This is the best Vegan Alfredo Sauce ever! Easy to make with just a handful of ingredients and ready in 15 minutes or less. No one will know it’s vegan!
This vegan cashew Alfredo sauce is ultra creamy and flavorful with NO cheese, heavy cream or butter!
Cashews form the base of this easy vegan Alfredo sauce. Cashews are such a magical vegan ingredient, creating rich and creamy dairy free delights. A few of my all-time favorite recipes using cashews include Vegan Scalloped Potatoes, The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese and 5 Ingredient Vegan Queso.
If you can’t have cashews or nuts, go make this Dairy Free Alfredo Sauce with NO nuts. It’s equally incredible.
You might also like this Instant Pot Vegan Alfredo made from a combination of cauliflower and cashews.
What you need for the best, easy vegan Alfredo sauce
- Raw cashews – They are the base for the delicious creamy sauce. You can try using slivered almonds or sunflower seeds instead, but it won’t quite be the same.
- Olive oil – For sautéing the onions and garlic.
- Onion – Adds incredible flavor!
- Garlic – Again, for that garlicky classic Alfredo flavor.
- Unsweetened almond milk – May also use water or another unsweetened, unflavored plant milk.
- Nutritional yeast – For a cheesy taste. May omit if you don’t like it.
- Lemon juice – To brighten up the flavors a bit.
- Salt, to taste
- A high powered blender for best results – I highly recommend a Vitamix or other powerful blender. A regular blender can possibly be used, but the sauce won’t get as creamy.
How to make vegan alfredo sauce
This is an overview with photos of the process. For the complete, printable recipe, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom.
If you plan on serving the sauce with pasta, cook the noodles now. Drain when cooked and add back to the pot for mixing with the sauce.
Soak the cashews for 5 minutes in hot water. I simply use my tea kettle to boil water, and pour it over the cashews in a glass measuring cup.
Sauté 1/2 an onion and 6 cloves of garlic in a small pan for 5 minutes.
Add the drained cashews, onion/garlic, almond milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and salt to a high powered blender and blend until creamy and smooth.
Add sauce to pasta, mix and warm if needed. That’s it!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make it without cashews? I recommend you try my Dairy Free Alfredo Sauce, which is nut free. You can also try substituting sunflower seeds or raw slivered almonds for varied results.
- What if I don’t have a high powered blender? It’s possible to make the sauce in a regular blender or food processor, just know it won’t be as creamy as the photos. Try soaking the cashews for a half hour at least in hot water to make them extra soft for blending.
- How long will the sauce keep in the refrigerator? Store in a covered container for 4-5 days.
- Can you freeze vegan Alfredo sauce? Yes, it freezes well. Freeze sauce separate from pasta. Pour into freezer friendly containers, leaving a little room for expansion. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight is possible and rewarm in the microwave or stovetop.
- “Chicken” Alfredo – I often cook up some vegan chicken or simply Gardein nuggets. Slice and serve with the fettuccine Alfredo.
- Add some heat – I almost always sprinkle a good amount of red chili flakes on my Alfredo pasta. So good!
- Mix in some vegetables – Serve a veggie on the side, or mix them right in! My favorites are steamed or roasted broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cooked kale, green peas or asparagus.
Want more creamy vegan pasta recipes?
- Creamy Vegan Carbonara
- Dairy Free Mac and Cheese
- The Best Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff
- Tuscan Vegan Gnocchi
Vegan Alfredo Sauce
- 12 ounces fettuccine pasta, optional
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk*
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Cook the pasta, if using
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain, then add it back to the pot and cover until the sauce is done.
Make the sauce
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil (I use my tea kettle). Pour the hot water over the cashews and let soak for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the chopped onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes until fragrant and the onion is translucent. Remove from heat.
- Drain the cashews and discard the soaking water. Add them to a high powered blender along with onions/garlic, unsweetened almond milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and salt. Blend until very smooth.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir. If the noodles are still hot, you may not need to cook it any more. If you want, heat the pasta with the alfredo sauce on low heat until warm. If it becomes too thick, add a bit of water to thin out the sauce. Serve immediately.
- Gluten Free: Use gluten free pasta.
- Cashew Free: Use raw slivered almonds instead of cashews, or even sunflower seeds. Cashews give the sauce the best buttery and cheesy taste though.
- May use water instead of almond milk. Other plant milks work as well – soy, cashew or coconut. Just make sure the milk you use is both unsweetened and unflavored.
- “Chicken” Alfredo: Cook up some vegan chicken nuggets (my favorite is Gardein brand), slice and serve on top of the pasta!
- To Freeze: The sauce freezes well! Freeze in small freezer-friendly containers. Leave an inch or so of room for expansion. Re-heat in the microwave or stove top until warm.
- If you don’t care for nutritional yeast, it is okay to omit it.
- Alfredo sauce is also wonderful drizzled on baked potatoes, on pizza, spaghetti squash, cooked vegetables and more.
- Calories are for 1/6th of the sauce, and does not include pasta.
This recipe was first published in September of 2019. The recipe is the same, but the writing is updated to provide answer to frequent questions and variations/options.
This sauce is so good and creamy. I was surprised by how similar it tastes to actual fettuccine sauce. Will definitely make again:) Thank you for the recipe
Easy and tasty! This was my first time making a vegan alfredo sauce and it was a hit! I served it over spaghetti with kale mixed in with the pasta for the last 30 seconds, steamed broccoli and topped with pan fried spiced chick peas and more caramelized onion. Yum!
So glad it was good!
This is the second time I’ve made this. So wasp and delicious! I added mushrooms, cannelini beans, and asparagus and threw in a little vegan pesto sauce because why not?
