Smoked Cashew Cheese Recipe

smoked cashew vegan cheese recipe for firm sliceable dairy free cheese

Smoked cashew cheese recipe that is sweet, creamy and very moreish. This vegan cheese is full of heart-healthy fats, vitamins and protein. The cheesy dairy free taste comes from nutritional yeast and the smokiness is provided by smoked paprika.

Quick and easy to make cashew cheese recipe that takes less than 10 minutes. If cheese stops you from going vegan try this recipe today! It slices and when baked at a low temperature it melts and goes golden.

A slice of Smoked Cashew vegan Cheese

My cashew cheese recipe is one of the most popular on the site as it’s so easy and tastes great. Perfect for anyone that’s looking for a tasty cheese without dairy. It has just the right combination of creamy cashews, smokey paprika, sour lemon, spicy cayenne pepper and saltiness to be irresistible.

It’s perfect on a cheeseboard where everyone, vegan or not will enjoy this vegan cheese.

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The consistency of this cashew cheese is a bit different to normal cheese – it’s best described as being similar to processed cheeses with a jelly-like texture.

I lined the pan with parchment paper purely for aesthetic reasons. I was hoping to get some nice paper lines like you often get on traditional cheeses. You can just use a normal pan and it comes out easily enough without lining or greasing.

Take a look at my sunflower seed cheese to see how it will come out in a normal dish or ramekin. I think it turned out really well with the paper folds in the cheese. The paper can be used to wrap it up when stored in the fridge and gives the vegan cheese an authentic look.

Smoked Cashew Vegan Cheese Platter

Apple cider vinegar aslo works well in place of the lemon or lime juice. A tiny bit of sourness helps balance out the flavour of the cashew cheese.

Agar agar is a natural product extracted from seaweed. It comes in several different forms – powder, flakes and bars. In this nut cheese recipe I use powder as it’s the most potent. If you are using the flakes you will need to double the amount. Similarly for agar agar bars you will need to add more, but I’m not sure the exact amount as I’ve never used bars.

Smoked Cashew Vegan Cheese Close up

Agar agar doesn’t have any health concerns, unlike another seaweed extract carrageenan. This is often used in foods, even those that are organic and natural, as a stabiliser and preservative. Carrageenan does have some health concerns as it affects the digestive system, but rest assured agar agar does not.

If you don’t have any agar agar you can just leave it out and make a cheese spread that has all the taste of the original recipe but just won’t slice.

The maple syrup in this vegan cheese recipe is totally optional. I find the small amount balances out the flavour and works really well with the paprika and cashews.

firm easy vegan cheese recipe made from cashew nuts

Even if you’re not vegan this cashew cheese recipe is a great healthy alternative that is good for the planet and good for you. I have several other vegan cheese recipes listed below if you want a vegan cheese without cashews.

There’s no need to soak the cashews, the only nuts I don’t soak are cashews and macadamia.

Cashews are a soft nut so even a 500w blender can blend them smooth. They also don’t have the absorption issues that other nuts, such as almonds have if not soaked/sprouted. Even if you have a week blender the resulting cheese is still great with cashew chunks!

a quick to make cashew cheese

Some have commented that this isn’t a proper vegan cheese as it’s not fermented. This is a quick and easy cheese recipe and the flavour comes from the nutritional yeast that has been fermented so it definitely does have a cheesy taste.

Nutritional yeast can be found in most health food shops. It’s rich in B vitamins and many brands contain the elusive B12. Also known as nooch, hippie dust or Brufax. It’s an inactive yeast that is made from sugar cane or beet molasses that have been grown for their nutritional properties.

The nutritional yeast is important to give this vegan cheese the right cheesy taste but if you can’t source it then it still works with it omitted.

Agar agar is a nutritious and safe vegan alternative to gelatin that has many health benefits including promoting digestive health and strengthening bones.

Smoked Cashew Vegan Cheese Recipe


  • 1 cup / 150g  Cashews
  • ½ cup / 40g  Nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp Smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp Maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp Agar agar powder
  • 1 clove of Garlic
  • Lemon juiced
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1½ cups / 350ml Water
  • a pinch of Salt


  1. Place half the water and everything else apart from the agar agar into a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. In a pan put in the remaining half of the water and the agar agar.
  4. Simmer for 5 mins stirring constantly. Make sure no lumps of agar agar form at the bottom.
  5. Take off the heat and stir in the cashew mixture until combined.
  6. Pour into a mould and then chill for an hour.
  7. Enjoy within 5 days and keep chilled.
  8. Can be frozen to last for up to 3 months.

