Roasted Garlic and Herb Vegan Cream Cheese

Cream Cheese 2

I’m resisting the urge to solely use capital letters here. When I read text in all caps I feel like people are yelling at me.

This is the tastiest, most delightful vegan cream cheese ever (are italics okay?).

Scrumptious. Toothsome. Heavenly. Yummy. Pick your favourite adjective to describe something flavourful, and slap it onto this recipe.

I developed this luscious vegan cream cheese recipe for a dairy-free workshop I hosted at Galloways, and have been lying in wait to share it with you.

It’s been a while since I’ve had real cream cheese, but this is how I recall it tasting. Creamy, tangy and robust; it makes you sit up and take notice. What I love about this recipe is it’s completely customizable. The first five ingredients are the foundation, but after that you can run with it however you’d like.

Some ideas for what you can toss in here:

  • Dill and chives
  • Caramelized onions
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Roasted red pepper and garlic
  • Basil and rosemary

And the next step? Devising a sweet version that I can use as cream cheese icing for carrot cake and sandwich cookies.

Yum. (Stop tempting me, ‘caps lock’ key.)

Cream Cheese 7

4.8 from 5 reviews
Garlic and Herb Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese
Prep time
Total time
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, egg-free
Recipe type: Spread
Serves: 6 to 8
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 6 hours
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roasted
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary
  1. Drain and rinse your cashews in a strainer or colander, then add them to a high-speed blender along with the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Blend for a couple of minutes, until everything becomes smooth and creamy, pausing to scrape down the sides if necessary.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings. Chill in the fridge overnight to achieve a thick, cream cheese-like texture.


47 Responses to Roasted Garlic and Herb Vegan Cream Cheese

  1. Jacquie February 19, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

    How do I make this into a sweet version to use instead of cream? Thank you

    • Sondi February 20, 2014 at 8:21 am #

      I’m thinking of using maple syrup instead of the garlic and herbs. Or maybe coconut sugar.

  2. Yuna- February 19, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

    Yum! This sounds so delicious! I can’t wait to try it!

  3. Ms Bailey February 20, 2014 at 2:34 am #

    This sounds so yummy, but we are oil free. Do you think it could be made without oil or what could be substituted for the oil? Thanks! Love your recipes.

    • Sondi February 20, 2014 at 8:21 am #

      Yes, you could make this without coconut oil, it just wouldn’t firm up as much. It would be like sour cream. You could try adding a little less liquid to make it thicker.

      • Elizabeth Greenaway March 21, 2014 at 8:31 am #

        You might be able to drain it in cheesecloth to thicken it. You think?

        • Sondi March 21, 2014 at 8:50 am #

          There isn’t much water in this recipe, and with the addition of coconut oil it turns out quite thick. I don’t think a cheesecloth would be necessary in this recipe, though you could certainly try it if you’d like!

      • Maria January 12, 2015 at 9:28 am #

        I have to put a review on this recipe as I usually use miyoko’s recipes. I think your memory of what cream cheese is off by a large amount. This tastes like a cashew spread and that is it, sorry to be blunt. I had hoped not to have to ferment as I am out of rejuvelac but it seems to get the true cream cheese as well as any great REAL cheese flavor it is required. I only put this here so that people who are thinking of trying this need to be aware that is just tastes like cashews and maybe people whom have not eaten dairy in awhile have forgotten what it tastes like. I will still eat it as it is an expensive recipe to try but would not recommend it to someone looking for the flavor of cream cheese. I have tried to put one star but it will not allow it, how odd.

        • Sondi January 12, 2015 at 9:37 am #

          Thanks for your feedback! It’s true it’s been awhile since I’ve had cream cheese, but this is what I recall it tasting like. I think you’re right that cream cheese has that tangy, fermented flavour – I should try this recipe with a probiotic capsule and let it ferment and see what happens!

    • Kiki May 21, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

      You can absolutely make cashew cheese without oil, I’ve been doing it for years! I go 1.5 cups cashews soaked over night, + juice of 1 lemon + 2-4 tbsp water from the kettle to get things going in the food processor. Comes out thick and spreadable every time! No cheesecloth necessary. :)

      • Sondi May 22, 2016 at 8:20 pm #

        Awesome! Thank you for the great oil-free method, Kiki.

  4. Allison @ Clean Wellness February 20, 2014 at 5:05 am #

    Wow. This looks so good. I like the idea of adding sundried tomatoes! Can’t wait to give this a go. Is there anything you can’t do with cashews?? Love it!

    • Sondi February 20, 2014 at 8:20 am #

      Yep, cashews are a magic food!

  5. Amélie February 20, 2014 at 5:39 am #

    That looks awesome! But doesn’t coconut oil add a coconut taste to it?

    • Sondi February 20, 2014 at 8:20 am #

      It adds a slight coconutty taste, but it’s not overpowering. It also depends on the coconut flavour of the brand you’re using – some have a stronger taste than others.

      • Ms Bailey February 20, 2014 at 9:43 am #

        You can get coconut oil that doesn’t smell or taste like coconut from tropical

  6. Katie February 20, 2014 at 6:20 am #


    Looks yummy! I was just wondering if you think the coconut oil is absolutely necessary, or if it could be omitted?


