How to Make Soy-free Vegan & Paleo Cream Cheese

How to Make Soy-free Vegan + Paleo Cream Cheese #paleo #dairyfree #vegan

I’ve used variations of this dairy-free cream cheese in a bunch of my dairy-free recipes like, carrot cheesecake, as butter cream on cupcakes, and drenched over breakfast cake but never created a dedicated post to to it. It’s one of my favorite things to make so I’m excited to finally be sharing the step-by-step with you all.

First – you have to decide what approach you’re taking with your cream cheese.

If you want authentic, cultured vegan cheese then you’ll want to use a yogurt starter to create the culture. I use this Vegan and Gluten-free Yolife Yogurt Starter.

If you want semi-authentic, vegan cheese that hasn’t been cultured but has a tad less steps, then you can use raw apple cider vinegar and fresh lemon juice.

For the purpose of today’s post, we’re going to go with the easier method and save the culture fun for another day.

You’ll want to soak the cashews for 24 hours. I like using cashew halves because they’re less expensive and they soak up more water making the mixture creamier. Once the cashews have soaked, drain and rinse them really well.

Add the soaked cashews to a blender with 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and 2 tablespoons water. If while you’re blending you need a bit more liquid, add up to another tablespoon of water.

You want the mixture to be smooth. Think butter cream smooth. Super, super smooth. Just like this…

Then, set the smooth cheese aside for awhile. The longer you leave it to sit the more the flavors will develop. I leave mine for a couple of hours. Then, line a plastic container with cheesecloth. You’re not going to keep the stuff in plastic, so just choose any container you have handy.

Another decision is required of you here – do you want thick cheese or velvety cheese?

If you want dense cream cheese that’s more similar to the “real thing”, do NOT double up on the cheesecloth. Go 1-ply.

If you want velvety cream cheese, double up on the cheesecloth. Go 2-ply.

I went 2-ply.

Once the cheesecloth is over the container, drop the pureed cashew mass into the cheesecloth like this:

Once all of the mixture is in the cloth, pinch up the sides and tie it with some twine.

Pretty, right?

Now this is where you have to get a bit MacGyver all up in your kitchen. You need to suspend the cheesecloth bag. I like to tie it to my turmeric stained spoon and suspend it in a glass jug. Use whatever you have on hand. Get creative.

Once it’s all suspending you’ll need to place it somewhere warm and nice for 24 hours. I place mine on a little shelf right next to the heating register in our kitchen.

Leave it be.

The taste will be very vinegary at first. It has to sit for 24 hours to chill out before you judge the taste.

Once 24 hours have passed, you should have a bunch of liquid at the bottom of the jug. Yay!

Remove the cheesecloth bag from it’s resting place and cut away the twine.

You should be left with a glorious hunka beautiful vegan cream cheese that you can use on everything you would dairy cream cheese.

For those that are more 1-2-3 step type people, here’s the recipe…

How to Make Soy-free Vegan + Paleo Cream Cheese #paleo #dairyfree #vegan

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4.8 from 32 reviews
Soy-free Vegan & Paleo Cream Cheese
Recipe type: Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 cup
Homemade vegan cream cheese made from cashews, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Sugar-free, soy-free and dairy-free.
  • 1½ cups raw cashew halves, soaked for 12-24 hours
  • 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
  1. Place raw cashew halves in a glass dish and fill with filtered water. Cover and place in the fridge to soak for 24 hours.
  2. Then, drain and rinse the cashews with water.
  3. Drop cashews in a blender or food processor and add remaining ingredients. Begin with 2 tablespoons of water and work up to 3 tablespoons if needed. The water is in the recipe just to help the mixture get as smooth as possible in the blender.
  4. Blend for 2 minutes or so, until it's as smooth as smooth can be. Set aside for a couple of hours.
  5. Drape a tall plastic container with cheesecloth. For thinner, more creamy cream cheese, double up the cloth. For a firmer cheese, use 1-ply. I chose to double up.
  6. Spoon the cream cheese mixture onto the cheesecloth.
  7. Pull up the sides of cheesecloth and tie with a piece of string or twine.
  8. Hang the cheese bag on a kitchen utensil and rest it inside a vase or juice pitcher. It just has to be extended in the air so that the extra liquids can drain from it.
  9. Leave in a warm place for at least 24 hours. Then, remove from the hanging setup you've created, remove cheesecloth and serve as is or add flavors such as herbs, vanilla or a touch of sugar.

