Fermented Cashew Cheese

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A sliceable, spreadable vegan cheese that will blow your mind! This cashew-based cheese is made with just a handful of ingredients and is an explosion of salty, cheesy, tangy, and umami flavors thanks to fermentation.
Prep 20 mins
Fermentation Time 16 hrs
Total 16 hrs 20 mins
5 from 90 votes

If you miss being able to slice into a log of cheese and spread it on bread or crackers, this fermented cashew cheese will give you back that experience.

And if you’ve ever been disappointed by the vegan cheese options at the grocery store or don’t have access to them, this recipe will be a godsend.

First, a simple mixture of cashews, vinegar, lemon juice, coconut oil, nutritional yeast, and seasonings gets blended until smooth. Then, it ferments for a day or two. Finally, the cheese gets shaped into a log (think a log of goat cheese) and hangs out in the fridge for a few hours. Once sliced, it’s easy to slice and spread (and is SO very tasty).

Hungry for even more vegan cheese?

Check out my complete guide to vegan cheese! It covers the best vegan cheese recipes to use for every situation (like Vegan Feta and Vegan Queso) and reviews the best vegan cheeses you can buy at the supermarket.

log of cashew cheese on parchment paper with knife

Why you’ll love this recipe

Sliceable and spreadable. Homemade vegan cheese recipes that are sliceable and/or spreadable are hard to come by, and if you don’t have access to vegan cheeses at your grocery store, this is an amazing option to keep in your fridge. The addition of coconut oil and very little liquid makes the cheese solid enough to hold its shape and to slice.

Easy and minimal ingredients. This recipe requires just 10 to 15 minutes of hands-on work and a bit of patience while the cheese ferments. And just 7 pantry-friendly ingredients!

Gourmet and flavorful. Despite being so easy to make, this cheese feels fancier than most homemade cheeses and is packed with flavor. In addition to having subtle cheesy vibes from nutritional yeast, it has so much more tanginess and umami than your standard vegan cheese thanks to fermentation.

Make ahead. Because this is a fermented cheese, it will continue to stay good in your fridge for several weeks… if you can resist eating it!

Wholesome but indulgent. Fermented cashew cheese has all the traditional dairy cheese flavors but it’s made with wholesome plant-based ingredients. Plus, the live bacteria created in the fermentation process are good for your gut!

If you’re interested in some of the crazy cool things cashews can do to recreate your favorite comfort foods, check out my crazy good Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip or Vegan Moussaka!

fermented cashew cheese on toast with heirloom tomatoes and basil

How to make this recipe

Add the soaked cashews, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and coconut oil to a high-powered blender. Blend on medium to high speed for several minutes, scraping down the sides of the blender several times as you go, until relatively smooth.

Add the nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Blend again until completely smooth.

Transfer the cheese mixture to a clean mason jar (you can sterilize it if desired but it’s not necessary). Seal the jar and place in a warm spot to ferment for at least 16 hours, or up to 48 hours. (see “Tips” section for fermentation tips).

fermented cheese in jar, pre-fermenation

Stir the fermented cheese and transfer to the fridge for at least 4 hours to set.

cashew cheese after fermentation

Once the cheese has solidified, scoop out half of it onto a sheet of parchment paper. Use a spoon to push it into a log-like shape.

Roll up the parchment paper and your hands to mold and shape the cheese into a log shape. Repeat with the other half of the cheese. Refrigerate the cheese logs for 2 hours, or more, to set.

Once the cheese log is set, slice and spread as desired.

Tips for making this cheese

How to soften raw cashews.

I highly recommend soaking your cashews in cool water overnight, or boiling them on the stove for 20 minutes. Since there’s very little liquid, a proper soak or boil is necessary to fully soften the cashews.

Use a clean glass jar.

Wash your jar and lid with soapy warm water and dry well before adding your cheese and fermenting.

Use a high-powered blender.

Along the same lines, you’ll get the best, smoothest results with a high-powered blender, as you want a powerful machine to fully pulverize the cashews. Since there’s not much liquid, you’ll need to scrape down the sides several times as you go, especially if you have a large-sized blender container like me (I have the 64-ounce Vitamix container; it’s considerably easier with a smaller blender container).

