This tangy Vegan Cheddar Cheese is firm, sliceable, and grateable! It’s perfect on some crackers, in a grilled cheese sandwich, on a snack tray, or anywhere you want some cheesy goodness!
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Cheddar cheese is something I’ve missed since going vegan. My husband and I were just talking this morning about years ago when we’d visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory on our frequent trips to the Oregon Coast. We’d go through their line to sample all of their cheeses. We absolutely loved the sharp cheddar!
I’ve tried for a long time to figure out a vegan substitute for a sharp cheddar. I’ve even tried some of the store bought substitutes, but the only one I found that was even close was made in a local vegan cheese shop. But their prices were way out of my budget – over $35 per pound!
None of the other store bought dairy free cheese substitutes came even close to the tangy flavor I remember cheddar cheese having.
So I’ve been working on developing my own vegan cheese recipes. I’ve been working on this one for so long, and I’m finally ready to share it with you!
I do have to admit, I haven’t had real cheddar cheese in over a decade, and I haven’t had any vegan cheese that tastes like dairy cheese. But this one has the tang of a sharp cheddar, and satisfies my taste for cheddar cheese.
The meltability isn’t perfect, but it does make a nice grilled cheese sandwich. It doesn’t melt as well on top of dishes like nachos because the heat dries out the surface of the cheese and prevents it from spreading. But it melts great inside of things like sandwiches and quesadillas.
A lot of vegan cheese recipes add coconut oil to help with the meltability, but I wanted to make mine without added oil.
- Raw Cashews – raw cashews are the base of this dairy free cheddar cheese. If you have a high speed blender, you do not have to soak the cashews for this recipe. If you have a less powerful blender, you will need to soak them. Soaking the cashews will result in a softer cheese, since the cashews absorb excess water.
- Nutritional Yeast – to give the cheesy, umami flavor.
- Lemon Juice – I used bottled lemon juice because it’s easier to control the flavor. Some fresh lemons are more sour than others.
- White miso – adds a savory umami flavor.
- Salt – because cheddar cheese is salty. It also helps bring out the other flavors. (I forgot to add the salt in the above photo.)
- Garlic Powder and Onion Powder – for some savory taste.
- Paprika and Turmeric – for color.
- Lactic Acid Powder – to add tang without adding other flavors.
- Tapioca Flour and Kappa Carrageenan – to make the cheese firm and meltable.
How to make vegan cheddar cheese
A high speed blender like a Vitamix or Blend Tec is highly recommended for this recipe. If you don’t have a high speed blender, you will need to soak your cashews before blending. Soak them in water overnight in the refrigerator. If you forget to do this, pour boiling water over them and let them sit for 15-20 minutes. Then drain and rinse.
Place all the ingredients in the blender and blend until completely smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a medium sized sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.
As the mixture heats, it will become lumpy. But keep heating and stirring until the mixture comes to a boil, becomes smooth and a bit glossy, and starts to pull together. You may need to simmer it while stirring for a couple of minutes after it starts boiling.
Transfer the cheese mixture to glass or metal containers. I have some small rectangular glass storage containers that I like to use. Mini loaf pans would also work.
Let the cheese cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours to firm up before using.
- Serve it cold sliced onto crackers or slices of crusty bread.
- Shred it onto tacos, burritos, nachos, and tostadas.
- Make a delicious quesadilla.
- Add cold slices to sandwiches.
- Melt it onto your veggie burgers to make delicious cheeseburgers.
- Add some grated cheddar to your pizza or pasta dishes.
- Make an epic oil-free grilled cheese or grilled ham and cheese.
- Shred some to melt on top of your casseroles.
- Make a delicious cheese platter with this cheddar, my Vegan Mozzarella, my Vegan Pepper Jack Cheese, some grapes, and some crackers.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have not tested this recipe with agar agar. It should work to use agar agar, but it might not melt as well as with kappa carrageenan.
Store this cheese in the refrigerator for up to a week. It is also freezer friendly for up to 3 months. The texture may change after freezing and thawing. Allow the frozen cheese to thaw in the refrigerator before using.
More Vegan Cheese Recipes
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Vegan Cheddar Cheese without Oil
- 1 ¾ cups water
- ¾ cup raw cashews
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- 1 teaspoon lactic acid powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 3 tablespoons tapioca starch
- 2 tablespoons Kappa Carrageenan
- Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour the contents of the blender into a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. As the mixture heats, it will become lumpy, but then smooth out. Keep stirring constantly until the cheese boils, becomes smooth, and pulls away from the sides of the pot. If you stop cooking too soon, it will not firm up properly. remove from heat and pour into glass containers.
- Pour the cheese into glass or metal containers and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours to firm up.