How to Make Cashew Cream

Two ingredients are all you need to make this super easy vegan cashew cream! It whips up in minutes and is the perfect dairy-free substitute for heavy cream in your favorite recipes.

A Jar of Cashew Cream and Raw Cashews Scattered on a Napkin

Cashew cream is a staple in my kitchen! In fact, I use it so much and, frankly, take it for granted, to the point where I find myself posting recipes that suggest it as an accompaniment, without instruction on how to actually make the stuff.

I’m putting a stop to that today! Cashew cream is super useful, and so simple to make. Everybody should know how, and today I’m here to show you.

Use Raw Cashews

Cashew Cream in a Jar on a Striped Napkin

There are only two required ingredients for cashew cream: cashews and water. Simple!

But the catch is that your cashews need to be raw. That nutty, slightly sweet flavor that you probably associate with cashews — it comes out when they’re roasted. It’s delicious, but we want our cashew cream to have a neutral flavor, so we’re using them raw.

Cashews can be a tad on the pricey side, and I get lots of questions on where to source them cheaply. The cheapest I’ve found are at Trader Joes, though some regular supermarkets sell them in the bulk bins at relatively reasonable prices. Also, look for cashew pieces, which are often cheaper than whole ones.

Soak Your Cashews

Cashew Cream Soaking in a Bowl of Water

Place your cashews in a bowl, cover them with an inch or two of water, and let them soak. Ideally, soak them for four to eight hours. If you have a very high-powered blending device you might be able to get away with less time, or no soaking at all.

I occasionally forget to soak my cashews, so I’ll boil them for 15 minutes instead. This doesn’t soften them up quite as well as a full four hour soak, but it works in a pinch.

I also like to freeze soaked cashews so I always have them on hand. Just soak them for the normal four to eight hours, then freeze them right in the soaking liquid.

Making the Cashew Cream

Drain and rinse your soaked cashews, then place them into a blending device with a small amount of water. A food processor works best. I’ve had limited success with blenders, but readers tell me that certain brands and models will do the job (I guess a Vitamix can do just about anything!).

Cashew Cream

Blend everything to a smooth paste, stopping to scrape down the sides of the pitcher or bowl as needed. Be patient, as this can take a few minutes, especially if your blending device isn’t super high-powered.

Cashew Cream

Once your paste is pretty smooth, add more water. I usually go with between  2 to 1 and a 1 to 1 ratio of nuts to liquid by volume, but the amount you use will depend on what you’re doing with your cashew cream, as well as personal preference.

Cashew Cream Just After Blending in a Food Processor Bowl

Flavor Variations

Jar of Cashew Cream with Raw Cashews and a Lemon Half in the Background

Cashew cream by itself is pretty bland, which is fine if you’re just going to toss it into a recipe that’s full of other flavorful ingredients. But I like to use my cashew cream as a condiment as well, which means I want it to taste like something.

You’ll almost always want to include salt. I usually go with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per cup of cashews. In addition to that, try a few of these seasonings:

  • For cashew sour cream, add lemon juice.
  • For a spicy crema that’s great on Mexican dishes, add a chipotle pepper and a bit of adobo sauce.
  • Sweeten with a bit of maple syrup (or your favorite vegan sweetener) for a sweet cashew cream that makes a delicious dessert topping.
  • Add fresh herbs like basil, cilantro, mint or thyme. I like to throw a garlic clove in with my cashews for this variation.
  • Use your imagination! Any time you want to veganize a cream or yogurt-based sauce, try making it with cashew cream and add the seasonings you’d normally include in the recipe.

FAQ & Cashew Cream Making Tips

  • Cashew cream will keep for about 5 days in a sealed container in the fridge. It’s also super freezer-friendly.
  • But I’m allergic to cashews. Can I make cashew cream out of something else? Well no, then it wouldn’t be cashew cream! But macadamia nuts are a good substitute that should give you a similar non-dairy cream. Some folks like to use raw sunflower seeds, but I’ve never had success with them myself.
  • Unless you’re using a very small blending device, you’ll want to use at least one cup of cashews for each batch of cashew cream you make. If you use less than that it’ll likely spatter all over the sides of the bowl very quickly and never get a chance to fully blend.
  • If you’re using a particularly large blending device, consider making a double batch.
  • Can I use cashew cream as a direct substitute for dairy-based cream in recipes? For most sauces, dressings, soups, and stews, the answer is yes, though you may need to tweak the amount of liquid used in the recipe. Baked goods will be a bit more hit or miss.

Cashew Cream in a Jar with Spoon Perched on Top

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A Jar of Cashew Cream and Raw Cashews Scattered on a Napkin

Cashew Cream

Two ingredients are all you need to make this super easy vegan cashew cream! It whips up in minutes and is the perfect dairy-free substitute for heavy cream in your favorite recipes.

Prep Time 10 minutes

Soak time 4 hours

Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes

Servings 8

Calories 98 kcal

Author Alissa Saenz

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4-8 hours, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup water, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the cashews and 1/4 cup of water into the bowl of a food processor fitted with an s-blade.

  2. Blend to a smooth paste, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

  3. Add additional water, a bit at a time and blending between additions until the desired consistency is reached.

  4. Season with salt and blend in any additional seasonings, if using.

Nutrition Facts

Cashew Cream

Amount Per Serving

Calories 98 Calories from Fat 71

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 7.9g 12%

Saturated Fat 1.6g 8%

Sodium 150mg 6%

Potassium 97mg 3%

Total Carbohydrates 5.6g 2%

Dietary Fiber 0.5g 2%

Sugars 0.9g

Protein 2.6g 5%

Calcium 1%

Iron 6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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