July 19, 2024
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How to make cashew cream, both regular (a heavy cream replacement perfect for sauces, bakes, desserts, casseroles, and more) and sweet cashew cream (for vegan frosting, dipping, and spreading) with just a handful of ingredients and minimal effort!

top shot of cashew cream in bowl with spoon

Super Versatile Cashew Cream (+ Sweet Cashew Cream Frosting)

Cashew cream is practically ‘secret weapon’ level versatile in any vegan or dairy-free kitchen for both sweet and savory uses. After soaking, cashews are blended into a neutral-tasting (great for coconut milk haters), super creamy, rich, and smooth consistency perfect for using in alfredo sauce, creamy pasta soup, and raw vegan blueberry cheesecake, or even turning in a sweet cashew cream as a vegan frosting, dip, or spread. After years of using it in recipes, I’m going to teach you how to make cashew cream (both regular and sweet) with top tips, tricks, and FAQs.

For years, I was only ever preparing it ‘as needed’, thinking it wouldn’t hold up in the freezer… until I tried it and realized how wrong I was. Now, I love whipping up large batches of regular and sweet cashew cream to store away for whenever needed. Whether it’s in pasta sauces, soups, stews, casseroles, dressings, desserts, as a healthy frosting, to dollop over pancakes, the list goes on and on.

The method for these cashew cream recipes is almost laughably simple, too, requiring less than 5 ingredients and just two steps. Besides leaving time to soak the cashews (the key step to achieving a super-smooth and neutral-tasting cream), the actual hands-on effort is practically non-existent. Just soak the nuts, transfer them to a blender with the remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth—voilà!

horizontal shot of cashew cream in bowl with spoon

The Ingredients

You can pull together a basic cashew cream recipe with as few as two ingredients, up to 5 for a simple yet delicious sweet cashew-based dairy-free frosting.

For Plain Cashew Cream

  • Cashews: Use raw, unsalted cashews for this cashew cream recipe, as roasted cashews are too nutty tasting.
  • Water: You’ll need water to soak the cashews and more when blending the cream.

Also, add a pinch of salt for the best flavor. A small amount of lemon juice will further neutralize any cashew flavor.

For a simple savory cashew cream, I also like to add a small amount of nutritional yeast (for a savory, nutty, cheesy flavor) and some garlic. You can then make various flavor variations with fresh herbs and spices, etc.

For Sweet Maple Vanilla Cashew Cream (Cashew Frosting)

Along with cashews, you’ll also need the below ingredients to make a sweet, creamy, nutrient-dense dairy-free frosting, dip, or spread.

  • Plant-based yogurt: Any plain dairy-free yogurt should work. I.e., coconut yogurt, soy yogurt, etc.
  • Vanilla extract: Use natural vanilla (not artificial) for the best flavor.
  • Maple syrup: Maple syrup is my preferred option, but other liquid sweeteners will work. i.e., agave, brown rice syrup. You could also use a sugar-free alternative or even date paste.
  • Citrus juice: You can use lemon juice or lime juice in this nondairy frosting to balance the sweetness of the maple and add a subtle tang.

You can add extra flavor to the cashew frosting/ cream with spices like cinnamon, chai spice, pumpkin pie spice, or even cocoa powder.

If you love sweet vegan sauces and spreads, you might enjoy this vegan Nutella or salted caramel sauce.

Please read the recipe card below for the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information.

ingredients for frosting with cashews

How to Make Cashew Cream?

There are essentially just two simple steps needed to prepare a simple cashew cream recipe.

  • First, leave the cashews to soak overnight in the fridge in a bowl filled with plenty of cold water.

If you’re running low on time, you could boil them for 15 minutes until softened (then drain). However, this will reduce the nutrients more than the cold soak version.

  • Then transfer the cashews to a high-speed blender and process until smooth and creamy, adding water (see ratios below) to help the nuts blend. Pause to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed to ensure it’s thoroughly blended.

The Ratio of Cashews to Liquid

The amount of liquid you add to the blender will vary based on your desired usage. It’s best to start with less and increase as needed. For example, per every 1 cup of cashews:

  • 1/4 cup liquid for a very thick cream, perfect for frosting, and within certain desserts like vegan cheesecakes
  • 1/3 cup liquid for a thick dip texture
  • 1/2 cup liquid for a thicker yogurt consistency perfect for sauces, soups, and curries
  • 3/4-1 cup for a thin, drizzly consistency for dressings and drizzling over dishes

How To Make Sweet Cashew Cream (Vegan Frosting)?

Soak the cashews (or boil them) as written in step one above, then:

  • Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed.
  • For a firmer frosting, transfer the bowl to the fridge to allow the mixture to thicken slightly. Otherwise, you can enjoy it immediately.

blending cashews and yogurt in a blender

Storing Instructions

Store: Transfer the blended cream to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Freeze: You can freeze the cream for up to 6 months (plain) or 4 months (sweet cashew cream) in Ziplock bags, portioned into an ice cube tray then transferred to a bag or in other freezer-safe containers (airtight with some headspace!).

