Easy Vegan Cheddar Cheese (Spread & Sauce!)

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Slice of sourdough bread next to bowls of our easy vegan cheddar cheese recipe

If you’re dairy-free, vegan, or just trying to cut back on dairy cheese, this is the recipe for you! In our quest to find a quick and easy cheese to make vegan grilled cheese, we crafted this simple, delicious, vegan cheddar cheese spread made with 8 wholesome ingredients.

The best part? It looks and tastes like cheddar cheese! Okay, maybe it doesn’t melt exactly like cheddar cheese, but the flavor and color are there! And it does provide that melty, stringy factor when heated. Perfect for storing in the fridge to make quick vegan grilled cheese sandwiches, vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, and more! Let us show you how it’s done.

Nutritional yeast, tapioca starch, water, spices, cashews, and carrots

It starts with soaking cashews and sliced carrots in very hot water. This helps them soften, which later yields a creamy consistency.

Once soaked and drained, they’re added to a blender along with tapioca starch for thickening and stringy texture, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, apple cider vinegar for a tangy/fermented element, and sea salt, garlic powder, and ground mustard for flavor. Optionally, if you’re going for a yellow cheddar appearance, you can add a little bit of turmeric.

The creamy mixture is then gently cooked in a saucepan where it transforms into a thick and spreadable paste. And that’s it — so easy!

Blender with carrots, cashews, nutritional yeast, tapioca starch, apple cider vinegar, and spices

We hope you LOVE this vegan cheddar cheese! It’s:

Melty
Cheesy
Salty
Quick & easy
Versatile
& Delicious!

The uses for this vegan cheddar are endless, but it’s especially perfect for making grilled cheese sandwiches and vegan mac ‘n’ cheese. It would also be delicious on baked potatoes or in casseroles, scalloped potatoes, enchiladas, and beyond!

Blended mixture for making homemade vegan cheddar cheese

More Vegan Cheese Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Stirring a pan of homemade vegan cheddar cheese

Easy Vegan Cheddar Cheese (Spread & Sauce!)

Easy, melty, spreadable vegan cheese that looks and tastes like cheddar! Perfect for adding to grilled cheese, mac ‘n’ cheese, and more! Just 8 simple ingredients required.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Spoon in a bowl of vegan cheddar cheese
4.72 from 70 votes
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 37 minutes
Servings 10 (~2-Tbsp servings)
Course Condiment
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 1 Week

Ingredients

CASHEWS & CARROTS

  • 2/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced (peeled) carrots
  • Hot water for soaking

THE REST

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric (optional // for color)

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl or liquid measuring cup, soak cashews and carrots in very hot water for 30 minutes (uncovered). Then drain and add to a high-speed blender with 1 cup water, tapioca starch, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, garlic powder, and dry mustard (turmeric is optional for deeper color). Blend on high until the mixture is smooth.
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more apple cider vinegar for acidity, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, garlic powder for depth of flavor, or salt to taste.
  • Transfer to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat. Cook, while whisking, for 1-2 minutes or until thickened to a spreadable consistency (see photo). It should resemble the texture of soft cooked polenta.
  • The cheese spread is now ready to use on things like grilled cheese sandwiches, or to add to cooked shells for quick vegan mac ‘n’ cheese.
  • Store sauce covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 1 month (let thaw in the refrigerator before use). In the fridge, it will thicken into a paste/spread as it chills.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.
*Recipe as written makes ~1 ¼ cup.

Nutrition (1 of 10 servings)

Serving: 1 (2-tablespoon serving) Calories: 72 Carbohydrates: 7.1 g Protein: 3 g Fat: 4 g Saturated Fat: 0.7 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.7 g Monounsaturated Fat: 2.1 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 124 mg Potassium: 134 mg Fiber: 1.1 g Sugar: 0.9 g Vitamin A: 1294 IU Vitamin C: 0.5 mg Calcium: 8.7 mg Iron: 0.7 mg

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My Rating:




  1. Roger Ewing says

    I made the recipe for cheddar cheese spread twice. Unfortunately, on both occasions it was a disappointment. I tossed out both batches after giving them a few tries to prove me wrong.

    This recipe does not taste, nor does it look, like cheddar cheese. Rather it is an unremarkable orange sandwich spread.

    I rate most of the recipes I find on Minimalist Baker as very good to excellent. Sorry, this is not one of those. But I appreciate the attempt. Myoko makes a roadhouse cheddar that is far superior. Give it a try.

