- Hide menu

Cashews | Soaking and Drying

Cashews, Soaked and Drying

Cashews are a magical ingredient in the raw food world, but they have been gaining great popularity in the cooking world too. Vegan chefs use them as a staple that stands in for dairy in a variety of ways.

Cashews don’t have a really strong flavor of their own; they are just a vessel for fat and creaminess.  Apparently, roasting them brings out the sweetness in cashews. Did you know that cashews technically are not nuts? Instead, they are the seeds found in cashew apples, a fruit that grows on trees in tropical climates.


How to soak raw cashews

Cashews are sold shelled because the interior of the shells contains a caustic resin, known as cashew balm.  Therefore, they must be removed before they are fit for consumption. This caustic resin is actually used in industry to make varnishes and insecticides.  The removal process brings up much controversy as to whether or not cashews can be purchased raw or not. To read more on how they are grown and harvested, please click (here).

Because cashews don’t have a thick outer skin and they already start as a softer nut, they only need to be soaked for about 2-3 hours.  You can soak them overnight, just be sure to place them in the fridge.  Over soaking them can lead to bitterness, slimy water, and leaching of their flavor.

I soak cashews for two reasons… one is to reduce the phytic acid (read more here) found within them, and the second reason is for softening them, which makes them easier to process.   With a high-powered blender, you can make the creamiest-mouth-feel textures!  This is the one nut that I don’t immediately soak and dehydrate once bringing them home.  For the most part, I use wet, soaked cashews in my recipes; creams, sauces, desserts, “yogurts,” etc.  The only time I soak and dehydrate them is when I am planning on adding them to a trail mix, making nut butter or when making flour out of them.

How to soak raw cashewsIngredients:

  • 4 cups raw cashews
  • 1 Tbsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 8 cups water



  1. Place the cashews and salt in a large bowl along with 8 cups of water.  The cashews will swell during the soaking process, so you want enough water to keep them covered.
    • The salt helps activate enzymes that de-activate the enzyme inhibitors.
  2. Leave them on the counter for 2-3 hours. Cover with a clean cloth and lay it over the bowl, this allows the contents of the bowl to breathe.
  3. After they are done soaking, drain them in a colander and rinse them thoroughly.


Dehydrator method:

  1. Spread the cashews on the mesh sheet that comes with the dehydrator.  Keep them in a single layer and dry them at 115 degrees (F) until they are thoroughly dry and crisp.
    • Make sure they are completely dry.  If not, they could mold, plus they won’t have that crunchy, yummy texture you expect from nuts and seeds.
    • The dry time will vary due to the machine you own, the type of climate you live in, and how full your dehydrator is when drying them.
    • Expect anywhere from 12 + hours.
  2. Allow them to cool to room temperature before storing.
  3. Store in airtight containers such as mason jars.  If you plan on using them within 3 months, you can store them in the fridge: anything longer, store in the freezer.


Oven method: (no longer raw)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).
  2. Spread the cashews on an ungreased cookie sheet in a single layer.
  3. Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Don’t leave them unattended, due to their high oil content; they will continue to roast after you remove them from the oven.  When toasted correctly, they taste toasted, not bitter or burnt.  Good idea to stir them around a bit throughout the process.
  4. Cool for about 1 hour.   Make sure that they are cool before storing them.
  5. Note ~ You can also attempt to dry the cashews in the oven and keep them raw, but this is tricky.  You will need to set the oven on the lowest setting, keep the door ajar and hang a thermometer in the oven to watch the temperature.  Nothing is impossible.  With this method… good luck and do your best. :)

Many people choose not to consume cashews because they contain oxalates.  So I started to research this a bit more.  I read, “Cashews are among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems.

For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating cashews. Laboratory studies have shown that oxalates may also interfere with the absorption of calcium from the body. Yet, in every peer-reviewed research study we’ve seen, the ability of oxalates to lower calcium absorption is relatively small. It does not outweigh the ability of oxalate-containing foods to contribute calcium to the meal plan.

