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This vegan ricotta cheese is made without cashews or nuts and is instead made extra rich and creamy with tofu. All you need is 8 ingredients and 5 minutes to whip this savory vegan cheese up for all of your pasta, lasagna, or pizza making needs.

Bowl of vegan ricotta on wood cutting board with kitchen towel.

Why You’ll Love this Vegan Cheese

  • It’s healthy – This dairy free ricotta is not only vegan and low in saturated fat, but gluten-free, oil-free, grain-free and nut-free. It’s suitable for people that are lactose intolerant or enjoying on a plant-based Whole 30.
  • Made with simple ingredients – Chances are you have everything you’ll need to whip this homemade cheese up right now.
  • Budget friendly – I don’t love store-bought vegan cheeses. They’re expensive, hard to find, and usually taste nothing like dairy cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I love that we have the option to buy them. But when I can make vegan cheese at home that not only tastes better and is way cheaper, I’m a happy girl. And this tofu ricotta is no exception!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Tofu, nutritional yeast, spices, milk, lemon juice and salt.
  • Tofu – To make the best vegan ricotta cheese, I recommend using medium firm or firm tofu over extra firm tofu. They’re soft enough to create a creamy ricotta while also being firm enough to hold some texture. If you’d prefer to make a cashew cheese using cashews or macadamia nuts, try my Melty Vegan Cheese.
  • Nutritional yeast – Nutritional yeast gives this homemade vegan cheese a “cheesy” flavor without dairy. Nutritional yeast is also naturally high in B vitamins, particular B12, which is an essential nutrient. I prefer to use unfortified nutritional yeast for the most natural flavor and coloring.
  • Lemon juice – In order to give this vegan cheese that classic tangy, sharp flavor, we’re using lemon juice to mimic it. Please use freshly squeezed lemon juice – most store-bought lemon juice is heavily watered down and made with preservatives that alter the flavor. If needed, substitute the lemon juice with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is a much stronger acid, so less is needed.
  • Spices – I purposefully made this vegan ricotta recipe using dried spices so you would be able to make this recipe at a moment’s notice. If you happen to have fresh basil, oregano and parsley, go ahead and use 2 tablespoons of each. The flavor will be even fresher. Add 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper to boost the savory flavor even more!

Optional Ingredients

  • Nondairy milk – Just a small splash of nondairy, unsweetened milk is used to make this ricotta cheese the perfect creamy texture. Be careful with the milk you use – a lot of store-bought unsweetened milks are being made with preservatives that makes the plain milk taste and smell sweet. If possible, make your own milk at home!
  • Olive oil (optional) – The original vegan cheese recipe is made without oil. However, if you’d like your cheese to be extra rich and smooth tasting, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

See recipe card for quantities.

Step by Step Instructions

Ingredients added to the food processor cup.
  1. Place ingredients in food processor. Break the block of tofu into 4 smaller pieces and place in the food processor along with remaining ingredients. Start with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and add additional salt to taste.
Tofu ricotta blended together in food processor.
  1. Process until smooth. The ricotta will still have a bit of texture to it, but should be uniform and have the ingredients evenly incorporated.

Recipe FAQs

Why is some cheese not vegetarian?

Cheeses like Parmesan, Romano, Gorgonzola, Manchengo and Gruyere are made using animal rennet, which is the stomach lining of calves. It is traditionally used to separate and coagulate milk so the solid fat can be separated from the whey. Soft dairy cheeses like ricotta are typically vegetarian and made without animal rennet, but they are still made with dairy and are not vegan-friendly.

Is ricotta cheese good on pizza?

Yes, ricotta is very good on pizza. Make your own super easy homemade vegan pizzas with this homemade vegan ricotta cheese and my fluffy Vegan Flatbread (Skillet Naan Recipe).

Why does vegan cheese take longer to melt?

Vegan cheese is notorious for being difficult to melt, but the answer for this is simple: vegan cheese does not contain casein, a protein found in dairy milk. This protein is the cause of dairy cheese melting and without it, cheese is harder to melt. This is not to say that vegan cheese can’t be equally as delicious!

Can you freeze vegan ricotta?

