Quick And Simple Vegan Cream Cheese

When you’re looking for something delicious to spread on your morning toast, cream cheese seems like the perfect option. And why not make one yourself that’s vegan and good for you? Store bought options can be loaded with weird ingredients and making a homemade vegan cream cheese is easier than you think!

Cheese is probably the number #1 thing a lot of vegans confess craving. Yes, the taste of cheese is what brings people back to it. But it’s also the ritual. If you spent your early days munching on toasts with cream cheese on top of it, you’ve probably developed a strong bond with cheese.

Actually, it turns out that cheese is pretty addictive. Why? Because of the milk protein called casein. When you consume dairy products, casein releases drug-like casomorphins. Casomorphins trigger such an addictive response that they’ve been compared to heroin.

But why there’s casein in cheese? Nature is smart. When a baby is born, it has to drink mother’s milk otherwise it would die. And this is where the casein steps in. It’s responsible for keeping the baby drinking milk until it grows up big enough to eat solid food.

Human milk contains casein as well. But it’s only 2.7 grams of casein per liter. Compare it to 26 grams per litter that are found in cow’s milk. That’s way too much for us, humans. And – surprise, surprise – cheese is the most concentrated source of casein. So that’s why you love cheese so much!

This is another reason for ditching the dairy, especially cheese. Homemade vegan cheese alternative is so much better! In this recipe, I made a delicious vegan cream cheese using only 6 essential ingredients. To get it even closer to the real thing and add extra summery taste, I added some herbs – dried dill, parsley, and garlic.

Feel free to make the original vegan cream cheese using cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, water, apple cider vinegar, and salt. Then you can mix in your favorite additions, for example, sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary, basil, caramelized onions and more.

I love to enjoy this vegan cream cheese on a fresh rye bread toast with cucumbers and tomatoes. But you can also mix it into pasta dishes, put on pizza, spread in wraps or use it as a dip with fresh veggies.

Let’s get to the recipe!

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Quick And Simple Vegan Cream Cheese

Makes 1 cup

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight in water*)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¼  tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 – 4 tbsp water (if necessary for thinning)
  • 1 tbsp dried dill (optional)
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove (optional)

Other optional additions:

  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • chopped spring onions
  • caramelized onions
  • rosemary
  • basil
  • smoked paprika
  • cayenne pepper


  1. Drain the water of the cashews. Put all ingredients, except water, in a food processor or blender (I managed to get smooth texture using a hand blender) and blend until smooth. You may need to stop to scrape the sides down with a spatula. If necessary, thinner the cheese by adding 1 – 2 tbsp of water. It should be easily spreadable but not too liquid.
  2. Finally, adjust the taste if necessary. Transfer the cheese into a glass jar or a plastic container. The cheese will thicken after an hour and will keep in fridge up to 4 days.

*If you’re in a hurry, you can use a quick method for soaking – bring water to boil, pour over the cashews and let them soak for 20 minutes.

P.S. If you’re still craving cheese, check out this delicious veganized version of mac & cheese and easy vegan parmesan!

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  • Reply Marisol June 23, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Hi! Everything you do is beautiful! 🙂 I do have one question….what is nutritional yeast?? I am familiar with regular yeast, but not sure if it’s the same thing. I have been inspired by your ideas here on pinterest (i’m a follower) and youtube as well (i’m a suscribrer). Thank you so much for all the great info you provide!!

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan June 24, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Marisol! 🙂 Basically, nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast (it doesn’t froth or grow like baking yeast does so it has no leavening ability). The magic part is that it tastes like cheese! So it’s great for vegans to make their food taste cheesy. 🙂 Hope this helps!

  • Reply Jodi February 6, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Can you make a sweet one with something like walnuts. I used to eat honey walnut cream cheese the Philadelphia one and haven’t bought it in years. I am really new to being a vegetarian and slowly switching to vegan and would appreciate the input. Thanks and have a great day 😊

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan February 8, 2018 at 7:00 am

      Hi Jodi! 🙂 I’ve made a sweet vegan cashew cream frosting for cakes and I believe it could be somewhat similar to what you’re describing. You can find the recipe here: https://thefeedfeed.com/lainerudolfa/vegan-raspberry-cake-with-cashew-and-coconut-butter-icing
      I haven’t tried making it with walnuts, though. Cashews are very natural in their flavor, that’s why their good for making vegan cheeses and sauces. Walnuts are a bit tangier. But you can never know how it tastes until you make it! 🙂 You can try making a very small batch with walnuts and see how it goes. Best of luck, Jodi! 🙂

  • Reply Stacey Bender January 23, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Just made this cream cheese it turned out light brown instead of white. (I did use ground cayenne pepper) . I would appreciate your thoughts!

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan January 27, 2019 at 8:05 pm

      Glad you tried the recipe, Stacey! I’ve made the cashew cream many times and so far it has always came out white so I guess the cayenne pepper did the color trick. Hope this clarifies and let me know if you have any other questions! 🙂

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