Creamy, rich, and buttery smooth, this Vegan Brie is not only incredibly easy to make, but it’s also deliciously similar to its dairy counterpart. Instructions included for nut-free and soy-free versions. Prep this vegan Brie recipe in just 10 minutes and the next day you’ll be met with amazing vegan cheese perfect for a party or just for snacking.
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Hey Internet, it’s Vegan Cheese Week here at Zardyplants and we’ve got an amazing cheese to share with you today.
Now I know, I know, I already shared with you this AMAZING nut-free vegan cheddar cheese earlier this month. However, I was testing today’s recipe and I just got SO EXCITED that I had to spill the tofu and tell you about it today.
Are you ready for this?!
VEGAN BRIE. That’s right. I said it.
Nut-free and totally delicious (I’ve got some suggestions, BTW, if you do want to use cashews), this non-fermented vegan cheese recipe is super easy to make.
Brie is traditionally a soft-fermented dairy cow cheese, named after the region it originated in, historic Brie, France, now modern Île-de-France, Grand Est, and Aisne in France.
I have tested this recipe about 15082304920 times now, trying to get the flavor just right. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But I’ve tested it many, many times.
Luckily, it’s easy to test and many times I did two separate batches at once, changing just one variable at a time.
It’s all sciency, and I like it.
Anyway, this super delicious French-inspired vegan cheese is so awesome that I think we just need to get into it!
An interesting tidbit I learned while researching today’s post: authentic French Brie cannot be imported into the United States because it is made with raw milk; i.e. it is not pasteurized. There is a stabilized version that is sold here, imported from France, but it does not mature like traditional raw Brie.
Luckily we don’t need to deal with any of this mess. We’re not fermenting or using any kind of mold or bacteria to create our cheese today. I’d like to experiment with this one day, as there are wonderful ways of making aged and fermented vegan cheeses, but I’m not ready for that yet.
Today, all we need to do is throw some ingredients in a blender, cook it for a few minutes on the stovetop, and refrigerate it in a container for 6-8 hours (I just throw mine in overnight!).
So as you now know, all of my vegan cheeses use tofu as a base. I like to do this because it’s a.) cheaper than cashews, b.) nut-free and many of you have told me you appreciate that for one reason or another, usually involving a tree nut allergy, and c.) it’s still high in protein but lower in fat.
That last part, the fat part, is actually very relevant in this recipe, as Brie is quite a fatty cheese and I ended up deciding to add fat to this recipe in the form of coconut milk to get the right mouthfeel. Please see the substitutions section for more details.
BUT ANYWAY. Let’s touch BRIEfly on the tofu. See what I did there? My husband is glaring at me now, haha.
I used firm tofu as I do for everything. It has nothing to do with the fact that I get it in a 4-pack at Costco, saving me money. No, nothing like that.
Extra firm will work but you might need a little more liquid to get it to blend. Similarly, medium or soft tofu should work but use less liquid. I am not sure how to modify the recipe for silken tofu--maybe no liquid.
Coconut milk: I mentioned that I used coconut milk as a fat above. I am referring to the coconut milk that comes in a can.
Some coconut milks come separated and some seem to be all mixed together. It doesn’t actually matter here; if your coconut is separated, use half a cup of the chunky solids and half a cup of the whitish gray liquid. If it’s all mixed together when you open the can, just use a cup.
Again, there are substitutions in the next section if you wish not to use coconut.
The Brie flavor was somewhat challenging to figure out. It came down to a combination of white/yellow (mild) miso paste, unfortified nutritional yeast (unfortified keeps this Brie from turning bright yellow), a touch of salt, and some lemon juice for that tangy taste.
Last but not least, as they’re actually two of the most important ingredients, we have tapioca starch (or tapioca flour, same thing) and agar powder, also known as agar agar.
These two things together help create a delightful, buttery smooth and creamy, even melty texture.
PLEASE NOTE THAT AGAR FLAKES ARE DIFFERENT FROM AGAR POWDER. IF YOU HAVE AGAR FLAKES YOU WILL NEED MUCH MORE THAN THE MEASUREMENT THAT IS WRITTEN FOR AGAR POWDER.
It looks like roughly 3 times the amount of flakes are needed if substituting, but they can also be rougher so you need to boil them before use. Try to use the agar powder if you can instead. You only need a small amount, but you’ll be able to make SO MANY BATCHES, plus it can be used for other things like gelatin replacement.
What Substitutions Can I Make?
As mentioned above, firm tofu is what I used, but medium and soft tofu will work with less liquid added and extra firm tofu will work with slightly more liquid added. You’re looking for a thick pancake batter consistency.
Cashews: To make vegan cashew Brie, I would use 1.5 cups soaked cashews. If you have a powerful blender (like a Vitamix or Blendtec, you only need to soak the cashews for 10-15 minutes in hot water. Otherwise, soak them for an hour in boiling water or overnight in room temperature water.
Cashews: If using cashews instead of tofu, you can just use any non-dairy milk. No need for coconut milk as the cashews are fatty enough.
I used coconut milk at the suggestion of Mr. Zardyplants (!!) to give my vegan Brie the mouthfeel of dairy Brie. It does not make the cheese taste like coconut.
If you want this cheese to be lower fat, the recipe WILL work with any non-dairy milk. I tested it with unsweetened soy milk the first two tries.
