5 Minute Vegan Cream Cheese is made with whole food ingredients and is ridiculously easy to make. It tastes amazing, too!
I don’t know if there’s anything I miss more than cream cheese. Before going vegan, I didn’t care much for meat, or milk, but CHEESE…. It seems like I’m not alone in this. I’ve heard over and over again from people that the hardest thing to replace or give up is cheese.
Well, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! I’m on a mission to satisfy all your cheesy cravings. 🙂 So far, I’ve made Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese, Vegan Queso Dip, Stretchy Mozzarella, and this delicious Cheese Ball. And now, you can have a big toasted bagel slathered in vegan cream cheese!
Now, a quick word about this vegan cream cheese. It’s not going to fool anyone into thinking it’s real cream cheese. I want to be honest about that! It’s more like a really delicious “schmear” or bagel spread. And just because it doesn’t taste EXACTLY like dairy cream cheese, does not mean it’s not incredibly drool worthy and delicious!
What’s really great about this homemade vegan cream cheese is that it’s full of nutritious ingredients. It’s made primarily with raw cashews, and there is no oil involved. So you get some healthy fat and even protein with this spread!
How do you make Vegan Cream Cheese?
You will need a food processor. You could probably use a high powered blender in a pinch, but you may need to add more liquid to get it smooth.
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First, soak your cashews in hot water for at least 30 minutes, or overnight in cool water. This helps your cream cheese get creamier. Drain and rinse them, and add to the food processor.
Add the non-dairy yogurt, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and salt. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Taste; add more salt or lemon juice as desired.
For Chive and Onion Vegan Cream Cheese:
While the cream cheese is quite good plain, it is SO much better with more flavor. Simply add 3 tablespoons of chopped chives and a teaspoon of onion powder to the cream cheese, and process until smooth. SO GOOD.
You could also get creative with different add-ins, such as sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, chipotles in adobo (spicy!) or maple walnut.
Can I use this vegan cream cheese for baking or frosting?
No, it just won’t work well! For my Vegan Cheesecake, I recommend store-bought vegan cream cheese, as well as for Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting. For a Cheesecake that does use cashews, check out my No-Bake Vegan Layered Raspberry Cheesecake. This recipe is best used as a spread for bagels, or with crackers and vegetables.
I hope you enjoy this Vegan Cream Cheese as much as I do!
5 Minute Vegan Cream Cheese
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked
- 1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Soak the cashews either overnight in cool water in the refrigerator, or for at least 30 minutes in hot water. The longer you soak the cashews, the creamier the cream cheese will be.
- Drain and rinse the soaked cashews, and add them to a food processor. Add the unsweetened non-dairy yogurt, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and salt. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides as needed.
- Taste; add any additional salt or lemon juice, if desired. Add the chives and onion powder if using, and pulse until incorporated.
- Serve immediately on bagels, or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen if desired.
- To soak the cashews, I usually place them in a large measuring cup. Then I bring water to a boil in my tea kettle, and pour the hot water over the cashews. For this recipe, I soak them this way for at least 30 minutes. You can also soak them overnight in cool water.
- I used Forager Cashew Yogurt, unsweetened plain. You can use soy, almond or coconut as well. Just make absolutely sure there is no sweetener or flavor added; it will ruin your cream cheese! If you can't find it, you could omit it and simply add a little water. It won't be quite as creamy though.
- While the vegan cream cheese is quite good plain, I highly prefer the Chive and Onion version! It takes it to a whole new level of bagel spread.
Smooth and creamy and easy! So much better than the kinds at the store made with all those extra oils!
Thanks for your fabulous feedback and review! How fantastic you are loving the cream cheese!
This is my favorite whole food plant based vegan cream cheese. I always have a batch in the frig. Thank you!
You are welcome! Thank you for sharing your fabulous feedback!
Can this cream cheese recipe be used for a vegan cheese cake?
Hi Marie. I haven’t tried it, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t work very well. It’s not as smooth and creamy as store bought vegan cream cheese.