If your digestive tract is healthy, and you do an excellent job of chewing and relaxing while you enjoy your meals, you will get significant benefits” (source)  For more information on oxalates and which foods contain them, you can read about it (here).

58 thoughts on “Cashews | Soaking and Drying

  1. […] 1 1/2 cups cashews, soaked 2+ hours […]

  2. Kari says:

    Hello! Is it possible to go through the soaking process, and then store the nuts for a few days prior to using them in a recipe?

    Better yet, can nuts be soaked upon purchase and then stocked in the freezer? Will this impact the nutritional profile?

    Thanks for all of the great content! Your work is inspiring.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Kari,

      Yes, you can soak nuts and store them in the fridge for a few days. I keep them in water and change it out daily.

      I am not sure what the purpose would be to soak and then freeze the nuts. You might lose some flavor and risk getting ice crystals on them which can taint the flavor. I would soak as needed, or soak and dehydrate the nuts. That is what I do whenever I bring some home from the store.

      Thank you for the kind words. I hope you find many recipes to bring you inspiration. Blessings, amie sue

    • Sarah Jane says:


      I’ve tested soaking and freezing un-dehydrated almonds and cashews with success. The almonds are soaked, peeled, rinsed, and stored in sandwich baggies (1 cup measure) in the freezer to use for making almond milk every week.

      I measure and bag soaked and rinsed cashews to readily have on hand for specific recipes or to make cashew milk or cashew creams.

      I think the longest time any have remained frozen might be a month before use.

      And, Amie Sue, I LOVE NouveauRaw! I’ve learned so much and heavily rely upon your information/instructions! Thank you so much!

      Blessings to you all,

  3. Shirlene says:

    I left my raw cashews soaking overnight and part of the next day. They had some discolouration on them. I made salad dressing and put it in the refrigerator. Is it safe to eat and store for the rest of the week. I have tasted several times and did not have any ill effects .

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Shirlene,

      Most likely, they are ok. But here are a few things to think of. How fresh were they to begin with? Did you test the raw nut to make sure it wasn’t rancid? Since nuts and seeds are high in fats, they can go rancid so it’s a good idea to taste test them before using them. Were they left on the counter or in the fridge? If in the fridge, I would easily say that they are ok. If on the counter… how warm is your house? Too warm of temps might cause them to go bad. Did you smell them? Taste them? Did they pass those tests? If they taste “off” to you… I would risk it. I really can’t give a black and white answer because as you can see, there are many variables.

      I hope this was helpful. Keep me posted. Blessings, amie sue :)

  4. Todd says:


    We were interested in your thoughts , experience & wisdom on the following.

    We buy raw cashews, wash & rinse them, then slow roast (or is this ‘drying’) them overnight in the oven (lowest setting is 170*F). This was the method a friend of ours has used for years, and we’ve had good success with it: our nuts are sweet tasting, never burnt, or bitter.

    Are we doing this right, or are we ruining the health benefits of the nuts?

    We tried this with macadamia nuts – occasionally we’d get a bitter one, or a chewy one, but overall they were good. Again, are we ruining the nut in our cooking method?

    We now have a gob of raw Brazil nuts that we’d like to have a go with. We’re tempted to follow your recipe, at the same time, we’ve grown accustomed to “doing it the way we were shown” – whether that is the ‘correct’ method…..we are eager to learn.

    Happily, we will let you know what we try & our results, & we would also appreciate your input, suggestions.

