How to make vegan mozzarella cheese that’s soft, melty, stretchy, and gooey—perfect as a vegan pizza cheese, for grilled cheese, pasta, and more! Plus, this dairy-free mozzarella contains just 7 ingredients, a simple process, and is gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free, and can be prepared nut-free, too!
Creamy, Gooey, Melty Vegan Mozzarella Cheese
When I first turned vegan, vegan cheese options were few and far between (most times, impossible to find, and too pricey if you did). Even now, many of the options available are highly processed, high-budget, or simply not ‘quite right.’ Luckily, this homemade mozzarella substitute is simple to make and has the most amazing melty, gooey, stretchy consistency, and subtle but delicious flavor!
In fact, this homemade vegan mozzarella recipe requires just 7 ingredients (plus salt), allows you to be 100% in control of the flavor and ingredients, and is budget-friendly (especially as many of the ingredients are pantry staples). It’s also easy to tweak and flavor for the best dairy-free mozzarella you’ve tried!
Even better, the process for making this dairy-free cashew mozzarella (nut-free option available) is super simple. Just soak some cashews, cook a potato, blend the ingredients, and simmer to thicken. Voilà! And while this version doesn’t solidify enough to shred (check the FAQ’s for a solution), it’s the perfect ‘ready-melted’ consistency you can easily add to tons of dishes. i.e., a delicious vegan pizza cheese, topping for pasta, grilled cheese, dip for chips, and more!
- Cashews: Soaked cashews provide the super creamy base for this vegan mozzarella recipe. Check FAQs for substitutions.
- Dairy-free milk: I recommend using canned coconut milk (17% fat) since it’s super creamy (and won’t make the dairy-free mozzarella taste like coconut!). However, you can use any unsweetened dairy-free milk, or even water.
- Potato: Will thicken and add ‘body’ to the plant-based mozzarella. I recommend using an all-purpose potato like Yukon Gold or Russet.
- Tapioca starch: While other starches will work to thicken the mixture, tapioca flour will provide the signature stretchy ‘melted cheese’ consistency that works amazingly at mimicking dairy mozzarella.
- Nutritional yeast: For a subtle cheesy flavor.
- White vinegar: To provide a slight tang, as dairy cheese has. You could also use apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. You could also use a combination of vinegar and lemon for a slightly different flavor.
- Sea salt: Adjust the amount to taste.
- Onion powder: Just a pinch adds depth of flavor to this recipe.
Optional add-ins and recipe variations:
- Garlic powder: Similar to onion powder, a pinch of garlic will add depth and a hint of flavor to this dairy-free mozzarella.
- Spice: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes (to taste).
- Herbs: It’s easiest to flavor this cashew mozzarella with dried herbs such as rosemary, oregano, thyme, or Italian seasoning, to taste.
- Liquid smoke: To create a vegan smoky cheese (similar to a smoky Gouda), you can add a few teaspoons of liquid smoke (to taste).
- Paprika: While not a common addition to mozzarella, a pinch of paprika tastes delicious in all sorts of vegan cheese recipes.
- Miso paste: To add extra umami flavor to this vegan mozzarella recipe.
Please read the recipe card below for the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information.
How to Make Vegan Mozzarella Cheese?
- First, soak the cashews in hot water for around an hour OR boil them for 10-15 minutes, until tender. Then discard the water.
- Meanwhile, chop and boil the potato in a saucepan with salted water until tender, then drain. You need 80 g cooked potato (around 1/3 cup once mashed).
Tip: You could actually boil the cashews and potato together! The exact time the potato takes to cook will vary depending on the size you chopped the pieces. Be careful not to overboil the potato, though, or it can become watery.
- Next, transfer all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Then immediately reduce the heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until thick and ‘stretchy,’ stirring constantly. Then remove it from the heat.
It’s best to use the vegan mozzarella cheese immediately for the best flavor and texture (i.e., on pizza, in a grilled cheese, over toast, etc.). However, you also store any leftovers for later.
How to Store
Make ahead: You can boil and mash the potato a couple of days in advance and store it covered in the refrigerator. You can also leave the cashews to soak in water overnight.
Store: As mentioned above, I recommend enjoying the dairy-free mozzarella immediately for the best texture. However, you can store any leftovers covered in the fridge for 2-3 days. Note that the texture will change (it will become creamy after a while, similar to cream cheese).
I haven’t tried freezing this cashew mozzarella, so I can’t guarantee the results.
How to Serve?