Do you have any ideas how to make a cream cheese for someone with dairy, pistachio, cashew and hazelnut allergies?
sunflower seeds in place of the nuts
I make cream cheese by placing non fat plain yogurt in a strainer lined with a few coffee filters placed over a bowl and drain in the refrigerator at least over night or until it reaches your desired thickness. I use dairy yogurt but it should work for any non dairy yogurt. A lot less fat than this cashew cream cheese although it’s probably very tasty.
I am so eager to try this! I make a tortilla soup that I used to add a block of cream cheese to before serving. I wonder if this would work?
I haven’t made it since going vegan. It’s broth and tomato based with lots of vegetables. Formerly I added chicken. I will use veggie broth & eliminate the chicken & if I could use this as my cream cheese replacement I think it would be great. What do you think?
I think it would work in a tortilla soup, yes. Sounds good!
I added the brewer’s yeast, a bit of cayenne and lime instead of lemon as suggested below, and it came out delicious! I also added some smoked garlic powder. I needed to add about two TBL more of vegan (soy) yogurt in order to get it the right consistency. Make sure to really keep that blade going so that it gets nice and creamy rather than gritty. A very successful recipe, thank you!:)
Phenomenal! You’ve got to give it a good long mix in the food processor, but once it’s really creamy, you won’t believe how good it tastes. I’m going to be buying a lot more cashews so I can whip this up whenever I want to. So easy!
I love it! I’m thrilled you love the cream cheese! Thank you for sharing your great review and comments! Happy cooking!
Mine came out gritty and not as white as yours. I could only find coconut yogurt. I think it would taste better with another type of yogurt. Can I freeze the leftovers?
It’s not going to be as smooth as regular cream cheese, for sure. But make sure you soak the cashews so it will be as smooth as possible. I also don’t love coconut yogurt, cashew or almond tastes much better here, in my opinion. It can be frozen, yes.
Really a nice spread. This recipe is from over a year ago. I wish you had updated how much a serving size was.
What I did was I put it in Carb Manager with a serving size of 2 tablespoons.
Thank you so much for all your hard work. This is really nice on some of the keto bread’s I’ve been making. I have to look at your other recipes. That queso spread sounds great
This was excellent! You read my mind.
I bought some vegan cream cheese at Trader Joe’s the other day to use with keto Chaffle recipes. But I don’t like all the additives. This was so delicious with the chive and onion powder.
I made a half batch, and tried using my bullet blender. It didn’t work very well. But eventually, I spread it on some homemade flaxseed bread. Excellent!
Thank you ever so much. I’ll have to check out your other recipes
Hi Judy! I’m glad you loved the cream cheese! Thanks so much for taking your time to share your review and comments. Please do journey through my recipes, and let me know how they go for you, or if you have any questions. Happy cooking!
Whats a serving size please
Hi Aida. I think it’s about 2-3 tablespoons. You’d have to divide it by 8 to know exactly how much 1 serving is. I hope this helps!
I think this recipe heavily depends upon how good your food processor is. My cream cheese turned out pretty gritty and wasn’t getting any smoother anymore when I kept processing. I’m not sure how smooth it is intended to be, but I’m assuming there is nothing wrong with the recipe and it must be that my food processor is not good enough. I intend to use it in an avocado cream cheese sauce for pasta and I’ll try it on some bread, I hope the grittiness won’t be super noticeable there.
Hi, have you used this as an ingredient in other recipes? I’m looking for a cream cheese recipe that I can use to make vegan cream cheese danishes.
I find it doesn’t work great in frosting, but it might work for vegan cream cheese danishes. I bet it would!
Can you use a Vitamix blender instead and not soak the cashews?
It might be too thick for the vitamix, but it could possible work. I’d still soak the cashews.
I love this base recipe but over time I’ve adjusted it slightly – I add a bit of nutritional yeast and flavor variations I’ve tried include strawberry and garden veggie. I just made it with jalapeño and used lime juice and zest rather than lemon. Amazing.
Oh nice! Strawberry sounds so good! Thanks for taking time to share your review and comments!
How much nutritional yeast do you add?
You don’t add a lot of nutritional yeast to the cashew cream cheese at all.