This Vegan Cream Cheese is perfectly smooth and creamy, using only 5 simple ingredients. You can blend it together in no time, and it’s the perfect topping for bagels and crackers. It even makes an authentic cream cheese frosting!
Ingredients You’ll Need
What is vegan cream cheese made of?
- Cashews. I use raw cashews that have not been roasted for the most mild flavor. You can soak the cashews in water for 2 hours, and then drain them to help boost your digestion, but it’s not necessary to soak these if you have a high-speed blender, like a Vitamix.
- Coconut Oil. This is the one time I will tell you that refined coconut oil is best. My bottle says “expeller pressed” on the front, and it will say ultra-refined coconut oil on the back. Using refined coconut oil means that this vegan cream cheese will have no coconut flavor, but if you want to use extra virgin coconut oil (as I normally do), be sure to see my tips below for masking the coconut flavor.
- Lemon juice. This adds a slight tartness that you’d find in regular cream cheese. You don’t need to use too much!
- Salt. Necessary for boosting the flavor, but you can start with just half the amount recommended below if you’re trying to watch your salt intake.
- White miso. This is optional, but highly recommended. White miso tastes like concentrated Parmesan cheese paste, so it helps to add an umami flavor to this cream cheese, making it slightly more cheese-flavored. If you’re not a miso fan, you can leave this out, but I think the cashew flavor is slightly more noticeable without this addition.
If you want to get creative with flavors, I’ve got ideas for you down below, but I’m so happy with out this “plain” version turned out! I hope you love it as much as I do.
How to Make It
- Blend. Add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. If you have a high-speed blender, I recommend blending for at least 60 full seconds, to make sure you don’t miss any cashew pieces. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, blend the cashews into a powdery consistency first, then add the other ingredients and blend again until smooth.
- Chill. This vegan cream cheese will thicken up in the fridge, so be sure to make it in advance. It needs to chill for at least 4 hours before serving. I like to make it the night before I plan on needing it, so it can chill overnight.
- Enjoy! Serve cold, straight from the fridge, on your favorite bagels, crackers, and more.
It takes roughly 5 minutes to blend it all together, so the process is pretty hands off!
Want to spice up your cream cheese? Try these ideas.
- 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.
- 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.
What other flavors do you like for cream cheese? I usually enjoy my cream cheese plain, but sprinkle some “everything” bagel seasoning on top of it, to boost the flavor of anything I’m eating.
Need a vegan cream cheese frosting? Combine a 1/2 cup of vegan cream cheese + 3 cups of organic powdered sugar + 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and mix well. It will stir together the easiest when the cream cheese is at room temperature, and you can always add more cream cheese or more powdered sugar, as needed for texture.
For a thicker frosting, place it in the fridge to thicken up.
Note: If you prefer to avoid powdered sugar, you can also try my other Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting, made with white sweet potatoes to “bulk” it up.
Vegan Cream Cheese
- 3/4 cup cashews (114 grams; not roasted)
- 3 tablespoons refined coconut oil , melted (40 grams; see notes)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (14 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (4 grams; I use Real Salt brand)
- 1/2 teaspoon white miso (3 grams; optional)
- 6 tablespoons water (92 grams)
- 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.)
- 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 when it's ready.
- Serve this vegan cream cheese cold from the fridge, as it will become more runny 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 Vegan Cream Cheese recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it. I so appreciate your feedback!