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 minutes
Fermentation Time 16 hours
Total 16 hours 20 minutes
5 from 163 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.

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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 163 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 minutes
Fermentation Time 16 hours
Total Time: 16 hours 20 minutes
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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4.98 from 163 votes (59 ratings without comment)

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390 comments on Fermented Cashew Cheese

  1. Palmeira Vargas

    5 stars
    Omg ! I made it . So so yummy, creamy , healthy and soft . It was really a simply . No more cheese from the store .
    Thank you so much for sharing this.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Woohoo! We’re so happy you loved it, Palmeira!

  2. Priti

    5 stars
    My family favorite cheese !!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  3. Sue

    5 stars
    Amazing! Was so delicious on fresh baked sourdough bread. Thanks for another great recipe.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Sue, we’re so happy you enjoyed it! Thanks for leaving a review :)

  4. Michele

    I just made this recipe and it does taste amazing straight from the blender! But then I went to leave it on the counter for the fermenting process and started worrying about botulism. I quickly looked the process up online how to ferment foods and found so many scary warnings. I think I would like to skip the fermenting part, I wanted to find out if you have made this recipe without fermenting it?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Michele, when we’re fermenting foods with acidic ingredients, we’re creating an environment where harmful bacteria, such as botulism, cannot survive, so if you follow the instructions as written, all should be good!
      Make sure to use a sanitized glass jar and utensils to be safe. You can sanitize glass jars by using the method list in this article, or by using your dishwasher on the sanitize or highest setting. https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-sterilize-canning-jars-1327595

      The only issue related to botulism you want to be mindful of is garlic. Do not substitute the garlic powder with fresh garlic, as fresh garlic should not be kept with oil at room temperature.

      If you’re still nervous and would like to try skipping fermenting all together, this cheese is still good if you refrigerate it after blending.

  5. Janet Berry

    4 stars
    Hi I made this according to instructions but the mixture was too dry in the blender to achieve the same results as you. I note in the video(which I only noticed after I made the cheese) you used melted coconut oil but in the photos you used the solid oil. I used the solid oil and as its winter here it didn’t liquify very much in the blender. Also it was very hard to get all scrapings off the blender. Perhaps a food processor would have been better. I’ll try that next time. The taste however is amazing. Just not a lot of it….

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Janet, sorry to hear that! The blender we use is a high-powered blender which should heat the mixture up after being blended for over a minute, which should completely liquify the coconut oil and pulverize the cashews.

      The food processor would definitely leave the cashews a bit gritty/chunky so we actually don’t recommend that method.

      To get the full blended cashew mixture out of the blender, we suggest using a silicone spatula to scrape up any hard to reach areas! Hope that helped, we hope you get the recipe just right next time!

  6. Collette

    5 stars
    I love this recipe!! I reminds me of flavored cream cheese. The texture is smooth and creamy. It is good on crackers and toast for breakfast. Thanks!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We appreciate your feedback and support, Collette. Thank you for leaving a review!

  7. Denise Levesque

    Use black garlic in it, it is sooooo good.

    1. Leah Abercrombie

      Would “black garlic” be considered fresh though? I’ve definitely seen black garlic cheeses before, vegan and otherwise

  8. Jennifer Spinks

    5 stars
    Hands down the best cheese recipe I’ve made! Hubby begs me to make it all the time 😃 Question: Our close friend is allergic to coconut… might agar agar work instead to help solidify? If so, any idea of how I would use it to sub out for the coco oil?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Jennifer, we’re thrilled you enjoyed the cashew cheese! Unfortunately coconut oil is required to keep this cheese solid. We haven’t tried the recipe with agar agar so we can’t give a recommendation on that unfortunately :/ But if you’re okay with this cheese being more of a spread, you could use a neutral flavored oil instead.

      1. Jennifer Spinks

        Thank you, making it now with canola oil so I don’t kill my friend 😅 May try the agar agar in the future 🤞🏼

        1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

          You’re welcome! And LOL, it’s probably best you don’t kill them! And because fermentation is more tricky than traditional cooking, we suggest doing some research about fermenting with agar agar before trying it, for both efficacy and food safety reasons!

  9. D

    5 stars
    I’m looking to increase my protein consumption. Made this recipe as it’s written and it’s absolutely delicious. What are your thoughts on making this with tofu instead of cashews? Could I still ferment it as normal?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      From Nisha: “I’m so glad you love it! Unfortunately, I can’t say for sure because fermentation is a little tricky, especially when subbing a shelf-stable ingredient like nuts with a perishable ingredient like tofu, and I don’t want to give you any advice that might not be food safe!

      If you’re looking for tofu based cheese, I recommend my tofu ricotta and my tofu feta! https://rainbowplantlife.com/greek-style-vegan-feta/
      Ricotta is in the third recipe card: https://rainbowplantlife.com/20-minute-high-protein-vegan-meals/

      And you might want to look at this miso tofu fermented cheese from a Japanese vegan food blogger! https://www.okonomikitchen.com/misozuke-miso-tofu-cheese/#tasty-recipes-14029-jump-target

  10. Keishya Salko

    Hi love this recipe and have done it with cashews as written…curious about switching it up to walnuts or other nut, any thoughts? Thank you!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Keishya, we have tried similar recipes using walnuts or almonds with not great results, unfortunately! There’s just something very unique about raw cashews, both their taste (neutral) and texture (creamy when soaked) that make them perfect for cheeses like this. Walnuts taste like, well, walnuts and a bit bitter, and almonds don’t get as creamy.

