Vegan Alfredo Sauce: The Best Dairy-Free Recipe

This vegan Alfredo sauce is rich, creamy and full of flavor. It's cashew-based, dairy-free and gluten-free. Pair with pasta for a delicious plant-based dinner!

Before developing lactose intolerance, I always had pasta dishes like homemade fettuccine Alfredo in my weekly dinner rotation. But it’s possible to make a dairy-free Alfredo sauce—and it’s easier than you’d think.

The secret to this vegan Alfredo sauce is soaked cashews. Blending raw cashews with water creates a silky-smooth cashew cream with very mild flavor. It’s the perfect plant-based sauce base!

Don’t miss our full list of surprising ways to cook with cashews.

How to Make Vegan Alfredo Sauce

This recipe makes four to six servings.

Ingredients

Vegan Alfredo Sauce IngredientsJenna Urben for Taste of Home

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 16 ounces pasta

Directions

Step 1: Soak the cashews

Soak the raw cashews overnight in room-temperature water. If you’re in a rush, place the cashews in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Once the cashews have soaked, drain the water and rinse them.

Editor’s Tip: Don’t skip this step! If you don’t soften your cashews, the end result will be a grainy and gritty sauce.

Step 2: Cook the pasta

To make vegan fettuccine Alfredo, start by cooking pasta al dente according to package instructions. Reserve about 2 cups of pasta water in a measuring cup, then drain and return pasta to pot.

Step 3: Prepare the sauce

Vegan Alfredo Sauce In Food ProcessorJenna Urben for Taste of Home

While the pasta is cooking, add the soaked cashews and remaining ingredients to a food processor or blender. Blend until completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the food processor or blender, as needed.

For a looser sauce, thin with vegetable broth or reserved pasta water until the desired consistency is reached.

Step 4: Taste and adjust seasonings

Vegan Alfredo Sauce BlendedJenna Urben for Taste of Home

Give your vegan Alfredo sauce a taste and add more seasonings, if desired.

Step 5: Toss pasta with sauce

Vegan Alfredo Sauce In SkilletJenna Urben for Taste of Home

Transfer the Alfredo sauce to the pot with pasta. Gently stir to coat each piece of pasta. Serve with a fresh vegan salad or one of these easy vegan recipes.

Tips for Making Vegan Alfredo Sauce

You can make vegan pasta recipes that will have people asking for seconds! Here are a few tips to help you make the best vegan Alfredo sauce at home.

How can you thicken vegan Alfredo sauce?

To thicken the sauce a bit, bring it to a simmer. If you’ve reserved pasta water, adding a tiny bit to the sauce will help glue the pasta and sauce together, giving it a thicker consistency as well. The sauce will thicken up as it’s stored, too. When reheating, add a splash of dairy-free milk, vegetable broth or water.

How should you store vegan Alfredo sauce?

Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How can you replace cashews in vegan Alfredo sauce?

No cashews? No problem! You can replace the cashews with peeled almonds, macadamia nuts or sunflower seeds.

How can you make vegan Alfredo sauce lighter?

For a lighter version of vegan Alfredo sauce, make a roux with 1 tablespoon each of plant-based butter and flour. Once the mixture is bubbling, after about 2 to 3 minutes, whisk in 1/2 cup of cold plain unsweetened non-dairy milk alternative. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture is nice and thick.

How can you make vegan Alfredo sauce your own?

The sky’s the limit with this cashew-based recipe! Add garlic to the base for a garlic Alfredo sauce. You can also easily sneak in more vegetables by adding cauliflower or white potatoes to the base. Once the sauce is pureed, consider mixing in other veggies like mushrooms, peas, spinach, kale etc.

What types of pasta should you serve with vegan Alfredo sauce?

There’s a reason why fettuccine Alfredo is a classic. Fettuccine has a wide, thick shape that allows for the maximum amount of creamy sauce in each bite. Other long noodles like pappardelle and linguine work well with vegan Alfredo sauce, too. If you’re curious about pasta, check out our ultimate guide to pasta shapes so you never have to guess which noodle to use for your homemade pasta sauce. You can also use gluten-free pasta.

What else can you serve with vegan Alfredo sauce?

This versatile cashew cheese sauce is also delicious served atop vegetables, paired with any pasta, smothered on pizza and more. Look through recipes that start with Alfredo sauce for even more ideas.

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Jenna Urben
Jenna is a food blogger focused on sharing allergy-friendly recipes. Her favorite ingredients include sweet potatoes, chickpeas and squash.