30-Minute Cashew Alfredo

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Dinner plate filled with 30-Minute Vegan Alfredo and topped with freshly roasted tomatoes

Consider this the only vegan alfredo sauce you need.

It’s the perfect dairy-free alternative to classic alfredo sauce! Plus, just 7 ingredients and 30 minutes required. Let’s do this!

Wood platter filled with ingredients for making gluten-free vegan alfredo sauce

Origins of Alfredo

While fettuccini alfredo originated in Italy, it’s not the cream-based sauce you might think! We were surprised too! It turns out that the authentic Italian version is made with just pasta, butter, and Parmesan cheese.

It’s believed that the dish was created in Rome, Italy by Alfredo di Lelio for his pregnant wife. Then in the early 1900s, he served it at his restaurant to Hollywood actors who loved the dish and brought the concept to the US. It became a popular dish and somewhere along the way, cream was added.

Our plant-based version is not traditional and more closely resembles the richness of the cream-based Americanized adaptation.

How to Make Cashew Alfredo

The base of this alfredo is quick-soaked cashews in very hot water so they soften quickly. Then it’s a matter of flavor: nutritional yeast for cheesiness, garlic for kick and depth of flavor, salt for saltiness, and a bit of almond milk for texture. Arrowroot powder adds thickness and helps the sauce get a bit “stringy” like real cheese!

Whisking vegan alfredo sauce in a cast iron skillet
Cast iron skillet filled with creamy 30-minute Vegan Alfredo

I hope you all enjoy this aflredo sauce! It’s:

Fast & Easy
& Incredibly delicious

This would make the perfect sauce for zucchini noodle pasta or your favorite pasta (I prefer gluten-free fusilli!). Top with Slow Roasted Tomatoes for even more flavor! This sauce could also pair well with baked lasagnas, served with my Eggplant Parmesan, or even used as a white sauce on pizzas.

For more Italian-inspired dishes, check out our Simple Chickpea Bolognese, Eggplant Lasagna Roll-Ups, Easy Vegan Pizza, Spicy Red Lentil Pasta, and Vegan Pesto Parmesan Breadsticks!

If you try this recipe, let us know by leaving a comment and/or rating, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Dinner plate with a comforting portion of gluten-free 30-Minute Vegan Alfredo

Recipe updated 10/18/17 to include more almond milk for thinner texture, and noting arrowroot as optional.

30-Minute Cashew Alfredo

Creamy, saucy cashew alfredo in 30 minutes! The perfect plant-based sauce for all your pasta night needs.
Author Minimalist Baker
Big plate of Vegan Cashew Alfredo made with zucchini noodles
4.83 from 90 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 (1/4-cup servings)
Course Sauce
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days



  • 1 1/4 cups raw cashews (soaked)
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot starch (optional)
  • 3-4 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2-3 cloves garlic* (crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp vegan parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
  • 1-2 cups unsweetened plain almond or rice milk (plus more as needed)

FOR SERVING optional


  • Soak cashews in very hot water for 20 minutes. Then drain and add to a high-speed blender.
  • To blender, also add arrowroot starch (for thickening), nutritional yeast, garlic, sea salt, vegan parmesan cheese, and lesser amount of  unsweetened dairy-free milk (1 cup (240 ml) as original recipe is written).
  • Blend on high until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more garlic for kick/zing, nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan cheese for cheesy flavor, salt for saltiness, or dairy-free milk if too thick.
  • Transfer to a rimmed skillet and cook over medium-low to medium heat for 5 minutes, whisking frequently. The sauce should thicken and bubble. Add more dairy-free milk as needed to thin (I typically add up to 1/2 – 1 cup (120-240ml) more // amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Then it’s ready to serve!
  • Enjoy with zucchini noodles or your favorite pasta. It could even be enjoyed layered in lasagna! Top with additional Vegan Parmesan Cheese and Roasted Tomatoes for more flavor.



