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Best Vegan Cheese Recipe (Sliceable)

This Vegan Cheese Recipe has been a long time coming. Though I have a number of great dairy-free cheese recipes already, all of them have been sauces. That’s where this one is different. It’s actually sliceable for serving on crackers, sandwiches, and charcuterie boards.

vegan cheese slices on 3 cutting boards with crackers

When I say that there are a number of vegan cheese sauce recipes on this website already, it’s the truth. We have everything from Cheddar Sauce to Sweet Potato Cheese. If what you really want is Ricotta or Nacho Cheese, you’ll find it here as well. Most recently, I’ve even added Easy Cream Cheese.

The biggest challenge has been coming up with cheese that is actually firm instead of being a sauce. So many followers have asked for a solid cheese and the closest I was able to come to until now was my stretchy Mozzarella which can be frozen and sliced or grated. However, as soon as it defrosts, it turns back into its original form.

cashew cheese block with shreds around it on wooden board

One thing I’ve learned during the process of coming up with this new sliceable version is that ALL of my previous vegan cheese recipes can now be made sliceable. How cool is that? The secret ingredient that can be added to each of them to firm them up is agar.

Ingredients needed

  • potatoes
  • onions
  • carrots
  • cashews (and or white beans)
  • nutritional yeast flakes
  • lemon juice
  • spices
  • Agar powder (to solidify)

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

What is agar-agar?

Yes, I know it’s the same word twice, but that is the correct way to say it, though in actuality, I personally only say it once. I understand that single pronunciation is common in culinary circles as well.

Agar is a plant-based vegan gelatin that is made from seaweed. It is white, translucent, and tasteless, and it comes in flakes, powder, bar, and strand. Agar powder is probably the most common and best for recipes, in my opinion. It is a perfect vegan gelling agent for basically any recipe.

Twenty years ago, when I taught science classes to homeschoolers, we used agar in Petri dishes when we were growing bacteria. It was easy to use and pretty neat. Little did I know that decades later I would be making dairy-free cheese with it.

overhead photo of cheese board with crackers

How to make vegan cheese

The first step to creating this sliceable cheese was easy because I already had so many vegan cheese options to choose from. At first, I used my Sweet Potato Cheese because it is already the perfect bright orangy color. However, I decided that my Basic Cheese Sauce was a better taste fit, and deepening the color was as easy as adding a little turmeric.

Begin by dicing up the potatoes, carrots, and onion.

potato slices in large stock pot boiling

In a medium pot, bring about 3 cups of water to a boil. Place potatoes, carrots, and onion in a pot and allow to cook until veggies are tender approximately 15 minutes. Cooking time will vary based on how small the veggies are diced.

When veggies are tender, drain and place them in a blender. NOTE: reserve 1 cup of the broth, and add to blender. Add all the remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth.

vegan cheese sauce in blender

I have a Vitamix blender and so don’t take the time to soak my cashews. That thing is powerful and everything that goes into it comes out creamy. However, if your blender isn’t jet engine speed, soaking the cashews in warm water for at least 30-minutes before adding to this recipe will help this recipe come out more creamy. 

Once blended to a nice and smooth consistency, set the cheese sauce to the side while you prepare the thickener.

vegan cheese sauce poured from white gravy boat into white bowl

By the way, at this point, this dairy-free cheese sauce could be used in nacho cheese dipmac-n-cheese, topping for steamed broccoli, or anything else you need a creamy, cheesy sauce in. This recipe makes approximately 1 quart and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Adding the agar thickener

In a small to medium saucepan, add 1 cup water plus 2.5 tablespoons agar POWDER and bring it to a boil. It is important not to leave it at this point because it will thicken pretty quickly.

NOTE: I found that agar powder works better than the agar flakes for getting this cheese nice and firm. If you only have agar flakes on hand, you’ll need to triple the amount (7.5 tablespoons).

Agar Agar flakes being boiled in stainless saucepan with whisk and package

Turn down the heat to low and whisk continually until the mixture thickens to a molasses-like consistency.

Next, quickly pour it into the blender with the prepared cheese sauce and blend for approximately 30 seconds to mix it well.

Now, it’s time to pour the cheese into containers that are the shape that you would like your hard cheese in. Personally, I use mini loaf pans and round souffle dishes. Another good option would be mini loaf nonstick silicone molds.

one round mold and 2 rectangle molds filled with vegan cheese on wooden board

Smooth out the top of each one with a spoon or spatula so that when they are flipped out onto a plate, the bottom will be flat.

Place the molds into the refrigerator for a at least couple of hours or longer. As it chills, the harder the cheese becomes, so the longer the better. Carefully turn out the cheese blocks onto a plate or serving platter with crackers.

You may need to use a knife to run along the edges of your dish or mold to make the cheese release. Then turn it upside down onto a plate.

melba toast with slice of vegan cheese on cutting board with knife

We love to serve these with an oil-free cracker called Mary’s Gone Crackers. If you’re entertaining, this vegan cheese recipe makes the perfect addition to a Charcuterie Board along with some hummus, veggies, and even fruit. It even makes an awesome Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

overhead photo of vegan foods on a charcuterie board with olives, veggies, hummus, dairy free cheese

Substitutions and variations

One of the best things about this vegan cheese is that it can be made with either cashews or white beans for those avoiding nuts. Better yet, do a combination of both to reduce the fat but maintain the creamy rich texture.

