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How to Make Cashew Cream Sauce

by Capri Lilly

Cashew Cream Sauce is a savory sauce made from soaked cashews and a few other simple ingredients. This luscious sauce is a delicious dairy-free alternative that can be used for anything from pasta, to tacos, to pastries, you name it! It’s Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, and Vegan!

If you’re looking for ways to use your cashew cream sauce, try my Cashew Cream Veggie Pasta, Better than Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup, or my No-Bake Blueberry Cheesecake!

Vegan Cashew Cream Sauce

Cashew cream sauce is a great dairy-free alternative to use when a recipe calls for heavy cream, milk, or lots of cheese.

It is especially helpful if you’re like me and you’re tired of using coconut cream as your dairy-free alternative and want to switch things up a bit! Don’t get me wrong, coconut cream is phenomenal and can be used to make incredible sauces, like my mouthwatering Coconut Curry or savory Mushroom Cream Sauce! However, if you haven’t tried cashew cream sauce yet, you’re in for a treat!

Cashew Cream Sauce Homemade for pasta, pastries, and more!

Cashew cream sauce is a MUST have! Beyond it tasting incredibly rich, velvety, and flavorsome, cashew cream has wonderful health benefits. It’s:

  • Filled with heart-healthy essential fatty acids, which help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Packed with Protein: 5 grams of protein per ounce!
  • Good source of copper and magnesium–important for bone health and maintenance of collagen and elastin in our bodies
  • Antioxidant-rich with tons of Vitamin E and K
Cashew Cream Sauce Vegan and Gluten-Free

How to Make Cashew Cream Sauce

Making cashew cream sauce is quite easy! First, you need to soak raw cashews as the base for the sauce. Soaking the cashews helps soften them, which makes them easier to process and helps to increase their nutrient availability. There are several methods of soaking. Two primary methods are the cold soak or hot soak method.

Quick Hot Water Soaking Method (15 minute method) To Make Cashew Cream Sauce

This method is by far my favorite and the easiest! Simply bring enough water to cover the cashews to a boil. Then, pour the hot water over the cashews and allow the cashews to soak for 15-30 minutes. When preparing dinner, I like to do this step first while I tend to the other ingredients.

Cold Water Soaking Method To Make Cashew Cream Sauce

This method yields the same great results but takes a bit more time. With this method, simply place the cashews in a large bowl and cover them with cold purified water. Allow the cashews to soak for 2-3 hours at room temperature. When you are ready to use, pour out the water and process as you like.

It’s important to remember that you do not want to over-soak the cashews. Oversoaking causes the cashews to acquire a bitter taste and the water to become slimy, eliminating all the flavor from the cashew. If you are soaking the cashews overnight, be sure to change the water every 6-8 hours and keep the cashews covered in the fridge.

Soaked Cashews to Make Cashew Cream

Making Cashew Cream Sauce

Once your cashews are done soaking, simply drain the cashews and blend with a few ingredients to make your cashew cream sauce!

The Base To Make Multipurpose Cashew Cream Sauce (Vegan + Gluten-Free)

  • 2 cups cashews
  • 1 1/2 cup water or broth
  • 1/2 squeezed lemon (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt (optional)

To Make thinner or creamier cashew cream add 2-5 tbsp non-dairy milk or coconut cream while blending.

Cashew Cream Sauce for Pasta

Optional Add-Ins To Enhance Your Cashew Cream Sauce (cashew cream variations)

Garlicky Cashew Sauce: Add 2-4 cloves raw or roasted garlic

Savory Cashew Sauce: Season with black pepper, paprika, dried herbs like thyme and oregano, and onion powder (about 1/2 – 1 tsp of each). You can also add 1-2 cloves of garlic.

Cheesy Vegan Cashew Cream Sauce: Add 2-3 tbsp Nutritional Yeast

Spicy Cashew Cream Sauce: Add a fresh pepper of choice (jalapeno, serrano, habanero), 1 tsp Cayenne pepper, and 1/2 tsp red crushed pepper flakes

Sweet Cashew Cream Sauce: Add 1/2 cup Coconut Cream, 1-2 tsp vanilla Extract, 2-4 tbsp Maple Syrup, and/or 1 tsp cinnamon

You can keep it simple or add all the ingredients! There is no way to mess up with cashew cream sauce, you’ll always get a rich delectable sauce!