Shake the apple cider vinegar.

It’s important to include a bit of the “mother” bacteria from the vinegar to start the fermentation process. Shaking the apple cider vinegar before pouring it ensures that the mother bacteria is evenly distributed.

Let it come to room temperature

If your cheese log has been in the fridge for quite awhile, let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes to soften up. This will make it much easier to spread.

Where and how long to ferment the cheese.

One of the most important parts in the process is letting the cheese ferment in a warm place.

If it’s summertime, this could be your kitchen counter or pantry. If you live in a warm but not crazy hot climate like I do (Southern California), you can also ferment the cheese outside. Just make sure to not expose the jar to direct sunlight. I typically wrap the jar in ad dish towel during the day and set it outside; in the evening, I transfer it to the oven with the light bulb on (the warmth from the light is sufficiently warm for fermentation).

If it’s wintertime, you can just leave it in the oven as mentioned above. If that’s not an option, you’ll need to leave it out on a counter or in the pantry for at least a few days.

The warmer the temperature, the less time you should ferment it. The countertop when it’s not summer will take more time than in the oven with the light on. If the temperatuer is quite warm, consider fermenting for just 16 to 24 hours to avoid over-fermenting.

cashew cheese spread onto bread

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this cheese oil-free? Can I substitute coconut oil with another oil?

The coconut oil is key for the texture of this cheese. As you might know, coconut oil has a high melting point compared to other oils (that’s why it’s solid at room temperature instead of liquid, like other oils). So when you refrigerate the cheese mixture, the coconut oil helps solidify it, leaving you with that sliceable texture.

If you are strictly oil-free, try my other oil-free cheese options (Vegan Queso and Nut-Free Cheese Sauce). If you are allergic to coconut products, you can try using olive oil, but I don’t know if you’ll get the same sliceable texture, as coconut oil is solid at room temperature.

Can I use fresh garlic instead of garlic powder?

NO! The combination of fresh garlic and oil at room temperature for more than a few hours can foster the growth of clostridium botulinum bacteria (aka botulism). It’s toxic and can cause bad severe food poisoning!

How do you store this cashew cheese?

Roll it tightly in the parchment paper and store it in the fridge for at least 2 weeks. If the paper isn’t wrapped tightly, the edges dry out, so to avoid this, store the wrapped cheese in an airtight container.

Can I add flavorings or mix-ins to this cheese?

Yes! Some flavor ideas are below. Just sprinkle them on after you’ve rolled the log and it’s hardened a bit. Use your hands to pat the mix-ins into the cheese. Then refrigerate again for 2 hours (or longer) to set.

– Sundried tomatoes + dried oregano
– Chopped dill + parsley
– Dried cranberries + crushed walnuts
– Pomegranate seeds + crushed pecans

How to use this cashew cheese

I have no doubt you’ll find countless uses for this delightful cheese, but here are a few to get you started:

  • Spread it onto bread! My current favorite is a good crusty bread, a thick layer of fermented cheese, and heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with sea salt and pepper.
  • Add some to a bowl as a dip for crudités or spread for crackers.
  • Serve as part of a vegan charcuterie or cheese board with crackers, olives, and fruit.
  • Use as a sandwich spread instead of mayo.
  • Spread onto a pita round or flatbread and add your favorite toppings and bake in the oven for an easy pizza!
fermented cashew cheese on toast with heirloom tomatoes

If you love this fermented cashew cheese, please leave a rating and review with your feedback and tag me on Instagram with your remakes :)

Fermented Cashew Cheese

5 from 90 votes
A sliceable, spreadable vegan cheese that will blow your mind! This cashew-based cheese is made with just a handful of ingredients and is an explosion of salty, cheesy, tangy, and umami flavors thanks to fermentation.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Fermentation Time 16 hrs
Total Time: 16 hrs 20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet Vegan
Serving size: 16

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (200g) raw cashews, soaked in water overnight or for 8 hours or boiled in water on the stovetop for 15 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar with the “mother”, shake the bottle to evenly distribute
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 cup 67g refined coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup ~25-30g nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder (do NOT use fresh garlic!)*
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt, more as needed

