How to Make Cashew Cream
This dairy-free, vegan cashew cream is incredibly versatile. It’s perfect for dips and cream-based sauces.
I still remember the very first cashew-based cheesecake I ever made and being blown away by how unbelievably creamy it was. Yes, it was a cheesecake…but shockingly without cheese, or more accurately any dairy at all. And boy was it good!
Once I realized that cashews could replace dairy in numerous recipes it was like a whole new world opened up (read: more dairy-free cheesecakes and ice creams were made).
Watch the video and learn how to make cashew cream:
Today, I’m most definitely a creamy cashew lover and while I’m not 100% dairy-free, I actually prefer many of my dairy-free recipes to their traditional counterparts. At the heart of my dairy-free recipes is a cashew cream, which quite simply, is just soaked cashews blended with water and a pinch of salt. And it can be made thinner or thicker by varying the ratio of cashews to water.
If you want to make cashew milk, just add more water. And if you’re making cheesecakes and ice creams add less water so it’s thick and well, creamy (I have a feeling I’m going to say creamy a lot in this post).
But here’s the lovely thing about cashew cream, it can be used in dozens of other ways ranging from sweet cashew cream, to savory cashew cream to cashew sour cream. This means it becomes a perfect, dairy-free replacement for heavy cream, cream cheese, sour cream and even mayonnaise in recipes.
The video above walks you through how to make cashew cream step-by-step and it’s so simple that there’s really not much more to say about it. Except, that you’ve gotta make it! I’ve included the basic recipe below, but here are a few flavor variations for you to enjoy:
Sweet Cashew Cream
- Add 2 tbsp maple syrup
- Add 1 tsp vanilla extract
Savory Cashew Cream
- Add 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- Add 2 garlic cloves
- Add herbs and spices (such as paprika, onion powder, cumin, cilantro, dill, dijon mustard, and ground pepper)
- Optional: You can use vegetable broth in place of the water and nutritional yeast to give it a cheesy flavor
Cashew Sour Cream
- Add 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Add 1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Here’s some FAQ’s on the cashew cream, but if you have additional questions drop me a note in the comments below:
How long do you soak the cashews?
Soak the cashews for at least 2 hours (if you have a high-powered blender), though preferably overnight. The longer you soak the cashews the more creamy your sauce will become and the easier it’ll be to blend.
What is cashew cream used for?
Cashew cream can be used in place heavy cream, sour cream and soft cheeses in many recipes. In some recipes, it can even replace mayonnaise. This means that you can create dairy-free cheesecakes, ice creams, sweet and savory dips and cream-based pasta sauces, like my Vegan Alfredo Sauce.
How long can you keep cashew cream?
Cashew cream will last for approximately 5 days in the refrigerator. But you can freeze it for up to 6 months. So many times i’ll make a double batch and freeze the remainder. You could even freeze the cashew cream in an ice cube tray for small, individual portions. Just remember that you’ll need to stir or re-blend the cashew cream once it’s thawed.
How to Make Cashew Cream
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup water, or more, depending on thickness
- pinch of salt
- Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend for 1-2 minutes. Add more water for a thinner consistency.
- Enjoy plain or add flavors for a sweet or savory cashew cream, then blend again.
Other recipes you might like:
Mini Skillet Brownies with Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (gluten-free, paleo)
The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten-free, paleo, vegan)
And don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel to be notified immediately when new videos are uploaded!
Is cashew cream a 1:1 replacement for cream cheese?
Hi Nicole – no, this cashew cream recipe is a replacement for heavy whipping cream.
I’m looking at making sour cream, so do I make your savory cashew cream then add the lemon juice and garlic?
Thanks for clarifying.
Is it weird to say that you’re my hero?! 😂 I recently found out I have a dairy sensitivity and hate the ingredients in store-bought cream substitutes so I’ve never bought them. I can’t wait to use this for soups and sauces!!
Aw you’re so sweet! Glad you’re loving this cashew cream :)
Mixed with pesto and tossed with roasted chicken and zucchini noodles. Delicious! Thanks!