Cashew Cream Veggie Pasta

Ways To Use Cashew Cream Sauce

Pasta: Of course you can use cashew cream sauce for pasta like in my Vegan Creamy Cajun Pasta or Cashew Cream Veggie Pasta | Vegan + GF.

Use Cashew Cream as a Dairy-Free Alternative to Heavy Cream: I do this quite often and it’s amazing! Try for yourself with my Wild Rice Mushroom Soup, Dairy-Free Chicken Tikka Masala, or Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup.

Desserts: Cashew cream sauce is incredibly versatile and can be used to make luscious desserts! My No-Bake Matcha Oreo Cheesecake or No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake are great examples of cashew cream in desserts!

There are infinite ways you can use cashew cream sauce! Get creative and let me know what you make in the comments!

no bake vegan pumpkin swirl cheesecake

I Hope You Enjoy This Cashew Cream Sauce Recipe!

If you try the recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know what you think in the comments below! Take pictures, tag #goodfoodbaddie, and share them with me on Instagram! I love hearing from you! 

Cashew Cream Sauce Vegan Gluten Free

How To Make Cashew Cream Sauce

Cashew Cream Sauce is a savory, luscious sauce made simply from soaked cashews and a few simple ingredients. Its a versatile sauce that can be used for anything from pasta to tacos to pastries, you name it!
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sauce or Marinade
Cuisine: American, Healthy Options, Vegan
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 450kcal
Author: Capri Lilly

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cashews
  • 1.5-2 cups water or broth, varies depending on desired thickness of cream
  • 1/2 squeezed lemon (optional)
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Optional Add-Ins

  • Garlicky Cashew Sauce: Add 2-4 cloves raw or roasted garlic
  • Savory Cashew Sauce: Season with black pepper, paprika, dried herbs like thyme and oregano, and onion powder (about 1/2 – 1 tsp of each). You can also add 1-2 cloves of garlic.
  • Cheesy Vegan Cashew Cream Sauce: Add 2-3 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • Spicy Cashew Cream Sauce: Add a fresh pepper of choice while blending (jalapeno, serrano, habanero), 1 tsp Cayenne pepper, and 1/2 tsp red crushed pepper flakes
  • Sweet Cashew Cream Sauce: Add 1/2 cup Coconut Cream, 1-2 tsp vanilla Extract, 2-4 tbsp Maple Syrup, and/or 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

Hot Soak Method

  • Add raw cashews to a large bowl
  • Bring medium pot of water to a boil (enough water to cover the cashew).
  • Pour the hot water over the cashew and allow the cashews to soak for at least 15 minutes. (up to 30 minutes)
  • After soaking, drain and transfer the cashews to a food processor or blender. Add the water or broth, lemon, and salt to the food processor. Add more water, broth, non-dairy milk, or coconut cream in as needed to reach the desired creamy consistency.
  • Blend in any optional add-ins
  • Use the Cashew Cream as desired. Transfer any remaining cashew cream to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Cold Soak Method

  • Add raw cashews to a large bowl and cover the cashews with cold purified water. Allow the cashews to soak at room temperature for 2-3 hours.
  • Drain the cashews when they are done soaking and blend with remaining ingredients.
  • Blend in any optional add-ins
  • Use the Cashew Cream as desired. Transfer any remaining cashew cream to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Notes

Nutrition:

  • Serving: makes 2 cups, 6 servings
  • Calories: 450
  • Protein 10.7g
 
  1. The coconut cream is completely optional. I find the cashew cream does not need the addition of coconut cream, but if added it does make the cashew cream extra luscious. 
  2. When blending the cashews with water/broth, be sure to blend thoroughly to achieve a smooth consistency. I blend my cashew cream for at least 1-2 minutes or until I reach a creamy consistency, without any cashew sediment lingering in the sauce. 
  3. Do not oversoak the cashews. Oversoaking causes the cashews to acquire a bitter taste and the water to become slimy, eliminating the flavor from the cashew. If you want to try a longer method of soaking and/or are soaking the cashews overnight, be sure to change the water every 6-8 hours and keep the cashews covered in the fridge.

