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The BEST Vegan Cream Cheese Recipe

Creamy, delicious, and dairy-free! This Vegan Cream Cheese recipe not only replicates the rich flavors of the dairy version but is also loaded with nutritional goodness. Perfect for toast, bagels, or as a base for various recipes, this vegan delight is a must-try, especially for special occasions or holiday spreads.

Overhead photo of vegan cream cheese on bread on a grey plate.

❀️ Why You Will Love This Recipe

Incredible Taste and Texture

There’s a common misconception that vegan alternatives lack the depth and richness of traditional options. But with this homemade vegan cream cheese recipe, you’ll experience a creamy and smooth texture that rivals even the best traditional cream cheese. Whether you’re a vegan or just exploring dairy-free options, this recipe will surely satisfy your taste buds.

Nutrient-Packed Ingredients

Not only does this creamy vegan cream cheese deliver on taste, but it’s also loaded with nutritional benefits. Simple ingredients like cashews bring a boost of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are heart-healthy fats. Add in the nutritional yeast, and you’re getting a cheesy flavor along with a dose of beneficial vitamins and minerals.

Easily Customizable

Another beauty of this recipe is its versatility. Feel like adding some roasted red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes for an extra kick? Or perhaps some fresh chives for a herby touch? The base recipe is a canvas, ready to be painted with your favorite flavor variations.

Perfect for Various Culinary Adventures

Whether it’s spread on a toasted bagel, dolloped over savory recipes, or used as a key ingredient in a vegan cheesecake recipe, this dairy-free cream cheese shines in all roles. Its neutral flavor profile means it can be adapted to both sweet and savory dishes.

Budget-Friendly and Accessible

You might have noticed that store-bought vegan cream products can be a bit on the pricier side. Making your own cream cheese at home using ingredients like soaked cashews and nutritional yeast can be more economical. Plus, there’s a certain satisfaction in creating something so delicious from scratch!

πŸ—οΈ Key Ingredients & Substitutions

Overhead photo of vegan cream cheese ingredients with labels.

Cashews

The star of the show! Cashews provide the creamy base for this vegan cream cheese. Their neutral flavor allows them to mimic the consistency and taste of regular cream cheese. If you want to use a different nut, blanched almonds are a good choice, and if you’re looking for a nut-free version, sunflower seeds can be a viable alternative, although the flavor and texture might slightly vary.

Nutritional Yeast

This ingredient imparts a cheesy flavor to the homemade cashew cream cheese without any dairy. It also adds a dose of vitamins, making your spread even healthier. If you don’t have nutritional yeast on hand, a bit of miso paste can help give that umami, cheesy flavor, though the taste will be slightly different.

Unsweetened Almond Milk

This helps in achieving the desired creamy consistency. However, if almond milk isn’t available, you can opt for other plant-based milks like coconut milk or cashew milk. Just ensure it’s unsweetened to maintain the neutral flavor of the non-dairy cream cheese.

Dijon Mustard

A little tang and zest! Dijon mustard adds depth to the flavor profile. If you’re not a fan or don’t have it in your pantry, a splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice can offer that slightly tangy kick.

Salt

Essential for bringing out the flavors. While table salt works just fine, you can elevate the taste using sea salt or pink Himalayan salt. If you’re watching your sodium intake, reduce the amount but remember, a pinch goes a long way in enhancing the overall taste.

Remember, while these substitutions can be handy if needed, the original ingredients are recommended for the best taste and texture. Experiment and see what suits your palate best!

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πŸ₯£ How to Make Your Own Vegan Cream Cheese

Prepping the Cashews

The first step to creating the ultra-creamy base for our delicious vegan cream cheese is preparing the cashews. Soak them in boiled water for at least 30 minutes. If you have the time, letting them sit overnight will ensure they’re super soft and blendable. This step is essential for achieving that smooth texture we all crave in a cream cheese.

Hot water being poured over raw cashews in a grey bowl.

Blending It All Together

Once your cashews are ready, it’s time to get blending! Combine the soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, unsweetened almond milk, dijon mustard, and salt in a high speed blender or food processor. You’ll want to blend until the mixture forms a smooth paste. A good blender or food processor is key here to ensure there are no gritty bits remaining. If you notice the mixture is too thick, you can add a tad more almond milk to get the right consistency.

Customizing Your Flavor

Here’s where you can let your culinary creativity shine. The base vegan cream cheese recipe has a neutral flavor, making it perfect for additions. Consider mixing in roasted red peppers, fresh chives, or sun-dried tomatoes for a unique twist. You could even add garlic powder or onion powder for a savory kick.

