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This easy queso fresco recipe is the soft, creamy, and crumbly Mexican cheese you’ve been missing out on since going vegan.

Try using this in place of goat cheese or feta because it’s absolutely delicious!

Wedge of Vegan Queso Fresco
Enjoy vegan queso fresco with all your favorite Mexican recipes!

📖 About

Cheese is an integral part of Mexican cuisine as most recipes will have some type of cheese in it, on it, or by it!

It’s crucial for us to create recipes that are easy to make, don’t contain a ton of ingredients, and taste just like the real thing.

We know you’re going to love this one!


Back when cheesemaking first started in Mexico, there wasn’t a maturing (affinage) process or fridges to be found. For this reason, farmers made queso fresco (fresh cheese), which was designed to be eaten within a few days of being made.

Queso fresco is traditionally made from cow’s milk (or a mix of cow and goat milk). So, we knew we needed to create a dairy-free version to add another classic into our Mexican cooking arsenal.

What is it?

Queso fresco is a staple in Mexican cuisine. It’s used to garnish dishes like sopes, refried beans, enchiladas, papas a la mexicana, or black bean soup.

You’ll notice queso fresco is described as a fresh, mild cheese, which we’ve really captured in this recipe. We also simplified things for you by keeping our ingredient list in the single digits!

We wanted to make things as easy as possible since our goal is to share plant-based food that’s approachable and worthy of being added to your regular routine.

Before long, you’ll have a vegan queso that holds its shape well (thanks to agar and coconut oil), but still has that classic crumble-ability of traditional queso fresco. As usual, it’s 100% cruelty-free, gluten-free, and straightforward to make.


After chilling this queso fresco, we like to crumble it on dishes like chilaquiles, bean tostaguacs, spaghetti (verde or blanco), or elotes.

If you discover another dish to serve vegan queso fresco with, make sure to let us know in the comments below! Take a little time out of your day to make this recipe. We promise you won’t regret it.

Coconut Oil, Cashews, Almonds, Salt, Nutritional Yeast, Onion Powder, and Vinegar
It’s cheese-making time

🍲 Key ingredients

For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.


Taste: with a rich, mildly nutty flavor, cashews are extra sweet due to their high carbohydrate content. Once blended, they create a creamy texture that’s perfect to emulate the traditional queso fresco consistency.

Health: since they’re high in omega 3’s, cashews play a huge role in reducing LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). Although cashews are healthy, they’re high in fat (1 gram of fat = 9 calories). In other words, the calories can quickly add up if you’re not conscious about portion sizes.


Taste: almonds have a slightly sweet, but rather neutral flavor. We use them in this recipe for their crumbly texture. By mixing almonds with cashews, we achieve the best of both worlds — creamy and crumbly vegan queso.

Health: almonds are extremely high in nutrients, boasting over 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein in a single ounce serving. There are actually some nutrients in nuts that our bodies have trouble breaking down, which means we don’t absorb all the calories associated with them (thanks body!).

Vegan Queso Fresco Ball on a Cutting Board
We hope to never live in a world without vegan queso fresco

Agar powder

Taste: this flavorless gelatin substitute is made from 100% seaweed. We use it in this recipe to give the cheese a bit more shape and structure.

Health: although low in calories, agar contains a high amount of manganese, calcium, and iron, making it a great addition to this already nutrient-dense cheese.

Refined coconut oil

Taste: refined coconut oil has no discernible flavor profile since it is “deodorized” with heat during processing. We use this saturated fat to help keep the cheese sturdy.

Health: most dietary fats are long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), but coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). This is one of the reasons coconut oil is touted by many as a health food (although, there’s a lot of controversy).

MCTs head straight to the liver to be used immediately for energy (rather than store as fat). There’s lots of fancy jargon surrounding MCTs, but our motto has always been “everything in moderation.” Seems logical, right?

Cashews, Nutritional Yeast, Almonds, Coconut Oil, and Salt in a Blender
Throw it all in your blender

🔪 Instructions

If you have questions about making vegan queso fresco, don’t forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.

Step 1: begin by soaking the almonds and cashews in room temperature water for about 12 hours, or overnight. After they’ve soaked, drain the nuts and place them in a high-speed blender or food processor with the vinegar, coconut oil, nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, and water.

White Sauce in a Blender
Blend until smooth and creamy

Step 2: blend the mixture until it’s smooth (make sure to stop and scrape down the sides a few times). Then, add in the agar powder and blend it again to combine.

White Sauce in a Saucepan
Add the cheese mixture to a saucepan

Step 3: bring the cheese mixture to a low boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s lightly boiling, lower the heat and simmer the cheese to activate the agar for 3-5 minutes, or until the mixture is thickened.

Thickened White Sauce in a Saucepan
Simmer it until it’s nice and thick

Note: the cheese should start to set soon after you remove it from heat. If it does not, simply add it back to your saucepan and simmer for a few minutes longer.

Vegan Queso Fresco in a Cheesecloth
Transfer to a container (we line ours with cheesecloth, but parchment works too)

Step 4: working fairly quickly, transfer the cheese mixture to a lined bowl or mould. Cover and let it chill in your fridge for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight.

Step 5: Once it’s set, serve this vegan queso fresco on top of sopesblack bean souptacos, and more!

🌡️ Storage

Fridge: store your cheese in an airtight container (to ensure optimal freshness) for up to 5 days in the fridge.

Freezer: we don’t recommend freezing vegan queso fresco as the texture will change when thawed.

