Learn how to make the easiest 3-ingredient recipe for vegan cultured cashew cream cheese.
Homemade Vegan Cream Cheese is Easy
Store-bought vegan cream cheese leaves much to be desired. I can’t get past the chalky or gummy mouthfeel and strange flavor you can’t quite put your finger on, that most varieties I’ve tried seem to have. Once you try this simple and easy-to-make homemade version you will never go back to store-bought vegan cream cheese. It’s thick and creamy and perfect for schmearing on bagel or toast.
3 simple ingredients:
All you need to make cultured cashew cream cheese at home are raw cashews, good quality unsweetened vegan yogurt, and salt. Besides that, you can also add mix-ins to flavor the cream cheese if you desire. I used chives blossoms from our garden in the photos. Chives add a delicious and mild green onion flavor to this cashew cream cheese.
How to Make Cashew Cream Cheese
Step 1: Soak the cashews
To start, cover the raw cashews with water in a jar to soak overnight or cover them with boiling water to soak quickly for 1 hour.
Step 2: Puree with yogurt
Drain the cashews and puree them with unsweetened plain cultured non-dairy yogurt and salt in a high-speed blender until ultra-smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. The mixture will be thick so use a tamper to help blend it or stop and scrape sides as you go.
Step 3: Add chive flowers or other mix-ins
Transfer the vegan cream cheese to a bowl and stir in minced chives and chive blossoms.
Step 3: Optionally let the cream cheese age
The cashew cream cheese is ready to be chilled before serving at this point or can be aged for 1-2 days in the fridge. To do this, line a strainer fitted over a bowl with cotton muslin, fine cheesecloth, or a coffee filter. Scrape cream cheese into the lined strainer and loosely cover and refrigerate for 1-2 days. The cheese will naturally thicken and some whey may strain out into the bowl. Unwrap cheese and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Tips for Making Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese
Soak the cashews
It is important to let the cashews soak up enough water so they blend easily and are creamy. Soaking them in water at room temperature overnight is best but if you are short on time just cover them with boiling water and let them soak for 1 hour.
Pick the right yogurt
Most vegan or non-dairy yogurts on the market contain additives and sweeteners that won’t work well in this recipe. Plain unsweetened coconut yogurt with live active cultures is the best store-bought option. There are a few brands that make this kind of yogurt now, including Cocoyo, Anita’s, Cocojune, Culina, and Coconut Cult. You can also make your own non-dairy yogurt and strain it to thicken it. I have a tutorial using soymilk here.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can this be made without cashews?
Cashews are an important part of this recipe because they add a thick creamy mouthfeel, richness, and fat that make it similar to traditional cream cheese. You can try swapping them with macadamia nuts, but I haven’t tested them in this recipe. If you can’t eat nuts I would suggest just straining the yogurt in cotton muslin until it is very thick like labneh. It won’t be exactly the same but is the next best thing.
Can I make my own non-dairy yogurt?
Yes, I have a tutorial for making non-dairy yogurt made with soymilk. Homemade vegan yogurt would work well in this recipe as long as it isn’t sweetened first.
What other mix-ins do you suggest?
Besides using chives and/or chive flowers, try adding other flavors like chopped dill, lemon zest, capers, chopped olives, garlic, or scallions. Or go sweet and fresh strawberries or blueberries plus a little sweetener of your choice.
For more delicious ways to use chive flowers check out these recipes:
For more delicious vegan cheeses check out these recipes:
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- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup unsweetened plain non-dairy yogurt with live active cultures such as Coyo coconut milk yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt such as Maldon
- 2 tablespoons chives minced, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons chive blossoms plush more for garnish
- Cover cashews with water in a jar and soak overnight or cover with boiling water to soak quickly for 1 hour.
- Drain cashews and puree with yogurt and salt in a high-speed blender until ultra-smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. The mixture will be thick so use a tamper to help blend it or stop and scrape sides as you go.
- Scrape out the mixture into a bowl using a rubber spatula. Stir in minced chives and chive blossoms. The cream cheese is ready to be chilled before serving at this point or can be aged for 1-2 days in the fridge. To do this, line a strainer fitted over a bowl with cotton muslin, fine cheesecloth, or a coffee filter. Scrape cream cheese into the lined strainer and loosely cover and refrigerate for 1-2 days. The cheese will naturally thicken and some whey may strain out into the bowl. Unwrap cheese and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Before serving, garnish with more minced chives, chive blossoms, and other edible flowers if you’d like.
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