    Thank you ~

    Todd & Susan

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Todd & Susan,

      Please read through this posting that I did regarding your questions. I hope that you find it helpful. https://nouveauraw.com/soaking-nuts-seeds-and-grains/soaking-nuts-dried-fruit/

      Bottom line, if you are using raw nuts and want to get the most nutrients, then you will want to use 115 degrees (F). Anything above that starts to kill those active enzymes and nutrients. I understand the draw to roasted nuts so you just have to decide what is a priority for you. Please do keep me posted if you do some experimenting. Many blessings, amie sue

  5. Niki says:

    Thank you for this info, have you experienced cashews turning purple after soaking? And if so is there any concern (oxidation etc)?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Niki,

      Great question and a tough one. This has happened to me too if I soaked them longer than usual. I have researched this topic but can’t seem to find any scientific information to back up if it is a good or bad thing. A lot of people has shared their thoughts but again, nothing that I trace back to science. I have continued to use them and never had any ill effect. They didn’t taste any different. I have put a few inquires out and will see if anyone can answer this question. I will keep you posted. Blessings, amie sue

      • amie-sue says:

        Ok, I got a response from Wildernessfamily.com who spoke to a nut expert… I think so far this is the closest to an answer that will get. Perhaps in the future more information will become available. But for now, it was shared that it isn’t a dangerous discoloration, but it does indicate they have been in the water for longer than the nut likes. So to avoid it, cut down your soak time…but if it does happen it won’t effect anything. Many blessings, amie sue

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I love cashews. However, I have lately discovered that whenever I eat them I have very frequent and very pale eliminations (sorry!) for around 24 hours. Having now read that oxalates may cause health problems I am wondering if that may be the problem and should research a bit more.
    Could their affect on my body be unhealthy?
    Thank you, Liz

  7. Bronwyn says:

    Up to now, when I have soaked cashews (which I do at room temperature), I have not drained the soaking water away but used it in drinks because some of the fats come out into it, so it tastes quite creamy.

    Although cashews apparently contain some tannic acid, it doesn’t seem to be very much because its bitterness is not evident in the taste of the soaking water.

    I understand that the soaking process chemically changes the phytic acid, so it no longer has its antinutrient effect.

    I don’t know what else is in the water that might be harmful.

    However you say here that the soaking water ought to be drained away. Is that for health reasons, and if so, could you please tell me what is harmful in the soaking water?

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Bronwyn, to me it makes sense to toss the drain water. I don’t have any scientific proof to back up whether is it right or wrong to consume the soak water. But logic just tells me to drain it away since we are leaching out the enzyme inhibitors/phytic acid, etc from the nuts and into the water. Where does it go? In the water? That is my thought. If you feel comfortable using it, then use it. Have a blessed and wonderful holiday, amie sue

  8. Ajit says:

    Hi what you know about cashew peeling process ???

    How we can remove cashew skin ???

    • amie-sue says:

      I really don’t know anything about how to handle the fresh fruit and cashew seed Ajit. I would do some googling. My cashews come dried and ready to go. :) Blessings, amie sue

  9. Kate says:

    I left my cashews soaking overnight and then all day and then overnight again on my counter. Should I throw them out? They look ok but I still very suspicious of them


    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Kate,

      I can’t say for sure without seeing and smelling them. There are many determining factors; how fresh were the cashews to begin with? How warm is it in the house? Did you change the water throughout the soaking process?

      You are going to have to make the judgement call. If they feel slimy or smell “off”, I would toss them. And if you are just flat out nervous… toss them, otherwise you won’t be able to enjoy whatever you plan on making with them because you will be too leery of them.

      Good luck, amie sue

  10. Nili says:

    Dear Amie Sue,

    A nut expert told me that he tried to soak and dehydrate raw cashews, but could not use them because rather than turn out dry and crispy, they became brittle and lost much of their natural sweetness. Do you know why this might happen and what should be done to get better results? He did say that he would soak them for 4-6 hours. Might that have something to do with it? Is 2-3 hours really enough time to neutralize phytic acid?

    Thanks a lot,


    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Nili,

      Cashews are a softer nut in their raw state, when soaked and dehydrated, they don’t become hard and crisp in texture. I find that the flavor depends on the batch of cashews. Just like produce, each batch tastes a bit different. Some cashews are stronger in a sweet flavor than others. You don’t have to soak them if you don’t want to. We all need phytic acid, but for those who eat a high or all raw diet, they tend to eat a LOT of nuts and seeds which are high in phytic acid, so this helps keeps the balance in things. Have a great day, amie sue

      • Nili says:

        Thanks Amie-Sue. My main concerns are the effects of soaking and the resulting texture. Is 2-3 hours really enough time to neutralize enzyme inhibitors? Also, after dehydration, do cashews go back to their original texture or are they even softer and more brittle than their pre-soaked/dehydrated form? Thanks!

