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Vegan Aioli (2-Minute + Oil-Free)

Vegan aioli is a delicious and versatile condiment perfect for dipping, spreading, or drizzling! Our recipe uses cashews, dijon, lemon juice, and garlic for a creamy, flavorful texture that is similar to traditional mayonnaise.

top down angled view of a small glass jar with vegan aioli and spoon, surrounded by a small white bowl of cashews, sliced lemon half and bulb of garlic

Aioli – a creamy, dreamy garlicky sauce – or mayo, if you will!

Traditional aioli is made with oil and garlic. Some cuisines add egg yolks for extra emulsion, and many today simply use mayonnaise as a base adding garlic and other flavors to their liking.

Today, I am sharing with you a recipe for a simple vegan, cashew-based aioli to pair with fresh and roasted vegetables or use as a spread for burgers and sandwiches. However you serve it, it’s fantastic, and I know you’re going to love it!

This Spanish-inspired aioli recipe is:

  • oil-free
  • gluten-free
  • ready in minutes
  • super quick and easy
  • vegan (of course)
  • contains a good amount of protein per serving!
top down view of ingredients to make vegan aioli on a round wooden cutting board

Vegan Aioli Ingredients

For this recipe, we’ll be using raw cashews as our base. Cashews blend up ultra-creamy and are the perfect ingredient for veganising and making an oil-free aioli. Simply put, cashews are amazing!

Add to the cashews a few garlic cloves, a dollop of dijon mustard, squeeze of lemon, pinch of salt, and you’ve got yourself the best aioli to share with family and friends or enjoy all to yourself.

What if I don’t have raw cashews? Since raw cashews have a neutral flavor, using roasted and salted cashews will yield a flavor that is bolder and toasted tasting. We highly recommend using raw cashews for the best flavor. But we have had a few comments from those who have used salted and roasted cashews and enjoyed the results. Do what works best for you!

top down view of cashews soaking in water before making aioli, surrounded by minced garlic, dijon, salt and lemon halves

How To Make Vegan Aioli

Start by soaking the cashews (this is optional):

Why soak cashews? It is beneficial to soak nuts, helping them to release an inhibiting enzyme that may block the absorption of vitamins and minerals, and it also helps with digestion. Plus, we like it to help soften the cashews before blending, ensuring a creamy smoothness.

How to soak cashews: Cashews only need 2 – 3 hours of soaking time at most, using cool water. For a quick soak, simply cover the cashews with hot water and soak them for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain water and give a quick rinse before using.

What happens if I don’t soak the cashews? You’ll be fine if you don’t soak them. Oftentimes, I skip this step. In the case that you don’t soak them, you may need a little more liquids and extra blending time to make sure the aioli is creamy without any grittiness or lumps of cashews.

side by side photo of cashews in a small personal blender with water garlic and salt and lemon, next is a pic of the finished aioli

Once cashews have been soaked, drained, and rinsed, add them to the blender cup along with the garlic, dijon, lemon juice, salt, and water, and blend for about 45 seconds.

Serve right away or chill in the refrigerator before using.

And there you have it, a healthy, vegan aioli that’s ultra creamy and ready for dipping & spreading!

top down close up view of a spoon full of garlic vegan aioli sitting across a glass jar of aioli

Storage Tips

Refrigerator: Vegan aioli can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Freezer: For longer storage, freeze aioli for up to 2 – 3 months in freezer-safe containers leaving at least 1/2 inch of headroom for expansion.

How To Use Vegan Aioli

Vegan aioli can be used as a spread or dip. Here are some of our favorite ways to use this aioli recipe:

For a delicious spicy aioli, take a look at this Sriracha Cream Sauce.

straight on view of vegan aioli in a glass jar with spoon sticking out, in the background is a small bowl of cashews, garlic bulb and half of lemon

If you try this easy aioli recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

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VEGAN AIOLI (2-MINUTE + OIL-FREE)

This creamy, garlicky aioli is great as a dip for fresh or roasted vegetables or use as a spread for burgers and sandwiches!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 2 min
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 1 1/2 cups 1x
  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: puree
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 cup raw cashews (if using soaked cashews, see notes)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 24 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch of mineral salt, or to taste

Instructions

Place cashews, water, garlic, dijon, and juice of lemon in a blender and blend until creamy, about 45 seconds. Taste for flavor, adding a little more of desired ingredients to taste.

