Cashew Cream Cheese

sq 3 mark There was a time when a bagel and cream cheese was my absolute favorite breakfast. Not my normal breakfast, mind you, but my favorite. Like a weekend breakfast, at a corner coffee shop in Philly. I’d have a big, frothy mochaccino, everything bagel and scallion cream cheese. There was one place that put the cream cheese on the bagel in these big giant slabs that had to be about two inches thick. That is a breakfast that I have not enjoyed in several years. It’s not so much that it doesn’t sound good to me anymore. In fact, my tastebuds are tingling as I write this. But when I think about it a little more, I start to feel like I need a nap. Suddenly I feel really full, bloated…then I start feeling sleepy. Groggy, yeah, mega carbo/animal fat energy zap. That’s it.

My point? I’m thirty-three now. Big old cream cheesy slabby bagels just don’t get eaten and unnoticed by my body like they used to. I would love, love, love to sit down this weekend for the exact meal I’ve described above, but I’m just not into the consequences. Fortunately, I’m beginning to discover ways of working around those consequences. Starting here.

So what’s a (thirty-three year old, trying to be healthy) girl to do? Just what I’ve been doing: create something void of all those no-no ingredients and so delicious that I’ll never look back. And what did I do? Well, for this post I created a super delicious cashew-based, dairy free cream cheese. What I did not do was put it on a bagel. I still have some work to do in order to get around that heavy, carbohydrate bomb of an issue. (If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.) That’s all fine though, because I tested this vegan delight out on (1) fresh veggies, (2) rice crackers, and (3) a whole wheat wrap with fresh veggies, mimicking an old favorite I used to get at bagel shops. All were delicious.

process I’ll certainly keep you posted on my progress in replacing the bagel. And as for the mochaccino, well that part is easy peasy. Stay tuned.

You can stir any kind of appropriate cream cheese flavoring in here. I went for scallions, because, as noted above, those were always my favorite. I see no reason not to try sundried tomatoes, fresh fruit like peaches and strawberries, fresh garlic, finely diced raw veggies…I could go on and on. I’ll let you know if I can manage to tear myself away from the scallions and try another variety. Please do the same for me. Deal?


Cashew Cream Cheese
Prep time
Total time
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4-8 hours
  • 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ tbsp. canola oil
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Optional: your favorite cream cheese flavorings (I used 2 chopped scallions)
  1. Drain cashews and blend in high speed blender or food processor until smooth. This might take a few minutes.
  2. Add in remaining ingredients and continue to blend until everything is well mixed.
  3. Remove from blender or food processor and stir in your flavoring(s), if using.
This recipe yields about a cup. If you're using a larger sized blender or food processor, you might want to make a larger batch to ensure that the ingredients fill up the bowl or blender sufficiently for adequate blending. You'll get a rather large batch, but the good news is that you can freeze it for long term storage.

sq and cel


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    • Anonymous says

      I love your cream cheese. I made some minor alterations though. Instead of the oil I used 1/4 cup of plain almond yogurt. I also used less lemon juice. It tastes so good that I dug out my driveway (three inches of snow overnight) and picked up some bagels at Einstein’s!

    • says

      Thank you! The almond yogurt variation sounds very interesting – I never even thought about using yogurt. I bet it makes it really nice and creamy. I’ll have to keep that in mind for next time!

  1. says

    Have you made a cashew cream sauce to replace alfredo sauce? I resisted for a long time because all the recipes I saw had a long soak time (overnight, anyway. That’s way advanced planning for me). I finally came across one that didn’t, recreated it, and loved it:

    My point here, I guess, is I’m wondering whether you think the long soak time is critical?

    • says

      I’ve actually never tried any cashew cream based recipes without soaking, because every one I’ve ever come across does require soaking. I’ve also always thought that it depends on what type of food processor/blender you’re using (basic Hamilton Beech food processor here). Thanks for the link to your recipe. It sounds delicious and I’ll definitely try it out. If I can do alfredo sauce without soaking I can’t see why cream cheese wouldn’t work as well. I’ll try to post an update on my findings!

      • anna says

        Boiling them will kill all the beneficial enzymes and lots of nutrients we may not even know about. Soak those nuts!

  2. Annie V. says

    Hi Alissa! How long do you estimate that this would keep in the fridge? Providing I don’t scarf it all down at once, that is. 😉

    Thanks — just found your blog today and looking forward to going back through the archives!

    • says

      Hi Annie! The longest I’ve kept this around is about four days and it held up just fine. I’d have to guess and say about one week max, based on my experience with the shelf life of cashew milk. If you’re unsure I think the smell test should tell you if it’s still good, as this is always a good indication with nut milks.

      Thanks so much for checking out the blog – hope you enjoy everything!!

  3. Anonymous says

    You can easily find recipes for raw vegan onion bread (which is easier with a dehydrator, but can be done in the oven). It’s wonderful (and healthy) with cashew cream cheese!

    • says

      Absolutely! I picked canola because of its accessibility and neutral flavor, but you could sub lots of different oils in this recipe. In your case I’d say grape seed is probably the better choice because the flavor is milder than olive.

    • says

      You could, but before I added the oil it was a bit thick and grainy for my taste. I’d say give it a shot without the oil, see what you think, and then add the oil if you think it needs some thinning/smoothing out.

    • Anonymous says

      You can grind the cashews in a seed/coffee grinder then blend with your liquid. That way you don’t have to soak before hand.

  4. says

    I’m tryibg to find unexpensive, common ingredients I can find in a market around the world, the more unprocessed the better.

