Pepper Jack Cashew Cheese

pepper-jack cashew cheez

Warning: This is an incredibly simple recipe, but when making this, work quickly and without interruptions if possible. The cheese sets fast and needs your complete attention!

It shreds and melts!

Updated Pepper Jack Cashew Cheese

  • 1/2 package Pomona’s Pectin (must use this brand! Otherwise it won’t set!)
  • 1 C. water
  • 1 C. raw cashews
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. onion powder
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1/2 to 2 t. crushed red pepper flakes (depending on your heat-o-meter)
  • 1 t. agar powder (optional, makes for an even firmer cheese)
  • you can also quickly stir in some added some canned green chilies and pimientos just before putting in containers to set, but doing so will cause the cheese to have a bit of a shorter shelf life.

Nacho Tower with Pepper Jack Cashew Cheez

Method: Lightly oil half (6) of a cupcake tin rounds in a pan with a 12 cupcake capacity (or if you have a 6 cup one, just use that!). Use your blender to combine 1/2 package of the dry pectin (about 4.5 teaspoons) and the agar powder (optional) with the water and lemon juice. Pour water mixture into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium high heat while stirring constantly. Set to low heat and let simmer while you grind cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder and onion powder until very fine in food processor or with your Estrogen (Blendtec) or Testosterone (Vitamix) Blender. Do not over process and make nut butter.

Mix 1/2 C. water (not included in amount above list) with the small calcium packet from the pomona’s pectin package, set asidePour the boiled water mixture over the ground cashew mixture into the power blender, ignoring instructions in your blender manual that say not to use boiling water in it. Blend until smooth and creamy. It’s gonna thicken quickly, so immediately add HALF (1/4 C.) of the calcium water and the crushed red pepper flakes and pulse until all combined. Immediately pour the hot cheese into the prepared cupcake tin(s).

Refrigerate uncovered for an hour. Turn mini cashew cheeses out onto a plate (upside down) and let set uncovered in the fridge for another 4-5 hours. 1 serving of cashew cheese is half of one mini round, which is the perfect amount for 1 grilled cheese sandwich or 1 quesadilla. This recipe makes 12 servings of cheese. Don’t forget to store the rest of your pectin and calcium water for the next batch. Calcium water stores well in the fridge and the pectin will store in your pantry indefinitely. Cashew cheese keeps for about a week in the fridge and freezes well.

In our house we like to watch Nacho Libre while we eat Nachos.

To make nachos, preheat oven to 450 degrees, layer tortilla chips (we like red hot blues), vegan refried beans, sliced olives, jalapenos and a couple of rounds of grated pepper jack cashew cheese on a baking sheet. Heat for 5-10 minutes or until all hot, melty and bubbly. Serve with sriracha and olive salsa fresca.

You can find Pomona’s Pectin at Whole Foods or order it here online, international orders are available.



  1. You are right this does look pretty easy. We love our nachos too, I had gotten used to eating them without cheese, even faux cheez. My husband and teenagers are big pepper jack fans. I’m sure they will love it.

  2. What are you doing to me girl! I used to be someone who ate vegetables… I ate a lot of them…simple…unadorned…beautiful in their healthy simplicity… but now…I lust after cheeze. I not only lust, I dream about it! I go to bed thinking about it and I wake up thinking about it and at various (usually inconvenient) times throughout my busy day I have the strong urge (almost zombie brainz like urge) to head over to the pantry and whip myself up a batch of cheeze. Somer and Annie…mad brain scientist hypnotists who use some kind of cosmic vegan rays to alter our brain chemistry to include a desperate passion for cheeze. I can’t even say to myself “that’s not healthy!” because it bloody well is! Sigh…if you can’t beat them…join them! Who needs to see their feet eh? A much overrated experience! 😉

    1. I think it did, but then I made it again without the agar because I forgot to add it, and it was plenty firm, I totally got the idea from you and forgot to give you credit! We’d be like a cheez link circle! Maybe cheez making is just temperamental, like bread making?!?

