Learn how to make an all-purpose cashew cream sauce with only 3 ingredients. It’s a delicious, dairy-free alternative to heavy cream and sour cream.
Whether you are vegan, lactose intolerant or just looking to eat a more plant-based diet, cashew cream sauce is going to become one of your new favorite condiments!
Because of its neutral flavor, cashew cream sauce can be used instead of sour cream and heavy cream in some recipes. The base for the sauce is easily adjusted to be as thick, thin, tangy or sweet as you'd like.
In order to achieve a smooth, creamy consistency, you will need a high speed blender or a food processor. I use the Vitamix blender because it's high quality, high powered and I use it to make this sauce and other recipes regularly.
If you have a less powerful blender, no need to fret! Simply soak the cashews before blending to soften them and/or blend the ingredients for a longer time.
The base of this all-purpose cashew cream sauce requires only 3 ingredients.
- raw cashews: The goal for this sauce is to create a neutral flavor base. That's the reason raw cashews are used. Roasted cashews will give you a "cashew butter" flavor instead of a neutral flavor.
- lemon juice: Brightens the sauce up for a fresher taste.
- salt: Just a dash helps to bring out flavor!
The recipe calls for 1 cup of water which will give the sauce the consistency of a thin sour cream.
Make sure to adjust the water amount depending on how thick or thin you'd like the cream to be.
To make the sauce, just add the ingredients to a blender and process until smooth and creamy. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the blender a few times to make sure the ingredients are fully processed.
Cashew cream variations
It's easy to make different variations of this sauce. In addition to the 3 main ingredients, you can add any of the following to the blender to change it up.
To make cashew sour cream, reduce the water to ¾ cup and replace the lemon juice with apple cider vinegar. Also add ½ teaspoon of onion powder.
For drizzling over tacos or roasted vegetables like these brussels sprouts, make a cheesy cashew cream by adding 2 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon onion powder.
If you'd like to make a savory cashew cream for salad dressings or soups add 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon onion powder. It's delicious in roasted butternut squash soup!
Cashew cream can be sweetened and used to top cinnamon rolls or made into frosting. For a sweet cashew cream, add 2 tablespoons maple syrup, honey or sugar.
How to soak cashews
Why do you soak cashews? The main reason cashews need to be soaked is to soften them. If you have a high speed blender, this step is not necessary. Some people soak nuts to make them easier to digest.
How long do you soak cashews? Cover the cashews with fresh water, cover the bowl and allow them to soak at room temperature up to 4 hours. If you are soaking overnight, place the covered bowl in the refrigerator.
How do I soak cashews fast? If you're in a hurry, bring a pot of water to boil. Pour the hot water over the cashews in a heat-safe bowl and allow them to soak for 15 minutes.
How to store
- To Store: This cashew cream sauce will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in a covered container.
- To Freeze: Pour cashew cream into a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 6 months. Allow frozen cashew cream sauce to thaw in the fridge overnight and run it through the blender to smooth any lumps before using.
Recommended kitchen tools
- high speed blender (affiliate link)
More DIY pantry staple recipes
If you love this recipe, check out some of our other easy to make pantry staples!
All-Purpose Cashew Cream Sauce Recipe
All-purpose Cashew Cream Sauce
- 1 ½ cup raw cashews (see notes for soaking)
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (honey or sugar)
Cashew Sour Cream
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews
- ¾ cup water
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Place the raw cashews, water, lemon juice and salt in a high speed blender. (If using add-ins, add them to the blender at this time.)
- Blend on high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy with no lumps. (Scrape down the sides a few times to make sure the ingredients are well blended.) Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.