Vegan Pepperjack Cheese

Vegan Pepperjack Cheese

I hate vegan cheese.

There. I said it.

Every time I think I might be close to giving up dairy, I grab a package of vegan cheese at Whole Foods. And every time, I end up throwing most of it away. I don’t know what it is about it – it just always tastes off to me somehow. And I know people swear by Daiya, but I think it tastes like shredded chemicals – can’t stand it. I’ve gradually come to accept that cheese is cheese and probably can’t be accurately replicated without dairy.

And then came this vegan pepperjack cheese. Okay, it doesn’t taste exactly like real cheese, but it’s the first vegan cheese I’ve actually enjoyed in its own right. I made it for Nor, who cut out dairy a few months ago, but ended up eating most of it myself – on crackers, in sandwiches, by itself straight from the fridge…basically, the same way I eat regular cheese.

Vegan Pepperjack Cheese

I think tahini and nutritional yeast are the magic ingredients here – they both give this a distinct depth of flavor that I haven’t found in other non-dairy cheeses. And the fiery bits of pepper don’t hurt either. This slices like a dream and shreds well, but fair warning – it doesn’t melt, so I wouldn’t use it as pizza topping or quesadilla filling. That said, it’s perfect for an appetizer tray or snack plate, or on a cold sandwich. I’m a convert – if homemade vegan cheeses can be this good, I may be on the road to giving up the real thing after all.

Vegan Pepperjack Cheese

4.9 from 9 reviews
Vegan Pepperjack Cheese
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Category: Appetizers, Snacks
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 1½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp agar powder
  • 1 cup peppers, diced - use whatever you want. I used one bell pepper and a jalapeno
  1. Set aside a loaf pan or square baking pan for pouring the cheese.
  2. Soak cashews in water for 2-4 hours. Drain thoroughly and rinse.
  3. Combine cashews, almond milk, lemon juice, tahini, nutritional yeast, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder in a blender or food processor. Blend until combined and creamy. Leave mixture in blender.
  4. Combine water and agar powder on in a small saucepot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
  5. Start the blender on medium-high speed. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the water/agar mixture.
  6. Add diced peppers and blend for another 10-20 seconds. You want the blender to process the peppers into smaller pieces, but not puree them.
  7. Turn off blender and immediately pour the mixture into the pan. Refrigerate, uncovered, until firm (30-60 minutes). Slice and serve.

Source: Nouveau Raw

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36 Responses to Vegan Pepperjack Cheese

  1. Wow that looks amazing! I’ve made vegan cheese once before, just a plain cheddar, and it was really mind-blowing. This one sounds like the next step! Even better that I have all the ingredients…agar agar, even. Can’t wait to try it!! 😀

  2. Looks delicious! I can’t wait to try your recipe.

    Btw, speaking of vegan cheese, are you familiar with Miyoko’s Kitchen? She has created aged, artisan vegan cheeses made from nuts. They are AMAZING! My dairy cheese loving husband went crazy over them.
    Highly recommended. 🙂

  3. I tried this the other day. When I brought the agar powder/water to a boil, it immediately set up to the consistency of mashed potatoes. There was no simmering going to happen. Not normal right?

    I went ahead and mixed it in and put it in the refrigerator and it never set up. The whole mixture is of mashed potato consistency even 3 days later.

    Did I kill the agar?

    Makes a great dip, though….

    • Yikes! I’ve never had that happen and I have no idea what could cause that – maybe some super aggressive agar? I’m sorry it went a little sideways on you but I’m glad you were still able to do something with it!

      • I had the same happen to me. Agar powder is far more potent than the flakes – when mixing it in I though that it looked a little too much for the recipe. What I did at a great hurried speed in my kitchen is transfer the mash-potato consistency contents of the agar saucepan and blender into a wide-bottomed pot. I then used a hand-held whisk to get the mixture smooth again and allowed to simmer until the mixture thickened and stared pulling away from the sides. It started setting on the whisk just minutes after I got the moulds into the fridge – so now I am waiting for the cheez to set and lets see what happens.

        • I live in Las Vegas and can’t find agar powder anywhere but I’m able to get the flakes.I just run my agar flakess in my coffee grinder and turn it into powder. Hope that helps.

  4. Hi !!!! I love your blog but your profile picture really bugs me :/ posing with wild animals might seem fun but is actually hidden cruelty!Often the animals are kidnapped from their mothers,starved,beaten,neglected,and then sold for canned hunting once they are too big.Please read this message and consider what I am saying.As a vegetarian I hope you will take this to heart.Thanks :), I’ve posted a couple of links for you to refer to.

    • Yesssss!!!!! I so very much agree with you Nicole, I was surprised (and deeply saddened) by that photo as well. Hopefully she’ll do some much needed research and realize the harm, though unintentional maybe, that she is supporting in that industry.

    • Thank you both for your feedback, I did indeed take it to heart. I’ve educated myself over the past couple of years and certainly will not visit any places like this the next time I go to Thailand. Nicole, I appreciate you taking the time to give me links to these and for being so nice in your delivery.

  5. Mine turned out more like a spread than cheese to slice. It’s good though and I can see myself experimenting with this recipe (a tweak here and there) over and over.
    Thanks a bunch.

  6. I used 1 TBS of pimiento peppers instead of the bell pepper. It was so delicious!!!!

    • Hi Alicia, I used an 8×4 loaf pan. You can also use a 9×5 or an 8×8 square baking dish. As far as number of servings, it depends on how you slice it up!

  7. I just finished making this, and it’s GREAT! This is the first success I’ve had making vegan cheese using agar.

  8. Did you happen to line the pan or grease it? How did you get the cheese out of the loaf pan easily?
    Thank you 🙂

  9. I’m going to gather the ingredients and try this tomorrow! Do you think soy milk would be OK instead of the almond milk?

  10. This recipe looks great–I hate store-bought vegan cheese too. How long does this keep in the fridge? There’s only one vegan cheese eater in my household, so planning ahead is key. Looks also like the recipe could probably be halved easily enough?

  11. I tried this twice – it’s delicious but both times it was quite soft – not firm like in the pictures. Still made a great spread but I’d love it to be more firm. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  12. This sounds amazing and I’m totally making this! But I’m gonna see how it works with tapioca starch cause it makes vegan cheese melt and stretch

  13. Thank you so much for this recipe. I have probably made it 10 times in the last year! It is so so so much better than store bought vegan cheese, and is so easy and quick to make as long as the ingredients are on hand. I love it, and I will keep on making it! Thank you!

  14. Hi! I tried the recipe and it’s amazing! Thanks for sharing!
    The only thing is that it didn’t come up as firm as in the picture, mine is softer, more like a cream cheese… Do you have any recommendations?

  15. Thanks for this recipe! Made it tonight and loved it—and my dairy cheese-loving son called it “irresistible.” I was worried it would taste like tahini, but it doesn’t at all, it just tastes yummy. I want to try a smoky version soon.

    I did boil it for less than five minutes—when I saw that soon it wouldn’t be pourable anymore because it was getting so thick, I removed it from the heat and blended it up. I was worried because it was my first time using agar, but it worked perfectly.

  16. I just made this, and it turned out so great! I only used about 1.5T of agar powder based on the comments above. I also put in a bunch of jalapenos and some more spicy peppers, but it’d be so easy to play around with the peppers and levels of spices. I diced the peppers, but next time, would make them as paper thin as possible. Overall, great recipe!