        • amie-sue says:

          From all the reading and research that I have done, it is felt that it is enough time. I really didn’t notice much of a difference in texture after they were dried. Give it a try and see what you think. You don’t have soak nuts, seeds, or grains but I and other recommend it. For some, it helps greatly with digestion. We need phytic acid in our diet but often times in a raw diet a person can possibly get too much, that is why many go through the soaking and dehydrating process. Personally, I go through process for those mentioned reasons but also because we prefer the texture of the nuts and seeds when they have been soaked and dehydrated.

          Have a wonderful weekend, amie sue

  11. Judi says:

    I am using the soaked raw cashews to make vegan cheese. I add nutritional yeast to it and other seasonings, lemon and water and put in a food processor. Will oxalates still be an issue I should be concerned about.

  12. Joanie says:

    Hi Amie Sue – once you posted the link to where you purchase your cashews and I can’t find that information. How do I know when purchasing cashews or any other nuts and seeds if they are the best quality? Thanks…

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Joanie,

      That’s a great question and not a real easy one to answer. It has been through trial and error for me. It requires due diligence on your behalf… you need to Google what you are looking for and then read up on the company. Find out if they sell raw and/or organic (whatever your criteria may be). Don’t be afraid to send an email to the company you are interested in. Ask them (if raw) how do they process the nut and at what temp. Ask them for a sample. Most companies have been willing to send me samples.

      I get my cashews and almond through Azurestandard.com. I have been happy with the products they sell. They sell only organics and seem to have strong ethics in their approach to sales. There is also the rawfoodworld.com.

      I hope this helps. blessings, amie sue

  13. Mary Jo Matey says:

    Are we to soak the cashews FIRST and then dehydrate and if so why ?? Can they be used right after soaking ? Or do they need to be dried ?

  14. […] of cashews include healthy skin, eyes, and blood sugar. Cashew are rich in vitamins and minerals. Such as protein, fiber, and […]

  15. Lisa says:

    Hello, Will my cashew plant grow if I do not soak the seeds before planting? Or will it just take longer for it to grow?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Lisa,

      I have no idea what it takes to grow a cashew tree (never heard of a cashew plant). On a side note – I have a post on how cashews are grown and harvested (fun read) if interested. blessings, amie sue

  16. Hester Lai says:

    Hi Amie,

    I soaked my cashew nuts for about 1 hour. Then drained and dried them in a colander for about 8 hours on counter. After that I bake it in the oven under 170 Celsius for 20 minutes. But the nuts are not crunchy. Please kindly advise whether there is anything goes wrong with my steps.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good day Hester,

      I have never used your technique so I can really speak for it. Cashews are typically on the “softer” side when it comes to nuts so don’t expect them to crunchy like almonds. Try following the instructions that I provided above. You used a lower heat than I did so you either need to raise the heat or cook them longer.

      1. Once they are done baking they will start to smell nutty and turn golden brown. How did yours look?
      2. Did you spread them out in a single layer? Over-filling a try can mess up the results.
      3. Were the cashews you started off with fresh – did you taste test them to make sure they weren’t old, rancid, and of poor quality?
      4. I’ve never put my nuts or seeds through the soaking process, draining them, and then have them sit on the counter for 8 hours before drying them. I
      dry mine right away.

      I hope this helps. blessings, amie sue

      • Hester Lai says:

        Hi, Amie, appreciate for your quick response.

        My answer:
        1. Mine not all golden brown. Some are still white. But it does smell nutty.

        2. Yes spread out in a single layer.

        3. I didn’t try them. Next time I will do that before hand. The cashew nuts packing that I ordered has damaged a little at the middle part. I didn’t noticed that and water ran inside the bag while I washing it. So could the cashew nuts gone stale if the packing is damaged?

