Guest Post: Tasty Yummies: How To Make Dairy-Free Cultured “Cream Cheese”

When I found Tasty Yummies website, specifically her How-To series Tutorial Tuesdays, I had a little freak out. It’s genius.  My first pin from her site even used all capital letters, see… freaking out. I adore all our guest posters, I do. But sometimes in life you just “connect” with someone. Their style, aesthetic, interests, the way they make their food, their writing style, their photography – it all just clicks and I’m left wanting to be friends with them, wanting to eat their food and shout my excitement from the rooftops [otherwise known as this blog] as loudly as I can. Beth’s blog is one of those blogs I’ve connected with.

I’m thrilled to share Beth and her blog Tasty Yummies with you all. She’s the bees knees and her bi-weekly series has produced tutorials like How-to Make Whipped Coconut Cream, How-to Make the Perfect French Fries, How-to Make Nut Butters and Nut Milks, How-to Sprout and so much more. I feel SO lucky that she’s shared with everyone here this how-to on making Dairy-Free Cultured Coconut Cream Cheese, inspired by the coconut milk yogurt  she shared earlier this month.

Between this recipe from Beth and the genius yuca dough from Jennifer at Predominantly Paleo (my other new big girl crush) I can finally recreate a childhood recipe I plan to share with everyone as soon as we master putting it all together! I don’t want to tease you with something that may not come together the way we want, so I’ll hold on sharing exactly what it is. But trust me when I tell you, it’s worth getting excited about!

p.s. If you’re looking for a grain-free paleo-friendly bagel recipe, I highly suggest you check out the ones from Elana’s Pantry, Spunky Coconut or Brittany Angell!



Being gluten-free these past, nearly 10 years, has been a challenging journey at times, that in the end has left me happy to have discovered my intolerance and excited about all of the many naturally gluten-free foods that are available to me. I have found I am so much more aware of every single thing I consume and in turn I have become a much better cook, too.

cucumbers and bagels

Though I don’t follow a paleo diet myself, eating moderately, mindfully and intuitively over the past few years, has meant cutting way back on my consumption of even gluten-free grains and I have also discovered that eating cow’s milk dairy just doesn’t always agree with me, so most of the time I tend to avoid that, too.  Besides a diet being mostly focused on real food, these are why many of my recipes consequently end up being paleo-friendly.

One of the best things to come of me cutting out gluten and most dairy and of course, processed foods – is the joy I get in re-creating (or attempting to), some of my favorite things at home, where I can control the ingredients, avoiding the things I wish to.

 cream cheese ball

Out of this explorative side and my desire to make as much as I can on my own, the Tasty Yummies Tutorial Tuesdays Series,  was born. This bi-weekly series has produced tutorials like How-to Make Whipped Coconut Cream , How-to Make the Perfect French Fries , How-to Make Nut Butters  and Nut Milks, How-to Sprout and so much more. When Paleo Parents contacted me about creating a tutorial post for them, I was so excited because I already had the perfect concept in mind. A Dairy-Free Cultured Coconut Cream Cheese, inspired by the coconut milk yogurt  I shared earlier this month.

 bagel close up

This tutorial is not only super simple, but there are several options available, too. I personally prefer the flavor when culturing the coconut cream with probiotic powder, found in my favorite daily probiotic capsules, but you can also lacto-ferment the coconut cream, with just lemon juice and sea salt, which produces great results, too. The best part is, no matter how you culture it, like regular cream cheese, you can flavor it any way you’d like, with fresh herbs and garlic for a savory cream cheese, which I like on my occasional gluten-free bagel or on fresh cucumber slices. Or you can also add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup and some of your favorite fruit or preserves, for a sweet option, great on fresh fruit, on a grain-free tart shell with some fresh fruit on top or just with a spoon, not that I would know!

texture of cream cheese

 This “Cream Cheese” is pretty legit, both in texture and flavor and I love that I have a great option for when I indulge once or twice a year, in the insanely yummy gluten-free and vegan bagels from Rising Hearts Bakery up in LA. Besides being dairy-free and paleo-friendly, this cultured cream cheese alternative is also vegan, too. Yes, there is a very subtle hint of coconut flavor, that I find lessens significantly, almost totally undetected, when you add a little sea salt and some fresh herbs. Additionally, below you will find other optional add-ins to customize this to whatever taste you’d like. Play around and have fun, give your cream cheese a little taste, after it has cultured and make it your own.