If you make this cashew cheese recipe please do tag me on Instagram @nestandglow, I love seeing my recipes created!

For another vegan cheese recipe check out my pistachio cheese recipe – also vegan and easy to make (like all of my recipes).

Pistachio Nut Cheese Recipe

If you like this cashew cheese then for a slightly stringy vegan nut cheese full of good stuff see my smoked cashew mozzarella cheese

smoked cashew mozzarella cheese

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150 thoughts on “Smoked Cashew Cheese”

  1. I made this yesterday and it tastes delicious! The consistency is more along the lines of what I remember that velveeta stuff to be. I’m tickled with the agar, as it’s my first attempt at any type of solid “cheese”.

    I was unable to get it to melt, though, after slicing some super duper thinly and placing on top of some stuffed mushrooms and baking at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. It got brown around the edges and was a bit wobbly if touched while still hot, but didn’t do any actual melting. Any further helpful hints to help in that arena?

    Thanks for sharing all you do. You are greatly appreciated!

    1. Bastian Nest and Glow

      Thanks Linda, glad you like agar – I love recipes with it also – it’s becoming an essential ingredient. I find it melts best at lower temperatures 150c but the melting isn;t directly comparable to real cheese. If you are looking for a runnier melting cheese I would recommend the cashew mozzarella pizza. This cheese I usually just have sliced and solid.

      1. I have been trying to make this cheese and all I am getting is a dip. The cheese is not jelling. What am I doing wrong. Thank you Judy

        1. Bastian Nest and Glow

          Hi Judy, sorry to hear that. Are you using agar-agar powder and stirring constantly to stop it sticking to the bottom?

  2. Appreciate your response and the additional recipe. Will try it out for my next melt-able cheese experiment. We live and learn with each attempt, that’s for sure! :o)

    I was led by the statement you made in your second paragraph about it specifically being good for melting, which is why I chose to make it to try in my recipe. This sentence, specifically: “It slices and melts so is a great replacement in recipes for normal cheese.”

    Grateful for the tasty adventure opportunities, nonetheless. Thanks for your time and shared knowledge. Peace.

    1. Bastian Nest and Glow

      Thanks for that – you are right my sentence there is misleading. I’ve updated it now. While it does melt a bit and brown it isn’t just like normal cheese. It’s more like normal low fat cheese – where it melts a bit and browns but doesn’t go runny. It’s been so long since I’ve cooked with any normal cheese I forgot what it was actually like!

      1. Tried it sliced thinly and layered on a grilled cheese sandwich today and it was perfect! Real cheese used to melt a touch too much for my liking when it came to the sandwich scene. This version is just right minus the gooey mess in the pan. Yay!!

        1. Bastian Nest and Glow

          Excellent! Glad that a grilled cheese sandwich came out well with this, I think you’ve given me an idea for another recipe. Happy Cashew cheesing 🙂

  3. This stuff is totally addictive and easy to make. Much better than the high oil and fat vegan cheeses that shops sell. Perfect on a cracker. Please make more like this so I can make a vegan cheese board!

  4. I just wanted to clarify the amount of cashews used. The written recipe states 1 cup, whereas the video states 1 1/2 cups. Could you help, please? It looks so fantastic I don’t want to mess it up!

    1. Bastian Nest and Glow

      Hi Stephanie, it’s 1 cup of cashews 🙂 sometimes I make mistakes on videos (its much harder than it looks to make these videos and check your own work!) so the recipe should always have the right amount. I’ll add a note in the recipe, thanks for pointing it out 🙂

  5. This looks great… I am not vegan but have recently discovered that I am allergic to dairy so am always on the lookout for simple easy recipes I an use to substitute for dairy products…. Just wondering how long this keeps…. Off to look at some of your other recipes now…thanks.

  6. I have just made this cheese. It tastes delicious but seems a bit softer than the photo. I had to use Agar flakes instead of powder – would that make a difference

    1. Bastian Nest and Glow

      Yes – I believe the flakes are not as potent so you need twice as much. This is the same as the bars. Although even if it didn’t set as firm I bet it still tasted good 🙂

    1. Bastian Nest and Glow

      Yes, the flakes are not as potent so I always use the powder. See the 2nd last paragraph in the recipe about the different types of agar. 🙂

  7. Samantha G Avery

    Hello, This looks beautiful and I love that the color is naturally derived! Could you tell me what size mold you used? I am thinking of making it into a block and just wanted to compare.

