Make this delicious and creamy Vegan Cream Cheese with just 5 simple ingredients. It's smooth, tangy and perfect on bagels. A perfect, super easy plant-based substitute for traditional cream cheese.
This vegan cream cheese recipe is super easy to whip up from scratch with just a few affordable ingredients and minimal prep. Plus, it comes together in under 5 minutes!
Cream cheese always reminds me of my dad. His go-to evening snack when I was growing up was always a liberal spreading of cream cheese on a few saltine crackers. It's funny the things you remember, decades later!
So although I'm a bagel fan, I also love spreading this creamy cheese onto crackers. Such a great texture balance.
Why you'll love this recipe
If you're vegan or plant-based and you've been missing cream cheese, then this is the recipe for you! You'll love it because it's:
Soy-free (if you use soy-free yogurt)
Made with cashews
Only 5 simple ingredients
Make it in just 5 minutes (after soaking the cashews)
Perfect on bagels
Delicious as a dip for veggies
What is vegan cream cheese made of?
Vegan cream cheese can be made with different base ingredients. Sometimes it's made with silken tofu, or else it's more like labneh with strained yogurt.
For this recipe, I've gone for cashews. They're nutritious, easy to get hold of, and I love the texture and flavor that they bring to this recipe.
Plus, after you've soaked (or speed soaked in a pan - see 'Tips' below) the cashews, once whizzed in the blender they get lovely and creamy.
You only need a few simple ingredients to make this recipe!
Cashews - some vegan cream cheese recipes are based on tofu or strained vegan yogurt. I definitely prefer cashews for their flavor and creaminess.
Lemon juice - for a tangy flavor.
Apple cider vinegar - this also gives the classic 'tang'.
Aquafaba - this is the liquid from a can of chickpeas. It sounds bizarre, but when you whiz the cashews the aquafaba aerates and makes it extra creamy. Be sure to use the chickpeas for another recipe (like my carrot hummus). If you don't have any, leave it out and replace with water.
Vegan yogurt - go for a plain, unsweetened variety. I prefer soy-based but any work well.
You only need a few simple kitchen utensils for this dairy free cream cheese recipe.
The main one is a blender. I use a high-speed blender as it whizzes up the cashews quickly. You can use a standard one, you'll just need to process it for a bit longer and scrape the sides down more often.
If you don't have a blender, you can also use a food processor.
Other kitchen tools needed are:
Bowl (to soak the cashews)
Colander or strainer (to drain the cashews)
Step by step tutorial
This is a seriously easy recipe to whiz up in just 5 minutes. Follow these step by step photos and then scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredients list and method.
Soak the cashews in water overnight or for 4 hours.
TIP: Alternatively, put them into a pan of water, bring to the boil, remove from the heat and soak for 15 mins. Then rinse in cold water to cool.
Rinse and drain the cashews.
Add the cashews and all remaining ingredients to a blender.
For the aquafaba (chickpea water), simply take it from a can of chickpeas. Save the remaining chickpeas and aquafaba for another recipe.
TIP: If you don't have any, you can just add water.
Whiz until smooth.
TIP: You'll need to scrape the sides down regularly.
Forgot to soak your cashews overnight? No problem! You can soak them for 4 hours, or, to make it quicker, place them into a pan of cold water, bring to a boil then remove from the heat and allow to soak for 15 minutes. Then rinse and drain.
You'll need to scrape the sides of the blender frequently to ensure they're evenly pureed.
Wondering why there's aquafaba (chickpea water) in this recipe? It's because it aerates in the blender and makes this vegan cashew cream cheese smoother. Be sure to use the chickpeas and remaining aquafaba in another recipe, such as my Pea Hummus.
Looking to add more flavors? Scroll down to the variations.
Be sure to choose an unflavored and unsweetened dairy free yogurt. Anything sweetened will affect the taste of the cream cheese.
Soy-free? Choose a soy-free yogurt.
Storage and freezing
Store this cashew cream cheese, covered, in the fridge for up to 4 days.
This recipe is not suitable for freezing.
One of the beauties of cashew cream cheese is that you can make lots of flavor variations. Just whizzing in a few different ingredients or spices quickly changes the flavor completely. Try this variations!
Chive and Onion: when blended, stir in 1 tbsp chopped chives and ½ tsp onion powder.
Strawberry: Add a few strawberries while blending the cashews.
Pumpkin Spice: Add ½ tsp pumpkin spice mix.
Garlic: Add 1/2 tsp garlic powder.
Smokey Paprika: Add 1/2 tsp smoked paprika.
This recipe is perfect spread on bagels, crackers or as a dip for fresh raw vegetables. I also love it with strawberries.
Get the recipe
Vegan Cream Cheese
- 1 ½ cups raw unsalted cashews soaked
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp aquafaba the liquid from a can of chickpeas
- 2 tbsp plain unsweetened dairy-free yogurt (I used soy yogurt)
- Large pinch sea salt
- Add the cashews to a bowl, cover with water and leave to soak overnight or for at least 4 hours.Tip: alternatively, add to a pan of cold water, bring to the boil, remove from the heat and soak for 15 minutes. Rinse under cold water to cool completely and drain.
- Drain and rinse the cashews and add them to the jug of a high-speed blender (or food processor) with the lemon juice, vinegar, aquafaba, yogurt and salt and blend until smooth. You’ll need to scrape the sides down a few times.
- Store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Enjoy on bages, crackers etc…!
Store this cashew cream cheese, covered, in the fridge for up to 4 days. This recipe is not suitable for freezing.
Variations: Chive and Onion: when blended, stir in 1 tbsp chopped chives and ½ tsp onion powder. Strawberry: Add a few strawberries while blending the cashews. Pumpkin Spice: Add ½ tsp pumpkin spice mix