own birthday cake. It’s one of my favorite traditions. The whole process from start to finish is about creating something I love, doing something I love, while celebrating another trip around the sun. In the past I have baked one of the cakes from my cookbook, but since I have been playing around with more keto baking, and enjoying more real dairy as a result, I wanted to make a real cheesecake. No cashews, no vegan cream cheese, but rather the real deal. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my primarily plant-based variations, but I wanted to taste my most favorite dessert before I went dairy-free. I did upgrade some ingredients: the crust is grain-free, and the primary sweetener is Swerve. I also found this lactose-free cream cheese at Whole Foods. And given that it was my birthday, peanut butter just had to make an appearance, which helped cut back on the sour cream found in traditional recipes.

A quick note on Swerve sweetener/granulated erythritol. It’s funny, one of the tenets of my nutritional philosophy, especially when it comes to reading ingredients, is be very skeptical of those ingredients with long, “science-y” sounding names. If you can’t read or understand something, neither can your body. Erythritol at first glance is almost an example of this, but I wouldn’t categorize it in the camp of something to avoid. It is a sugar alcohol, and some individuals experience digestive distress after consuming sugar alcohols, so if this is you, then by all means, you should avoid it. Essentially, erythritol is classified as a polyol, a family of sugar alcohols naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables. It is about as 80% as sweet as table sugar, but gets metabolized differently. It is readily absorbed in the small intestine, bypasses the colon, and almost completely excreted in urine. Bottom line, erythritol has a zero, if not a negligible effect, on blood sugar.

I think this cheesecake is the best thing I have ever baked. I bake almost every day, so this is a bold statement. After I blew out my birthday candles, my husband and I sat down to enjoy a slice. I was mentally patting myself on the back the entire time. Despite using real dairy, I wholeheartedly believe this dessert deserves a space on Healthified. Not everyone is intolerant to it, and like I mentioned, other ingredients have been upgraded. That all being said, I imagine vegan cream cheese and vegan sour cream can be used.

I know I will celebrating with this cheesecake again in the future! Hopefully you can find a reason to bake it as well.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake {Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan Option}

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Cooling Time 5 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 10 servings


  • 8-inch springform cake pan
  • hand mixer or stand mixer
  • High-speed Blender


For the crust

  • 1 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca or arrowroot starch
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil

For the cheesecake filling

  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream room temperature
  • 3 eggs, beaten room temperature
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated erythritol sugar I use Swerve brand
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray an 8-inch round springform cake pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
  • Make the crust. In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine the almond flour, coconut sugar, and starch. Stir with a wooden spoon until blended. While beating on medium speed, add the melted coconut oil and continue to beat until a crumbly dough is formed, increasing the speed as you need to. Gather the dough and press it firmly in the bottom of the cake pan (it should feel like damp, course sand and should stay compact when you squeeze it). Set aside.
  • In a high-speed blender, add the cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, peanut butter, erythritol (or granulated sugar or choice), and vanilla extract. Blend until creamy, using the tamper as you need to get the blender going and until everything is smooth.
  • Pour the filling into the cake pan with the crust. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes until edges have started to turn golden brown and “pull away” from the edges of the cake pan (cheesecake should still “jiggle” and the middle may appear darker, but will set as it cools). Turn the oven off, and open the oven door slightly, and keep the cake in the oven for an additional 30 minutes. Then remove the cake from the oven and allow the cake to cool at room temperature for at least 1 hour before transferring to the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours (or ideally overnight) to completely set.


*I imagine you could make the cheesecake with vegan cream cheese and vegan sour cream (or coconut cream), but I did not test it with these options.
Storage: Keep the cheesecake wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
Keyword Gluten-free, Grain-free, Vegan Option

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