Easy Garlic & Herb Vegan Cheese

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Wood cutting board with crackers and our Easy Creamy Vegan Cheese wheel

And I thought my cheese days were over.

Yeah, right. Vegan cheese to the rescue!

Food processor with cashews and other ingredients for making our easy Vegan Cheese recipe

This recipe is a reader request, and I’m so glad I gave it a try.

Vegan cheese has somewhat eluded me since going completely dairy-free. And to be honest, I’m perfectly content with all my dairy-free alternatives, especially now that I have a trusty Vegan Parmesan Cheese recipe (which I put on practically everything these days).

But there is something to be said for a soft cheese. And what better time to try it than now, especially with Valentine’s Day right around the corner?!

Food processor filled with freshly whipped homemade vegan cheese

This recipe is simple, requiring just 8 ingredients! And the method is easy as well: Soak cashews, blend with seasonings to flavor, wrap in cheesecloth to absorb liquid, and chill – that’s it!

This cheese does involve a bit of planning ahead, since it requires soaking cashews and then chilling your cheese. But the prep is so simple and quick that it’s one of those recipes that happens in the background while you’re doing other things.

Our easy soft vegan cheese releasing liquid over a cheese cloth

So, where does the flavor come from? Good question.

Minced garlic and garlic powder add ‘zing’ and depth;
Lemon zest adds tart and brightness;
Lemon juice adds acidity;
Nutritional yeast adds cheesiness;
Salt adds flavor and, you know, saltiness.

Once it’s done chilling in the fridge, unwrap and coat with fresh dill. Serious yum, and so flavorful.

Our Easy Vegan Cheese Wheel topped with fresh dill and lemon zest on a cutting board with crackers

I hope you all love this cheese! It’s:

Creamy
Soft
Cheesy
Savory
Garlicky
Lemony
Herb-infused
& Entirely delicious

This would make the perfect cheese for a party or a romantic night in for two (cheese, wine, chocolate, strawberries, anyone?). Though it’s best chilled, it does well for a couple hours out of the refrigerator, and keeps for almost a week when properly stored, so you can keep enjoying it for days.

Spread it on crackers, vegetables, and sandwiches. Dollop it on top of soups. Add it to salads, pastas, and everything in between – you can’t go wrong.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram. We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

Close up shot of our homemade spreadable vegan cheese with crackers

Easy Garlic & Herb Vegan Cheese

EASY, creamy vegan cheese infused with lemon, garlic and dill, and nutritional yeast for that extra cheesy flavor. Soft, spreadable, delicious.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Dill Garlic Vegan Cheese Wheel on a wood cutting board with crackers
4.66 from 96 votes
Prep Time 1 day 1 hour
Total Time 1 day 1 hour
Servings 32 (1-Tbsp servings)
Course Appetizer, Side, Snack
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 5 Days

Ingredients

CHEESE

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 cloves yield ~1 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (plus more to taste)
  • 1 medium lemon, zested
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (2 medium lemons yield ~1/4 cup or 60 ml)
  • 1/2-2/3 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

FOR SERVING

  • 2 Tbsp finely minced fresh dill

Instructions

  • Place cashews in a bowl and cover with cool water. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator to soak for 12 hours*. If you can’t get to them right away, drain, place back in bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. They will keep refrigerated for 24-36 hours.
  • Once soaked, drain cashews thoroughly and add to food processor. Add minced garlic, garlic powder, lemon zest, lemon juice, water (starting with lesser end of range), nutritional yeast, salt and olive oil.
  • Process until very creamy and smooth, scraping down sides and adding additional water as needed. Then taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon zest for tartness, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, garlic for zing, or salt for flavor + balance.
  • Place a fine mesh strainer (or colander) over a large mixing bowl, and lay down two layers of cheesecloth (or a clean, fine, absorbent towel).
  • Use a spatula to scoop all cheese over the cheesecloth, then gather the corners and twist the top gently to form the cheese into a “disc.” Secure with a rubber band.
  • Place in refrigerator to set for at least 6 hours, preferably 12, or until excess moisture has been wicked away, and it holds its form when released from the cheesecloth. The longer it sits in the fridge the more it will firm up.
  • To serve, unwrap from cheesecloth and gently invert onto a serving platter. Reform with hands or cheesecloth as needed, then coat with chopped herbs and a bit more lemon zest (optional). It is fragile, so handle gently.
  • Enjoy chilled with crackers or vegetables. Cheese will hold its form for 1-2 hours out of the refrigerator, but best when chilled. Leftovers keep well covered in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

Video

Notes

*If you’re in a hurry, you can quick-soak the cashews by covering with boiling hot water and letting soak for 1.5 hours. Drain and proceed with recipe as instructed. However, for this recipe long soaking (for 12 hours in cool water) is best because the cashews slowly soften rather than being shocked, yielding a softer, creamier cheese.
*Recipe adapted from Maple Spice and RawMazing.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
*I use both garlic powder + fresh garlic because they offer different flavors (dried is more intense + fragrant, fresh is more intense + spicy).

