We must apologize, friends — we’ve been holding out on you! We’ve used cashew cream for years in everything from soups to pastas to desserts and more, but we’ve never had a recipe dedicated to its creamy and smooth perfection. It deserves its own special place in Minimalist Baker land, don’t you think!?
This quick and easy, dairy-free “cream” is a great alternative for those who don’t like the taste of coconut milk or anyone looking for an easy replacement for traditional heavy cream in recipes. It’s neutral in flavor (thanks to a quick soak in boiling water) and incredibly versatile! Let’s make cashew cream!
What is Cashew Cream?
Cashew cream is a dairy-free alternative to heavy cream and coconut milk. It’s made by soaking then blending raw cashews with water until smooth. It can be used to add creaminess to pastas and soups, make ganache for desserts, or as a thick and creamy base for salad dressings or overnight oats. And when enough water’s added and it’s strained, it can even be added to beverages!
How to Make Cashew Cream
First, you’ll want to figure out how you’ll be using the cashew cream. Or if you’re not sure, start with the quantities suggested for thicker cashew cream knowing you can always add more water to thin it out!
- To replace light coconut milk: Use 1/2 cup cashews
- To replace full-fat coconut milk or heavy cream: Use 1 cup cashews
Once you’ve decided how many cashews to use, you’ll soak the cashews in hot water for 20-30 minutes. Since we’re into saving time in the kitchen, we tested whether soaking actually makes a difference. The verdict: It does!
In our side-by-side comparison, we found that soaking creates a more neutral and pleasant flavor. The good news? Using hot water speeds up the process and works just as well as soaking overnight in cool water!
When the cashews are done soaking, we drain out the hot water and add the soaked cashews to a blender with fresh water.
Using a high-speed blender is important for getting a smooth and creamy consistency (find our blender review here!). Also important: Make sure you’re making a large enough quantity to cover the blades (we find 1 ½ cups to be the minimum necessary volume for most blenders).
The result is cashew cream that’s:
Quick & easy
& SO versatile!
More Dairy-Free Recipe Swaps
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Servings 12 (2-Tbsp servings)
- 1/2 – 1 cup raw cashews (use the lesser amount for the texture of light coconut milk and the greater amount to resemble full-fat coconut milk)
- 1 cup water
Add cashews to a heatproof bowl and cover with hot water by at least 1-2 inches. Soak for 20-30 minutes.
Drain the cashews and add them to a high-speed blender with 1 cup (240 ml) fresh water. Blend on high until completely smooth — about 1 minute.
Store leftover cashew cream in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. We haven’t tested freezing it, but suspect it would work, though it’s always best when fresh.
*Recipe as written makes 1 ½ cups cashew cream.
*Photographs reflect using the greater amount of cashews.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount of cashews.
Serving: 1 (2-tablespoon serving) Calories: 30 Carbohydrates: 1.6 g Protein: 1 g Fat: 2.4 g Saturated Fat: 0.4 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g Monounsaturated Fat: 1.3 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 1 mg Potassium: 36 mg Fiber: 0.2 g Sugar: 0.3 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 2 mg Iron: 0.3 mg