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How To Make Cashew Cream

How to make your own cashew cream at home, completely vegan and soy free!

The 2-ingredient healthy sub for heavy cream: NO soy, NO gluten, NO dairy, and NO coconut!

 So why make your own cashew cream?

Cashew cream is a wonderful and versatile plant-based alternative to heavy cream that can be used as a topping for fresh berries, sliced peaches, or even my Crustless Pumpkin Pie.

It also makes a fabulous coconut-free base for ice cream or chocolate mousse, or you can use it to thicken soups, smoothies, or for making the creamiest alfredo sauce of your life. Of course, you can also thin it out to use as cashew milk… or even drink the thick cream. I know I can’t be the only child who used to love drinking straight-up heavy cream from the carton.

NO dairy / NO soy / NO gluten / NO coconut / NO eggs

Cashew Cream

The cream takes on the flavor of whatever ingredients you use to season it– try garlic, salt, onion, and a little turmeric for a savory cashew cream sauce. Or add some stevia, maple syrup, sugar of choice, or even an overripe banana for a sweeter sauce or dessert topping or mousse.

My sister has a really good ice cream recipe that uses dairy heavy cream, and I’ve been meaning to try replacing the cream in her recipe with this homemade cashew cream recipe.

Oh, and it is absolutely out-of-this-world delicious in my Vegan Quinoa Recipe.

The first time I ever tried making cashew cream was actually in a savory recipe, after I’d had the best alfredo sauce of my life at a vegan restaurant in New York City. Since then, I’ve used the cream mostly for pie recipes, but I also really like it on top of freshly-sliced peaches in the summertime. So so good! I’m sure many people have their own tweaked method and recipe for homemade cashew cream. What follows is my method for how to make cashew cream. If you can’t find raw cashews, raw macadamia nuts are equally delicious here!

How To Make Cashew Cream (Vegan, Dairy Free)

How To Make Cashew Cream

How To Make Cashew Cream

Total Time: 3h
Yield: 1 to 1 1/2 cups
Print This Recipe 4.67/5
How To Make Cashew Cream


  • 1 cup raw cashews or macadamia nuts (120g)
  • 1/3 cup to 3/4 cup water, depending on how thick you want your cream (For homemade cashew milk, use 3 cups water)


In a bowl, cover the cashews with water and let sit at least 3 hours (no longer than 8). Drain completely, then combine the drained cashews with the water and blend until very smooth (a full minute in a Vita-Mix, or much longer in a food processor, making sure to scrape down the sides occasionally). For a sweet cream, add pure vanilla extract, salt, and sweetener (if using 3/4c water, add 1/8 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Also add 1-2 tbsp sugar or maple syrup, or a pinch of stevia, or a few dates.) For a savory vegan cream, add a little salt and perhaps some lemon juice, miso, fresh or dried herbs, etc. This recipe lasts 3-4 days in the fridge, or it can be frozen. Makes up to 1 1/2 cups cashew cream.

View Cashew Cream Nutrition Facts




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Published on April 17, 2013

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  1. Bryanna says

    I really look forward to trying this.

    And I also had a question. I’ve looked around on your site, and for a lot of recipes, there’s a nut required for it. There’s a few that I’d like to try and make for family gatherings, but my cousins are both allergic to nuts. I didn’t see any substitutes, but I was wondering if there was any?

  2. Rhonda-T says

    You mentioned not letting the nuts soak longer than 8 hours, and I have always wondered about this… I have read that you can soak cashews longer than macadamias, but not as long as almonds and it seemed rather odd. Is there a point at which the nuts break down, or do they just start to spoil and grow bacteria? Does using filtered water, which I have seen in recipes calling for soaked nuts make a difference?


    • Chocolate Covered Katie says

      No idea about the filtered water. I just think they start to taste rancid/odd if soaked too long.

