How to Soak Cashews | 3 Easy Methods

Soaking cashews is a great way to make them creamier which makes them the perfect base for many vegan and plant-based sauce and dip recipes. I’ll show you how to soak cashews using 3 easy methods.

Some examples of recipes that start with soaked cashews are vegan cheese replacements like a cheese sauce for mac and cheese, vegan dip, and dressings like ranch or chipotle lime sauce.

Cashews in a white bowl.

What kind of cashews do you soak?

Raw vs roasted cashews

I buy raw unsalted bags of cashews at my local grocery store. Buying the bigger bags is more of an initial investment, but it actually works out to be cheaper in the long run. Most grocery items run on the same principle, which can help some pricier items like cashews fit into your budget easier.

The more quantity you purchase, the lower your cost per unit most of the time. Think Costco.  

Soaking raw cashews as opposed to roasted cashews will give you the best neutral blank canvas for your recipes. Roasted cashews bring a stronger, roasted flavor which can be great in some sauces like a vegan alfredo which is a savory sauce, but not in others like a vegan Ranch dressing which is fresh and herby.

Cashews in a white bowl.

Why soak cashews?

Soaking cashews is an important first step in making plant-based sauce recipes and vegan sauce recipes.

Benefits of soaking cashews:

  • Soaked cashews become softer, making it easier to blend them into a really creamy consistency. This makes them the perfect ingredient for creamy vegan sauces!
  • Soaked cashews are easier to digest. Soaking the cashews breaks down the enzymes and other compounds that can make them difficult to digest.
  • Soaking cashews can make them less bitter, with a milder taste and creamy texture.
A bag of cashews on a cutting board.

Methods for Soaking Cashews

There are 3 methods for soaking cashews, 2 are quick soak methods and one is an overnight method.

  1. Boiling Method
  2. Hot water soak
  3. Overnight soak

How to Quick Soak Cashews

You can quick soak cashew two different ways. Both take less than half an hour with the same results.

How to Boil Cashews

Boiling cashews is the quickest way to make them ready to blend.

  1. Add the cashews to a small pot and add enough water to cover them. Bring the water to a boil
  2. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Drain and use in your recipe.
Water is poured into a pot of cashews.

Add the cashews to a small pot and then cover them with the water.

A pot of cashews in water is boiled.

Bring the water to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.

Cashews drain in a mesh sieve.

Drain the cashews.

Hands break apart soaked cashews.

The cashews will be soft enough to blend. Use them right away or dry them and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

How to Quick Soak Cashews

This method, using hot water, takes a bit longer than boiling but is still much quicker than leaving the cashews to soak overnight.

  1. Add the cashew to a large bowl. 
  2. Bring water to a bowl either in a kettle or on the stove top.
  3. Cover the cashews with the boiling water and let sit for 30-60 minutes.
  4. Drain and use in your recipe.
Cashews are poured into a glass jar.

Add the cashews to a heat safe jar.

Boiling water is poured into a jar of cashews.

Add water that has just been boiled. Let sit for 45-60 minutes. Drain.

Hands break apart soaked cashews.

The cashews are again soft enough to break with your fingers. Use them right away by blending them into a sauce or dry them and refrigerate them for up to 3 days.

How to Soak Cashews Overnight

This method yields the softest, plumpest cashews and takes the most time.

  1. Add the cashews to a large bowl.
  2. Cover the cashews with water.
  3. Let the cashews sit overnight or for 6-8 hours. 
Water is poured into a jar of cashews.

Add cashews to a jar.

Water is poured into a jar of cashews.

Add the water. Let them sit for up to 8 hours.

Hands break apart soaked cashews.

This methods yields the softest cashews and is also the easiest, it just takes time.

Note: If you’re soaking the cashews longer than 8 hours, you should rinse the cashews and change the water at 8-10 hours to prevent the cashews from getting slimy.

When are cashews done being soaked?

The cashews should be soft and plump, not hard and crunchy. If you can’t pull them apart easily and squeeze them slightly, keep soaking.

Comparing soaked cashews on a white marble counter.

FAQ

Can you soak cashews for too long?

Yes, cashews that are soaked in water for too long go rancid. They will have a slimy texture and should not be eaten. This usually takes over 24 hours. It’s best to soak cashews only as long as you need to – an hour in water that has been boiled, or about 8 hours in room temperature water.

Can I soak cashews overnight?

Yes, soak cashews in room temperature water overnight (for about 8 hours) to prepare them for blending. Soaking cashews overnight softens them and leads to a very creamy and silky texture when used in sauce recipes.

Do I need to soak cashews if I’m going to blend them?

Soaked cashews absorb the soaking water and plump up, becoming softer, which will result in a creamier texture when blended.

How do I store soaked cashews?

Store soaked and dried cashews in the fridge for a few days.

Can you eat unsoaked cashews?

Yes, store-bought cashews can been eaten directly from their packaging. They are sold either raw or roasted and sometimes are salted.

Tips for Soaking Cashews

  • time: Oversoaking cashews can make them taste bitter. For best results soak cashews for about 8 hours. Rinse them before continuing to soak. Don’t soak cashews longer than 24 hours.
  • try them all: try all three methods to see which one you like best.
  • softest: the easy method and the one that produces the softest cashew is the overnight soak method. The cashews plump up and are very easy to whip.

Recipes that use Soaked Cashews

I love using these cashews to make an easy spread for quick bread by adding just a bit of maple syrup and vanilla bean paste. Blended cashews are also a great start to recipes like Vegan Burger Sauce, Vegan Caesar dressing, and Creamy Lemon Poppyseed Dressing.

Storage

Store in the fridge and use within a few days.

Cashews in a white bowl.

How to Soak Cashews – 3 Methods

Soaking cashews is a great way to make them creamier which makes them the perfect base for many vegan and plant-based sauce and dip recipes. 
Servings 4
Jacqueline
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 time0 minutes
cook time15 minutes
total time15 minutes

Equipment

  • Kettle or
  • Small Pot
  • Glass Jars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3 cups water

Instructions 

Boiling Method: 15 minutes

  • Add the cashews and water to a small pot.
  • Bring the water to boil and then lower to simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Drain the cashews.
  • Use right away or dry and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Quick Soak Method: 30 minutes

  • Boil water in a kettle or small pot.
  • Add the cashews to a heat safe jar.
  • Add the boiling water.
  • Let sit for 45-60 minutes.
  • Drain the cashews.
  • Use right away or dry and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Overnight Method: 8 hours

  • Add the cashews and water to a jar.
  • Let sit for 8 hours. (*notes)
  • Drain the cashews.
  • Use right away or dry and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Video

Notes

*When using the overnight soak method and soaking the cashews for longer than 8 hours, make sure to refresh the water after 8 hours or the cashews can get slimy. Don’t soak past 24 hours, because the cashews can get slimy.
The overnight soak method yields the softest cashew.
With each method, you can use the cashews as soon as the soaking time is done.
If not using the cashews right away, dry them and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 15g | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 225mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 2mg
course Snack
cuisine Canadian
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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.

Cashews in a white bowl with a text title for Pinterest.

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