All-Purpose Cashew Cream Recipe
May 24, 2016

All-Purpose Cashew Cream Recipe | The Full Helping

Cashew cream is one of those “secret weapon” vegan ingredients that I wish I could share with every person who’s nervous about giving up dairy. It’s so easy to make, and yet it can create a world of difference in vegan soups, pastas, casseroles, cream sauces, and more.

There are, of course, many ways to successfully create creamy texture in vegan cooking without the use of real cream. They include silken tofu, coconut milk, vegan mayo, and avocados. But this all-purpose cashew cream recipe is my favorite trick of the dairy-free trade, both for its authenticity and also for it’s mild flavor. It’s a lot more neutral tasting than coconut milk, and I think it comes closer to replicating real dairy or cream than silken tofu does.

All-Purpose Cashew Cream Recipe | The Full Helping

Cashew cream can feel like a bit of a project if you’ve never cooked with it before, but the truth is that it’s a 3-4 ingredient recipe that takes very little time or effort. A high speed blender makes it easier, but it’s totally doable in the food processor, too. It works in some regular blenders, too, depending on the model and on how long you soak your cashews.

Once you have a jar of cashew cream at the ready, you can store it for up to 5 days, using it throughout the week to add silky decadence to all sorts of recipes (more ideas below!). Here’s my all purpose, easy peasy recipe.

All-Purpose Cashew Cream Recipe | The Full Helping

All-Purpose Cashew Cream Recipe

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Yields: 1 -1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashew nuts* soaked overnight** and drained of water
  • 1/2-3/4 cup water varies depending on desired thickness of cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional savory flavorings:

  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Dash paprika
  • Dash onion powder

Optional sweet flavorings:

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients, starting with only 1/2 cup water, in a high speed blender or food processor. Blend or process until completely smooth (the process should take about 1-2 minutes in a high speed blender and about 4 minutes in a food processor). If using a food processor, stop a few times to scrape down the bowl and then continue blending. Drizzle in extra water as needed to reach a desired consistency and add sweet or savory flavorings of choice. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

*You can use raw, shelled sunflower seeds in place of the cashews for a nut-free version. Pine nuts, macadamia nuts, and almonds will all work with the same amount of soaking time. Shelled hemp seeds can also work and don't require any soaking, but you may want to do a 50:50 combination of hemp seeds and another nut or seed to help offset the strong hemp flavor.
**If you're using a high speed blender, the nuts will only need 2 hours of soak time.

All-Purpose Cashew Cream Recipe | The Full Helping

Once you’ve made the cream, the possibilities are endless. Here are some of my favorite culinary uses for it!

10 Things to Do with All-Purpose Cashew Cream

Stir it into a soup or stew

As you can see above (that’s a simple carrot ginger soup I made, based off of this recipe), cashew cream can work wonders in a soup. Try it in my cream of broccoli and quinoa soup, my creamy curried cauliflower soup, my minted pea soup, or my roasted cauliflower and parsnip soup.

Create rich and creamy pasta sauce

The obvious use for cashew cream in pastas would be a vegan alfredo recipe, but cashew cream can also create a rich tomato sauce, a vegan penne a la vodka, or a creamy pasta primavera.

Ginger-Pear-Muesli-with-Cashew-Milk-4

Add it to a bowl of morning muesli

If you love thick, traditional morning muesli and want to create it without dairy yogurt, try using cashew cream (or a mixture of cashew cream and non-dairy milk) instead. This recipe and this recipe can provide some inspiration!

Use it as a topping for berries or other fresh fruit

See: raw whipped cream.

Use it as a sweet dip for apple slices

I love to stir some fresh cinnamon, ginger or cardamom (or a combination of all three) into a very thick batch of cashew cream, and then use it as a dip for apple or pear slices in the fall. Yum!

Dress up a casserole

If you’re looking to make a traditional vegan casserole or gratin, cashew cream is your new best friend. My cheesy vegan quinoa and broccoli bake uses a spin on cashew cream for its base.

Dress up your veggies

Cashew cream is perfect for “cheesy” or creamy vegetables sides (vegan creamed spinach, anyone?).

IMG_8419

Make a pudding

Cashew cream makes silky smooth, decadent vegan puddings (like Fran Costigan’s warm chocolate cashew cream pudding, above) a snap!

Make a pie

Many vegan pie fillings (especially pumpkin pie or chocolate silk pie) can be created with blended cashews or cashew cream. If the pie pilling is taken care of, you can still use cashew cream as a rich and delicious topping for your slices (or for topping a plate of vegan crumble or crisp!)

Twice-baked-stuffed-sweet-potatoes-with-macadamia-ricotta-4

Make your mashed potatoes extra creamy

For mashed potato recipes, I often rely on the tried-and-true combination of Earth Balance and soy or almond milk. But folding in some cashew cream can create mashed spuds that are particularly decadent/dreamy/delicious. You might also try using cashew cream or cashew cheese as part of a filling for savory twice baked sweet potatoes (you can see my macadamia cheese version of this idea above).

As you can see, there are so many culinary possibilities for this humble mixture. If you’re working toward a more plant-based diet, trying to avoid dairy due to an intolerance or allergy, or if you’re simply hoping to explore more vegan recipes and cooking techniques, cashew cream is a great place to start. If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear how it goes–and feel free to tag me on social media if you try it and manage to snap a picture!

I’ll be back in a day or two with a new soup/stew recipe that’s simple, richly spiced, and super nutritious. And it’s even better with a swirl of cashew cream 🙂

Happy Tuesday,

xo

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    74 Comments
  1. Yay! Thanks! I also wanted you to know that Joe Yonan in his new book, Cool Beans, gives you a very big compliment! Way to go!

