Dairy-Free Coconut Cashew Yogurt

by Kaitlynn Fenley

This dairy-free coconut cashew yogurt is definitely my favorite plant-based yogurt recipe. The coconut and cashews provide the perfect silky smooth, yet thick yogurt texture. With only five ingredients you can make the easiest, creamiest, vegan yogurt at home.

Making Dairy-Free Coconut Cashew Yogurt at Home

It’s not complicated to make yogurt at home! It’s so fun! However, the process is different from homemade traditional dairy yogurt. Due to the nature of plant-based milk, and the microbiology of yogurt making, under no circumstances will plant-based milk thickens into a yogurt-like substance just by adding a culture. Cultured full fat coconut cream will be a semi-solid mass at room temperature because it’s full of saturated fats… but plant-based milk will not. Let me explain why:

two jars of white, dairy-free coconut cashew yogurt on top of a plate

Fermentation of Dairy

Various probiotic bacteria play important roles in the production of yogurt. Most often species of LactobacillusBifidobacterium, and Streptococcus are the microbes found in various types of yogurt. Specific types of yogurt, such as Greek and Belgian, are distinguished by the species of bacteria used to culture animal-sourced milk into yogurt. When in animal-sourced milk, the bacteria can use up lactose present for energy. This produces a byproduct of lactic acid. Lactic acid builds up in the milk causing the coagulation of milk proteins. This is what transforms the milk into a semi-solid mass with a drastic change in taste.

Lactic acid fermentation does not happen quite the same in dairy-free/vegan yogurt. Plant-sourced milk does not contain lactose. Instead, bacteria utilize other sugars and proteins for metabolism and reproduction. The bacteria still produce some acid in dairy-free milk, so the flavor is slightly tart. However, plant-based milk does not have the same proteins that coagulate in the presence of an acid, as in animal-sourced milk. 

So for this recipe, we aren’t using any plant-based milk. I’ll show you how to make easy, delicious, vegan yogurt using already thick substances. We’ll use cashew cream and coconut cream! To make yogurt using plant-based milk, CLICK HERE.

a jar of dairy-free coconut cashew yogurt with a strawberry slice and an orange slice on top

Dairy-Free Coconut Cashew Yogurt Ingredients and Supplies

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that you can use a yogurt incubator, but if you don’t have one, no worries! You can incubate at room temperature in a warm-ish spot, like on the counter near the back end of your refrigerator. The timeline will just be slightly different.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A Blender (I have a Vitamix and it is perfect for blending the ingredients into smooth yogurt)
  • Yogurt Maker (optional) and Jars
  • Vegan Yogurt Cultures or Already-Made Vegan Yogurt
  • Lemon Juice
  • Coconut Cream
  • Unsalted Cashews
  • Maple Syrup

For this recipe, it’s important to thoroughly clean your jars and equipment. The cashews also have to be soaked in boiling water before making the yogurt to prevent cross-contamination.

a jar of dairy-free coconut cashew yogurt with a strawberry slice and an orange slice on top
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Dairy-Free Coconut Cashew Yogurt

This dairy-free coconut cashew yogurt is definitely my favorite plant-based yogurt recipe. The coconut and cashews provide the perfect silky smooth, yet thick yogurt texture. With only five ingredients you can make the easiest, creamiest, vegan yogurt at home.

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Six Ounce Jars 1x
  • Category: Fermented Foods
  • Method: Fermentation
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 Cups Unsalted Raw Cashews
  • 1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 24 Ounces Full Fat Coconut Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  • Yogurt Starter Cultures

Instructions

  1. Add your cashews to a glass bowl. Top with boiling water and let soak for 30 minutes.
  2. After you soak the cashews, drain and rinse with hot water.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients, except the starter cultures, in a blender and blend on high until smooth.
  4. Heat the mixture to 181° F in a glass container set over boiling water. If you have an instant pot, you can sterilize the mixture on the high yogurt setting.
  5. Allow the mixture to cool to 110° F, then add the starter cultures.
  6. Dispense the yogurt mixture into clean jars. (If using an instant pot you can incubate the entire mixture in the instant pot container on the low yogurt setting at 107° F)
  7. Incubate. You have three options for incubating:
    1. Place the jars in a yogurt maker for 6-8 hours, then immediately refrigerate.
    2. Incubate at 40° C in an instant pot on the yogurt setting, then refrigerate.
    3. OR you can incubate at room temperature for 12 hours, then immediately refrigerate.
  8. Chill yogurt in the fridge for at least 4 hours so that it can solidify.
  9. Top with some fresh fruit and enjoy!

