A hot, toasted bagel smothered in rich cream cheese is a delicious way to start the day, and now vegans don't have to be left out of this carb-filled deliciousness - try our simple recipe for the best tofu cream cheese; made with firm tofu, dill, and garlic!
Switching to veganism means committing to eating plant-based, but it doesn't have to mean giving up some of your creamy favorites, like rich, dairy-laden cream cheese.
Luckily, a few plant-based alternatives offer an almost identical creaminess to cow's milk, like coconut cream, soy milk, and even aquafaba, that cloudy liquid that comes in a jar of chickpeas.
We use tofu in our recipe for a tofu spread that makes a delicious and even healthier cream cheese alternative containing the same protein levels but less than half the fat and calories.
You can season this cream cheese as we did, switch up the seasonings, or leave it plain to bake it into the creamiest vegan cheesecake on earth.
Follow our simple recipe below, and with a little help from a blender or food processor, you'll have this cream cheese alternative ready to go in less than 10 minutes.
Tofu Cream Cheese - Nutrition Facts
Per serving of tofu cream cheese:
Calories: 42.8 kcal; Fat: 1.8 g; Carbohydrates: 1.8 g; Sugar: 0.58 g; Sodium: 72.8 mg; Fiber: 0.75 g; Protein: 4.75 g.
Vegan Cream Cheese Recipe - FAQ
Do I need to press the tofu?
The pressing component is necessary to make tofu cream cheese; otherwise, the resulting cream cheese will be too watery.
Every tofu block contains quite a bit of water which usually needs pressing to remove some before you get started. We love to use our tofu press, which does the job quickly, in about 15 minutes. If you don't own a tofu press, you can wrap your tofu block in a few pieces of dry paper towel and place the block between two heavy plates or cutting boards. Leave the tofu pressing for 2-3 hours minimum in the fridge or overnight.
Can I use other types of tofu?
There is a wee bit of tofu wiggle room with the tofu because both firm and extra-firm tofu varieties work to make this replacement for cream cheese, as they have the lowest water content.
Regular, soft, and silken tofu is far too watery to get the creaminess you need to make this vegan cream cheese just the right texture.
Is vegan cream cheese healthy?
Vegan cream cheese is far healthier for you than dairy-based cream cheese, as its base is lean, plant-based protein, tofu. This means our tofu contains 1.8 g per ¼ cup compared to over 20 g for the classic version and less than half the calories while maintaining the same protein levels.
By including white miso and raw apple cider vinegar, two fermented foods, you can give your gut health a little boost. Though the quantities aren't huge, you'll find a few vitamins and minerals in a serving of tofu cream cheese, too, especially if you use fortified tofu and soy milk.
Feel free to include some tofu cream cheese in your diet as often as you'd like, though beware what you serve it with; vegan cheesecake is still cheesecake, after all.
We made our recipe savory, but there are endless variations you can create using our simple base recipe.
Be sure to exclude the garlic powder, onion powder, and dried dill, and try a few of these add-ins, instead:
- Fresh herbs and garlic - add in 1 tsp garlic powder and 1/4 c freshly chopped herbs, like basil, cilantro, or parsley.
- Everything bagel - 2 Tbsp everything bagel seasoning mix.
- Tomato and basil - ¼ c. chopped fresh basil and ¼ c. chopped sundried tomatoes
- Vegan Smoked Salmon - 1 tsp fresh dill & ¼ c. chopped homemade carrot lox
- Strawberry - ½ cup mashed strawberries, or berries of choice, and 2-3 Tbsp powdered sugar.
Final Notes & Storage
This cream cheese is fresh-made without preservatives, so it won't last in your fridge for weeks on end like classic cream cheese.
Keep it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to six days. If you'd like to make the best vegan cream cheese ahead of time, you can also freeze some tofu cheese for later!
Simply place in a freezer-safe container and keep in the freezer for up to six months. It's best to freeze it in small batches, so you can easily thaw as much as you'd like at any given time and keep the rest frozen for later.
Enjoy your dreamy, creamy tofu cream cheese!
Tofu Cream Cheese Recipe: The Best Non-Dairy Bagel Spread!
1 16-oz block firm or extra-firm tofu
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 Tbsp white miso paste
5 oz melted refined coconut oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp dried or fresh dill
Unsweetened soy milk, as required to blend
Remove your tofu block from the package and place it into the tofu press. Leave pressing for 15 mins, then remove the block from the press.
Place the pressed tofu, nutritional yeast, white miso, coconut oil, lemon juice, raw apple cider vinegar, sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and fresh or dried dill in a high-powered blender or food processor. Blend or puree until the mixture becomes very smooth. Stop the machine to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula, as necessary.
The mixture will likely get quite thick, so add unsweetened soy milk in small bits as needed. You may want to use a damper or wooden spoon to press down the mixture as it processes.
Taste the non-dairy cream cheese, and add more sea salt to taste.
Spread your delicious dairy-free cream cheese substitute on a slice of your favorite bread, and refrigerate the rest for later.