 So, let’s get to it….


How-to Make Dairy-free Cultured Cream "Cheese"


  • 2 cups unsweetened organic coconut cream with no additives, except guar gum*
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon non-dairy probiotic powder (you are looking to have about 10 billion CFUs)**
  • Optional add-ons at the end:
  • sea salt
  • garlic powder
  • fresh herbs
  • a drizzle of honey or maple syrup
  • fresh fruit or fruit preserves
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon for a little more tang
  • nutritional yeast for an extra cheesey flavor


    Step 1:
  1. Mix probiotic powder (or lemon juice and salt) with the solidified, chilled coconut cream. Mix well using whisk or mixer, till combined. This will start to liquefy the coconut cream a bit, that's ok.
  2. Step 2:
  3. Place coconut cream mixture into a pouch made from cheesecloth, a nut milk bag, an unbleached coffee filter, etc and place this into a strainer and over a bowl. Cover and leave at room temperature in a dark place. I just place it in my oven, which is turned off.
  4. Step 3:
  5. Now we wait. Leave the coconut cream to culture for at least 24 hours. The longer it sits, the more tangy it will be. I usually leave mine somewhere between 24 and 36 hours. Taste it to find that perfect time.
  6. Step 4:
  7. Drain off any liquid from the bowl, take the coconut cream from the pouch, place into a bowl or container, add a pinch or two of sea salt and any other flavorings you'd like. I like to add a little garlic powder and some fresh herbs. Stir well to combine. Place covered, in the refrigerator for a few hours (4-6 should be enough), for it to firm up. You can also add a little fresh lemon juice to add more tang, if you desire. I never have to.


* You want to use coconut cream you know will solidify when refrigerated, so I take a 2-3 cans of organic full fat coconut milk, I like Native Forest or Thai Kitchen while the Paleo Parents prefer Natural Value, and chill them overnight in the fridge. Then carefully open the can up and scoop out the solidified coconut cream for this recipe, saving the remaining coconut water for smoothies or freezing it as ice cubes. If you have a favorite brand of organic coconut cream that you like, that isn't loaded with junk, fillers, sweeteners or flavors, you can also just use that, too.

** I use probiotic powder from my daily probiotic capsules. Each one contains 3 billion CFUs, so I find that the filling from 4 capsules, or about 1/2 teaspoon of probiotic powder, is the perfect amount. This can vary with other capsules. Please be sure to refer to the package or contact the manufacturer of the probiotics if they must be certified gluten-free and/or dairy-free, as not all brands are.

Alternatively, you can lacto-ferment the coconut cream by using 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt per 2 cups of coconut cream. I personally like the flavor and the tang of the probiotic powder, much better, but this is another great and simple option and it follows the same instructions.

When you are ready to use this cream cheese, allow it to come to room temperature for 5-10 minutes, it will be much easier to spread. If spreading on warm toast or a bagel, wait for it to cool down, as this cream cheese will melt on warm foods.

This will not work in baking recipes that call for cream cheese, as it will melt in high heat.



 Connect with Beth:








[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://paleoparents.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Beth-square.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hi, I’m Beth! I run the blog, Tasty Yummies. I am a yoga-obsessed graphic designer/illustrator living in Southern California. I’ve been gluten-free for 9 years and I am a “conscientious omnivore” that eats a mostly plant-based diet. You can read a little bit more about me, here, and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. [/author_info] [/author]


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  • Wow! That’s pretty cool. I’m so curious to try this out now. About how long will it last in an airtight container? {If it doesn’t get gobbled up immediately, of course.} 😉

    • Dianna, much like homemade yogurt, this will last in the fridge in an airtight container for about a week or two.

