5 Minute Vegan Cream Cheese is made with whole food ingredients and is ridiculously easy to make. It tastes amazing, too! 

bagel cut in half with vegan cream cheese in it

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 CheeseVegan Queso Dip, Stretchy Mozzarella, and this delicious Cheese Ball. And now, you can have a big toasted bagel slathered in vegan cream cheese!

vegan cream cheese on a bagel

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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vegan cream cheese how to make collage

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.

vegan cream cheese in a bowl with a knife

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!

vegan cream cheese on a bagel

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vegan cream cheese in a bagel
4.68 stars (37 ratings)

5 Minute Vegan Cream Cheese

5 Minute Vegan Cream Cheese is made with whole food ingredients and is ridiculously easy to make. It tastes amazing, too! 
Prep: 5 minutes
Soaking time: 30 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 
 

Optional:

  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 149mg | Potassium: 160mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 49IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

 

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Comments

  1. Delicious with very creamy whipped consistency! Question though, what is considered a serving? 1 or 2 tablespoons?

    1. There are 8 servings total (that is what the nutrition info is based one). I think it’s more like 2-3 tablespoons though. You’d have to divide it by 8 to know exactly how much 1 serving is.

      1. Updated* you definitely can use unsweetened coconut milk in place of the dairy free yogurt (Used Whole Foods Organic coconut milk) Delish!!!

  2. Supplies are limited in my area right now, I was only able to find the silk dairy free yogurt but it is vanilla. Can I still use this?

      1. Hey Nora, I did it and I like the flavor so much but I added salt more than the needed and I don’t how to fix it, any recommendations??

        1. There isn’t much you can do if you added too much salt, no way to take it out! But you could make a second batch, maybe without any more salt, then mix them together.

      2. Hey Nora,
        I did it and it is so delicious but I have added more salt than the necessary and I don’t know how to fix it, any recommendations?

  3. I make this cream cheese at least every other week, I might be addicted. I haven’t tried making any of the other flavors Yet, the plain version is great on an Everything bagel. 🙂

    I also used it in an artichoke dip recipe and it was delicious!

  4. Made this with a whole single cup of unsweetened coconut yogurt and added french onion soup mix, jalapeno, liquid smoke, paprika, nutritional yeast and cilantro. Will be great on my homemade bagels but is excellent on pita chips! It’s like if spicy hummus and cream cheese had a baby.

  5. I live in smaller town, so getting dairy free yogurt made with cashews was not available. So I notice when I made my cream cheese the lemon juice was a little over powering. So I added more of the Silk Almond plain Yogurt to compensate for the taste. I decide that somethings taste better the next day. I put the newly made cream cheese texture into refrig. I ate it on a pumpernickel bagel this morning. It wasn’t cheesy but it was better than eating a dry piece of bread with nothing on it. I was amazed how soft the cashews got from soaking them. This was the first time using them in something. I am not normally cashew person. But I didn’t taste any nut flavor at all.

  6. Going to be switching to the Vegan lifestyle soon with my fiance and this will be a great breakfast item for us! Was wondering how long it keeps for in the fridge?

    1. I’d say up to 5 days or so in the refrigerator. So happy to hear you are switching, and I hope you find a lot of good recipes to help you!

  7. I just made this today with the optional onion powder in my vitamix, and it was like a French onion dip! Delicious! I will try making it plain sometime when I need it without the onion flavor. Thank you for sharing!

  8. I just made this successfully, and I wanted to report that if you have a coffee grinder (or something to grind the cashews into a powder), then you don’t need to soak the cashews first, and you won’t need a food processor. Just grind up the cashews into a powder/flour, and mix all of the ingredients by hand thoroughly. Very quick and easy. Thank you for this recipe, it’s really good! I find that it tastes more like the highly-processed canned cheese (Kraft’s “Easy Cheese,” lol) than cream cheese. BUT it’s still really delicious on toasted breads or crackers. Fyi, I used unflavored cashew yogurt. Perhaps different plain yogurts will give a slightly different flavor. Looking forward to making this over and over again!

    1. This is the best tip Eva – I spent a very long time trying to blend the ingredients in my blender and almost gave up, but decided to settle for a gritty texture. Then I saw your comment and did a small amount using ground up cashews and the result was fantastic! So, a very big thank you!! And thank you to Nora for the recipe ?

  9. This great. Especially a good base recipe to add other ingredients and change up the flavor. We used it on a veggie bagel sandwich so I added finely diced red onion to the mix, but it tasted good before that. Thank you for sharing!