*2-3 cloves garlic yield ~1 1/2 Tbsp crushed garlic.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without additional toppings / garnishes or pasta.
*Prep time does not indicate total hands-on prep time, but also includes prep completed while other items are cooking.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 quarter-cup servings Calories: 166 Carbohydrates: 10.8 g Protein: 4.8 g Fat: 12.7 g Saturated Fat: 2.5 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 176 mg Fiber: 1.3 g Sugar: 1.4 g
Swirling a fork into a big plate of 30-Minute Vegan Alfredo for a gluten-free plant-based dinner

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My Rating:

  1. JS says

    Delicious. I’m not vegan but I enjoy experimenting with vegan cooking. And this was so much better than full dairy alfredo and it didn’t leave me feeling gross afterwards. I made recipe as is except I used fresh real parmesan. Topped with sautéed mushrooms

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yum, mushrooms sound like an amazing addition! Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  2. Stephanie says

    I made this. I love it. I lightened the nooch and wish I had gone a little lighter on the arrowroot… ’twas a little thicker than expected. But no harm no foul, I added almond milk AND some pasta water and boosted the garlic and onion powder. Served on linguine alongside roasted broccoli and aspargus spears AND some super crispy eggplant parmesan. Big huge hit with the family.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad it worked out well with those additions, Stephanie! Appreciate you sharing! xoxo

  3. Anna Repetto says

    I sauteed half a yellow onion and the garlic for about 10 minutes, then added some leftover butternut squash and sauteed for another 10 minutes before blending. It turned out sooooo yummy! Had over chickpea pasta with steamed Chinese broccoli.

  4. Elizabeth says

    A question about the role of heating the sauce! Do you heat / whisk it to make the flavors come together or to thicken it or both?

    Thank you :-)

  5. Lisa says

    I made this today and it was absolutely delicious. I used tapioca starch instead because that’s what I had and oat milk that I made fresh instead of crushing the garlic. I just threw it in the blender with the rest of the ingredients (they’re gonna be crushed anyways lol).

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Smart! We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Lisa. Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

  6. Heather Gibson says

    I just made this for lunch and added some air fry to Seitan and broccoli and cauliflower over edamame pasta. So good!

  7. L says

    Really easy and quick to make! It’s nice to find a recipe that is basically just pantry items as my fridge is really empty but I wanted pasta tonight. I added a pinch of MSG to the sauce and mixed some kale in at the end. I also had to sub the arrowroot for cornstarch.

    Delicious and filling. I bet it’s even better with acidic tomatoes, but I didn’t have any in the house, sadly.

  8. Jbphdelaney says

    This is soooo good! We haven’t even made the pasta yet, but I’ve been licking the spatula and my fingers!

  9. Kathy says

    Thanks so much! I had “Alfredo” this evening for the first time in many years and it was wonderful! I used oat milk initially and pasta water to thin it. Very happy! This will be made often.

  10. Sue says

    Hi there. Going to make soon.
    Can I use arrowroot flour ? Tons of that
    And I only have oat milk. Shoot. Or the soya coffee creamer in red carton
    If I have to go back to store I will for the DF options. Thank you !

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sue, arrowroot flour is the same as starch, so yes! And as long as you have the cashews, oat milk will work well as the milk. Let us know how it goes!

  11. candice says

    Came out absolutely delicious! I have made this several times and it’s always so good!!! I used tapioca starch this time instead of arrowroot and I couldn’t tell the difference, such Creamy goodness! Another huge hit with the whole family. My go to blog for easy and delicious recipes.

  12. Netsanet says

    Added a little onion instead of the vegan parmesan in the blender and served it with vegan parmesan. I also topped it with a mix of mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic and a tiny chilli pepper sauteed in a teaspoon of avocado oil. Delicious. Thanks!!

  13. Courtney says

    Made this tonight. Was very yummy, thank you! I would only add a tsp of arrowroot powder next time, though, it became really thick (used 2 cups liquid). The flavour was perfect though. Would love to have instructions included about how to mix and serve it with the noodles.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Courtney! We like adding the noodles to the sauce in step 4. You can also check out the video for reference (pasta is added at 25 seconds). Hope that helps! Let us know if you’d like further clarification! xo

  14. CPerry says

    I had high hopes for this but didn’t quite get it right. I only made half the recipe. I didn’t have arrowroot starch but not sure it is needed. It was super thick without it. I didn’t thin it out enough. The flavor was ok, but I didn’t adjust the ingredients beyond what the recipe called for. Not sure if I would make again. Will play around with the leftovers to see if I can make it a winner.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Sorry to hear it didn’t turn out quite right! Did you use the DIY vegan parmesan? You can add more garlic, salt, and/or vegan parmesan for more flavor. Hope that helps!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Janine, we haven’t tested it that way and think the flavor would be a little different. But another reader did mention using them with success! Let us know if you try it!