Nutrition (1 of 32 servings)

Serving: 1 one-Tbsp servings Calories: 55 Carbohydrates: 3.1 g Protein: 1.8 g Fat: 4.4 g Saturated Fat: 0.7 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.73 g Monounsaturated Fat: 2.53 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 38 mg Potassium: 70 mg Fiber: 0.5 g Sugar: 0.6 g Vitamin A: 3.4 IU Vitamin C: 2.5 mg Calcium: 4.8 mg Iron: 0.5 mg

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    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Madison, that might work, depending on the blender. But you might have to stir often and/or add more water to get it to blend. A food processor is best here.

  1. Kidus says

    I’ve made this before but from a different recipe same process, I added chili pepper flakes, white onion, cilantro and blended that and I also allow the cheese to set for 2 day till it can completely hold it’s own form.

  2. Lisa says

    This is pretty good for a quick cheese spread (3 days start to finish preparing it.) I think it could be made a bit tastier by adding some miso to it…..and maybe even mixing herbs directly in to it, instead of on top, before pouring in to a mold to chill.

  3. Diane says

    I have made this recipe, it’s currently chilling in the fridge. I would like to know whether it’s suitable for freezing once made.

  4. Nicole says

    I’m sorry to comment this way- it has nothing to do with the recipe (which looks lovely and I intend to make) but since you do not have an email address to submit other feedback- your recipe pages are getting kicked around with all the ads/videos on the page. I’ll be trying to stay in the recipe and it will boot me up to the top, or down below the recipe and its a nuisance! Trying to follow a recipe on my laptop has become a problem and just wanted to let you all know. Thanks for your awesome recipes, always. Nicole

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Nicole, so sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for bringing this to our attention. Is it possible you’re using an older device? That can lead to the page having issues with refreshing sporadically. One idea would be to try using another browser. We always try to optimize for user experience, while also having ads to keep the content free. It’s always helpful to hear feedback!

      • RunningPath says

        Hi, I have had the same problem for a long time. Not only that, but if I happen to have music or something else playing on my device, the ads on the page stop the music. Actually it’s not even always ads — sometimes it’s your recipe videos that autoplay. But I love the recipes so I always come back. (I am using new devices and either Chrome or Microsoft Edge; I don’t think it’s the browsers.)

        So I installed an ad blocker, which helps. I actually got the ad blocker 100% because of this website, to be honest.

        I totally understand needing ads to keep the content free! I’d actually be willing to pay a subscription to your recipes, but I may be in too much of a minority to support you :)

  5. Cedella says

    Super easy and yummy recipe, I did just chill it for 7 hours, and it definitely could have been in for longer! Will be trying MB’s other vegan cheese!

  6. Jess says

    Currently have my cashews soaking and keen to try this. I’m going to try with chives instead of dill. I’m also wanting to try a almond and apricot type cheese- do you have any suggestions other than not adding garlic etc?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Ooo, love that flavor idea! If you’re using dried apricots, we think you could omit the herbs and garlic and it might be the perfect balance. Alternatively, you could mix in or top the finished cheese with an apricot jam? Let us know how it goes!

      • Jess says

        First time making the recipe it seemed 1/2 cup water was too much and didn’t set properly (still delicious though). Second time making it I used 1/4 cup plus a dash and that seemed to hold up better. I used chives and extra nutritional yeast and it went pretty quickly!
        I also did make a apricot and almond version, trying to replicate the cream cheese version at supermarkets. Instead of garlic I added extra lemon and some finely diced apricots and sliced almonds throughout before setting, then rolled in more apricots, almonds and a touch of walnuts. Need to fine tune it but it turned out pretty good. Looking forward to being able to make a cheese platter for Christmas! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

        • Lara says

          Hi,
          Making this right now. I don’t understand the colander and cheesecloth part. Do I put the cheese straight onto the cheese cloth and then form into a round circle? What’s the colander for?

          Thank you very much xx
          With love,
          Lara

          • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

            Hi Lara, yes, put the cheese straight into the cheesecloth and then form into a round circle. The colander allows more air to circulate around the cheese which helps it firm up. Hope that helps!

  7. Savannah says

    so delicious!! i decided to substitute plain coconut oil (the kind with no coconut flavor) for the olive oil. sets perfectly, no smushiness.

    also, maybe my food processor is a beast, but i used only maybe 1/4 cup of water. that might have helped with setting as well.

