Tangy Vegan Cheddar Cheese is so easy to make with just 8 ingredients! It’s firm, sliceable and delicious on cold sandwiches, grilled cheese or as an addition to a snack platter with crackers and grapes. 

round block of cheese with a slice taken out

Making your own vegan cheese at home is surprisingly easy, and often tastes much better than anything you can buy at a store. Depending on where you live, quality vegan cheeses can be difficult to find and are usually expensive.

My favorite cheese used to be cheddar, and since giving up dairy, I have been searching for a vegan cheddar-type cheese that tastes good on a cold sandwich. There is one brand I really love (Violife Mature Cheddar Slices), but it’s pretty pricey and hard to find. So I set out to make my own.

Why this Vegan Cheddar Cheese Works

  • It tastes great cold! The flavor is incredible, mild and tangy and reminiscent of cheddar. The texture cold is firm but still soft, and can be spread on a cracker. But it’s firm enough to slice for a sandwich.
  • It melts well! Making my cheddar grilled cheese dreams come true.
  • It’s seriously easy to make and takes only about 15 minutes of prep time, then you just have to wait for it to firm up in the refrigerator.

piece of sliced cheddar on a cracker

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How to make it

*This is simply an overview of the recipe with photos. For the full recipe, scroll down to the recipe card.

  1. Soak raw cashews for about 5 minutes in hot water.
  2. Drain the cashews and add to a high powered blender along with the lemon juice, refined coconut oil, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, paprika, turmeric, salt and 1 cup of water.
  3. Blend until very smooth.
  4. In a small pot, combine the other cup of water and the agar agar powder. Don’t turn on the heat yet.
  5. Add the cashew mixture to the pot with the water/agar agar.
  6. Bring to a boil and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes until it thickens.
  7. Pour into lightly oiled ramekins.
  8. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until firm.

collage of how to make cheddar

collage of how to make cheddar

Once refrigerated and firm, turn upside down over a plate to pop the cheese out of the dish. Slice and serve in cold sandwiches, make a grilled cheese, or eat with crackers. You are officially a vegan cheese maker!

Tips for the best cheese

  • Make sure to use REFINED coconut oil! This is so important, and nothing else will work. If you use unrefined, your cheese will taste like coconut.
  • High powered blender – You really need a high powered blender such as a Vitamix to get the cheese smooth and free of chunks.
  • Use raw cashews, not roasted. Raw cashews have a neutral, buttery taste that is perfect as a base for cheese.
  • Store wrapped in paper towels and plastic wrap (or in a container). Paper towels will help the cheese stay dry, which I think helps it taste even better.

block of cheese on a board

Want more vegan cheese?

spreading vegan cheddar on a cracker

square image of a block of vegan cheddar
4.83 stars (23 ratings)

Vegan Cheddar Cheese

Tangy Vegan Cheddar Cheese is so easy to make with just 8 ingredients! It's firm, sliceable and delicious on cold sandwiches, grilled cheese or as an addition to a snack platter with crackers and grapes. 
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Chilling time: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Pour the hot water over the cashews and let soak for 5 minutes. Prepare 2 small ramekins or 1 larger dish by lightly spraying with oil.
  • Drain the cashews and discard the soaking water. Add them to a blender along with the lemon juice, refined coconut oil, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, paprika, turmeric, salt and 1 cup of fresh water (not the full 2 cups). Blend well, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed, until completely smooth.
  • In a small-medium pot, add the remaining cup of water and the agar agar powder. Stir until it dissolves (this only take a minute). Now add the cashew mixture from the blender to the pot.
  • Turn the heat on to high, bring to a boil and stir for 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly. It will thicken somewhat in the pot. *See the photos in the post above for reference.
  • Immediately pour the cheese into the prepared ramekins and smooth out the top with a spoon.
  • Refrigerate for 2-3 hours until firm, then turn upside down on a plate to remove the cheese from the container. Slice and serve in sandwiches, make a grilled cheese sandwich, spread on crackers and eat as a snack.
  • Storing: I like to wrap it in paper towels and then plastic wrap to keep it dry and firm. It will keep in the refrigerator for 5-6 days. I haven't tried freezing it but I think it will work okay.

Notes

  1. I can't stress enough that you use REFINED coconut oil, not unrefined. Refined coconut oil has no coconut taste whatsoever, and if you use anything else, it will not work.
  2. May sub tapioca starch for cornstarch if needed.
  3. I have only tested this using agar agar powder, but if you have flakes 3 tablespoons should work. You typically need more flakes than powder. 
  4. Kappa Carrageenan - If you would rather use this than agar agar, it will work but the process is a bit different. Simply add 1 1/2 tablespoons kappa carrageenan to the blender along with 2 full cups of boiling hot water and carefully blend. The cheese will be more firm, and I don't believe it tastes as good cold. But it will shred better.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 82kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 219mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Comments

    1. I don’t think this cheese gets firm enough to be grated, unfortunately. You could try adding a little more agar agar to help it firm even more, though. Let us know if you try it!

    1. Raw slivered almonds should work quite well. Raw almonds with the skin will not work very well. I hope you enjoy the cheese!

    1. The cheese won’t firm up or melt the same with anything else. You could leave it out or try using another oil, but I’m not sure it will work very well.

  1. Love this recipe.Thank you Nora,I made this cheese and love the color, firmness and the taste. I also made another batch with hot peppers and it was delicious.Thanks for sharing.

    1. You are welcome, Kathy! It’s so terrific you love the cheese! Thank you for your fabulous review and feedback!

    1. Did you make any substitutions? Did you whisk the cheese mixture long enough on the stove? It should thicken somewhat when it’s cooked over high heat, which helps it firm up in the fridge.

      1. I substituted agar agar, for xanthan. I looked it up and read it was cup for cup substitute. I used quite a bit of ingredients, I hate to lose all of it. Can I somehow save this?

    2. The same thing happened to me. So I now have a cheese spread.Will try again and sub tapioca starch for cornstarch and maybe increase a bit and cook longer. (Also added some light miso for extra flavor) The taste is very good so it’s worth another try. Reminds me of a Miyoko sharp cheddar I bought.

  2. Thank you for sharing this recipe; my first attempt at making vegan cheese is a success! Nice flavor and color. Better taste than several store-bought products. Yes it’s a bit too soft for “true” cheese but wow, this hit the spot for me, taste-wise.

    1. Hi Steve. I’m glad your first attempt was a success! Thanks for sharing your cheesemaking experience and fabulous feedback!

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