Yum! Glad you made good use of this cashew cream Sally :)
You can make this even creamier if you add plant milk instead of water.
I soaked my cashews overnight and put them in blender, and it has a gritty feel to it. Do I have to use a Vitamix in order to get the cream smooth and creamy?
You’ll need a high powered blender for this recipe, similar to a Vitamix to get that creaminess.
Cream for coffee was my very last hold out. When I made coffee with cashew cream, I loved it! Goodbye half and half, goodbye dairy! The coffee tasted as good and just maybe better! Thank you for this :) It is so easy to make!
Good to know this worked out great for your morning coffee Cherie!
Love seeing you make these awesome meals. Just what I need. Thank you.
Hi! So I made this wonderful cashew cream and well life happened and I left it in the fridge too long… It’s just raw cashews and water and there was no mold BUT it was carbonated :/ Can I still cook it and be ok or is it trash-bound?
It definitely shouldn’t be carbonated, so I’d say that’s probably a sign to trash it. ;)
I am allergic to eggs dairy and cashews. Can I use another kind of nut
Hi Kerry- You can also try my almond milk or oat milk recipe!
Hi Lisa, thanks for the recipe. For the savory cashew cream, did you use all of the suggestions listed for herbs/spices in one batch? Thanks.
Hi Sarah – no, I usually just add a couple of spices, depending on the flavor I’m interested in. :)
I was wondering if you could use cashew flour, instead of grinding up soaked cashews, for this and the Alfredo sauce?
Hi Jaclyn – that would be a great thing to test! I think it would work, though I’ve never tried it. If you do try it, let us know how it turns out!
I just made cashew sour cream. It was delicious! Thank you Lisa. It’s so nice to pop over to your blog, search for something I want to make (store bought cashew cream is expensive!) and you always have a delicious recipe for me to try. Thank you again!!
Hi Sasha – Homemade versions are the best aren’t they :) Glad you enjoyed this recipe!
Omg !!!! This legit taste like sour cream I was sceptical at first but I’m so happy this taste like sour cream as I am avoiding dairy like the plague 😂 thanks so much for this recipe!!!
So glad you loved this one Rosy! :)
Does it need to be refrigerated after making? Mentally I understand that ingredients are shelf-stable, but I wasn’t sure once you added moisture.
Hi Julie – To have a longer shelf life, it’s best to put this in the refrigerator after making :)
This is the best cashew cream bar none! I’ve had it on fruit, oatmeal, cereal, in my chai tea & it’s just like real cream. Does it whip? I haven’t tried that. For my taste, it makes 2 cups & gets thicker in the fridge. Thank you very much for the time spent coming up with this recipe.
Yay! I’m so happy you love the recipe Colleen! Unfortunately, it doesn’t whip so it’s best to use as a dip or drizzle, as you’re doing. :)
Just did your cashews cream so easy to do and super good
Thanks for sharing with us
Wonderful! I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe Carole. :)
I just made this for the first time last night and used it in my coffee this morning. Previously, I’ve been using the Safeway brand, Open Nature Vanilla Almond Creamer, but I really wanted less ingredients and of course, I’m always stalking Lisa’s recipes! Thank you so much Lisa, for all you do! I like this recipe and it works, although I doubled the amount of vanilla because I like it extra vanilla-y!
Lisa, I have a few questions about this. First, what does the salt do for the taste? I accidentally left it out and now I’m wondering why it’s in the recipe. I’ll definitely be making a second batch next week and I’d love to know the science behind it. And second, I soaked by cashews overnight (more like a day and a half because I couldn’t find time) and even with a good Cuisinart food processor being run for several minutes, there were still tiny bits of nuts. I’m not ready to invest in a Vitamix, but I’m wondering if you still get this happening with your Vitamix?
Thank you again! Keep up the amazing recipes and videos.
