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It takes just 6 ingredients to make this rich, creamy, and tangy Vegan Cream Cheese. Just blend everything up and enjoy a taste of heaven!
Growing up, we always had a tub of cream cheese in our fridge and we went through it fast. Didn't everyone? Well, today, you'll still find it in my fridge, but now it's vegan cream cheese instead.
My favorite store-bought variety is the Kite Hill almond cream cheese. The consistency is perfectly rich and creamy! I feel it needs a little more tang, so I usually add a hint of vegan lactic acid to suit my taste. It's divine!
The only problem is that my local grocery store doesn't carry Kite Hill, so I have to drive an hour to get it. I'm not always up for the journey, so I came up with this homemade vegan cream cheese recipe. It's so easy to make and takes less than 10 minutes to whip up (*after almonds have soaked).
I honestly don't miss dairy cheese at all anymore and I'm much happier with my vegan versions. This Vegan Parmesan Cheese and Vegan Nacho Cheese are just a few of my favorites and they have all the flavor and tang that dairy cheese has. There's nothing missing at all!
- Raw slivered & blanched almonds - you can also use raw cashews. See the blog post below for the method.
- Unsweetened non-dairy yogurt - If you can't find it you can use plain. Look for one that has the least amount of sugar to avoid a slightly sweet taste. Some yogurt brands have an off-white color, which will make your cream cheese off-white. It won't affect the tastiness though. I prefer the So Delicious brand for its color, taste, and thickness.
- Fresh lemon juice - you can also use lactic acid in its place. It adds a similar tangy flavor to cultured cheese. I usually add 1 ¼ teaspoons. If you use it, you may need to add a few teaspoons of water or non-dairy milk to make up the liquid portion of the lemon juice. Blend first and then decide.
- Apple cider vinegar - this will add a similar zing that dairy cream cheese has.
- Onion powder - you can also use garlic powder
- Sea salt - brings all the flavors together.
That's all you'll need, but feel free to add a hint more seasoning to suit your taste. Fresh dill or chives are a nice addition!
How to make Vegan Cream Cheese
This part is SO easy! Just blend the 6 ingredients together in a high-powered blender until it's smooth and creamy! If it's too thin, just add a splash of unsweetened non-dairy yogurt or milk.
If it needs more flavor, you can add what is needed. It's very forgiving, but just remember to add a little at a time, so it doesn't turn runny or over-seasoned.
Once the almonds have soaked, it's pretty straightforward from there. Here are some additional tips to help you along:
- You'll need a high-powered blender to get super-smooth results. If you don't have one, you may want to use soaked cashews instead because they break down easier. However, a good blender is still recommended for a creamy-smooth texture.
- I have tried making this in my food processor, but I seem to get creamier results in my blender and much faster. If you have a processor that produces smooth results you may want to try that. Also, make sure the almonds/cashews have soaked long enough or it will produce gritty results.
- I've tried soaking the almonds covered in hot water to make it quicker, but I didn't like the flavor afterward, but it did soften them much faster. I may need to experiment with this again since I've only tried it once. Let me know if you try it.
Ways to use it
This vegan cream cheese is delicious on a bagel with all the fixin's, but there are a lot of other ways to use it, too. Use it to amp up Dips, Sauces, Dressings, Casseroles, Baked Goods, or Soups and Salads.
Can I use cashews?
YES! If you don't have slivered almonds, you can use the same amount of soaked cashews instead and reduce the yogurt to ⅓ cup and add more as needed. The cashew cream cheese won't be as thick as the almond one, but will still be creamy and delicious.
You'll only need to soak them for 2-4 hours or you can soak them in very hot water to make it quicker. Just boil water and remove it from the heat. Then add cashews and cover for 20 minutes or until softened.
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Vegan Cream Cheese
- Drain and rinse the almonds. Discard soaking water.
- Add all the ingredients to a high-powered blender (starting with the yogurt vinegar and lemon juice). Blend on high until creamy and smooth. This could take a few minutes. Scrape down sides as needed.
- The consistency is supposed to be thick, but if it's too thick for your taste, you can add a few teaspoons of unsweetened non-dairy milk, yogurt or water to thin it out. Add more as needed but only a small amount at a time to avoid runny cream cheese. Taste for flavor and add more lemon, vinegar or salt if desired.
- Enjoy right away or place in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-6 days. It will firm up a bit in the fridge.
- Almonds- If you don't have them, you can use the same amount of soaked cashews instead and reduce the yogurt to ⅓ cup and add more as needed. The cashew cream cheese won't be as thick as the almond one, but will still be creamy and delicious. You'll only need to soak them for 2-4 hours or you can soak them in very hot water to make it quicker. Just boil water and remove from heat. Then add cashews and cover for 20 minutes or until softened. I've tried soaking the almonds in hot water and it softened them faster, but I didn't like the flavor afterward.
- Yogurt- some brands have an off-white color, which will make your cream cheese slightly off-white. It won't affect the tastiness though. I prefer So Delicious for its color, taste, and thickness. If you can't find unsweetened yogurt, you can use plain. Look for one that has the least amount of sugar to avoid a slightly sweet taste.
- If you prefer a whipped consistency, add 1 tablespoon of refined coconut oil to the blender with the other ingredients. Place in fridge for 1-2 hours to firm up.
- If you don't have a high-speed blender, the cream cheese may not get smooth enough. I prefer to use my blender over a food processor because it yields a smoother result for me, but you can use whatever works for you.
- I leave the almonds in the fridge while they are soaking. They must soak for a minimum of 12-16 hours or they will produce gritty results. The cashews need to soak for about 2-4 hours.
- Prep time doesn't include soaking time.
- Yields about 1 cup + 2 tablespoons.
- If you have lactic acid, you can use that in replace of lemon juice. It adds a similar tangy flavor that cultured cheese has. I usually add 1 ¼ teaspoons. You may need to add a few teaspoons of water or non-dairy milk to make up the liquid portion of the lemon juice. Blend first and then decide.