Wedge of Vegan Queso Fresco
The perfect wedge of deliciousness

💭 Pro tips

Time to share our tips and tricks we learned while perfecting this recipe for you:

  • Ensure the agar is properly activated by keeping the mixture at a low boil.
  • The consistency will get better the longer the cheese chills. We recommend 12-24 hours.
  • Soak the almonds and cashews for at least 12 hours to achieve the best consistency.
  • Line your mould with parchment paper or a cheesecloth to make sure the queso doesn’t get stuck.
  • If you forget to line the mould, run a knife around the edges to pop the cheese out (or just serve it out of the same dish…less cleanup).
  • To make this cheese tangier, add in extra vinegar before simmering.
  • For a prominent cheese flavor, use more nutritional yeast.

🍴 Tasting notes

If you love cheese, you’re going to be obsessed with this recipe. It’s:

  • Creamy
  • Crumbly
  • Salty
  • Tangy
  • Dairy-free
  • Gluten-free

If you try this vegan queso fresco, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!

Wedge of Vegan Queso Fresco

Vegan Queso Fresco

Mitch and Justine
Finally, a perfectly creamy, tangy, and crumbly vegan queso fresco! Imagine a dairy-free cheese recipe that not only tastes amazing, but is super easy to make. We're pushing all the vegan cheese-making boundaries today.
4.93 from 14 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Rest time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Course Appetizer, How-to, Snack
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mexican, Vegan
Servings 15 servings
Calories 76 kcal


  • Blender or food processor
  • Spatula
  • Small saucepan
  • Cheesecloth or parchment paper
  • Cheese mold or heat-safe bowl


  • ½ cup blanched almonds, soaked ($1.25)
  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked ($0.86)
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar ($0.02)
  • 3 tbsp refined coconut oil ($0.42)
  • ½ tbsp nutritional yeast ($0.12)
  • ¼ tsp onion powder ($0.01)
  • 1 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • 2 tsp agar powder ($0.10)
  • cup + 2 tbsp water ($0.01)


  • To begin, soak the almonds and cashews in room temperature water for about 12 hours, or overnight. After they've soaked, drain the nuts and place them in a high-speed blender or food processor with the vinegar, coconut oil, nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, and water.
  • Blend for approximately 2-10* minutes, or until the mixture is smooth (stop to scrape down the sides a few times). Lastly, add in the agar powder and blend until combined.
  • Set the blender aside while you heat a small saucepan over medium heat for a 1-2 minutes. Then, transfer the cheese mixture into the saucepan and bring it to a low boil while stirring constantly.
  • Once the mixture is lightly boiling, turn the heat down to simmer and continue stirring constantly for about 3-5 minutes, or until it thickens.
  • Note: the cheese should start to set soon after you remove it from heat. If it does not, simply add it back to your saucepan and simmer for a few minutes longer.
  • Working fairly quickly, transfer the cheese mixture to a parchment paper or cheesecloth-lined bowl or mould**. Cover and let the cheese chill in your fridge for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight.
  • Serve this vegan queso fresco on top of sopes, black bean soup, tacos, and more!


YouTube video


  • * The blend time will vary depending on the quality of blender or food processor you’re using.
  • ** We use a bowl with a flat bottom for our cheese mould, but any ramekin or heat-safe bowl you have will work.
  • The agar powder needs to get to 85-90 degrees C/185-194 degrees F in order to activate and set properly, which is why the cheese mixture has to be simmered.
  • Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
  • We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
  • Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
  • All prices are in USD.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 76kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.5g | Protein: 1.9g | Fat: 7.1g | Saturated Fat: 2.9g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 155.7mg | Potassium: 67.5mg | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 0.4g | Vitamin A: 0.1IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 14.6mg | Iron: 0.5mg
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♻️ Similar recipes

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I can’t find agar. Can I use anything to replace it?

If you can’t find agar, try using kappa carrageenan or tapioca. The texture won’t be the same if you use tapioca, but it should be close.

Can I use agar flakes instead of powder?

Yes, you can use agar flakes in place of the powdered form. Remember, 1 teaspoon of powder is equal to 1 tablespoon of flakes.

Do I have to use almonds and cashews?

Yes, this recipe is intended to include both. Almonds lend a crumbly texture and cashews provide creaminess.

My cheese isn’t holding its shape. What did I do wrong?

If your cheese isn’t firming up, there’s a good chance the agar did not activate or you have a weak agar. Try cooking it for longer or adding more agar.

Can this cheese be made without nuts?

This recipe is designed to be made with nuts. We’re developing similar cheeses that don’t contain nuts, so stay tuned!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hi Justine & Mitch,
    I just made your crema (sooo good), and i now i want to try this queso fresco. Do you think this would work with all cashews, or do the almonds lend an essential flavor/texture? Thanks!

    1. Oh shoot—please disregard my previous comment-question about the almonds. I just saw the answer in the post.

  2. Pinning this one to try next month. Slowly moving over to more plant based foods. Thanks!

  3. sounds deli!! do you think using olive oil instead would change the flavor significantly?

    1. Hey Enah!

      The olive oil will change the flavor and texture because the coconut oil hardens in the fridge. But, you can definitely try it and let us know how it goes!

  4. 5 stars
    INCREDIBLE!! Beware: this cheese is addicting! 🙂 It is super easy to make, thanks to Mitch and Justine’s great video and recipe instructions. We’ve tried this on everything and the flavor compliments well with all sorts of dishes. It’s also just so good by itself or paired with a sliced apple.. YUM! This will always be a staple in our house 🙂 Thanks, Broke Bank Vegan!!

    1. Hey McKenzie!

      LOL — It totally is addicting! We are so happy to hear you found the instructions and video helpful. We definitely need to try it on some apples. Thanks for the comment! 🙂