Vegan Life > Recipes > Staples > Easy Vegan Tofu Ricotta Cheese

Easy Vegan Tofu Ricotta Cheese

March 14, 2024

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, please read my full disclosure.

This vegan tofu ricotta has a light, creamy texture and comes together in 10 minutes flat! Its flavor is perfect for all kinds of Italian recipes from lasagna to baked ziti, but it's also great for ricotta toast or as a dip.

Hands holding a bowl of tofu ricotta topped with black pepper and basil; below the bowl are a plate of crackers and a cutting board with cut lemons.

Ricotta cheese is a must-have for so many Italian recipes, from cannelloni to cannoli, and this tofu ricotta has become my go-to for enjoying all those recipes—vegan!

I tested lots of different base ingredients for this recipe, including cashews, almonds, and sunflower seeds. Ultimately, tofu was the best at recreating the mild flavor and light, slightly crumbly texture of traditional ricotta cheese. That also makes this recipe completely nut-free and perfect if you have any nut allergies in your household.

I added some light flavors to this tofu ricotta, so it's ready to be used in many different recipes. Depending on how you're using it, you may want to add different flavors to your own taste preferences. For example, you could add fresh basil (or other fresh herbs), chopped and wilted baby spinach, garlic powder, or onion powder.

This recipe does skew to the savory side, though, so to use it in sweet recipes I recommend cutting the lemon juice and salt in half. With that adjustment, it tastes delicious blended with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

A close up view of tofu ricotta in a bowl being spooned out, with a cut lemon in the background.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Tofu: The base of this vegan ricotta, provides a light and creamy texture. Be sure to use firm or extra-firm tofu; silken tofu is too soft. You can find tofu in the refrigerated vegan meat section or produce section of most grocery stores. You should press the block of tofu just a little to release the excess water, but don't press too much or your tofu ricotta will be dry. I usually press the tofu gently with my hands; no tofu press needed!

Lemon juice: I recommend fresh-squeezed juice for the best flavor. Ricotta cheese has a slight tang on its own, but I've included some extra lemon juice here as it adds flavor that works well in most savory dishes. If you're using this ricotta for a sweet dish, you may wish to only use 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.

Maple syrup: Adds a mild sweetness that is present in traditional ricotta cheese. You could substitute agave if you prefer.

Nutritional yeast: Gives a subtle cheesy flavor to the tofu ricotta.

Salt: Helps bring out the other flavors, including any seasonings you may add. For sweet dishes, you can reduce the salt to 3/4 teaspoon or omit.

The ingredients for vegan tofu ricotta, labeled.

How to Use Tofu Ricotta

This tofu ricotta recipe was originally developed for my pasta dishes, so it's absolutely delicious in any of them. Here are some of my favorite pasta recipes using tofu ricotta:

But this vegan ricotta isn't just good for pasta! It's delicious on pizza, French toast, as a topping on bowls, or as a dip (try it with crackers, apples, or veggies).

I also love spreading ricotta on toast! For savory toast, I like drizzling on some extra virgin olive oil, black pepper, and basil. For a sweeter option, I add some maple syrup and fruits like blueberries or sliced apples.

For sweet desserts like cannoli, I cut the lemon juice to 2 teaspoons and the salt to 3/4 teaspoon, then add in my other ingredients. Check out my cannoli recipe for exactly how I make the sweet cannoli filling.

Vegan tofu ricotta spread on toast with different toppings (blueberries, basil, apples).

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this vegan ricotta in a food processor? Yes, absolutely! Since tofu is soft and you want to retain a bit of curd-like texture, a food processor will work just as well as a blender for this recipe.

How should I store leftovers? Keep your leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. For longer storage, you can add the ricotta to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to two months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, and stir to reincorporate any separated liquid.

How does this recipe compare with store-bought vegan ricotta? I've only tried Kite Hill ricotta, which is almond based. In my opinion, it's equally as delicious as this tofu ricotta, and obviously it's a little more convenient. But it is quite pricey compared to making your own from tofu, and since this recipe only needs 10 minutes, I'd say the time spent is well worth it for the cost savings. Especially if you're making a recipe that requires a lot of ricotta!

A hand dipping a cracker into a bowl of vegan tofu ricotta; in the background are: a plate of crackers, a spoonful of ricotta, and a bottle of olive oil.

More Vegan Cheese Recipes

This recipe was originally published October 16, 2020, and has been republished with new photos and writing for clarity.

Easy Vegan Tofu Ricotta Cheese

Yield8 servings

Prep Time10 minutes

Cook Timen/a

Total Time10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. firm or extra-firm tofu
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp. salt

Instructions

  1. Use your hands to press your tofu gently, just enough to remove excess water. Then chop it into large chunks (1-2” pieces).

    Tofu on a cutting board, chopped.
  2. Add tofu, lemon juice, maple syrup, nutritional yeast, and salt to a blender and blend until well combined. You may need to stop and start your blender a few times or use a tamper to make sure the ingredients are blended evenly without over-blending. Stop blending when you have a texture with some curds that resembles ricotta cheese (see the photo for correct texture).

    Tofu ricotta ingredients in a blender jar before and after blending.
  3. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use, or skip refrigeration and use immediately!

Notes & Hints

Choose a firm or extra-firm tofu for this vegan ricotta recipe; softer or silken tofu won't work.

Press the tofu just a little to release some moisture, but don't press too much or your tofu ricotta will be dry. You can use your hands to squeeze it slightly, no need for a tofu press or books!

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Nutrition Data

Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe; Calories: 59Fat: 2 g.; Saturated Fat: 0 g.; Cholesterol: 0 mg.; Sodium: 373 mg.; Carbohydrates: 4 g.; Fiber: 1 g.; Sugar: 1 g.; Protein: 6 g.; Vitamin A: 0 mcg. RAE; Vitamin B12: 3 mcg.; Vitamin C: 1 mg.; Vitamin D: 0 mcg.; Calcium: 49 mg.; Iron: 1 mg.; Potassium: 116 mg.; Zinc: 0 mg.

Note: This data should be used only as an estimate. Please see the nutrition section of my terms and conditions for more information on how this data is calculated.

Four vegan dishes: Creme Brulee, Detroit-style pizza, General Tso's Tofu, and Lemon Tart

Vegan recipes in your inbox

Join the community and get my newest and best yummy vegan recipes sent right to your email!

A top-down view of a bowl of vegan tofu ricotta cheese topped with black pepper and basil leaves. To the side are some ingredients used to make the tofu ricotta.
StephSunshine

Share this:

Leave a Comment

I love reading comments! I'll do my best to answer questions, too. If you made the recipe, please leave a star rating, it helps support the blog so I can make more recipes and articles. Thank you!

Your rating:

says

Sunday Brunch