Creamy, rich, tangy and delicious Vegan Cream Cheese. Quick and easy to make and just perfect for spreading, snacking and dipping!
The best Vegan Cream Cheese! It's creamy, luscious, tastes amazing and is a fabulous dairy-free alternative to regular cream cheese. It's also much cheaper to make at home than it is to buy vegan cream cheese alternatives at the store!
What Is Vegan Cream Cheese?
Vegan Cream Cheese is a delicious cream cheese substitute, made from simple ingredients. It can be made in a food processor in just a few minutes and can be used for spreading, dipping and snacking just like regular cream cheese.
Vegan Cream Cheese has less calories than regular cream cheese, less than half of the saturated fat and more than double the protein thanks to its tofu-base. And if you're wondering if vegan cream cheese tastes good? Well, my recipe really does. It's deliciously, creamy and indulgent with great savory flavor!
To make vegan dairy-free cream cheese you need:
And some recipe notes:
- Tofu - I like to use medium-firm for this recipe but if you prefer a slightly firmer cream cheese you can use firm or extra-firm.
- Almonds - These add an amazing creamy, buttery richness (and yes, there's a nut-free option too - see the recipe notes).
- Lemon juice & vinegar - For flavor and acidity
- Nutritional yeast - This is for umami, slightly cheesy flavor
- Coconut oil - This must be refined coconut oil or your cream cheese will taste of coconut which we definitely don't want. By using an oil that sets we get a really great spreadable texture, just like regular dairy cream cheese. (If you're WFPB see the recipe notes!)
- Dried dill - Trust me on this one ... it doesn't actually taste of dill when blended but it adds a certain something and isn't the same without it.
How To Make Vegan Cream Cheese
Vegan Cream Cheese is really quick and easy to make. Simply blend everything up in a food processor or high speed blender then let it set in the fridge for an hour or two if you want it to be slightly firmer. You're done. You made cream cheese. Told you it was easy!
Plant-based cream cheese is so versatile. My favourite ways to serve it include:
- on bagels, sandwiches, or crackers
- on a vegan snack board with some vegetable pate and other tasty treats
- melted into hot pasta (so good!)
- on my Easy Flatbread Recipe or with pita bread
- as a dip for veggies
- dolloped on pizza before or after baking
- stuffed in jalapeno poppers
Transfer the cream cheese from the food processor to an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Want some ideas for making it your own too? All of these tasty additions are great in homemade vegan cream cheese:
- lemon zest and poppy seeds
- dried cranberries, orange zest and walnuts
- chopped fresh rosemary or any other fresh herbs
- harissa and mint
- roasted garlic
- black pepper
- everything bagel seasoning, onion or garlic powder
- drained and chopped pickles
- chopped jalapenos
- fresh chopped chives
No. In this recipe, you must use refined coconut oil. Refined coconut oil has no coconut taste or smell. If you use virgin coconut oil your cream cheese will taste and smell of coconut.
The almonds can be replaced with raw cashews (soak them as per the recipe instructions), or if you want to make the recipe completely nut-free, omit the almonds and increase the refined coconut oil to ½ cup (120 mls) measured while melted. The extra coconut oil will firm it up enough so it becomes cream cheese texture once refrigerated.
It won't be quite as good but you can. Simply omit the coconut oil and keep everything else as it is. The cream cheese will be looser, it won't melt and it won't have quite as rich a mouthfeel but it is still spreadable and delicious.
I don't recommend using this vegan cream cheese recipe to make desserts like vegan cheesecake or frosting because its flavor is too savory. Store-bought cream cheese is a better alternative in this case.
More Vegan Staples
If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it by leaving a comment and rating below! And be sure to join my mailing list for more deliciousness!
Vegan Cream CheeseAuthor:
- ½ heaping cup (75 grams) raw almonds , for nut-free option see recipe notes
- 16oz (454 grams) medium firm, firm or extra firm tofu (NOT silken tofu) , I like medium firm for this recipe. Using firm or extra firm will create a slightly firmer cream cheese.
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup (60 ml) melted refined coconut oil , measure while liquid and don't use while hot. Allow to cool back to room temperature before using.
- 1 - 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon dried dill , the finished recipe won't taste of dill, but it's an important addition. I really recommend you don't skip it!
- Boil some water in a kettle and cover the raw almonds in the boiling water. Let them soak for 15 minutes. Drain, then remove the brown, papery skins by pinching the rounded end of the almond and squeezing. They should pop out really easily. Discard the skins.
- To a food processor or a high powered blender add the soaked and skinned almonds, tofu, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, nutritional yeast, coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of the sea salt and the dried dill. Process until completely smooth. You will get a smoother result in a high powered blender than you will in a food processor.
- Taste, and add the remaining salt to taste then blend again. I always use the full 1½ teaspoons.
- Spoon out into a container. It can be eaten right away but is best if refrigerated for at last 1 hour so it firms up a little.
This recipe was originally published on July 3rd 2019. I've updated the post and now I am republishing it for you. I hope you enjoy it. Thank you for following A Virtual Vegan!
Kathryn Gannon says
You can get deodorised refined coconut oil Biona makes an organic one that I use all the time.