Simple Smoky Vegan Cheddar Cheese

5 from 32 votes
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A simple and delicious, melty Vegan smoked cheddar cheese. Perfect for using as cheese slices, grated and melted over a variety of dishes.

Homemade vegan cheddar cheese eon a board with crackers almond and grapes

Believe me when I say that this has taken several attempts, but I think I’ve finally gotten the perfect smoky vegan cheddar cheese recipe. This recipe is dairy free, vegan, gluten free, and wonderfully melty. Plus, it’s so much better than store-bought options that are often loaded with palm oil, additives and/or artificial flavours.

Just like, well, everyone – I’m no stranger to those cheese cravings. Sometimes the perfect addition to a meal is deliciously melty, flavoursome cheese. From topping baked potatoes, pasta and pizza, to using it in wraps and sandwiches – cheese is a wonderful addition to so many meals.

Vegan Cheddar Cheese Cubes

Plus, it’s also great for cheese boards and other vegan appetisers where dairy based cheese would usually be the star of the show. And with a homemade version, you don’t have to worry about the palm oil, additives and ‘flavourings’ that often inhabit grocery store versions of dairy-free cheese.

Homemade vegan cheddar cheese on a board with almonds and grapes

Now, as I said, it’s taken me quite a bit of experimentation, but I finally got a recipe that works for me. Smoky, flavoursome, melty – it’s everything I want in a smoky cheese and more. Plus, there are a few flavour/ingredient variations depending on what you’re looking for in your dairy-free cheddar cheese.

Like a few of my Vegan cheese recipes, this recipe uses nuts as it’s base. Here I’ve decided to use activated cashew nuts. If you want to read more about what activated nuts are, how to make them, and why then check out my simple Vegan Herby Feta Cheese recipe.

In various other ‘Cheeze’ recipes, I’ve changed up the nut base and used skinless almonds. However, for this vegan cheddar, I’ve only ever tried with cashews so I couldn’t tell you how the results would differ with almonds.

Vegan cheddar cheese with some red grapes

Let me know what your favourite recipes to use this vegan cheese are in the comments below. I always love some delicious inspiration for new meals.

How To Make The Simple Smoky Vegan Cheddar Cheese

This smoky vegan cheddar is made up of a few main ingredients. There are a few ingredients within this recipe that you can omit/change, depending on the flavour that you’re looking for. I suggest using all the ingredients if you can for the best results, but I’ve tried each option to make sure they still taste good.

The Main Ingredients

all the ingredients for dairy-free chese recipe

  • Nutritional Yeast: Honestly, I feel like this is essential to giving the cheese a truly ‘cheesy’ flavour. However, I know that it can be a bit hard to get hold of in certain places and some people prefer not to consume it at all. If that is the case, then feel free to omit this from the recipe.
  • Miso Paste: This gives the vegan cheddar an incredible depth of flavour and assists in creating a cultured cheese.
  • Cashew Nuts: As previously mentioned, I’ve used activated (soaked/ sprouted) cashew nuts for this recipe and love the results. It’s best to soak them overnight in cold filtered water. If in a rush, you can soak them in hot water for 30 minutes.
  • Agar-Agar powder: agar powder is my favourite thickener for my vegan cheese recipes. It’s a great natural thickener that works like Gelatine but is 100% vegan. For this recipe, I use powder, not flakes. I’ve found this is so much easier to work with in terms of getting repeatedly good results and the perfect texture.
    However, if all you can access is agar agar flakes, then you will need to use 2-3 times the amount, and the texture will be slightly different.
  • Lemon Juice: You can also use a mixture of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar if you’d like. However, I find that I like the results fine with just lemon juice and that’s one less ingredient to worry about.
  • Tapioca Starch: This is used to mimic the starchiness effect of dairy cheese (particularly like stretchy mozzarella, but also works wonderfully for this dairy-free cheddar recipe).
  • Coconut Oil: This ingredient is 100% necessary for a lovely melty cheese when heated (like ‘real cheese’ would – as my dairy-eating friend says). However, if you’re not bothered about it melting and want an oil-free recipe, then this can be omitted.
  • The ‘smoke’ Factor: For this cheese, I added a lovely smokiness by including a small amount of liquid smoke (around 1 tsp) and some smoked paprika. This takes the cheese to a whole new level and is one of my favourite aspects of this recipe. However, if you’d prefer a plain cheddar or what to experiment with other flavour additions/herbs then feel free.

