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Dairy Free Alfredo Sauce

A blend of coconut milk and cashew cream make this the creamiest dairy free Alfredo sauce recipe you’ll find. It’s so similar in flavor to traditional Alfredo sauce, you might not even be able to tell. Use it on your favorite pasta or use it in place of dairy products in casseroles. Makes 2 cups.

close up of dairy free alfredo sauce on fettuccini in a white bowl topped with chopped parsley

Why you need this dairy free Alfredo sauce in your life

I think creamy pastas might be one of the first things you miss when you switch to a dairy free diet. Personally, the only thing I miss more is cheese itself.

For a while, we were making lactose free Alfredo sauce – which is really just a creamy, garlic sauce – using lactose-free milk. When we went fully dairy free, I just tried not to think about it, but, eventually, I found myself craving creamy, garlicky pasta.

I made a few different versions with store-bought vegan cream cheese. They were definitely good, but since I try really hard not to rely solely on those kinds of products, I didn’t want to make it very often.

It wasn’t until I started experimenting with cashew cream and my dairy free queso, that I realized the creamy base I was developing would work equally well as a pasta sauce. And, now I have a million different creamy pasta recipe ideas floating around in my head.

dairy free alfredo sauce on fettuccini in a large non-stick skillet topped with chopped parsley

Can you make Alfredo sauce without cheese?

Traditional Alfredo sauce is made with heavy cream and heaps of parmesan cheese. Obviously, that’s not good for anyone who wants to avoid dairy, but the flavors are hard to beat.

Luckily, with a few simple ingredient swaps, you can make Alfredo sauce without any milk products. It just takes a little know-how and the perfect combination of substitutes.

overhead shot of dairy free alfredo sauce on fettuccini in a white bowl topped with chopped parsley

What can you substitute for milk in Alfredo sauce?

For this recipe, I’ve used my favorite combination of dairy free milks: cashew cream and canned coconut milk. Normally I find the coconut milk to sweet, and the cashew cream a little nutty, but paired together, they mask each others non-dairy flavor.

They also make the creamiest base for dairy free Alfredo. With just a little garlic and some nutritional yeast, you won’t believe there isn’t cheese (or dairy cream) in this Alfredo sauce.

What you’ll need to make dairy free Alfredo sauce

closeup of dairy free alfredo sauce in a non-stick skillet

How to make the creamiest, dairy free Alfredo sauce

If you don’t already have some in your fridge, you’ll need to make cashew cream. Boil 1 cup of raw cashews in water for 5 – 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool in water. Drain.

Blend in a food processor or high-speed blender with 1 cup nut milk until smooth, scraping sides as needed. You can make this up to 10 days in advance, and we almost always keep some in our fridge, so I haven’t included this prep time in the recipe calculations.

If you haven’t tried making your own cashew cream, you are seriously missing out.

Make an olive oil roux. I use a non-stick skillet, but you could use a saucepan or a stainless skillet, just be sure to use a silicone whisk on your non-stick. Heat your skillet to medium, and add olive oil.

Once it’s hot, add the minced garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds – it should smell amazing at this point. Add your flour and whisk until all of the olive oil in your pan has been absorbed by the flour.

dairy free alfredo sauce on fettuccini in a large non-stick skillet

Whisk in your liquids, one at a time. I start with the thinnest liquid and work my way up to the thickest. You don’t have to, but I find that it lets me whisk a little less.

You can add the nutritional yeast and salt & pepper when you add the cashew cream. Keep whisking until everything is nice and smooth. You can also add a pinch of nutmeg if that’s a flavor you like in Alfredo sauce. It’s totally up to you, but we normally leave it out.

Let it simmer. At this point you could use it, but I like to let it simmer for a little while longer, especially if I am using almond or cashew milk instead of the cashew cream.

