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!

fork holding creamy vegan alfredo sauce on fettuccine

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.
white plate with alfredo fettuccine, sprinkled with parsley and grey towel in background

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.

onions and garlic sauteed in a pan

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.

blender full of creamy blended sauce

Add sauce to pasta, mix and warm if needed. That’s it!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. How long will the sauce keep in the refrigerator? Store in a covered container for 4-5 days.
  4. 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.

Variations

  • “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.
white sauce being poured over cooked noodles on white plate

Want more creamy vegan pasta recipes?

fork holding lots of pasta with white sauce
4.86 stars (111 ratings)

Vegan Alfredo Sauce

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! Makes about 4 cups of sauce.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 
 

  • 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

Instructions 

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.

Serve

  • 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.

Video

Notes

  1. Gluten Free: Use gluten free pasta.
  2. Cashew Free: Use raw slivered almonds instead of cashews, or even sunflower seeds. Cashews give the sauce the best buttery and cheesy taste though.
  3. 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.
  4. “Chicken” Alfredo: Cook up some vegan chicken nuggets (my favorite is Gardein brand), slice and serve on top of the pasta!
  5. 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.
  6. If you don’t care for nutritional yeast, it is okay to omit it.
  7. Alfredo sauce is also wonderful drizzled on baked potatoes, on pizza, spaghetti squash, cooked vegetables and more.
  8. Calories are for 1/6th of the sauce, and does not include pasta.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Sodium: 501mg | Potassium: 278mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian-inspired
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Read my full disclosure here.

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Comments

  1. I just started my vegan journey so I was a little scared but this sauce was soooo delicious!! I added parsley and cracked black pepper just for the presentation, 10/10!!!

    1. Thanks for your wonderful review and feedback! I’m so glad you loved the Alfredo sauce! Wishing you a great journey! Please reach out with any questions you may have on any of my recipes.

  2. This is a family favorite. However last night we doubled the recipe for a larger crowd and all of us who had had it before thought it tasted like straight cashews. Cashew was all we could taste in the doubled recipe. I’m wondering if it happened to be a weird container of cashews or if others have noticed this and backed off on cashews when doubling the recipe. Otherwise, we love this recipe and basically every recipe from Nora.

    1. That is so odd! Did you happen to use roasted cashews instead of raw? Because those would certainly taste like cashews and nothing else. Doubling shouldn’t cause it to taste different. I’m so glad you love my recipes, thank you so much!

  3. I was looking for an easy dairy-free alfredo recipe and this one was perfect! I did add a few shakes of steak seasoning for extra flavor. I used Wal-Mart brand unsweetened almond milk, it has the most neutral flavor in my opinion and I use it a lot for cooking and baking.

  4. Wow! This Alfredo sauce is amazing!! We’ve always had a hard time finding vegan Alfredo sauce in stores. When we did find one it wasn’t that great in terms of taste and texture. Your recipe was so easy and 100000x better than the store bought one we tried. Thank you so much!!

  5. This is an interesting sauce and shows ALOT of promise. We tend to use minced garlic, I used a total of 7 tablespoons and the garlic still was missing. Any advice? Thanks.

    1. I’m guessing you mean minced garlic from a jar? Honestly, that kind of garlic doesn’t compare to fresh garlic when you really want the flavor to stand out like in this vegan alfredo sauce. I would use fresh garlic for the best flavor.

    2. I used minced garlic too( I did not have any in the house) in this delicious recipe and it was garlic taste was subdued so I added some garlic powder to bring out the flavor a little more. I will definitely use fresh garlic next time.
      I sautéed some Baby Bella mushrooms and added to the dish and it was fantastic!

  6. Honestly the best! I make this for my non vegan family and friends and they love it. My only note would be, I had a little more lemon juice and salt. Also, check your cashews before you soak them, I’ve bought some that are in date but starting to turn and it ruins the sauce.

  7. Hi. I’m just wondering if the nutritional information includes the pasta or it’s just the sauce. This looks incredibly delicious but might not work for me if just the sauce has 437 calories per serving. I would save it for a holiday if so. Thanks

    1. Hi Beth. I took a closer look and that number was including white fettucine pasta. I actually updated it and doubled checked everything, and calculated without the pasta (since some people won’t use white fettucine pasta, or pasta at all). It’s about 250 calories per serving (6 servings total). Hope that helps!

  8. This sauce is seriously delicious! We used it to make a Pasta Primavera type dish, with broccoli, zucchini, red bell pepper, carrots, peas and artichokes. Making a batch of this sauce ahead of time is also great for meal prepping!

