5-Minute Homemade Pizza Cheese

Photo courtesy of Ashley Capps

Photo courtesy of Ashley Capps

This quick, easy, cashew-based cheese is meant specifically for spreading on pizzas! With only five minutes of cooking time, it’s the perfect last-minute meal. Just remember to soak your cashews in advance!

*Recipe by Ashley Capps, adapted from Sam Turnbull’s vegan recipe blog, “It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken,” who adapted it from a recipe at the blog “Vedged Out.” Originally shared at Mothers Against Dairy.


½ cup raw cashews (soak overnight or boil)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup liquid from a jar of pepperoncinis (optional! you can also use one full cup of water and omit the pepperoncini liquid.)
3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons tapioca starch (also known as tapioca flour)
2 tablespoons of nutritional Yeast
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar OR lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder


1. SOAK or BOIL your cashews. To soak the cashews: cover with water and soak for 4 hours or overnight. To boil the cashews: Cover with water and bring to a boil for 10 to 15 minutes until they are soft and can be easily broken between your fingers.

2. Drain the cashews and add them with all the other ingredients to a blender. Blend until completely smooth. Your mixture will not be thick yet.

3. Pour into a small saucepan over medium-high heat, and *continually stir* for four to five minutes. As you stir the mixture will begin forming clumps. Keep stirring and after a few minutes the lumps will disappear and the mixture will become smooth and possibly a little shiny, and will pull away from the sides. Around five minutes the mixture should seem smooth, firmer and thick (but will still be spreadable and gooey if you push it with your spoon). Remove from heat and pour/scrape into a bowl. Prepare your pizza crust, add sauce, then dollop the cheese onto the crust in big blobs. It will not be very spreadable but you can place big blobs close together and flatten them out a bit with a spatula or wooden spoon. Bake at the time your crust calls for. To make cheese spread a bit more, remove pizza three or four minutes before cooking time is up and the hot cheese blobs will be more spreadable. Return to oven for rest of baking time.

This quick, easy cheese is also great for quesadillas, grilled cheese, and dipping!