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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! For more of my favorite cooking tools, shop my kitchen essentials.

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

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61 Comments

  1. I just made this and it tastes amazing. So creamy!!! I added 1 tbsp of nutrionalt yest for a bit extra flavour 😊
    Thanks for this recipe 🤗

  2. It turned out quite runny for me. Tastes good though – added nutritional yeast and garlic powder.
    Next time I’ll add a little water at a time instead of the entire 1/2 cup.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      In your case, refrigerating it will help stiffen it up. It should be much better after that! Using less water is a good idea to be on the safe side, you can always add more if needed. I hope that helps and you enjoy the recipe often!

  3. This is simply the best!! I didn’t have a lemon so used lime juice. I used it in a recipe not long after making it and it worked fine. But after being in the fridge for about a day and a half, it is really firm and tastes wonderful!! I used it in a salad dressing and love it. I would never buy vegan cream cheese knowing I could make this. Thanks for this lovely recipe!

  4. I really wanted to love this, first time making homemade cream cheese. I followed the recipe exactly and it just tastes horrible. Tastes too much vinegar or lemon, and no cheese flavor. A vegan shop near me has the most amazing cashew cream cheese and I guess I was hoping this would be similar. Idk I am reaching out here to see what could I have possibly done wrong with this very simple recipe? Suggestions? I had to throw it away, made it a second time and still gross. Any suggestions?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Sorry you didn’t care for it, Tory! I suggest letting it rest for a day or two and seeing how that goes. The store-bought cream cheese has been prepared well in advance allowing the flavors to settle and meld together. You can also try using less vinegar and/or lemon to taste. We love the recipe as is, but everyone is different. I do that helps, and you try again!

  5. I really loved this!

  6. Could you use raw macadamia nuts instead of cashews?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Yes, the only difference will be the flavor, with cashews being the most neutral-tasting nut. I think it will still be delicious! Let us know how it goes, as it’s also super helpful to others. Enjoy!

  7. Loved this recipe. We’ve been making ‘cheese’ from a while, but this one really stood out as delicious. Love it!

  8. Tastes good. Instructions are unclear. Is the ½ cup water what I’m using for soaking the cashews? Or is that added after soaking the cashews? Do I drain the cashews after soaking or just blend as is? I blended as is and it turned out way too runny. Guess I should have drained them, but the instructions didn’t say to.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Thanks for pointing that out, Olivia! I’ve updated the recipe to be more clear. I hope your next batch is even better! Cheers :)

  9. Sharon Frazer says:

    Really nice, I had no apple cider vinegar so used white wine vinegar instead. Very tasty.

  10. If I want to try white beans instead of cashews, how much do you think I should use?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Great question, Julie! You can try using about 3 cups of white beans (or 2 – 14oz. cans, drained and rinsed) to replace the cashews. On your first try, I suggest cutting the recipe in half by using 1 1/2 cups of beans and 1/4 cup of water, along with the remaining ingredients. Since I’ve never tried this, you’ll want to adjust the ingredients as needed. I hope that helps. Enjoy!

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