Raw Vegan Recipe: Macadamia Nut Cheese

This is aka Mac Cheese for short. My friend and faithful forum member, Shari, had her recipe posted on another site several years ago. Then, one of the members posted it on the forum right here. Shari said she’d take pictures to illustrate the steps but I’ve gotten a round tuit before she did. She gave me permission to post it. The following is our joint effort.

Macadamia Nut Cheese

By Shari Viger

1 bag of raw macadamia nuts (do NOT soak these nuts, they are really nasty if you do)

Note: I asked her how much was in one bag and she said 2 cups.

enough water to cover in blender

Turn on blender and blend until very smooth and creamy. A VitaMix works wonders with this, but a regular blender works well. Just make sure there is enough liquid to keep the blades turning in the “cheese.” Don’t worry if it looks too soupy, the next step will take care of most of it. (Be careful not to have a pourable liquid.)

Remove from blender into a fine nylon mesh bag that has been placed in a colander that has been put on a plate (to catch the whey). When all the cheese is in, fold the bag over itself and put a plate on top. Place some sort of a weight on the plate and put everything in a warm spot. In winter I put mine in front of the gas fireplace or at this time of year I put it in the hot water tank closet. Somewhere warm and away from drafts.

Leave there overnight or throughout one day. At the end of that time, take a taste. I like mine a little tangy and it will become that way eventually.

When it is to your liking remove to refrigerator for a day, if you like a firmer cheese. I’ve actually had batches that are so close to cream cheese people cannot tell the difference!


Now, here’s where I take over.

Get your equipment together. I don’t have a nylon mesh bag so I use cheesecloth. I think that’s rather appropriate, anyway. The saucer is to press the cheese in the colander and the larger dessert plate holds the jars. Shari has some kind of weight a friend gave her but the jars filled with water work fine.

Have your VitaMix or other high speed blender available.

Ready for the Mixture
Get the colander ready by lining it with the folded cheesecloth.

Measure your macadamias. This may seem to be an outrageously expensive recipe but the macs here are raw organic and cost $4 a lub. Those little jars at the supermarket are the worst way to buy them. The water should be purified.

In the Blender
Place the macs in the blender container and barely cover them with water. You can add more later if you need to.

Blending the Macs
I like to start out slowly and increase the speed very gradually. It seems to work better for me that way.

Blend it thoroughly until smooth but don’t let the friction of the blades heat the mixture. Add more water if it’s too thick but be careful not to get it runny. You want a fairly thick consistency.

Ready to Wrap
You can tell by the way it “peaks” that this isn’t liquid. I still set the colander on the plate to catch any stray drips.

Waiting the Weights
Wrap the “cheese” with the cheesecloth being careful to cover all of it.

First Layer
I later reversed the saucer and put it on right side up.

Base for Jars
The dessert plate makes a good foundation for the jars.

Weighted Down
The setup looks precarious but it’s stable and in an out of the way place.

Location Location Location
I put it where the microwave used to live. That’s a handy spot and pretty much draft-free. Now, all we do is wait. And wait. And wait.

Next Day
I’d started this batch mid-afternoon so I waited until about 6 the next afternoon to check it out. It was ready to go! It had the right amount of tanginess and the consistency was like cream cheese.

Ready to Eat
I unwrapped it completely and put it on a plate for a glamour shot (about as close to food styling as I’m capable of getting).

Rinse the cheesecloth well, hang to dry and store folded in a plastic bag.

If you want a better look, click on the picture and it will open up larger in another window. The variations, top left to right are: large light purple kalamata olives, jalapeno and onion, tomato garnished with tomato “caviar”, and plain. Bottom left to right: small dark purple kalamata olives (that’s what I used that turned the mix pink), red bell pepper, and basil. The one in the center all by itself is Bubbies pickle relish.

And, NO! I didn’t eat all these stuffed tomatoes even though they are rather small Camparis! Here’s what I did:

I put the tomatoes in a big salad and didn’t eat ANY of the Mac Cheese that day. That isn’t to say I haven’t since. I’ve kept this “cheese” in a container in the fridge for three weeks. I don’t know that I’d try to go longer than that but it might just get better.

Mac Sour Cream
Here’s one more variation I came up with today. Mix the cheese with enough purified water to make raw vegan sour cream. It’s delicious!

Use your imagination and let me know what you like to put with yours!

95 Responses to Raw Vegan Recipe: Macadamia Nut Cheese

  1. Jason July 16, 2008 at 2:05 pm #

    Wow – I tried this recipe and its fantastic! Takes a while to prepare, but im really glad I did it.


