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Vegan Cream Cheese

This homemade vegan cream cheese recipe is made using just 5 ingredients, including a cashew base. Spread on chewy bagels for a delicious breakfast!

A bowl of vegan cream cheese on a wooden board, surrounded by bagels.

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There are tons of vegan store-bought cream cheese that I love – including VioLife, Miyokos, and Tofutti. But for those of you that can’t find vegan cream cheese at your local grocery store, or would rather make your own, this recipe is sure to satisfy that craving.

Made with 5 simple ingredients right in a food processor.

Ingredients

  • Cashews: this recipe calls for soaking cashews to make a super creamy spread.
  • Water: How much you need with depend on several factors. Start with a little an add more to achieve your preferred creaminess.
  • Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar help achieve that classic cream cheese tanginess.
  • Salt: See the section on flavors below for variety!
A food processor containing cashews.

Instructions

The process for making homemade vegan cream cheese is pretty simple!

First, soak the cashews so they are soft. I put them in the microwave with some water for about a minute and a half, then let them soak for 30 minutes or so. Alternatively, you could soak them in boiled water. Or, soak them in regular water for 3 to 4-ish hours.

Throw all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until relatively smooth. Add more water if the mixture is too thick (but also be careful not to make it too thin!)

You can use a blender, but I’d recommend doubling the batch the blender has more to catch onto. You will also have to scrape down the sides a lot.

Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.

Trying to go vegan? Sign up for our (FREE) Vegan Beginner’s Guide!

A wooden board with a bunch of bagels and a bowl of cashew cheese.

Most Asked Questions

Can I use this recipe to make cream cheese frosting or cheesecake?

This recipe will not work the best for frosting and I have not tried it to make a dairy-free cheesecake. Homemade cashew cream cheese is not completely silky and smooth like we want our frosting, and it doesn’t set up quite like the store-bought versions. It’s best used for savory purposes like spreading on bagels and stirring into pasta sauces! Here is a recipe for vegan cream cheese frosting.

Is there a nut-free version?

The most common nut-free dairy-free cream cheese bases are tofu and sunflower seeds. You may need to adjust the other ingredients if making one of these swaps. If you opt to use tofu, do not add water. The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it is easy to customize.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes!

What recipes can I use this cream cheese in?

Try it in Vegan Spinach & Artichoke Dip, One-Pot Creamy Spinach Pasta. or this festive Cranberry Cheese Ball.

A toasted bagel topped with vegam cream cheese.

Making Flavored Vegan Cream Cheese

Here are 4 of the most popular cream cheese flavors.

Strawberry

Omit the water (for now) and blend the ingredients with half a cup of quartered strawberries. The strawberries have a lot of natural water, so you may not need to add additional moisture.

Jalapeno

After blending, stir in 2 tablespoons of diced fresh or pickled jalapenos. Adjust the amount according to your preference.

Onion and Chive

Mix in 1 teaspoon of onion powder and 2 tablespoons of fresh sliced chives after blending.

Garlic and Herb

Mince 2-3 cloves of garlic. Mix into the cream cheese after blending, along with 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning blend.

More Flavors

Add the following ingredients and combinations into your cream cheese for some added delicious flavor! For water-heavy ingredients, like pumpkin purée, only add water if needed after blending.

  • Freeze-dried berries
  • Everything but the Bagel Seasoning from Trader Joe’s
  • Truffle oil
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Canned green chilis, drained
  • Fresh herbs
  • Pumpkin purée

Did you enjoy this recipe? Please leave a comment and a ⭐ star review below!

A bowl of vegan cream cheese on a wooden cheese board, surrounded by bagels.

Vegan Cream Cheese

Karissa Besaw
Easy, tangy vegan cream cheese made from cashews.
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Soaking time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Condiment
Cuisine American, Vegan
Servings 16 tablespoons
Calories 79 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked – see notes below
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste

Instructions
 

  • Add all ingredients to a food processor. Start out with 2 tbsp of water and add more if needed.
  • Blend until creamy.
  • Store covered in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.

Notes

  • To soak the cashews, add them to a large bowl with about a cup of water. Then, microwave for 2 minutes. Let them sit for 20 minutes and drain. See more methods here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoonCalories: 79kcalCarbohydrates: 4.5gProtein: 2.6gFat: 6.2g
Did you try this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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