This cashew cream cheese is loaded with fresh herbs and is ready in just 10 minutes! Spreadable, sliceable and so easy to customize, you're going to love this recipe!
- Quick & easy: Ready in just 10 minutes
- This vegan cream cheese 100% dairy-free!
- Smooth and spreadable for bagels and sliceable for crackers
- Garlicky, lemony and filled with fresh herb flavor
- Easy to customize
If you're new to dairy-free cooking, welcome! Cashews are a great option in vegan cheeses because they become smooth and creamy when blended. That's why I use them in vegan queso, cashew cream, and this vegan cream cheese!
- Cashews: Choose raw, unsalted cashews. Cashews are perfect as a cheese replacement because they get really creamy when blended. I loving using them in recipes like this vegan broccoli mac and cheese and this vegan caesar salad.
- Lemon juice: Tangy lemon juice really accentuates the herb flavors. We will need 3 tablespoons which comes from 1 large lemon.
- Herbs: I use sage, rosemary and thyme but most fresh herbs work here. One table spoon of fresh herbs can be replaced with one teaspoon dry herb.
- Miso: Yellow miso is best here but white will also work. Miso is usually in the refrigerated "health foods" or "plant-based" section. It can be omitted if you can't find it. Miso provides all of the salt in the cheese, so adjust for salt if omitting. Leftover miso can be used in recipes like cashew queso or sweet potato grain bowls.
- Nutritional yeast adds body and a cheesy flavor. This is a major pantry staple! You can usually find nutritional yeast in the health food section, by spices/seasonings or with baking ingredients.
Step by step instructions
Bloom the herbs
On the stove: Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a saucepot over medium heat. Add the herbs and garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. They are ready when the garlic is golden and the herbs smell amazing.
In the microwave: Heat the bowl in the microwave for just long enough to make the oil hot, about 15 seconds. This allows the herbs to "bloom" and release their flavors.
Blend it all together
Equipment: I use a food processor with a basic blade attachment to make cashew cream cheese. The scraper attachment is convenient here if you have one.
Soak the cashews in very hot water (I use my tea kettle for this) for at least 15 minutes. You can also soak them overnight and up to 24 hours.
Add all ingredients to the food processor. Process on low until smooth. Use the scraper attachment to scrape down the sides as needed, or use a spatula.
Transfer the cashew cheese to a serving container.
For firmer cashew cream cheese: Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to allow the cheese to firm up. Remove from the container and mold into the desired shape. Sprinkle with sliced chives, red pepper flakes, and black pepper.
Recipe FAQ and expert tips
- Consistency: The cream cheese should keep its shape when scooped out of the food processor. If it's too thick and not spreading, add 1 tablespoon water at a time to thin.
- Plain cashew cream cheese can be made by omitting the herbs and garlic.
- Serving ideas: Try your herbed cream cheese with these vegan cucumber tea sandwiches, spread on whole wheat crackers, or spread on bagels.
- Check out my "Cashew Cheese 2 Ways" video for more customization tips.
I haven't tried this recipe with a blender. I recommend sticking to a food processor unless you've made cashew cream cheese in your blender before.
For best quality, keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
I haven't tried this myself, so I don't recommend it. I do have a sweet cashew cream cheese that works great as frosting.
Yes! This cream cheese is gluten-free. Make it soy-free by omitting the miso.
Yes! Cashew cheese freezes well. Just transfer to a freezer safe container rand freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before using.
You can, but it will change the flavor of the cheese. The raw cashews give more of a "blank slate" for flavors and roasted cashews add a deeper, nuttier flavor.
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Vegan Herb Cashew Cream Cheese
- 2 cups raw unsalted cashews see note #1
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary see note #1
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped sage
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 large lemon
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup sliced chive
- ½ teaspoon yellow miso
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- salt to taste
- red pepper flakes for coating
- Soak cashews in water overnight or in hot (almost boiling) water for just 15 minutes. Once softened, rinse and drain soaked cashews.
- In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the rosemary, thyme, sage and garlic. Bloom for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the herbs are aromatic and the garlic is golden. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor: drained cashews, herbs and garlic with the oil, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, sliced chives, miso, pepper. Blend mixture until it is a spreadable consistency. Scrape down sides of the food processor with a spatula as needed. You may need to add water, one tablespoon at a time, as needed to thin the cream cheese.
- Taste for salt and lemon juice. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for 4-5 days. After refrigerating for 4 hours you can mold the cream cheese into a shape and coat it with additional chives, red pepper flakes and black pepper (optional).
- Soaking cashews: Soaking the cashews helps soften them and makes them easier to blend. Soak cashews in very hot water for an hour or in cool water overnight or up to 24 hours. The longer they soak the easier they will be to blend.
- Herbs: One tablespoon fresh herb can be replaced with 1 teaspoon dry. Other delicious options: basil, oregano, parsley, etc.
- Storage: For best quality, keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
- Freezing: Cashew cheese freezes well. Just transfer to a freezer safe container rand freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before using.
Note: This recipe was originally shared May 6, 2018. It was updated on March 10th, 2021 with new photos, tips, a video and a streamlined recipe.