        4. Maybe I shouldn’t let them dry by itself in a colander. Could this also be one of reason why it’s not crunchy?

        • amie-sue says:

          Good evening Hester,

          It is a very good habit to always taste test any nuts and seeds before using them. Since they are all higher in fat, they can go rancid. Best to keep them stored in the fridge or freezer if you plan on keeping them long term just to help with freshness.

          If the bag was damaged and had a hole in it, it’s possible that they did get stale. I would skip the process of letting them dry on the counter. Dry them with a towel, then move on to the roasting. Keep in mind that cashews don’t get really crunchy. Even if you buy already roasted cashews, they are not “crunchy.”

          Wishing you the best. amie sue :)

  17. […] Raw Cashews, Soaked and Drying | Nouveau Raw  […]

  18. Andrea Mc Namara says:

    Hi Amie-Sue,

    thank you for this informative blog.
    I just wanted to say that I always soak my cashew nuts before using and find that usually at the end of soaking, the water looks a little grimey.
    I’m putting this down to the nuts being handled and processed in factories and you just don’t know what the working conditions are like.

    I’ve been wanting to make my own nut butter, and was wondering, once they have soaked and dried, would it not make sense blending them straight out of the drying process while they are still warm? It should be easier to blend them at this stage, I imagine. I appreciate your thoughts on this.

    Kind regards,


    • amie-sue says:

      Good day Andrea,

      Thanks for popping in with a great question.

      First off, I know what you mean about the water turning slimy when soaking cashews. I often find that oversoaking them can lead to this.

      The idea of blending the warm cashews into cashew butter makes sense but I would caution against it. The main reason being is that when the cashews are still warm, it’s hard to detect whether or not they have dried long enough. You want to make sure that all the water is out of them or it can lead to mold/rancidity. Since cashews are already more on the softer side (even after dehydrating or roasting them) they will blend up really nicely into a butter.

      I hope this helps. blessings, amie sue

  19. Laura says:

    Hello! Thank you for this post! I want to use the cashews that I soak to make cashew milk so I am wondering about the salt you put in while soaking. Even if the soak water is rinsed really well, will the cashews have soaked in enough salt that it will make the milk taste too salty? Thanks

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Laura,

      You are welcome. The answer to your question is no. I have been soaking all my nuts and seeds for over a decade in the saltwater solution and once rinsed you don’t detect saltiness. Enjoy. blessings, amie sue

  20. Norm says:

    What a great post and Q&A, thank you, all.

    I often, intentionally. over-soak my cashews in the same, stagnant water because I like the slightly bitter taste they then add to my garlic butter I make. Though I go through a lengthy rinsing process, still.

    I have a weird question, Aimie-Sue.

    I wonder if the slimy water the over-soaking causes is edible at all or if it would be rather health damaging.

    I tried to find some scientific explanation to but to no avail. Perhaps I wasn’t looking at the right places.

    Do you have any idea?

    • amie-sue says:

      Good day Norm,

      I can’t provide any scientific response to your question, I wish I could. Personally, I never use the soak water from soaking any nut or seed, it all gets composted (dump the water outside in the flower gardens). If I ever run across something to answer this question, I will surely post it! blessings, amie sue

  21. Cathi says:

    Hi…… have never bought or soaked raw cashews before and want to make “cheesecake”

    The clerk at the health food store told me all raw cashews are blanched. Is this the kind of cashew I need to buy ?

    Are these safe to eat?

    Thank you
    Cathi from MN

  22. Cheryl Holliday says:

    I was wondering if you can recommend a dehydrator? I’m just today trying to transition to cashew flour after developing an allergy to almonds and I miss bread.

  23. Gredel says:

    So delicious! I soaked raw cashews in filtered water and celtic salt for a few hours. It took about thirty minutes in the oven at 350 to toast perfectly. I did stir every five minutes or so they wouldn’t burn.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *