Cashew Sauce | Base Recipe | Vegan

Easy Cashew Sauce | Cashew sauce is a luscious and creamy base recipe for other delicious plant-based sauces like Burger Sauce, Pasta Sauce, and many other dips and spreads. The base recipe is just soaked cashews whipped with water which you can flavor in so many different sweet or savory ways.

A white cashew sauce in a white bowl.

Cashew sauce is one of those basic recipes that just feels like a must-have. It’s creamy, delicious, super versatile, easy to make, and is a great dairy-free substitute for the base of so many sauce and dip recipes from garlicky, to cheesy, to spicy, to sweet.

You can do so many things once you make this base recipe. I don’t add anything to this recipe except the cashews and water. You could substitute plant milk for water if you want to.

This is a great recipe for beginners because all you need to do is soak the cashews and then blend them. A high-powered blender is best.

When using this base to make a sauce, you’ll want to make sure to season it with salt and adjust the consistency by using more liquid if needed.

Try my Vegan Burger Sauce which starts with this recipe.


This is a brief overview of the ingredients used in this recipe followed by substitution ideas. Read the recipe card for measurements.

Cashews in a white bowl with text label for Pinterest.
  • soaked cashews: cashews are the only ingredient besides water in this base recipe. They blend best when soaked. You can soak cashews in a few different ways including overnight soaking, boiling them, and soaking them in boiling water. Read my article on How to Soak Cashews | 3 Ways for step-by-step instructions.

Substitutions + Variations

Whipped cashews are the perfect versatile and velvety smooth base for your favorite plant-based sauces and spreads. Try these variations below to make your own sauces.

  • water: use plant milk instead for a creamier version. Cashew milk would be fitting but any unsweetened, unflavored plant milk should do.
  • pasta sauce: want an easy pasta sauce? Try adding some onion powder, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice for a sauce to toss with gemelli or bucatini noodles.
  • salad dressing: make a ranch-type dressing by adding apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, chives, dill, parsley, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  • sweet spread: Want something to spread on top of a slice of banana bread? Add some maple syrup and vanilla bean paste.
  • burger sauce: top your burgers with a plant-based sauce by adding mustard, ketchup, chopped pickles, pickle juice, vinegar, salt, and sugar.
A white cashew sauce in a white bowl.


Prep Tips

  • Soak cashews. Soak 1 cup of raw cashews in 3 cups of water overnight. Read my post on How to Soak Cashews for 2 quicker soaking methods!
  • Appliance: I use my cup blender for my Ninja Home System to whip my soaked cashews.

Once your cashews are soaked you’ll only need water to whip them into a silky smooth sauce. This sauce is a base recipe for you to add any flavors you can dream up.

Cashews are poured into a blender cup.
  1. Add the soaked and drained cashews to the blender cup.
Water is added to a blender cup with cashews in it.
  1. Pour in the water.
Cashews are blended in a blender cup on a Ninja blender base.
  1. Blend for 1-2 minutes until silky. Add water a tablespoon at a time, as needed.
A spatula scoops cashew sauce out of a blender cup.
  1. Check the sauce and blend further if needed.

How to use Cashew Sauce

My favorite way to use this easy homemade sauce is in a vegan burger sauce on my chickpea burgers. The sauce is reminiscent of a Big Mac or In ‘n’ Out style burger sauce – but plant-based!

A white cashew sauce in a white bowl.

Tips for Making A Creamy cashew sauce

  • Soaked cashews: Make sure your cashews are soaked so they blend into a silky smooth mixture. I prefer to soak my cashews overnight.
  • Adjust the consistency: Add more or less water to adjust the thickness of this cashew sauce. I like it thicker for burger sauce and thinner for salad dressings.
  • Use a powerful blender: A powerful blender is the key to most super smooth sauces. The Ninja blender never disappoints me. The BlendTec and VitaMix are other popular high-powered blenders.
  • Flavor it: Take this base vegan cashew sauce recipe and make your own new sauce recipe out of it. Check the substitutions section of this post for some ideas.

What to serve with creamy cashew sauce

Use the cashew sauce recipe as the base for Pasta sauces like an alfredo copycat or faux cheesy sauce made with nutritional yeast.

You can also use this sauce as the base for a dressing for Grain Bowls or to drizzle on top of roasted vegetables.

Try using cashew cream as the start for sauces like Cilantro Crema, Burger Sauce, or garlicky herb sauces to top your favorite burgers, tacos, sandwiches and wraps.


Store cashew sauce in a covered container in the fridge for up to a week.

A white cashew sauce in a white bowl.


Can I use roasted cashews instead of raw cashews?

Roasted cashews will alter the flavor of this cashew sauce base recipe and will be good for savory sauces like garlic pasta sauce. Use raw cashews for a more versatile blank slate.

Can I freeze cashew sauce?

Yes you can freeze cashew sauce for 4-6 months.

Can I use cashew sauce in cooking?

Yes you can add flavored cashew sauce to pasta for a sauce or use it in casseroles.

Can I use cashew sauce as a base for salad dressings?

Yes you can thin cashew sauce with water or plant milk and add in other various ingredients to make a dressing. You can add tahini, mustard, vinegar, fresh herbs, spices, cheese or cheese replacement products.

A white cashew sauce in a white bowl.

Cashew Sauce | Base Recipe

Cashew cream is a great start to many plant-based dips, spreads, and sauces.
Servings 4
special diet
A brown circle with the letters d and f to signify dairy-free.
A brown circle with the letters p and b to signify plant-based.
An orange circle with the letters s and f to signify soy-free.
A green circle with the letter v to signify vegan.
A green circle with the letters v and v to signify vegetarian.
prep time5 minutes
total time5 minutes



  • 1/2 cup raw cashews - soaked
  • 1/4 cup water - or plant milk


  • Soak the cashews using your favorite method. This can take anywhere from 20 minutes (boiling) to 8 hours overnight. I prefer overnight.
  • Add the cashews and the water to a blender cup.
  • Blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth. Add more water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  • Once the sauce is smooth, it's ready to use in your recipe.


This recipe is easy to double or triple, just soak more cashews.
This is a base recipe and while you can use it to top things like grain bowls or tacos, it’s best used as the jumping-off point for other recipes like salad dressing, burger sauce, sweet spreads, or dips.


Calories: 94kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 112mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg
course Sauce
cuisine Canadian
Did you make this recipe?Mention @myplantbasedbowlblog or tag #myplantbasedbowl!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.

A white cashew sauce in a white bowl with text for Pinterest.

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