Allow it to defrost in the fridge overnight or in the microwave for a quick thaw. Mix or re-blend it for a few seconds before using it again.

pouring white frosting into blue bowl

How to Serve?

Once you’ve prepared the basic cashew cream, it’s the perfect ‘ingredient’ to replace cream or add a creamy element to tons of savory or sweet sauces, soups, dressings, casseroles, and desserts (which will add to its flavor). I’ve even used it to add to my coffee and mashed potatoes.

Here are some examples of how to use blended cashew cream:

When it comes to sweet cashew cream, I use this as a healthy, nutrient-dense vegan frosting for:

You can also use it to make vegan mascarpone in vegan tiramisu, in strawberry parfaits, or:

spreading dairy-free cream over pumpkin baked oatmealslicing oatmeal bake

FAQs

Do you have to soak the cashews?

If you have a particularly powerful blender, you could get away without soaking the nuts. I’m not a fan of skipping this step, though, as it impacts the super-smooth consistency. Soaking also helps to neutralize the nutty flavor of the cashews, which is important when using it as an all-purpose cream replacement.

Can I use a food processor?

I recommend using a high-speed blender to produce the silkiest, smoothest results. A food processor will work, but won’t be as smooth.

Is cashew cream healthy?

Cashew cream contains several vitamins and minerals and is loaded with heart-healthy unsaturated fats and plant-based protein (making for a nutrient-dense addition to recipes and a healthy frosting). However, it is also calorie dense, so it is best eaten in moderation.

cashew cream in blue bowl with spoon

Recipe Notes and Top Tips

  • To adjust the consistency: Tweak the ratio of nuts to liquid. Refer to the ratio section above for more information.
  • Use fresh water when blending: While you may think of saving water by using the soaking liquid in the blender, this liquid contains phytic acid and other enzyme inhibitors (pulled from the nuts during the soaking process) that can prevent nutrient absorption.
  • Make a large enough batch: For this cashew cream recipe to work, you have to use enough ingredients to cover the blender blades. I’ve found 1-1 1/2 cups of nuts is a good guideline.
  • Use good-quality cashews: For the best value, I recommend bulk buying raw cashews from health stores.
  • For extra creaminess: Use plant-based milk instead of water when blending the cream.

More Vegan Sauce Recipes

If you try this easy cashew cream recipe (or sweet cashew frosting), I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan—I love seeing them.

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top shot of cashew cream in bowl with spoon

Basic Cashew Cream

How to make a basic cashew cream (a heavy cream replacement perfect for sauces, bakes, desserts, casseroles, and more) with just a few ingredients and minimal effort!

Prep Time 5 mins

Cook Time 0 mins

Soak time 15 mins

Total Time 20 mins

Course condiment, dressing, Sauce

Cuisine American

Servings 10

Calories 71 kcal

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup (150 g) cashews
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water or dairy-free milk
  • Salt to taste (optional)
  • Lemon juice to taste (optional)

Instructions 

  • You can watch the video in the post for visual instructions.First, leave the cashews to soak overnight in the fridge in a bowl filled with plenty of cold water. If you’re running low on time, you could boil them for 15 minutes until softened (then drain).
  • Transfer the cashews and fresh water to a high-speed blender and process until smooth and creamy (see further water ratios below in the notes). Pause to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed to ensure it’s thoroughly blended.

  • Transfer the blended cream to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. Enjoy!

Notes

The amount of liquid you add to the blender will vary based on your desired usage. It’s best to start with less and increase as needed. For example, per every 1 cup of cashews:

  • 1/4 cup liquid for a very thick cream, perfect for frosting, and within certain desserts like vegan cheesecakes
  • 1/3 cup liquid for a thick dip texture
  • 1/2 cup liquid for a thicker yogurt consistency perfect for sauces, soups, and curries
  • 3/4-1 cup for a thin, drizzly consistency for dressings and drizzling over dishes

Nutrition Facts

Basic Cashew Cream

Amount per Serving

% Daily Value*

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically

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top shot of cashew cream in bowl with spoon

Sweet Cashew Cream (Frosting)

How to make sweet cashew cream (for vegan frosting, dipping, and spreading) with just a handful of ingredients and minimal effort!

Prep Time 5 mins

Cook Time 0 mins

Soaking time 15 mins

Total Time 20 mins

Course condiment

Cuisine American

Servings 12

Calories 80 kcal

Instructions 

  • Soak the cashews overnight in cold water or boil them for 15 minutes until softened, then drain.

  • Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the blender if needed.

  • Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate if you prefer a firmer cream or frosting. Enjoy on pumpkin baked oatmeal and more!

Notes

Nutrition Facts

Sweet Cashew Cream (Frosting)

Amount per Serving

% Daily Value*

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically

Pinterest Collage homemade dairy-free cashew cream

Pinterest Collage homemade dairy-free cashew cream


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