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Dairy And Soy Free Cream Cheese Substitute

*See also my cream cheese substitute made from yogurt that works well in traditional powdered sugar frostings and my cream cheese frosting that is dairy, soy, and refined sugar free!!!

As I was going through my recipe box this week preparing to buy groceries, I came across several recipes that called for cream cheese. Since I already have a cream cheese dip, I figured a cream cheese substitute wouldn’t be that hard.

Armed with a small block of Philadelphia original cream cheese (for me to taste), my cream cheese dip recipe, and this recipe from Adventures Of A Gluten Free Mom, I went to blending.  Then tasting, then blending again. And I came up with something so close to Philadelphia cream cheese it will make you cry 😉
The only ingredient in this recipe I don’t usually use is Tahini. Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds and looks similar to peanut butter. I know it is expensive (about $10) but is well worth the investment. It adds almost a bitter or cultured taste when you are also trying to avoid soy. I haven’t tried this recipe without the Tahini so am not sure how it would taste without it.

*Next time I make this I think I’ll try making it with Macadamia nuts to try and make it a more white color.

Dairy And Soy Free Cream Cheese Substitute
  • 1½ C raw cashews, soaked in hot water 30+ minutes
  • ¼ tsp. minced garlic
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. xanthan gum, optional but will help thicken
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, solid or liquid form
  • 3 Tbsp. non-dairy milk
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. tahini
  • ½ C water, as needed
  • ¾ tsp. sea salt
  • up to ¼ tsp. garlic powder, as desired
  1. Soak cashews in very hot water for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Or in room temperature water overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse cashews. Then, add to blender.
  3. Add remaining ingredients using only ¼ C of the water. Blend on high until well combined and smooth. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
  4. Add additional water as needed to help facilitate blending.
  5. Cover and refrigerate 30 - 45 minutes or until slightly thickened. If left in fridge too long (an hour +) it become hard. Set out on counter until soft enough to handle if needed.
*Without a Vita-Mix, you will probably not be able to get your mixture completely smooth, but really close.

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  1. Sounds wonderful! I have been looking for a non-dairy alternative to cream cheese. Do you think this would work for cream cheese frosting for cakes?

  2. I don’t see why it wouldn’t, but I haven’t tried it yet… it’s on my to-do list. If you decide to try it let me know how it turns out. The only problem I might for-see is that my cream cheese wasn’t quite a firm as block cream cheese because I don’t have a Vita-Mix and had to add extra water to facilitate blending, but I’ll try it soon and post my results.

  3. This sounds fantastic, Cassidy! We cannot wait to try it! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  4. You’re so creative!! It looks and sounds so good and can’t wait to try it!

  5. Just to let everyone know, I finally have a dairy, soy, and refined sugar free cream cheese frosting based on this recipe. Yum! Here’s the link http://cookingglutenfree.blogspot.com/2011/09/cream-cheese-frosting-dairy-soy-refined.html

  6. I don’t have a great blender, I wonder if I could sub prepared cashew butter for a smoother result?

  7. Karen- I’m not sure if the cashew butter would work or not? Sounds like it would… just not sure how much cashew butter would be equal to 1 1/2 C raw cashews??? If you try it let me know!

  8. You could maybe try throwing it into a food processor. My blender is pretty useless and that’s what I do for all of my dips. Works like a charm!

  9. I was excited to see this recipe. Now I have to modify it for a nut allergic child. Being allergic to dairy, eggs, and nuts makes life and cooking challenging!

  10. Thanks for posting this. I am going to the store today to get some coconut flakes so I can try to make this recipe nut free (for my little niece, who cannot have nuts and is visiting.) I plan on trying this recipe both ways… exactly the way you made it (so I can have it on my gf breakfast bread in the mornings and in my icing recipes) and nut-free. You rock!

  11. And I tried it… it is DELISH!!! Your recipe, exactly, that is. I have yet to try the coconut butter replacement, but it is on the list!

  12. Melanie-
    I’m so glad you liked it, thanks so much for the nice comment 🙂 Let me know how the coconut butter works for sure! BTW- Did you see my nut free version made from dairy free yogurt for your niece?

    Much love,

  13. Hi Cassidy. I just made your cashew cream cheese – it is to die for! I will be doing a recipe review in the next few weeks (lots of other posts to do) and I will do a link back to your site.

    Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe!

  14. This is great. I used it for my blueberry crepe recipe and no one knew the difference. I did not add the tahini or the garlic since it was for a sweet dish, but nontheless it was amazing. Now just working the one with garlic, which reminds me of a hummus, for regular dips.

  15. We all loved this too!! I left the gum out, and the coconut oil, and reduced the water to a couple of tablespoons…just enough to get it moving in my Blend Tec! I am linking to this in my newest salad recipe, fyi!

  16. So Delicious coconut creamer is nasty stuff – tastes good, but is full of chemical ingredients. I would think plain old coconut cream would work and be much healthier. Anyone tried this?

  17. Kristi, I did not use any milk or creamer when I made this! It is a thinning thing I think …try it without

  18. Anonymous says:

    A word to those commenting about nut allergies. Cashews aren’t nuts, they’re legumes, and most people who are allergic to “nuts” can, indeed, eat cashews.

  19. Great article! We will be linking to this particularly great content on our site.
    Keep up the good writing.


  1. […] *Here’s the link to my cashew cream cheese. […]

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