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!

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Cashew Cream

rate this recipe:
4.87 from 46 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.



4.87 from 46 votes (28 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Nicole

    4 stars
    Hi there,
    This is a great recipe, just wondering how long it keeps in the fridge, once made?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Nicole, I store it for about 5 days. If it separates in the fridge, give it a stir.

  2. Tara

    5 stars
    I made the cashew sour cream in my Vitamix for your french onion dip recipe and I loved it so much I had to add some oats and extra seasonings so I could eat more without feeling guilty!

  3. Grace

    5 stars
    Wow, this was delish! Came together quickly and is so versatile. I will make this recipe again.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  4. Meredith

    Could this be a replacement for canned coconut milk in curries and soups?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Meredith, this cashew cream is much thicker, you’d have to thin it out to get a similar consistency, or just use less. I’d probably stick to coconut milk for curries since the coconut flavor adds so much.

  5. Sarsh from

    How should the cashew cream be stored and for how long?

  6. Sandi M

    5 stars
    Amazing flavor! Thank you so much for mentioning no need to soak cashews with a Vitamix. That’s a game changer for me!

  7. Elaine

    5 stars
    Wow!! This cashew cream recipe is so easy and beyond delicious. I can’t wait to try more of your recipes! Thanks so much.

  8. Vicky from

    Hi! Can you freeze cashew cream? I’m getting big on roasting large amounts of veggies and freezing for future risottos, and large amounts of rice for easy dinners, so can also make cashew cream ice-cubes for thawing out when I want to use them?
    Your recipes look delicious and I can’t wait to try your garlic herb mushroom pasta tomorrow night!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Vicky, the texture changes – it becomes a little more gritty and not as creamy as it thaws.

  9. Angelique Price

    Could I stir through butter chicken or a cream soup like creamy pumpkin instead of the dairy.
    Kind regards
    Angelique Price

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Angelique, you can – it’s a bit thicker than heavy cream but you could blend more water in to get the right consistency.

  10. Roger

    4 stars
    I learned just recently that a food processor does a good job chopping cashews.
    That’s useful to know, because I have no need for a blender.

  11. Lauren

    Is there any reason I can’t use my food processor if I don’t have a blender?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Lauren, it won’t be smooth and creamy like it would be with a blender.

  12. Sharon

    I really enjoy your recipes and appreciate the suggestion to soak cashews before trying to blend them when a Vitamax is not available. My husband has a nut allergy so cashew cream is really not an option in our house. What can be used instead?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Sharon, you can use raw, hulled sunflower seeds, but you’ll have to add a but more water to get it to blend smoothly. It won’t be quite as creamy as cashew cream, but it’s delicious.

  13. Sonali

    About how many cups does this recipe make?

  14. Lizzie

    Perhaps clarify that cashews sold as ‘raw’ are usually just steamed instead of roasted. Eating truly raw cashews would be bad as they are poisonous!

  15. Katie

    I recently got a Vitamix and have struggled to get my cashew-based sauces as creamy as they look in your photos (though they always come out delicious)! Most recently, it was the vegan caesar from L&L Everyday. It felt like there wasn’t enough volume in the blender and everything was splashed up on the sides rather than running through the blades. Any advice?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Katie, you could try getting a smaller canister or doubling the recipe. I use the Vitamix 32 oz. Wet Blade Container (I think it’s only available through Williams Sonoma right now) for smaller recipes and the larger one (the one it came with) for soups and larger quantity recipes. I find it super handy to have both.

  16. Elizabeth

    5 stars
    Made the sour cream version to go with your salt baked potatoes. So so so so so yummy! A true keeper. I did soak the cashews for an hour because that’s how I roll. It was creamy and amazing. And easy!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad the baked potato bar was a hit 🙂

  17. Ellen

    How long can you store in refrigerator? Or is this recipe amount meant for immediate use? Thanks

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Ellen – about 5 days! If it starts to separate after being in the fridge, give it a stir before you use it.

  18. Julia from

    do you add the garlic if you are using for a sweet application?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Julia, this recipe is specifically for a savory application. If you’d like a sweet one, let me know and I can come up with a good ratio. I’d probably alter the lemon amount, change the olive oil to coconut oil, and add some maple to sweeten it a bit.

      • Julia from

        Ok, Good to know! I just discovered your blog and cookbook and have been having so much fun making your delicious recipes. My husband has to be dairy free and I also own a cafe where I do all the pastries and baking and we have lots of demand for vegan and gluten free, so Thank You!!

        • Jeanine Donofrio

          I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying the recipes! xo

  19. Jcb from Wordpress

    Can you leave the oil out or sub with something else?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      you can use water instead!

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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.