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Creamy Garlic Sauce with Cashews (Dairy-Free)

from 11 reader reviews

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This creamy garlic sauce with cashews is the perfect topping to drizzle on veggies, pizza, or soup. It’s vegan; so you can be sure it’s dairy-free as well.cashew garlic sauce in jar with sauce in spoon

What I have learned in my vegan culinary journey, is that the sauce is everything! Have a bowl of vegetables you don’t know what to do with? Add a sauce. Plain baked potato? Add a sauce. Need to spice up some soup? That’s right…just top with a little sauce! 

Looking for some more yummy plant-based oil-free sauces? Try my:

This recipe is pretty perfect too because as long as you have some basic items in your plant-based pantry, you won’t have to go out and buy anything special. And it doesn’t require sitting for hours before you use it either! That’s right, just soak your cashews, add the ingredients to your high-speed blender, and you are good to go.

Ingredients needed to make this plant-based cashew sauce:

ingredients for cashew garlic sauce including powdered onion and garlic, salt, nutritional yeast, raw cashews, and bottled lemon juice
This is everything you need to have a delicious, creamy garlic sauce in no time at all!

See the handy printable recipe card below for exact measurements and instructions. I’ve included (affiliate) links for items that might be hard to source in your local grocery store.

  • raw cashews (unsalted and not roasted)
  • nutritional yeast
  • lemon juice (bottled is just fine)
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • salt
  • hot water for soaking the cashews and room temp water for blending

What can creamy garlic sauce be used for?

  • sauce for your Budda bowl
  • dip for raw veggies
  • drizzled as a topping for soupgarlic sauce swirled onto tomato soup
  • topping for steamed veggies
  • white sauce topping for pizza (use a little less water to make the sauce thicker for the pizza)
  • drizzled on a Buddha bowlbuddha bowl with asparagus, chickpeas, onioni, spinach, sweet potato all with a drizzle of garlic sauce
  • baked potatoes including sweet potatoes
  • I also use it as an ingredient in my Creamy Tomato Soup (Instant Pot) recipecashew sauce pouring into instant pot soup

Tips and suggestions for making the cashew garlic sauce:

Please read through the tips and suggestions section if you are not familiar with this recipe. There is a printable recipe card below that you can scroll to for the exact ingredients and instructions.

Pin now to save for later:cashew garlic sauce in jar with sauce in spoon with text overlay

The cashews

Use raw (not roasted) and unsalted cashews. Here is a link for the cashews I buy on Amazon. I always keep a bag in my pantry!

If you are impatient and can’t wait to find some raw cashews, you might decide to use the standard roasted salted cashews you can find at your local grocery store. I must tell you that you will get creamier better-tasting results with raw cashews. I do understand just wanting to get to the recipe though. Here are some suggestions to make the roasted cashews work (hopefully):

  • If the cashews are salted, then rinse and rinse well to remove as much salt as possible.
  • The soaking time listed in the recipe is only 30 minutes. If you choose to use roasted cashews then your soaking time will be much longer. Try for about 3 hours. 

Soak the raw cashews in hot water for 30 minutes. When they are finished soaking, you must drain the water. Do not use the soaking water for mixing in the blender! cashews soaking in hot water in measuring cup

Into the blender:

When the cashews are well soaked, softened and drained, put in a blender along with the other ingredients including fresh water. 

If you have a high-speed blender like a Vitamix, it should only take about 2-3 minutes on high to get a nice smooth creamy sauce. If you are using a standard household blender, it might take a little longer. Just blend and check and blend some more until you have achieved a smooth sauce.cashew garlic sauce in jar

Questions about the ingredients:

Can you use fresh lemon instead of bottled lemon? Sure! Use whichever one you have on hand. I’ve used both and can’t really tell the difference in the finished product.

Can you use fresh/raw garlic instead of garlic powder? Yep! Use just one clove of garlic if that’s what you want to use. A real garlic fanatic might choose to add more!

Do you have to use nutritional yeast? Yes! If you want this sauce to taste as delicious as mine does! If you are a new plant-based cook, then be sure to find some nutritional yeast pronto to keep in your pantry. You will find that a lot of vegan recipes call for nutritional yeast. You might find it at your grocery store in the healthy foods sections like near the gluten-free flour. You will probably have an easier time finding it in a specialty health food store or a store like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

How thick/runny will the sauce be?

The recipe calls for 1 cup of water for blending. This will make a sauce that is somewhat runny – like salad dressing. If you want a thicker sauce like for a dip or pizza sauce, cut down the water to 1/2 cup. You can always add in a little more if you are having trouble blending. 

And now for the recipe!

I hope you enjoy the recipe, but don’t say good-bye! Sign-up here for recipe tips and kitchen wisdom. I also invite you to email me with any questions you have. When you become a part of the Veggie Fun Kitchen Community, you’ll learn to cook great tasting recipes the whole family will enjoy! (No spam here! I will never share your email, and you can unsubscribe whenever you want!)

cashew garlic sauce in jar with sauce in spoon

Creamy Garlic Sauce with Cashews (Diary-Free)

This creamy garlic sauce with cashews is the perfect topping to drizzle on veggies, pizza, or soup. It's vegan; so you can be sure it's dairy-free as well.
from 11 reader reviews
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: creamy garlic sauce, dairy-free sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
soaking time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 63kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey


  • high-speed blender


  • 1 cup cashews raw and unsalted
  • hot water to cover drain when fully soaked
  • 1 cup water for blending
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Soak the unsalted cashews in very hot water for 30 minutes. Drain the water.
  • Add soaked and drained cashews along with 1 cup water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, onion and garlic powders, and salt to a high-speed blender.
  • Blend on high for about 3 minutes or until creamy and smooth.


If you can only find roasted and salted cashews, your sauce might not be as creamy. Try these steps to ensure a creamy and tasty garlic sauce:
  1. Put cashews in a strainer and rinse well to remove the salt. You might need to wait to add the additional salt in the ingredient list till AFTER the sauce is prepared.
  2. Soak the cashews for 2 hours so that they will blend well and your sauce will be creamy and smooth.
If you want to use fresh garlic, use 1 peeled clove.
If you want a thicker sauce (like for a dip or pizza sauce), use 1/2 cup water to blend. You can always add in a little more if necessary.
This can stored tightly covered in your refrigerator for up to 5-7 days. 


Serving: 2Tablespoons | Calories: 63kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 100mg | Potassium: 86mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg

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By on March 16th, 2020

About Cindy Rainey

Veggie Fun Kitchen by Cindy Rainey
Welcome to Veggie Fun Kitchen where you will learn to recreate family favorites the plant-based/vegan way! Let me know if I can help. I'm here for you.

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