      • JB

        Beth, If the cream cheese is used in a heated sauce type dish, will it become firmer again as it cools?

        • Hey JB – it would just depend how you are using it. I haven’t tried heating it up, myself. It may become firmer when cooled again, but if it is being used in a dish where it melts and then disperses throughout the dish as it melts, it won’t exactly firm up again the way it was, if that makes sense? SO basically if you made it a layer in something and it melts as it heats up, it’s not to say that it will cool off and just come back to a perfect solidified layer. Hope that helps a little bit.

  • Hmmm, can I use this along with the paleo naan from My Heart Beets to make crab Rangoon, I wonder?

    • Heather, I am not sure exactly how you make crab rangoon, but as long as the naan isn’t warm/hot when you add the cream cheese and you don’t plan to cook it at all after, it will be great! A wonderful flavor!

  • Can’t wait to try this! I just need to get the cheese cloth (somehow I’m out of it), then it’s go time!

  • Brandy @ A Mindful Mantra

    I love Beth & Tasty Yummies! I have been looking for a soy-less, junk-free, dairy-free cream cheese for years. I can’t wait to try this! I have always wondered about the probiotics, but knowing I can use my daily capsule is fantastic.

  • Sydney

    Okay, I know you said it won’t work in recipes, but what if said recipe calls for MELTED cream cheese?? 😀

    • Sydney, the thing about this cream cheese is, once warmed, it literally turns to thick coconut milk, since that’s exactly what it is. Coconut oil has a melting point of about 78ºF and since coconut cream is comprised of the coconut milk fat, it melts around that same point.

  • Beth’s blog is one of the first food blogs I started reading 3 years ago when I went gluten free well before my paleo days and I love that she is being featured here! This recipe is genius!

  • Cherie

    I am so excited about this recipe! I LOVE cream cheese and have been sad about the lack of it in my dairy-free life. Soy sucks and other products are so pricey or have unwanted additives so I’m pretty excited about this one!

    Now, when you say ‘cover’ before putting it in a dark place to culture, what do you cover it with? I’m guessing it shouldn’t be something airtight (like a lid) at this point?

    • Cherie, great question, I either cover mine with a clean kitchen mtowel or a lid from a pot, that fits loosely. I do this more so the coconut cream won’t dry out, but I would’t want a tight-fitting, airtight lid, either. Hope that helps.

  • M. Garcia

    Do you know if this would work with homemade coconut cream? I use my Vitamix to make coconut cream from unsweetened dried coconut flakes.

    • M. Garcia – hmmm, I haven’t tried it yet myself, but I would say it’s worth a shot. If you can place your homemade coconut cream in the fridge and it will solidify to a thick cream, then I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. If you do try it, please report back and let us know how it comes out. I would love to make it from homemade.

  • Stacy

    How long do you store in the fridge? Wondering how long it will last.

    • I believe the author already answered this, but airtight our coconut milk products last about a week or more in the fridge and longer frozen. It will mold when gone bad.

  • Stacie

    Beth, could you make non bake cheesecake using this cream cheese?

    • Hey Stacie, I don’t see why not. You would need to store the cheesecake in the fridge but yeh, it should work perfectly! I’d love to hear about it if you try it!

  • Mel

    Do you think you could place the entire thing in a yogurt maker to speed up and intensify the fermentation?

  • Nicole

    Beth, this is so amazing! I am so happy I came across your blog.. Made this last week and it is so amazing. Made a batch with blueberry sauce and one with garlic and dill. Killer reci. Thanks!

