How do vegans create creamy dips, sauces, cheese or frosting for a cake? Cashew cream is one way to create creamy foods without dairy, and it’s easy to make if you have a high-powered blender, a must-have appliance in the vegan kitchen.

The basics of cashew cream are simple: water-soaked cashews are blended with more water to create a dairy substitute. You can learn more about the process in the video below:

If you want to try your hand at making your own cashew cream sauce, the basic recipe is simple.

Prep time: 5-10 minutes

Total time: 6.5 hours

Yield: Varies


  • Whole, raw, unsalted cashews
  • Cold water
  1. Place the cashews in a bowl and add cold water until just covered.
  2. Place a cover over the bowl and allow to soak in the refrigerator for six hours, or overnight.
  3. Drain the water from the cashews and place them in a blender, preferably a high-powered blender.
  4. Blend at high speed until the cashews become a cream.
  5. If you'd like to thin your cashew cream out a bit, add a little cold water, a tablespoon at a time, until it becomes the desired consistency.

If you don't have a high-powered blender, you can still make cashew cream. If you want it to be silky smooth, but your blender doesn't have enough power to get it to that consistency, push it through a fine-mesh sieve.

That's the simple way to make a basic vegan cream that's dairy, soy, coconut and gluten free. The cashew cream is versatile because it can be made sweet or savory. It becomes the base of many vegan recipes that call for some kind of cream or cheese. Here are seven creative recipes that use cashew cream:

  1. Figs in Cashew Cream with Toasted Coconut: Sweetened cashew cream is the base for this recipe that can be breakfast or dessert.
  2. Vegan Twist on the Classic Tuna Sandwich: Cashew cream and garbanzo beans (chickpeas) combine to make a tuna salad substitute.
  3. Cashew Sour Cream: The addition of cider vinegar and lemon juice turn cashew cream into a substitute for sour cream.
  4. Scalloped Sweet Potato Gratin: A creamy, comforting side dish made with cashews instead of cheese.
  5. Raw Vegan "Goat" Cheese Dip: Cashew cream is the basis for this cheese, which is layered with sun-dried tomatoes and basil pesto to make a vegan cheese dip.
  6. Vegan Ranch Dressing Made from Cashews: If you want a ranch dip or salad dressing, you can make it dairy-free with cashews.
  7. Creamy Cashew Icing: A substitute for cream cheese icing for cake.

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.