Five Minute Cashew Sauce Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Five Minute Cashew Sauce

72 reviews / 4.7 average

Oh glory be. 👼

That right there is a big bowl of wonderful that is going to change your vegan life.

Wait, not vegan? Me neither. CARRY ON EVERYONE.

This is a luscious vegan cashew sauce that can sub for just about anything thick and creamy and dairy-based that you might need in a recipe... and it can be made in five minutes. Soooo, like, why are we still here right now?

Flip back through a few posts and you will see the blazing truth: I like dairy-based cream sauces a lot. Probably too much. Probably to the point of weird much.

So when the internet started teaching me that this was a thing - cashews? in a sauce? - even as a dairy lover, I became totally enchanted by the idea of something so creamy and wonderful being nothing more than simple CASHEWS. Blended up. Eaten on everything.

Remember creamy spinach sweet potato noodles with cashew sauce? That was my first encounter with this magic, and fortunately the way I wrote that recipe left me with a little bit of extra cashew sauce for the fridge, so I've had plenty of opportunity to make use of this deliciousness over the last week. Super hard work, but someone's gotta do it.

Cashew Sauce! Just four easy ingredients: cashews, garlic, salt, and water! Perfect base sauce recipe for pasta, dips, or cheesy sauce alternatives. Vegan. |

I like to think of this as a blank canvas food. You soak cashews and blend them up with a little water, garlic, and salt, and that's your BLANK CANVAS time.

It's kind of a basic, simple, non-committal-flavor base sauce that could stay as-is and still be wonderful (dat garlic!) or could be used as a starting point for many a tasty combos involving a range of spices or flavors.

But as it stands, it's a wide-open blank canvas waiting for you to make it into anything you want above and beyond the existing cashew + garlic + salt trifecta.

Cashew Sauce! Just four easy ingredients: cashews, garlic, salt, and water! Perfect base sauce recipe for pasta, dips, or cheesy sauce alternatives. Vegan. |
Cashew Sauce! Just four easy ingredients: cashews, garlic, salt, and water! Perfect base sauce recipe for pasta, dips, or cheesy sauce alternatives. Vegan. |

And with the push of a button on your food processor, just like that, you have a sauce that can serve many purposes ranging from a simple creamy pasta sauce, to vegan nacho-cheese-esque sauce, to an alternative sour cream drizzle, to a spicy dip for chips ♥️, to a direct spoon to mouth situation.

Speaking of food processor, do you have one? YOU NEED ONE. I love mine so much that I wrote a full post showing off 12 magical ways that I use my food processor. Must must must. Go now.

Things you could add to the sauce / excuses for eating this sauce 24/7/365:

  • Sriracha
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Chipotle Peppers
  • Pesto or Fresh Herbs
  • Squash/Carrots/Spinach
  • Sugar! (remove the savory elements of garlic and salt // replace with sweet stuff like peanut butter, sugar, cocoa, vanilla... BRB gotta go try that)
  • NOTHING - because it tastes really yummy as-is 👌

That's 5 minute cashew sauce, my friends!

If you are a clever vegan or just a general cashew sauce lover and you already do something amazing with cashew sauce that I have not thought of, I am expecting a full report in the comments. Srsly now.

Cashew Sauce! Just four easy ingredients: cashews, garlic, salt, and water! Perfect base sauce recipe for pasta, dips, or cheesy sauce alternatives. Vegan. |
Cashew Sauce! Just four easy ingredients: cashews, garlic, salt, and water! Perfect base sauce recipe for pasta, dips, or cheesy sauce alternatives. Vegan. |
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Cashew Sauce in a bowl with a spoon.

Five Minute Cashew Sauce

  • Author: Skillful Cook
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: makes about 2 cups 1x


Cashew Sauce! Just four easy ingredients: cashews, garlic, salt, and water! Perfect base sauce recipe for pasta, dips, or cheesy sauce alternatives. Vegan.


  • 2 cups cashews
  • 1 1/4 cup water or broth
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Place cashews in a bowl. Cover with water and soak for about 2 hours. Drain and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Place soaked cashews in the bowl of a food processor or blender with the water, garlic, and salt. Puree until very, very smooth. Thin out with more water to desired consistency. Store in fridge for 3-4 days or freeze.