    – Why canola and not olive oil?
    – Any substitute for cashews? Almonds, palm hearts, toffu, garbanzos, other beans?
    – What’s the use of yeast flakes? How can we substitute it?


    • says

      You’re welcome!

      I used canola oil because the flavor is pretty neutral. You could go with olive oil but it might change the flavor a bit.

      As far as the cashews are concerned, I can’t really suggest any substitutions without doing some further recipe development. Cashews work well because they have a neutral flavor and blend up nice and creamy.

      The nutritional yeast flakes give the recipe a cheesy flavor. Cream cheese is generally pretty mild, so I only used a tiny bit here. For that reason, you could probably get away with omitting this ingredient, but your batch might turn out a little bland. If you want to try kicking up the flavor with other ingredients maybe add a pinch or two of onion or garlic powder – totally different flavors, but still pretty tasty.

      Any significant deviation from the recipe is probably going to require some trial and error. Good luck if you give it a shot, and I hope my responses are helpful!

  5. Marilyn says

    This is really good, thank you so much! I’m having this on a KinnickKinnick GF bagel right now with coffee (with coconut milk) and it’s quite realistic. I haven’t had a bagel and cream cheese in so long it’s not funny. What I really like about this is it’s so quick as long as you’ve soaked the cashews. I soaked them yesterday, drained and refrigerated them overnight, then made this with my stick blender this morning. I added granulated garlic and dill, and I accidentally dumped in the nutritional yeast, but it’s still really good. I also eyeballed everything. I will definitely make this again.

    • says

      Thank you so much for sharing your results! Garlic and dill sounds like a delicious way to flavor this – I’m going to have to remember that for next time. Good to know that ghee works as well, as I’ve had a few people asking about substitutions for the canola oil. So glad you enjoyed this!

  6. says

    I am so excited to find this substitute for dairy cream cheese because my husband has developed allergies to all dairy and eggs so it really had decreased our food options!

    • says

      Thank you, and I’m sorry to hear that you’re allergic! I’m planning on doing lots more experimentation with vegan cheeses and will definitely post if I’m able to come up with a recipe using something other than cashews!

  7. Anonymous says

    I recently made something similar and it was exceptional. Unlike dairy products this is hearty and fulfilling. It was made with basic ingredients including garlic, lemon juice, sea salt and some black pepper. Came out wonderfully.

  8. says

    Hey Alissa!

    I’ve tried Cashew Cream Cheese at one of my favorite vegan restaurants and wanted to try to make it myself. Just as a FYI, I just tried this exact recipe in my short Vitamix 750 blender and it didn’t have enough ingredients inside of the blender for it to really blend so it ended up being super duper chunky. So just as a warning to you Vitamix users with short containers, be sure to double the recipe or this really won’t blend =/

    Will have to soak 2x the cashews next time and give this another try. Thanks for posting!

    • says

      Hi Shelly! Thank you! I’ve been using the food processor function of a Ninja to make this, and the bowl is rather small so I didn’t even think of that being a problem. I appreciate your feedback and I just updated the post to include a note on batch size, so hopefully this doesn’t happen to anyone else. Thanks again!

  9. says

    I soaked for about 2 hours, doubled the batch and used my handheld blender and substituted canola with coconut oil, added water to smooth it out…. no yeast…. YUM!… can’t wait to try it in my wraps for lunch… and add different flavours! THANKYOU for such an easy recipe to introduce me to nut cream :))

    • says

      Yay! You’re welcome and I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing your results – the two hour soak time is good to know. I’ve had a few people comment/ask about shorter soak times but I’ve yet to do any experimenting with it myself.

  10. says

    I have been making the sun dried tomato/basil cream cheese from Miyoko Schinner’s book: Artisan vegan cheese. The last time I made it, I added some finely chopped black olives which were a hit! Today I will be making another version of this since her recipe calls for rejuvelac and I don’t feel like waiting several days for the grains to sprout and then for the liquid to ferment.
    betsy shipley

  11. Anne says

    just made this for a dinner party. Using it for the filling in spinach and cheese puff pastry roll ups. Will sprinkle the top with vegan Parmesan. It is delicious. My husband taste tested it and loved this. Thanks!

  12. says

    I’ve been collecting recipes for homemade seed/nut crackers, and found a bunch on Pinterest AND on (Reboot With Joe — Joe Cross’s website mainly dealing with juice fasting for health, cleansing, and eating right for health). Crackers and cream cheese are two of my favorite things, so I will be trying this recipe as soon as I get home today. I’ve also found the recipes on Pinterest for things like cauliflower tortillas and pizza crust are really good. In fact I made a pizza and used Kefir cream cheese as the foundation of my toppings. The recipe titled Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks is especially yummy. Give it a shot! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Cat says

    I’ve made this several times now and it is is stellar! I add some minced onion for some batches and sometimes roasted red peppers. I’m going to try sundried tomatoes next time. I absolutely adore this stuff – it’s like creamy cashew crack! Thank you so much!

  14. suzie says

    I just found your blog and was thrilled with your cream cheese recipe. I have one question for you, do you think I could use this recipe of cream cheese to make and bake a cheesecake.


    • says

      Glad you like it! I’m not sure if this would work in a cheesecake or not. One of these days I hope to getting around to trying it, but for now you’re probably better off just working with a vegan cheesecake recipe. I have one here if you’d like to check it out. This version has a mango topping, but you could really use whatever you like on cheesecake. :)

      • suzie says

        Thank-you so much for getting back to me. I will try the cheesecake recipe you have guided me to, but I will also wait and see what you come up with. No pressure!!!! Grin

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