How To Make Cashew Cream (The Ultimate Dairy Free Substitute)

By Jessica Hylton - - Updated

How To Make Cashew Cream (The Ultimate Dairy Free Substitute)! Cashew cream is vegan, easy to make and is the perfect substitute for anything from sour cream to ricotta to Alfredo sauce to milk, and beyond! You can even freeze it!

A bowl of cashew cream with a spoon lifting some out.

Cashew cream! This is one of my those super recipes that has me wondering “wait – how have I never shared this?!” 

I realise that I’ve been vegetarian/vegan for so long that I’m a bit out of touch with what’s well known and what isn’t. When I did a poll, 55% of you had never used/heard of cashew cream before. So I’m here to reveal the magics of it to you. 

What is Cashew Cream?

Cashew cream is essentially the ultimate dairy-free substitute. Made from cashews (nutfree version below), yet tasting absolutely nothing like cashews, it’s a creamy, silky smooth cream that can be used in a numerous amount of dairy free substitutes. Everything from sour cream to ricotta to Alfredo sauce to cashew milk and beyond. 
Top down view of cashews in a bowl.

How do you make cashew cream?

You make cashew cream by soaking your cashews anywhere from 2 hours (high powered blender) to overnight. The soaking process softens the cashews enough to blend smoothly in pretty much any blender, although in a high speed blender it’ll be like a dream. If you’re low on time (like I always am) you can soak your cashews in boiling hot water for about 1 hour, or boil them for about 5-10 minutes first. This helps your cashews to produce a silky texture and to be totally dissolved. This is crucial because ideally whatever you’re replacing you don’t want to be tasting cashew pieces!

BIG QUESTION – how does it taste?

Cashew cream tastes surprisingly unlike cashews. At its base (seasoned with a bit of salt) it’s a mix of like 10% nuttiness, 30% buttery and 60% smooth creamy vanilla-y flavour, while still being neutral enough to work in anything. It’s hard to put a finger on the exact taste, especially since you can make it taste any way you want. With a touch of lemon juice, you can make it a tangy sauce. With a date (or maple syrup) and some vanilla extract, it’s suddenly this incredible dessert sauce. The point is that even at the base flavour, it’s delicious. And 100% customisable. 
A jar of cashew nuts.
This is the reason why I love using it in place of coconut cream in many cases. I personally love the flavour of coconut, but if you hate it, play around and find the ratio that works best that you can substitute this in instead! 
I’m sharing below MY base recipe which is a super simple 2:1 ratio. I’ll also share all the instances I make it that I switch up the ratio to make it much thicker, or much thinner. It’s incredible what cashews can do!

Can I make a substitute without cashews?

Yes! You can substitute shelled and & soaked sunflower seeds instead!

How long does cashew cream last in my fridge?

It will last at least 4 days in your fridge. 
A bowl of cashew cream on a striped cloth.

Can I freeze this cream or cashews?

Yes & yes! It may separate a little after it’s thawed but it’ll freeze perfectly. Also yes, you can freeze cashews! 

How can I use cashew cream?

There are so many ways to use this and these are a few of the ways that I have already:
Enjoy friends! 
A spoon dipping into a bowl of cashew cream.

How To Make Cashew Cream (The Ultimate Dairy Free Substitute)

How To Make Cashew Cream (The Ultimate Dairy Free Substitute)! Cashew cream is vegan, easy to make and is the perfect substitute for anything from sour cream to ricotta to Alfredo sauce to cashew milk, and beyond! You can even freeze it!
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 servings
Course Dips
Cuisine American
  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight in water in a jar (this results in about 1 ¼ cups puffed cashews) and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup fresh water
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Savoury Flavouring Options (Choose One or Many: Up to You)

  • garlic
  • lemon or lime juice
  • dried onion
  • dried garlic
  • dried chives or dill

Sweet Flavouring Options (Choose One or Many: Up to You)

  • cinnamon
  • maple syrup or agave nectar
  • dates
  • vanilla


  • In a high speed blender, blend all the ingredients together until blended and completely creamy and incorporated. Scrape down the sides if needed, and blend until to combine. Be sure to add extra water if needed to reach the desired consistency that you're looking for.
  • At this point, add in any extra flavourings or seasonings that you have, and blend again or stir together to combine. This is also just a great base recipe to always have on hand! Enjoy!