Letting It Set

Once blended to perfection, transfer your cashew cream cheese to a sealed container and let it chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. This step allows the flavors to meld and the consistency to firm up a bit, making it even more spreadable.

Close up of vegan cream cheese on bread.

πŸͺ„ Recipe Notes & Tips

Choosing the Right Cashews

It’s crucial to select raw cashews for this recipe. Roasted cashews have a stronger, distinct flavor that could overpower the cream cheese. Also, ensure they are unsalted; we’ll be adding our salt to the mix to maintain control over the flavor.

Achieving the Perfect Consistency

The desired consistency of the spreadable vegan cream cheese might vary from one person to another. If you find yours is too thick after blending, don’t hesitate to add a splash more almond milk to thin it out. If it’s too runny, allowing it to set in the fridge for a longer period can help it firm up.

Cream Cheese Flavor Variations

Remember, this easy vegan cream cheese recipe is a blank canvas. While the base recipe offers a delightful neutral flavor, you can make it your own with various additions. Herb cream cheese with dill and chives, a spicy version with red chili flakes, a sweet variation with a touch of maple syrup, or tossing in some strawberries to make strawberry cream cheese are all great ideas. The sky’s the limit!

Preventing the Cream Cheese from Setting Too Firmly

If you’re using the cream cheese as a base for other recipes, like a vegan cheesecake, consider adding a bit of olive oil. These fats help in keeping the cream cheese slightly softer, making it easier to blend with other ingredients.

With these tips in hand, you’re all set to create the most amazing vegan cream cheese, tailored to your preferences and perfect for mixing into your favorite recipes!

πŸ«™ Storage Instructions

Refrigeration is Key

After you’ve enjoyed a generous spread of your freshly made vegan cream cheese, it’s essential to store the leftovers properly to maintain their freshness. Place the cream cheese in an airtight container and pop it into the refrigerator. Stored this way, your vegan cream cheese will remain fresh and spreadable for up to a week.

Freezing for Longer Shelf Life

If you’ve made a larger batch or simply want to preserve some for later, freezing is a fantastic option. Transfer the vegan cream cheese to a freezer-safe container, leaving a little space at the top for expansion. This way, your homemade delicacy can last for up to two months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight when you’re ready to use it again.

Reviving the Consistency

Sometimes, after storing, the cream cheese might become a tad too firm or separate slightly. Not to worry! Give it a good stir, and if needed, add a tiny splash of almond milk or a drizzle of olive oil. Blend it briefly in a food processor to restore its original creamy consistency.

Keeping Things Fresh

While it’s tempting to dip directly into the container, it’s best to use a clean utensil each time you serve. This prevents contamination and ensures your vegan cream cheese stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible.

Remember, as with all homemade products, there are no preservatives. So, keep an eye on its texture and aroma, and enjoy it while it’s fresh!

🍽️ What To Serve With Homemade Vegan Cream Cheese

Bagel’s Best Friend

One of the classic ways to enjoy cream cheese is on a toasted bagel. Whether you’re going for plain, whole wheat, gluten-free, or any flavor of bagels, a generous spread of this vegan cream cheese complements it perfectly. Sprinkle some fresh chives or sun-dried tomatoes on top, and you’ve got yourself a delightful breakfast or snack.

A Dip Delight

Turn your vegan cream cheese into a dip by adding some roasted red peppers, garlic powder, and a hint of olive oil. Pair it with crispy tortilla chips, fresh vegetable sticks, or even some warm pita bread. It’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for parties or a cozy movie night.

Enhancing Savory Recipes

Think beyond the spread! Vegan cream cheese can be a delightful addition to various savory recipes. Stir it into pasta sauces for a creamy twist, dollop on top of soups, or use it as a filling for vegan enchiladas or lasagna. The creamy, tangy flavor will elevate your dishes to a whole new level. We love stuffing this cream cheese into our Vegetarian Jalapeno Poppers. Delicious!

Desserts Galore

Given its creamy texture, vegan cream cheese can be an essential component in desserts. Use it as a base for a dairy-free cheesecake, whip up a vegan cream cheese frosting for your cakes and cupcakes, or simply add a dollop on fresh fruit salads for a luxurious touch.

The versatility of this homemade cream cheese is boundless. From simple spreads to gourmet dishes, there’s no limit to the culinary magic you can create!

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a different type of nut for this recipe?