  8. Deb Z says

    I love your site. And a big thank you for not putting coconut oil in this cheese. It makes me sad that so many vegans eat this highly saturated coconut oil with such abandon thinking it’s good for them. It is not. My question is if I added cappa carregean in the cheese would it firm it up? If so, how much?
    Will let you know ratings as soon as I make this awesome recipe. You, still get 5 stars for all of your hard work.
    Thanks for always sharing.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Deb, we’re not familiar with the ingredient, so we’re not sure. Let us know how it goes!

  9. Kim M says

    This recipe is sooooo good! I couldn’t stop eating it before refrigerating and thickening it 🙃 Every one of your recipes I’ve tried have been absolutely successful and delicious. You are my favorite resource for plant-based dishes. Thank you!

  10. Tarryn says

    How much does this yield, approximately? I’m using the pulp from my Almond Cow, so I need to know when I’ll have enough.

  11. Jillian says

    Hi Dana! Can I use regular yeast instead of the nutritional yeast? Also, did you use EVOO or regular olive oil? Any ideas for a firmer cheese? Thanks in advance!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jillian, unfortunately regular yeast won’t work here. Either type of olive oil will work, but EVOO has best flavor. For a firmer cheese, we’d suggest using less water.

  12. Ron Cook says

    Australian readers may be interested to know that a comparison between the ingredients of Amazon Nutritional Yeast and Vegemite reveals them to be almost identical. The colour may even make your own concoction unique!

      • CastleDark says

        HOLY CRAP RON!
        YOU BLOODY BEAUTY!
        im often outa nooch but always have vegemite!! Thanx Ron!
        what a pity im outa cashews atm! cos i REALLY wanna try this AMAZING (& easy!) looking cheese treat, & i wanna try out Rons vegemite hack!

        And for anyone who dozen know….vegemite on buttered toast is heaven!
        NO REALLY! If u tried it & hated it, im sorry but YOU DID IT WRONG!
        Most Aussies only use a THIN scrape of vegemite on top of the vegan butter! Like seriously, do not COVER the whole bread with it!
        Do not pile it on thickly like peanut butter! Even Aussies hate it like that!
        Just put a TINY bit on your knife, & sorta spot a dozen dots all over, then…connect the dots! : )
        By that, i mean just smear the little dots into the butter all over the hot toast. Most Aussies like a glass of ice cold (plant) milk to go with it.
        P.S: Avocado &/or vegan cheese is brilliant on top also.

    • Martha says

      I have made this recipe twice so far! Already started soaking my cashews for a third. The first time I made it, turned out more like a spread (made me think of a cream cheese substitute). But the second time I placed a plate and weight on top of it’s time in the fridge in cheesecloth. That really helped it firm up! This cheese is so delicious spread on to toast- definitely is helping me stick to a new plant based diet. Thanks.

  13. Giada says

    Hello
    I would like to try this recipe, what do you suggest to use instead of dill ? I can’t find it fresh during this season. Thank you :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I’d leave it off, use what herbs you do have, or try ground black pepper or another dried herb or spice you enjoy!

  14. Nic W. says

    I really like most of the recipes in this site but there is something wrong with this recipe. I am a very intuitive cook and I could not figure out how to fix it. This recipe makes a spread, this did not form a disc. I would suggest making it with one cup of cashews to see if you like the flavor and texture as cashews are expensive and it is a waste if you don’t like the final product. Sadly I did not enjoy the spread.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Nic, sorry to hear that was your experience! We recently retested this recipe and couldn’t replicate that issue. But it sounds like there was too much water. Did you use 1/2 cup or 2/3 cup?

      • Nic W. says

        Hello,

        I only used 1/2 cup water. I am going to try it one more time. As I say I enjoy your recipes. I was so surprised when this one didn’t work for me.

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

          Nic, we actually just recently retested this one and found that 1/2 cup water was about right. You could alternatively blend without adding water at the beginning to get more or a “paste” consistency. And then only add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) water at a time to blend until creamy. Adding as little water here as possible is key to good texture.

  15. Joe says

    I cut the recipe in half as I’m cooking for just one. Turns out I didn’t need to as this is some of the best tasting vegan cheese I’ve ever made. Couple it with some fresh baked bread… mmmhmm! It’s almost time for another batch.

    I didn’t have any coconut milk so I used soy milk and added in a tablespoon of coconut oil to up the fat content a bit. I must have used too much water or something because the cheese didn’t really set even after a couple of days in the fridge. Definitely not a problem as I love its silky smooth creaminess. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Joe! Agreed- we’d suggest scaling back a bit on the water next time for a thicker result.