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A clear jar filled with vegan cream cheese. Bagels, vegetables and fresh dill placed around it.

Sunflower Seed Cream Cheese Recipe

Creamy, thick, and tangy, this Sunflower Seed Cream Cheese is the best dairy-free cream cheese substitute! It's nut-free, gluten-free, and made with 7 ingredients only!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Chilling time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 45 mins
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Dip, Sauce, Snack
Cuisine American, Gluten-free, Vegan
Servings 16
Calories 147 kcal


  • Stovetop
  • Food processor or a blender


  • 2 cups raw sunflower seeds
  • Juice from 1 medium lemon (~3 tablespoons)
  • cup melted refined coconut oil*
  • ½ - ¾ cup boiling water, slightly cooled (start with lesser amount)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast**
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon salt (start with lesser amount)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  • Rinse sunflower seeds well. Add pot a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer on medium-high heat for 25-30 minutes or until soft.
  • Then, drain the sunflower seed, and DO NOT rinse! Add them to a food processor or a high-speed blender, alongside the coconut oil, boiling water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, and black pepper. Blend on high for a few minutes, until very creamy and smooth. You'll need to stop a few times to scrape down the sides with a spatula.
  • Taste and adjust the flavor if needed, adding more salt for saltiness, lemon juice for tanginess, or nutritional yeast for cheesiness.
  • Transfer the cheese into a container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, ideally 6-8 hours. This will help the cheese to set and firm up.
  • Serve with veggies, crackers, or pita chips. Keep in mind that the cheese will start to melt slightly if kept for 1-2 hours at room temperature.


Fridge: Transfer to a container and store in a refrigerator for up to 6 days.
Freezer: Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for 1 month. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before using. Keep in mind that freezing will change the texture of the cheese.
*You can omit the coconut oil and use more water instead, but the cheese won't firm up as well.
** This recipe has a savory and salty taste, so if you want to use the cheese with sweet toppings, we would suggest omitting the nutritional yeast and using half of the amount of salt.
If you're using a big food processor or a blender, I don't recommend halving the batch, because the seeds won't blend as well.
***Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.
Keyword nut-free, sunflower seeds, vegan cheese