This incredibly easy vegan mascarpone cheese is made with 3 simple ingredients that you most likely have in your fridge and pantry already! Creamy, slightly sweet, with a subtle tang- this dairy-free mascarpone alternative is amazing in baked goods or with savory dishes.
why we love this vegan mascarpone
If you’re a fan of cream cheese, you’ll love this super simple vegan mascarpone cheese. Here are a few reasons we love this recipe and you will too!
- Under 1 Hour to Make: this recipe is quick, taking less than an hour to make.
- Super Creamy Texture: it has a spreadable and an incredibly creamy texture!
- Simple Recipe: I always thought making vegan cheese at home was a difficult process, but this recipe couldn’t be easier.
This homemade vegan mascarpone recipe is great if you’re lactose intolerant, if you’re trying to cut back on dairy, or you just don’t have time to run to the store and need a quick homemade alternative!
why this recipe works
Traditional mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese that is slightly sweet with a high butterfat percentage. Mascarpone is used in recipes from tiramisu to tarts to frostings.
Unlike cream cheese, mascarpone is slightly sweet with nutty undertones. You can find out more about the differences between mascarpone and cream cheese in this article.
This recipe replicates the sweet, nutty, yet tangy taste by using soy milk, sugar, and lemon juice.
Lemon juice is acidic and helps to curdle and separate the fat and proteins from the soy milk which acts as the base for the vegan cheese. This is a similar method used to make tofu! When making tofu, ingredients like calcium, magnesium chloride (like nigari), or other acids are added to the soy milk.
Below I list a variation to this recipe using store-bought tofu instead of curdling your own soy milk.
the dairy free mascarpone ingredients
To make this vegan mascarpone you only need 3 ingredients!
- Soy Milk, I use Silk Unsweetened Original Soy Milk
- Lemon Juice
- Sugar, Granulated or Powdered
A few other add-ins you could throw into the cheese are:
- Vanilla Extract
- Pinch or two of salt
- Soaked Cashews OR Coconut Cream, to help balance the soy flavor of the soy milk
Dairy Free Milk:
I’ve tested this recipe somewhat successfully using oat milk instead of soy milk. However, I found that it produced slightly less ‘cheese’ than the soy milk, and only certain brands of oat milk curdle.
Note: I tested this recipe using Trader Joe’s Oat Milk beverage and I was not able to successfully curdle the milk. This is most likely because of the different additives used in different oat milks (to help emulsify the milks).
I also tested this recipe with almond milk and found it produces about half as much ‘cheese’ as the soy milk.
Because of this variability, for the best results, I ONLY recommend using soy milk.
If you don’t want to curdle your own soy milk, you can use firm tofu instead! One of my lovely readers actually suggested this in the comments, so I thought I’d update the post to include this method.
📌 Note: I’ve found that store-bought tofu has a more pronounced soy taste than curdling your own soy milk.
Ingredients for vegan mascarpone with tofu!
- 1 14oz block of firm tofu (soft tofu will have too much liquid)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 3-4 tbsp granulated or powdered sugar (adjust to taste)
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup soaked cashews OR coconut cream, optional
- 1 tsp vanilla extract, optional
To make the vegan mascarpone cheese with tofu, follow these steps:
- Drain the tofu, then crumble it up into the cheesecloth. Squeeze as much liquid out as you can.
- Then, add the squeezed tofu, lemon juice, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt to a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy!
- Give the vegan cheese a taste. If you’re finding it has too much of a ‘soy taste’, add 1/4 cup of the soaked cashews OR 1/4 cup of coconut cream. Give it a quick blend to combine and it’s ready to use!
equipment and tools
The ingredients and steps to make this creamy vegan cheese are pretty simple, but you’ll want to make sure you have the necessary equipment prior to starting!