If this vegan ricotta was made using cashews, I would say yes. However, this vegan is made with tofu and tofu changes its texture drastically when frozen. If you choose to freeze this vegan ricotta in a dish like vegan lasagna, it may not be as noticeable, but I would not recommend freezing this ricotta on it’s own.

I Don’t Have a Food Processor. Can I make this ricotta in the blender?

Yes, you can use a high speed blender but be careful not to over blend it. You want the tofu ricotta to have a bit of “grit” or graininess to the texture. If possible, use the pulse setting over the actual blend setting.

Storage Instructions

This cheese will store well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. For best results, store leftover ricotta in glass.

Bowl of vegan ricotta cheese with basil garnish.

Tips for Success

  • Use regular, unpressed tofu. Just like in my Vegan Tofu Bolognese Sauce, you want to use tofu that still has moisture in it to make a creamy vegan cheese. When you freeze tofu for recipes like Crispy Peanut Tofu or Vegan Orange Chicken, a majority of the water drains out of the block once thawed and the tofu is left with a chewier consistency. This tofu is great for replicating chicken, but not ideal for making creamy sauces or cheeses like ricotta or Tofu Mozzarella (no nuts, no oil).
  • Use a large cup food processor. I use and highly recommend my large 14 cup food processor. I never have to work in batches and it is dishwasher safe, which makes clean up a breeze.

Vegan Meals to Try Ricotta With

In addition to serving this cheese alternative with pasta dishes, it would also pair well with cheesy Vegan Garlic Herb Bread, spinach lasagna, vegan stuffed shells,

More Vegan Cheese Recipes You May Like

Home-Cooked Roots Logo

Vegan Ricotta Cheese (Nut Free)

5 from 4 votes

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Cost: $5.64 per recipe / $0.94 per serving
This vegan ricotta cheese is made without cashews or nuts and is instead made extra rich and creamy with tofu. All you need is 8 ingredients and 5 minutes to whip this savory vegan cheese up for all of your pasta, lasagna, or pizza making needs.

Ingredients
 

  • 1 (14 ounce) block firm tofu ($3.36)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast ($0.46)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened plant-based milk ($0.08)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice substitute 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar ($0.60)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano substitute 2 tablespoons fresh ($0.18)
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley substitute 2 tablespoons fresh ($0.18)
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil substitute 2 tablespoons fresh ($0.18)
  • 3/4 teaspoon Morton kosher salt ($0.03)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil optional ($0.57)

Instructions

  • Break tofu block into 4 pieces and place in food processor (no need to press it before hand) along with rest of ingredients.
  • Process until smooth, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Enjoy with pastas, lasagna, and any savory dish calling for ricotta.

Storage

  • This recipe makes about 2 cups of savory ricotta. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freezing not recommended.

Notes

  • Use regular, unpressed tofu. Just like in my Vegan Tofu Bolognese Sauce, you want to use tofu that still has moisture in it to make a creamy vegan cheese. When you freeze tofu for recipes like Crispy Peanut Tofu or Vegan Orange Chicken, a majority of the water drains out of the block once thawed and the tofu is left with a chewier consistency. This tofu is great for replicating chicken, but not ideal for making creamy sauces or cheeses like ricotta or Tofu Mozzarella (no nuts, no oil).
  • Use a large cup food processor. I use and highly recommend my large 14 cup food processor. I never have to work in batches and it is dishwasher safe, which makes clean up a breeze.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.33cup | Calories: 16kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 299mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g

Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.

Course Condiment
Cuisine Italian

Did You Love This Recipe?

Rate the recipe here and make sure to leave a comment below!

5 from 4 votes

This recipe was originally published on June 8, 2021 and has been updated to include updated images and helpful tips. The original recipe remains the same.

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made a vegan lasagna tonight with this ricotta recipe. It was so delicious!

  2. What can I use instead of Lemon Juice? I’m allergic to citrus, critic acid and pectin.

    1. Hi, Laura! Lemon juice is unfortunately an essential ingredient in this recipe. I think vinegar is going to be too strong, but you can always give it a try..You may have better luck looking for a recipe that doesn’t contain citrus! 🙂 

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