Tofu Cream Cheese Alternative: The Classic Dairy-Free Recipe


This simple tofu cream cheese alternative reminds us of the old-school alternatives. The original uses firm silken tofu and olive or vegetable oil. That does produce softer results, so we’ve updated the recipe with ingredients that make it a little firmer, but still very spreadable.

Dairy-Free Tofu Cream Cheese Alternative Recipe - plant-based, keto-friendly, high-protein, and healthy!

Tofu Cream Cheese Alternative: The Classic Dairy-Free Recipe

There are a few brands of silken tofu on the market, but the shelf-stable ones by Morinu seem to work best. They aren’t as heavily soaked in water, and still blend into a nice puree.

You can also adjust the seasoning to taste. The original contributed recipe calls for “3 tablespoons of lemon juice or 2 tablespoons of vinegar.” But that might be a little strong for some tastes. Feel free to add it 1/2 tablespoon at a time, and taste as you go.

And I don’t really recommend using white vinegar. It can work, but is a little harsh, and might not be met well by some taste buds. Apple cider vinegar and ume plum vinegar tend to be a little milder and more flavorful. But in a pinch, you can try white vinegar or even white wine vinegar.

I added a touch of miso to the original recipe, as it helps to round out and mellow the flavor. It also provides a little of the cheesy umami. This is still a very soft “cream cheese” that readily spreads on bagels. Feel free to season it with additional herbs and spices for bolder flavor.

Tofu Cream Cheese Alternative (The Classic Recipe) - Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan

Special Diet Notes: Tofu Cream Cheese Alternative

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, peanut-free, nut-free, vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, and keto friendly.

4.3 from 4 reviews
Tofu Cream Cheese Alternative
Prep time
Total time
We've tested and adapted this recipe a bit. If you prefer the original recipe, see the notes below. Also, the Prep time is hands on time only. Allow time for it to thicken in the refrigerator.
Recipe type: Dairy Alternative
Cuisine: American
Serves: about 1⅛ cup
  • 1 cup extra-firm silken tofu (about ¾ of a 12-ounce package), room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice OR ½ to 1 tablespoon ume plum or apple cider vinegar OR a combination of lemon and vinegar, to taste (see notes in post above)
  • ½ teaspoon white miso
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  1. Drain and gently press the tofu to remove excess water (the silken tofu is fragile).
  2. Put the tofu, oil, lemon juice or vinegar, miso, and salt in your blender. Puree until smooth.
  3. Scrape the mixture into a container, even it out, and refrigerate it for a few hours, or until set.
Original Recipe: If you prefer the original recipe, it used 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice or 1 to 2 tablespoons vinegar (ume plum or apple cider vinegar preferred), no miso, and also contained 1 tablespoon sugar.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 tablespoon Calories: 21 Fat: 1.8g Saturated fat: 1.4g Carbohydrates: .3g Sugar: .2g Sodium: 66mg Fiber: 0g Protein: 1.1g

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Barbara Cohen on

    Hi Alisa, I was just planning to buy Tofutti Cream Cheese and I found your recipe. It looks great! Does it matter whether refined or unrefined coconut oil is used? Many Thanks, Barbara

  2. Hi, I want to thank you for this recipe. I was wondering if cream cheese can be made out of tofu and you answered the question. I did a search “Can you substitute cream cheese with tofu?” and found the solution on your site, I do have a subscription to your site. You may have emailed the recipe and I didn’t catch it. I have to eat organic or else my stomach tells me about it. It’s amazing how something can say it is organic, then when i eat it my stomach tells me, “Something is wrong.” I don’t eat dairy either.

    Anyway, thank you very very much.