If you’re using nut milk, you’ll definitely want to simmer it a little longer than if you’re using cashew cream.

dairy free alfredo sauce on fettuccini in a large non-stick skillet topped with chopped parsley

FAQs and Tips for making dairy free Alfredo sauce

I can’t eat cashews. What can I use instead? You can simply swap the cashews for almonds and make almond cream. Or, you can substitute this almond cooking milk. Or you can try making this cauliflower alfredo sauce, instead!

Change things up: Try making it a lemon pepper pasta. Just add in some lemon zest with the garlic and season the sauce with some fresh cracked black pepper. Or mixing some sun-dried tomatoes and spinach fora.

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dairy free alfredo sauce on fettuccini in a large non-stick skillet topped with chopped parsley

Dairy Free Alfredo Sauce


  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x

Description

This is the creamiest dairy-free Alfredo sauce and it only takes 10 minutes. Can be made vegan with vegetable broth.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup cashew cream (see instructions below) or almond milk
  • 3/4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
  • 1/21 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • Black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat olive oil to medium. Add garlic, and sauté until fragrant. Whisk in flour, until it has absorbed the oil.
  2. Slowly whisk in the broth and allow it to thicken.
  3. Whisk in the remaining ingredients and simmer until sauce has thickened. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper, to taste.

Notes

To make cashew cream: Boil 1 cup of raw cashews in water for 5 – 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool in water. Drain. Blend in a food processor or blender with 3/4 – 1 cup nut milk or water until smooth, scraping sides as needed.

  • Category: Condiments
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 86
  • Sugar: 0.1 g
  • Sodium: 223.8 mg
  • Fat: 8.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 2.9 g
  • Fiber: 0.2 g
  • Protein: 1.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.3 mg

Keywords: dairy free, vegan, gluten free option, easy, creamy, alfredo, pasta sauce

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    Last Updated on February 2, 2022 by Melissa Belanger

    This post contains affiliate links. I may earn commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. I will never recommend a product I don’t use or trust.

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    Recipe rating

    88 Comments

    1. Hi Melissa,
      Would this be coconut milk in the can or from the dairy refridgerated case? Thank you so much, can’t wait to make this!

      1. It would be canned coconut milk. I apologize for not specifying! I will edit the recipe to reflect it. Thank you. I hope you love it!

      1. You can leave it out if you don’t have it. It adds a little bit of a cheesier flavor, but will be totally fine without it!

    2. Can u give the macros on this recipe????? and how many macros per serving size for us non-diary keto people.

      1. I’m sorry. I don’t have the information for that. I know very little about the keto diet, but there I’m working on getting nutritional information for my recipes as soon as possible. Can you calculate it with that?

      1. Honestly, there is always going to be a sweeter flavor when you’re making something dairy free like this. It could be the coconut cream that is giving the sauce a sweeter flavor, so you could potentially replace with a more cashew cream, but I personally think the texture is better with the coconut. You could also add a bit more nutritional yeast and maybe even an extra pinch of salt. I would just add a tiny bit at a time and taste as you go until it’s to your liking!

      2. So i found you can also subsitute cashew cream with non dairy cream cheese.. I use almond milk.. 1 – 8 oz container of non dairy cream cheese per every 2 cups of almond milk.. We have someone who has alergies to cashews.

        1. Oh thank you! That’s a great tip! I have use the cream cheese for pasta sauce before but not for this recipe. I will have to give it a try sometime!

      1. I don’t recommend freezing it, unless you substitute the coconut milk for more cashew cream. Coconut milk does not freeze well.

    3. We made this tonight and followed the recipe to a T. The texture was PERFECT, but the flavor was just too much coconut. I won’t make it again with the coconut milk, but on the other hand, we both had seconds 🙂

      1. Thanks for the feedback! You’re so right about the texture, but if the coconut milk is too much for you, try swapping it out for extra cashew cream. It should be an even swap!

        1. I’m honestly not sure how coconut flour works as a thickening agent. You could try it, but I can’t guarantee it will work.