View nutrition information (once on page, scroll down)

And later we make something yummy (and vegan) with it.

Get the recipe for my No bake Vegan Cranberry Cheesecake Squares… using this delicious dairy-free cream cheese!


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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. Can I tru almonds instead of cashews? type A blood shouldnt eat cashews, they make me bloat. thanks

  2. I’m going to try making this today, however in concern for all of the people who wrote about the high vinegary taste afterwards, one option could be to add salt to the original recipe in the blender. And if the “cheese” has already been made, the opposite of an acid is a base, and most people probably have baking soda in their cabinet. You could try sprinkling a small amount in and mixing it up really well to cut the acidity, or if the powder won’t mix in well (maybe try a test sample first), you could mix a little baking soda with water to make more of a paste, and then try mixing that in very well. Hope this helps!

    • Thank you! I’ve made this recipe SO many times and never thought it tasted too vinegary. I think it’s a preference thing…

  3. Hello I would love to tell you this recipe sounds amazing and I have been looking for a way to make vegan gluten free cream cheese. But is there any way you could post or email me the instructions on how to make it with the vegan and gluten free yo life yogurt starter. I’m not sure if you already posted it but I was unable to find it.

  4. I cannot wait to try this easy and awesome recipe. I love cream cheese… and whipped cream (have to try a vegan version soon). Sorry if I missed this info but, what is the portion size for the nutritional info? Thank you so much for this recipe!

  5. This sounds great, however, I bought some vegan probiotic powder I’d love to use. Can you offer the probiotic version (yogurt starter)?

  6. Hi, I have finally had a go at making this cream cheese, which I want to use to make vegan fudge. All of the pre-made vegan cream cheeses on the market have too much salt for my liking, so this looked like the ideal recipe for a better alternative. However I ran into trouble with it because my blender would not cream the cheese. The blades just spun the cashews up against the side of the jar, and the blades just kept spinning with no cream cheese in them. I kept pushing the cashews back into the blades hoping at some point it would start to process, but after about an hour of doing this it still would not work, so in the end I could only get a result that was a grainy mix instead of the smooth blend.

    Do you think that I have the wrong type of blender? I have a brand new 800 watt Sunbeam blender that has a strong pulse button for crushing ice, so I though it would blend cashews. Maybe I just need to use a larger amount of cashews so there will be more bulk in the blender so it doesn’t all get spatted onto the side of the jug. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I am continuing with the grainy mix, leaving it in the cheesecloth over night, and I’ll still make the fudge with it and see how it turns out, but it will be grainy, but hopefully it will taste great.

    • Sell your house. Sell your dog. Sell your kids. But buy a Vitamix blender. I know, it’s expensive, but you’ll have it for the rest of your life and, I promise you, it will Change. Your. Life.

  7. Mine is quite nice, but just way too vinegary – is the ratio of lemon to vinegar adjustable? Not sure how to remedy this but the vinegar is the obvious flavour here.

  8. I followed the directions and used Bragg’s apple cider vinegar but it came out very vinegary. It was still edible as I added herbs and put it on GF caraway bread. I will try again but will reduce the vinegar. I look forward to the next try.

    • Hey! Best to let it sit and ferment overnight. Did you do this? Hoping that helps! Always does for us!

  9. Is it possible to use this in a baked “cheese”cake? If not, do you have a recipe that will work?

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