  9. This was so so good and easy to make!!! I added some red pepper flakes for a little spice!!! Thank you for the best vegan recipes!!! I am always confident that whatever it is I am making will be delicious if the recipe comes from you!

    1. That sound delicious! I’m thrilled you loved this recipe! Thanks so much for your fantastic review and feedback 🙂

  10. Hi Nora, I’ve had a hard time making vegan Alfredo sauce with cashews for a long time. My sauce turns out grainy. Even when I blend the cashews in my ninja for a long time. I follow your directions but still grainy. I’m wondering if my raw cashews need to be fresher. I’ve had them in a plastic bag for months. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Dianne! I don’t know that your cashews being fresher will help. I think the problem has to do with your blender. A ninja doesn’t seem to blend cashews as creamy as a Vitamix or other high powered blender. To get it smoother with a ninja, I would soak the cashews in hot water for at least an hour, or even room temperature overnight or for 8 hours. That will get them much softer so they will blend smoother, even with a less powerful blender. Hope that helps and you get a smoother sauce next time!

  11. Just made this for dinner tonight. We try to steer clear of dairy often. I feared the hubs might have an aversion to the vegan sauce so I just made it and served it. After he asked for more sauce and we finished dinner, I told him it was vegan. He was pleasantly surprised and I got two thumbs up! 👍🏻👍🏻 We will be making it again. Thank you for a wonderful recipe Nora.

    1. You are welcome, Elde. How great that it was a hit with your husband! Thanks for sharing your fantastic feedback and review!

  12. I could drink this sauce!!! It was sooooo good. Easy to put together as instructions were so clear and easy to understand. Thanks Nora for sharing your talents so we can produce amazing meals with little effort!

    1. Hi Sharon! I am thrilled that you are enjoying my recipes and they make meal preparation easier for you! Thank you for sharing your incredible feedback and review! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

  13. Making staff lunch to impress new manager and hope to get more plant foods on restaurant and cafe menus.
    Hope my version of Alfredo with broccoli, garden strips and a cashew cauliflower cream Alfredo wow them! I’ll add some violife mozzarella and chopped parsley.

    1. 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!

  14. Thanks Nora! I’m trying to make the transition from vegetarian to vegan, and one of the things I thought I’d miss most is creamy Alfredo. Now I don’t have to worry about that as this recipe comes pretty darn close. The secret was to add a teaspoon of freshly-grated nutmeg. Thanks again, my recipe search is over.

    1. Hi Barb. How fabulous the Alfredo sauce is a hit for you! Thank you for your great feedback and review! Happy cooking!

  15. I have to be on a plant based diet for medical reasons for a little while. I always thought I could go vegetarian, but vegan? No way. Mostly because I don’t believe anything can taste as good as the real thing. This comes pretty close. When I need that comfort feeling food, I go to pasta and go to cream sauces. This did the trick yesterday and it is very tasty. Cashews? Really? Yep, I’m a believer now.

  16. Hi there, I’m wondering how much one serving is? on the nutrition facts it just says “1 serving”, at the top it says it yields 6 servings.. it makes about 4 cups of sauce so is the serving size on the nutrition fact label like approx. 1/2 cup?

  17. I recommend avoiding soy milk in this recipe… it was unsweetened and unflavored but it tasted way too sweet and almost vanilla flavored?

    1. Are you SURE there is no vanilla listed in the soy milk ingredients? I recently had this happened with what looked like plain and unsweetened soy milk (I think it was from Whole Foods) but in fact there was vanilla in the ingredients list! So frustrating.

      1. She also CLEARLY stated in the notes that it could be ANY milk substitute, or water, so long as it was unsweetened and unflavored. Might want to double check that next time before you get snarky with other people.

  18. This was honestly so good I’m blown away. We halved the recipe for 2 because it makes quite a bit. Added broccoli to the boiling pasta water during the last 3 minutes of boil and added a handful of spinach at the end. Served with cracked pepper and follow your heart parmesan. It’ll be a part of the regular rotation, thank you!!!!

    1. Hi Kat. You are welcome! I’m so glad that you’ll be adding my recipe to your meal rotation! Your meal sounds so delicious! Thank you for your wonderful feedback, it means a lot to me! Happy cooking!

  19. Another perfect recipe! Cooked it just as written but served with sautéed mushrooms, steamed broccoli and vegan chicken. Even my toddler couldn’t get enough. Thanks Nora 

    1. Hi Sonya. Yum, your meal sounds delicious! I’m so glad the Alfredo sauce was a hit! Thanks for your great feedback and review!

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