    • Sondi February 20, 2014 at 8:18 am #

      Hi Katie! If you left out the coconut oil, the cream cheese wouldn’t firm up as much. It would be the consistency of sour cream. Equally delicious of course, but not quite as spreadable as traditional cream cheese.

  7. Valerie February 20, 2014 at 7:26 am #

    This looks really good and I’d like to try it. As I’ve only ever used roasted nuts when making nut butters, etc., I’d like to know if you are using raw or roasted cashews in this recipe. Thanks.

    • Sondi February 20, 2014 at 8:17 am #

      I used raw cashews for this recipe. It didn’t make sense to me to roast them, since they soak for so long.

  8. Kaitlin March 28, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    This looks amazing! How long will the spread keep in the fridge to do you think? Thanks for sharing!

    • Sondi March 28, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

      Probably about 5-7 days in the fridge, especially if you add a little bit of extra lemon. But I promise you it will be eaten before it goes off!

  9. Claudia August 26, 2014 at 8:31 am #

    I think you can skip the coconut oil and place the mixture in a glass topaware (closed) overnight in your counter. This will thicken the mixture. This is what Miyoko does in Artisan Vegan Cheese Cookbook.

    Cant wait to make this recipe. my cashew are soaking as I type :)

    • Sondi August 26, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

      Hi Claudia – hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! I’ve never tried the countertop thickening method. I recall reading that book a few years ago, though from what I remember she often used other elements such as carrageenan and agar agar and maybe some gums to thicken things up.

  10. gin September 28, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

    Hi looking for a good cream cheese recipe that is safe for my little guy who is allergic to all nuts except almonds…any ideas on how this would turn out with soaked almonds???

    • Sondi September 28, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

      I think this recipe would turn out wonderfully with soaked almonds.

  11. Sara October 20, 2014 at 7:20 am #

    I just made this, but instead of garlic and herbs I added some vegan peri sauce. Tastes so freaking good! Going in all my wraps! I’m definitely using this recipe again, probably with the garlic and herbs and may try for sweets also!

    • Sondi October 20, 2014 at 9:24 am #

      Ooh, awesome! I’m thrilled you liked this – it’s a winner for sure. Of course, I’m biased. 😉

  12. Rosemary December 20, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

    Thanks so much for this easy and very tasty recipe. I made it without changing your ingredients and have added it to vinagrette dressing to make it creamy, have spread it on celery and added chopped roasted garlic and basil tomatoes to it to make a spread and sandwich filling. It is amazing and I felt good just eating it. What a wonderful indulgence. I am going to experiment with making this into a cheese log. Maybe chive or olive or pineapple or ….. or …… or ….. There are just so many possibilities. Thanks so very much.

    • Sondi December 20, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

      Glad that you enjoyed this so much! Ooh, I love your idea of a vegan cheese ball or log. You could absolutely roll this is herbs or dried fruit and nuts.

  13. Melissa January 31, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

    I used nutritional yeast, garlic powder and caramelized onions! It tastes more like cashew dip than cream cheese but this will be way better to snack on tomorrow during super bowl over the sour cream and onion dip, ya know?!

    • Sondi February 1, 2015 at 9:30 am #

      Caramelized onions – YUM! Great addition. And yeah, much better than a packaged sour cream and onion dip for sure!

  14. Tina June 26, 2015 at 10:06 am #

    Loved this recipe it’s an awesome base for sure
    I twisted it a little added a splash of apple cider vinegar an about 2 tbsp nutritional Yeast also a pinch more salt this kicked it up a notch and helped give it a cheesier tang :)
    I also noted that it a little bit runny so next time I am going to add half the water and go from there
    This would also be a very good dip

    • Sondi June 26, 2015 at 10:09 am #

      I’m so glad you liked this, Tina. I love your adaptation – sounds yum! Thickness of the ‘cream cheese’ can definitely depend on how much water you add. Also, I’m not sure when you made it, but it does thicken up significantly in the fridge after a day or two.

  15. Ayala July 18, 2015 at 7:34 am #

    Hi! I’ve been CRAVING cream cheese but I was just told to go off dairy, cashews and peanuts. (I’m allergic to almonds).
    Is there any other nut I can soak to create the same consistency?
    Thank you!

    • Sondi July 18, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

      Hi Ayala – try sunflower seeds instead.

      • Ayala July 19, 2015 at 12:02 am #

        Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Vanessa August 30, 2015 at 8:27 am #

    Do you think you can freeze this?

    • Sondi August 30, 2015 at 10:30 am #

      I’m sure you could, though the texture not might be the same after defrosting.

  17. kat December 9, 2015 at 3:56 am #

    this was really amazing. it came out with the flavor or my childhood. when I would take out hot toasted bagels out of the toaster oven, and spread garlic and herb cream cheese and watch it melt and then eat it! yum! next time I will omit the water, since my cashews were wet and the lemon juice was there too.

    i also melted the coconut oil beforehand. mixed everything together and refrigerated overnight. best breakfast in a while :) i will be making this weekly, and love the varieties you can make of this! i did chives and dill.

    • Sondi December 9, 2015 at 8:10 am #

      I’m thrilled to hear that you loved this, Kat! It’s amazing when we can create things that evoke fond memories of childhood. Happy cream cheese making!


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