Blanched almonds or sunflower seeds are good alternatives, though they might slightly alter the flavor and consistency.

I’m allergic to nuts. Is there a nut-free version?

Yes, you can use sunflower seeds or coconut yogurt as a base for a nut-free version, but be prepared for a slightly different taste and texture.

Why is nutritional yeast used in this recipe?

Nutritional yeast (a.k.a. nooch) adds a cheesy flavor to the cream cheese, enhancing its taste and making it reminiscent of traditional dairy cream cheese.

Can I add fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar for extra tanginess?

Certainly! Lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or even white vinegar can be added to emphasize the tangy flavor characteristic of cream cheese.

How can I make a sweeter version of this cream cheese?

For a sweeter variation, you can add a touch of maple syrup, agave nectar, or your favorite sweetener to taste.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, this vegan cream cheese recipe is naturally gluten-free. Always check the labels of your ingredients to ensure no cross-contamination.

Are there any store-bought vegan cream cheeses you recommend?

There are several brands out there, like Kite Hill or Violife, that offer delicious vegan cream cheeses. However, homemade versions allow you to customize the flavors and know exactly what’s in it! Also, from experience, coconut oil-based cream cheese is difficult to cook with so when cooking, it’s best to make your own!

Overhead photo of vegan cream cheese in a white bowl surrounded by cashews.

πŸ˜‹ More Vegan Recipes You Will Love

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πŸ“– Recipe

Overhead photo of vegan cream cheese on bread on a grey plate.

Vegan Cream Cheese Recipe

Bethany Galloway
This spreadable Vegan Cream Cheese recipe not only tastes rich and creamy like the dairy version, but is also loaded with goodness. Perfect for toast, bagels, or as a base for various recipes, this vegan delight is a must-try, especially for special occasions or holiday spreads.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Appetizers
Cuisine American
Servings 34 tablespoons
Calories 38 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 3/4 cups cashews soaked
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 4.5 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • Soak cashews for at least 30 minutes in boiled water (preferably overnight).
    Hot water being poured over raw cashews in a grey bowl.
  • Add the soaked cashews nutritional yeast, unsweetened almond milk, mustard, and salt to a food processor or blender.
    Ingredients for cashew cream cheese in a food processor.
  • Blend until it forms a smooth paste.
    Blending vegan cream cheese in a food processor.
  • Use it straight away or allow it to thicken up in the fridge, and enjoy!

Notes

  1. Cashews: It’s crucial to select raw cashews for this recipe. Roasted cashews have a stronger, distinct flavor that could overpower the cream cheese. Also, ensure they are unsalted; we’ll be adding our salt to the mix to maintain control over the flavor.
  2. Consistency: If you find yours is too thick after blending, don’t hesitate to add a splash more almond milk to thin it out. If it’s too runny, allowing it to set in the fridge for a longer period can help it firm up.
  3. Flavor Variations: While the base recipe offers a delightful neutral flavor, you can make it your own with various additions. Herb cream cheese with dill and chives, a spicy version with red chili flakes, a sweet variation with a touch of maple syrup, or tossing in some strawberries to make strawberry cream cheese are all great ideas. The sky’s the limit!
  4. Preventing the Cream Cheese from Setting Too Firmly: If you’re using the cream cheese as a base for other recipes, like a vegan cheesecake, consider adding a bit of olive oil. These fats help in keeping the cream cheese slightly softer, making it easier to blend with other ingredients.
  5. Storage: Place the cream cheese in an airtight container and pop it into the refrigerator. Stored this way, your vegan cream cheese will remain fresh and spreadable for up to a week.
  6. Freezing: Transfer the vegan cream cheese to a freezer-safe container, leaving a little space at the top for expansion. This way, your homemade delicacy can last for up to two months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight when you’re ready to use it again.
  7. Reviving the Consistency: Sometimes, after storing, the cream cheese might become a tad too firm or separate slightly. Not to worry! Give it a good stir, and if needed, add a tiny splash of almond milk or a drizzle of olive oil. Blend it briefly in a food processor to restore its original creamy consistency.
  8. Keeping Things Fresh: While it’s tempting to dip directly into the container, it’s best to use a clean utensil each time you serve. This prevents contamination and ensures your vegan cream cheese stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible.

Nutrition

Calories: 38kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 58mgPotassium: 49mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 0.4gVitamin A: 0.2IUVitamin C: 0.03mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 0.5mg
Keyword bacon, cream cheese, dairy free, dairy free jalapeno poppers, jalapeno, jalapeno poppers, party food, side dish
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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