Nutrition

Calories: 450kcal

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21 comments

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[…] This is the primary base for this pumpkin cheesecake, giving it a rich, smooth texture. You only need to soak the cashews for 15 minutes, but the longer you soak your cashews the better (up to 2 hours). If you want to learn more about making cashew cream, check out my post here. […]

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[…] How to make Cashew Cream […]

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Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup {GF + DF} - Good Food Baddie December 15, 2020 - 6:15 pm

[…] For this recipe, place 1 cup of raw unsalted cashews into a medium bowl. Boil 2 cups of water and pour the hot water over the cashews. Allow the cashews to soak for at least 15 minutes. When ready, place the cashews in a blender with 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth). Slowly add up to 1/2 broth until you reach a creamy, smooth consistency. For a more detailed recipe or for tasty variations on this cashew cream, check out my post: How to Make Cashew Cream. […]

Reply
Cashew Cream Veggie Pasta | Vegan + GF - Good Food Baddie December 17, 2020 - 2:01 am

[…] spinach, caramelized onions, fresh rosemary, mixed with zucchini noodles and topped with a rich cashew cream sauce, this vegetable pasta is a low-carb, protein-rich, pasta lovers […]

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10 Tips For Easily Going Dairy-Free - Good Food Baddie January 6, 2021 - 3:54 am

[…] for heavy cream. You can easily make cashew cream yourself with 3 simple ingredients. Try my Cashew Cream Recipe or my Cashew Cream Veggie Pasta the next time you are craving a creamy pasta […]

Reply
The Best White Bean Quinoa Chili | Vegan + GF - Good Food Baddie January 13, 2021 - 8:07 pm

[…] luscious texture. I use cashew cream often, and share how to make cashew cream 2 ways in this post: How to Make Cashew Cream. If you do not want to use cashew cream, you can substitute it with coconut […]

Reply
Angela July 16, 2021 - 5:26 pm

5 stars
With all of the add-in options this sauce is so versatile.

Reply
Capri Lilly July 17, 2021 - 10:31 pm

It truly is! I use this sauce for so many different dishes!

Reply
Jamie July 16, 2021 - 10:32 pm

5 stars
This looks so creamy and delicious!

Reply
Raquel July 16, 2021 - 10:37 pm

5 stars
This looks fantastic and I love all the variations. Thank you for the recipe!

Reply
Chef Dennis July 17, 2021 - 1:37 am

5 stars
This Cashew Cream Sauce is perfect!

Reply
Capri Lilly July 17, 2021 - 10:31 pm

Thank you! I am so glad you like!

Reply
Addie July 17, 2021 - 2:10 am

5 stars
Such a great dairy free option!

Reply
Linda July 17, 2021 - 5:03 am

5 stars
What a great idea to use cashew. I love the creaminess and how flavorful it is

Reply
Capri Lilly July 17, 2021 - 10:31 pm

Hi Linda! I am so happy you enjoy the recipe! I love the creamy texture as well!

Reply
Oscar July 17, 2021 - 12:35 pm

5 stars
I have been trying to do more dairy free options lately. This looks like something I can incorporate in my diet. Thank you.

Reply
Capri Lilly July 17, 2021 - 10:31 pm

You’re welcome! I hope you enjoy!

Reply
Swathi July 18, 2021 - 5:29 am

5 stars
This cashew cream sauce looks yummy

Reply
Capri Lilly July 20, 2021 - 4:32 pm

Thanks! It’s so delish and has so many uses!

Reply
Sunrita Dutta July 18, 2021 - 12:30 pm

5 stars
A perfect recipe. Made it and it was amazing.

Reply
Brianna May July 19, 2021 - 4:22 pm

5 stars
Yum!!

Reply

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