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.
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.
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.
- 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
- Drain and gently press the tofu to remove excess water (the silken tofu is fragile).
- Put the tofu, oil, lemon juice or vinegar, miso, and salt in your blender. Puree until smooth.
- Scrape the mixture into a container, even it out, and refrigerate it for a few hours, or until set.
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
Refined coconut oil has a neutral taste, unrefined has a coconut influence in the taste.
I just made the tofu cream cheese recipe and subbed canola oil for the coconut oil. It came out great. Thanks so much!
Awesome! I’m glad it worked out well for you Barbara.
How long does it keep in fridge?
About 1 week.
Can this be done with firm tofu? Where I live is the only version i can find. Thanks!
It won’t be quite as smooth as silken, but you can try it. I would also use coconut oil, not regular oil to help it firm up properly.
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.
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.
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!
Marvelous! And I love your modifications Bijan.
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.
Great recipient. But . . . Can I freeze it? It is too much for one person to use as quickly as you suggest.
Unfortunately, tofu doesn’t tend to freeze very well.
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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I am looking for a soy tofu that can be turned into cream cheese to make cheesecake. Do you think this would work?
Yes, but or the firmest results, I would use coconut oil or reduce the oil.
I would love a cheeeecake with this also. But if I use coconut oil what quantity would I used?
You are using coconut oil in place of the other oil? Use the full amount. It will actually help it set up much better when chilled.
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
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
Thanks for sharing this Rae!
Ths tastes like vegan mayo.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for the feedback Cassie.
I’m wanting to try this out! Would it taste good on a bagel? I’m hoping the texture wouldn’t be too goopy.
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.
How long does this last in the fridge?
I would only keep it for 2 to 3 days.
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.
Hmm, not sure how that would fair in terms of keeping a cream cheese like texture, but tofu is pretty yummy when fried.
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.
Hi Lora, I MUCH prefer the cashew cream cheese alternative recipe (if you can do nuts). Tofu tends to work better for alternatives like ricotta, since it is softer.