  15. Gabby says

    Hi there! This sauce was absolutely delish! I was wondering if you added some lemon juice if you think that you could preserve this sauce through canning? Or do you think it would freeze well? TIA!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Gabby, we’re so glad you enjoy it! We don’t have experience with canning, so aren’t sure there. But it should freeze well!

  16. Kelli says

    We ate this too quickly and without taking a photo to tag on Facebook. I’ve tried a number of vegan alfredo recipes and have always been disappointed. This one was stunning! I only used one large garlic clove, and I thinned it out with pasta water from the pasta I cooked. Thank you for the amazing recipe!

  17. Sita says

    I have made many different cashew sauces and this one is really delicious. We had it over steamed rice and veggies and it elevated the simple fare considerably. I think the vegan parmesan really added something. Thank you!

  18. B rich says

    I want to make this but I have a cashew and pistachio allergy, is there another nut or something else to sub for the cashews that you would recommend? I know cashews are one of the main ingredients…

      • Kim says

        I made this in my Pampered Chef Deluxe Cooking blender. It came out great. Next time I’ll start with at least 1 1/2 cups of almond milk as my sauce got super thick. I used penne pasta and served it with peas, hemp seeds, and vegan Parmesan cheese. I’d love to have this with all kinds of vegetables.
        Delicious. Thank you!

  19. Danielle says

    This was so delicious!! Very creamy and the flavors were spot on. I served it over chickpea pasta with some broccolini and peas. Even my husband who doesn’t favor pasta dishes raved about it. It was so easy to make, and we got to enjoy a creamy, comforting pasta dish without the heavy feeling that typically comes afterwards. The vegan parmesan was also really good, we’ll be using it to top off a lot of other dishes and side salads!

  20. Emily says

    I bought cashews just for this recipe – it does NOT need garlic in it. I added 1 clove because I usually at least half the amount of garlic these recipes ask for, and it was completely. overpowering. The consistency is lovely and the aftertaste of cheese is nice, but I would recommend omitting the garlic completely. Might try again without.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Sorry to hear it was too much garlic for you! We prefer the garlic, but feel free to omit if sensitive to garlic.

  21. Sara says

    This was so tasty!!! Will make again. I used the max garlic and nutritional yeast, and 2tbs of vegan park. I added a bit of extra salt because I love it. I also subbed cornstarch for arrowroot because it’s what I had on hand. I added chopped portobello mushrooms to the sauce 😍

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Sara! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, we’re so glad you enjoyed it, Halley! Thanks so much for sharing! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  22. Heather says

    Made this for dinner tonight! I was feeling lazy and used canned coconut milk instead of homemade almond. This recipe is bangin!! So thick and creamy. This will be my go to Alfredo sauce for sure. :)

  23. Elizabeth Galloway says

    Delish and easy! We skipped the garlic, used 1c oat milk because that’s what I had and then used the pasta water to thin once it was in the pan (probably used 1.5 c). Sautéed some mushrooms up and served on top ! Thanks for the yummy sauce!

  24. Rachel Siegel says

    Really yummy base recipe. I have a great high powered blender and very hungry kids so I took the easy way and it was still divine! I didn’t soak cashews and used just a little tomato sauce mixed in instead of roasted tomatoes. At the end I added some extra dried basil and oregano to the blender as well.
    I always know I can count on healthy recipes from you all! Thank you!

  25. judy says

    Maybe what happens to me has happened to others, every time i make cashew alfredo it comes out sweet. I use raw cashews, soak them for at least 2 hours,blend them in vitamix, same thing when i dont soak them. Ive tried so many different ways,always sweet. Does anybody know why? and what i can do to stop that? if possible. thanks in advance

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, we’ve never had that experience! And you’re sure it’s not from the dairy-free milk? You could maybe try adding lemon to cut the sweetness or try buying a different brand?

