This tofu cream cheese is so easy to make, loaded with flavor, fully dairy-free and also nut-free. Makes for a delicious savory spread over bagels, but also amazing in sandwiches, stirred in creamy pasta dishes or to dollop over pizza. It is high in plant-based protein and can help you feel full longer!
We are all about vegan cheeses over here. Some of our favorite are vegan feta cheese for salads, vegan mascarpone to dip in fruits and I just made that amazing vegan powdered cheese to be able to whip up a last minute creamy mac n' cheese. Which we have been making every 2-3 days since out on the blog. It is so good and convenient.
And I have been having a few requests for a vegan substitute for cream cheese, which is why I am so eager to share my new tofu cream cheese recipe! Plus, I just shared a homemade bagel recipe, so needless to say that a DIY vegan cream cheese spread is a must.
But why use tofu? It is already firm, easily blend-able to a creamy texture and provides an amazing flavorless base to add all the flavoring. But the most exciting reason: this dairy-free cream cheese is high in plant-based protein! Making a vegan cream cheese using tofu instead of cashews can help you feel full longer, but also makes it lower-in-fat and calories, if that's something you are looking for.
Also, I see so many tofu cream cheese recipes made using coconut oil as well. The oil firms up when chilled and helps the spread be closer in texture to a regular cream cheese. But honestly, I didn't use it at all and still was amazed by the creaminess, richness and thickness of this dip. And I love oil-free recipes!
Use over bagels, stir in pasta dishes, spread in sandwiches or dig in some veggies or crackers, I'm sure this tofu dip won't last for too long in your fridge! Enjoy 🙂
Why you'll love this recipe
- Easy and done within 5 minutes
- Made with simple ingredients
- Cheaper than store-bought vegan cream cheese
- Free of preservatives or any added oil
- High-in-protein & healthy
- Dairy-free, gluten-free & nut-free (school safe)
Ingredients & substitutions
- Extra firm tofu: you will need a firm kind of tofu to make it. Silken tofu or other soft tofus are way too watery and using them would give you a runny spread.
- Nutritional yeast: gives it that cheesy flavor. If you don't have it, then add a little miso paste instead for a similar umami flavor, but know that it won't be as cheesy (and you might want to add a little less salt too).
- Apple cider vinegar: important for a tangy cheesy flavor. Could swap for lemon juice or do a combo of vinegar + lemon juice. Add more if you like your vegan cheese more tangy!
- Plant-based milk: use as much as you need for desired texture, which will depend on the type of tofu you used and how much water it retained (you might not even need any if your tofu is already quite soft). Be sure to use an unflavored and unsweetened milk and use oat or soy for a nut-free recipe.
- Garlic and onion powder: they add so much amazing flavor!
- Dried chives and dill: these are optional, but really boost the flavor even more.
How to make it
Pat dry the block of tofu and remove as much water as you can. You can also do a quick press by wrapping the tofu in clean towels and top with something heavy for 10-15 minutes.
Then roughly break up the tofu in your food processor and add the apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Add 2-3 tablespoons of plant-based milk and process until ultra smooth. Take a few breaks to scrape the walls and keep processing until ultra creamy.
Adjust consistency and add flavor
Then, add 1 tablespoon extra of milk as needed to reach desired consistency. I usually use 4 tablespoons, but you might need more or less depending on your tofu and how much water it retained.
Once you reach the desired creaminess, add the chives and dill and pulse a few times. Try to keep the dried herbs mostly intact. Taste and adjust the overall flavor by adding more vinegar, salt and spices.
Chill or serve
You can absolutely serve this cream cheese right after done, but I find that the flavors intensify after chilling in the fridge for a few hours (the texture also firms up a bit). So if possible, make it the day before you need it.
Watch how to make it
- Be sure to remove as much water as you can from the block of tofu. Take your time to wrap in a towel and even press it gently. It is fine if it breaks a little while drying it as you will blend it anyway.
