Vegan Vanilla Cashew Cream is the perfect companion to just about any dessert. It’s delicious on pies, mousses, puddings, and even a bowl of fresh fruit. This easy to make recipe comes together with just 5 ingredients, and it blends together in a matter of seconds. It’s dairy-free and gluten-free.
Easy Vegan Vanilla Cashew Cream
I have a few recipes that are so simple to make that I don’t usually share them. Vanilla Cashew Cream is one of them. Made with just a few ingredients, it’s super easy to whip up. I’ve been cooking vegan food for so long that I sometimes assume others know how to make these easy recipes, too. But when I teach cooking classes, I realize these recipes aren’t as well know as I think they are. I recently demonstrated this recipe in a class, and those in attendance were pretty amazed by it.
What You Need
- Raw cashews
- Medjool dates
- Vanilla extract
- Sea salt
See the recipe card for exact amounts
How to Make Vegan Vanilla Cashew Cream
Making this recipe is super easy! You just throw everything together in a blender and mix until it’s smooth and creamy! A high-speed blender works best, but a regular one will work, too. I like to use my Blendtec’s Twister Jar, as I find that it works better with thicker blends.
A food processor fitted with an s-blade will work too, but it might take a little longer to blend together smoothly. When trying to make cashew cream in a food processor in the past, I’ve found that I often end up with a sweet cashew butter. If this happens, add a little more water until your cream reaches the desired consistency.
Since all devices are different, you may need a little more water than I’ve called for here. Start with ½ cup. If you find that your cream isn’t blending together well, add a little more, one tablespoon at a time. The cream will thicken as it sits, especially if it’s refrigerated.
Storing Your Cashew Cream
Cashew cream will last about 5 days in the refrigerator. It can be frozen for a few months. I like to whip up a batch and then put half of it in the freezer, so that it’s ready when I am. When you thaw your cashew cream, it may seem a little thick and lumpy. Just whisk it together until it's smooth again. Add water, a teaspoon at at time, if needed.
Serving Your Cashew Cream
My favorite summertime dessert is a big bowl of fresh cherries or strawberries with a dollop of this vanilla cream. It’s delicous when layered into parfaits, too. And of course, it can be served with pie, cake, ice cream, mousse, or whatever your favorite dessert is!
Working with Raw Cashews
While creamy cashew recipes can be made with any type of cashews, the raw type is idea. Raw cashews are soft, and they have a mild flavor. Roasted cashews aren’t as soft, and they will give your recipe a roasted, almost burnt flavor.
Raw cashews aren’t technically raw. Cashews have to be processsed with heat in order to be removed from their shells, which are toxic. They’re usually steamed or boiled in the process. They are consired “raw” because they haven’t been roasted.
Other nuts will work in recipes that call for raw cashews, but they might not blend up as smoothly. Cashews are usually used in these types of recipes because they’re soft and blend together well. Harder nuts like almonds and macadamias will need to be soaked for about 8 hours, and they may add a little bit of grit to your recipe, as they can be difficult to fully blend.
Not all recipes call for soaking raw cashews, but I like to soak them for about 2 hours to soften them a little. They should then be drained and rinsed. High-speed blenders can sometimes mix up unsoaked cashews smoothly, but I sometimes find a few leftover chunks in my Blendtec if I don’t soak them.
There are two kinds of dates that I often see at the grocery store – medjool and deglet noor. Deglet noor are the most popular, and they’re the ones that are often sold with the name of just “dates.”
Deglet noor dates are small and firm with a sweet flavor. Medjool dates are larger and chewier, with more of a caramel flavor. They’re softer, so they lend themselves well to raw dessert recipes and creams. I like to soak them for about 15 minutes when using them in recipes where they need to be blended, like this one. (Make sure you remove the pit!)
Medjool dates can usually be found in the produce are of grocery stores in small containers, whereas deglet noors are often found by the nuts and dried fruit. If you can’t find medjools, you can use deglet noors, but I would recommend soaking for a little longer to soften them up.
Vegan Vanilla Cashew Cream
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked for 2 hours, drained and rinsed
- 6 medjool dates pits removed, soaked for 15 minutes, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup water plus more, if needed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Blend all of the ingredients together in a blender until smooth and creamy. If the mixture is too thick, add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Keep in mind that the cashew cream will thicken in the refrigerator.