    • Liah G says

      Boil your cashews for 15min on med heat. This will strip them of that sweet mellow aftertaste. You may also sub boiled califlower in place of the cashews. I boil the two together, strain them, and then add to my vitamix. I do 1/4th cup cashews combined with 1/2-1/4 of a head of califlower. It’s my go to when i need comfort food. Hope that helps!! :)

  26. Robbie says

    I made this recipe twice already and it’s delicious! I left out the aroot starch and the parmesan and it’s still amazing. I made the slow rosted tomatos and added them with some fresh basil on top. Simply delicious!

  27. Stephanie says

    This is incredible. Everything my lactose intolerant, cheese loving self needed during quarantine.

    Mine turned out a little thick, but I used soy milk, which definitely contributed. Next time I’ll add some of the pasta water to it to thin it out.

    Thank you so much for continuously knocking it out of the park with your recipes!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, thanks so much for the lovely review, Stephanie! We’re so glad you enjoyed it!

  28. Charlotte says


    Ummmmm this is incredible! I dropped the arrow root powder, sub’d in 1 tsp flour. I dropped the vegan parm, added 5 tbsp Nut yeast , added onion powder and black pepper, took one bite and thats when I exclaimed ^^^
    Soooo good and so easy! I barely has to think while making this, all the steps timed out into a perfect 20 min meal!

  29. Danielle says

    This was sooooo impressive. I’m lactose intolerant and crave Alfredo sauce occasionally and this was an amazing substitute. Better than a lot of dairy sauces I’ve had in the past. I was out of arrowroot powder so I subbed in the same amount of corn starch and it turned out great! 10/10

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Danielle! Thanks so much for the lovely review!

  30. Sonali Khurana says

    This was a great recipe! It was quick and simple. The consistency was great too. I didn’t have arrowroot starch and I used rice milk. It turned out a bit sweet – is that normal?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sonali, thanks for sharing! We wonder if maybe the rice milk contributed to it being sweeter?

  31. Kitchen Witch says

    Thank you for this recipe! Made this multiple times, so delicious. Didn’t use any arrowroot. Boiled the cashews so I didn’t have to soak them overnight, never plan that far ahead. Cooked the garlic in EVOO and added to the Vitamix. Didn’t make the faux cheese, just added the Nut Yeast. Used Soy Milk instead of Almond Milk, because it is thicker and tasty. If the Vitamix wasn’t so noisy, I’d make this every day.

  32. SUZAN Johnstone says

    Love the flavour of this sauce! I made the mistake of having refrigerated cashews and not letting them soak long enough. The texture was a bit weird. Totally going to make again just adjust the temp and length soaking the cashews. I used goat cheese and left the yeast out.

  33. Haley says

    I was honestly amazed!! So similar to non vegan Alfredo! I cooked up mushrooms, tomatoes, and broccoli before and then added the sauce as it was awesome. So filling and so easy! Very tasty, would recommend

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We think freezing the sauce would work- though we haven’t tried it! Let us know if you give it a try!

      • Christy says

        FYI I froze a container of the sauce and it was fine! I had to add a little almond milk to loosen it up. And I added a little more onion powder, salt and black pepper. It was just as good as it was the first night.

  34. Marti says

    I’m having trouble getting the sauce to come out creamy… I let the cashews soak in very hot water for 45 mins, drained and added almond milk then blended in a Ninja for several minutes but the sauce is a gritty texture. I’m also wondering about the strong yeast smell. Should I use less Nutritional yeast?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Marti, that typically means the blender is not powerful enough and/or it needs additional liquid. Hope that helps!

  35. April says

    Non-vegan here. After it had initially blended together, it was yummy, but a little bland. The main taste was cashew and that’s a little too sweet for traditional “alfredo”. I added onion powder, broth, and lemon juice (acidity helps brighten and enhance flavors), and it was much more like alfredo. Aside from that, my only issue was that it was very, very thick. I thinned it out twice while on the stove, but while it sat on the table during dinner it thickened into a paste! I would leave the cornstarch out altogether.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      You can definitely omit the starch and add more dairy-free milk as needed! And for more flavor, I generally add salt, nutritional yeast, and red pepper flake and/or garlic :D

  36. An says

    Yummy! I made a few modifications. I used cornstarch because I did not have arrowroot & used unsweetened oat milk. I also used a food processor. It is a little grainy but that’s okay. This is my first effort at a ‘cheesy’ cashew sauce. Yummy.

