You're 4 ingredients and 10 minutes away from making this velvety and creamy vegan mascarpone cheese! This is a perfect choice if you need a dairy-free alternative that has the richness of mascarpone without any animal products. Great for both sweet and savory recipes!
This vegan mascarpone cheese is made with simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry right now.
Just like when making homemade vegan cream cheese or vegan ricotta, this recipe starts with a base of raw cashews. Tofu, lemon juice, and a little bit of sea salt are added next.
The result—a silky smooth and decadent dairy-free mascarpone that is truly irresistible.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Quick and easy to make. This vegan mascarpone is ready in only 10 minutes! It's super easy to make, even if you're a beginner at vegan cooking.
- Creamy and delicious. It has a smooth and spreadable texture and a slightly nutty flavor.
- Great for both sweet and savory dishes. The base of this recipe makes for unsweetened vegan mascarpone cheese, making it great for both desserts and main dishes.
What is mascarpone?
Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese that is smooth and creamy, with a high-fat content. It has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, with a subtle tanginess.
Unlike cream cheese which is made from whole milk, traditional mascarpone is made from heavy cream, which gives it its rich mouthfeel and decadent texture.
This sweet vegan cheese recipe only requires 4 ingredients! Here's what you need:
- Raw cashews: It's important to use raw unsalted cashews in this recipe. They're high in healthy fats, which gives richness and body to the cheese.
- Tofu: When blended, tofu has a creamy texture and a neutral taste. Make sure to use firm or extra firm tofu, they have less moisture, and produce a thicker result.
- Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice works best here, it gives the recipe a subtle tang from the citric acid, just like with real mascarpone cheese. If you don't have it on hand, white vinegar or apple cider vinegar can work in a pinch.
- Salt: A little bit of salt enhances the rest of the flavors.
- Maple syrup (optional): If you're going to use this recipe for a dessert, I highly recommend adding some sweetener to taste.
Scroll to the recipe card below for full measurements.
How to make this easy vegan mascarpone cheese recipe
Step 1: Add raw cashews to a large bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for 15-30 minutes, or until the cashews are soft and plump.
Then, drain them and rinse well.
Step 2: To a high-speed blender or a food processor, add the soaked cashews, tofu, lemon juice, and salt.
If you're going to use the cheese for a dessert later, add a tablespoon or two of maple syrup as well (optional).
Step 3: Blend on high speed for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed, or until the cheese is completely smooth and creamy, and no chunks remain.
If the mixture seems too thick, feel free to add a few tablespoons of non-dairy milk like soy milk or water.
Step 4: Transfer the vegan mascarpone to a bowl or an airtight container. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and let it chill in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours, or overnight.
Once chilled, give it a good stir. The cheese has probably thickened by now.
If you find it too thick for your liking, stir in a teaspoon or two of non-dairy milk or water, but only if necessary!
When you're ready to use, use it as you'd use regular mascarpone cheese in recipes!
- If you forgot to soak your cashews, boil them for 10 minutes. This is an efficient and time-saving tip that you can use when you need to quickly soften any type of nuts or seeds.
- Use a high-speed blender or a food processor. This is essential if you want to end up with creamy and smooth vegan mascarpone cheese! When you're done blending, you should have no chunks of cashews in the mixture.
- Adjust the texture if needed. As I've mentioned already, the consistency can be pretty thick, so feel free to adjust it as needed, adding a splash or two of non-dairy milk or water.
- Let it chill before using. This allows the mixture to thicken further and the tofu to fully absorb all the flavors.
- Sweeten to taste. Before you store it in the fridge, give it a taste test and sweeten it as needed. If you're going to use the cheese in a savory recipe like a pasta dish, I suggest leaving it unsweetened.
Frequently asked questions
There are many variations and ways to make vegan mascarpone. When testing, I found that the best combination is using both tofu and cashews. This way the cheese turns out rich and creamy, yet still light and spreadable.
The main difference is in their fat content, as well as their texture.
Ricotta is lower in fat and has a slightly grainy texture.
Mascarpone, on the other hand, contains four times more fat than ricotta cheese does. It also has a silky smooth and creamy texture.
Vegan mascarpone is higher in fiber and lower in saturated fat than its traditional counterpart. It also provides some essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, calcium, iron, magnesium, and more!
Yes, this recipe can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
This vegan mascarpone cheese has a slightly nutty and sweet flavor, with a bit of tanginess from the lemon juice.
If you find that it has a strong soy flavor (which may vary based on the brand of tofu), you can add a few tablespoons of coconut cream to balance it out.
- Nut-free: You can use the same amount of raw sunflower seeds and follow the recipe as written. Note that this will alter the flavor of the end result.
- Soy-free: You can use the same amount of canned coconut cream instead of the tofu. Note that this will add a coconut taste to your vegan mascarpone.
- Make it with almonds: If you don't have cashews, you can use the same amount of raw blanched almonds. Then follow the recipe as written.
- Add vanilla extract: To add more flavor and aroma, stir in 1-2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract. This works best for sweet dishes.
Ways to use vegan mascarpone
Thanks to its somewhat neutral flavor, you can use this dairy-free cheese in a variety of recipes, including:
- In frostings for vegan cupcakes and vegan cakes.
- As a topping for vegan pies, pancakes, and French toast.
- In soups, stews, and pasta dishes to add creaminess.
- As a base for vegan pizza or fruit dessert pizza.
- In desserts like no-bake vegan cheesecake or in a vegan tiramisu recipe.
- As a fun topping for vegan Snickers overnight oats or almond joy overnight oats.
- As a dip for fresh fruit, cookies, and crackers!
- Spread onto toast or bagels.
- For fruit parfaits with granola or crushed cookies on top.
How to store it
Transfer it to an airtight container and store it in a refrigerator for up to a week. Stir well before using.
More vegan cheese recipes
- Vegan Cashew Ricotta
- The Best Vegan Nacho Cheese
- Cranberry Vegan Cheese Ball
- Smoky Cashew 'Cheese' Sauce
The Best Vegan Mascarpone
- ½ block firm or extra firm tofu, * drained (~7-8 ounces)
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews, * soaked in hot water for 15-30 minutes
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, ~1 large lemon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup, optional
- If you haven't already, add raw cashews to a large bowl and cover them with hot water. Soak for 15-30 minutes, or until the cashews are soft and plump. Then, drain them and rinse well.1 ½ cups raw cashews
- To a high-speed blender or a food processor, add the soaked cashews, tofu, lemon juice, and salt. If you're going to use the cheese for a dessert later, add a tablespoon or two of maple syrup as well (optional).½ block firm or extra firm tofu, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Blend on high speed for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed, or until the cheese is completely smooth and creamy, and no chunks remain. If the mixture seems too thick, feel free to add a few tablespoons of non-dairy milk or water.
- Transfer the vegan mascarpone to a bowl or an airtight container. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and let it chill in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours, or overnight.
- Once chilled, give it a good stir, the cheese has probably thickened by now. If you find it too thick for your liking, stir in a teaspoon or two of non-dairy milk or water, but only if necessary! When you're ready to use, use it as you would use regular mascarpone cheese in recipes!
- Fridge: Transfer it to an airtight container and store it in a refrigerator for up to a week. Stir well before using.
- Freezer: Transfer to a freezer-safe container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.