Instructions

  • Drain the soaked cashews and rinse. Wash your glass jar and lid with warm soapy water and dry well.
  • Add the cashews to a high-powered blender, along with the vinegar, lemon juice, water, and oil. Blend on medium or high speed, scraping down the sides as you go, until relatively smooth and creamy. Add the nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, and blend again until well incorporated and completely smooth. If you have a large blender container, like a 64 ounce jar, this will take several minutes, as you will need to scrape down several times, as there is very little liquid.
  • Pour the mixture into a glass jar with an airtight lid. Seal and let the jar ferment in a warm place, for a minimum of 16 hours, or up to 48 hours.**
    If it’s summer, your kitchen counter works great. You can also place it in the oven with just the lightbulb on (be sure to not preheat your oven during this time and don't place it right next to the light, as it might get a little too warm). You can also ferment it outside if you live in a warm but temperate climate (no direct exposure to sun; loosely wrap the jars in a dish towel).
  • Once the cheese has fermented, give it a stir and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours to firm up.
  • Once the cheese has solidified, spoon half of it onto a sheet of parchment paper. Use a spoon to push it into a log-like shape. Roll up the parchment paper and use your hands and the parchment paper itself to mold and shape the cheese into a log shape. Repeat with the other half of the cheese in a second log. Refrigerate the cheese logs for 2 hours, or more, to set. Store leftovers wrapped in parchment paper in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks.

Notes

* Do NOT use fresh garlic. Storing fresh garlic in oil at room temperature for more than a few hours can cause botulism (very serious food poisoning!). 
**The warmer the temperature, the less time it needs to ferment. In the oven, 16 to 24 hours is typically sufficient. If it’s not summer time and you’re fermenting on the countertop, you will need more time.

Calories: 111kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 184mg | Potassium: 112mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 0.1IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

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229 comments on Fermented Cashew Cheese

  1. CeeCee

    5 stars
    Not the first comment I’ve made on this cheese, because it’s just so good. I wanted to say that I’ve added liquid smoke to the most recent batch and it produced the best smoked cheese ever!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Sounds tasty!! Thanks for sharing, CeeCee!

    2. Keishya Salko

      How much liquid smoke did you add? Sounds like a great idea I want to try it too!

  2. Liza

    Hi there!

    Long-time fan, first-time here with a question.

    Is there a reason why the add-ins come in after fermentation and not before? My first instinct is to throw them in with the initial ferment and see how those flavors ferment along with the cashews.

    Thanks

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Liza, because the cashews ferment in warm temperatures, the add-ins can in turn go rancid if mixed in before that process. Which add-ins were you thinking of using?

      1. Liza

        Thanks for the response!

        Either fresh herbs and/or sundried tomatoes (not garlic :))

        1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

          So although we don’t recommend fermenting those ingredients in before fermentation, you can split the fermented cashew cheese into 2-3 parts and stir finely chopped fresh herbs / sundried tomatoes in before placing the cheese in the fridge. We think that would work well!

          1. Liza

            Great — thank you so much :)

          2. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

            You’re very welcome!

    2. Phala Bowles

      Can “miso” be added to this recipe.?

      1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

        Hi Phala, yes you can add miso after fermentation and before putting it into the fridge, but it’s already a fermented food so we don’t think it’s necessary.

  3. scott

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe with useful notes. This cheese has so many uses in my vegan food world. Thank you Nisha for your inspiring videos and warm smiling face which brightens my day ; )

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Scott, So glad to hear you loved this recipe! You are so very welcome for the videos and the positive attitude :) lol

  4. Biggy C

    5 stars
    Great recipe! At the end it says “store leftovers in the fridge for at least two weeks” that doesn’t seem right! Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Glad you enjoyed the cashew cheese! And because this is a fermented cheese, it will continue to stay good in your fridge for several weeks… if you can resist eating it! :) You’re welcome for the recipe!

  5. Sofia

    5 stars
    I made this recipe and not only does it work great on crackers for a cheese tray… it also works as a substitute in pasta dishes. I made the veganized version of Rigatoni with Broccoli and Sausage from the Six Seasons cookbook by Joshua McFadden. In lieu of ricotta I used Nisha’s cashew cheese and it was an incredible addition. Love your YouTube Nisha!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Sofia!

