How To Make Cashew Cream

*** This tutorial style blog post was updated 1/21/2020 with new pictures, nutritional information, and updated text. The recipe is the same as originally published 3/3/2014. Also, please note that this post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of these we make a small commission. That money helps us operate this site, thank you!**

Ahhh cashew cream, the silky, smooth, nut-based sauce adored by vegans and meat eater’s alike! Cashew cream has been a popular plant based substitute for everything from nacho cheese inspired sauces to dessert fillings for years. It has proven it self time and time again in the plant based home kitchen as well as on big name restaurants menus and it’s definitely a kitchen skill you should master!

Think of this recipe as a launching point; from here you can go either sweet or savory with minimal effort.  Experiment by blending in your favorite flavors like roasted chiles or fresh herbs. Toss it with pasta, serve it as a dip, or schmear a sandwich. Literally, anything goes!

A small glass pitcher of water sits next to alemon half and a plate of cashews on a metal table

Step 1 || Gather the ingredients.

One of the greatest things about cashew cream is that it doesn’t take many ingredients to make it! A basic cashew cream only requires 4 simple ingredients that are probably staple items in most kitchens.

Raw cashews|| The key ingredient in cashew cream is obviously the cashews, specifically raw cashews. Roasted cashews just simply will not work, it is important for them to be raw so that they will absorb the water as they soak making them easy to blend to a silky smooth consistency.

Filtered water || Since the cashews are absorbing the water and it will essentially wind up in our finished dish, I personally choose to go with filtered water. If you don’t have access to filtered you can use tap water instead.

Freshly squeezed lemon juice || None of that bottled citrus juice here, only freshly squeezed lemon will work! Its bright flavor really does come through in the final taste which means you want the real thing!

Salt || I have used kosher salt, sea salt, and Himalayan salt in cashew cream variations over the years and they have all been delicious. Personal preference is key, just note that in the recipe below I call for coarse kosher salt, so if you use a finer grain of salt than that you will need to adjust the measurement a bit to your taste.

A plate of soaked raw cashews is on a metal table top. there is a smaller bowl of unsoaked raw cashews nestled into th eplate to demonstrate the difference in size

Step 2 || Prepare the raw cashews. 

Preparing the cashews to make cashew cream is easy, but you need to make a plan in advance that includes soaking time for the cashews. Soaking cashews prior to using them for eating and cooking purposes aids in proper nutrient absorption and  helps remove enzymes called phytates that hinder vitamin and mineral absorption. Long technical story short…soaking your nuts not only makes blending them into a creamy sauce possible – it’s also good for you!

Cold soak method || Place the desired amount of raw cashews in a large mixing bowl and cover with filtered water. Soak for at least 4-6 hours, preferably overnight either on a counter covered or in the refrigerator then drain and rinse.

Quick soak method || Place the desired amount of raw cashews in a bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse well. Cashews that are soaked this way will not have the same nutritional properties as cashews that have been prepared with the cold soak method.

A raw cashew and a raw cashew that has been soaked in filtered water overnight next to each other to show size difference.

Either way you soak the cashews will absorb an enormous amount of water! Just look at how much larger the cashew on the left is in the image above to the one on the right. It has almost doubled in size! Now, you’re ready to make cashew cream!

A kitchen aid blender filled with the ingredients to make cashew cream

Step 3|| The blend. 

Once the cashews have soaked; drain and rinse them well then decide if you will be blending with a high powered blender like the one I am using here or a food processor. Both will produce excellent results with variation in texture, so really this step is all about personal preference.

A peek into teh blender to see the blended cashew cream

High powered blender  || If you are looking for a luxuriously smooth cashew cream a high powered blender is the way to go. I prefer this method when I am making vegan cheesecakes or planning to use the cashew cream as a sour cream alternative. Typically a high powered blender can blend the cashews from start to finish in one short blending session without the need for even scraping down the sides.

Food processor or standard blender || A food processor or a standard blender will create a cashew cream with a bit more texture and grit to it and that’s ok too! I love cashew cream like this for topping tacos and nachos! Just note that you may have to stop and scrape the side down a few times to ensure that everything is incorporated and broken down.