Hi Amy – Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so happy you’re enjoying all my recipes! And yes, I don’t blame you for adding more vanilla. I sometimes slip in some extra too! :) As for your questions: 1) Salt really enhances the natural flavor of any ingredient you add it to. So forgetting the salt isn’t the end of the world but you might want to try it and see if you like it better. 2) I think you’re not getting the creamy texture because you’re using a food processor, which is better for fine chopping. At a minimum, I’d recommend a blender to make the cream. Vitamix is a really powerful blender and everything comes out silky smooth. I haven’t used anything but a Vitamix for years but I vaguely remember a friend telling me she made the cashew base for my Caramel Vegan Cheese cake with a Ninja blender and said she got about 99% creaminess, so not perfect but good enough for the recipe.
The cashew cream recipe notes a cooking time of two minutes but doesn’t state if it should be brought to a boil, gently simmered, or just warmed and thickened s little. I’m leaning toward the latter but wanted to double check first.
I’m hoping to make the Alfredo sauce tomorrow. Looking forward to adding these cashew recipes to the cashew mayo I already make. I’m not vegan but I’m on an elimination diet to help determine what foods might be causing GI issues and dairy is out for the time being. Thanks for all your great recipes and inspiration.
Hi Linda – good catch! That was actually an error on the recipe (I’ve fixed). You actually don’t have to cook the cashew cream at all, just blend it! Make sure to watch the video in the post for the step-by-step. :) x
I love half & half in my coffee. I think the cream might be too thick and the milk too light. What is your advice to achieve a similar consistency to my beloved cream?
You could just add more water until you achieve the consistency you’re after. And you’re right, it’s probably somewhere between this cashew cream and my homemade cashew milk: https://downshiftology.com/how-to-make-cashew-milk/ I’d probably try a 1:1 ratio of cashews to water and add more water as needed. :)
So good! My kids love this with apple slices! Cant wait to try it on some pancakes! My 6 yr old says it tastes just like whipped cream!
Awesome! Love to hear that. And what a healthier alternative for them. :) x
Hey I’ve been looking at your content now for a few weeks and I love it, but just out curiousity how much cream does this recipe make? I haven’t made it yet, but would love to know, as I plan to use this cashew cream recipe in another recipe which I’m working on and need it for my draft!
Hi Darlowe – I’m glad you love my content! This recipe makes about one cup of cream. :)
I just discovered your blog and I’m so excited to try cashew cream/milk/sourcream! I’m just beginning my quest to find alternatives to dairy and I LOVE cashews so this seems perfect for me. Thank you for making this site so user friendly and simple. YOU ROCK!
So happy you found me Annalisa! And thanks so much for your kind words about my site. :) That cashew cream is everything and so versatile. If you ever have questions about it, let me know! x
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Amazing as always! Just have to decide what to combine it with for tomorrows breakfast!!! :) <3
Silly question – does the cream taste like cashews? It is my least favorite nut. But I’m looking for that creamy texture for a number of things.
It’s got the buttery flavor of the cashews, but depending on what you mix with it, you could definitely change the flavor (ie – garlic, onion, paprika, etc). Then, it just tastes creamy. You could also make this same recipe with macadamia nuts, if you prefer the flavor of those. Macadamia cream (while a bit more pricey) is divine! :)
I wish I liked Macs and cashews. Thanks for the quick reply. I really enjoy your recipes, they are helping me adjust to the Paleo lifestyle!! Keep up the good work!
That’s wonderful to hear – and you keep doing what works for you! Thanks so much for your support! xo
I’ve never tried cashew cream but now that you’ve been so kind as to share how I’m definitely going to have to try it! Thanks!
You’ll love it! And there’s just so much you can make with it. :) x
I 100% agree – I’m not exclusively dairy-free either. I’m what I call a dairy snob – grass-fed organic, please! :) Cashews are my favorite nondairy base, especially for ice creams. Thank you for this cashew cream recipe and video tutorial!
Yes, I’m definitely a cheese snob as well! ;) How’s the Vitamix working out?