  6. Collin

    5 stars
    My aunt loves cheese, but her stomach doesn’t agree with dairy. She loved this stuff.
    The rest of my family (who eats normal cheese often) also loved it so much that half the log was gone in a couple hours.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Collin. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  7. Jazz

    This is delish!!
    Wondering how long I can keep it in the fridge for? I had to stay on the hospital for a week. Just got home and my beautiful cheese is still here. It’s probably 2 weeks old now. SAFE?

    1. Nisha

      Hi Jazz, yes, that’s fine! It might be a little dry on the edges, but we’ve definitely kept it for more than 2 weeks. Hope you are feeling better now!

  8. Joanna

    5 stars
    This cream cheese is just pure heaven and pleasantly surprised my non vegan friends! The cheese roll cut into pieces, keeps perfectly in the freezer and then I always have a piece( a roll) in a glass jar on hand kept in the fridge.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      So good to hear you love the cashew cheese, Joanna!

    2. Phala Bowles

      5 stars
      Can ,cashew butter” be used to replace the cashews. Would it be safe for fermentation.?

      1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

        Hi Phala, if the ingredients are only cashews (or salt) then yes, if it’s sweetened at all or not shelf stable it will not work. Enjoy!

  9. Rose

    wow this looks amazing! how long can it last just sitting outside unrefridgerated?
    Thanks!

  10. Helena

    Hi, I was wondering if I could freeze the cheese. If yes, up to how long ? 😃

  11. Sarah

    Can you use olive oil instead of coconut oil?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi there Sarah, Coconut oil solidifies at room temperature so if you use olive oil it will likely turn out as more of a spread than a log of cheese.

    2. Mary

      5 stars
      I make mine with olive oil. It comes out as a thick spread. It’s delicious this way.

  12. Shano B

    5 stars
    I’m not a vegan, but vegetarian and lactose intolerant. I love cheese, but the store bought versis simply disgusting.
    Tried this one and immediately fell in love. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe!

    Sending loads of love, Nisha!!!!! 💖

    1. Shano B

      Sorry, if I made any mistake. English isn’t my mother tongue. 🙈

    2. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      So good to hear you loved the recipe, Shano! Thank you for your comment :)

  13. Célia

    5 stars
    Ever since I stopped eating non-vegan cheese, I’ve always eaten store-bought vegan cheese. BUT, this recipe is simply delicious! As always, your recipes are a hit! The hardest part is waiting to eat the cheese. But the more it is fermented, the better it is! I will definitely do it again. Nisha, you are my culinary role model!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Aww, we are so glad you love the cashew cheese, Célia! Thanks for the wonderful comment :)

  14. Koda M

    5 stars
    This is the most amazing Vegan cheese I’ve ever had! I let it ferment for 24hrs and it was so delicious 😋. Next time I’m gonna try the full 48 and see for the flavor changes!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Koda, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  15. Kathleen

    5 stars
    Wow! This recipe is perfect. Absolutely delicious, so smooth and cheesy. Great on crackers or crusty bread but would also be fantastic on a sandwich.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Kathleen, So happy to hear you loved this recipe!

  16. Sandy Andersen

    What is “the mother”?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Sandy, you can read more about “the mother” here!

  17. Sasha

    What happens if you use apple cider vinegar without the “mother”?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Sasha, it won’t contain the “good bacteria” needed to jumpstart the fermentation process. You could also use vegan yogurt with active cultures/probiotics or the liquid from a jar of raw sauerkraut.

  18. Abby

    5 stars
    This is so good! Even after blending it!

    Thanks!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Abby!

  19. Robbie

    5 stars
    This looks good! I have a bread proof setting on my oven. Do you think that will work for the fermentation portion of the recipe? Thanks!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi there Robbie! That should work, if the temperature isn’t too high (above 80ºF, my guess). It won’t need as long to ferment either. I’d check after 16 to 24 hours.

  20. Paula

    Hi! It tastes great but how do I know when the cheese is fermented?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Paula, if you read the tips section it explains how to get perfectly fermented cheese each time, good luck!

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