Place the cashews in your blender or food processor along with filtered water, lemon juice, and salt.  Blend until you reach the consistency of a smooth, pour-able sauce, stopping to scrape the sides as needed.

A bowl of raw cashews next to a bowl of creamy cashew cream

How simple is that?!! Now that you know how to make cashew cream let’s talk about some ways you can use it!!

Plant based sour cream replacement || Yep, you read that right – anywhere you dollop sour cream this cashew cream would be great in its place!
As the base for a vegan cheesecake || I actually prefer a cashew cream based cheesecake to a traditional one and so does my family! They’re perfectly sweet and rich with a decadently smooth texture!
The perfect plant based sandwich schmear || You can flavor cashew cream about a bazillion ways which makes it a perfect schmear for sandwiches of all types!

Do you have an interesting way that you are using cashew cream in your kitchen? I want to know about it! Leave me a comment below, so I can learn all sorts of delicious new ways to use cashew cream too!!

Don’t forget to rate the recipe once you’ve tried it!! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, and PINTEREST to see more.

Print
A bowl of silky cashew cream sauce next to a smaller bowl of raw cashews on a metal surface. the words

Cashew Cream (Gluten Free & Vegan)

  • Author: This Mess is Ours
  • Prep Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Sauces
  • Method: Soaked/Blended
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Description

Uh oh!! Did you forget to soak your cashews? No worries! Check out the ‘quick-soak method’ in my blog post above. Now only 30 minutes stands between you and decadent cashew cream!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups raw unsalted cashews
  • 3/4 cup filtered water, plus more for soaking
  • juice of half of 1 large lemon
  • 1/21 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Place the cashews in a bowl and fill with filtered water at least an inch above the cashews. Allow the cashews to soak for 4-6 hours or up to overnight. Drain and rinse the cashews well.
  2. Place the cashews, filtered water, lemon juice, and salt in a high powered blender or food processor. Blend until desired consistency, stopping to scrape the sides as necessary.
  3. This cashew cream will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and can be frozen for up to 6 months. If you choose to freeze it be sure to run it through the blender really quick after you defrost it to eliminate any lumps.

Keywords: cashew cream, vegan

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36 Comments

  1. Lise March 3, 2014 at 7:22 am

    This sounds incredible, I can’t wait to try it! Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Meg March 3, 2014 at 7:52 am

      Yay Lise! I hope you love cashew cream as much as we do:)

      Reply
    1. Meg March 3, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Dixya, I am with you on the ricotta! I am actually whipping up a batch of almond ricotta right now for the site. Hopefully I will have it up next week.:)

      Reply
  2. Lynell March 3, 2014 at 8:50 am

    I love that you posted this today because this is on my to-try list for this week! Maybe on some baked sweet potato fries with some fresh herbs. Mmm, can’t wait!

    Reply
    1. Meg March 3, 2014 at 9:57 am

      Lynell I am so glad that this post will help you!! I made a slightly sweet cinnamon cashew cream once for sweet potato fries for my kids and they were totally obsessed with it. I have also paired the roasted poblani and cilantro cashew cream with sweet potatoes and it’s a real winner. You could even simply sub the lemon juice for lime juice and your fires would really sing! I can’t wait to hear how yours turns out:)

      Reply
  3. cheri March 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    You make this sound so easy. Great instructions and tips!

    Reply
    1. Meg March 3, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      Thanks Cheri!!

      Reply
  4. Julia March 4, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    LOVE this simple tutorial, Meg! I’ve been obsessed with cashew cream ever since I tried it a month ago. Since then, it’s been cashew cream here, there, and everywhere! SO good!

    Reply
    1. Meg March 4, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      Julia, I am with you!! I always have cashews soaking for one dish or another. Obsessed is putting it mildly on my end;)

      Reply
  5. Maria Tadic March 4, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    This recipes seems so easy! How long will the cashew cream stay fresh in the fridge? Think you could freeze this? I’d love to make a sweetened version and freeze in ice cube trays for my morning smoothies!

    Reply
    1. Meg March 4, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      It really is Maria! Your cashew cream will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and can be frozen for up to 6 months. If you choose to freeze it be sure to run it through the blender really quick after you defrost it to eliminate any lumps.:)

      Reply
  6. Ana luisa October 17, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    I’m going to do it. Soundclou great and i thought i can use basil instead of cilantro. What do You think?