  • Laura Crookston

    I am very happy to see this posted! I tried a recipe with cashews, lemon, and apple cider vinegar, and wasn’t wowed. I think the lemon taste is ok for vegan cheesecake, but I was looking for a more savory flavor. I have high hopes for this, and it is a great bonus that I usually have all the ingredients on hand. My probis do have potato starch (I’m paleo), but I think it will be ok. I’m also considering adding nutritional yeast for more cheese-y, nut-y flavor, but I will see how it tastes as I go!

  • Cher

    I have tried this twice, and all I get is ‘liquidy’ coconut cream with powder in it. It doesn’t firm up; it doesn’t do anything. What the heck am I doing wrong? :/

    • Cher – the brand and thickness of coconut milk/cream can absolutely affect the final results. What brand of coconut cream are you using? Are you chilling the coconut milk first to scoop off only the solidified cream? What happens when you strain the coconut milk, does any water drain off? I would love to hear about your exact process, to see if you changed anything at all, so I can help troubleshoot this for you.

      • Cher

        I used Native Forest…the small cans. I chilled them both times. I did make the mistake of adding everything in the can the first time, so I originally thought that was what I’d done wrong. I tried it again, chilled it, scooped out the cream and tried it that way. When I strain it, I just get mushy coconut cream. I can’t say there’s really much water left. Is it supposed to be liquidy and mushy before going in the fridge?

        • Guest

          You can add around 1/4 tsp of non-iodized salt before culturing to help it dry out.

          Or/Also, after its done culturing, place the container in the fridge for a few hours. It should be solid enough for you to peel the cheesecloth away from the cheese and it won’t be as messy to handle.

          I reccomend doing the latter, as its going to be a bit like thick pudding when its done culturing and not 100% solid until you refrigerate it.

        • Guest

          I also think the salt acts as a preservative so it might keep longer but not 100% sure about that.

  • Sarah

    So I’m not a huge fan of the taste of coconut. Does this have a strong coconutty taste? I really need some cheese in my life!

    • It does not! But we also enjoy the taste of coconut. 😉

      Perhaps make a test batch and gift it if the coconut flavor is too strong.

  • rashel

    You can buy coconut cream by itself. It’s made by Lets Do coconut. Would that work? I would love to try this. Also does it have that grittiness that coconut milks and creams usually do?

  • Alexandra Haniford

    At what step should the nutritional yeast be added if I am using it?? I added it as it was culturing and it now has this strange chemically taste 🙁

    • Alexandra, I would recommend adding at the end, as you would add any other flavors, herbs or spices. I am sorry I didn’t specify that in the recipe, thanks of the question.

  • Kealah Reyes

    Is there an Alternative to t he coconut milk? I’m allergic to that and milk :/

    • Hi There! We aren’t sure of an alternative that would hold up the same as coconut milk. Have you thought of testing with almond milk? Not sure how it would do, but perhaps you could experiment with it a bit. Let us know if you do!

  • Jacqueline@Deeprootsathome.com

    Beth, I didn’t see if anyone earlier asked about using Tropical Traditions coconut cream. Would that work as a good substitute and knowing that there is nothing to drain off? I await your thoughts! Thanks.

  • Teresa Buck

    Can you use the cream cheese recipe to create a cream cheese frosting? My daughter-in-law is gluten-free and dairy free but loves carrot cake with cream cheese icing?

  • dairy queen

    How do you say that it is dairy-free when you used a non-dairy probiotic? They are different.

    • What do you mean? Dairy comes from milk, probiotics are bacteria. Where is the dairy that makes this not dairy-free?

  • cmans6282

    I don’t digest coconut milk/butter/meat well at all. I’m fine with coconut oil. 😛 I can do nuts. What do you think of subbing macadamia nuts 1:1 for the coconut butter? Many thanks 🙂

  • What is your room temperature?
    Here in NZ it is between 14c/57f & 18c/65f, so in the oven it is a bit cooler.
    We haven’t had much luck with doing the yogurt yet, pretty sure the temp has been too cold.