  10. I haven’t made this yet, but I’m wondering why it wouldn’t work as a frosting? Cream cheese is the smallest part of the frosting. Most of it is 10X sugar. Thankyou

    1. This cream cheese is not as smooth and creamy as store bought vegan cream cheese, so it’s a bit gritty as a frosting. You could always try it though and see what you think.

  11. Wow, this is SO yum, and so super quick! It was a winner at a sourdough baking class I gave yesterday, too. I also ate some on fresh bread, sprinkled with homemade dukkah. Delicious! Will be a go to from now. Thanks for this great recipe.

  12. How long does this keep? Could you freeze some in portion sized batches? I love cream cheese but try not to eat bagels every day! Would like to make this and have a weekly bagel with cream cheese but not have to make a new batch of cheese every time.

    1. Honestly I haven’t tried freezing it but I think it would work okay. I have frozen similar cashew based sauces and such with no problems. The consistency might change slightly, but I think it will work. Thank you!

  13. Yummy! Delicious recipe. Made it with the Forager Cashew Yogurt, but I had to substitute scallions for the chives. This is way cheaper than the store-bought Miyokos we had been having in our lunch. Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the vegan cream cheese, thank you! Yes, it is a lot cheaper for sure, but I love Miyoko’s too.

  14. I made this without the chives, but with nutritional yeast – it is delicious! Also upped the lemon juice a small amount. Very easy to make.

  15. I can’t eat cashews or almonds due to stomach problems. Is there something else besides the cashews that I could use? I love cream cheese but it doesn’t love me back. Would love to make it though. Thanks.

    1. Hi Edith! Sorry, I don’t think there is another substitution for this particular recipe. You can sometimes find vegan cream cheese at the store that does not have almonds or cashews. Or maybe try this recipe using tofu: Tofu Cream Cheese. Thank you!

    2. Try sunflower seeds. They also need to be soaked. I have used the sunflower seeds in place of cashews to make vegan sour cream.

    1. You probably could. I tried a version with maple syrup and walnuts, and it was okay, but I much preferred the chive and onion flavor for some reason! Perhaps use a little less apple cider vinegar if you are going to make it sweet. Thanks!

  16. Thanks for sharing all of your food is amazing. We used to eat bagels with this amazing jalapeño cream cheese before we went vegan. The cream cheese was red and creamy what’s the best way to modify the recipe to replicate the jalapeño cream cheese?

    1. Thank you, Jesse! That sounds delicious! I’m not sure what would have made the cream cheese red, but I would try adding maybe 1/2-1 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1 or 2 fresh jalapenos, diced really small with the seeds removed.

    2. I would think you could add roasted red peppers to get a red color and a nice pairing with jalepeños. The store bought kind likely had food coloring in it, but I think roasted peppers would be much yummier (and healthier). 😉

  17. Righto. Cream cheese is one thing that I miss. I used to eat a whole tub of philly with a bag of corn chips. I don’t like corn chips anymore but I still thought I’d try this recipe and maybe smother a bagel. I bought a small tub of coconut dairy free yoghurt(and I don’t like coconut) to try the method if nothing else. Being new to a food processor/blender, I had to work that out first. After a few minutes, the consistency was almost right, but that apple cider vinegar takes a bit of getting used to. Not a real fan. I added some spring onion greenery, more lemon and more onion powder. Better. Still nothing at all like philly cream cheese…now I’ve got to buy some bagels…maybe the result would be better with almond yoghurt(if I could find such a thing) but I think the problem lay with the acv.
    Any further advice? Please?

    1. Hi Andrew! Yes, like I said in the post, if you are expecting it to taste exactly like regular dairy cream cheese, you will likely be disappointed. You would be better off buying a vegan brand of cream cheese at the store if that is what you are after. But some thoughts on the recipe: I find that tablespoon of apple cider vinegar adds just enough “sour” to make it taste a bit cheesy, especially with the lemon juice as well, but if you really don’t like the taste of apple cider vinegar, simply leave it out next time, and just use lemon juice to taste. You said you don’t like coconut, yet you used the coconut yogurt, so I would also suggest using a different kind of yogurt and make absolutely sure there is no sugar or flavoring in it. Or leave it out completely and add a little water instead. While this doesn’t taste exactly like Philly cream cheese, I think it makes a delicious, healthy, schmear or spread for bagels. Thank you!

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