The How-To

Blend everything (apart from the tapioca starch and agar agar) in a high-speed food processor/blender, till smooth and creamy.

Note* You can also experiment with different ingredients to get the perfect ‘colour’ for your dairy free cheese. For a yellowy/orange colour then feel free to add turmeric and/or cayenne powder. Although, note that cayenne powder is spicy and so will flavour your cheese accordingly. 

ingredients for vegan cheddar blending in a food processor
blending ingredients for dairy free cheese

When you achieve a smooth, runny consistency, add the tapioca starch and agar-agar powder*. Blitz for a few seconds to incorporate them into the mix completely.

Note* if you can only find agar agar flakes, then you will need to use 2-3 times the amount, and the texture will be slightly different.

blending ingredients for dairy free cheese with tapioca starch and agar agar powder
blending ingredients for dairy free cheese

Pour the mixture in a pot and heat up over medium-high heat, stirring continuously. This will help to activate the thickening agents and the mixture will begin to thicken.

pouring vegan cheddar cheese mixture into a pot to warm it up

Remove from the heat when the mixture thickens and becomes more stretchy. It will be slightly goopy/gelatinous in texture, the way melted cheese is.
Heating up vegan cheddar cheese mixture to make it stretchy

Pour into your desired mould. I used a 6″ tart tin; alternatively, you can also use a bowl. 

Vegan cheddar cheese in a round mould
Leave it to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate, to set. 

To store the vegan cheddar, keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It’s also possible to freeze it for up to 3 months.

Vegan homemade cheddar cheese with a cut slice

This vegan cheddar cheese is now ready to use. Feel free to use it in any way you would with regular cheddar cheese. That includes for a delicious vegan mac and cheese, cheese and beans on toast, to top pasta, pizza etc.

a slice of homemade vegan cheddar cheee

Vegan cheddar cheese with some crackers and grapes on a cutting board

Other Vegan Cheese Recipes You Might Like

If you’re in the mood for some more great recipes for your cheese cravings, then I have a few options for you. For example, I have a delicious recipe for homemade Vegan Greek Feta Cheese. Alternatively, I also have a recipe for creamy vegan mozzarella or a cashew-based Cheese Wheel.

If there are any other dairy free recipes you want me to give a go/ share that you haven’t noticed on my blog so far, let me know in the comments. I’m working my way through a long list of DIY’s that I’m loving and already have a variety of food DIY’s.

This includes Dairy-free Coconut Yogurt and a variety of dairy-free milk recipes and even interesting ‘ingredient’ DIY’s including homemade Coconut Oil and Rose Water.

If you try this Vegan Smoky Cheddar Cheese Recipe let me know what you think in the comments. Also, I’d love to see your recreations so feel free to tag me @AlphaFoodie

Smoky cheddar cheese vegan cheese

5 from 32 votes
By: Samira
A simple and delicious, melty Vegan smoked cheddar cheese. Perfect for using as cheese slices, grated and melted over a variety of dishes. This recipe is dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, and wonderfully melty. Plus, it's so much better than store-bought options that are often loaded with palm oil, additives, and/or artificial flavors. 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 20 Servings

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Blend everything together in a high-speed processor/blender. Only keep the tapioca starch and agar agar aside.
  • When you achieve a smooth, runny consistency, add the tapioca and agar agar. Blitz for a few seconds to incorporate them well into the mix.
  • Pour the mixture in a pot and heat up over medium-high fire. Stir continuously. Remove from the fire when the mixture thickens and becomes more stretchy.
  • Pour into your desired mould. I used a 6" tart tin; alternatively, you can also use a bowl. Let cool off to room temperature. Then refrigerate.
  • Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. It's also possible to freeze it for up to 3 months.