  3. Hazel says

    Heck yes! I love cashew cream sweetened a bit and poured over pancakes. Yes POURED. I devour it. SO GOOD! Probably one of the coolest things to make.. and most delicious… and easiest… I gotta go make some right now! haha 🙂

  4. Judy says

    I’ve never tried anything like this, but I think I will. I do have one question, though. In the recipe it says: ” Drain, then combine the drained cashews with the water and blend until very smooth.” So you drain it, but reserve the water, then combine the nuts with the water again and blend? Maybe I’m being dense, but why drain the cashews if you are just going to put them back together again?

    • Anonymous says

      I think you use fresh water when blending, the initial water is however much you need to cover them to soak, then you discard that (good for plants I believe) and then when in the blender add 1/3 – 3/4C depending on how thick you want the cream.

    • Jenny says

      I drained the water into a measuring cup and reused it. I added small amounts back in based on how thick i wanted the cream. My first time making it and I used an immersion blender. Different but still yummy. I am far from vegan but love to try all sorts of healthy recipes. 🙂 Thanks Katie!

    • melissa says

      When you soak nuts, they release enzyme inhibitors into the water. Because the enzyme inhibitors inhibit digestion and absorption of nutrients, you wouldn’t want to reuse the water. Some people choose to soak and then dehydrate all nuts and seeds. You can buy nuts, nut butters, and etc that have been de-enzyme inhibitorized for you.

      • Rita says

        “Raw” cashews aren’t really raw. They have to be heated/boiled to get them edible; raw cashews are not roasted with salt and added oils.

    • Anonymous says

      I made it in my food processor and had to blend forever, literally a total of like 40 minutes on and off. It was super yummy, but I think I still never got as creamy a texture as I could have with a Vitamix. Maybe soaking longer could have helped. I soaked for about 4 hours only. Oh Vitamix…one day I will have you in my life…

  5. Kelly @ Vegan Iowan says

    A word to the wise – never attempt to freeze this stuff! I had some leftover and stuck it in the freezer, then pulled it out and used it in a soup, which totally tasted like it had sand in it.

  6. Emily says

    We always make a version of this for desserts at special occasions. If you chill the cream overnight you can whip it up almost like whipped cream. It’s the perfect alternative for my lactose intolerant brother.

  7. Bek @ Crave says

    Love the idea- what a coincidence, I was recently attempting to make a healthier thickened cream also 🙂

  8. Deb says

    Can this be used in coffee? I’ve been making my own creamer with lite coconut milk but it doesn’t taste as good as I’d like… Any suggestions? I’m trying to limit dairy in my diet but don’t want to go crazy calorie/fat wise (I use a good amount of cream

  9. Natalyn says

    Wow, I love coconut cream, but have yet to try cashew cream!

    My family used to have a recipe called “strawberries in heaven”. Basically, you would cut up a truckload of strawberries and then drown them in cream and sugar. Pretty much the most amazing thing ever, but the body doesn’t approve. Me thinks that if you made a healthy version of this, you would get pretty amazing results. Can you imagine?? Fresh strawberries, sweet cashew cream, and topped with shaved dark chocolate? 😀

    • Donna says

      Sounds perfect Natalyn !…Fantastic idea to get the fresh strawberry & cream fixation that always grabs me at this time of year….and with the dark chocolate shavings…beautiful textures and color “popping” going on…No one would feel deprived with this quickly produced…yet healthy dessert idea!

  10. Nicole @ FruitnFitness says

    This sounds so good, I’m sure it would be a good topping for fruit! This past summer I made a cashew tomato soup that had raw cashews food processed with the tomato soup and it was soo good.

    • Donna says

      Loving your idea for enhancing/thickening up tomato soup with a cashew cream swirl over starch-riddled potato or grain-based ingredients. Totally “stealing” this delicious, nutritious idea.

  11. eValerie says

    Katie — You might be interested in a cookbook called “Vice Cream” — that is vegan ice cream. It uses this type of cashew cream as the base for a lot of the recipes. I love the Black Forest ice cream recipe in particular — chocolate and cherries — yum!