  2. Viviana Garcia says

    This looks delicious! I cannot eat nutritional yeast. Is there another ingredient you can suggest to replace nutritional yeast?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Viviana, perhaps a lesser amount of white miso paste or chickpea miso paste? Or leave it out!

  3. Caitlin says

    Delicious! Great for a grilled cheese! A question I have is to how to get the flavors to blend together more evenly? Did I maybe not blend it enough? Otherwise, I found it perfect for a vegan grilled cheese.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Caitlin, hmm, that’s a possibility! Is it getting smooth and creamy? If not, a more powerful blender might be the solution.

  4. Linda Hugues says

    I’m sorry. This does not look OR taste like cheddar. It has too much carrot taste and it’s a brown-yellow color like nutritional yeast, not light orange like cheddar cheese. A disappointment.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Oh no! We’re so sorry you didn’t enjoy it, Linda. This should be a vibrant orange color, so it sounds like something went wrong. Did you add the turmeric? What brand of nutritional yeast were you using? Is it possible the carrot soaked too long? We could see that diluting the color and having too much of a “cooked carrot” flavor.

      • Linda Hugues says

        I’m sorry for my regrettably snarky comment. Thanks for your gracious reply. : ) Yes, I added the turmeric, I used Briggs brand nutritional yeast, and the carrots soaked for 30 minutes.

        I did cut the carrots in half lengthwise before I sliced them so maybe my 1/2 cup had more than the recipe intended.

        Any other ideas?

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Thank you for the update, Linda! Hmm, we’re a little stumped then. Our only other idea would be if perhaps the carrots were more bitter vs. sweet? We’re sorry you didn’t enjoy it!

  5. Elisabeth says

    This is a great recipe, love it! I was wondering if possible to blend and keep in fridge overnight to cook the next day? Will the texture get slimy or be ok for 24hours? Thanks

  6. Hannah says

    I just made this recipe and it is absolutely delicious. Instead of the chili recipe I used my leftover vegan sloppy Joe’s (also from this website) and it turned out perfectly. I am absolutely thrilled with this. It felt so decadent and yummy and nourishing (even though it’s supposed to be a treat). Thank you for this wonderful and nourishing (at least to the soul) recipe.

  7. Bunny says

    Incredible discoveries of amazing over the moon and back delicious meals for vegans with easy to understand simple instructions! I’m delighted, I’ve been vegan a few years now but at first I was terrified not a very talented cook and used to didn’t like to cook at all but since being vegan and discovering the luxurious of recipes like yours I’m so excited and delighted to like finding a map to Gold from the rainbow inspiring love for cooking 🌈😇👻👑🪽🪽🪽💙🩵💙🩵🫶🫶🫶🫶🙌🙌🙌🙌 thank you so much.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad our recipes have been helpful on your journey! Thank you for sharing your experience! xoxo

  8. Gabrielle Fontaine says

    Can’t wait to try this! I’m going to add some horseradish to FINALLY be able to recreate my old, pre-vegan days, favorite cheese spread for rye toast! YUM!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Melissa, soaking the cashews overnight would be fine! We’re not sure if the carrots would lose too much of their color or be okay. Let us know if you try it!

  9. Vanda Victoria says

    This is by far the best cheese sauce I’ve made. I used it for macaroni and cheese and it was delicious. Can’t wait to try it in other ways. Yum.

  10. Lisa says

    Thank you so much for all your recipes. I’ve recently found it I have a dairy intolerance and I’m so so grateful to have such a great resource of fabulous recipe options.
    My husband is allergic to vinegar. We eat together and I don’t want to start doing two meals. What would you suggest as an alternative? I often use lemon juice, but it might be too strong a flavour and I’m not sure if that would give the right flavour that you were aiming for.

  11. Jenna says

    Delish! I’m never disappointed with your recipes!
    I only had pecans on hand so used those in place of the cashews.
    I also used cornstarch in place of the tapioca.

    Followed everything else and this sauce is so good!

    Thank you 😊

  12. Sharon says

    This is the best cheese sauce ever! I can’t stop eating it with a spoon out of the blender. I just used it to make a quesadilla today.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you love it, Sharon! Thank you for the lovely review! Enjoy your quesadilla :)

  13. Fred says

    Hello,
    Can you make this recipe without cashew?
    Maybe sub with chickpeas?
    Looks like an amazing recipe but looking for a nut-free vegan cheese dip.

    Thanks, Fred

  14. Dobrinka says

    I don’t have a blender and never grew up with one. Is there any way to mix this manually? Maybe cook the cashews and the carrots till soft?