Vegan Cream Cheese Substitute

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This easy vegan cream cheese recipe calls for just five simple ingredients. It’s the perfect dairy-free and soy-free substitute! Serve this plant-based cream cheese with bagels, toast, fruit, vegetables, or crackers for a tasty snack.

Vegan cream cheese spread on two bagels on a cutting board
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

With just five simple ingredients, you can make vegan cream cheese from scratch.

It’s an excellent alternative to store-bought versions, which are often full of fillers and additives. What’s more, making it yourself allows you to customize the spread based on your preferences and taste buds.

This recipe gets its creaminess from soaked cashews and coconut cream. Once blended with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and salt, you’ll have a delicious plant-based spread.

To take your cream cheese up a notch, mix in chopped scallions or Coconut Bacon. Serve it with bagels, toast, or Rosemary Herb Crackers.

Key Ingredients

Ingredients for vegan cream cheese: cashews, coconut cream, salt, apple cider vinegar, and salt
  • Cashews. This is the main ingredient of vegan cream cheese. Be sure to use raw, unsalted cashews.
  • Coconut cream. Coconut cream, which is available in cans, gives this cream cheese a creamy consistency. You can also use the solid white part of canned coconut milk or non-dairy plain yogurt.
  • Apple cider vinegar. The apple cider vinegar gives this cream cheese that classic tang.
  • Lemon juice. Similarly, lemon juice offers a tangy and bright flavor. For the best taste, try to use fresh lemon juice, if possible.
  • Salt. Start with a small amount, then slowly add more until it suits your taste buds.

How to Make Vegan Cream Cheese

To make this vegan cream cheese substitute, you’ll need to soak the cashews in hot water. From there, the recipe takes less than 10 minutes to make. You can find the full, printable recipe card at the end of this post.

Four steps to making vegan cream cheese from cashews
  1. Place the cashews in a heat-safe container, like a Pyrex measuring cup or stainless steel bowl. Add enough boiling water to submerge the cashews.
  2. Let soak for at least 40 minutes.
  3. Drain the cashews using a colander.
  4. In a food processor, pulse the cashews until crumbly and the mixture sticks together.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Taste and add more apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or salt as necessary.
  6. Enjoy immediately. Or, for the best texture, chill for at least 1 hour. Store in the refrigerator, covered, for 5 to 7 days.

Recipe Tips, Variations, and Substitutions

  • Use canned coconut milk or yogurt. Instead of coconut cream, you can use the solid white part of canned coconut milk or non-dairy yogurt. Just make sure the yogurt is plain and unflavored.
  • Scrape the mixture as you blend it. This is important for ensuring the ingredients blend properly.
  • Use a high-powered food processor. Use a high-powered food processor to ensure a smoother texture.
  • Be patient. It can take a couple minutes for the mixture to blend and become smooth.
  • Fold in delicious add-ins. For extra flavor, fold in chopped scallions or garlic powder into the finished cream cheese. You can also add ingredients like brown sugar and cinnamon for a dessert-style cream cheese.
  • Keep it chilled. The texture of this cream cheese is best when chilled. If you leave it out at room temperature, it might start to lose its shape.
Vegan Cream Cheese closeup in a wooden bowl on a cutting board with tomatoes and bagels
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I store leftovers?

Yes. Store leftover Vegan Cream Cheese in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for 5 to 7 days.

Can I freeze it?

You can, but freezing might add extra moisture and make it watery. Your best bet is to store it in the refrigerator and use it within 5 to 7 days. That said, if you don’t think you’ll use a full batch, you can simply cut the recipe in half.

Serving Suggestions

Of course, vegan cream cheese isn’t limited to bagels. Here are other ways to enjoy the homemade condiment:

Vegan Cream Cheese

Vegan Cream Cheese Substitute

This easy vegan cream cheese recipe calls for just five simple ingredients. It’s the perfect dairy-free and soy-free substitute! Serve this plant-based cream cheese with bagels, toast, fruit, vegetables, or crackers for a tasty snack.
Click stars below to rate, or leave a full review in the comments
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate it Now Pin Recipe
Course: Condiments & Sauces
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan
Keyword: cream cheese, cream cheese substitute, vegan cream cheese, vegan cream cheese substitute
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 184kcal
Author: Kirsten Nunez, MS

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cashews raw, unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice fresh
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Boiling water

Instructions

  • Place the cashews in a heat-safe container, like a Pyrex measuring cup or stainless steel bowl. Add enough boiling water to submerge the cashews.
  • Let soak for at least 40 minutes.
  • Drain the cashews using a colander.
  • In a food processor, pulse the cashews until crumbly and the mixture sticks together.
  • Add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Taste and add more apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or salt as necessary.
  • Enjoy immediately. Or, for the best texture, chill for at least 1 hour. Store in the refrigerator, covered, for 5 to 7 days.

Notes

  • In place of coconut cream, you can use the creamy solid white part of canned coconut milk or non-dairy plain yogurt.
  • The texture of this cream cheese is best when chilled. If it remains at room temperature for too long, it might lose its shape.
  • Store in the refrigerator in a covered, air-tight container.
  • For extra flavor, add chopped scallions or garlic powder to the cream cheese.

Recommended Tools & Products

Heat-Safe Bowl
Strainer
Food processor

Nutrition

Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 440mg | Potassium: 213mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CleanGreenSimple or tag #CleanGreenSimple!

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.