  2. Tommie July 16, 2008 at 6:05 pm #

    Thanks for letting me know, Jason! It isn’t that it’s complicated but the time is tied up in waiting for it to “ripen”. It’s worth it, though, and it will last a long time if you eat it the way you should and not how you might want to… 😀

  3. bay July 17, 2008 at 12:01 pm #

    Great photos. I’m excited to try this. Now, I have to go get some macadamias…

  4. Tommie July 17, 2008 at 8:40 pm #

    Good luck! If you are a cheeselover (or an former one like me) I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

  5. berry July 19, 2008 at 8:07 pm #

    great pics tommie!

  6. Tommie July 19, 2008 at 8:13 pm #

    Thanks and thanks for stopping by, Ras!

  7. bay July 21, 2008 at 10:44 pm #

    Well, I started my cheese this evening, finally! Tomorrow, I’ll get some yummy ‘maters from the farmer’s market to eat it with.

  8. Tommie July 21, 2008 at 11:18 pm #

    I’m so envious! Enjoy those yummy maters for me!

  9. Trond January 16, 2009 at 2:58 pm #

    Wow thanks! I’m not Raw vegan, or vegan, or vegetarian for that matter – cheese gives me Migraines though. And that sucks when you’re as cheesy lovin’ as I am…

    I’ll try this at the earliest convenience. – Bookmarked –

    • Tommie January 16, 2009 at 6:04 pm #

      I was a cheese lover, too. Now I’m Vegan, Raw Vegan (as in Bond, James Bond). Hope you like this. You can flavor it any way you want.

  10. angel January 18, 2009 at 11:09 am #

    wow!!! finally this looks awesome I will try as soon as the huge snow allows us to travel safely to get the macas!!! n I am originally from the place where maca’s are native Australia…..ohh I know some great property’s to collect them!!! excellent! will let you know how I go! peace

    • Tommie January 18, 2009 at 5:32 pm #

      Sounds like you are no longer “down under” since they are still having warm weather. Please do let me know how it goes and what you do to make it even better!

  11. Zsuzanna February 2, 2009 at 10:22 pm #

    I just wanted to let you know that I posted this on my blog, giving you full credit. Such an amazing cheeZe recipe needs to be spread (pun intended!!)

    Cheers and love

    • Tommie February 3, 2009 at 8:46 pm #

      Thanks, Z! I checked it out already today and that was a super nice post. Hope you like the cheeZe!

  12. Lynn April 12, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    Thanks for the info, just what I was looking for. I live in remote Costa Rica and at an organic farmer’s market ran into madadamia nut cheese with olive oil and veggies ground in. At what point do you think these were added … it seems it must be after it is “ripe” but before or after chilling?


  13. Anonymous April 23, 2009 at 2:17 pm #

    Why do you weight the cheese down with the jars of water?

    • Tommie April 23, 2009 at 5:28 pm #

      Because I don’t have anything else that would work. 😀 Seriously, it presses the “whey” out more efficiently. If you let it sit long enough to get it all out, otherwise, it would take far longer.

  14. Mike May 8, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    This recipe really is awsome. My kids love it and they are not even thinking on trying real cheese etc. The only improvements you can do is to ad a 2 table spoons of fresh lemon juice to the mixture after the blending. After the ripening, it tastes more like the real cottage cheese. Also I have tried a variation with organic soy beans and it became organic tofu.

    Good luck everyone and stay healthy and happy.

    • Tommie May 8, 2009 at 7:34 pm #

      Thanks for the tip, Mike. I’ll have to try that. There’s always room for improvement!

  15. Patricia June 5, 2009 at 12:31 am #

    You said you live in Costa Rica,Where do you get all the raw nuts?I recently came back from the states and I am having a hard time finding raw nuts

  16. Melinda June 7, 2009 at 10:23 am #

    You can find raw nuts on http://www.alisonspantry.com and they are cheaper than finding them in the stores. The shipping is high so I recommend ordering a good amount of stuff. She has raw sunflower seeds, macadamias, almonds, pecans, walnuts.

    • Tommie June 7, 2009 at 11:08 am #

      Thanks, Melinda. I don’t live in Costa Rica—I live in Tennessee USA. Wonder what the shipping would be to CR, though? I find the prices to be higher than what I paid but I got a “deal”. 😀 Also, for really raw cashews, Amazon is a good place to order them, especially if you do it on subscription. If you do a search in the search box on the right (it’s ‘way up there), just type in navitas raw cashews and you should find them easily. The price drops with a subscription and the shipping is free. Keep your eyes open for an additional discount code and that drops the price even more. I know I got it on raw organic blue agave nectar. In this economy, every bit helps.

