If you want vegan cheese that melts, homemade vegan mozzarella is the way to go! It's so easy and delicious and perfect for pizza, calzones, lasagna, and grilled cheese. Best of all, this cheese is allergy-friendly, made without soy or gluten, and easily made oil-free, nut-free and coconut-free!
I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that homemade vegan mozzarella is SO. EASY. It's basically instant gratification. In less time than it would take you to drive to the store and buy some vegan cheese shreds, you can have this healthier and much more delicious version in your mouth.
Vegan mozzarella is such an all-around useful and delicious vegan cheese to know how to make, I figured it was about time this creamy, meltable vegan mozzarella cheese got its own post!
Homemade vegan mozzarella is really versatile, too. Make it:
- with or without oil.
- with or without agar, depending on how you plan to use it.
- with cashews OR sunflower seeds as the base.
- and easily adjust the salt and acidity to get the flavor just right for use in your favorite cheesy recipes.
You'll need 7 or 8 ingredients and 15 minutes to make the best meltable vegan cheese.
- Raw cashews or raw sunflower seeds - you only need ⅓ cup nuts/seeds for the whole batch, making this cheese relatively light (even though it tastes rich).
- Nutritional yeast - all "nooch" is not created equal! I highly recommend this non-fortified one by Sari Foods. Non-fortified refers to it not having added folate or B12, but it's still rich in other naturally occurring B vitamins.
- Tapioca starch - tapioca is important for achieving the best melty, stretchy consistency. See below for more ideas and ways to use it.
- Lemon juice - adds a fresh and cheesy acidity.
- Garlic powder - adds a touch of savoriness without tasting too garlicky.
- Sea salt - in the interest of keeping the recipe simple I opted for sea salt for 100% of the saltiness, but you can also use white miso or chickpea miso to replace some of the salt.
- White vinegar (optional) - use it if you enjoy a tangier cheese.
- Agar powder (optional) - this seaweed-based vegan gelatin substitute isn't necessary for the recipe, but it can come in handy if you'd like the cheese to set slightly when cool. More on this below.
- Refined coconut oil (optional) - this is the type of coconut oil that does NOT smell or taste like coconut. Adds richness and a more authentic cheesy mouthfeel but is 100% optional.
See recipe card below for quantities.
First, blend all of the ingredients until smooth. A high-speed blender works best here, but if you remember to plan ahead and soak the cashews (or seeds) a standard blender is fine, too.
Next, grab a small sauce pan and get ready for the magic!
- As the mozzarella mixture is coming to temperature, be sure to stir or whisk the bottom and corners of the pot. You'll start to see signs of thickening.
- The cheese will quickly become more uniformly thick. Keep whisking.
- And after just a few minutes, your vegan mozzarella is ready! Use it warm dolloped on top of pizza or other hot dishes, or transfer it to a bowl or container to cool.
Once the cheese has cooled, refrigerate until ready to use. It will firm up and set quite a bit after chilling. However, this particular cheese won't ever be firm enough to grate or shred. That would require a few changes to the recipe.
Hint: a few minutes under the broiler really gets the cheese bubbling!
Do I need the agar and oil?
As mentioned, the agar powder is optional. So how do you know whether to use it or not? If you want the cheese to have a bit more shape once it cools, agar comes in handy. For example, this is useful when making stuffed crust pizza because the cheese is easier to handle as you arrange it around the perimeter of the pizza dough.
The agar isn't enough to make it shreddable, though. That would require more oil, more cashews, and some kappa carrageenan. If you'd like a firm, grateable cheese let me know, and I'll get to work on it!
Refined coconut oil is often used in vegan cheese recipes because it's high in saturated fat like dairy. So not only does it melt when hot, it causes the cheese to firm up when cool, too.
Oil also creates a more decadent mouthfeel, and yet it's 100% optional for flavor and meltability. So if you avoid oil in your diet don't feel like you'll be missing out on the full melty experience by omitting it.
With recipes that have so few ingredients there usually isn't much room for substitutions. But there are a few ways you can switch up this recipe to accommodate the ingredients you have on hand.
- Tapioca Starch - if possible, I don't recommend replacing the tapioca. But if you don't mind sacrificing the stretchy texture, corn starch or arrowroot can be used in a pinch. The flavor will still be great.
- Nut-Free - raw sunflower seeds are a perfect nut-free option.
- Lemon Juice - if you don't have a lemon on hand, 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, distilled white vinegar, or white wine vinegar may be used instead.
Ways to Use Vegan Mozzarella
This cheese can be eaten cold, but where it really shines is in hot recipes where you want melted mozzarella like:
- on top of pizza
- stuffed inside pizza crust
- cheese-stuffed breadsticks (swoon-worthy!)
- healthier quesadillas
- vegan tuna melts and grilled cheese sandwiches
- baked ziti and lasagna
- stirred into pasta
- added to mashed potatoes
- and on top of loaded baked potatoes
RELATED: If you love homemade vegan cheeses, don't miss this Vegan Pimento Cheese Spread. Just like the mozzarella, it's a gamechanger!
A high-speed blender works best for blending nuts and seeds, but if you don't have one you can always soak the cashews. Soak overnight or quick-soak in hot water for about an hour. Then drain very well before adding to the blender. If using sunflower seeds, a quick-soak in hot water should be enough to help with blending.
Store vegan mozzarella in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It's also freezer-friendly. Place in an airtight container, and thaw before use.
More Ways to Use Tapioca Starch
If you're concerned about buying yet another specialty ingredient and then not knowing how to use it, I'm here to help! Check out all these fun ways to use tapioca flour:
- the BEST vegan gluten-free pie crust
- oil-free queso
- homemade almond yogurt
- mac and cheese
- vegan turkey roast
- cauliflower gratin
- cabbage rolls with Mexican cheese sauce
More Ways to Use Agar Agar
Agar is known for being a plant-based substitute for gelatin, so of course it makes amazing vegan jell-o. Try it in this veganized Strawberry Pretzel Salad!
More easy vegan cheese recipes:
I hope you LOVE this vegan mozzarella. It always makes my day to hear from you, so if you try the recipe be sure to give it a star rating and comment below to let us know!
Easy Meltable Vegan Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 cup water
- ⅓ cup raw cashews or raw sunflower seeds See Note 1.
- 4 teaspoons nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons tapioca starch
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 ½ tablespoons refined coconut oil, optional See Note 2. Adds richness but can be omitted without issue.
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar, optional Include if you like a tangier cheese.
- 2 teaspoons agar agar powder, optional See Note 3.
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Pour mixture into a small saucepan over medium heat. The mixture cooks quickly so don't walk away! Whisking constantly, bring to a low simmer. Cook for about 3 minutes or until thickened (see photos above for reference).
- Immediately pour into ramekins or a bowl, and refrigerate until ready to use. Can be used warm to top pizza, casseroles, etc. The cheese will firm up slightly as it chills but won't ever be shreddable.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com. For the most accurate nutrition information we recommend calculating it yourself to reflect the specific ingredients used in your dish.