Ok, this is serious. This is my vegan sharp cheddar cheese recipe and there's a problem- I can't stop snacking on it!! Vegan sharp cheddar cheese on crackers, layered on sandwiches, smeared onto crusty bread, crumbled onto salad, grated onto soup, shoved directly into mouth. This cheese is a creamy, tangy, cheddary problem that I'm very, very happy to have.
But there's more! (Do I sound like an infomercial yet)? It only takes 9 easy-to-find ingredients to make this vegan cheddar cheese. Just blend them up in a food processor, and then chill in the fridge to set. Done! Easy peasy vegan cheesy. (Yeah, even I rolled my eyes at that one).
My vegan sharp cheddar cheese is a slightly different texture than traditional cheese. It isn't as rubbery and instead, it has a crumbly yet spreadable texture all at the same time. You can freeze the cheese for an extra-firm texture, perfect for slicing or grating, or serve it cold from the fridge for the perfect snacking texture. The coconut oil is what makes this cheese firm, so the longer it sits at room temperature, the softer it will get.
To make Vegan Sharp Cheddar Cheese: start by softening the cashews to make them tender enough to blend smoothly. To soften them you can either boil or soak the cashews.
- To boil the cashews: add the cashews to a small pot, cover with water, and boil for about 10 minutes until the cashews are very tender. Drain and rinse before using.
- To soak the cashews: add the cashews to a bowl, and cover with water. Let soak for 4 hours or longer until tender. Drain and rinse before using.
Add the softened cashews, along with all the remaining ingredients to a small food processor.
Blend, stopping and scraping the sides as needed until the cheese is as smooth as possible. The smoother, the better so don't be afraid to blend for a long time.
* If you have a large food processor, it can be difficult to smoothly blend a small amount of cheese, so I often double the recipe so it's easier to blend in my large food processor. Then I will freeze half and save it for later. The recipe is doubled in the pictures.
Scoop the cheese mixture into a dish lined with plastic wrap, or into a small silicon baking dish, and smooth out the cheese. Cover and then chill in the fridge until completely firm. About 3 hours or overnight. Enjoy the cheese as you please! The cheese will become softer the more it warms up, so for extra-firm cheese, you could freeze it.
This cheese is perfect for snacking or as an addition to a gorgeous vegan cheese board.
While this cheese does melt a bit, it's not ideal for nachos or similar uses. For a very melty and stretchy cheddar style cheese, I would recommend instead making my melty stretchy gooey vegan nacho cheese.
Vegan Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 1 cup raw cashews, softened (see step 1)
- ¼ cup refined coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste
- 1 ½ teaspoons sweet paprika, (use smoked paprika for a smoky cheese)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- Softening the cashews makes them tender enough to blend smoothly. To soften them you can either boil or soak the cashews. To boil the cashews: add the cashews to a small pot, cover with water, and boil for about 10 minutes until the cashews are very tender. Drain and rinse before using. To soak the cashews: add the cashews to a bowl, and cover with water. Let soak for 4 hours or longer until tender. Drain and rinse before using.
- Add the softened cashews, along with all the remaining ingredients to a small food processor*. Blend, stopping and scraping the sides as needed, until the cheese is as smooth as possible.
- Scoop the cheese mixture into a dish lined with plastic wrap, or into a small silicon baking dish, and smooth out the cheese. Cover and then chill in the fridge until completely firm, about 3 hours or overnight. Enjoy the cheese as you please! The cheese will be come softer the more it warms up, so for extra-firm cheese you could freeze it.
I try to not use coconut oil because it is high in saturated fat. What oil could be used instead in making these cheeses?
Made this for our cheese board at Thanksgiving this year and it was a hit! Everyone thought it was delicious. Will definitely be making again!! 🙂
Sam Turnbull says
Yay!! So happy to hear that 🙂
Jasmine S. says
Is is good for making a grilled cheese?
I can't find miso in my area. Can you suggest and alternative, please?
Sam Turnbull says
You could try sauerkraut. Enjoy!
Listen to Sam, soak those cashews! I thought I'd be cute and not. "I have a Breville, she thought. It can handle it." But it indeed could not handle it.
The flavor is bomb. But even with 3x the oil its still grainy. We'll still eat it because it's delicious. But if you want to serve this to people, SOAK YOUR CASHEWS!
Katherine Palacios says
Hi Sam. I am always looking looking for vegan cheese recipes so I was really excited to try this. However, the vinegar flavor is overpowering to me. I only used 1tsp, not 1.5, and it still is too much. Is there anything I can do at this point to get rid of the vinegar flavor? I hate to throw away something that used an entire cup of cashews.
A 100%vegan diet needs saturaded fats so your body can make cholesterol. There is no animal cholesterol in the vegan diet. Your body needs some cholesterol. I got very sick years ago bc I had no cholesterol at all in my body.
Jenni Baker says
Hi. I’m excited to try this-just recently needing to go dairy free.
But I’m also allergic to coconut-what can I use instead?
I made this recipe exactly as it's written except that I doubled the recipe and am so pleased that I did! It was very easy to whip up in my Vitamix. I made it in the morning, stored it in the fridge, and by dinner time I took it out to try it on some crackers. A smooth, firm texture with a bit of a flavorful zing. I proceeded to use it for grilled cheese, and after leaving it out just a bit to warm up, it was easily spreadable. The recipe above is enough for 4 grilled cheeses. Since I doubled the recipe, I have my other half that I've stored in the freezer for a later date. 10/10 will be making this again!
Can't find refined coconut oil?? I LOVE this cheese and make it regularly. However lately I have been unable to find refined coconut oil anywhere. Out of desperation I finally bought a bottle of liquid coconut oil, even though it isn't labeled as being refined (I assumed the process of making it liquid probably meant some refinement occurred.) Success! There's no coconut flavour, the cheese is delicious as always and interestingly enough, after using liquid coconut oil, the cheese doesn't firm up in the fridge as much as usual, which is fine by me because I spread it on crackers or bagels. So if you can't find refined coconut oil, buy the liquid kind!