  3. I don’t know if you’re still answering questions on this recipe, but I’ll try anyway. I need a substitute for cream cheese in baked goods (my own cookie recipe). Do you think this would work? I’m allergic to cashews, so the nut recipes aren’t an option for me. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hi Courtney, I haven’t had great luck with homemade tofu cream cheese in recipes (really, the nut ones do work best), but the store-bought soy-based ones work great. Tofutti (the yellow label is non-hydrogenated), Galaxy Foods Vegan (the purple packaging, not the green), and Daiya all work well and I believe all three are nut free. They’re also pretty well distributed! I can’t remember, but I think Trader Joe’s vegan cream cheese alternative is also soy-based / nut-free.

  4. I have a really good recipe for smoked salmon dip that uses cream cheese. I’m wondering if I could just substitute firm tofu for the cream cheese, without adding any of the other ingredients? I don’t think a recipe with a sweetener in it would make a good salmon dip.

    • Are you allergic to nuts? I think a blend of tofu and cashews would work best, adding lemon juice and salt still, to taste. You could probably get away with just tofu, but it won’t be as rich, and I would still add oil, lemon, and salt.

      • This came out amazing! I just used firm tofu and it came out just fine with the melted coconut oil. I ended up not using sugar and instead adding 1 tsp of onion powered and 1 1 tsp garlic powder to make a savory garlic and onion spread. You’re a genius, darling!

    • Not a great recipe… came out extremely runny and bland, doesn’t really taste like cream cheese. Would make a decent pasta sauce with some tweaks, though

      • I’m so sorry it didn’t work out, but am glad it’s salvageable for you! Did you use extra-firm silken tofu (not firm) and coconut oil? These are the keys to it setting up when chilled.

      • if the recipe is to much to use at one time divide the recipe in half for those who can not figure out how to do this I’ve done this for you.
        Tofu Cream Cheese
        1/2 cup firm or extra-firm silken tofu
        1 tablespoon oil (like extra-light olive or rice bran oil) or melted coconut oil (for firmer)
        1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1 to 2 tablespoons vinegar (ume plum or apple cider vinegar preferred), to taste
        1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
        1/4 teaspoon sea salt

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  6. I am looking for a soy tofu that can be turned into cream cheese to make cheesecake. Do you think this would work?

  7. Hi Alisa,

    I just want to ask if it’s okay to use the regular sugar instead? Does it measure the same as the artificial sweetener? Thank you

  8. I tried this as is, and it does taste more like mayo than cream cheese. However, I salvaged it by turning it into vegan ranch dressing. With this recipe as a base for the ranch dressing, I added 1/4 cup almond milk, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tbsp Italian herbs, and pepper to taste. <3

  9. I’m wondering how you think this cream cheese recipe would work if I made it and used it in a dairy free cream cheese frosting recipe? I’ve been having trouble finding any ready made lactose free cream cheese in stores and am looking for an alternative way to make my frosting.

    • I don’t think it would work quite as well – I prefer cashew-based crème cheese for frostings. In stores, you can look for brands like Go Veggie, Daiya, Follow Your heart and Tofutti.

  10. Amit May Cohen on

    Hi! It looks like a great and simple recipe. Can I use a different sweetener rather then using sugar? like maple syrup or agave?


    • I would recommend finely ground coconut sugar to keep it from softening too much. This definitely has a softer texture, so a liquid sweetener may be a bit much. You can also try reducing or omitting the sweetener.

  11. I found this to be far too strong with the vinegar and sugar levels. I cut the vinegar in half as well as the sugar and then salted to taste.

  12. I’m wanting to try this out! Would it taste good on a bagel? I’m hoping the texture wouldn’t be too goopy.

  13. Great recipe – it tastes just like the tofu cream cheese that we usually buy but with only five simple ingredients instead! I’ll be adding this to my regular repertoire.

  14. Hi Alisa,

    I am new to trying tofu and dairy alternatives. I would like to make fried cream cheese wantons and was wondering how soft tofu would hold up to deep frying.


  15. Lora Yeager-Smith on

    Neat! I knew there had to be a cream cheese alternative! I’m evolving into a vegetarian, trying to go vegan, since I’m lactose intolerant anyway. Great place to help fill the void.

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