Sour cream made from cashews on top of chili in a blue bowl.

I absolutely cannot eat a bowl of chili or have taco night without sour cream. It just isn’t the same! So when I started to cut dairy out of my life, not having a sour cream substitution just wasn’t going to work for me. I tried some of the store-bought versions of dairy-free sour cream and was less-than-thrilled with the taste and texture (or the massively long ingredient lists). Enter the magic of cashew cream!

What’s in this dairy-free sour cream substitute?

This dairy-free sour cream is made up of flavored cashew cream. It’s cool and tangy and works perfectly on top of your favorite spicy foods. The ingredients couldn’t be simpler: just cashews, water, lemon, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and salt. After a quick spin in the blender to get it smooth and creamy, the cashew sour cream is chilled until thick.

Cashew cream is an easy and healthy alternative for folks who choose not to eat dairy for either health or ethical reasons. The cashew cream really is incredibly close in texture and fattiness to regular cow’s milk dairy. We have a full post all about the benefits of cashew cream, plus our favorite tips and tricks for how to make it. As a bonus, this vegan sour cream is also naturally gluten-free.

Dairy-free sour cream in a blue bowl, with a spoon stuck in it.

How do you make vegan sour cream?

The most time-consuming part of making dairy-free sour cream is soaking the cashews, but that couldn’t be easier! Just cover the nuts with water and let soak overnight.

If you don’t have time to soak the cashews overnight (or if you forget—I’ve done it!), you can speed up the process with boiling water.

Once you have soaked the cashews, drain and rinse the nuts, and process in a high-speed blender with the other ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate until cool, and you’ve got yourself some dairy-free sour cream!

Is it really as good as “real” sour cream?

I would never scoop this Cashew Sour Cream into a bowl and serve it to the world’s foremost connoisseur of sour cream (if there was such a thing) and say, “I BET YOU CAN’T TASTE A DIFFERENCE.” This definitely doesn’t taste like sour cream on its own.

But when it’s used on things like a great bowl of chili or soup or tacos, it works perfectly. The tanginess of the lemon and vinegar adds that flavor that sour cream does, and the texture is perfectly creamy and cool. A dollop is great on a baked potato, too.

Close up of homemade vegan sour cream on a mound of chili in a turquoise bowl.

If you’re a sour cream-lover and dairy is no longer an option for you, this sour cream will, without a doubt, fit the bill! Enjoy.

Sour cream made from cashews on top of chili in a blue bowl.

Cashew Vegan Sour Cream Recipe

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 6 hours 3 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 3 minutes

Cashew Sour Cream gives you the cool tang that you’d expect from the regular kind, without the dairy!

Adapted from Oh She Glows.


  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • Water
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Place cashews in a bowl or jar (I like using a wide-mouth quart mason jar) and cover with water. Let soak overnight (at least 6 hours).
  2. Once soaking is finished, drain and rinse the nuts, and place in the basin of a high-speed blender. Add in 1/2 cup of water, the lemon juice and zest, the apple cider vinegar, the maple syrup, and the salt and blend on high until the consistency is very smooth—about three minutes.
  3. Refrigerate until cold (about an hour). The cream will get thicker as it cools. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days.


Quick soak method: Cover cashews with boiling water and let sit 1 hour before proceeding.

Super quick method: Place cashews and three cups of water in a saucepan, bring to a boil and continue boiling for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse before proceeding.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 40Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 52mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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