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How to Make Vegan Cheese

4.61 from 46 votes
You can grate it, you can melt it, and you can even put it on tacos: with my Vegan Cheese recipe, you'll never go without again!
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Hi Bold Bakers!

For those of you who might not know me, I’m Liv! I’m Bigger Bolder Baking’s in-house alternative baker and it is my number one priority to take you along with me as I experiment with new alternative ingredients, styles of eating, and cooking. Whether you have dietary restrictions or just want to make baked goods that happen to be great for you, I have got all the tips and tricks you need!

Some of Gemma’s most beloved recipes are actually from her Bold Baking Basics series where she shows you how to make actual ingredients like Homemade Cream Cheese or Clotted Cream. Seeing as many of you are dairy-free, or just looking for a lighter way to enjoy cheese, I wanted to create my own basic recipe for How to Make Vegan Cheese!

My recipe is full of healthy fats and completely without dairy. Savory, rich, and creamy cheese that can be sliced, spread, and even melted is something you no longer need to say no to.

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What Is Vegan Cheese Made Of?

This recipe, simply put, is genius. Utilizing, soaked raw cashews, coconut oil, tapioca starch, agar agar, nutritional yeast, salt and lemon juice, I can then make cheese in the blender! Each one of these ingredients plays a very important role that adds up to a cheese base that can be used in SO many different ways.

My vegan cheese recipe starts by soaking cashews in hot water to soften them. While the cashews are soaking I add the other ingredient to a food processor. I know it sounds wild and it kind of is, but each one part of this recipe adds just the right flavor or texture to make the whole cheese sing.

After the cashews have soaked I add them to the food processor and just blend away until I make what looks like cashew butter. At this point, I add hot water and this is where the mixture starts to form a “cheese.” The hot water starts to work with the agar agar to give the cheese a gooey texture. I transfer this mix to a small pot, then whisk over a simmer — and bam! — the mix starts to look like vegan white cheddar queso. This can be enjoyed at this stage or you can transfer this cheesy mix to a small bowl and set in the fridge. After setting, it will turn into more of a brie-like texture that can be sliced, spread, and even melted!

What is Agar Agar? Can It Be Substituted?

Some of you may be intimidated by working with agar agar, but don’t be.

Agar agar is a great vegan gelatin replacement derived from seaweed. The way this works is in combination with water. Agar agar will swell and form a jelly-like texture without adding any taste. This is readily available online and in many grocery stores now and can often be found in Asian markets as it appears in many Asian desserts. If you don’t want to use agar agar and want to use carrageenan here, you can, just use 1 1/2 tablespoons instead of 3. This will yield a harder, more set cheese, whereas agar agar keeps the cheese more creamy.

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Does Vegan Cheese Melt?

Because of the way the agar agar works along with the coconut oil, this cheese will respond to either hot or cold temperature very well. This cheese can be put into all kinds of things from grilled cheese to pizza and everything in between.

If you want the cheese to be looser and melty, you can use 3 tablespoons of agar agar instead of 5. On the flipside, if you want this cheese to be more dry and firm, use the full amount of agar agar and set the cheese in the fridge overnight. After a night in the fridge, you can remove the cheese from the bowl and wrap it in a paper towel or cloth to dry out and develop even further.

The best part of my recipe is the versatility, so I would suggest experiment with using it in its different “states” if you will.

Can You Make Different Varieties of Vegan Cheese?

This cheese has a very neutral, white cheddar-like taste if you use the full amount of salt in the recipe. For a more creamy, less strong flavor, you can reduce the salt. In addition to altering the flavor this way, you can add in fresh herbs, dry herbs, and spices. This would be an awesome spicy cheese if you added a bit of cayenne pepper.

I also love the idea of freshly cracked black pepper, dill, and chives incorporated into the mix. Feel free to experiment and make this to your own taste!

How Long Does Vegan Cheese Last?

This cheese will last for up to 2 weeks covered and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It can also be frozen, then thawed, and used at a later date. That said, I highly doubt it will last that long!

Does Vegan Cheese Taste Different?

The main difference between this cheese and a dairy-based cheese can come from the cashews. If you do not soak the cashews for long enough they will not break down fully and can make for a slightly gritty cheese. For this reason, do not skip this step or rush through it — you can even soak the cashews overnight if you like.

Assuming you do that, this cheese is kind of a miracle in my opinion. Since cutting down on dairy I have really missed cheese, so this is one of my personal favorite recipes which I’ve created. Who could resist gooey, melty, creamy cheese that just so happens to be full of naturally healthy ingredients?

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Watch The Recipe Video!