  8. Has there been an issue with setting? It’s been two hours and mine isn’t set. What can I do in the future to get it to set better?

    1. Bastian Nest and Glow

      Hi, sorry to hear that I haven’t had any issues with it not setting. Did you use the powder form of agar-agar and boil it for about 5 mins while stirring? You can still try to get the cheese to set by melting again with some more agar agar. The only person that I’ve heard of having issues with it not setting used baking powder as agar agar was lost in translation.

      1. sorry I am having the same issue. My cheese never set and yes I was using agar bar. do I need to mix more agar agar and water? How do I add it to me soft cheese?

        1. The agar agar bar is not as strong, so I believe you need a lot more. I’ve not used it I’m afraid so can’t help much, lots of comments about this but I always use agar agar powder.

  9. Hello, my name is Fabian I am from Uruguay and the products that have the recipe of vegan cheese here are difficult to get.
    I wanted to ask what product could supply maple syrup and nutritional yeast?
    If you can!
    Your paguina enchants me.
    Sorry for my faults but I’m using the google translate!
    Thank you!

    1. Bastian Nest and Glow

      Hi Fabian, no worries that makes perfect sense. For the maple syrup you can use any other sweetener you prefer – but you may need to adjust the amount. Nutritional yeast is more difficult to replace, but yeast extract or marmite do a reasonable job. If you can get any of them there? If you are in Montevideo there seems to be some health food shops that may stock them 🙂

      1. Bastian Nest and Glow

        That’s interesting, where are you? We have something called brewers yeast in the UK but it’s a very different product that can’t be used in this recipe.

  10. Thanks for the response! I actually made it wth tapioca and it didn’t set but… it’s still so good! I’m going to use it to make Mac and Cheese tonight! Thank you!

    1. Bastian Nest and Glow

      Yum that sounds good! The maple, cashews and smoked paprika are so good that even without anything to thicken it’s delicious. Let me know how you get on 🙂

  11. Hi, I just made this–it set up well, looks beautiful, and has a nice texture. I want to put it on the snack table at my next party. However, for some reason mine didn’t turn out very flavorful. Sadly, the one I made is quite bland. 🙁 I measured all the spices exactly and didn’t make any substitutions (and I used the 1 cup of cashews instead of the 1 1/2 cup from the video, did use agar agar powder instead of flakes or anything else, used a real lemon instead of bottled juice, used a fresh garlic clove, etc.). I’m so sad–any ideas about what went wrong? It’s extremely hot and humid here; not sure if that would have impacted it at all. Thanks in advance for your help and any ideas. I want to try it again but want to know what I might have done wrong first!

    1. Bastian Nest and Glow

      Hi Robin, sorry to hear that it didn’t turn out so well :(. As its natural ingredients the flavours can vary a lot – eg I say use one clove of garlic but these can vary a lot in size and strength. I would add the full amount of cashews and up the smoked paprika, garlic and nutritional yeast. The great thing about this recipe is you can taste the mixture after blending and add more if needed. Although remember it will be watered down after stirring in the agar agar. I would sprinkle on some more salt, smoked paprika and garlic powder to add more flavour to an already made cheese 🙂

      1. I have to say, I let it sit in the fridge for a week and then sliced it to make grilled cheese, and it did work out wonderfully in the end. Thank you 🙂

    1. You don;t need to, cashews and macadamias are the only two nuts I dont soak. But if your blender isn’t powerful you might like to 🙂

  12. Hi there! Can anyone tell me if the cashews had to be soaked overnight?? I’m dying to make this already, but confused on soaking vs non soaking..? Help please 🙂

    1. Bastian Nest and Glow

      Hi Melina, I thought I replied to your comment the other day but it seemed not to go through – apologies. No you don’t need to soak the cashews for this, you can do if you prefer but cashews and macadamia nuts are the only two I don’t soak. Enjoy the cheese 🙂

  13. Delicious recipe! I just made it, and according to what I tasted on the spoon, I’m going to really enjoy this! One question I had, though. You said the juice of one lemon. Not to be petty, but lemons vary in size. The lemon I had must have been a large one as it tasted very lemony, so I added about a teaspoon of miso paste. That seemed to tamper the lemon down a little. Looking forward to enjoying it with my friends tomorrow! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Bastian Nest and Glow

      Hi Wanda, glad you like the taste of this recipe. It’s difficult with natural produce as the size and taste do vary a lot. Even 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice can even vary a lot in flavor. As all my recipes are full of natural food take the amounts as guidelines and adjust to taste and intuition 🙂

  14. Hello.My name is Klodiana and in Albania you can not find a lot of things.I am finding trouble with agar powder and I want to ask if I can make this out of any other nut as: almond, hazelnut, Walnut? Cheeses are very useful in everyday life so I don’t want to loose this one.I prepared the mozzarella one but i used almond milk without going through the cheesecloth(as it is after the blending).It turns out crunchier and my daughter loves it.Thanks in advance.

