Easy Homemade Cashew Cream

Cashew cream is easy to make, vegan and a perfect multipurpose dairy-free alternative with the texture of dairy. We love it as an alternative for sour cream, ricotta cheese, heavy cream, milk and yogurt. You can even use it as a base for creamy sauces and dips like vegan queso, Alfredo sauce or macaroni and cheese! Jump to the Cashew Cream Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.

A jar of homemade cashew cream

More cashew recipes! How to make cashew butter and vegan queso (made with cashews)

Tips for making cashew cream

  • Use raw cashews, not roasted.
  • Check the bulk aisle to see if your local store sells broken cashew nuts for a discounted price.
  • Use a high-powered blender (or soak the cashews first — more about this below).
  • Play around with different spices and flavors.

How to make cashew cream

We start with raw cashews. If you’ve blended cashews before, you might have been asked to soak them in water first. We do not soak our cashews before blending. Since we have a high-powered blender (most blenders are these days), soaking the cashews isn’t necessary. That doesn’t mean that soaking the nuts is a bad idea. Soaking cashews before blending is suggested for two main reasons:

  1. To soften the nuts, making them easier to blend into a smooth and creamy sauce
  2. To break down the shell of the nuts for easier digestion
Raw cashews in a blender

With our blender, the cashews quickly turn into a smooth sauce — you can see this in action by watching our vegan queso video (which uses cashew cream as the base)! My guess is that your blender will do the same, but know that if you are concerned, you can always soak the cashews first. We added instructions in the recipe below.

So, here are the basic steps for cashew cream

  1. Optional step: Soak the cashews (this is only necessary if you do not have a high powered blender). Soaking instructions are below.
  2. Add raw cashews (or cashew pieces) to a blender with water. We use a 2:1 ratio of nuts to water, but this can change based on how thin you’d like your cream. If you wanted a thinner consistency similar to milk, simply add more water until you are happy.
  3. Blend on high until the nuts and water turn into a very smooth cream.
  4. Season the cashew cream with whatever you’d like. In our basic recipe, we add salt and fresh lemon juice. More seasoning suggestions are below.
  5. Store in the fridge for a week or so or freeze 3 to 6 months. If you do freeze, you might find that it needs a quick blend after thawing to get the consistency back to where you want it.
Cashew cream in a blender

How to soak cashews

If you’ve decided to soak your cashews before making cashew cream, you’ll need to follow one of the following methods:

  • Quick soaking method: Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, turn off the heat, and then add the cashews. Allow the nuts to soak for 30 minutes, drain, and then use.
  • Overnight soaking method: Add cashews to a bowl of water and allow to soak for 6 to 8 hours, drain, and then use in the recipe. Be careful with this method since cashews soaked for too long can take on an unpleasant flavor. Changing the water after a few hours can help.
Pouring homemade cashew cream into a jar

How to use cashew cream

Cashew cream is such a versatile dairy-free alternative. As you can see from the photos, it’s texture is very similar to dairy. Depending on how much water you use when blending the cashews you can achieve a consistency that mimics milk, heavy cream and even sour cream. Here are some of our favorite ways to use it, although, I’m sure there’s more. Remember, cashew cream can be substituted for almost any dairy in almost any recipe!

  • Instead of sour cream, use cashew cream to top baked potatoes, chili, soups or tacos. I especially love a dollop on top of this easy bean and quinoa chili.
  • Make this vegan queso! Everyone we’ve served it to immediately wants the recipe.
  • Use it to make lasagna. Instead of a ricotta cheese layer, use cashew cream. Try it in our vegetable lasagna.
  • Add it to your coffee or tea. It’s delicious when added to cold brew coffee!
  • Drizzle over salads, pizza, or spread onto sandwiches.
  • Enjoy with fresh berries and muesli, just as you would with yogurt.
  • Stir into soups to make them creamy — I love it as an alternative to cream when making this creamy veggie soup.

Variations

Cashew cream is so simple to make and can take on pretty much any spice you love. Here are a few favorite variations:

  • Spiced Chili Cream — Blend in two to three teaspoons of chili powder or taco seasoning. Use our homemade chili powder blend or this homemade taco seasoning.
  • Creamy Ranch — Blend in a bit more lemon for tang as well as a handful of fresh dill, parsley, chives and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon each of onion powder and garlic powder.
  • Green Goddess Dressing — Blend in a garlic clove, some extra lemon juice and a cup of fresh green herbs. I like to use as many as I can get my hands on and love parsley, cilantro, basil, mint and tarragon.
  • Vanilla Cinnamon Cream — Blend in 1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

Easy Homemade Cashew Cream

  • PREP
  • TOTAL

Cashew cream is easy to make, vegan and a perfect multipurpose dairy-free alternative with the texture of dairy. We love it as an alternative for sour cream, ricotta cheese, heavy cream, milk and yogurt. You can even use it as a base for creamy sauces and dips like vegan queso, Alfredo sauce or macaroni and cheese!

Makes about 2 cups

You Will Need

1 cup (5 ounces) raw cashews

3/4 to 1 cup hot water

2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Optional spices or fresh herbs, see variations in article

Directions

  • (Optional) Soak Cashews
  • If you have a high powered blender (most blenders are), it is not necessary to soak the cashews. We do not soak cashews for this recipe, however, you may decide to soak cashews for two reasons: (1) to soften the nuts, making them easier to blend into a smooth and creamy sauce, and (2) to break down the shell of the nuts for easier digestion.

    Quick soaking method: Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, turn off the heat, and then add the cashews. Allow the nuts to soak for 30 minutes, drain, and then use in the recipe.

    Overnight soaking method: Add cashews to a bowl of water and allow to soak for 6 to 8 hours, drain, and then use in the recipe. Be careful with this method since cashews soaked for too long can take on an unpleasant flavor. Changing the water after a few hours can help.

    • Make Cashew Cream
    • Place the cashews and 3/4 cup of the hot water into a blender. Blend until very smooth.

      Add lemon juice and the salt. Blend until smooth.

      If the cashew cream is too thick, blend in a splash more water.

      Taste, and then season with additional salt or blend in additional spices or fresh herbs.

      Store in the fridge for a week or so or freeze 3 to 6 months. If you do freeze, you might find that it needs a quick blend after thawing to get the consistency back to where you want it.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • The article has suggestions for variations on this recipe, however, some of our favorite spices and herbs to blend into this cashew cream are nutritional yeast (adds a cheesy flavor), chili powder, taco seasoning or fresh green herbs like basil and parsley.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 1/4 cup / Calories 99 / Total Fat 7.9g / Saturated Fat 1.6g / Cholesterol 0mg / Sodium 75.4mg / Carbohydrate 5.9g / Dietary Fiber 0.5g / Total Sugars 1g / Protein 2.6g
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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2 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Mary W. May 16, 2021, 12:45 pm

    You’re the first person to explain that raw cashews means not roasted. Thank you. Where do you recommend buying raw cashews?

    Reply
    • Adam May 17, 2021, 11:59 am

      You should be able to find them in the bulk aisle of your local grocery store. They usually sell them as whole nuts or as broken pieces which can be a little cheaper.

      Reply

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