Vegan Cream Cheese is an easy dairy-free alternative that you can make at home in just minutes! It tastes better than any store-bought options, and can be spread on bagels or made into a delicious frosting.
Why You’ll Love It
It’s easy to make. Just toss a few ingredients into a blender and blend. The hardest part is waiting for it to firm up in the fridge!
It tastes authentic. Cream cheese is a difficult flavor to mimic, but this combination is the closest I’ve ever tasted. (Especially when you turn it into cream cheese frosting… yum!)
It’s nourishing. This vegan cream cheese is made with simple real food ingredients, including lemon juice and cashews, which provide vitamin C, magnesium, and more.
It’s easy to customize. If you prefer a more tangy cream cheese flavor, it’s easy to add an extra splash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar as you go. Or, you can try one of the other tested flavors below! (You can also try adding some of your favorite dairy-free yogurt for creaminess, if you like. Feel free to experiment with it!)
Ingredients You’ll Need
Use raw cashews, or cashews that are not roasted or salted, for the most mild flavor in this recipe. It’s also important that you use a refined coconut oil in this case, because you don’t want to add any coconut flavor to the final product.
Look for “expeller pressed” or “highly refined” coconut oil on the label, so you’ll know there will be zero coconut flavor added to this recipe.
The white miso is optional, but it does add a cheesy flavor that is hard to mimic with other ingredients. Without it, the cream cheese will still be tasty, though!
How to Make Vegan Cream Cheese
Add the cashews, coconut oil, lemon juice, salt, miso, and water to a high speed blender, then blend until the cashews are totally pulverized.
It may require 60 to 90 seconds of blending to get a creamy result, and feel free to stop and scrape down the sides of the blender, to keep everything evenly mixed.
Taste the mixture and make any adjustments, as needed, such as adding a little more lemon juice for a tangy flavor.
Pour the blended cashew cream cheese into an airtight container and seal it with a lid.
Store the cream cheese in the fridge for at least 4 hours, so it can thicken up into a spreadable consistency. (It will become even thicker overnight.)
Once the cream cheese has thickened to your liking, you can spread it on bagels or anything else you like. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Looking for more vegan cream cheese recipes? Try these variations.
- Onion & Chive. This is my favorite flavor variation! Add 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder and 1 teaspoon of dried chives. (Or 1 tablespoon of fresh chives, if that’s what you have.) Be sure to blend the plain cream cheese first, then add in the seasonings and blend briefly, so the chives will be “speckled” throughout the cream cheese, rather than getting totally pureed. I think a pale green cream cheese would look slightly less appealing. You can also add any other herbs you love, like dill or parsley.
- Everything Seasoning. Add a 1/2 teaspoon each of garlic powder and onion powder to the cream cheese mixture, so they are blended in smoothly. At the end, add in a tablespoon each of white and black sesame seeds, and poppy seeds, then pulse briefly.
- Fresh Strawberry. Omit the water and add in 1 cup of freshly chopped strawberries and 1 to 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, depending on how sweet you want it. Blend the strawberries first, with the oil and maple syrup, to create a puree, then add in the remaining cream cheese ingredients and blend again until smooth. You can add water to facilitate blending if needed, just 1 tablespoon at a time after you have the flavor to your liking. If you need a sweeter cream cheese, be sure to add more maple syrup, before adding water.
Frequently Asked Questions
Store-bought vegan cream cheese alternatives, like Kite Hill, are made with ingredients like almond milk, citric acid, and xanthan gum, while Tofutti is made with a tofu and an oil blend. I think this homemade cream cheese tastes better, though!
I have only tested this recipe with cashews so far, but I imagine that blanched almonds (with skins removed) might work similarly. I’ve also had success swapping hemp hearts for cashews in other recipes, like Vegan Ranch Dressing, if you’d like to experiment with that.
You might not get as smooth of a result when you use a food processor, but if that’s your only option, be sure to process the cashews first, to help them break down as much as possible.
Yes! You can mix a 1/2 cup of this dairy-free cream cheese with 1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar, plus a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract to make an easy frosting. If you prefer not to use powdered sugar, try my sweet potato frosting variation instead.
Looking for more vegan cheese recipes? Try Vegan Nacho Cheese, Vegan Queso Dip, or Vegan Parmesan Cheese for more ideas.
Vegan Cream Cheese
- 1 cup cashews (not roasted or salted)
- 3 tablespoons refined coconut oil , melted
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt (I use Real Salt brand)
- ½ teaspoon white miso (optional)
- ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon water
- Add the cashews, oil, lemon juice, salt, miso, and water to a blender, and blend until very smooth. Be sure to blend long enough that there are no pieces of cashews remaining, at least 60 full seconds in a high speed blender. (If you don't have a high-speed blender, blend the cashews first to break them down, then add in the other ingredients and blend until smooth.)
- Taste the mixture and adjust the flavor to your liking. You can add a little more lemon juice, or a touch of apple cider vinegar, if you'd like a more tangy result. Pour the mixture into an airtight container with a lid, and store in the fridge overnight, or for at least 4 hours to help it thicken up. It should have the texture of "whipped" cream cheese after 4 hours, but it will be even thicker overnight.
- Serve this vegan cream cheese cold from the fridge, as it will become softer if it sits at room temperature for too long. See the notes below for making a more firm cream cheese. Store this in the fridge for up to one week, or freeze for up to 3 months.
If you try this non-dairy cream cheese, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it.
Questions and Reviews
Haven’t tried this yet but excited to! Curious what the miso paste brings to the recipe? My son is dairy free and soy free so would this recipe work if I omitted the miso? Thank you!!
Yes, you can omit the miso and just add an extra pinch of salt. White miso in particular (not other varieties) tastes like concentrated Parmesan cheese, so a tiny bit in this recipe makes it taste more “cheese” like. But it’s still delicious without it.
This is the best vegan cream cheese I’ve ever tried! I served it on crackers (I grew up eating cream cheese on crackers) and it was so unbelievably delicious. Definitely keeping this stashed in my fridge from now on.
Delicious substitute for dairy cream cheese! I made it without the miso and it tasted just fine.
Can I substitute the coconut oil without it messing with the consistency? We have a coconut allergy.