Vegan Cheddar Cheese
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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.
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.
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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.
- Soak raw cashews for about 5 minutes in hot water.
- 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.
- Blend until very smooth.
- In a small pot, combine the other cup of water and the agar agar powder. Don’t turn on the heat yet.
- Add the cashew mixture to the pot with the water/agar agar.
- Bring to a boil and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes until it thickens.
- Pour into lightly oiled ramekins.
- Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until firm.
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.
Want more vegan cheese?
- Shreddable Vegan Mozzarella
- EASY Stretchy Vegan Mozzarella
- Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- 5 Minute Vegan Cream Cheese
- Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese
Vegan Cheddar Cheese
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup refined coconut oil, (make sure it is refined for no coconut flavor)
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons paprika, smoked for smoky flavored cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups water, divided
- 1 tablespoon agar agar powder
- Soak the cashews in hot water for at least 5 minutes. I usually heat water in my tea kettle, then pour over the cashews once boiling. Prepare 2 small ramekins or 1 larger dish by lightly spraying with oil.
- Drain the cashews and add to a high powered blender (such as a Vitamix) along with the lemon juice, refined coconut oil, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, paprika, turmeric, salt and 1 cup of the 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.
- 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.
- May sub tapioca starch for cornstarch if needed.
- 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.
- 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.
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