Serve at room temperature.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Notes

Adjust the garlic to your taste. For a mild garlic flavor, 2 will do. If you love your garlic, use more.

To make this completely raw, use 3/4 – 1 teaspoon mustard powder in place of dijon.

For thinner aioli, add extra water, 1 – 2 tablespoons, at a time until desired consistency.

If you don’t care for dijon mustard, omit it altogether. You can also start with 1 teaspoon, adding a little extra to taste.

For this task, I used a NutriBullet, which does a great job blending cashews into pure creaminess. Plus, you can keep your aioli in the cup it was blended in, easily storing leftovers in the refrigerator.

Soaking cashews: If you prefer to soak your cashews, 2 hours before preparing the aioli, place cashews in a cup/bowl filled with water, covering cashews about 1 inch. Let set for 2 hours. For a quick soak, place cashews in a bowl of warm water for 1 hour or in near-boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse well before blending. Use 2/3 cup of water instead of 3/4 cup, as the cashews will have plumped up, and you may not need as much. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed to thin.

There are benefits to soaking your cashews, although I am sometimes lazy about it. It does help remove certain enzymes that may inhibit vitamin and mineral absorption, and also may help with digestion.

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22 Comments

  1. Soaked the cashews and added a hefty pinch (prob a tbsp) of nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. It was amazing with our artichokes. Simple and wonderfully delicious and nutritious.

  2. This is excellent. Went very well with my steamed artichokes. Thank you! I did not soak the cashews but turned out fine. I added 2T soya creme in place of some of the water, as soy is OK for me.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      That sounds delicious, both the steamed artichokes and subbing with soya creme! Thanks so much for sharing, Gen!

  3. Thanks for this recipe! Made this and it is soooo good. It adds an amazing flavor to the sweet potato wedges which I also made from your recipe.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Wonderful, you are so welcome! Thanks for sharing, Jane!

  4. I didn’t see any comments about how to store this and it’s shelf life. Can you share that please? Thanks!

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Great question Kate. This vegan aioli can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, just give a good stir before serving. I’ll add the info to the recipe, thanks for pointing it out! Enjoy :)

    2. Any suggestions on how to make this nut free for allergies? Definitely interested in an oil free aioli :)

  5. Hi, Julie! Just wondering how much cashew butter would I need to sub for 1 cup cashews. Want to try making this without using my blender.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Great question! I would start with 3/4 cups and add more as needed. You’ll have to play around with adding a little water for thinning. I’ve never tried it so it’s pretty much a guessing game, but if you’re up for experimenting we’d love to know how it goes. It’ll help others too!

  6. I made this to serve over the HERBED POTATO, ASPARAGUS & CHICKPEA SHEET PAN DINNER recipe and it’s fantastic! I didn’t soak the cashews and used 4 cloves of garlic, following the recipe exactly. This vegan aioli is so good, and can definitely pass as a mayo dip. I’ll be using this as a mayo stand-in for sandwiches, burgers and dipping potato wedges into, etc!

  7. Cap'n Dave says:

    Just saw the most wonderful idea for a pulled “pork” (jackfruit) slider that is drizzled with a little house-made aioli and combined with crispy shoestring onions, so I HAD to go searching for a good aioli recipe that didn’t start with “Add 15 gallons of oil and mix with lots of mayo” (okay, that’s exaggerating…slightly…), and I was NOT disappointed!

    Thank you, Julie! Will definitely be making this for our company BBQ this summer! (And a lot more for myself for, you know, reasons…)

  8. I made this up 2 days ago and it is just wonderful! It will very likely be my favorite in the Aioli , dressing , Sandwich spread etc. From this time forward. Thank you for a lovely recipe and now I’m off to the store for sweet potatoes. .Grandmothers deserve congratulations on their Grandbabies!! Matilda

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      You’re too sweet, thank you! Your comment made my day. So glad this recipe worked out well for you. I have no doubt you’ll love the baked sweet potato wedges as well. Enjoy! :)

  9. Christine says:

    No need to soak the cashews?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      No need to soak them unless you want to. Thanks for bringing that question up as I was going to add that option in the notes. I will include that step for those who like to soak their cashews, or would at least like to know about it. :)

  10. Gabby @ Putumayo Kitchen says:

    Great recipe! Love the simplicity …. we make a similar dressing too. xxx

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