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Vegan Cream Cheese (Easy + Healthy)

Vegan Cream Cheese made with cashews is creamy and smooth with a bit of tang for a tasty dairy-free cream cheese recipe that’s healthy, customizable, and so easy to make!

top down view of a vegan cream cheese and bagel platter with veggies and fruit.

Bring on the bagels, a batch of homemade cashew cream cheese, and all the fixings for a great breakfast platter or main meal!

Why We Love This Recipe!

  • It tastes fresh and delicious and is a perfect substitute for any dairy version of cream cheese.
  • It can easily be customized for extra tang or flavored with optional add-ins like herbs and spices.
  • It’s easy to make and ready in as little as 15 minutes!

If you’re trying to give up dairy or are just craving a great dairy-free cream cheese, then you are going to love this vegan cream cheese recipe!

Ingredient Notes

In this recipe, cashews are blended with two types of acidic ingredients, creating a slightly tangy and creamy spread that you won’t believe is dairy-free!

Here is everything you’ll need:

  • Raw cashews – raw cashews have a neutral flavor, making them ideal for this non-dairy cream cheese recipe. We recommend buying in bulk when possible or getting them online (affiliate link). You may be tempted to use roasted cashews, but the flavor will not be the same.
  • Water – adding a little water (pref. purified) to the cashews is all you need to make it perfectly thick and creamy.
  • Lemon – adds a bit of zing and zestiness.
  • Apple cider vinegar – we love adding both lemon and APV for a super zingy finish.
  • Mineral salt – just a pinch to bring out all the flavors. And as always with our recipes, use salt to tast.

Recommended Equipment: Use a high-speed or small personal blender (affiliate link) for the best results.

Can I Add Flavors?

Yes, I love adding fresh chopped chives, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon onion powder, or a small diced jalapeno for a change of taste. When adding flavor, I suggest blending chives and jalapeno in by hand at the end. For a sweet variation, try this Sweet Cashew Cream.

How To Make Vegan Cream Cheese

Making vegan cream cheese only takes a few simple steps:

  • Soak cashews. Soften the cashews by soaking them in hot water for 10 minutes. Alternately, soak them for 2 – 3 hours in cool water. Cashews don’t need any longer than 3 hours to soak but will be fine if soaked overnight. Soaking also aids in digestion and is good for those with sensitivities. Drain well and give a good rinse before using.
  • Blend. Add the ingredients to the blender cup and process until creamy. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides every now and then. Once done, taste for flavor, adding more lemon or apple cider vinegar for more tang.
  • Eat as is or chill. Serve right away or keep in the refrigerator to chill and thicken even more.
up close, top down view of a vegan cream cheese and bagel platter with veggies and fruit.

How To Store + Freeze

  • Refrigerator: Leftovers will keep for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator, stored in a covered container.
  • Freezer: This cashew cream cheese can be kept in the freezer, in a freezer-safe container, for up to 2 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before using.
top view of an assortment of bagels topped with vegan cream cheese and various toppings.

Serving Suggestions

You can use this vegan version anywhere dairy cream cheese is called for. We absolutely love it and use it often!

  • Smear on crackers and bagels (sweet or savory)
  • Make cream cheese-filled celery sticks
  • Serve with a platter of fruit and slices of bread
  • Use it in baking, like this Persimmon Ricotta Scones
  • It’s excellent in this Zucchini Ricotta Pasta + Mint

Can I Buy Dairy-Free Cream Cheese In The Store?

Absolutely! Before learning how to make homemade, my favorite store-bought vegan cream cheeses were kite hill and Miyoko’s. Kite hill has a variety of flavors and is my favorite. Miyoko’s plain is tangy and great when you want that extra zing.

head on shot of bagel with cashew cream cheese, cucumber and tomatoes sliced in half and stacked.

More Easy Cashew Recipes!

