Small Batch

How to Make Vegan Cheese at Home

By • February 21, 2014 • 13 Comments

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It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: McKel Hill of Nutrition Stripped makes a cheesy, cheese-free spread that you can eat on anything from salads to potatoes to sandwiches.

Cashew cheese is perfect for dairy-free living -- and for anyone who wants to try something new. Not only does is this creamy, cheesy spread made using gluten-free and vegan ingredients, but it comes together quickly and it's endlessly versatile. Non-dairy lovers, rejoice!

This “cheese” has been a staple of mine in the kitchen since I stopped eating dairy. What makes this recipe especially delicious is the nutritional yeast, which contributes to the cheesy flavor and also, yes, adds nutrition. 

More: Nutritional yeast is also the magical ingredient in vegan pesto.

Consider this fair warning: cashew cheese is so delicious you may find yourself wanting to consume the whole bowl. If you’re looking for creative uses for cashew cheese, here are a few ideas: 

  • Dollop it onto baked potatoes, salads, fresh pasta, or scrambled eggs.
  • Use it as a dip for vegetables, fruits, or crackers.
  • Make a quick salad dressing with a tablespoon of cashew cheese and a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. 
  • Make a cheese sauce with 1/4 cup cashew cheese, 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, and 1/2 cup of almond milk.
  • Simply spread it onto sandwiches, cracker, wraps, and toast.

More: So you've ate your fill of cashew cheese and crackers. Now, make vegan chocolate pie for dessert.

Classic Cashew Cheese

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


Soak the cashews in 1/4 cup of water for 20 minutes to 1 hour. Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until thick and creamy. 

Use at room temperature or chill for at least 20 minutes. Store the cashew cheese iin an airtight mason jar or container and enjoy it for up to 1 week. 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by McKell Hill

Tags: how-to & DIY, small batch, vegan, gluten-free, gluten free, cashews, dairy free, dairy-free, cheese, nuts, healthy, spreads, dips, sauce

Comments (13)


about 1 month ago Antoinette Halberstadt

Nutritional Yeast is like Brewers yeast, but not bitter. Full of B vitamins, calcium, and "good" cholesterol. Has a nutty taste. The brand names I've come across in the past include "Engevita yeast" and "Red Star nutritional yeast"


about 1 month ago Kimberly Riedel

I'm soaking the cashews right now. Do I drain them before adding everything to the food processor? Thanks! Really excited for the end result!


about 1 month ago Nathalie

I live in France and I don't know what nutritional yeast is. Is it like brewers yeast or something different? Do you know by any chance if I could find some over here? Thanks in advance.


about 1 month ago Natalia

It's different. Here in Brazil we don't have it too, one must import from US websites. That yeast make the food tastes like cheese, besides is very rich in B12.


about 1 month ago Maureen

I would love to try this recipe, I would like to know if I could use something else other than white wine?


about 1 month ago Elena Valdez

This is awesome!!!! The dr just told me I need to go dairy-free and I was already missing cheese... I'll do it as soon as I can get my hands on a bottle of nutritional yeast (which my be hard to get in Mexico)...


about 1 month ago Alexandra V. Jones

Totally going to make a beer cheese version of this! Great article!


about 1 month ago Mark Jay Brewin Jr

Is there anything you can switch out the cashews with? I am allergic to tree nuts.


about 1 month ago McKel Hill

Hey Mark- cashews are best, but you can try macadamia nuts (if those aren't bothersome to you) or you can do sunflower seeds, the texture will be different but concept is relatively the same. Enjoy -m.h.


about 1 month ago kate h

So what is nutritional yeast and where would one find it?


about 1 month ago McKel Hill

You can find it at most health food stores! Enjoy -m.h.


about 1 month ago Kate

I can't wait to try this? Been toying with the idea of being vegan, but...cheese...I'll have to see if this can satisfy the craving :)


about 1 month ago McKel Hill

Awesome! Enjoy :) -m.h.