How to Make Cashew Cream

This easy vegan cashew cream is a delicious dairy-free alternative to sour or heavy cream! It's creamy, versatile, tangy, and bright. What's not to love?

Cashew cream

If you’re interested in eating more plant-based recipes, cashew cream will be your new best friend. It’s easy to make, it requires just 6 ingredients, and it’s every bit as rich and creamy as sour or heavy cream. I love to add it to creamy vegan pasta sauces, top it onto baked potatoes, serve it over burrito bowls, and more!

My vegan cashew cream recipe uses basic ingredients. Raw cashews make it thick and creamy, water helps it blend, extra-virgin olive oil adds richness, and lemon juice, garlic, and salt give it a bright, tangy flavor. To make it, just add the ingredients to a blender, and puree until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the blender canister, as needed, to make sure everything is thoroughly combined. Then, enjoy!

Cashew Cream Tips

  • Use raw, not roasted, cashews. Roasted cashews will give the cream a nutty, cashew-y flavor. Though I love cashews, that’s not what we’re going for here. By contrast, raw cashews yield a neutral creamy taste, which is delicious in all sorts of savory recipes.
  • To soak or not to soak? That is the question, and the answer depends on your blender. If you have a high-speed blender, there’s no need to soak cashews. However, if you have a less powerful blender, I do recommend soaking cashews for at least 4 hours. Just place the cashews in a bowl, cover them with water, and set them aside. After they’ve soaked, drain and rinse the cashews and proceed with the recipe below. Otherwise, your cream will be grainy.
  • Invest in a high-powered blender. If you’re someone who plans to make homemade basics like cashew cream frequently, getting a powerful blender is totally worth it. You’ll be able to create plant-based milks and sauces at a moment’s notice, and they’ll be creamier than they would be with another blender, regardless of whether or not you soak any nuts ahead of time. I use a Vitamix, but I’ve also heard good things about high-speed Blendtec and KitchenAid blenders.

Cashew sour cream on a potato

Cashew Sour Cream Recipes

My cashew cream recipe varies depending on how I plan to use it. The basic recipe below uses a 2:1 ratio of cashews to water, which yields a texture similar to sour cream or Greek yogurt. I drizzle this thick cashew cream over bowls, salads, vegan pizza, and more. As you can see below, if I’m planning to use it as a sour cream substitute, I amp up the flavor with white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and onion powder. Try it in any of these recipes:

Cashew Cream Variations

I also like to use cashew cream as a dairy-free replacement for heavy cream. Then, I use a lower cashew:water ratio, which makes a runnier cream sauce. It’s not as thick as the sour cream above, but it’s still richer and creamier than cashew milk. It’s a delicious addition to my Herb and Garlic Mushroom Pasta, Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells, and other pasta recipes.

Occasionally, I use my basic recipe to create a creamy sauce with an entirely different flavor profile. For example, I blend cashew cream with baked sweet potato and rosemary to make a luscious, aromatic sauce for my Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Broccoli.

Feel free to play with the base recipe below to make a sauce you love! Adjust the cashew:water ratio to reach your desired consistency. Then, try adding nutritional yeast to give it a cheesy flavor, lime juice instead of lemon, fresh herbs, spinach, or a pinch of your favorite spice.

Cashew cream on pizza

More Favorite Sauces and Spreads

If you love this recipe, try making one of these delicious sauces or spreads next!

Cashew Cream

rate this recipe:
4.85 from 26 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
This easy vegan cashew cream is a delicious dairy-free substitute for sour cream! If you prefer a texture closer to heavy cream, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to reach your desired consistency.


Cashew Sour Cream

  • Replace 1 tablespoon lemon juice with 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Add ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Add ¼ teaspoon onion powder


  • Place the cashews, water, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt in a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy.
  • For Cashew Sour Cream, make the cashew cream recipe replacing 1 tablespoon lemon juice with 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar and add the mustard and onion powder for extra tang.


*Cashew cream is best made in a high-speed blender, like a Vitamix. If you have a less powerful blender, you may have to blend longer (up to 1 minute). You can also soak the cashews for 4 hours or overnight to soften and make them easier to blend.



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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Anna

    This is the BEST thing EVER – thank you! I rarely comment on blogs but I just had to this time. Can’t believe it’s so easy to make an all-purpose vegan cooking cream.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Anna, I’m so glad you love the cashew cream!!