If recipes using cashews intrigue you, take a look at these other amazing recipes using this versatile ingredient:

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

Print

VEGAN CREAM CHEESE

Silky smooth vegan cream cheese is made with 5 simple ingredients and is a perfect condiment for bagels, sandwiches, and veggies!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 1 cup 1x
  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: blend, puree
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 + 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (about 23 small lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon mineral salt

Optional add-ins (use one):

  • 3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeds removed and minced

Instructions

Soak cashews: Cover cashews with hot water and soak for 5 –  10 minutes. Alternately, cover with at least 2 inches of cool water and soak for 2 – 3 hours. Drain and rinse cashews before using. Soaking will aid in digestion and help make the cashews super creamy.

Blend: Using a high speed blender or small personal blender, add the ingredients to the cup of your preferred blender and blend until creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides every now and then. If using optional add-ins, stir them.

Enjoy right away or let chill in the refrigerator before serving.

Makes about 1 cup.

Store: Leftovers will keep for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator. For longer storage, it will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator before using.

Notes

Add-ins: For variation, try adding fresh chopped chives, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon onion powder, or a small diced jalapeno for a change of taste. When adding flavor, I suggest blending the chives and jalapeno in by hand at the end. For a sweet variation, try this Sweet Cashew Cream.

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT: I ♡ my NutriBullet (affiliate link) for small jobs like this. It’s powerful, compact, and easy to clean!

Keywords: vegan cream cheese, cashew cream cheese, non-dairy cream cheese recipe

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76 Comments

  1. This recipe is amazing! I live overseas in a place where I cannot get my vegan favorites. This recipe was better than store bought, and it as so creamy. Perfect for my favorite pumpkin bread!

  2. Can i use white distilled vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Yes, white vinegar will work as well. Enjoy!

  3. Would it be possible to sub in almonds for the cashews so that this is closer to the Kite Hill cream cheese??

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Great question, Jen! Yes, you can use blanched almonds. You may even try almonds with the skins on, it just may change the color slightly. Just be sure to soak any almonds before using. Enjoy!

  4. Easy peasy recipe that is perfect as is or a base for flavoring. Made this to use in a vegan cheesecake recipe. Thinking I may use in lasagne as a vegan ricotta base!

  5. Wow this is good! And so easy

  6. I can’t wait to try this recipe!. Can I add a little bit of agar agar to the water so it will be more firm. I love the Myoko’s brand cream cheese, she uses coconut cream. Is there any way I can add that instead of water? I want to start eating everything homemade and minimally processed. So far I ditch a lot of the Gardein and Vegan store bought proteins and I feel so good.
    Thank you in advance!

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Love those ideas, BeaH! Yes, you can try modifying the recipe with a bit of agar and coconut cream. So happy you are trying to replace the highly processed stuff!

  7. Has anybody tried using this for baking stuff like cheesecakes?

  8. This recipe is a hit with the entire family, from vegans to carnivores! To get the consistency I wanted for spreading on seed crackers, I added back in a bit of the soaking water. I added a little onion powder, as suggested.

  9. So is the 1/2 cup of water just the soaking water or do we add in a half cup to the actual cream cheese too?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      No, the soaking water will be drained before using the cashews, so the 1/2 cup of fresh water is for the cashew cream cheese and will be added to the blender. Since the recipe calls for 1 + 1/2 cups of cashews, you will use at least 2 cups of water to soak, enough to cover the cashews and give them room to expand in the water while soaking. I hope that helps. Enjoy!

  10. I really like this recipe because it doesn’t melt on toasted bagels. Do you have any suggestions for making it smoother? Mine has very small but still noticeable cashew bits in it I was wondering if there was any way to fix this

    1. Hi Alexis, It’s my first time making this recipe but I had to scrape the side of my food processor a few time in the 10 minutes that I let the food processor run. Mine was super creamy…patience is the key. That’s coming from a Girl with zero patience! Hope that will help you,have a great day. Trish »

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