This is The Best Vegan Cream Cheese! Thick and creamy with a slight tang, it’s just like real cream cheese. Made with just 6 plant based ingredient, you can eat all the cream cheese bagels you want and use it in recipe that call for cream cheese!

Did you ever just crave a cream cheese bagel, buy an expensive one at the grocery store…. just to come home disappointed with how strange it tasted? Yup, me too. I’ve tried so many vegan cream cheese brands but it was just not doing it for me. Some were plasticky, some had a weird texture and some was just… not even close to being cream cheese. Then naturally, I searched up some recipes and a lot of them used cashews. I have a vitamix, so it should come out smooth but it never did and always left a nutty cashew flavour instead of a cheesy tangy flavour. I was never a cheese lover, but I was a die-hard fan of cream cheese bagels. Probably because I grew up eating the ones at Tim Hortons… a lot so I couldn’t give up on cream cheese bagels.

After experimenting with my Vegan Cheesecake Recipe, I thought “holy moly, I can TOTALLY make something taste like cheese… I CAN TOTALLY MAKE CREAM CHEESE!!”. I tested this recipe 4 times. With different ratios of tofu and cashews, I found this ratio to be the most superior. The cashews gives it the thick creaminess that cream cheese has that the tofu only version was missing.

The moment I made the 5th variation, I literally ran outside the door and screamed with happiness. If you love cream cheese, your life is about to be changed. Of course, I taste tested it on its own, in dressings and on bagels. It was SO. DANG. DELICIOUS. I made a toasted cream cheese bagel for my boyfriend and he looked at me and said “this is delicious, this is cream cheese”. I basically frolicked with happiness for the rest of the day… yup over cream cheese.

I really REALLY hope you make this Vegan Cream Cheese because it’s seriously THE BEST and I hope you love it as much as I do because it’s:

  • vegan friendly
  • dairy & gluten free
  • thick, creamy, tangy, cheesy- everything cream cheese is
  • made with only 6 plant based ingredients
  • can be used in place of any cream cheese recipe
  • way healthier than store bought cream cheese
  • super simple & easy to make
  • & makes the BEST CREAM CHEESE BAGELS!

Tips and Tricks to making The Best Vegan Cream Cheese

  • Use a brand of tofu that tastes neutral. Some tofu’s tend to have that “tofu aftertaste”. My favourite brand is from Sunrise, their Soyganic Extra Firm Tofu has worked the best for this recipe! If you can’t find this exact brand, you can rinse your tofu in hot water for a couple seconds. The more neutral the tofu is, the more it’ll taste like real cream cheese.
  • No need to press your tofu ahead of time, a little moisture is good as it will help it blend smoother.
  • Lemon juice varies in flavour. Some are sweeter & some can have more of a zing. Start with 2 tbsp and adjust accordingly. If you find your lemon juice is on the sweeter side, add more ACV 1/2 tsp at a time.
  • If you don’t have a high speed blender, you can try to use your food processor with cashew butter instead of cashew nuts.
  • Get creative this this cream cheese! This is just a base but there are tons of different cream cheese flavours on the market and you can easily replicate them by adding in seasonings and fresh herbs. I’ll be posting a maple cinnamon cream cheese with kabocha bagels in the near future so keep an eye out for that recipe 😉

If you recreate this Vegan Cream Cheese please share it and let me know what you think by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!

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The Best Vegan Cream Cheese


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 350g extra firm tofu, drained
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c cashews, soaked (40-50g)
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tbsp white miso, optional

Instructions

  1. Remove the extra firm tofu from the package and squeeze as much excess liquid as you can.
  2. Add in all the ingredients into a high speed blender and use a tamper/spatula to help the cream cheese get as smooth and creamy as possible.
  3. Transfer into an airtight container for storage. Use in cream cheese bagels, in dips and in other recipes that call for cream cheese!
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
Konnichiwa

About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.


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33 Comments

  1. Anyone tried freezing this? It’s amazing and will be in our regular rotation!!! But it makes a huge amount and I’m scared we won’t use it all before it goes bad D:

  2. Very tasty! One question though – I see you list measurements such as 1/2 tbsp, which is not a standard measurement for me in my measuring soon sets. Should I interpret .5 tbsp as 1.5 tsp?

  3. I pour boiling water over my cashews and soak for an hour, then drain before using. It turns out SO creamy, no grainy texture at all! Thank you for a perfect recipe.

  4. I was too lazy to soak cashews so instead, I used white almond butter. This particular one is not my favorite but it was all I had and it worked really well! The almond taste is a bit strong and next time I’ll definitely use cashews or cashew butter (read: follow the recipe lol), but it still turned out amazing. I added a little more miso and nooch to counteract the strong almond flavor. And it’s pretty freaking delicious, to be honest. And it’s so creamy, too!! Yum. I can’t wait to try it with cashews, though.
    If for some reason white almond butter is all you have, go ahead and use it. Mine is made of roasted almonds hence the strong flavor. If yours is made of blanched almonds, I’m sure it’ll be perfect.
    Anyway, thank you for this amazing recipe! It’ll be a new staple for sure.

  5. Hi, just wanted to know what is the white white miso used for. And if it will interfere with the baking process in tasting ways.

  6. What can I replace the cashews with? I have other nuts/seeds on hand, curious if you’ve tried with anything other than cashews?

    1. Hi Andrea,
      Cashews are key for this recipe, but I think something like macadamia nuts or pine nuts will work 🙂 Just keep in mind the flavour will be different.