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Vegan Cheez Whiz

Vegan Cheez Whiz can be yours in mere minutes; just throw everything into a blender! This thick creamy spread is a bolder, grown up version of the Kraft Cheez Whiz that we loved as kids. Just blend the ingredients smooth and it’s ready to drizzle over broccoli, fold into cooked pasta, top burgers and pizza — it’s up to you! Chill the sauce and it’ll firm up into thick creamy spread that’s perfect on toast and crackers.
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This vegan cheese sauce is deliciously tangy and savory, rich and smooth but made with nutritious ingredients like red peppers and cashews. Or try sunflower seeds instead of cashews for a lower cost alternative. If you’re allergic to seeds and nuts, you could use tofu instead. Once you make this recipe in your kitchen, it becomes YOUR vegan Cheez Whiz and there ARE no rules.

vegan cheez whiz being poured into a bowl

Video Tutorial for Vegan Cheez Whiz

in “Epic Vegan Cheat Meals | What I Ate Wednesday 100”
skip to 2:59 for this recipe

 

Ingredients & Alternatives

The base

You can whip up this vegan cheese spread anytime with vegan pantry staples – no fresh produce necessary. For best results (the creamiest, dreamiest results), use soaked raw cashews as the base. Raw cashews are perfect for this recipe because their flavour is very mild and they have a good protein and fat content that can be blended down very smooth. Plus, they’ll help this spread firm up without the need for any additional thickeners or stabilizers. The nuts do need to be soaked to make this easier on your blender. You can either throw a cup of raw cashews into the fridge covered in water overnight, soak them for an hour at room temperature, or, if you don’t have time, boil them for 10 minutes. 

While, raw cashews seem to make the best vegan cheez whiz, they are pricey and it seems like they’re getting more expensive all the time. Maybe because we’re all suddenly making vegan cheese with it. A great alternative is raw sunflower seeds. The flavour is a bit more woodsy and sometimes the colour is a bit on the grey side but they can blend up just as nicely if you soak them.

If you’re allergic to nuts and seeds, you can use a cup of firm tofu instead. Drain the tofu very well before you use it but it will also blend up to a nice creamy base. There’s less fat in tofu than seeds and nuts so the texture will not be as smooth. You can get around this by adding a little extra fat in the form of butter-flavoured coconut oil or another oil that you like. Tofu sometimes also has a beany flavour so you can add a bit extra flavour to cover it up.

ingredients for vegan cheez whiz measured out

Flavourings

I recommend sticking to the ingredients list, at least the first time, when making this vegan cheez whiz recipe. I find the ingredients and amounts add up to the perfect vegan cheez whiz flavour and even minor changes can disturb the balance. Fortunately, most of the ingredients can be pulled out of your pantry so you can whip this versatile spread anytime. They are:

  • 1 small roasted red pepper from a jar (about 30grams)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh or bottled is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons butter-flavoured coconut oil (or melted vegan butter)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 
  • 1 clove of garlic OR 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (though I think fresh garlic is better)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard (regular mustard will work also if you don’t have dijon)
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Maple syrup is the one ingredient that might give you pause in this recipe, but trust me, go with it!

Equipment

The best results I’ve gotten were when I used my Ninja blender with the single-serve smoothie cup. I was able to blend the mixture until it was glossy and smooth with only a couple tablespoons of additional water to help out. When I used the larger container to blend, I needed 1/4 cup of water.  Either way, the homemade cheez whiz will firm up in the fridge even with the additional water.

If you have a regular blender (not a high powered one), add the 1/4 cup of water at the start. Blend using the pulse setting for 10 seconds at a time. Between pulses, scrape down the sides. Continue until the mixture blends smoothly. This will take more patience but it can work! I used to use my $30 Oster blender for making vegan cheese with soaked nuts and seeds all the time.

