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Homemade cheeses and cream sauces were some of the first culinary experiments I undertook after first cutting dairy out of my repertoire. There were one or two nondairy cheese options on the market at the time, but they were chalky, didn’t melt, and tasted funky — and not in a good, cheesy way. (A for effort, though. Way to be trailblazers.)
Nowadays there are quite a few decent options to choose from, from Daiya to So Delicious, Follow Your Heart, Violife, and more. A few grocery chains (like Kroger and Whole Foods) have even released their own proprietary vegan cheeses. What a time to be alive!
I typically go the store-bought route if I need cheddar-style shreds or vegan parm, but when it comes to mozzarella, homemade still takes the cake for me. It’s delicious and easy to make, and I love to have a healthier, less-processed option with a simple list of ingredients.
This particular vegan mozzarella recipe is the quickest and easiest version of vegan mozz I make! It requires no specialty ingredients like agar agar, kappa carrageenan, or lactic acid powder. It’s also not a cultured cheese so it can be made and enjoyed in the same day.
Ingredients for this Easy Vegan Mozzarella
- Raw cashews: A staple when it comes to homemade vegan cheeses and cream sauces! Soak them overnight or for at least 4+ hours to ensure they’re soft enough to blend completely smooth. If you’re in a time crunch, you can also pour boiling water over them and soak for 30 minutes.
- Vegan butter: This will make the vegan mozzarella taste more luscious and similar to real cheese. Since butter hardens in the fridge, it’ll also give the mozz some extra structure when chilled. If you prefer, you can sub in an equal volume of coconut oil, but make sure to use *refined* coconut oil as it’ll lend a more neutral flavor.
- Lemon and apple cider vinegar: Since this is a quick-and-easy vegan mozzarella recipe, we’re not culturing our cashew cream to develop tartness. A combination of lemon juice and ACV does the work for us.
- Garlic: Optional but highly recommended….because honestly, I can’t think of a recipe that calls for mozzarella that wouldn’t be improved by copious amounts of garlic! If you want a more classic mozz flavor, feel free to leave it out.
- Tapioca starch: Our thickening agent in this recipe. It also makes this vegan mozzarella recipe stretchy. You can find this at most grocery stores in the baking aisle, or order it online. Don’t substitute in a different type of starch; it won’t have the right texture.
How to Make Vegan Mozzarella
This vegan mozzarella recipe is ridiculously quick and easy! The most time-consuming piece is simply waiting for it to firm up in the fridge after you’ve prepared it. There are 3 simple steps:
- Blend all the ingredients together until completely smooth.
- Pour this mixture into a nonstick pan or pot and cook it over medium-high heat until it thickens and becomes one stretchy blob (for lack of a better term). Stir constantly to ensure it cooks evenly.
- At this point you can use your vegan mozzarella cheese right away (spread it on pizza crust, crostini, lasagna, etc.), or transfer to a lightly-greased container and refrigerate until firm so you can slice it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this vegan mozzarella firm enough to grate?
This cheese will be firm enough to slice but it won’t hold up to a grater (maybe it will if you pop it in the freezer for an hour or so). You’ll need to add some agar agar or kappa carrageenan to achieve a grateable/shreddable consistency.
Can I make this recipe without cashews?
Cashews are the best option for this vegan mozzarella recipe because they have the most neutral flavor and it’s easy to achieve the smoothest texture when blending them.
You can substitute in raw almonds or macadamia nuts, but it will alter the flavor somewhat and the cheese may have a slightly grittier texture, especially if you don’t own a high-power blender. If using almonds, you can buy them blanched and slivered to avoid having to remove the skins by hand.
Can I make this vegan mozzarella recipe nut-free?
You can substitute an equal volume of raw sunflower seeds for the cashews in this vegan mozzarella recipe, but note that the flavor and color of your finished cheese will be substantially different. Sunflower seeds don’t need to be soaked as long as cashews; usually an hour will do the trick.
Can I substitute a different kind of starch for tapioca?
Usually arrowroot or cornstarch could be substituted in for tapioca starch, but for vegan cheesemaking applications, it’s not recommended. The cheese will thicken but it will not have the same stretchy consistency as with tapioca.
Can I make this vegan mozzarella recipe oil-free?
The vegan butter can technically be omitted, but the cheese may not set up quite as firm in the fridge, and it won’t have as rich of a mouthfeel. I recommend reducing the tapioca starch if you plan to cut out the oil.
Vegan Mozzarella (with Simple Ingredients)
- 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked overnight or 4+ hours
- 1/4 cup vegan butter or refined coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or about 1/2 lemon
- 4 tablespoons tapioca starch
- Add all ingredients to a high power blender and purée until completely smooth.
- Pour mixture into a medium saucepan or nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and comes together.
- Transfer to a lightly greased container (I like to use a small round pyrex) and pat the mixture down with a spatula to remove any bubbles. Refrigerate 4+ hours or overnight to firm up.
- When you’re ready to use it, the mozzarella should slide out of the greased container. You can now slice it to eat cold or to top pizzas, etc. For the cleanest slices, cut straight down in one motion rather than sawing back and forth.
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