Dairy-Free Goat Cheese Alternative that will even Impress Naysayers


Many years ago, there was a wonderful little bakeshop called C’est La Vegan. The store’s founder, Kim, created beautiful treats like this Vegan Strawberry Tart. But she also knew her way around savory dishes. This dairy-free goat cheese alternative was one of her more popular recipes, which made the rounds on the internet. She was kind enough to share it with us back then, and today we’re giving the recipe a big refresh with some more options.

It’s a wonderfully flavorful and rich vegan “goat cheese” that can be enjoyed simply as a spread, crumbled on salads, or used in recipes. Since it’s nut-based and contains no additives, it holds up rather well when baked, or even stirred into sauces.

Dairy-Free Goat Cheese Alternative Recipe - A Homemade Paleo and Vegan Recipe that's versatile and delicious (also gluten-free and soy-free)

Special Diet Notes: Vegan Goat Cheese Alternative

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, paleo, and vegetarian.

3.7 from 3 reviews
Dairy-Free Goat Cheese Alternative
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe was adapted from Adapted from C'est La Vegan. Please note that the Prep time is hands on time only. Please allow time for soaking the nuts and letting the mixture strain if you are enjoying it unbaked.
Recipe type: Appetiser
Cuisine: French
Serves: 6 servings
  • ¾ cup cashews (see Nut Note below)
  • ¼ cup oil (see Oil Note below)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 to 1¼ teaspoons salt, to taste
  • ½ tablespoon cracked pepper or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (optional)
  1. Put the cashews in a medium bowl and cover with several inches of water. Let soak for 6 to 8 hours.
  2. Drain the cashews and put them in your food processor or blender. Add the oil, lemon juice, water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Process until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Taste and add more salt, if desired.
Baked Version
  1. Preheat your oven to 200°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Scrape the cashew mixture onto one side of a piece of cheesecloth. Roll it up in the cheesecloth to form a log, twist the ends and fold them under to lightly secure. Place the log on your prepared baking sheet. (You are baking on low, so the cheesecloth is fine in the oven).
  3. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the cheese is set, but still soft.
  4. Gently remove the cheesecloth, and sprinkle with peppercorns or herbs, if desired.
Unbaked Version
  1. Line a sieve with cheesecloth, and spoon the cashew mixture into the center of the cheesecloth. Bring the corners of the cheesecloth together and twist to secure the cheesecloth around the cashew mixture. Set it back in the sieve and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
  2. Turn the dairy-free goat cheese out onto a plate and peel off the cheesecloth to serve.
Nut Note: You can sub blanched almonds or macadamia nuts in a pinch. Just make sure the nuts you use are "raw" (unroasted) and unsalted. Almonds have a slightly nuttier flavor than cashews and macadamias are richer.

Oil Note: The original recipe uses non-GMO canola oil, but rice bran oil, extra-light olive oil (not extra-virgin!), safflower oil, or another neutral-tasting oil will work nicely.

Tahini Option: The people at Vegetarian Times add 1 tablespoon tahini to this blend. This can add a little "cheesiness" to the flavor, but some people don't love the bitterness of tahini. Try it if you like!

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. I would like to use your goat cheese alternative in a baked vegetable recipe. Should I use it after blending in a food processor or continue to follow the unbaked version and then use it?

    • It depends on the texture you want. The unbaked version is more of a creamy cheese, while baking it gives a slight ricotta or feta like consistency – just a touch crumbly.

    • I’m so sorry it didn’t work out to taste for you Rozz. We don’t usually have a lemony issue with it, but you can add lemon to taste – starting 1 tablespoon at a time. If you’re looking for more of an overt “cheese” flavor, I suggest going with recipes that use nutritional yeast and/or that are cultured. You can add a little nutritional yeast to this recipe, to taste. We just prefer this one without.

    • Very odd. We’ve made it dozens of times without a problem. You used raw cashews, not toasted or roasted, correct? We typically make the unbaked version, not the baked, which always strains and thickens nicely. If your baked version isn’t set. place it in a sieve in the refrigerator (still in the cheesecloth or rewrapped in it), and let it set for 12 to 24 hours. It should firm up.

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