A thick and creamy vegan sour cream made with just six ingredients (that includes water and salt!) and a few minutes of your time. It’s a simple and delicious plant-based, gluten-free, dairy free sour cream substitute!
Creamy, Tangy, Delicious Cashew Sour Cream
This dairy free sour cream is simplicity at it’s finest. Using just a few ingredients, you can whip up a 100% vegan sour cream that can be used in pretty much all the same ways you would use the dairy version.
I’ve spent a while perfecting this sour cream substitute, trying to make sure that each ingredient adds to the right flavor, texture, and consistency. I think I’ve finally found my perfect blend! And all from just six simple ingredients.
- Raw Cashews
- Plain Dairy-free Yogurt
- White Vinegar (or Apple Cider Vinegar)
- Lemon Juice
- Sea Salt
There are several base ingredients that you could use for making a sour cream substitute (and I have tried a few of them). However, I’ve found that cashews are the perfect neutral, creamy base for a number of vegan sauces and recipes.
In fact, I love cashew-based sauces and desserts so much that you’ll see them all over my blog- like for these Easy Vegan Scalloped Potatoes, Healthy Mac and Cheese, or this Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip.
When combining the rich and creamy cashews with a bit of yogurt and the acidity of the lemon juice, salt, and vinegar, you end up with a tart, tangy non dairy sour cream, worthy of all your favorite recipes.
Plus, unlike many store-bought options, this recipe is ‘cleaner’ and contains no nasty additives, gums, or preservatives. It can even be used as a vegan crème Fraiche too!
Soaking Cashew Nuts
This is something that can cause a lot of questions, so I thought I’d answer them here.
Technically, if you have a blender that is powerful enough, then you may not need to soak the nuts at all. However, it helps to get a smooth, creamy blend.
Also, while I find the cashew flavor muted anyway, by ‘quick soak’ boiling the cashews for 10-15 minutes, you’ll not only end up with super soft cashews to blend, but it also reduces some of their flavor.
You may also want to soak your cashews for reasons other than just how easily they blend. Cashews contain levels of phytic acid – an anti-nutrient that impairs certain mineral absorption. By soaking the cashews, you can reduce the phytic acid content, increase enzyme activity, and make them easier to digest.
There are two methods for soaking the cashews:
Method 1: Soak the cashews in a few inches of cold water for 3-4 hours. As cashews are soft nuts anyway, this is all they need. Although, you can also leave them overnight if you want to prep them the evening before.
Method 2: The quick-soak process- Simply use very hot water instead of cold water and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Alternatively, boil them for around 10 minutes on the stovetop.
How To Make The Vegan Sour Cream Recipe
This recipe is so ridiculously simple to make and takes practically only a few minutes of ‘hands-on’ time. If ‘effortless’ is something you’re looking for, then you’ve found it!
Step 1: Begin by soaking the cashews either in cold water for 3-4 hours, or overnight. Alternatively, go for a quick soak, until soft, as mentioned above. Once soaked, drain, and rinse the cashews.
Step 2: Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You’ll need to stop the machine occasionally to scrape down the sides. Depending on your blender, this can take a few minutes.
Step 3: Taste the vegan sour cream and adjust the seasonings as wanted. Feel free to add more vinegar or lemon for more tang, or even a spoonful of mustard.
You can then either use the non dairy sour cream immediately or store it in the fridge for later usage. If using a cultured yogurt for this recipe, then the cream should continue to culture overnight and become even more flavorful.
And that really is all that it takes. I told you that it couldn’t get much simpler!
For the full ingredients list, measurements, and nutritional information, then please find the printable recipe card below.
How To Store
Any cashew sour cream leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 days. It is also freezer-friendly and can be stored for up to four months.
The cashew cream will thicken in the fridge, so feel free to mix in a splash of water or plant-based milk and whisk, to thin if required.
The same can be said for when you freeze it. Allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight and then whisk in a little plant-based milk or water if required.
Recipe Tips & Variations:
- I don’t recommend making this recipe using a food processor. I did for this post as my blender died out of the blue. Unfortunately, it struggles to get a super smooth texture and takes quite a lot longer than a blender would.
- A cashew cream will thicken up in the oven slightly as the cream will lose some of its water content. Just to be aware if you want to use it on pizza, etc. To combat this, I usually just add an extra dollop to my baked dishes once they’re out of the oven.
- Use any plant-based yogurt of choice, as long as it’s plain. I prefer unsweetened coconut yogurt. However, soy or almond yogurt will work too.
- You can use apple cider vinegar in place of the white vinegar.
- Add a little mustard for additional tang.
- Make sure that there is enough volume of ingredients in your blender for it to effectively ‘cream’ them. You may have to adapt the recipe quantity according to your blender jug (and any extras can be frozen!).
- If you’re unable to get the cashews as smooth and creamy as wanted, even with soaking, then you can try to use cashew butter instead.
- Different people prefer different levels of ‘tanginess.’ So, I suggest adding the salt, lemon, and vinegar in small quantities to begin with. Taste, and then increase the amounts as needed.
- Add an extra hint of flavor to the sour cream with the addition of either granulated onion (onion powder) or even nutritional yeast (for cheesy flavor).
- For an alternative to cashew nuts, you could try macadamia nuts, or possibly pine nuts. I haven’t tried either, though, so I can’t guarantee the results – and the taste will differ.
How To Use This Sour Cream Substitute?
Now that it’s whipped up and ready to use, comes the fun part; eating it! Luckily for you, there are tons of ways.
Traditionally, this cream is a marvel for Mexican-inspired recipes; that includes Tacos, Loaded Nacho Fries, Enchiladas (see picture below!), Oven-Roasted Vegetable Fajitas, Taquitos, Quesadillas, etc.
However, you can also use this dairy-free sour cream along with:
Pasta dishes: Within the sauce of hot and cold pasta dishes, as well as lasagna– like these Lasagna Roll-Ups.
Potato dishes: Spooned over Stuffed Potato Skins.
As a drizzle: I love to use sour cream to drizzle over burgers, falafels, and serve alongside summer BBQ options or dressing over salad bowls – like this Mexican Avocado Salad.
You can also use the cream as an ingredient within a variety of dips, dressings, sauces, and even within baking (like cakes, biscuits, and cheesecakes!).
This Recipe Is:
- Ready in Minutes
- Plant-based (dairy-free)
- Easy to make
- All in all, a perfect dairy sour cream substitute!
If you enjoy this raw vegan sour cream recipe, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan – because I love seeing your recreations.
Vegan Sour Cream
- Soak cashews for at least 3 hours or overnight in cold water. To speed up the process, you can also boil them for 10-15 minutes or until softened, then drain and rinse.
- In a blender, combine all ingredients. If using a high-speed blender like a Vitamix, use less water, about 1/4 cup. Blend until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy. You will need to stop the blender occasionally to scrape down the sides as necessary. Depending on your blender this might take a couple of minutes.
- Taste the cream and adjust seasonings. If you prefer more tang, simply add more vinegar or lemon juice. Serve the vegan sour cream immediately or chill in the fridge if you want to use it later.
- Store leftovers in a glass jar with a lid in the fridge for up to 6 days. The mixture will thicken a bit in the fridge. If you prefer a thinner cream, simply whisk in a little water. Enjoy!
- Use any plant-based yogurt of choice. I prefer coconut yogurt, but you can also use soy yogurt or almond yogurt.
- You can use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar.
- Add a little mustard for more flavor if you like.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically
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