  15. I used all of the right ingredients, except for the cayenne powder, where, instead, I used crushed red pepper flakes. I think you were spot on in your observation that the agar agar powder waters down the flavor. I used the amount of agar agar powder the recipe called for, perhaps a little more. The end result was a hard “cheese” that had no flavor. Will making this again with less agar agar powder (maybe on the underside of 1 tbsp) enable the flavors to dominate?

  16. I’m looking so forward to trying this. Thanks for the great recipe and video. Quick question, has anyone tried this using macadamias instead of cashews? I usually make macarella (Mac mozzarella) so intrigued as to whether I can use macs for harder cheese such as this recipe. Thank you Taryn –

    1. Bastian Nest and Glow

      You’re welcome 🙂 I’ve tried it with macadamia nuts and it does set just as well – not quite as creamy and sweet but still great. I just don’t use mac nuts often as they are really expensive 🙂 Let me know how you get on

    1. Bastian Nest and Glow

      Hi, yes I use raw cashews for this and you can freeze it, although it isn’t quite the same after being defrosted but still good 🙂

  17. This cheese is really good. I must have made it about a dozen times and each time I add some new flavour or spice with it. I think the best version has been when I’ve added caramelised onions to make a smoked caramelised onion cheese.

  18. Tastes amazing, although I added a bit more salt to taste after everything was blended to ensure a strong flavor. I didn’t have, nor new about agar agar until this recipe so I didn’t use it or sub it like you said it would be ok to do… but my cheese didn’t harden at all. I tried freezing a bit but when transferred back, it went back to liquid. Is there anything that can be adjusted? Thanks!

    1. Bastian Nest and Glow

      Hello, sorry there might have been some miscommunication somewhere. Without the agar agar this will not set. What some other people have done with no agar agar is to cook with corn or tapioca starch then bake in the oven. This apparently works well but I haven’t tried it myself. What you have is a yummy smoked cheese sauce 🙂

  19. Hello,
    Your recipe looks great, reads well, comments great but I have just tried to make it (followed the recipe exactly) and my vege-gel (agar agar) set before I could add the cashew mixture. Has this ever happened to you?
    Your recipe says to take off the heat before adding mixture should i have kept it on the heat?
    It is all down the toilet now but would like to try again if you have a reason for vege-gel setting.
    Any advice help would be great.

    1. Bastian Nest and Glow

      Hello, I’m sorry it didn’t work for you – I always test recipes several times before posting and do update them with feedback. However looking online the brand you used doesn’t contain any agar agar so that sounds like where you are going wrong. I used pure agar agar powder.

      Ingredients Vege-Gel Sachet Multipack
      Dextrose, Gelling agents: Carrageenan, Locust bean gum; Acidity regulators: Calcium acetate, Potassium chloride

      Even if you don’t have agar agar or it doesn’t set it will still be a delicious dip 🙂

  20. My husband and I are in our mid 60s. To my surprise my meat and potatoes husband said we should go vegan for health reasons……we feel wonderful but miss cheese, thankfully I found your recipe for smoky cashew cheese. Question…are the cashews raw that must be soaked in water first?

    1. Bastian Nest and Glow

      Hi Rhonda, that makes me so happy to hear you both feel better now you’re vegan! I use the “raw” type of cashews in this – the ones that haven’t been roasted. But almost all cashews in shops have been heated during the shelling process. Let me know how you get on 🙂

  21. Could one use extra firm tofu in lieu of cashews? I have never developed the taste for nuts and although so many recipes claim that one cannot taste the nuts, I can.

    1. Bastian Nest and Glow

      Hi Anne, yes that would still work. It might not melt/brown in the same way but for slices would be great. You’ll want to adjust the water added depending on the type of tofu used to get the right consistency. The video should help with that 🙂

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