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How to make vegan Cashew Cheese- a simple plant-based alternative that is spreadable, creamy and flavorful, and with just 10 minutes of hands-on time. Use this in these Quesadillas!
Hey friends, I wanted to share a very quick and easy way to make a creamy, spreadable cheese perfect in quesadillas or enchiladas- Cashew Cheese! It only takes about 10 minutes of hands-on time once the cashews have a chance to soak and will keep up to 5-6 days in your fridge.
Cashews are naturally creamy and “cheesy” in flavor so they are a good base for the recipe. Then it’s just a matter of seasonings. If you like a little smoky flavor, a little smoked paprika is a nice touch, but honestly, I really like this plain and simple too. Up to you.
Adding apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice is why I particularly like this recipe. It keeps the cheese preserved a few days longer and adds a nice tanginess. And I’m not sure if it’s just my imagination, but feels more easily digestible. See for yourself.
How to make Vegan Cashew Cheese
Step one: Soak the cashews in water until they soften and plump making the Cashew Cheese really creamy.
Try to soak at least 3-4 hours or overnight in the fridge.
Soaking them also makes them more easily digestible.
Step two: Drain the water (save it!) and place the cashews it in a food processor or high-speed blender.
Step three: Season with salt and add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
TIP: The vinegar will not only season the vegan cheese, giving it a nice tangy flavor, but it will also preserve it a few days longer in the fridge, extending its life.
Step Four: Pulse the cashews repeatedly and scrape down the sides.
Step five: Then, add cashew water a tablespoon at a time, blending, until you get the consistency you want.
I usually add about 3-4 tablespoons.
Step six: Optional At this point, you can add fresh herbs, garlic, and or spices.
Here I’ve added smoked paprika and garlic powder.
Or keep it plain.
For an ultra “cheesy flavor” feel free to add nutritional yeast, but I will say, it really does not require it.
This plain version is pretty neutral -creamy, and slightly tangy. Great in Quesadillas or enchiladas!
If you are looking for something lower in fat, or overall calories, then be sure to look at this Vegan Tofu Ricotta.
Hope this creamy vegan Cashew Cheese comes in handy! I know you will find some good uses for it!
- Prep Time: 10
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 1/4 cup 1x
- Category: vegan,
- Method: blended
- Cuisine: american
- Diet: Vegan
How to make creamy vegan Cashew Cheese- a simple vegan alternative that can be whipped up in minutes! Use this like you would cream cheese or ricotta. Allow 3 hours of soaking time! ( Or soak cashews overnight.)
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water, 3-24 hours (or see notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2–4 tablespoons water
- 1–2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- optional additions: nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, granulated garlic, fresh herbs ( basil, cilantro parsley, cilantro, dill, etc.) or dried herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary). Start conservatively, add more to taste.
Soak Cashews in water for 3 hours (or up to 24 hours refrigerated). Drain the cashews saving the water.
Place the cashews in a food processor with the salt and vinegar and pulse repeatedly. Scrape down the sides and continue blending, repeating if necessary.
Add the cashew water, with the motor running, a tablespoon at a time to get the desired consistency. I typically add 3-4 tablespoons. Then blend for 1-2 minutes.
Taste and feel free to add any optional additions.
For a smoky flavor add 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika.
This will keep 5 days in the fridge.
If no time to soak the cashews, simmer them in a small pot of water for 20-30 minutes. Drain.
- Serving Size: 3 tablespoons
- Calories: 98
- Sugar: 0.9 g
- Sodium: 148.4 mg
- Fat: 7.9 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 5.6 g
- Fiber: 0.5 g
- Protein: 2.6 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: vegan cheese, cashew cheese, how to make cashew cheese, creamy vegan cheese, vegan cream cheese,
My first try at cashew cheese. Added 2 T nutritional yeast and a smidge smoked paprika and granulated garlic. Spatula licking good!
Glad you enjoyed this!
Thanks for the recipe. I’m having an issue where my cashews seem to be rather sweet, is this normal?
Yes, sometimes they can be- just add a tad more AC vinegar. 🙂
I made it today, without salt for my baby and she ate it all. I made the rest with salt with homemade tortillas and it tasted amazing, thank you!
Great to hear Gaby!
Can I use cashew butter instead?
Sure Kate, but instead of what?
Instead of soaked cashews lol
Oh! I think so? Give it a try!
Would this work as a substitute for cream cheese in cake frosting? We have a lot of food allergies and intolerance issues. Dairy and soy are out. It’s getting harder and harder to cook as we discover what the various culprits are.
Hi Melanie- I think with a few tweaks it could work! Sweeten with maple syrup,leave out vinegar, add vanilla to taste, maybe add lemon zest? I’d also add some melted coconut oil- so it firms up a bit. You’d have to play with it!
this is not a 10 minute recipe if it soaks for 3 hours!
Right- 10 minutes of hands-on time. 😉
Bring water to boil, soak for 30 minutes. You’re good to go.
Can this be frozen?
Hi Joan! I’m not sure- haven’t tried freezing it, and not sure how the consistency would be? My guess is, it should be fine?
Easy to make and worth the wait. I soaked the cashews for 24 hours, seasoned with salt, ACV and nutritional yeast, served over a toasted GF everything bagel with avocado, red onion and lemon pepper.
Yummmm, sounds tasty!
Do roasted cashews work here?
I haven’t tried with roasted- but you could try? Definitely soak them first so they get really soft.
I was wondering why you use the cashew water. Could I use plain water instead?
You can use either. 😉
Same reason you would use broth or coconut milk to make rice. Best flavor and creamier texture. The better question is, Why WOULDN’T you use the reserved cashew water?
…because when the person drained the cashews, being a normal person, the person drained the water the normal way – into the sink, not saving it? Then realized that s/he should have saved some of it? Happens every day. Not hard to figure out that someone would throw away the water they soaked nuts in. Does it really have any flavor?