Calories: 878kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 613mg | Potassium: 1402mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 3367IU | Vitamin C: 94mg | Calcium: 155mg | Iron: 11mg
by Jessica

leave a comment

Recipe Rating


  1. randy E thill says:

    5 stars
    Oh my! I have made cheese cake with the nuts, but never dreamed they were so versatile. I am wondering if it would make a good whipping cream substitute??? Pretty please…use this in some of your posted recipes so we can have a good excuse to make more!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hey Randy we will definitely use these in more recipes so that you can be inspired. To answer your question it most definitely can be used as a whipped cream. The recipe for that is coming soon! Thanks so much for reading.

  2. Charity says:

    Hi: Have you ever tried to make cashew cream from cashew butter?
    I have tried making the cream by socking the nuts overnight and blending in my Ninja blender but it still is gritty. I wondering if it would be smoother if I used cashew butter mixed with water or other ingredients?

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Charity,

      I haven’t tried, actually, so I’m not sure!

      Re the grittiness, it sounds like you need to blend it more when you’re making it. I mean, truly blend, like set a timer and just let it blend, for at least 5 minutes, using your best blender. Similar to making cashew butter, the heat it produces and the natural oils will help to make it smooth. Mine is always incredibly smooth and creamy! I hope that helps!

      • Tricia says:

        I can’t wait to try this in a cauliflower ‘Mac and cheese ‘ soon! Can I really let my vitamix run for five minutes?

        • Jessica says:

          Hi Tricia,

          Yes! If you’re using a Vitamix it shouldn’t take that long tbh, I usually do mine for like 2-3 minutes non stop. If you’re feeling nervous you can do that – set a timer/look at the timer on it and set it for 2-3 minutes, stop it, scrape down, then check it again! That way you divide it up. I hope that helps!

  3. Suzanne says:

    5 stars
    Just a quick thanks for the suggestion to let the blender run and run to get that smooth consistency. I hadn’t been having luck with cashew cream – it’s always too grainy – but I let my blender run about 4 minutes (much to my cats’ displeasure 🙂 )and it’s smooth as smooth can be. I don’t have a Vitamix so I was happy to see it could be done without one. Planning on making vegan mac & cheese tonight!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      We’re so happy that you enjoyed this how to Suzanne! Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a nice comment!

  4. Lara says:

    Will this work with cashews that aren’t raw, they are really hard to find where I live? Any changes to recipe? What about if they are salted?

    • Hi Lara, it won’t sorry! Neither with salted – it would have to be raw, unsalted cashews else the texture would be off. I would recommend searching for a tofu cream!!

    • Bischa Johannessen says:

      Lara Cashews are as far as I know never sold truly raw they are always shelled with heat because it’s easier to shell them like that and frankly if I remember correctly, also because there is something in them that is quite toxic to humans if not heated
      So unsalted and Unroasted (as roasting can bring out more cashew flavor, which is not what one wants with this type of recipe if I understand correctly) is what you should go for 😊 read more here 😉


  5. Jill says:

    5 stars
    I can’t wait to use this on everything! I just recently started experimenting with cashew “cheese” sauce and love the idea of making this base and just adding flavoring for each use. What ratio of cream to water would you use for cashew milk if I want to create it as I need it?

  6. Anna says:

    Hello! Can this be used in a frosting? I’ve been trying to make a vegan frosting and branch out of using coconut cream. Maybe using cashew cream instead is a possibility?

  7. lois kohn says:

    thanks for the info. i have issues with dairy but occasionally dream of cream soups and desserts . will deffinitely try this

  8. Sharon says:

    Macadamias work well also. They make a wonderful sweet cream and a terrific aioli.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Thanks for the suggestion Sharon!

  9. Trisha says:

    5 stars
    Can I use the cacheu cream for making ice-cream.
    Thank you.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Trisha Thanks so much! I have seen some cashew cream ice-cream recipes online so definitely.

  10. Laura says:

    5 stars
    Wow! That’s amazing! 2 minutes in my Sage Fresh and Furious blender in the highest speed setting, and boom! So creamy and delicious.

Send this to a friend