This cashew cream recipe is a smooth and creamy blend of only a few ingredients, featuring cashews. Use this simple vegan sauce as a dairy-free substitute for things like sour cream with your favorite vegan recipes.
You might worry that going vegan will mean the end of all things delicious. I wondered about that too in my early vegan days. Thankfully, this vegan cashew cream sauce is one of those magical things that make you realize it’s all going to be ok. It’s so easy to make, you’ll want to add it to all your favorite meat-free dishes, like soups, pasta, salad dressings, and more.
How to Make Cashew Cream
- Soak cashews for at least an hour or up to overnight. Here’s more about soaking cashews.
- Blend soaked cashews and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the blender jar.
- Add lemon juice and salt and then blend until smooth and creamy.
- Transfer to a lidded jar and refrigerate. It will thicken as it chills.
Ingredients for Cashew Cream
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
- Lemon — We’ll use both the zest and the juice of the lemon.
- Oats — I used rolled oats for this recipe, but you can substitute instant oats.
- Chia — We’ll add some ground chia seeds to create a thicker texture. You can use whole chia seeds; I just prefer ground because it creates a smoother finished texture.
- Syrup — I used maple syrup, but you can substitute agave nectar.
- Milk — We’ll use almond milk for the best overnight oats! Substitute your favorite plant-based milk.
- Yogurt — I love adding some plant-based yogurt (plain, unsweetened) for an even more tangy flavor.
- Protein Powder — I add some vanilla protein powder for increased flavor and nutrients. If your protein powder is not sweetened, you may want to add an extra teaspoon or two of sweetener.
- Cornstarch — We’ll use cornstarch to thicken the lemon curd topping.
- Turmeric — A pinch of turmeric makes that lemon curd sunny yellow.
- Raw Cashews — The key ingredient here in our raw cashew cream is, of course, cashews. I can find these in health food stores (they’re sold in bulk at Sprouts and Natural Grocers). I find raw cashews deliver the best, creamy sauces. Store cashews in the fridge to help them stay fresh longer.
- Lemon juice — A little bit of lemon juice is added to create a tanginess and texture to the finished product. This will become more prominent as it sits in the fridge for a while.
Making a vegan cream sauce may seem difficult, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. In fact, there are only a few steps to take. The first one may seem like it takes a long time, but don’t worry, I’ll share some time-saving tips to help out if you’re in a pinch.
Step One: Soak Cashews
You’ll want to soak your cashews for at least an hour and up to overnight. I find when the cashews are more thoroughly soaked, it creates a creamier sauce. Simply cover the cashews with water, place that container in the fridge, and let it sit overnight.
Quick Fix Tip
If you’re in a jam and need to make a batch of homemade cashew cream on the spot, place the raw cashews in a saucepan and cover with water over medium heat. Bring it to a simmer and cook for about 5–10 minutes, until cashews are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a minute or two, then drain the water and proceed with the next steps.
Step Two: Blend Cashews
Place soaked cashews and water in a food processor. Pulse this for several seconds until the cashews are roughly broken into smaller bits.
You’ll want a rubber spatula handy here because cashew bits will escape up the side of the blender jar. Simply use a rubber spatula to push them back down and pulse again.
Step Three: Add Other Ingredients
Next, add the lemon juice and salt (if using) and pulse again. As mentioned above, use a rubber spatula to move ingredients splattered on the blender jar down and continue pulsing until you get a nice, creamy texture.
This can take several minutes so be patient. Think of it this way, you’re using the blender to combine water, air, and cashews to make it thick and creamy. There’s a scientific formula for why it works.
If the mixture seems too thick, add a tablespoon of water.
If the mixture seems too thin, I’d suggest giving it some time. Once this cream settles in the fridge, it thickens.
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Using cashews creates a neutral flavor that makes this sauce perfect for so many dishes.
- Lemon juice does more than brighten the sauce, it adds a fermented flavor too, very similar to what you get from sour cream.
- Soaking the cashews makes them soft and plump, perfect for blending into a creamy sauce.
What is cashew cream?
Cashew cream is an easy recipe made up of mostly soaked cashews, water, and lemon juice. Together they create a creamy sauce that can be used in place of sour cream or other creams.
Can I use any blender?
I find using a high-speed blender is best, however, you can make any blender or even food processor work. Just make sure the cashews are thoroughly soaked and then keep at the pulse and scrape process. It may not get quite as smooth, but it will still taste great!
More Cashew Cream Recipes
What to do with all that delicious cream? These tasty recipes with cream on top are even better!
- 1 cup raw cashews (soaked 1 hour to overnight in water)
- ¾ cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Drain soaked cashews. Add cashews and water to a high-speed blender or food processor. Pulse until the cashews are broken down into bits.
- Add the lemon juice and salt. Pulse for several seconds, then use a spatula to push down any ingredients on the side of the bowl. Repeat that process several times until the mixture becomes creamy. Pulse the cashew cream for up to a minute or more to remove lumps.
- Transfer the cream to a lidded jar (like a mason jar) and store it in the fridge. Add this cream to your favorite recipes, like potato soup, etc.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in 2020 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.