This vegan cream cheese recipe has the fluffy creamy texture of traditional whipped cream cheese without any dairy! Made of five whole foods and so easy!
One of my favorite breakfasts is a simple bagel with some creamy vegan cream cheese. This recipe is the best because it allows you the freedom to flavor it any way you want. Super versatile and easy to make, you’re going to LOVE this one.
Vegan Cream Cheese
I love a good creamy sauce or spread. Especially cream cheese. But my body doesn’t love the dairy that comes with it, so although you can buy dairy free cream cheese, I wanted to create a version I could shovel in without feeling like crap.
What is vegan cream cheese made of?
There are many ways you can make a dairy free cream cheese. The base is usually some kind of nut mixed with a few other ingredients. Here are some of the regulars you see out there:
- nut base (usually cashews or almonds)
- lemon juice
For this vegan cream cheese recipe, I used cashews as the base (with an option to sub with slivered almonds). To get that whipped fluffy texture and add to the creaminess and tang, I used a plain dairy free yogurt. I loved adding the yogurt instead of more liquid because it kept it nice and fluffy!
I also added a mix of lemon juice and distilled white vinegar. The combination of these two gave the perfect tang. With the cashews and the creamy yogurt it created a dairy free cream cheese to die for!
It really depends on what you are using it for. Cream cheese adds a creamy texture to whatever recipe you’re making. If you are eating it as a spread you need something that has similar texture.
Here is a list of all the things you could substitute depending on what you are using it for:
If you need a spread
If you need it in a recipe
- Vegan Cashew Cream Sauce
- Thick dairy-free milk
- Silken tofu
Are there healthy substitutes?
When it comes to healthy, it really depends on what that means to you. If you are avoiding dairy, like you would be if you are here looking for plant-based recipes, then the ideas I gave above are great alternatives.
The best thing about this recipe is that you can add so many different kinds of add ins! The key with add ins is to make sure you aren’t adding in more moisture or the texture will change.
If you want fruit, add freeze dried fruit versus fresh or frozen. If you want veggies, stick to hard low moisture picks. Here are three vegan cream cheese flavors we love and make most often:
- Berry cream cheese: add in between 1 – 1 1/2 cups freeze dried berries of choice.
- Scallion cream cheese: add in about 1/2 – 1 cup sliced green onions.
- Veggie cream cheese: Add in about 1/2 – 1 cup finely chopped veggies that are low in moisture like carrots, peppers, onions, etc
Here are some other ideas if you want to play around!
- Herbs like parsley, thyme, cilantro
- Sugar for sweetness
- Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin spice, ginger
- Vegan Maple Cinnamon Cream Cheese
How can I use vegan cream cheese?
So many ways! I love using it both as is, and also in recipes. Here are some of my favorite ways to use it:
- Smeared on bagels or english muffins
- A dip for crackers
- Using it instead of mayo on a sandwich
- Putting it in pasta sauce to make it creamy
- Frosting for cupcakes or cakes
- Making a cookie sandwich
- Mixing it in a smoothie
- Mixing it in soup
- As a crepe filling
- Swirling it in these vegan brownies
- Mixing it into ice cream
Storage tips and shelf life
This vegan cream cheese stores really well in the fridge in an air tight container for about 7 days. If you wanted to freeze it, you definitely can but the texture after you defrost it will be a bit less fluffy and firm.
Freeze in a freezer safe container, and put a layer of plastic over the top of the cream cheese touching the surface. This helps reduce the ice crystals that form. When ready to use, slowly defrost on the counter and give it a good mix.
How To Make Vegan Cream Cheese
This is a really quick and easy recipe to make! The most important part is to make sure you soak your cashews as this helps with the overall texture. You want to use a food processor here versus a blender since there is such little liquid.
- Put rinsed and drained soaked cashews into a food processor with the other ingredients and blend until smooth. You will need to stop and scrape down the sides every few minutes. This will take about 5-10 minutes depending on how good your processor is.
- Put in any add ins then enjoy with all the things!
Vegan Cream Cheese Recipe
For Berry Cream Cheese:
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups freeze dried berries of choice
For Veggie Cream Cheese:
- 1/2 - 1 cup finely chopped veggies of choice , make sure to use low moisture veggies like carrots, peppers, onions, etc to preserve the texture
- Put all ingredients into a food processor and process until creamy and smooth. Make sure that your cashews are dried as it’s easy to get extra water into the mix and change the overall texture. If you are adding veggies, add them in at the end and pulse to incorporate.
- This may take up to 10 minutes depending on your processor. Stop every few minutes to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- When done, store in an air tight container in the fridge and enjoy! It will firm up the colder it gets.
- If you forget to soak your cashews, you could boil them for about 30 minutes.
- You can also use blanched slivered almonds.
- This makes about 1 3/4 cup. Serving size is 1/4 cup.
- Nutrition facts are for plain version only.
- Soak cashews.
Recipe by Veggies Don’t Bite, visit our site for more great plant-based recipes.