Vegan Cashew Ricotta Cheese


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This vegan cashew ricotta cheese is light, fluffy, and perfect for comforting meals when you need a dairy-free, cheesy touch. Bonus – it comes together in a snap thanks to raw cashews, and a handful of pantry-friendly items.

Vegan cashew ricotta cheese in a bowl

Whether you’re vegan or not, everyone should give this cashew ricotta cheese a try. Why? Because it’s so darn easy to make and perfect for including more dairy-free, plant-based options to your routine. And if that doesn’t convince you, it tastes just like real ricotta with its irresistibly creamy, slightly grainy texture.

I love to slather a thick layer of this vegan cashew ricotta in recipes like my zucchini lasagna, or even on a slice of gluten-free bread with fresh berries and a drizzle of honey. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg on the many ways you can use it. So yes, you can say this vegan ricotta is extremely versatile!

Ingredients for vegan cashew ricotta cheese on a table.

The Best Cashew Ricotta – 7 Easy Ingredients

If you haven’t ventured into the world of cashew-based recipes, you’re in for a treat. It’s the key ingredient that gives this ricotta its natural creaminess! Then, a combination of nutritional yeast and lemon juice adds a punchy, cheesy flavor that mimics real ricotta. Yep, it’s a quick blend of the simplest ingredients! Here’s the full breakdown.

  • Cashews: Make sure to use plain raw cashews – not roasted or salted, as that will impact the flavor.
  • Water: Just 1/2 cup is needed to help blend everything together.
  • Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice gives it a sharp, zingy taste.
  • Nutritional Yeast: The beauty of nutritional yeast is that it adds a wonderfully cheesy flavor, without any cheese! Plus, it’s a rich source of Vitamin B.
  • Garlic: Just one clove is needed, but you can always add more if you want a more garlicky taste.
  • Salt & Pepper: The last additions for a savory touch.

How To Make Vegan Cashew Ricotta

Unlike real ricotta cheese where you have to boil, stir, and strain – this vegan version is so much easier to make. The only thing you need to remember to do is soak the cashews the night before, which is why I mention that this is a crucial step down below.

Soaking cashews in a bowl for vegan cashew ricotta cheese.

Otherwise, all you need to do is add all the ingredients into a food processor and blend away! Just make sure to scrape down the sides as you blend, so that everything gets mixed together evenly. The results should be a smooth, slightly grainy, ricotta-like texture.

Pro tip: don’t skip soaking the cashews! This process helps to soften the nuts, making them ultra-creamy and more easily digestible, which is key when you’re consuming a larger amount.

If you forget to soak them the night before, you can soak them for at least 2 hours the day of with boiling hot water.

Ways To Use Vegan Cashew Ricotta

Its luscious texture and mild flavor makes it a great ingredient to layer with both sweet and savory flavors! Of course, it belongs in your favorite cheesy comfort foods. But there’s plenty of other options when you think a little outside the box!

  • Schmear it on everything! I love to layer it on top of toasted bread (or my falafel flatbread) with sliced fruits and a drizzle of tahini sauce or balsamic glaze for breakfast or an afternoon snack. But it also works great as a spread on crackers with a dollop of my homemade chia seed jam.
  • Replace it with regular ricotta in your favorite pasta-like dishes. I’m talking veggie lasagnas (like my zucchini lasagna), rollatinis, or any of your favorite pastas that includes ricotta!
  • Turn this into a sweet dessert. Although this vegan ricotta is on the savory side, it tastes amazing in a bowl with roasted fruits (like peaches or plums), chai spiced granola, and a drizzle of honey.
A big bowl of vegan cashew ricotta cheese next to cashews.

Storage Tips

Good news – this won’t spoil too fast and it’s freezer-friendly! Perfect for when you need a vegan cheesy oomph to your meals. Here’s how to store it both ways.

  • To store: This can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • To freeze: Yep, this is a freezer-friendly recipe! It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to use, let it thaw in the fridge overnight and give it a stir before using.

More Vegan Sauces

If you’re on the hunt for more dairy-free alternatives, you’ll love these vegan sauces! Dip into them, toss into a pasta, or use as a spread – they’re quite versatile.

Given how easy this vegan cashew ricotta is to make, it ought to be your go-to! And when you make it, I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe in a comment below!

A glass bowl of vegan cashew ricotta cheese

Vegan Cashew Ricotta Cheese

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Prep: 10 minutes
Soaking Time: 8 hours
Total: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


This easy vegan cashew ricotta cheese is light, fluffy, and perfect for comforting meals where you need a dairy-free, cheesy touch!


  • 1 ½ cups raw cashews , soaked overnight and drained
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper


  • In a large bowl with water, soak the cashews overnight.
    Soaked cashews in a bowl for vegan cashew ricotta cheese
  • In a food processor, blend the cashews, water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, and pepper for about a minute scraping down the sides as needed until you've got an almost smooth, ricotta like texture.
    Blended vegan cashew ricotta cheese in a food processor

Lisa’s Tips

  • Each serving is ¼ cup.
  • These are the raw cashews I buy in bulk for all of my vegan sauce recipes.


Calories: 142kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 149mg | Potassium: 204mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Ricotta, Vegan Cashew Ricotta
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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  1. I’m excited to try this! Would it be the same in a vitamix? I don’t think my tiny food processor would do it justice, but I do have a vitamix. 

    1. If you use a Vitamix, it’ll turn out much more creamier and smooth than a textured ricotta cheese.

  2. Hi I’m new to eating dairy free, one thing I’ll miss is ricotta. Recipe sounds good except I was told cashews I should stay away from also. What’s a substitute I could use?

    1. Unfortunately this recipe heavily relies on cashews for that creamy consistency. But, I’ll see if I can test some other cashew-free ways to make this!