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Easy Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese {3 ingedients}

Quick and easy vegan cashew cream cheese made with 3 ingredients: raw cashews, coconut oil and lemon juice. Use it as a spread, or in no-bake recipes that call for traditional cream cheese!

Cashew Cream Cheese Made Easy

I have a go-to recipe to share today, one that will make the holidays especially easy and delicious. Who doesn’t want that? It’s my quick and easy, plant-based cream cheese!

It’s perfect as a spread for bread, crackers, and bagels. But it can also be used to make all kinds of no-bake appetizers and desserts–the kind that call for traditional cream cheese, such as cheesecake, cheeseballs, and cream cheese chocolate truffles–for the holidays and beyond.

Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese Benefits

This delicious and versatile vegan cheese is all of the following and so much more:

  • Vegan (egg-free, dairy-free)
  • Gluten-free
  • Grain-free
  • Paleo
  • Versatile
  • Quick & easy to prepare

Ingredients for Easy Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese

The exact amounts of each ingredient are indicated in the recipe card at the end of the post.

To make the cheese, you will need:

To keep the flavor of the cream cheese neutral, opt for refined coconut oil (it has no scent). Coconut flavor is delicious ifthe plan is to use the cream cheese in a sweet recipe, but not necessarily ideal for spreading on bagels :).

I recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt, too, but it is your call regarding how much to add, or whether you wish to add it at all.

You can also add 1 to 2 teaspoons of nutritional yeast for an additional umami-cheesey flavor.

Step By Step Instructions

Back to the recipe! It’s easy.

Step One: Quick-Soak the Cashews

Soak the cashews in boiling water for about 20 minutes. The cashews will be very soft after this brief soak. Drain off the water.

Step Two: Blend the Cashews

Add the drained cashews, coconut oil and lemon juice to a high-speed blender and blend away!

Be patient with the blending. It will look like there is not enough liquid in the first minute or two. But keep at it. Stop and scrape the blender sides and bottom often. Soon, the creaminess of the soaked cashews will meld with the lemon juice and coconut oil, producing a thick, smooth cheese.

Step Three: Season to Taste

Taste the cheese and adjust the salt and lemon juice to taste. The cream cheese is ready to use as a spread, although it is best when chilled for several hours.

Alternatively, pack the cheese into container(s) or mold(s) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Once cold, the cream cheese will hold the shape of the mold, but will still be soft enough to spread.

I’ll be posting some easy vegan cream cheese Holiday eats and treats in the weeks to come. Until then, enjoy this delectable cheese any way you choose.

FAQ

How Should the Cheese Be Stored?

Store the cream cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Freezing is not recommended.

Long-Soak or Quick-Soak the Cashews

If you prefer, soak the cashews in 2 cups cold water, at room temperature for 8 hours instead of using the quick soak method. Drain and rinse before using. I do not recommend soaking the cashews for longer than 8 hours (they can turn slimy).

Do I Have to Use Coconut Oil?

If you want the cream cheese to be firmly set, coconut oil is necessary.

The coconut oil–which becomes solid when cold–helps to set the cream cheese and give it a firm-smooth texture. Subbing an oil that remains liquid when cold will result in a very soft cream cheese.

Any Alternatives for the Lemon Juice?

Apple cider vinegar (or any other light-colored, mild vinegar) can be used in place of the lemon juice. Take a look at my recipe notes regarding how much to add.

More Delicious & Easy Vegan Cheese Recipes to Try:

Yield: About 1 and 2/3 cups (13.5 oz/383 g)

Easy Cashew Cream Cheese {vegan, paleo}

Easy Cashew Cream Cheese {vegan, paleo}

Quick and simple vegan cream cheese made with 3 ingredients: raw cashews, coconut oil and lemon juice. Use it as a spread or in no-bake recipes that call for traditional cream cheese!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (8 oz/224 g) raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) refined coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (more or less to taste)
  • Optional: 1 to 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast

Instructions

  1. Place the cashews in a large glass bowl. Add 4 cups (1 L) boiling water. Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes until very plump. Drain and rinse the cashews.
  2. In a high-speed blender process the cashews, coconut oil, lemon juice, salt and (optional) nutritional yeast.
  3. Stop and scrape the sides and bottom of container multiple times until the mixture is very smooth and creamy-looking (be patient, this will take a good amount of stopping, starting, and scraping—at least 3 to 5 minutes).
  4. Pack the cheese into an airtight storage container. If planning to mold the cheese, pack it in 2 rectangular dishes that have been lined with plastic wrap; firmly enclose with the wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours until cold and firm.
  5. Use the cream cheese as a spread or in no-bake recipes of all kinds that call for cream cheese.

 

Notes

Storage: Store the cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Freezing is not recommended.

Lemon Juice Sub: 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar + 1 tablespoon of water can be used in place of the lemon juice.

Overnight Soaking: If you prefer, soak the cashews in 2 cups cold water, at room temperature for 8 hours instead of using the quick soak method. Drain and rinse before using. I do not recommend soaking the cashews for longer than 8 hours (they can turn slimy).

Nutrition Information

Serving Size

1 tablespoon

Amount Per Serving Calories 68Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 3.4gCholesterol 0mgSodium 43.6mgCarbohydrates 1.8gFiber 0.4gSugar 0.5gProtein 1.8g

Did you make this recipe?

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Marita

Tuesday 19th of July 2022

Love that idea... just got diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroid disorder, so I am new to paleo, but am feeling so much better already. If I want to use cashew butter instead, will that work?

Camilla

Saturday 23rd of July 2022

Hi Marita! Alas, not, it needs to be raw cashews. When they are soaked and blended, they have a taste and texture like cream. Once they are roasted, the cashews are different in taste and texture.

Kristin

Sunday 19th of December 2021

Thank you for the boiling water technique! I was specifically looking for that to make some onion dip today!

glo

Thursday 21st of October 2021

. . . Just luvvv your site . . . wonder if this can be frozen?

Camilla

Thursday 28th of October 2021

Hi Glo! Thank you thank you! I can speak from experience about freezing this, as I had some that I had made and was heading out of town, so I decided to try freezing it. It came out OK but the texture was sort of weird after defrosting. However, I was able to bring it back to life by re-blending it with a handmixer. So… You technically can freeze it. But it will require some reworking after defrosting :-)

Cashew Cream Cheese – Cook Real Food

Friday 31st of July 2020

[…] adapted from power hungry: easy cashew cream cheese […]

Zena

Wednesday 26th of February 2020

Hello! What can replace coconut oil with?

Camilla

Wednesday 26th of February 2020

Hi Zena,

It's hard to say exactly, since the coconut oil helps to solidify the cheese (since coconut oil is firm when cold). If you are ok with a softer set cream cheese, I would just leave it out and instead add 1 to 3 tablespoons of the nondairy milk of your choice. It will still be quite firm and thick!

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