Looking for a dairy-free cheese option? Try this homemade Vegan Cashew Cheese. It's delicious, easy to make, and so versatile.
I have been dairy-free for several years now, and with each passing year, it gets easier and easier to enjoy delicious, full flavor meals that are "cheesy" - without traditional cheese.
If you're new to the dairy-free life, this homemade Vegan Cashew Cheese is a great place to start. It's one of the first dairy-free cheeses I made back in the day. And it's still amazing today!
🌟 Why you'll love this recipe
Whether you've been dairy free and/or vegan for decades, or you'd just like to try a new vegan cheese, this cashew cheese recipe is for you!
- It's made with just 4 ingredients plus salt and pepper.
- You can whip it up in under 20 minutes (minus the cashew soak time).
- It's SO versatile: use it as a dip for veggies or as a sauce in pastas.
- You can adjust the taste with additional spices if you'd like.
🛒 Ingredient notes
Cashews - You'll want to use raw, unsalted cashews, either whole or halves is fine. Soak them in water in a large bowl for at least two hours or up to overnight. This helps break down the nuts so that they blend smoothly.
Nutritional yeast - What gives this sauce a "cheesy" flavor is the use of nutritional yeast. is a deactivated yeast that is usually sold in flake or powder form in the bulk aisle or baking aisle of grocery stores.
If you're new to dairy-free cooking and baking, be sure to check out my Dairy Free Baking and Cooking Guide. It explains some common food labels and I share my favorite dairy-free products to use in my recipes.
✅ Step-by-step instructions
Making your own vegan cashew cheese from scratch is SO easy!
- Soak the cashews in a large bowl with just enough water to cover the cashews. Soak them for at least two hours, and up to overnight. Drain the water out just before you're ready to make the cashew cheese.
- To a food processor, add the drained cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, lemon juice, and ⅔ cup of water. Pulse until it becomes smooth, gradually adding more water by the tablespoonful as needed, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. It should be slightly thick, not watery - but you can control how thick or thin the cheese mixture is by how much or how little water you add.
- Once the cashew cheese is smooth to your liking, stop the food processor and carefully spoon into a container.
Enjoy your homemade vegan cashew cheese all week long!
❓ Recipe FAQs
Other nuts will not have the same results. Cashews are great for this cheese because they are high in fats, so they blend smoothly. They also have a great flavor that mimics traditional milk. Almonds, while often used to make alternative milks, do not blend as smoothly as cashews to create a dairy-free cheese.
Try adding a little more lemon juice and/or a little more garlic powder. The recipe makes a mild-flavored cashew cheese, but you can always bump it up a notch! You can also add a small sprinkling of paprika or nutmeg for a little added flavor.
Store in an airtight container, like a mason jar, in the refrigerator for up to one week. The flavor and texture is best during the first 2 to 3 days. You may need to stir the cashew cheese up a bit before using or serving after 3 days.
🥘 Kitchen tools and equipment
🍽 Serving ideas
This vegan cashew cheese has SO many serving possibilities!
Replace ricotta cheese in your favorite recipes. We love using it in our Dairy Free Lasagna recipe!
Use it as a sauce: simmer the cashew cheese in a pan, add some spinach, and serve it over your favorite pasta.
Serve it as a dip: add it to your Brunch Charcuterie Board as a dip for veggies and crackers. When using it as a dip, I like to drizzle some olive oil over it, and sprinkle some
More dairy-free recipes
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Vegan Cashew Cheese
- Soak the cashews in a large bowl of water for at least two hours. Can be soaked overnight.
- Drain cashews and place into a food processor or blender, along with ⅔ cup water, lemon juice, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.
- Blend, gradually adding more water by the tablespoonful as needed, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. It should be slightly thick, not watery.
- Place in an airtight container (I use mason jars) and chill for at least one hour before enjoying.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.