  17. Sheila June 13, 2009 at 7:58 pm #

    Would you do everything the same if you used any other kind of nut? Or say, if I tried walnuts or brazil nuts that I’d have to soak the nuts first?
    Thanks I am trying this recipe tonight!

    • Tommie June 13, 2009 at 8:07 pm #

      I probably would do it the same. It’s up to you if you want to soak the nuts. A high speed blender will break them down completely. Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

  18. Susan July 6, 2009 at 8:09 pm #

    Very exciting. i’ve been looking up raw cream cheeses on this wretched thing all day and the majority of the hits are on raw goat milk or some nonsense.
    I’ll be back to sing your praises AFTER i’ve had it.

    • Tommie July 6, 2009 at 9:05 pm #

      If you like it, you can thank Shari. I just took her recipe and put pictures with it. 😀

  19. Kaela July 13, 2009 at 7:27 pm #

    Wow great recipe and thorough instructions – pictures and all – very informative! Thanks for the effort!

  20. Michelle July 15, 2009 at 10:59 pm #

    yay! i’m excited to try this cheese! i’ve had cashew cheeses and sunflower seed cheeses and this one looks super yummy. getting macs tomorrow!

    • Tommie July 16, 2009 at 6:28 am #

      Report back, Michelle!

  21. Shawna July 21, 2009 at 10:44 pm #

    My 2 and 4 year old little girls are going to be so happy I’ve stumbled upon this recipe!
    It will be worth the cost to see those little faces enjoying what seems to be a wonderful recipe!

    • Tommie July 22, 2009 at 6:05 am #

      It’s quite a sophisticated taste so let me know if they like it. 😕

  22. Diana Moore July 30, 2009 at 3:38 pm #

    I am excited to try this cheese but how long does it keep?

  23. Tommie July 30, 2009 at 9:36 pm #

    I asked Shari (the one who originated the recipe) and she said she hasn’t kept track. Maybe you could make it and have a portion as a test and let us know? I know mine lasted for three weeks before I disposed of what I hadn’t eaten. Even then, it might have been safe.

    If you are concerned about the expense, why don’t you make a smaller recipe so there isn’t any to pitch?

  24. Zucchini Breath August 28, 2009 at 5:55 pm #

    Thanks for the link to this recipe. Cashew or almonds would work, wouldn’t they?

    • Tommie August 28, 2009 at 6:11 pm #

      Dunno, ZB. Cashews might blend so fine they would go through the cheesecloth. Almonds should be okay if you could blend them fine enough. The texture of the macs is just right. You could try the others and report back.

  25. Kristina October 5, 2009 at 5:03 pm #

    You can make it with cashews in a very similar manner, but they need to soak overnight (or about 12 hours). Almonds work too, but you do need a high speed blender and I use blanched because they are such a pain to peel. I like to use Rejuvelac (which is a probiotic) to give my cheez a cheesy funk. I like your set up with the jars, and will try that to speed up the pressing out of the whey. Nice pictures!

    • Tommie October 6, 2009 at 7:23 am #

      Thanks for the suggestions, Kristina! It’s always good to have options. I have a LOT of macs, though, so I’ll probably stick with them.

  26. Roswitha November 12, 2009 at 3:20 pm #

    Thank you, great taste and your pictures made it so much easier.
    Do you suggest adding different vegetables?

    • Tommie November 12, 2009 at 6:06 pm #

      I haven’t suggested it but I do now! Sounds like it would be good. Maybe like the cream cheese with veggies like you can get in the stores?

  27. Sylvia January 1, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    I tried this and covered the cheese with ground peppercorns, red, green, Szechuan. Very nice with crackers or veg.

    • Tommie January 1, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

      Red and green peppercorns?

  28. englishvintner January 10, 2010 at 10:35 pm #

    What is happening when the cheese is losing some of the whey. Is there any ‘fermentation’ going on that makes it ‘tangy’? I cannot really have any thing fermented, but am allergic to more stuff then I can put on here, so this looks REALLY GOOD! But was wondering about that.

    • Tommie January 11, 2010 at 6:46 am #

      Yes, there is some fermentation going on. Sorry. Maybe you could let it drain in the fridge and use lemon juice to give it an acidic flavor?

  29. englishvintner January 11, 2010 at 7:24 am #

    Thanks, I was thinking about that, I’d seen someone let it drain in the fridge and use a lemon. I think that is what I will try. Thanks again!!!

    Have you heard of any substitute for chickpea miso?

