Totally vegan cream cheese? Heck yeah! It’s not only possible…it’s delicious too! This dreamy dairy-free cashew cream cheese will make you a believer!
There was a time when nothing made me happier than a big toasted everything bagel slathered in cream cheese. So good! I might even take a cream cheesy bagel over ice cream. That’s how much I loved it. And then there was a time when I cut out dairy and thought I’d never again be able to enjoy a bagel slathered in cream cheese. Such a bummer.
That was all before I started stockpiling cashews in my kitchen. Because, they’re pretty amazing when it comes to making vegan versions of all things dairy (cheese balls, cheesecakes, creamy sauces, and everything in between). So that’s what I used when I decided to try whipping up some vegan cream cheese.
It worked out great! Cashew cream cheese is delicious. It was way easier to make than I’d even imagined, it tasted just as good on a bagel as the dairy-based cream cheese I used to love, and it only requires three ingredients. Plus maybe water, and any stir-ins you like!
You start by soaking some raw cashews. This softens them so they blend up nicely.
Transfer your soaked cashews to the food processor, and add lemon juice and salt. Blend until creamy!
You can recreate your favorite cream cheese flavor by including some stir-ins. My favorite cream cheese flavor was always chive, so that’s what I used, but feel free to get creative.
Slather it on a bagel (or crackers, or veggies…whatever floats your boat) and enjoy.
Tips for Making Awesome Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese…
- Be patient when blending! It can take a while, especially if you don’t have a high-powered blending device. But it’s totally doable!
- In other recipes that use cashews in place of dairy I might suggest boiling the cashews if you don’t have time to soak them. I don’t recommend that here. Boiled cashews don’t blend up quite as smooth as soaked, and since this cheese is almost all cashews, the texture will be noticeable.
- I’ve had a lot of people ask me if cashew cream cheese can be substituted for dairy-based cream cheese in cheesecake recipes. The answer is maybe, but I wouldn’t risk it. You’re better off just following a recipe for vegan cheesecake. I’ve got a plenty of those here.
- Unless you’re using a small blending device, I don’t recommend cutting down on the batch size. You might not be able to get it all to blend.
- This stuff is freezer friendly! Stick it in a sealable storage container and freeze it for up to 2 months.
Cashew Cream Cheese
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4-8 hours, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Stir-ins of choice, such as chives, roasted garlic, veggies, strawberries, sun-dried tomatoes, or roasted red peppers
Place the cashews, lemon juice, and salt into the bowl of a food processor.
Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add a tablespoon or two of water to thin the mixture as needed.
Taste test and add additional salt and/or lemon juice if you like.
Add any stir-ins to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped and well blended.
Serve immediately or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.