  • 1st Version: Originally, I made it with 1/2 cup raw cashews.
  • 2nd Version: Now, I sometimes sub out white beans–like navy beans or cannellini–to lower the fat content even more. For those avoiding nuts completely, this is a terrific nut-free cheese sauce.
  • 3rd Version: Nowadays, I mostly make with a combination of the two–1/4 cup cashews + 1/4 cup white beans. It has a warm creamy texture with less fat. This easy vegan cheese sauce has so many options!
vegan cheese on cutting board with 2 slices and grapes

More vegan cheese recipes

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vegan cheese slices on 3 cutting boards with crackers

Best Vegan Cheese Recipe (Sliceable)

Yield: 1 quart
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This Vegan Cheese Recipe has been a long time coming. Though I have a number of great dairy-free cheese recipes already, all of them have been sauces. That’s where this one is different. It’s actually sliceable for serving on crackers, sandwiches, and charcuterie boards.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a medium pot, bring about 3 cups of water to a boil. Place potatoes, carrots, and onion in the pot and allow to cook until veggies are tender--approximately 15 minutes. Cooking time will vary based on how small the veggies are diced.
  2. When veggies are tender, drain and place them in a blender. NOTE: reserve 1 cup of the broth, and add to blender. Add all the remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth.
  3. I have a Vitamix blender and so don't take the time to soak my cashews. That thing is powerful and everything that goes into it comes out creamy. However, if your blender isn't jet engine speed, soaking the cashews in warm water for at least 30-minutes before adding to this recipe will help this recipe come out more creamy. 
  4. Once blended to a nice and smooth consistency, set the cheese sauce to the side while you prepare the thickener. By the way, at this point, this dairy-free cheese sauce could be used in nacho cheese dipmac-n-cheese, topping for steamed broccoli, or anything else you need a creamy, cheesy sauce in. This recipe makes approximately 1 quart and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  5. In a small or medium saucepan, add 1 cup water plus 2.5 tablespoons agar powder and bring it to a boil. It is important not to leave it at this point because it will thicken pretty quickly. I have found that agar POWDER works better than agar flakes for firming up this cheese recipe. If you only have agar flakes on hand, you'll need to triple the amount (7.5 tablespoons).
  6. Turn down the heat to low and whisk continually until the mixture thickens to a molasses-like consistency.
  7. Next, quickly pour it into the blender with the prepared cheese sauce and blend for approximately 30 seconds to mix it well.
  8. Now, it’s time to pour the cheese into containers that are the shape that you would like your hard cheese in. Personally, I use mini loaf pans and round souffle dishes. Another good option would be mini loaf nonstick silicone molds.
  9. Smooth out the top of each one with a spoon or spatula so that when they are flipped out onto a plate, the bottom will be flat.
  10. Place the molds into the refrigerator for a at least couple of hours or longer. As it chills, the harder the cheese becomes, so the longer the better. Carefully turn out the cheese blocks onto a plate or serving platter with crackers.
  11. You may need to use a knife to run along the edges of your dish or mold to make the cheese release. Then turn it upside down onto a plate.
  12. We love to serve these with an oil-free cracker called Mary’s Gone Crackers. If you’re entertaining, this vegan cheese recipe makes the perfect addition to a Charcuterie Board along with some hummus, veggies, and even fruit.

Notes

Substitutions and variations


NOTE: I have found that agar POWDER works better than agar flakes for firming up this cheese recipe. If you only have agar flakes on hand, you'll need to triple the amount (7.5 tablespoons).

One of the best things about this vegan cheese is that it can be made with either cashews or white beans for those avoiding nuts. Better yet, do a combination of both to reduce the fat but maintain the creamy rich texture.

  • 1st Version: Originally, I made it with 1/2 cup of raw cashews.
  • 2nd Version: Now, I sometimes sub out white beans–like navy beans or cannellini–to lower the fat content even more. For those avoiding nuts completely, this is a terrific nut-free cheese sauce.
  • 3rd Version: Nowadays, I mostly make with a combination of the two–1/4 cup cashews + 1/4 cup white beans. It has a warm creamy texture with less fat. This easy vegan cheese sauce has so many options!


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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 57Total Fat: 2.3gTrans Fat: 0gSodium: 258mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate and leave a comment because I love hearing from you. Remember SHARING IS CARING!

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Bonnie

Monday 25th of April 2022

I am making this soon. Can it be frozen? Can you make a full batch of the sauce, and then keep half a quart as sauce, and add half the amount of agar agar & water to the other half?

Terri Edwards

Monday 25th of April 2022

Hi Bonnie- I think keeping half of the batch as sauce and then adding 1/2 of the required agar to the rest to make a block is an excellent idea. I often freeze the sauce but haven't tried the block yet. It should be just fine though. Hope you enjoy it both ways!

Caroline

Saturday 26th of March 2022

Just made this recipe and love it! Perfect for sandwiches and crackers. I used cassoulet beans that I’d cooked a couple of days ago and added about a teaspoon of sriracha sauce as I couldn’t find my cayenne pepper. Think next time I’ll add some diced jalapeños. Thank you for such a versatile recipe

Terri Edwards

Monday 28th of March 2022

Hi Caroline- I love that you added sriracha sauce. What a great idea to kick it up a notch! I'm glad that you enjoyed it and plan to make it again.

Debbie

Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

Hi Terri, I love your cheese recipes! Would you use the same quantities and directions for making your mozzarella cheese sliceable?

Terri Edwards

Thursday 24th of March 2022

Hi Debbie- Thank you so much! For the mozzarella cheese recipe, I think using just over a tablespoon agar and 3/4 cup water should do the trick. Please let me know how it turns out for you!

Lynne

Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

I don't have any Agar but I do have Kappa Carageenan. Could I replace the Agar with the Carageenan?

Terri Edwards

Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

Hi Lynne- I haven't used Kappa Carageenan before but just now looked it up. I don't see any reason it wouldn't work. I would love to hear how it does if you try it as a substitute.

Bonnie

Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

Can't wait to try this. Thanks for the link for purchasing the agar-agar.

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