    • Tommie January 11, 2010 at 8:02 am #

      Let me know how it goes. No, sorry. I haven’t heard of one. If you do, tell me about it.

  30. mcz March 26, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

    Can anyone confirm that this tastes very close to cream cheese without being too tangy or sharp in flavor? Matt Amsden’s onion bread recipe is amazing with cream cheese on it, but I am obviously looking for a non dairy replacement for the cream cheese.
    If this is too tangy it will be too rich to combine with the complex taste of the onion bread.

    • Tommie March 27, 2010 at 7:12 am #

      The “tanginess” develops over time so you could sample it until it tastes like you want it to, then refrigerate it right away.

  31. Britt April 10, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    Hi, Tommie–

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I have yet to try making my own nut cheese, but this recipe looks like a great place to start.

    I’m wondering if you’ve ever tried making cheesecake with this, as it sounds so similar to cream cheese in flavor & texture? I’ve been hoping to find a vegan/soy free cheesecake alternative and would love to know if anyone’s had success with this solution.

    Thanks again for sharing the recipe!

    • Tommie April 11, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

      No, I haven’t tried making cheesecake. Let me know if you do and how you like it. I don’t mix sweet with fat so that kind of knocks it out for me.

  32. Yvette April 27, 2010 at 11:56 pm #

    Another variation of this cheese is add a red bell pepper, sea salt, and a dash a cheyenne pepper for a great orange cheese sauce for veggies or dehydrate to make cheese crackers that taste like cheez-its.

    • Tommie April 28, 2010 at 7:49 am #

      That sounds sort of like my cashew cheese, Yvette. I hadn’t thought about dehydrating the mac cheese! That’s a real twist on the recipe.

  33. Treevee May 13, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    Off to buy some nuts and seeds for cheeses. Came here to check on a few new recipes and think I found one to start with! Trying to turn an Italian family (my family) onto raw foodism with some substitutes for foods that they admire (aka cheeses!) and saying that they cannot live without. Wish me luck! Gonna look into your cashew cheese recipe also — mom’s a fanatic over cashews!

  34. Becky July 11, 2010 at 7:22 am #

    This sounds good! And I just so happened to have cracked a whole heap of fresh macadamias this arvo.

    • Tommie July 11, 2010 at 7:29 am #

      Wow! They are REALLY fresh then! How did you crack them? I’ve heard they are a tough nut to get into.

  35. Robert July 17, 2010 at 7:17 am #

    Very interesting. I am excited to try this cheese 🙂

    • Tommie July 17, 2010 at 8:30 am #

      Let me know how you like it!

  36. Rom August 1, 2010 at 3:35 am #

    Wow great recipe and thorough instructions – pictures and all – very informative! Thanks for great post!

    • Tommie August 1, 2010 at 7:48 am #

      And thank you for the positive reinforcement!

  37. Rawsome Chef September 8, 2010 at 5:59 am #

    I am ordering soem fresh mac nuts from a local farm in Costa Rica and was wondering if there was any special place you ordered yours?

    Thanks for all the yummy pics and details.

    My son and I have been making raw key lime pies, lately.




    • Tommie September 8, 2010 at 6:20 am #

      I got organic ones from Nora Lentz. I don’t use many macs, though. The raw key lime pies sound interesting! Do you have a recipe to share?

  38. Rawsome Chef September 13, 2010 at 2:25 am #

    Dear Tommie,

    I found the recipe on http://www.rawmodel.com – a very sexy, goodl looking young man, whom I learned about through my facebook account. We basically took his prime ingredients and just did it our way … So simple. Quick. Easy. Delicious.

    Today, we ate the first cashed cheese I have ever made- with lemon, himalayan crystals, and plenty of feshly ground peppercorns, slathered across my first-ever soaked sunseed and ground flax pizza crusts and spicy tomato sauce. Rawsome and so very rich …not to eat for breakfast as we so naughtily did!

    Rawstruck in Vancouver,


    • Tommie September 13, 2010 at 6:40 am #

      And now you are making me curious about the pizza crust! How tempting does that sound!!

  39. Laurkl November 19, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    came across this while searching for a goat cheese alternative. I’m very excited to give this a try, but I do have a question concerning what recipes the mac cheese can be used in – I wanted to make a vegan rosemary tart that calls for goat cheese and heavy cream, can the mac cheese be baked? thanks! 🙂

    • Tommie November 19, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

      Now, that I don’t know. I don’t bake anything so I can’t help you there. Maybe make something small and try it. Report back if you do and let me know how it turns out.