Add extra ingredients to change the flavor! chipotle peppers, pesto, chili paste, etc.

DO NOT SOAK CASHEWS OVERNIGHT. The texture gets watery and chunky. It should stay smooth and creamy as pictured. 🙂

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Category: Sauce
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cashew sauce, vegan sauce, cashew recipe

I used my food processor for this recipe - and I love it so much that I wrote this post showing off 12 Magical Ways To Use A Food Processor! ✨ I loooove that thing.

12 Magical Ways to Use a Food Processor

One More Thing!

19 sauces that make everything better.

This recipe is part of our Sauces That Make Everything Better roundup. Check it out!

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wow guys, it never ceases to amaze me what you can do with the almighty cashew. And so versatile, heck, I could put this on my breakfast cereal. Hope you had a great Vaca at the cabin. We just chillin on Lake Ontario right now, it’s raining so we can’t go fishing, but maybe later.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Was soooooooo good!!! Made with spinach, roasted shallot, and tossed in zoodles. Shared with everyone! 😊😊😊

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Mmm this looks delicious! I really want to try it, i just don’t know if it will work in a blender.. Also is it possible to make nut butter in a blender?
    Many thanks!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I think it is possible to use a blender, but I usually use a food processor since it seems to be able to withstand thicker mixtures.

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      I make cashew sauces in my vitamix on the regular. Makes the sauces very creamy and sauce like.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    umm this has made my world a better place and I haven’t even tried it yet………
    I can tell by its lovely texture that we are going to be besties…cant wait to put this in/with/on/?under? ALL THE THINGS. <3 <3 <3

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    This sauce sounds very nice, though definitely highly caloric. I’m guessing that you used raw cashews for this?

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    So glad you’re posting this. When you first posted your magical cauliflower sauce, I would make cashew “cream” which is essentially this recipe, and add it to your cauliflower sauce instead of the milk. It elevated the creaminess and richness. Try it. It’s sooooo good!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      has anyone combined your magical cauliflower sauce with this cashew sauce? if both are that good a combo with the cauliflower would kick up the nutrition.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Looks delicious!! I want to try the sweet potato noodle dish next week. I have roasted and salted cashews, would that be too salty for this or should I grab some raw cashews? Thanks!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I think you could use salted/roasted, but just don’t add any salt to begin with. Then you can taste it and see if needs any once it’s blended. 🙂

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        I like this better than alfredo sauce. But you have to use raw cashews otherwise the sauce will not be creamy.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Blank canvas? Yes! One of the easiest, yummiest things I like to do with a basic cashew cream sauce is stir in dried basil at the very end. It becomes deceptively like Alfredo sauce. 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Heidi, Using dried basil in January may be acceptable, but pleas use the fresh stuff in August. It’s peak basil season right now in the pacific NW.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        John, I don’t feel there’s a need to shame any one for their herb use. Maybe you have easy access to basil and other folks may not. Happy cooking.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I can see a can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce being easily added to this. Will try today!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I adore creamy cashew sauce – and love your savory version! I use cashes as a base with fruit to make a “cheesecake” as if I ate a slice of cheesecake – I’d clear a room – so cashew “cheese” cake is safer all around! 🙂
    Happy Friday

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Both roasted or raw are good, the taste is slightly different, try both to find out what you like better.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    This looks cinfully simple and yet so versatile. Seems to me it could be the next hummus? Can’t wait to try it!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    My husband avoids dairy as much as possible, but for some reason he doesn’t like any cashew sauce I make to substitute for dairy products. It’s odd because he loves cashew parmesan and other cashew creations – but a cashew sauce, nope!

    I think I will try the chipotle chiles in adobo sauce idea by John – I have those too!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m loving cashews myself- I just posted a smoothie using soaked cashews on my site, and you’re so right about it making things creamy, dreamy, and smooth. I’m so interested in trying your fancy sauce. It sounds magical!
    xx Sydney

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Can’t wait to try it. Looks yummy! and all of the suggestions that followed also look super yummy. Stopping on the ay home to pick up some cashews.