    4. This sounds amazing, As a dairy free/eats dairy and then regrets it person I definitely miss creamy pastas. I am having a Galentine’s day dinner this is perfect for – but I am going to add mushrooms grilled in port like I used to make in the old days.I usually blog about the recipes I try so I will let you know how it goes!

    5. Made this last night and it was absolutely wonderful. I have been gluten and dairy free for 5 years and fettuccine alfredo was always a favorite of mine. I used gluten free fettuccine from Trader Joe’s and added in a bag of frozen broccoli. The cashew cream was lovely and I will be using that in a lot of other dishes. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    6. This recipe was absolutely bty far the best alfredo sauce I have ever had and still can not believe it is dairy free. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!! I thought I would never get to have alfredo again..

    7. We tried this tonight. It was very good, and easy. I did notice the garlic flavor really mellowed after the sauce sat. I finished it before getting the noodles started, so it sat about 15 minutes. Next time I will have better time management!

      1. I think you could! It might not be as flavorful, but you could add a little extra nutritional yeast or a squeeze of lemon!

    8. I was blown away by this Dairy Free Alfredo sauce. Way better than the 2 others I’ve tried. Can’t wait to eat it again! Delicious!

    9. Hi there Heather,

      I want to tackle this recipe tonight, but I need help understanding.. When you say to blend in the 1 cup of nut milk with the cashews to blend, are we talking an additional cup nut milk cup on top of the 3/4 Coconut milk?

      I was just trying to understand my recipe list too!

      Thank you!

      1. It’s in addition to the coconut milk that you use later. It’s used in the blender or food processor to blend the cashews. It’s just to help the blending process and make the cashew cream smooth. You can also use water if you don’t want to use nut milk. I just usually use almond milk since we have it on hand and it adds the tiniest bit of extra creaminess over water. I hope that helps!

    10. Ok this was a very easy recipe to follow and made such a creamy sauce.. I LOVED THAT! My only issue was it was bland for our tastes. I ended up doubled the yeast and added some garlic powder to add more flavor since I couldn’t add more minced garlic cuz the sauce was already put together. Next time I’ll double the minced garlic right off the bat. But that’s more of a personal preference. Thank you for this recipe! I will definitely be making this again.

    11. I haven’t tried this yet but glad I came upon this recipe as I’m trying to find more dairy free recipes. I see people keep commenting about it being to sweet. If you are using almond or cashew milk, use unsweetened. I’ve also seen unsweetened canned coconut milk as well.

    12. Does this sauce cover 1 lb of noodles? I didn’t see how many servings this makes. I’m wondering if I need to double it for my family?

    13. I followed this recipe exactly! It was the best Alfredo EVER! I made it for my family and my dad (who is very attached to cheese and pasta) said it was amazing and even went back for seconds! He said it was better than Carrabba’s fettuccine Alfredo! I will definitely be making this again! Thank you Melissa!

    14. I made this recipie, but I substituted the cashew cream for coconut cream, which I bought canned at my local grocery store, and then used almond milk instead of coconut milk. It turned out great and my family loved it. For those of you who have nut allergies, I recommend this as an alternative.

    15. Just tried this tonight and it was delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe. Another reviewer noted that it tasted sweet (of course then I couldn’t get that idea out of my head when I tasted it). I followed the recipe as written, but added juice from half a lemon, and that balanced the “sweetness” for me.

      Thanks again!

    16. I’ve had this recipe waiting to use it. Made this last night and my family agreed that was as good if not better than traditional Alfredo sauce! I followed the recipe closely till the end. I ended up using all my cashew cream and then adding a bit more salt, pepper and nutritional yeast. Tasting to make sure it was the taste we were looking for. It was a complete success! The leftovers for lunch are yummy too! Thank you for a great recipe! My DD who has a diary allergy doesn’t feel like she’s missing out on Alfredo any more. The rest of the fam was thinking of all the ways this sauce could be used.

