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Vegan Pepper Jack Cheese without Oil

4.93 from 26 votes

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This vegan pepper jack cheese is creamy and spicy and perfect for sandwiches, quesadillas, cheese and crackers, and charcuterie boards. You’ll love how quick and easy it is to make your own vegan cheese!

Block of cheese and cheese shreds on a wooden cutting board with cheese grater and grapes in background.

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Cheese was the last thing I gave up when I went plant based. I absolutely loved cheese! I put it on so many things. I’m sure I ate it every day – some days at every meal!

At that time there were very few vegan cheese substitutes available, and those early vegan cheeses were not very good.

Some of the store bought cheese substitutes are getting better, but the highest quality ones are quite expensive. Also, they tend to be fairly high in fat.

That’s why I started making my own vegan cheese. My cashew cheese sauce is the recipe that helped me overcome my addiction to dairy based cheese. And my vegan mozzarella is wonderful for my Italian dishes.

Sometimes it’s nice to spice things up a bit with a kick of heat. This vegan pepper jack cheese is just what you need for those times!

Sliced wheel of cheese, crakers, and grapes on wooden cutting board.

It slices perfectly for cheese and crackers or for an addition to your vegan charcuterie board. It shreds easily for adding to your Mexican dishes, and even melts in quesadillas and sandwiches!

If you love spicy cheeses, you’ve got to give this one a try!

I’ve made it with simple pantry ingredients, and it goes together so easily! There’s really no need to buy those expensive store bought vegan cheeses.

Ingredients for this recipe

Ingredients for vegan pepper jack cheese.
  • Water
  • Raw cashews – be sure they are raw and unsalted
  • Tapioca starch – also called tapioca flour, this give the cheese its smooth texture
  • Nutritional yeast – for cheesy flavor
  • Lemon juice and Apple cider vinegar – for tang
  • Kappa carrageenan – this makes the cheese firm and sliceable. You can use agar agar, but the texture will not be the same.
  • Salt
  • Onion powder – for flavor
  • Pickled jalapeno peppers and Red pepper flakes – for spiciness.

How to make vegan pepper jack cheese

If you don’t have a high speed blender like a Vitamix, soak your cashews before blending. To do this, put them in a pot of water, bring it to a boil, remove the pot from the heat, and let the cashews sit in the hot water for 15 minutes. Then drain.

Mince the pickled jalapenos.

Place all the ingredients except the jalapenos and red pepper flakes in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Add the jalapenos and red pepper flakes and pulse until they are incorporated into the cheese mixture, but not pureed. Then pour the mixture into a medium sauce pan.

Gather your containers for molding the cheese before cooking it. I like to use two 2-cup glass storage bowls. You can also use a small loaf pan, if you want a rectangular block of cheese.

Pepper jack cheese mixture in a sauce pan on stove.
Vegan pepper jack cheese curdling as it begins to thicken.
Cooked vegan pepper jack cheese forming ball in sauce pan.

Place the pot with the cheese mixture on the stove and cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Stir constantly to prevent the cheese from sticking to the bottom of the pot and scalding. As the cheese starts to cook, it will first become lumpy, but will then smooth out. When it is done cooking, it should hold together and pull away from the sides of the pot. Once it is at this stage and comes to a boil, pour it into your prepared containers.

Allow the cheese to cool uncovered on the counter for 45 minutes before covering and placing in the refrigerator. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours for completely set cheese.

Serving suggestions:

  • Slice it and enjoy it on crackers.
  • Add slices or cubes to a vegan charcuterie board.
  • Use in vegan quesadillas.
  • Make spicy grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • Shred it and add it to your Mexican dishes.
Cheese wheel with wedge cut out of it, with crackers, grapes, and another cheese wheel in background.

Frequently asked questions

Can this pepper jack cheese be frozen?

Freezing this cheese will change the texture and make it more grainy. It still tastes delicious and will still melt in sandwiches and quesadillas.

Can I make this cheese with agar instead of kappa carrageenan?

Yes. It might not come out quite as firm. When substituting agar agar for kappa carrageenan, you will need twice the amount of agar as carrageenan. For this recipe, that would be 3 tablespoons.

How long does homemade vegan pepper jack cheese last?

This cheese will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Explore our Vegan Staples Cookbook

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Block of cheese and cheese shreds on a wooden cutting board with cheese grater and grapes in background.

Vegan Pepperjack Cheese

Teresa Sklenicka
This perfect vegan pepper jack cheese is creamy and spicy and perfect for sandwiches, quesadillas, cheese and crackers, and charcuterie boards. You'll love how quick and easy it is to make your own vegan cheese!
4.93 from 26 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Appetizer, Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 20
Calories 47.1 kcal



  • Using high speed blender, combine the water, cashews, tapioca starch, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, and onion powder. Blend until totally smooth.
  • Add the kappa carrageenan and blend for about 10 seconds, until smooth.
  • Add the dried red pepper flakes and pickled jalapeno. Blend on low just until the jalapenos are chopped up, but not pureed.
  • Pour the mixture into a 2 quart sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring continually. As the mixture cooks, it will first curdle, and then smooth out. When the mixture is smooth and glossy and begins to hold together and pull away from the sides of the pan, remove it from the heat.
  • Pour the cheese into one or two square or round glass containers or loaf pans. I use 2 two cup glass bowls.
  • The cheese should begin to set up immediately. If it doesn’t, put it back in the pot and continue to cook it.
  • Allow the cheese to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then cover the cheese and refrigerate it for about 4 hours to allow it to finish setting.


Use more or less pickled jalapenos and red pepper flakes according to your preferred level of spice.


Serving: 40gCalories: 47.1kcalCarbohydrates: 4.2gProtein: 1.7gFat: 2.4gSaturated Fat: 0.4gSodium: 259.9mgFiber: 0.9gSugar: 0.5gVitamin A: 1.52IUVitamin C: 0.68mgCalcium: 5.23mgIron: 0.51mg
Keyword Cheese, Oil Free
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
By on October 9th, 2022

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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