Video

Notes

Read the blog post for more notes on individual ingredients and subs you can make etc.
Course: DIYs
Cuisine: European
Freezer friendly: 3 Months
Shelf life: 5 Days

Nutrition

Serving: 1Triangle, Calories: 110kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Sodium: 152mg, Potassium: 109mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 99IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 7mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating




20 Comments

  1. Marta says:

    5 stars
    Hi! This looks delicious. What type of miso paste did you use? Thanks!

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Thanks, Marta. For this recipe, I used white miso paste.

  2. Bonnie Swesey says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is delicious, and so easy! What would you add if you’d like the cheese to be a bit spicy?

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Bonnie,
      Thank you for your comment! Perhaps some cayenne pepper or chilli flakes. 🙂

  3. Rhonda says:

    Hi, I’m so excited to try this! When you say 1 lemon, do you mean the juice, zest, or the whole thing?

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Rhonda.
      It’s supposed to be the juice of 1 lemon – will update accordingly. Thanks for pointing this out! I hope you give this recipe a try. 🙂

  4. Harriet says:

    I was just getting ready to make this and noticed 1 lemon…..do you use all the juice of 1 lemon (I also looked at the Feta cheese recipe and it says 2 lemons, still no idea of juice or maybe toss the whole lemon in, skin and all)

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Harriet.
      It’s the juice of 1 lemon 🙂 Just updated.

  5. Jacqui says:

    I think I may have overheated it as the oil seems to be separating? So yummy though.

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Jacqui,
      Glad you enjoyed it, I hope you gave it another try! 🙂

  6. Latika says:

    What can I use as oil or fat instead of coconut oil.

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Latika,
      You can try it with olive oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, and grapeseed oil. However, each oil has its own unique flavor profile and they don’t harden as much as coconut oil in the fridge so the final result might be a bit different. You can also try solid fats, such as vegan butter or shortening. Alternatively, you can use odorless coconut oil. I hope this helps.

  7. Andrea says:

    5 stars
    This is the third vegan cheddar recipe I have tried, and it is by far my favorite! While it doesn’t taste like regular cheddar, it has a great flavor profile that is super satisfying and cheddar, with a little bit more tang because of the lemon.. I love the combination of healthy fats, and find that it results in a better flavor than recipes that are exclusively either coconut milk based, or cashew based. So good with yummy Einkorn crackers!!

    1. AlphaFoodie Support says:

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad to hear that you enjoy it- vegan cheese products can be so tricky to get ‘right’ – I like to think of them as something entirely separate to cheese in a way… like something new to enjoy for its’ own flavor and texture.

  8. Iman says:

    This looks amazing! Can it be used as a melty cheddar cheese on burgers too ? Is it possible to use a different dairy free milk ? such as oatmilk ? I do not have coconut milk available at the moment. Thank you 🙂

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Thank you for your comment, Iman.
      Yes, you can use the vegan cheddar on burgers and other dishes and it will also melt.
      I haven’t tried it yet but you should be able to replace the coconut milk with soy, cashew, or oat milk. I hope this helps.

  9. Gal says:

    Great recipe! I had a couple questions, though. Can I replace the coconut milk with soy milk? And what can I use as a substitute for unflavoured coconut oil (given that I only have flavoured coconut oil)? Do you have any other oils you recommend for something like this? Thanks!

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Gal,
      I haven’t tried it with soy milk myself, but I don’t see why it won’t work. You can omit the coconut oil if you only have flavored oil available at home, the only downfall is the cheese won’t melt when heated.

  10. Jen says:

    What if I skipped the cooking down/ mold and the gelatin type ingredient, would it make a nice cheese sauce for say a “noodle” dish aka zucchini noodles well salted and then drained. Any thoughts?

    1. AlphaFoodie says:

      I’ve never tried it but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. I’d suggest using a bit of cornflour to thicken the sauce just enough to get the right texture.