Vegan Gluten-Free Taco Cheese | Julie's Kitchenette

Homemade Vegan Taco Cheese, With Oil-Free Variation

  • Author: Julie Hasson
  • Yield: 1 block 1x


Homemade taco cheese! It’s fantastic in quesadillas, on top of a yummy salad, or shredded for tacos. You can also customize it by adding pickled jalapeños or additional canned chipotles for some extra zing. In other words, it’s your taco cheese, and you can do with it what you want!



2 cups water
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons melted refined coconut oil, optional
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon lactic acid
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 to 2 canned chipotle chilies, optional
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
2 tablespoons kappa carrageenan
1/3 cup pickled jalapeños, optional


In the jar of a strong blender, combine the water, cashews, nutritional yeast flakes, oil, salt, smoked paprika, lactic acid, granulated onion, cumin, granulated garlic and chipotles, and blend until super smooth and there aren’t any bits of nuts. Add the tapioca and carrageenan, and blend for 5 to 10 seconds until smooth. Don’t over-blend or else the starch can start to thicken. If using the pickled jalapeños, add them now and pulse just until they are lightly chopped.

Pour the cashew mixture into a large saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking continually. Continue cooking, whisking continuously, for about 7-9 minutes until the mixture has thickened nicely and is very glossy. I like to drizzle a little of the mixture onto the back of a spoon, and make sure that it firms up when you blow on it lightly. That’s how I can tell that it’s done cooking.

Pour the cheese into a smallish container that can contain a minimum of 2 cups volume. I like small loaf pans or glass bowls.

If properly cooked, the cheese will start to set right away. Allow the cheese to set at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then cover and refrigerate the cheese to finish setting for 3 to 4 hours.

If the cheese doesn’t set up properly that means you haven’t cooked it long enough, if this happens to you, throw it back into the saucepan and cook for a few minutes more! It’ll re-melt and then you can pour it back into the mold for it to solidify.

Remove the cheese from the mold and serve. Store the cheese in the refrigerator, wrapped well.


Gluten-Free + Vegan

  • Category: Pantry

Keywords: vegan cheese, plant-based cheese, oil-free cheese, taco cheese, gluten-free