    17. I’m so excited to try this! Is it possible to make ahead? I am planning meals for our vacation, and am trying to make ahead as much as I possibly can the week before we go. Thanks in advance!

      1. Yes. You can absolutely make it ahead of time, just wait to add it to the pasta until you’re ready to serve it so the pasta doesn’t absorb too much.

    18. Since you used coconut milk, does it taste like coconut at all? I can tolerate a little coconut flavor but not too overpowering. I’ve heard mixed views on coconut milk to begin with so I’m always curious in recipes.

    19. I need to make this gluten free as well as dairy free – is almond flour a reasonable substitute here?

      1. I don’t think almond flour has the same thickening abilities. I would recommend using cornstarch (about 1/2 the amount listed for flour).

        1. I wish I would of seen this. I subbed arrowroot flour,,,don’t anyone make the same mistake! Great flavor, but you have to get past the “snot” consistency first. 🤢

    20. Where would be the best place to find cashew cream? It doesn’t appear to be available at any of my local groceries.

      1. I think you just make the cashew cream as described in the recipe (boil a cup of cashews for 5-10 min, let cool with the water, then blend the cashews with 1 cup of almond milk until smooth and creamy)

    21. Melissa!
      This is a dream come true. My daughter was recently diagnosed with a milk allergy and Alfredo sauce was one of her favorite things on earth. We have tried several different recipes and this one is absolutely perfect. I did not use coconut milk, I doubled the cashew cream. And I also added a little bit of nutmeg at the end. Absolutely delicious thank you so much!

    22. Made the recipe and if tasted great! I made it with almond milk instead of the cashew cream but may try that next time!

    23. This was ok. My husband and I are stationed overseas and our commissary doesn’t have canned coconut milk so I had to use regular coconut milk. I would recommend using half or less of the minced garlic. To me it was wayy to garlicky

    24. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
      What a wonderful vegan alfredo sauce recipe! I made it for my in-laws and they loved it! I didn’t tell them it was vegan till they were done shoveling it in! 😉 I will DEFINITELY keep this recipe to use again and again! The one thing I noticed is that I made double the recipe, and the portions of ingredients updated, but the sauce came out kind of thin. I just threw another tablespoon of flour into it and it turned out perfect 🙂 (I may like thicker than usual sauce XD) Overall I GIVE THIS RECIPE FIVE BIG ONES!
      ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    25. Made this last night and it was DELICIOUS. My husband and daughter are lactose intolerant and Alfredo is my favorite. I picked this recipe because i happened to have everything i needed for it. It is officially my FAVORITE dairy free sauce. It’s a little sweet but will have no effect on whether or not I’ll make it next time… I’ll pick this every time i want Alfredo. I did add some garlic powder, and used a table spoon on soy sauce to replace nutritional yeast cause i herd you can do that. Lol. It was perfect.

    26. I made this tonight and I thought the coconut milk was overpowering. Next time I may double the cashew milk like another person said they did or maybe add in vegan cream cheese.

    27. This was awesome, thank you so much for writing this recipe. We’ve been mostly DF for almost a year, substituting in LF (lactose free) ingredients when the substitutes wouldn’t do. This recipe is amazing. Even my picky (non-dairy-free) husband had seconds and took it for lunch the next day!

      I added in cococut cream instead of milk by accident (didn’t read the label on the can) and it was great, even more creamy. For those who think it’s too sweet, an extra 1/2 tsp of nutritional yeast and 1/4-1/2 tsp of salt brought out the umami of the sauce.

    28. Wow wow!
      Alfredo used to be my favourite sauce (I put it on EVERYTHING) until I became lactose intolerant. Now I don’t feel like I am missing out anymore 😀
      Even my kids who are extremely picky eaters LOVED it!!
      I also used coconut cream instead of milk, used unsweetened soy milk, and a whole tablespoon of nutritional yeast; and it turned out do fantastic and not too sweet at all!!
      If you can find it, we also made this with Catelli’s super-greens spaghetti, and added canned peas to get some protein and lots of vegetables. And I was surprised how much my kids not only tolerated it but actually asked for seconds!!