This sauce is AMAZING.
Thanks so much!
Can you please give recipe using white bean for white sauce? I don’t have raw chases and cauliflower.
I add some garlic salt to taste as well as 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to give it that tangy taste that alfredo sauce has.
Can I use a food processor if I don’t own a blender?
You can try it, but it won’t get as smooth and creamy unfortunately, sorry!
I have made several different vegan Alfredo recipes, and even had some favorites I’ve made 10+ times, but this one takes the cake. I will definitely be returning to this one from now on.
Thanks so much! I’m so glad you like it!
This was delicious and not hard to make! Plus, my toddler loved it!
I’m so glad!
How would using roasted cashews affect this recipe?
It would probably work, but it might taste kind of nutty.
Best sauce I’ve ever made!! This will be a staple!
So glad you like it!
I’m looking to maybe sub out the cashews for cauliflower or maybe do half & half. What are your thoughts on that? I’ve made cauliflower bechemal from forks over knives cookbook & it’s so yummy & similar ingredients to this sauce.
I’m sure you could do that, it just won’t be quite as creamy and rich, but that’s okay. Hope you enjoy it!
Will salted roasted cashews work, or do they have to be raw? Thank you!
I haven’t used salted, roasted cashews, always raw, so I’m not sure. The sauce will taste different and probably a lot more like cashews than if you use raw. Raw is preferred!
I made this recipe paired with mushroom walnut ravioli for Christmas dinner with my fiancé’s family. They are not vegan and they loved it! I made a great impression, thank you Nora!
I added 1.5 tbsp of flour and heated it on a pan to thicken the consistency, replaced the almond milk with “Not Milk” (which tastes exactly like cow milk but is 100% plant based) & added vegan blue cheese. It turned out amazing!
I don’t have a sweet onion, just yellow.. should I omit or substitute.
Yellow will work fine.
This has the potential to be really amazing! I agree that it’s a bit on the sweeter side. Next time I would soak the cashews longer (they didn’t blend well enough in my super high powered blender), and I would use 1.5 cups of milk, 1/3 cup lemon juice. It was still really good though, looking forward to making it again with these changes.
This is the best Alfredo sauce. Turned out perfect! I will definitely make it again!
Thanks Jackie! I’m so glad you enjoyed the alfredo sauce!
Worked great, added a pinch of nutmeg since other comments kept suggesting it. Paired with temph chicken and roasted broccoli, thanks for the recipe!
You’re welcome! I’m glad you liked it! 🙂
I can honestly say that everything I’ve made from your blog turned out great.Thank you!
That’s so great! Thanks for the comment.
Of all the cashew-based alfredo sauces I’ve tried this called for the most cashews. Perhaps that is why to me it tasted too sweet (and I used unsweetened soy milk). I doctored it up with some more salt, additional garlic, and a pinch of nutmeg. I suppose I could have tried more lemon juice or vinegar but I didn’t want to thin it out any more. It was good, don’t get me wrong. I’ll keep this in the rotation but I’ll continue my quest for our go-to alfredo. Thanks Nora!
made this tonight and added some fresh asparagus to the noodle water for the last half of the cook. (lazy cook here) it makes a LOT of sauce, so plenty to freeze for another day. my non vegan husband was leary and sniffed it several times. insert eye roll here. before he tasted it, after he got a HEAPING pile on his plate, he had to do one more obvious sniff. “this smells funny” he said. oh em gee. i said “well maybe it’s the nutritional yeast you are smelling. it smells kinda cheesy” he scarfed the entire pile that he had on his plate and said several times, “this is so good, this is really good”. sigh. it was very very delicious. thank you for sharing your recipes. it’s nice to feel like i’m eating real food. we are both native texans and while the food is scrumptious, it isn’t the most healthy. i had a heart attack (i was shocked!!) in 2014 and was told if i didn’t become a vegan i would “drop dead in a month”. fine. i did it and i’m enjoying it for the most part. my husband’s triglycerides were low for the first time in 33 years. and he occasionally eats meat. soooo, proof positive that plant based is much healthier than the other diet we grew up with. again, thank you for your part in our healthier way of life.
I’m so happy to hear you and your husband are thriving! I’m also glad you enjoyed the alfredo sauce, and I hope you find many more recipes to help make your journey easier!
Hi Beverly, had to laugh a little about your husband, mine husband is the same way. He looks at it smells it and he takes very little on his plate lol then the taste of eating it and the smile on his face says it all to me , he hates to try something new lol , thx very good sauce.
Made this tonight for dinner and it was awesome!! Added a pinch each of nutmeg and sweet paprika. Then added a small bag of frozen peas in t he boiling fettuccine the last few min. My husband who is an omnivore said, boy this is good, many times through his first and second helpings!!! Great recipe.
That sounds wonderful, thank you!
I couldn’t believe how creamy and tasty this Alfredo sauce is. I have loved all the recipes of yours I’ve tried. I have a picky 16-month-old so getting him to like any food has been a challenge. But I love your recipes because they are packed with protein and veggies -the perfect combination!
The vitamix is perfect for this – great recipe!
Thank you, glad you enjoyed it!
Just the best. Really. Can’t even tell it’s vegan
Nora, Nora, I made this for the first time last night. OMG. That is all, LOL! Really, though, I love that it uses so much garlic. And, truly, it’s hard to tell it’s even vegan. I also added a 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg. Perfection. Thanks so much for your efforts! –gritsintn xoxo
Will soaking the cashews longer make any difference in the creaminess of the sauce?
If you are using a regular blender (not a Vitamix or something similar) you may want to soak them longer. But with a high powered blender, it’s really not necessary. Thanks!