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Vegan Cheddar Cheese without Oil

4.78 from 9 votes

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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!

Vegan cheese on wooden cutting board with cheese slices, cubes, and shreds, crackers, and green grapes, with napkin in the background.

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.

Ingredients

Labeled ingredients for vegan cheddar cheese.
  • Water
  • 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.

Unblended vegan cheese ingredients in blender.
Vegan cheddar cheese ingredients blended in blender.

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.

Vegan cheese at the beginning of cooking process in a pot on the stove.
Vegan cheese forming lumps while being cooked and stirred in a pot on the stove.
Cooked vegan cheese being stirred in a saucepan on the stove.

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.

Vegan cheddar cheese in tow rectangular glass containers.

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.

Vegan cheese on wooden cutting board with cheese slices and shreds, with green grapes in the background.

Serving Suggestions:

  • 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

Can I substitute agar agar for the kappa carrageenan?

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.

How long does this vegan cheddar cheese last?

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.

Vegan cheese on wooden cutting board with cheese slices and shreds, crackers, and green grapes.

More Vegan Cheese Recipes

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Closeup of vegan cheddar cheese on a cutting board with cheese slices and shreds crackers, and green grapes.

Vegan Cheddar Cheese without Oil

Teresa Sklenicka
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!
4.78 from 9 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Chilling 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 20 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 20
Calories 42.1 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

This cheese melts fairly well in grilled cheese sandwiches and quesadillas. When melting on top of foods like nachos or pizza, it does not spread. Because the cheese is oil free, the surface of the cheese dries as it melts, preventing it from spreading.

Nutrition

Calories: 42.1kcalCarbohydrates: 4.2gProtein: 2.2gFat: 2.1gSaturated Fat: 0.4gSodium: 148.3mgPotassium: 39.75mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.5gVitamin A: 0.74IUVitamin C: 0.37mgCalcium: 14.58mgIron: 51mg
Keyword Cheese, Oil Free, Quick & Easy, Vegan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

By on January 21st, 2023

About Teresa Sklenicka

I love creating tasty, oil-free, vegan recipes that everyone will love (even non-vegans)! Here you'll find vegan versions of your favorite comfort foods, as well as some new tastes! Join me on a path to improving your health, helping the planet, and saving animals.

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