- Go slow when adding the milk. You might not need very much. Start with 2-3 tablespoons, process and then, add about 1 tablespoon extra at a time as needed.
- I prefer to add the dried herbs (chives and dill) after the basic cream cheese is nicely creamy so I don't have to process that much anymore. This allows the cream cheese to keep some texture without turning green.
- You can also divide the cream cheese in 2 equal portions before adding the chives and dill and flavor them differently.
Other flavoring ideas
This recipe is so easy to personalize to your taste. I would definitely make sure to add extra flavoring ingredients that are savory as it already contains garlic and onion powder, but feel free to swap the dried chives and dried dill for:
- Finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Either choose in oil or even better, rehydrate and drain oil-free dried tomatoes.
- Use fresh herbs such as dill and chives but also parsley, cilantro and basil.
- Fold in chopped olives or steamed (and pat dried) spinach for a fun dip.
- Add some fresh garlic for a good punch in flavor.
- If you like spicy flavors, add finely chopped jalapeño or even spicy canned green chiles for added tangy flavor.
- Similar to this tofu spread, add in some shredded carrots to sneak in extra texture and nutrients.
- Feel free to add more nutritional yeast for an extra boost in cheesy flavor or even fold in some everything bagel seasoning, especially if planning on spreading over bagels.
Keep this tofu cheese spread in the fridge in an air-tight container for a few days. It will firm up slightly, which makes the spread even better. Stir well before using.
I don't recommend freezing it though as the water might separate from the spread and you will loose on the creamy consistency. If you are worried to have more cream cheese than you can eat in the next few days, then I would recommend you divide in 2 bowls and flavor them differently to keep things interesting.
There are so many ways to use this vegan tofu cream cheese other than spreading over bagels!
Add dollops over pizza, stir in creamy pasta dishes such as mac and cheese and avocado pasta, stuff in lasagna roll ups, spread in sandwiches to boost the protein content, use to make vegan pin wheels, etc.
It also makes for a nice dip for veggie sticks and crackers. Include it when making a vegan charcuterie board!
But our favorite way to enjoy it is paired with my vegan carrot lox for brunch or lunch.
No. The tofu is the main ingredient, so you cannot swap it. Check out this cashew ricotta for a soy-free vegan cheese.
You can use a blender, although you will need to take more breaks to scrape the walls with a spatula and bring the mixture back to the blade. You can also use an immersion blender.
Other tofu recipes you might like
- Sweet and sour tofu
- Sticky tofu
- Creamy cajun pasta
- Crispy panko tofu nuggets
- Tofu bolognese
- Spicy buffalo 'chicken' sandwich
- Coconut crusted tofu bites
- Vegan tofu tikka masala
- Silken tofu scramble
- Marinated smoky tofu
I hope you like this vegan tofu cream cheese as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Vegan Tofu Cream Cheese
- Food processor
- 454 g extra firm tofu (or one block)
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar - lemon juice works too
- 2-4 tbsp plant-based milk (oat or soy for nut-free) - or as much as needed for desired consistency
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
Optional herbed flavoring (see notes)
- 1 tbsp dried chives
- ½ tbsp dried dill
- Roll the block of tofu in a clean towel and gently press the tofu to remove as much water as you can.
- Then, break up the tofu in a food processor and add the apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder and plant-based milk (start with 2 tablespoons). Process until ultra smooth and creamy taking a few breaks to scrape the walls. Then, adjust the consistency by adding 1 tablespoon of plant-based milk at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- Once the mixture is smooth, then add the dried chives and dill and pulse a few times.
- Use right away or chill first for a few hours for more pronounced flavors and improved spreadable texture.
- Store in the fridge for 4-5 days in an air-tight container (do not freeze).
- Other flavoring ideas in place of the dried chives and dill are: sun dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, fresh garlic, olives, jalapeño, canned green chiles and so much more.
- Use over bagels, but also add to pasta dishes, dollop over pizza or focaccia, spread in sandwiches or simply use as a high protein dip for veggies or crackers.