This recipe is for a melty, stretchy, gooey non-dairy mozzarella cheese – which means it’s perfect for use in most of the ways you would when cooking regular mozzarella. Some of my favorite vegan mozzarella recipes/ideas include:
- Lasagna: Regular vegan lasagna or even lasagna roll-ups
- Pizza: Neapolitan style, calzone, deep dish, pizza ring, keto zucchini crust pizza, etc.!
- Grilled cheese sandwich: Or in a panini
- Veggies: Spoon over or use to dip – it’s delicious! It’ll also work for dishes like baked mushrooms.
- Risotto: Like this mushroom or broccoli risotto
- Enchiladas: Or quesadillas
- Pasta bake: Or baked gnocchi
- Other pasta dishes: For example, with pesto pasta, over spaghetti and meatballs or Bolognese, one-pot pasta, etc.
- Over casseroles: like this cheesy rice and bean casserole
- Eggplant Parmesan: Or vegan chicken Parmesan
- Burgers: Spread over your favorite burger for creaminess.
- Over soup: Like this French onion soup
Let me know in the comments below what your favorite ways to use this cashew mozzarella are!
Can I substitute the cashews?
The best substitute to use would be macadamia nuts, almonds, or pine nuts. Alternatively, use sunflower seeds for a nut-free mozzarella. You could also try adding 1/2 cup of soft tofu (or silken tofu), for a nut-free and low-fat version.
As this plant-based mozzarella is ready-made into a melty consistency, you could also use a raw, unsalted nut/seed butter—though the texture will be slightly different.
Can I substitute the potatoes?
I’ve never tried. However, blended white beans may work (like cannellini or butter beans). Let me know in the comments if you try.
Can I shred the vegan mozzarella?
This recipe is designed as an ‘already melty’ vegan mozzarella. If you want cheese you can slice and shred, you’d need to add another ingredient like 1 1/2 tbsp kappa carrageenan. Or use 2 tbsp of agar powder (which will make the mozzarella sliceable, but not shreddable). See the below photo of the firm vegan mozzarella, made with agar powder.
Does the dairy-free mozzarella taste like cashews?
I don’t think so. The cashews become wonderfully mild and creamy when soaked, providing the best texture but without tons of flavor.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- Tapioca starch is best: While other starches may thicken the mixture, tapioca starch is key to the gooey, stretchy, cheesy consistency.
- Use a good blender: I recommend a high-speed blender to get the mixture really nice and smooth/ lump-free! Though I also made the recipe many times with a cheap “Oster” blender, however, you’ll need to blend longer. Give the machine breaks, if needed, during the blending process (to avoid overheating the machine).
- Don’t skip the nutritional yeast: This is the main ingredient that adds the umami, cheesy flavor. While not as strong as other cheeses, this vegan mozzarella recipe definitely needs it (you can add more for a cheesier taste). If you can’t have nutritional yeast, add a little miso paste instead.
More Vegan Cheesy Recipes
- Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Vegan Ricotta Cheese (tofu-free)
- Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Casserole
- Vegan Chili Cheese Fries
If you try this creamy vegan mozzarella cheese recipe, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan #elavegan – I love seeing them.
Vegan Mozzarella Recipe
ONLY FOR FIRM MOZZARELLA:
- 2 tbsp agar powder optional (see notes)
- You can watch the short video for visual instructions.Soak the cashews in hot water for about an hour, or boil them for 10-15 minutes. Then discard the water.
- Meanwhile, boil the potato in a saucepan filled with salted water until it's tender, then drain the water. You will need 80 grams of cooked potato for this recipe (which equals 1/3 of a cup when you mash it with a fork). It's also possible to boil the cashews and potato together!
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until super smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes, then turn off the heat.
- It's best to use it immediately, e.g. on pizza or toast. You can also transfer it to a bowl and store it covered in the fridge, though the texture will change (it will become rather creamy after a while). Enjoy!
- Firm cheese: If you want to make firm (sliceable) vegan mozzarella, you have to either add 1 1/2 tbsp kappa carrageenan OR 2 tbsp of agar powder (100% strength). It's also necessary to cook the cheese mixture for at least 5-6 minutes (please note it will be very thick, so stirring often is important). Pour the mixture into an oiled/greased bowl and let it chill for a couple of hours (preferably in the refrigerator) until it's firm. Kappa carrageenan will make the cheese firmer than agar powder.
- Milk: I used canned coconut milk (17% fat) since I love using it also in my vegan cheese sauce, but you can use different milk, or even water.
- Tapioca: I recommend tapioca starch as it will make the mozzarella quite stretchy. You might be able to substitute arrowroot flour, though the result won't be as good.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically