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Vegan Nut-Free Cheddar Cheese

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This vegan nut-free cheddar cheese does everything dairy cheese does--it melts, shreds, and slices, but it’s totally free of any nuts, oil, or animals!


Units Scale
  • 1/2 of a 16 oz block firm tofu (about 198g or 8 oz) (see note 1)
  • 1-1/2 cups unsweetened unflavored non-dairy milk
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1-1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric, optional
  • 1 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch / flour (see note 2)
  • 2 tbsp kappa carrageenan (totally safe to eat, see note 3)

See our substitutions here!


  1. First, add your tofu, non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, and spices to the blender. Squeeze half of the lemon in, blend and taste. Now add more of anything you like to get the flavor you desire. Make sure this is all smooth before you go to the next step.
  2. Now add the tapioca starch and the kappa carrageenan. Try to blend until smooth. You’ll find at this point your blender may be putting up a fight mixing it. It’s thick, and getting thicker as the kappa carrageenan works its magic.
  3. Now, pour the mixture into a small pot or saucepan. Make sure to use a spatula to scrape out any leftover mixture in the blender.
  4. Heat the cheese over medium high heat, stirring constantly once it gets hot. Keep stirring until it begins to curdle or stick together in clumps. Turn the heat down to medium now--it’s almost done. Keep stirring and you’ll notice the texture go from clumpy to shiny, thick, and glossy. It will be stretchy, and start to pull away from the inside of the pot. Transfer the mixture to a glass or ceramic container with a lid.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours and test it. I usually do mine overnight. It should be relatively hard to the touch, with some give but not a lot.
  6. To remove the set cheese from the container, run a butter knife around the inside perimeter. Flip the container upside down onto a cutting board and tap the container several times onto the board. For troubleshooting, see the article above this recipe.
  7. Enjoy! This cheese shreds, melts, slices, and cubes. My favorite way to eat this cheese is either with crackers or in this refreshing vegan watermelon feta salad.
  8. This cheese will last for up to one week in the fridge in an airtight container (you can use the same one you used for setting it if you like, I usually do).


  • Note 1: Firm tofu is what I used, but medium tofu should also work. If you use soft, you may need to reduce the liquid considerably. If you don’t want to use tofu at all, you may substitute soaked cashews, soaked sunflower seeds, or white beans, but you may need to increase the water to get it to blend. You’re looking for a thick batter that can still pour out of the blender.
  • Note 2: Tapioca starch is often labeled tapioca flour and they do the same thing, but cassava flour is different even though cassava is the root vegetable that tapioca is made from. Cassava flour is used for something different, so don’t use that with this recipe. I am often asked if cornstarch or arrowroot powder may be used in place of tapioca. The quick answer is no. It will not stretch like tapioca. Only thicken. So I cannot say for sure if this will work with the kappa carrageenan to give you the right consistency.
  • Note 3: Though it has the name carrageenan in it, kappa carrageenan is a seaweed derived food agent that is entirely safe to eat. Anything you’ve heard about carrageenan is based on a study done on poligeenan, a degraded form of carrageenan used in barium contrast solutions for diagnostic tests like X-rays and CT scans. Kappa carrageenan is totally safe to consume and awesome for changing liquid into solid and for melting!
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Vegan Cheese
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Nut-Free, Sugar-Free, Cheese, Vegan Cheese, Vegan Cheddar Cheese