Miso paste is kind of a funky, very umami (salty/savory) flavor that is unique. It’s actually fermented soybean paste, and a staple in many Asian countries’ culinary history.
It ended up that the more miso I used, the more like Brie it tasted.
There are many kinds of miso paste. I highly recommend yellow or white miso paste, otherwise known as mild miso.
This is also the substance that can be dissolved in hot water (don’t boil it though, or you’ll kill many of the nutrients) to create miso soup!
If you are avoiding soy, I have used chickpea miso before and it tastes pretty similar.
If you don’t have access to fresh lemons or bottled lemon juice, you can try a neutral vinegar. Maybe white vinegar, white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, or even apple cider vinegar! But I thought the tangy lemon was the perfect element in this recipe, so that’s what I used.
The little pinch of salt I did include does indeed add more sodium and it can be omitted. However it will probably taste slightly less authentic, as cheese in general is very salty, dairy or non.
Any salt will work. I use Himalayan pink salt because I like the flavor.
Tapioca Starch / Flour (Same thing)
Tapioca starch enables me to make stretchy vegan cheeses, like my super popular melty vegan mozzarella. It cannot be directly substituted with anything… but I’ve seen it in health stores, chain grocery stores, online health food stores like Thrive Market, Amazon, etc.
If you only want to use the agar powder the cheese may be less soft and creamy--that classic Brie texture.
Finally, agar powder is the seaweed derivative that enables this cheese to firm up in the mould (the container we store it in). Agar powder is also known as agar agar, but beware of the flakes.
You will need 3 times the amount of flakes for this recipe if you are substituting the flakes for the powder.You may need to cook the batch longer to soften the flakes (though they will soften somewhat in the blender).
How to Make Vegan Brie
Making the Brie is actually very easy and simple to do, as many of my vegan cheese recipes are. Just blend everything up, cook it until it has all come together, and refrigerate it until it has solidified.
So first, gather all your ingredients and place everything--except the agar powder and the tapioca starch -- in the blender. You’ll see why in a moment.
BTW, you only need to drain--not press--the tofu. Break it up into a couple pieces to make the blending process quicker.
TOFU TIP: You only need HALF the block of tofu, so store it in the fridge for later. You can store extra tofu in a container with water and refrigerate it for up to 5 days.
OK, now that you have most of your ingredients in the blender, blend it and taste it. That’s right, taste it.
Make sure you like the flavor, because it’s pretty much going to taste that way once it’s solidified.
Now is the time to add more lemon, more miso, more salt--anything you think it needs. You could get fancy here and add things to flavor it differently, like smoked paprika for a smoky brie.
Blend it all up again and taste it again if you made any changes. Ready?
Just add the agar and tapioca and blend until smooth again. Then pour the contents of the blender into a small to medium non-stick saucepan. Make sure to use a spatula to get all that cheesy goodness out of the blender!
Cooking the Cheese
To cook the cheese, heat the pan over medium high heat until it starts to curdle. This should take only a few minutes.
Stir it constantly with a strong spatula or wooden spoon. Turn the heat down to medium for the last few minutes of cooking, which is now. Once it starts to curdle it will only be a few minutes before the cheese is ready to go in the mould.
As your stir, the curdled cheese will transform into a glossy, thick, playdough light consistency. It will start to pull away from the pan very noticeably.
Pour--or plop--the cheese into the container you’re refrigerating it in. It just plopped right in for me, no scraping or anything. If you’re scraping, you may need to cook it slightly longer.
Keep in mind that the container you refrigerate it in will be the shape of your completed cheese. Mine is a round ceramic container I found at Ross, a discount store in the United States.
I have tested the cheese in both glass and ceramic containers and have had no issues. I have not tried it in a plastic container so I cannot speak to that circumstance.
By the way, you can absolutely use the cheese like this. It’s safe to eat--so if you’d like to just throw it into pasta, you absolutely can.
But if you want to be able to slice it, put a lid on the container for at least 6 hours. I’ve always done it overnight.
Releasing the Cheese
To release the kraken--I mean vegan Brie from the container, run a butter knife around the inside of the container. Flip the container upside down and pat or tap it onto a board or plate to release the cheese. Jiggle it all around if you need to.
If you are having trouble, use the butter knife to gently pry underneath the cheese to get it to release. However, in all my times testing this recipe, I’ve never had an issue removing it from the container.
More Vegan Cheese Recipes
I don’t blame you. Vegan cheese is awesome! Did you know I have a whole section on vegan cheese on my site?!
I even made a whole list of my favorite nut-free vegan cheese recipes!
Here’s some of them:
Nut-Free Vegan Cheese - This one’s a fan favorite as well!
Vegan Feta (also nut-free!)
Queso (part of a nacho fries recipe, but you could just scroll down to the sauce section!)
I have a thing for vegan cheese and I come out with new recipes all the time. If you’d like to sign up for my free newsletter so you don’t miss any cheese recipes, please fill out the below form!
And if you're looking for more tofu dishes, check out this post I made with all my best tofu recipes.
As always, I hope you love this recipe--I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does too.
This vegan Brie is:
- And great in any dish or just as a side to bring to a holiday or dinner party. Even meat-eaters will enjoy its delicious flavor and texture. It makes the perfect addition to any cheese or charcuterie board, too.
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe. If you use Instagram, tag me @Zardyplants so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment. Ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!