Notes

*For yogurt starter cultures you can use a starter culture packet OR sub for 3 Tablespoons already made vegan yogurt

*This yogurt should keep in the fridge for approximately 14-21 days. 

*You must use raw cashews for a smooth texture

Keywords: vegan yogurt, cashew, coconut

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Recipe rating

16 comments

Brittany June 22, 2020 - 10:39 pm

Hi Kaitlynn!

I’m super excited to try this – it sounds so easy and delicious! I’m wondering what brand/kind of coconut cream you used?

Thank you!

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley June 24, 2020 - 3:56 pm

I use coconut cream from Trader Joe’s. I’ve also used the 365 brand coconut cream from Whole Foods.

Reply
Emily Hubert September 3, 2020 - 11:28 am

This recipe was very easy to follow, and the yogurt came out awesome! I used a sweetened vegan yogurt as my starter, so I left out the maple syrup. Came out perfect!

Reply
Anonymous May 7, 2021 - 8:05 am

Made this yesterday. Very thick and creamy

Reply
Meredith July 25, 2021 - 6:30 pm

Hi! I just saw an idea online that suggested blending silken tofu with soy milk to make a thicker vegan yogurt in the Instant Pot. Do you think this would work? I’ll use either the Belle & Bella nondairy starter or some store-bought vegan yogurt as the starter. Thanks!

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley July 26, 2021 - 3:19 pm

hello! I’m not sure how it will work because I haven’t tested it and I don’t know what recipe you are referring to. I feel like in theory, it should work… but I can’t validate unknown recipes.

Reply
Juju September 21, 2021 - 6:19 pm

Can you make this recipe with zero sweetener, and once it is made into yogurt, add whatever sweetener that you might like or no sweetener at all?

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley September 22, 2021 - 7:35 am

yes, you sure can!

Reply
juju September 21, 2021 - 6:25 pm

Another question, Have you made this vegan yogurt with coconut milk instead of full fat coconut cream? I’d like to tone down the fat content.

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley September 22, 2021 - 7:39 am

Yes, but they do not sub evenly. You’ll need to reduce the amount. So instead of 24 ounces coconut cream, you can try 12 to 15 ounces of coconut milk.

Reply
Tina January 23, 2022 - 8:07 am

If im gonna sterilize the yogurt in the instant pot on the high yogurt mode how long should k put it for please . Thank u so much for the recipe 🌹

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley January 27, 2022 - 7:46 am

There is a yogurt setting, with two options- sterilize and incubate. You have to use an instant pot with a yogurt setting. One mine the time is automatically set. Check our blog post “how to make yogurt in an instant pot

Reply
Molly February 1, 2022 - 2:08 pm

I made a recipe that is very similar to yours (no lemon juice and with a probiotic supplement instead of starter culture), which I incubated in the instant pot for 8 hours. The end result was pourable, rather than thick but the flavor is wonderful. I’m working in the office today and packed my lunch. I put a small portion of yogurt in a glass container which then sat in my insulated lunch bag with other cold items but no cold pack (it’s in the 30s in the morning here) and then commuted to work (about 1.5 hours) and placed it in the fridge. This afternoon when I went for my snack it had thickened! It tasted and smelled good. My question is: does this mean that it needed to incubate longer and therefore the slightly warmer temperature in my lunch bag did the trick?

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley February 2, 2022 - 7:33 am

Did you chill it in the fridge before putting it in your lunch bag? It probably just needed time to set at cold temperatures.

Reply
Molly February 7, 2022 - 7:52 am

Thanks so much for the reply. Yes, that is what was interesting about it. Prior to putting it in the smaller container, it had been chilling in the fridge for 2-3 days. That is why I thought that either the brief/slight warm-up or the smaller container (it was in a 22-ounce jar in the fridge and I put about 1/3 cup in a smaller jar for transport) was what helped it thicken…

Reply
Tiffany June 21, 2022 - 10:01 pm

Loved. This. Recipe!!! I omitted the maple syrup… it got even yummier after a few days in the fridge.

Reply