A simple and delicious, melty Vegan smoked cheddar cheese. Perfect for using as cheese slices, grated and melted over a variety of dishes.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pour into your desired mould. I used a 6″ tart tin; alternatively, you can also use a bowl.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.