  2. Patty

    I made the sour cream version to sub for creme fraiche, it was so good, thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  3. Patty

    This is a yummy recipe, do you have the nutritional information?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Patty, we don’t calculate nutrition info for our recipes. The best way to get an estimate is to use an online nutrition calculator like MyFitnessPal. So glad you like the cashew cream!

  4. Thibault

    Hey, this is really great, so thanks for that! But… How long can you store this before it goes bad?

  5. Sharriea Williams

    I could eat this by itself! So good,

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  6. claire

    5 stars
    I love this recipe, so easy and adds richness without dairy to so many foods. My favorite cheat is to stir it into tomato soup (homemade or store bought) for a decadent finish! Also great on tacos and baked yams.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Great serving ideas! So glad you love the recipe.

  7. Emilie

    We are avoiding oils. Can I leave out the olive oil?


    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Yep, you can. You may need to add a little more water for the mixture to blend very smooth.

      • Laura

        3 stars
        The olive oil flavor comes in too strong in this recipe. I don’t like the taste of extra virgin olive oil, I wish I read this comment first. I think a little avocado oil and water would be much better to not impart a flavor at all (if using oil).

        • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

          Yep, avocado oil would be great here if you prefer to use it.

  8. Wondo

    I’ve been making cashew milk of various thicknesses for many years – in a food processor. The only real difference between nut cream and milk is the amount of water. In a processor you need to not add water until the nuts are ground to the point things just sit there. Then you add water SLOWLY – just enough to get it moving, adding little bits more only as needed to keep it grinding. If you add too much water at a time it will stay grainy; you’ll end up with ground nuts in water and they won’t get creamy. Add less water rather than more. It’s more than a minute or more (depending on processor and quantity) – perhaps 15 or more minutes (I never timed it – just let it tell me how much water and when). periodically scrape the bowl down.

    I also freeze it. Personally, I don’t mind the bit of textural difference but use it primarily in soups or dishes such as scalloped potatoes. The first time I made scalloped potatoes I was convinced that nut creams or milks are far better than things made with animals milk. Let them make cheese with milk and I’ll cook with nuts. Depending on the recipe blanching nuts such as almonds is usually worth the extra time.

    nut milks and creams are also a good sub for coconut milk in things like pudding. I think cashew is the most common or potular but almonds are easier on the tummy for some people. Roasting the nuts at 250 F to max 300 F gives a sweeter, nuttier flavour.. Roasting at higher temperature changes the molecular composition and turns the good fats into bad fats.

    Cheers, Wondo

  9. Jasmin

    Is a nutri ninja a decent enough processor? Or do I still need to soak?

    • Phoebe Moore

      I would suggest soaking the cashews first with a Ninja blender. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  10. Jasmin

    Can I add half water and use this as a half and half substitute?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Jasmine, that should work fine, depending what you’re using it in. It would be great in a soup but it might act the same in a baking recipe.

      • Jasmin

        I’m making chicken and dumplings, So I guess you could call it soup

  11. a

    This looks lovely! I’ve tried a couple of your recipes before which have been great 🙂

    For this cream, do you think it would go well in a soup (i.e. carrot or butternut squash soup)? Looking for a replacement that is not regular cream nor coconut based creams.


    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Yep, it’ll work well in a soup – it’s thicker than heavy cream and canned coconut milk, so I would just mix some (additional) water into your coconut cream until it has a thinner (yet still creamy) consistency.

  12. Syd

    5 stars
    LOVE! Made this to have in the fridge for the week and am so excited about it. I soaked the cashews for ~3 hours and blended them in a Vitamix for ~1 minute. Came out so creamy.

    So far I’ve paired it with grilled shishito peppers and it was the perfect combo!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  13. Giovanni

    for a silly reason, I don’t have a blender at the moment, can i use a food processor?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      This one won’t get creamy enough in a food processor.

  14. Madison Womack

    How long does this usually keep in the fridge??

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Madison, up to about 5 days. Give it a stir if it separates a bit.

  15. Laurie Dunlap

    Can the cashew sauce be frozen?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Laurie, it’s texture becomes more gritty when when thawed, so it’s not my favorite sauce to freeze.

  16. Kelly

    I’ve been looking for something to substitute heavy cream in a “butter chicken” recipe. Anyone done it with this or think it would be suitable? How did it work? Any suggestions welcomed!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Kelly, this is heavier than heavy cream so I’m not sure it would work. I might try substituting canned coconut milk in your recipe.

    • Retta

      You can do a 1:1 ratio of cashews to water to mimick heavy cream.

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.