  40. Colette January 3, 2011 at 4:05 am #

    I’m going to try this hopefully this week. I’m curious how long does it keep in the frig? I’ve read this recipe lasts 3 wks in the frig, but I’ve read dozens of other nut cheese recipes that only keep 3 days. Thanks.

    • Tommie January 3, 2011 at 7:38 am #

      It would depend on your taste, I think, as to how long to keep it. The longer it goes, the sharper it gets. If you put lemon juice in it, that would make it last longer, too. Of course, you wouldn’t get the mellow “cream cheese” flavor with the juice.

  41. Rodleen April 24, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    Awesome! Wow. Thankyou for all of the photos in your process!! I’m doing it!

  42. RawBillyIce May 23, 2011 at 12:35 am #


    This is awesome and I plan to make this cheese soon.

    what about not soaking the macs though? can you elaborate on that for me Tommie?

    • Tommie May 23, 2011 at 7:00 am #

      That would be a Shari question, Billy. Go to her journal on the forum and ask her. She said they are nasty if they are soaked so I took her word for it.

  43. Meera May 24, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

    Hi, I was just wondering after it has sat there for over 24 hours, can it sit there longer or be put in the fridge for another 18 hours or so? I was supposed to make pizza tonight and put that cheese on it but something came up and that won’t happen. I want to make sure it won’t go bad (paid $20 for the nuts!!). Thanks.

    • Tommie May 25, 2011 at 5:18 am #

      It can be refrigerated for several weeks. I don’t know exactly how long but you–and it–should be okay.

  44. Mandy June 19, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    I tried making the macadamia cheese last night. I blended the macadamias with the water, didn’t have purified water so I used the water from my pur water filter. After I blended the nuts I put the mixture into the cheese cloth and into the colander. Next I put a small bowl over the cheese and then a saucer. I then put into the pantry until tonight when I removed the cheese it had a very pungent smell and was a little yellow around the edges. I was afraid to try it so I threw it away. Is it normal for that to happen and is it okay to keep in the pantry like I did? I would really like to give this another try so any info would be greatly appreciated.

    • Tommie July 5, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

      I’m so sorry. I thought I had approved this comment but it showed up as pending. You may have introduced bacteria from the water. I really don’t know what to tell you. I wish you would update me on this situation.

  45. Shari July 14, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    Sorry about the delay, but a message was sent to an address I don’t check very often, obviously!

    It should have some what of an aroma like, well, cheese. And yellow around the edge is probably drying of the cheese. I just mix it in. How warm was/is it in your pantry? I’ve left it on my countertop for up to 36 hours without a problem.

    Did you have just the nuts and water blended together? Did it get hot or warm while combining in the blender?


  46. Sally Roman November 1, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    Incredible recipe and great presentation. I am the mom of two type 1 diabetic boys. When they were diagnosed I started them on a diabetic alkaline diet, basically 100%raw. They are doing incredibly well now, over three years later. They don’t need any artificial insulin, and their blood sugar levels are normal. You can read their story on our website: healthesolutions.com I am always looking for great raw recipes. Thank you SO much. If it is OK, we will be recommending this recipe to people. Great work!!!

    • Tommie November 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

      Thanks, Sally. Please DO recommend the recipe to anyone you want to! And it’s wonderful your boys are doing well. 🙂

  47. Ton November 28, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    Thanks for this wonderful recipe. Love the pictures. They really helped me. 🙂

    • Tommie November 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

      I’m glad. Makes me feel useful!

      Your “yogurt” looks interesting.

  48. Jeff Nimoy February 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Incredible! I follow the paleo diet, aka the caveman diet, and I miss dairy, especially cheese! This is so great, thank you. But my biggest question is where can I get raw organic macadamia nuts as cheap as $4 a lub? Oh, and what’s a lub? 🙂

    • Tommie February 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

      It was a special deal, Jeff. You can use different nuts for this recipe. They don’t have to be macs. As for the explanation of a lub, it’s the first of the FAQs that’s answered.

  49. Jeff Nimoy February 28, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Lol! Thanks. I want to use macs though because of all the nuts, they seem to be the healthiest when eaten in large amounts. I’ll let you know how it comes out.

  50. Teresa June 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    I tried this recipe yesterday evening and let it sit on the counter in the cheesecloth as instructed. I checked it about an hour ago. I’m not sure if I did something wrong because it really has no tangy flavor to it. Do I need to leave it out longer? (I really miss cheese, but am allergic.)

    • Tommie June 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

      The time to refrigerate it can vary due to any number of reasons. Leave it longer and sample it now and then to get it where you want it. You could even put it back in the blender with some water and lemon juice, then strain it again to speed up the process.

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