      1. Keishya Salko

        5 stars
        Thank you for your reply appreciate it! How about including herbs like rosemary and thyme? Into it during fermentation OR before refrigeration?

        1. Keishya Salko

          5 stars
          Thank you for your reply appreciate it! How about including herbs like rosemary and thyme? Into it during fermentation OR before refrigeration?

          1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

            Hi Keishya, mix any herbs into the cashew cheese after fermentation & before refrigeration.

      2. Keishya Salko

        5 stars
        Thank you I love this cheese recipe! Will try adding some herbs after fermentation and before refrigeration…suggestions on what herbs you have liked welcomed! I have some fresh dried Rosemary in mind…and ???

        1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

          Hi Keishya, you’re welcome! And honestly many fresh herbs would probably work well in this recipe! I’m thinking chopped basil or dill would be my top picks to add, though!

  11. Bev

    5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe it was amazing with chips ^^

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Your positive feedback is the best reward for our hard work. Thank you, Bev!

  12. Nadia

    5 stars
    Really excited to try this out-came across it on your YouTube short.
    I wanted to comment to let you know that, at least in the U.S., the oven pilot light is not the same thing as the oven lightbulb. The pilot light is the flame/spark that catches to heat the oven. I do not know all the specifics, just that fire is involved. Was worried from the video that I would not be able to figure all of that out but relieved to see the video said oven lightbulb. I can do that!

  13. Lisa A

    5 stars
    OMG! I could not even make it to the fermentation stage!! This cheese is that good! Delicious! 5 ***** Thank you Nisha!

  14. Auletta

    5 stars
    I made this first time with virgin coconut oil as that’s what I had. The taste was very coconutty and i did not like it. Second time with refinded oil and wow, so much better!!!!I would use only a teaspoon of salt next time as i find it a bit too salty but other than that, this is a keeper!! Thanks heaps for your experimenting.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re happy to hear you are such a fan of the fermented cashew cheese, Auletta! Thank you for sharing your experience :)

  15. Sarah

    I wonder if it would work to use the leftover solids that get strained out of homemade cashew milk? You think? I always end up throwing it away and it seems wasteful.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hmm, good question! We’ve never tried this and I’m not sure it would have the same texture. But there’s some great ideas for using leftover nut milk pulp in this post.

  16. Elizabeth

    Hi Nisha,
    Can I use avocado oil instead of coconut oil for this recipe? Thanks so much, I have enjoyed every recipe of yours that I’ve tried!

    1. Auletta

      5 stars
      I would not think so as the coconut oil will make this cheese solid if kept in the fridge.

    2. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Elizabeth, we’re glad you enjoy the recipes :) And unfortunately coconut oil is the only oil that will keep this cheese solid due to its high melting point. It will still taste good with avocado oil but it may not firm up as much.

      1. Elizabeth

        Thanks so much for your reply, Kaitlin!

        1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

          You’re welcome, Elizabeth! We hope you get the chance to try the cashew cheese very soon :)

  17. Stephen

    5 stars
    I’ve been vegetarian for 45 years, so I’m no stranger to a meat free diet… However, the only thing stopping me from making that small leap to being totally vegan is cheese… We’re pretty spoiled for cheese in the UK and, to be completely honest, all the shop bought vegan alternatives I’ve tried have been a mere ‘shadow’ of their dairy cousins… In my opinion, most are simply horrible… One or two are okay (ish)… but I don’t want ‘okay’ in my diet…
    Enter Nisha’s fermented cashew cheese… Having discovered this site a couple of weeks back I was impressed by the clever use of ingredients and the different ‘textures’ of the recipes… Yes, I’m pretty big on ‘texture’ in my cooking…. I saw the fermented cashew cheese recipe and was intrigued… so I gave it a go… Whenever I make a recipe for the first time, I follow it to the letter, and this is what I did… For me, the resulting cheese was an ‘eye-opener’… A truly complex mix of salt and savoury with a lovely tangy aftertaste… and the texture was just right for spreading on your favourite bread… nice and firm offering just enough resistance to the knife…
    For my own future use, I will start with this perfect base recipe and then stamp my own personality on the end result… The possibilities are endless…
    Great work Nisha… you’ve proved that you actually CAN teach an old dog new tricks… I shall be trying some of your other recipes in due course…

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Aw, thank you so much for the lovely review, Stephen! We’re so pleased you truly enjoyed the cashew cheese and will be trying more of the recipes :)

  18. Sarah

    What is the measurement for the nutritional information please. Per slice ? Per 100grams ?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Sarah, it’s per serving so 1/16 of the log.

  19. Lauren

    5 stars
    OMG! This is a vegan cheese of my dreams!!!! I can’t believe how AMAZING it tastes: so rich, creamy, tangy, velvety, smooth. I think I ate half of it while waiting it to ferment and doing taste testing 😄 It tastes excellent also straight from the blender! I already made it twice and for sure will use this recipe hundred more times in the future. Thank you so much for this awesome recipe 👌💛

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      So great to hear you’re such a fan of the cashew cheese, Lauren! Thanks for making the recipe :)

  20. Petra

    5 stars
    It’s definitely gorgeous. I love it
    Will make it again and it was so easy

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Petra! Thanks for making the cashew cheese!

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