If you’re nut-free, this creamy, dreamy dairy-free recipe for Vegan Cream Cheese is perfect for you!
Made with just 4 ingredients and only a few minutes of active work, this simple vegan cheese is the perfect dairy-free dupe to use in any sweet or savory application you please.
If you’ve followed Addicted to Dates for long, you might already know that the blog could easily have been called “Addicted to Cheesecake” instead. With almost 40 cheesecake recipes already published, I go through a LOT of vegan cream cheese, and my homemade version is without a doubt the best I’ve ever tried.
This homemade dairy-free cream cheese is also perfect in my plant-based cream cheese frosting (which is a natural pair for my vegan carrot cake and vegan pumpkin cupcakes), not to mention any other sweet or savory recipe that you can think of. It honestly tastes just like Philadelphia cream cheese!
📖 Recipe Overview
- Allergen-Friendly Recipe - This naturally gluten-free and dairy-free cream cheese recipe also happens to be nut-free and made without tofu!
- Ultra Creamy Consistency - If you’re looking for a vegan bagel schmear, this is it. It spreads like a dream!
- No Detectable Coconut Flavor - Despite being made with coconut cream, this mildly tangy and faintly sweet homemade vegan cheese tastes just like the original.
- Made With Only 4 Ingredients - It’s likely you already have most of what you need on hand.
- Quick & Easy Preparation - While making this vegan cream cheese recipe does take a few days from start to finish, most of it is waiting time. You only need to spend about 15 minutes of active time to make it.
🧾 Ingredients Needed
As promised, you only need 4 simple ingredients to make my homemade cream cheese recipe. Here’s what to grab:
- Full-Fat Canned Coconut Milk - You’ll only use the thick part that floats to the top, so save the remaining milk for other uses. Alternatively, you can purchase coconut cream. But DO NOT confuse it with canned “cream of coconut” which is a cloyingly sweet bar mixer.
- Lemon Juice - Freshly squeezed lemon juice is far superior tasting to the kind that comes in a bottle. To get the most juice out of your fruit, give it a firm roll on the countertop for 10-15 seconds before slicing it open.
- Vegan Greek-Style Yogurt or Skyr - I use Alpro brand soy Greek-style yogurt, but feel free to use any plant-based plain, thick yogurt. Please note that I haven’t tried this recipe with coconut, nut, or oat-based yogurt, so the taste may change somewhat. Soy is a great choice for a neutral flavor.
- Sea Salt - If you use a different style of salt in your kitchen (e.g. Himalayan pink salt or kosher salt). Please refer to a conversion chart for proper measurement.
🥣 How To Make Vegan Cream Cheese
You’re only minutes away from having the best vegan cream cheese resting peacefully in your fridge. It firms up to a gorgeously spreadable round of creamy goodness. Here’s how it’s made:
Step 1: Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: Whisk everything together until smooth.
Step 3: Strain. Place a sieve or colander over a second large mixing bowl and line it with cheesecloth. Transfer the cheese mixture to the prepared vessel.
Step 4: Squeeze out some of the excess liquid, then secure the top of the cheesecloth with a rubber band.
Step 5: Weight, then wait. Place a small plate on top with 1-2 heavy cans on top to help drain off the liquid. (I used a 700g jar of apple sauce, but 2x 400g cans of any unopened foods you have will do the job!) Refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
Step 6: Mold. If you want to shape the cheese as pictured, place the cheesecloth sack into a cheese-making mold and refrigerate overnight (24-48 hours in total). If you’re not using a mold, just continue to refrigerate for the same amount of time in the original straining vessel.
Step 7: Unwrap. Remove the block of cream cheese from the cheesecloth. You'll be left with a mixture of water and light cream in the bowl. You can reserve this and use it for other recipes. What's left in the cheesecloth will be thick and creamy vegan cheese.
Step 8: Use or Store. Place the cream cheese in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 7 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
This vegan nut-free cream cheese substitute can be used in any recipe that calls for cream cheese, including:
- Pound Cake by Vegan Richa
- Whoopie Pies by Floured Frame
- Vegan Carrot Lox & Bagels by Love And Lemons
- Mac & Cheese by This Savory Vegan
- Vegan Pimento Cheese by Glue & Glitter
- Party Dips like this Spinach Cream Cheese Dip by Karrisa’s Vegan Kitchen
- Stuffed French Toast by Make It Dairy-Free
There sure is! While you can buy several brands at the store, I find that this from-scratch recipe yields the most convincing plant-based cream cheese around.
Absolutely! While all of my cheesecakes that call for DF cream cheese are no-bake (like this tasty vegan banoffee cheesecake), feel free to use this just like you would regular cream cheese next time you need an impressive plant-based dessert. 🤓
This vegan recipe yields a very convincing Philadelphia cream cheese doppelganger that melts just as well as the original.
🥛 More Vegan Basics Recipes
- Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth.
- Place a fine-mesh sieve or colander over a second large mixing bowl and line the sieve/colander with cheesecloth. Transfer the mixture to the lined sieve/colander.
- Carefully squeeze out some of the excess liquid. Secure the top of the cheesecloth with a rubber band.
- Place a small plate on top with 1-2 heavy cans on top (these act as a weight to help drain off the liquid!). I used a 700g jar of apple sauce, but 2x 400g cans of any unopened foods you have will do the job! Refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
- After 2-4 hours, if you want to shape the cheese as pictured, place it into a cheese-making mold (while remaining in the cheesecloth) and refrigerate overnight (24-48 hours in total). If You’re not using a mold, just continue to refrigerate for the same amount of time.
- Remove the block of cream cheese from the cheesecloth. After the cheese is chilled and strained, you'll be left with a mixture of water and light cream in the bowl. You can reserve this and use it for other recipes like smoothies, soups, and stir-fries. What's left in the cheesecloth will be thick vegan cream cheese.
- Storage: Place the cream cheese in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 7 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
- Coconut Milk - Avoid coconut milk with added guar gum or other stabilizers, as this prevents the cream from separating - which is necessary for this recipe. I recommend Biona or Nature's Charm natural coconut milk.
- Reserve the leftover water from the cans of coconut milk to use in smoothies, stir-fries, or soups.
- Use fresh lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice is usually spiked with lemon essential oil, which gives it somewhat of a heavy-handed flavor.
- Don’t rush the straining & chilling. Pressing out all of the liquid takes time, but results in a luscious consistency. If you stop it too soon, you’ll end up with more of a creme fraiche consistency.
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