  37. Pbk says

    This is so yummy! Using what I had, I left out the parmesan cheese and added 1.5 instead of 1.25 cups of raw cashews by mistake. Threw in a few almonds and used 2 cups of water instead of almond milk. Blended together all ingredients except the nutritional yeast. Nice and creamy. Love it! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  38. Brenner says

    Hello, tried this for the first time and love it! Not being a cook by any means…how long will the sauce keep in the fridge after cooking?

    Cheers and thank you!

  39. Sarah Lafferty says

    I LOVED THIS!! I followed the recipe almost to the letter using a mix of fresh fettuccine and zoodles, but since I’m not vegan and I didn’t have any vegan Parmesan, I just used a little normal Parmesan. I also added some wild mushrooms, which really worked. I ended up needing to add quite a bit more almond milk than suggested to get the desired consistency. I thought it tasted a lot better than classic Alfredo sauce, which is okay for the first few bites but then starts to taste too stodgy and heavy. I’m definitely going to make this one of my mid-week go-to recipes. I served to my best friend and husband who loved it, both couldn’t believe it was (nearly vegan) and had no cream or butter.

  40. Natasha says

    I’m taking a short break from gobbling this down to write how amazing it is!!! WOW. As with others I subbed corn starch and added smoked paprika and vegan mozzarella as a topping. I also added portobello mushrooms, zucchini and vegan chikken. 10/10 will absolutely be making this again!!

  41. Rebeca says

    Delicious. After having this with spaghetti my hubby said that it was awesome. Very easy to do. I think next time I will leave out the arrowroot because it thickened too quickly. I Also added black pepper. I think it’s a must. Thanks for this Amazing recipe Dana.

  42. Shelby says

    Dana you’ve outdone yourself. This pasta outshines every non-vegan pasta I’ve ever had. I added shallots and mushrooms sauteed in garlic! Love your work

  43. Darren Wilcox says

    Absolutely wonderful, I left out the arrowroot and added a teaspoon of smoked paprika…. This is now my go-to sauce

    • Ursula says

      My first Attempt at vegan “cheese” sauce And I absolutely loved it! Based on some other comments I added a 4th garlic clove, a little onion powder, and the juice of approx 1 lemon. I didn’t have vegan Parmesan so subbed another 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast. I also added quite a bit of fresh ground pepper. Sauce was very thick, but tasted absolutely delicious. Next time I’ll add some mushrooms, peas, and or asparagus.

  44. Vivian says

    This is seriously too good. I expected it to be not so great because when I used to make “real” alfredo it was labor intense and used a ton of ingredients. Glad to say this was not the case! I loved it, and it wasn’t too yeasty :) Only change I made was no arrowroot starch.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Vivian. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  45. Rachel says

    Very tasty and an easy bit satisfying week night meal. Next time I’ll do a little more garlic and some crushed red pepper for heat. Served with tri color fusilli from Trader Joe’s and a plant based Italian “sausage.”

  46. Jacki Dore’ says

    I just made this sauce, my Parmesan choice is Uprise foods Nooch It! Cashew grated cheeze , I used large flake nutritional yeast, soaked my cashews for 30 minutes, then blended everything together… it was the most amazing taste my tastebuds have tasted in a long time!!! I am going to use this Alfredo sauce in my creamed leeks recipe that I make every year but needed it to be vegan for my Friendsgiving this weekend. I already know it is going to be a hit!

  47. Gia says

    Is there any possible way to substitute another nut for cashews? I’m experiencing stomach issues and am not able to eat cashews. Thank you!

  48. Brooke Reiter says

    Am I able to make this sauce ahead of time and then store? If so whats your recommended storage timeline?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes! Up to 3-4 days in advance. Store in the refrigerator and reheat on the stovetop, adding more dairy-free milk or water as needed to thin.

  49. Courtney Farmer says

    This was outstanding!! Made this last night and my husband and I truly couldn’t believe how good it was! Ordering Arrowroot to try it with that, and subbed corn starch as suggested. Looking forward to trying it exactly as written next time, and really thankful for the post!