How to Make Vegan Cheese Recipe

4.61 from 46 votes
You can grate it, you can melt it, and you can even put it on tacos: with my Vegan Cheese recipe, you'll never go without again!
Author: Olivia Crouppen
Servings: 12
Prep Time 40 mins
Total Time 40 mins
You can grate it, you can melt it, and you can even put it on tacos: with my Vegan Cheese recipe, you'll never go without again!
Author: Olivia Crouppen
Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (2 ½oz/71g) raw cashew, soaked in boiling water for at least 30 minutes
  • 1/4 cup (1oz/28g) tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup (2oz/57g) coconut oil, solid
  • 3-5 tablespoons *agar agar, (depending on how firm you want it)
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2-3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cup (12floz/340ml) water, boiling

Optional add in:

  • 1 teaspoon dry herbs of your choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Add the cashew to a large bowl and pour over boiling water until completely covered. Allow the cashews to soak for a minimum of 30 minutes - overnight. The longer you soak your nuts the creamier they will be when blended into the cheese. 
  • In a food processor or blender add the tapioca starch, coconut oil, agar agar, nutritional yeast, lemon, and salt. Pulse just to combine.
  • Drain the soaked cashews from the water then add to the other ingredients in the food processor. Process the nuts and dry ingredients until you reach a smooth nut butter-like texture, scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Once the cashew cheese mixture is smooth carefully and slowly stream in boiling water. 
  • Transfer the cheese mixture to a small pot, set over medium heat, and cook while whisking constantly — just until the cheese thickens and becomes gooey. This is the agar agar being activated. 
  • At this point, the cheese can be enjoyed warm like a white cheddar queso cheese. 
  • For a mozzarella-like cheese that can be sliced or grated, transfer the gooey warm cheese to a small bowl of your choice and allow to set in the fridge for a minimum of 5 hours.
  • If at this point, if you would like an even drier cheese, remover from the bowl and wrap in a paper towel or cheesecloth and allow to age in the fridge for one day.
  • Cover and store the cheese at whatever stage you use it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. This cheese can be frozen then thawed at room temperature and used at a later time. 

Recipe Notes

*If you would like to use carrageenan instead of agar agar you can, just use 1 1/2 tablespoons. You must use one of these options as this is what will hold the cheese together and create the gooey melting texture. 
Nutrition Facts
How to Make Vegan Cheese Recipe
Amount Per Serving (3 tablespoons)
Calories 76 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Sodium 24mg1%
Potassium 3mg0%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Protein 1g2%
Iron 0.2mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Heather Gordon
Heather Gordon
3 years ago

Wow! What a deceptively easy and incredibly delicious recipe! I followed the recipe to a T. I only had a Vitamix blender and I found I had to dump the boiling water immediately after adding the soaked cashews to the first mix for fear of my motor overheating! I was afraid that because I did not « slowly pour the water in a stream » that I would have lumps. QUITE the contrary! Because the water was so hot and my blender mixed it up good, I believe the agar agar got activated very quickly. I barely needed to cook it on… Read more »

Stephanie
Stephanie
3 years ago

Agar power or agar flakes?

Tracey
Tracey
1 month ago

I have to stay off dairy, and I just made this yesterday. It really is like a soft rindless brie like Liv said. Thanks, it is such a great recipe. So easy, espeically after watching the video.
I substituted 3 Tb of gelatin since I didn’t have agar-agar, and arrowroot starch for tapioca, and it came out perfect. I used a blender, so I first blended the soaked nuts, hot water, lemon, and coconut oil, and then whisked that liquid mixture with the mixed powders – starch, gelatin, salt, and nutritional yeast – in the pot.

Justyna
Justyna
3 months ago

I added 7 tbsp of agar agar because I made double batch and it came out very thick before transferring to a saucepan and heating. It was very hard to whisk. Should it be teaspoons instead of tablespoons?

Lisa W
Lisa W
9 months ago

I noticed it came out tasting a bit starchy
. What can I do to fix it?

Last edited 9 months ago by Lisa W
Nuffy
Nuffy
9 months ago

I’m allergic to Nutritional yeast…does it matter?

t prak
t prak
1 year ago

is there a substitute for tapioca starch?

FARIZA BT ZAINUL ARIFFIN
FARIZA BT ZAINUL ARIFFIN
1 year ago

How long is the shelf life if u stored in freezer?
And can you suggest what i can put in, so that it will last longer in the fridge instead of freeze.

linh
linh
2 years ago

Can I add oat milk to this?

Kathryn Wright
Kathryn Wright
2 years ago

Hello, I made this and added 5 TBs of Agar Agar, and let it set in the fridge over night, but the consistency is still play dough like? I have wrapped it in cheese cloth now to see if it firms up a bit more. I was hoping to be able to grate it? Is there something else I should’ve done?

Thank you

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Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

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