    (I am not connected to the book’s authors in any way. I just own a copy of the book and think it’s cool.)

    • eValerie says

      Oh — also, I make cashew cream all the time. You don’t actually have to soak the cashews first. Just add a little extra water if you use un-soaked cashews.

      I figure that blending un-soaked cashews is like cutting them into really tiny pieces that will absorb liquid much faster than whole cashews would. So I usually blend the cashew cream first, then let it sit while I prep other foods, and then re-blend the cashew cream one last time before serving. Works great!

  12. Lee says

    Thanks for sharing your recipe, along with ALL of your recipes – they’re fantastic!
    Speaking (or writing, rather) from Australia, I’d like to say that you would have every right to mention how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking about the events that happened just recently. Senseless acts by senseless people need to be discussed, maybe not here, but somewhere. Lee xx

  13. Lili says

    I am addicted to you! Everything I have tried is amazing! I have loved sharing your blog and recipes with all my friends. I have recently cut all meat and dairy out of my diet, lost weight and feel great. My goal is to make one of your recipes a week but I already made your goldfish crackers, black bean brownies and today I am making your chocolate chip pie to take to a party and the new cashew cream. Thank you so much.

  14. Kim says

    Hi Katie, I’m allergic to raw nuts, but I’m OK when they’re roasted… do you think I could use soaked roasted cashews?


  15. Rosemarie Bollmann says

    I don’t have have a Vita Mix or food processor. I have a little mini one and blender. Any suggestions?

  16. Trisha says

    I use cashew cream all the time and I love it for soups, gravies, sauces, desserts, you name it! My old generic blender is wearing out from years and years of use and love, blending up much tofu and nuts in my vegan cooking. I am wanting to get a new blender that will show these nuts who is boss! VitaMix or Blendtec is what I’m thinking…..What blender do you use and why do you like it?

  17. laura christine says

    Ice cream! Katie, I just wanted to compliment you on your beautifully executed photograph! We’ve all seen your photo skills improve, but you could DEFINITELY send that raspberry one to anywhere! I want it in my kitchen! Haha

  18. Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} says

    I’ve only ever made cashew cream as a base for savory foods. I love the idea of adding vanilla and a bit of sweetener. I bet it would be delicious on fresh fruit. I don’t have a high power blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec and always find my cashew cream to be a bit grainy. Even with 8 hours of soaking the cashews. Is this just to be expected or is there any way to make it truly smooth?

  19. Liz says

    “Also: I choose not to mention some things here because I don’t know if this is the proper place or that I have the right (or that anything I say could make things better). But although I’m not publicly posting quotes or Bible verses on my food blog or on facebook about tragedies taking place in America or around the world, it doesn’t mean I’m not privately sending thoughts, prayers, and donations. It doesn’t mean my heart isn’t breaking for those who are directly involved.”

    Thank you for not 🙂
    I really get urked when going to ‘food’ blogs, that are soley food blogs and they comment on things or throw out bible versus etc. I know it’s their right and I would never complain but I often wonder if they know how uncomfortable it makes people who just came for a recipe. If they have a private blog I’m all for what ever they want lol but leave food as food 😀

    Thank you for your wonderful recipes~!

    • Isabel says

      well I’m not sure if that works in the whipping sense of it, but I don’t think the butter would have the right properties to work with a lot of recipes outside of already vegan ones. I Loooooooooooooooooooooooooove baking, and I just have a feeling it might not work. But I bet it would with some of katie’s recipes! (if the whipping works, that is)

  20. Annette says

    This was fabulous!!! And so easy to make! I used it on mixed fruit (bananas, berries, grapes). It was divine! I used 1 full cup of water and it was still thick and creamy. I also used a bit more sweetener and vanilla and it was very dessert-like. Thank Katie!

  21. Samantha says

    I made this and added Mexican seasonings (chili powder, cumin, garlic powder) and a little lime juice and served it on top of tacos one night, then on top of black bean burgers the next, I can’t get enough!

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