  2. Can you freeze cashew cream in 2 Tablespoon portions? I won’t be able to use it up in 5 days. Thanks for your help.

  3. Sitting on my couch trying not to cry at 62 I’ve developed horrendous allergy to all dairy (painful blisters and skin cracking open ☹️) I am about to order a high speed blender from Amazon and try your cashew cream so I can continue making my favorite foods… Thank you for printing this…God bless

  4. 5 stars
    I toasted butternut slices in my bread toaster (3 times till it was done), topped it with your sweet version of the cashew cream (forgot to add the ginger) and then topped the cream with blue berries. It was DELICIOUS!!!! Thank you for sharing this lovely recipe!

  5. Just want to show love and support for giving the world more delicious vegan options to choose from!! I will be making this tomorrow, thank you for posting!
    I also LOVE how you listed possible uses for this cashew cream deluxe. people like you are soooo great 😀
    Plant based for life!!

  6. 5 stars
    This one is the easiest cashew cream recipe I’ve come across. So delicious and works with so many dishes. Great work, Gena. 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Hi! I really like your recipes! It’s great that this one can be used for a wide variety of things. I have a question. Would a mini food processor work?

    • Hi Joshua! I haven’t had success with this recipe in a mini food processor, unfortunately. I find that they’re great for chopping things, but not as good for pureeing nuts. You’re welcome to give it a shot, but don’t want you to be bummed if it doesn’t work out!

  8. 5 stars
    Cashews are amazing!

    Have you tried using it in coffee? I’ve been desperately trying to find a dairy alternative for my coffee but everything plant based milk I’ve tried are far too watery.

  9. My Grandchildren and daughter-In-law are all vegans, I have been trying different recipes to see which one they like the most.
    I didn’t know what Cashew Cream way, but your web site gave me a recipe to try, which I will do.
    Thank you for the recipe.

  10. 5 stars
    I made this with raw sunflower seeds which I soaked overnight. I chose to make the sweet cream adding powdered sugar and vanilla extract. It turned out very nice! I plan to try to incorporate the cream into an almond milk ice cream recipe.

  11. A couple of newbie questions about making the cashew cream.

    1) soak overnight. Do I leave them on a counter top or put in fridge to soak? What temp water is used for the soaking. Hot warm or cold?

    2) can it be frozen and if he’s best way to defrost?

    Thank you!
    Robin

    • Hi Robin!

      1. If you’re soaking overnight, I recommend leaving them and the water they’re soaking in the fridge, and
      2. Yes! I always freeze. I recommend following standard food safety precautions and defrosting overnight in the fridge, but I’ll admit that I’ve defrosted at room temp in the past to save time 🙂

      G

  12. 5 stars
    Would love your take on this as a base for a cashew sour cream for use over potatoes, etc with chives. What ingredients could spin it in that direction?

  13. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe yesterday and found it worked great! I soaked the cashews overnight and used my food processor. I just kept adding water until I got the consistency I was after (heavy cream). I used it to make a potato/celeriac puree and it worked perfectly. Neither myself or any of our dinner guests could tell that it wasn’t dairy cream. I also made a second batch that I left thicker to make a sweet lemon cream for fruit parfaits (http://gourmandeinthekitchen.com/nectarine-parfait-recipe-with-lemon-cream/). That also worked out well. That one I did push through a sieve after processing to give it a smoother feel since it was standing on it’s own.

  14. […] If you’ve been following my recipes for some time, you probably already know that I never use cream cheese in my cheesecake recipes. It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just that it has never been readily available in Germany. And now that it is, it is mostly manufactured by large dairy companies, which for me doesn’t really do the trick. So I still stick with yoghurt for my cheesecake base. For this version I also had to use up a box of store-bought cashew single cream. These kind of vegan creams are very common in Germany and several other European countries. From what I know they are not so common in the US. (They are usually thicker than creamer.) So if you don’t have a single cream on hand, you can make your own cashew based version. I like Gena’s basic recipe. […]

  15. 5 stars
    Cashew cream never lasts 5 days in our home. We put it on almost everything we eat! Valerie taught me how to make cashew cream, and I stick pretty close to her recipe, but I love your variations and will enjoy trying them out!

  16. So perfect that I see this post by you today after making my first savory cashew cream this afternoon! It truly is magical <3 love all of your ideas on ways to use it here too Gena! Must give it a try in pudding sometime. xo

  17. Thanks for sharing this recipe, & especially the tips for using it in all sorts of ways from sweet to savory. I will definitely give it a whirl .

    Happy spring! I always looked forward to spring blooms, & even though it’s summer year round in Maui, I still miss the feeling of renewal that comes with spring.

  18. 5 stars
    Oh hell yes.

    Love the tip about soak time being as little as 2 hours with a great blender.

    Making this tomm!

  19. I love this post. Not just because of the cashew cream (which is awesome!) but for all the different ways you can use it. It’s so versatile and is a good way to add extra nutrition to any dish! I would love more people to give it a go, and not just vegans or dairy free individuals. Thanks for sharing!

  20. 5 stars
    Hi & Greetings from the UK.

    BIG thanks for your fab post, so informative and inspiring. I can’t wait to try your suggestions out. I have given up dairy cream and do not want to sub with coconut cream and milk. This is such an amazing concept and brilliant healthy food swop. Thanks again, look forward to seeing some of your recipe ideas using the cashew cream in future posts.

    Best Wishes,

    Nina

  21. 5 stars
    This cashew cream looks so inviting and delicious that I am going to try this. And I even have a bag of raw cashews in the freezer! Will soak them tonight and can’t wait to make the cream. Many thanks for the recipe, Gena! 🙂

  22. I agree! Coconut cream makes dairy free more decadent and is a perfect addition to dishes. I loved that you added sweet and savory flavor combos to the recipe! and your photos are gorgeous!