    29. Hi Melissa! Can I use almond milk and coconut milk to balence the flavour out?
      BTW this looks AMAZING!

    30. Do I have to use the chicken broth and can I use coconut milk and almond milk to balance the flavor out? This looks SO GOOD!

    31. This looks amazing!! Do I have to use chicken broth? Also, can I use coconut milk and Almond milk to balance the flavour out?

    32. This was incredibly delicious!
      I didn’t use cashew cream instead I used cashew cheese and it was heavenly. Even my dairy obsessed boyfriend said that I should make it regularly. I am excited try out more of your recipes 🙂

    33. I was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and my son with GI issues. We are going dairy and gluten free to help. This was the first DF/GF meal we tried and it was delicious!! Not the traditional Alfredo sauce but so tasty! I added dried minced onion, basil and parsley. We used Banza pasta. We will definitely make this again. Thank you!

    34. Oh, my goodness!!!! I cannot CANNOT thank you enough for this recipe you’ve developed! I will be sharing a link for others to try as well. I just made a 6 x batch for a number of people at a wedding with food sensitivities, and proceeded on blind faith because after studying this recipe it felt RIGHT. I am certainly glad I did. Excellent work in developing this! My mixture was so thick that I ended up added an extra cup of broth to think it out to a consistency which fit for us. But I had never made cashew cream before, and now I am a true believer. It’s amazing. Thank you!!!!

    35. Making this for the first time ever. My 4 year old is lactose intolerant. and I love chicken Alfredo. I only unsweetened coconut milk I hope that will work.

    36. This sounds delicious and has so many wonderful comments I can’t wait to try it. I have one question- can the cashew cream be made ahead of time? If so, how long can it be stored in refrigerator?

      1. You can definitely make it ahead of time. It should last for about 1 week in the fridge!

      1. Oat milk would work, you would just need to use a little less since it’s thinner (or use more thickener), and make sure you use unsweetened and plain!

    37. Good afternoon.
      I am going to make this and wondered if you knew how long it would keep in the fridge and could it be frozen. Thank you

      1. Hi Christine! This doesn’t really freeze that well, but if you do freeze it, you might want to zip it through the blender after thawing it before adding it to pasta.

    38. Easiest I have ever made and I really didn’t miss the cheese. My kid who hates cheese loved it too, Thanks. I now have a new favourite fettuccine added to my comfort foods recipes. Thank you.

    39. This recipe was delicious! The store was out of dairy free Alfredo, so I quickly googled homemade recipes and when I saw yours, I knew it was the one especially since I already had everything and it was super easy to make!

    40. This definitely sounds good. But anyone looking to make this should not be decieved by the prep time and time to make. It takes a LONG time to make a roux….not 5 min lol. -a Cajun gal

    41. I’m only recently dairy and grain free and now soy free also. This was such an easy recipe to tweak so thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I used potato flour instead of the normal flour and zucchini noodles instead of pasta. And I just used a almond/coconut milk as it was what I had on hand. I’m so happy! Sauce is delicious! Can’t wait to put it all together and eat. This will be a quick go to weekly staple!! Thank you again!! 💜😊 You wouldn’t happen to have a recipe for a sweet whipped cream would you? Then life would be perfect! 😁

    42. This was great, but not gluten free. The recipe says “flour”, I caught that and used my King Arthur’s gluten free flour.
      Question: It calls for full fat coconut milk in a can. When opening the the fat is a solid mass on top of liquid. What should you do to use the contents?
      Thanks

      1. There is an option listed for gluten free. If your can of coconut milk is separated, you should be able to shake it until the fats and liquids combine.

    43. I just made this & WOW…
      I can finally enjoy pasta with Alfredo sauce again!! Thank you so much for the wonderful, delicious recipe!