You can also use an immersion blender for this recipe. For best results, add 1/4 cup of water at the start (especially if you know your immersion blender is not particularly powerful). Blend the ingredients in a tall narrow cup to make things easier. Pulse until the mixture blends smoothly then continue until it’s as smooth as you can get it.

I have not tested this recipe with other blenders or food processors. Please let me know if you do and how it turns out.

Finally, because this vegan cheez whiz tastes so FLIPPING GOOD and cashews are kind of expensive, you’ll really want a rubber or silicone spatula to get every bit of your homemade cheese spread out of your blender or container.

Storage

Store your homemade vegan cheez whiz in a clean closed container in the fridge. It actually tastes better on the second day after all the flavours have had a chance to meld together. It will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge. That is, if you don’t eat it up before then! Personally, I’ll use it on everything from sandwiches to pasta to raw, steamed or roasted vegetables so it’s usually gone within a week. Let me know how you’d use up this vegan cheez whiz in the comments!

Printable recipe for Vegan Cheez Whiz

Vegan Cheez Whiz
This thick creamy spread is the grown up version of the Kraft Cheez Whiz that we loved as kids. It's deliciously tangy, savory, rich and smooth but made with nutritious ingredients like red peppers and cashews. Best of all you can whip it up in minutes using pantry ingredients.

For those with allergies to nuts (or just allergic to the price of cashews right now), try sunflower seeds for a lower cost alternative. If you’re allergic to seeds and nuts, you could use the same amount of well-drained firm tofu instead.

Just blend the ingredients smooth and it’s ready to drizzle over broccoli, fold into cooked pasta, top burgers and pizza — it’s up to you! Chill the sauce and it’ll firm up into thick creamy spread that’s perfect on toast and crackers.

To make this recipe easier on your blender (and get a smoother result) soak your cashews (or sunflower seeds) in water at room temperature for an hour. Or you can soak them overnight in the fridge. Or if you're pressed for time, you can boil the raw cashews for 10 minutes.

This recipe makes 1 1/2 cups of vegan cheez whiz.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least an hour and drained
  2. 1 small roasted red pepper from a jar (about 30 grams)*
  3. 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  4. 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  5. 2 tablespoons butter-flavoured coconut oil (or vegan butter), at room temperature or warm
  6. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  7. 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  8. 1 clove garlic (or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder)
  9. 1 teaspoon dijon mustard (or regular as a 2nd choice)
  10. 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  11. 1 - 2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
Optional
  1. 1/4 cup of hot water (to help your blender along)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients, including ONE teaspoon of salt and EXCLUDING water into your blender. Pulse until the mixture starts to blend smoothly. You may need to pause and scrape down the sides of your blender container and add up to 1/4 cup of water. Blend until very smooth.
  2. Taste and add up to one additional teaspoon of salt if desired.
Notes
  1. *One small roasted red pepper (about 30 grams) is perfect to achieve the cheez whiz flavour. However, the colour of the spread is more vibrant when you use two.You can experiment to see whether you like the extra colour and red pepper flavour.
Mary's Test Kitchen http://www.marystestkitchen.com/
Showing 2 comments
  • Mari
    Reply

    I just recently found this recipe and I really like it. Unfortunately I didn’t have the roasted red peppers, so I subbed pimientos, but it still turned out really good. However, I will do it as written the next time. This is so smooth and delicious. I made a double batch, and am already plotting what I can do with it. I am not a vegan, but I am casein intolerant, so I have been looking around for recipes to replace childhood favorites, and your site is a goldmine. Many years ago I found a cheese spread that was made with white beans and pimientos. It was tangy like this, and that’s really what Cheez Whiz basically is. It’s very tangy with no real, discernible taste, other than the tang! I much prefer this version with cashews. Before I started making cashew based dairy substitutes, I bought ten pounds of cashews. It’s time to order more! Thanks for a really great recipe. This was a breeze in my VitaMix.

    • Mary
      Reply

      Yay! Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Mari. Love the pimentos idea! I’m so happy this recipe could stand in for one of those childhood favourites. -xo Mary

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