Below are some suggested tools to make the best vegan mascarpone:
- Digital Kitchen Scale: to measure all the ingredients accurately
- Fine Sieve: for straining the soy milk
- Citrus Juicer: to get the most juice out of the lemons as possible
- Cheese Cloth: to squeeze the liquid out of the cheese
- Food Processor or Blender: to create the creamiest texture
how to make vegan mascarpone cheese
🎥 Video tutorial is in the recipe card below!
From start to finish, this recipe takes less than an hour! Here are a few helpful tips before you begin:
- Measure all your ingredients prior to starting.
- Place a sieve on top of a large bowl and lay out your cheese cloth inside of it.
Now that everything is prepped, you can follow these steps to make this sweet vegan cheese!
STEP 1: Pour the soy milk and lemon juice into a medium-sized pot and heat on low. Give the mixture a quick stir and then try not to stir the milk for the remaining time.
STEP 2: Bring the mixture to a very gentle simmer. The soy milk should begin to immediately curdle.
STEP 3: Once the solids have risen to the top (see the reference pictures below), pour the soy milk mixture into the prepared cheesecloth.
straining the vegan cheese
After simmering the soy milk and lemon juice, all of the curds from the milk should be curdled and bubbling near the top. The next step is to strain the liquid to separate the curds.
STEP 4: Squeeze the cheesecloth over the sieve and bowl until most of the liquid is out. (Be careful here since the mixture is hot!).
📌 TIP: You’ll need a cheesecloth and a fine metal sieve for this step.
STEP 5: Transfer the soy curds to a food processor (or a single-serve blender) and add in the sugar, salt, and vanilla (if using).
STEP 6: Blend until smooth and creamy. Give the cheese a taste and add soaked cashews OR coconut cream if you’re finding it has too much of a soy taste.
storing the vegan mascarpone
After blending the vegan cheese, I like to transfer it to a small sealable container. I use these tiny glass storage jars from Ikea.
This recipe makes about ½ cup of vegan mascarpone cheese.
You can keep the mascarpone in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. As it sits in the fridge, some excess liquid may separate but this is okay. Just give the vegan cheese a quick stir, and good to go!
uses for mascarpone cheese
Mascarpone is most commonly used in Italian cooking and baking and is famous for being a core ingredient in tiramisu. Below are a few other ways you can use this vegan mascarpone!
- In frostings
- On baked fruit and crumbles
- On top of cakes
- In cream sauces for pastas or soups
vegan mascarpone tips & tricks
It is possible to make this without a cheesecloth, however, it is messy and will take a little longer. Follow the same steps above, but instead of the cheesecloth use, 3-4 paper towels stacked on top of one another in combination with a metal sieve. Be careful not to rip the paper towels as you squeeze the liquid out. You may need to squeeze the liquid out in multiple batches.
Other dairy-free milk may work, however, I have only tested this exact recipe with soy milk, oat milk, and almond milk. Soy milk has a higher fat percentage than other dairy-free milk and a relatively neutral taste (as opposed to coconut milk). The oat milk gave a toasted nutty taste to the cheese which was quite yummy when combined with vanilla and a bit of sugar.
Almond milk gave this cheese a lovely subtle nutty flavor, but the soy milk ended up yielding a larger quantity of cheese than almond milk. Almond milk produced about half the amount of mascarpone as soy milk.
At this time, I can’t guarantee results with other plant milk, as I haven’t tested them.
If your soy milk isn’t curdling, you may not have added enough acid. Try adding 1-2 tbsp of lemon juice. Another reason could be that the mixture hasn’t simmered long enough yet. The soy milk and lemon juice should simmer on low for about 10 minutes to get the best separation.
If you are finding that the mascarpone has too much of a soy / tofu flavor, you can add 1/4 cup of soaked cashews OR 1/4 cup of coconut cream to the mixture. You can also add more sugar to taste and another splash of vanilla to help balance the flavors.
LOOKING FOR MORE VEGAN RECIPES?
- Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
- Strawberry Crunch Cake
- Italian Pear Almond Cake
- Eggless Apple Cake
- Vegan Heavy Cream
recipe and video:
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