Easy Vegan Cream Cheese

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Ridiculously easy to make, this Vegan Cream Cheese is fabulous smeared on bagels, muffins, crackers, or celery sticks. Deliciously simple for breakfast and snacks!

healthy bagel with vegan cream cheese and berries on cutting board

Cheese is one thing so many people miss the most when they switch to a whole food plant-based diet that is completely dairy-free. I can’t even count the number of times participants in my Food for Life classes have begged for ideas to replace cheese.

The good news is that we’ve got all the vegan cheese options you could possibly want including my stretchy Mozzarella Cheese, Best Vegan Cheese Sauce, Nacho Cheese, Sweet Potato Cheese, Vegan Ricotta, 5-Minute Parmesan, and Vegan Sliceable Cheese. And, new to the ever-growing list is this creamy amazing vegan cream cheese!

2 bagel halves smeared with vegan cashew cream cheese with grapes and coffee

Ingredients needed

There are only a handful of wholesome ingredients needed to make dairy-free cream cheese that is simple to make and creamy smooth.

  • Raw Cashews- Cashews are the creamy base that make this non-dairy spread so delicious.
  • Silken Tofu- Though any texture of tofu will work, I prefer the silken soft version.
  • Lemon Juice- To add a bit of tang.
  • White Vinegar- The perfect twist of flavor for this vegan cheese recipe.
  • Nutritional Yeast- For that cheesy-nutty flavor.
  • Garlic Powder- Adds so much flavor.
  • Onion Powder- Deepens the flavor.
  • Salt- It only takes a tiny pinch to create the perfect saltiness.

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

I’ve seen other recipes for vegan cream cheese, and they always include cashews as the base. Some of them also add yogurt, tofu, coconut cream, or nothing else other than spices. Personally, I want to keep the fat content down as much as possible, so adding yogurt or cream is not a good option.

The tofu could possibly be left out completely for those who are soy intolerant. I just feel like it adds texture, bulk, and creaminess, so that’s why I like to use it.

bagel half with vegan cream cheese and chives with whole bagel and grapes in background

How to make vegan cream cheese

To make this recipe, you’ll need either a high-power blender (I love my Vitamix) or a food processor.

raw cashews soaking in a bowl of water on white background

Begin by soaking the raw cashews in hot water for at least 30-minutes to 1-hour. Don’t skip this part just because you have a high-power blender that can handle the nuts. My Vitamix can blend up raw cashews without a problem and do it often, but soaking is necessary for getting the right creamy texture for this recipe.

Once the cashews have softened, drain the water, and add the nuts to your blender or food processor.

Add all of the other ingredients and blend until nice and smooth. Because it’s such a small amount, at approximately 2-cups, you’ll likely need to stop and scrape down the sides as needed to keep in processing smoothly. If needed, add a tablespoon of your favorite plant milk to make the blades spin.

vitamix with blended vegan cream cheese

Use it immediately or chill in the refrigerator. It will firm up even more after chilling.

Serving suggestions and tips

So, what can vegan cream cheese be served with? There are a whole lot of serving options here, and really it’s only limited to your imagination.

Smear it on bagels or toast and serve with my Smoked Tempeh Bacon. Or, try it with this Vegan Quiche Casserole for brunch. I have a great recipe for Homemade Whole Wheat Bagels.

What does it taste like?

Does it taste like regular cream cheese? Honestly, no. Traditional cream cheese is full of oil, dairy, and fat, so it’s not possible to make it taste exactly the same with the wholesome ingredients used. However, it is absolutely a delicious nutty spread that is great on bagels, toast, and celery sticks.

Your vegan cream cheese questions answered

  • Q: Can this cream cheese be used for baking and frosting? A: I haven’t tried it and am not sure. If you give it a try, I would love to hear the results.
  • Q: Is this cheese gluten-free? Yes, This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and completely plant-based.
  • Q: Do I have to use tofu? No. The tofu can be left out, but I do feel like it adds a lot to the texture. The rest of the tofu block can be used to make Mayo, Sour Cream, or even Chocolate Mousse. If you don’t use it, add a tablespoon or 2 of plant milk.
  • Q: How long will it last? Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days in an airtight container or freeze.
bagel half on bright blue plate covered with vegan cream cheese with strawberries, blueberries, and mint leaves

More plant-based breakfast recipes

For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!

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If you try this recipe, please let us know how you like it by rating it and leaving a comment. We love to hear from you!

healthy bagel with vegan cream cheese and berries on cutting board
4.62 from 13 votes

Easy Vegan Cream Cheese

Ridiculously easy to make, this Vegan Cream Cheese is fabulous smeared on bagels, muffins, crackers, or celery sticks. Deliciously simple for breakfast and snacks!
Prep: 30 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 cups

Ingredients 

  • 1.5 cups raw cashews
  • 4 oz silken soft tofu 1/4 of the block
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • To make this recipe, you’ll need either a high-power blender (I love my Vitamix) or a food processor.
  • Begin by soaking the raw cashews in hot water for at least 30-minutes to 1-hour. Don’t skip this part just because you have a high-power blender that can handle the nuts. My Vitamix can blend up raw cashews without a problem and do it often, but soaking is necessary for getting the right creamy texture for this recipe.
  • Once the cashews have softened, drain the water, and add the nuts to your blender or food processor.
  • Add all of the other ingredients and blend until nice and smooth. Because it’s such a small amount, at approximately 2-cups, you’ll likely need to stop and scrape down the sides as needed to keep in processing smoothly. If needed, add a tablespoon of your favorite plant milk to make the blades spin.
  • Use it immediately or chill in the refrigerator. It will firm up even more after chilling.

Video

Notes

Your vegan cream cheese questions answered
  • Q: Does it taste like regular cream cheese? A: Honestly, no. Traditional cream cheese is full of oil, dairy, and fat, so it’s not possible to make it taste exactly the same with the wholesome ingredients used. However, it is absolutely a delicious nutty spread that is great on bagels, toast, and celery sticks.
  • Q: Can this cream cheese be used for baking and frosting? A: I haven’t tried it and am not sure. If you give it a try, I would love to hear the results.
  • Q: What can it be served with? Smear it on bagels or toast and serve with my Smoked Tempeh Bacon. Or, try it with this Vegan Quiche Casserole for brunch.
  • Q: Is this cheese gluten-free? Yes, This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and completely plant-based.
  • Q: Do I have to use tofu? No. The tofu can be left out, but I do feel like it adds a lot to the texture. The rest of the tofu block can be used to make mayo, sour cream, or even chocolate mousse. If you don’t use it, add a tablespoon or 2 of plant milk.
  • Q: How long will it last? Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days in an airtight container or freeze.

Nutrition

Serving: 4tablespoons | Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 11g | Sodium: 36mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g

Disclaimer

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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About Terri Edwards

Hi guys! I am the content creator behind EatPlant-Based and a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. I am passionate about sharing healthy recipes and tips to empower others to get healthy.  I’m so glad you’re here! Read More…

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12 Comments

    1. Hi Robin- Though I haven’t tried it, I feel like it could be a good option for those trying to reduce the calories from cashews. If you give it a try with 1/2 white beans, please let us know how it goes.

  1. This is good but I had a horrible time getting it blended up. I soaked the cashews for an hour, and added 1 1/2 Tbsp of plant milk. Still a struggle. Not sure if I will make it again if I do I will soak the cashews over night. Love your cheese sauce and your recipes. Thanks!

    1. Hi Brenda- What kind of blender do you have? Lower-power blenders tend not to do as well with getting nuts creamy. If your blender isn’t high-power like a Vitamix, soaking the cashews in warm water for longer is probably going to give the best results.

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