    Reply
    1. Meg October 18, 2014 at 9:34 am

      I think it would be delicious! I have done it before and it was SO good:)

      Reply
  7. Amrita November 8, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    I’m definitely gonna make your recipe and add some curry into to make a curry dip for veggie chips! Thanks so much for sharing !!

    Amrita @ mywifemakes.com

    Reply
    1. Meg November 9, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      Curry cashew cream sounds amazing!!

      Reply
  8. Erin koss February 9, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Thank you for all the great suggestions. Made my first batch of the base today and looking forward to experimenting. How about adding a little honey and coconut milk and put over granola and fruit? Cinnamon would be good add w this also.

    Reply
    1. Meg February 10, 2015 at 6:27 am

      I am so glad that you are experimenting with cashew cream. It is such an amazing ingredient to use in your kitchen!I imagine that combo would be amazing! I use cashew milk for my granola and love it, but cashew cream would be great too.

      Reply
  9. Debbie December 10, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Just wondering why you drain and rinse after soaking, seems like the soaking water would have flavor and nutrients in it.

    Reply
  10. sonja December 29, 2015 at 1:45 am

    Supper supper lekker:-) 🙂

    Reply
  11. Sharon Gardner March 30, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    I followed a recipe for cashew cream that had me strain the blended cashews and water, then use the cashew liquid. But it said nothing about the pulp left.
    That is all good cashews that I refuse to throw out. Unfortunately, I only have a regular blender and did not blend long enough, I guess, to get it smooth.
    I put all the mixture, tiny lumps and all in my tomato bisque I was making. I added tomato paste for more of a tomato flavor, it was real good.
    If I only use the cashew milk, though, what can I do with pulp?
    Your article has given me some ideas.

    Reply
    1. Meg March 30, 2016 at 7:14 pm

      Honestly Sharon, I have never strain cashew cream or milk, I just blend until it is as smooth as possible. The only difference for me is the amount of liquid I add. I wouldn’t want to waste those cashews either!

      Reply
    2. Amber July 25, 2017 at 4:06 am

      @Sharon you could try baking the pulp into muffins or blend them into a smoothie since the taste is pretty mellow

      Also, I pan roasted two cloves of garlic with a little bit of sunflower seeds. I would consider adding a little more garlic next time. Texture takes a little bit of getting used to, but overall great!

      Reply
  12. Sarah April 20, 2016 at 7:33 am

    I make a savory version of this, and I serve it over asparagus, broccoli, and vegan pasta or veggie pasta. It’s always a hit!

    Reply
    1. Meg April 20, 2016 at 7:41 am

      Savory cashew cream is so good!!!

      Reply
  13. Nikki July 28, 2016 at 11:31 am

    This might be a stupid question, but why use filtered water for everything? I’ve never made this before and I’m curious why.

    Reply
    1. Meg August 6, 2016 at 10:15 am

      You don’t have to Nikki you can definitely use tap water. Unfortunately, our tap water doesn’t taste very good and when I make powdered sugar icing instead of turning white our tap water turns it a weird dingy, yellowish white so I always use filtered water in my recipes.

      Reply
  14. Gabrielle August 1, 2017 at 12:22 am

    Would it be possible to grind the cashews by hand with a mortar & pestle, and then combine with the water? Or would this make for mealy cashew flavored water?

    Reply
    1. thismess August 1, 2017 at 2:40 am

      I don’t think you’d be able to get the desired creamy consistency by grinding the cashews with a mortar & pestle Gabrielle. A blender or food processor work best.

      Reply
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  18. Alyssa March 25, 2019 at 6:25 am

    Meg, what a gorgeous cream! Your directions make this seem like such an easy approach, too. I would love to make this soon!

    Reply
    1. thismess March 26, 2019 at 8:35 pm

      I hope you love it as much as we do!!

      Reply
  19. Olga March 28, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    Meg, it’s really awesome! This will quickly become a favorite in our house!

    Reply
  20. Kim johnson November 5, 2019 at 1:34 am

    Thanx for the useful and authentic recipee you have share with this article
    it will be surely beneficial for everyone.

    Reply

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