      1. It is kind of temperamental- it seems that it really depends on how will you blend in the pectin and agar. And the lemon juice seems to be very important as well. I don’t know, though- I am far from a scientist. 😉

        1. I just made the smoked gouda again with just the pectin since I feel like the other recipe has too many unusual ingredients for people to make easily. I think it still needs cornstrach / arrowroot, not for thickness since it set incredibly well, but the ground cashews or sunflower seeds give the cheez some sort of bulk which helps it to be more cheese like in texture. What do you think Ms. Fromage? It was sooo melty!

          1. I wouldn’t know on this one- I’ve never made cheese with coconut milk before. I can understand how it might need a little more bulk, though. It looks incredible the way it is, and I love how melty it got in the calzones!

            1. We had a crazy night last night with Dance lessons, homework, etc and ordered papa murphy’s without cheese and grated some of this over the top. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it! Going to work on simplifying the recipe after MOFO and potluck. Not everyone wants to buy agar, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, arrowroot and pectin 😉

  3. yeah .. another fun cheese recipe! we dont eat much cheese at my home, else i would be experimenting so much more:) i still do make tiny quantities:)

    1. We are unfortunately cheez mongers, which is why I totally freaked out when I saw you made a cheez with coconut milk. I’m so lucky to know you!

    1. Just wanted to let you know that it turned out great. We’ll be repeating this recipe very soon!! (It’s hard to get anything not-cheese-passing-as-cheese past my 10-yr-old. He has exquisite taste…the bane of my cooking. LOL)

      1. Yay! Glad you like it Shannon, my family is always upset when we’re out and I can’t just whip up a batch to serve right away, although you can use it as a spread immediately for grilled cheez and quesadillas… 😉 So did the 10 year old like it?

    1. Oh, you are so welcome. I love it so much I thought of trying develop it to sell in stores at one point, then I thought, naw, people need this recipe for FREE because it’s stinking awesome and everyone should be able to make it!

  4. Haha Noche Libre while you eat nachos – so epic! Okay I really need to get on the cheeze making bus, you, Richa & Kristy are making it look so easy, I am picturing a disaster in my kitchen – but what the hey, i am going to go for it!

  5. Somer, you are a genius!  My cheese is setting up right now, and I can tell it will be delicious.  It is almost exactly like processed pepper jack cheese, which is so funny because it’s actually made with healthy ingredients.  The only thing I’d add to your recipe is a warning that you want to make it when you won’t be interrupted – the cheese sets fast, so you need to get everything ready and at hand before you start (having to bring in my barking dogs in the middle of cooking didn’t help!).  Thanks so much!  I see a lot of cheese (and soap) making in my future!

    1. Holy cow, how did I miss your comment?!? I’m so glad you made it! I wish everyone knew how easy this is! Yes, I need to add a warning above, the cheese does set fast. I used words like immediately, but might have to add a whole disclaimer! 🙂 🙂

      1. Yup – kinda like the soap – lock up the kids (dogs), don’t answer the phone, and just make cheese (or soap) for 15 minutes! 🙂

  6. could i use the agar flakes? I would like I really firm cheese? or should i use more of the pectin? thanks

    1. You can use agar flakes for firmer cheese, but it won’t be as melty. The cheese is really quite firm. Firm enough to grate.

    1. Pomona’s is the only brand that doesn’t rely on sweeteners to “jell” It uses calcium instead. I’ve tried other brands without success. Pomona’s works every time.

  7. Yahoo vegan cheese without any controversial ingredients! I love it! I just have one concern though. I know you wrote that we have to make the recipe quickly but do you think I could wait until the boiled water mixture is cold (maybe I could place it in the fridge or over some ice to refrigerate it faster). I’m asking because I don’t have a blender, only a food procerssor with a plastic container and I don’t want to add boiling water in a plastic container. Thanks!

    1. dangit, the boiling water is what activates the pectin… So you’re welcome to be a guinea pig and try it, but I can’t guarantee the cheese will set, plus wasted ingredients can be very frustrating (I’ve been there) Sorry I can’t help more.

  8. Hey Somer, its been way to long since we stopped by, this cheese looks amazing. We have tried cashew cheese before , but we need to get some of this pectin. I love the way t grates. I am working at a retreat centre at the moment and we do alot of vegan food, the stuff we buy tastes like white rubber! Im going to try this one. Thanks as ever for the inspiration. Happy days, lee

    1. Lee! So good to hear from you. Yeah, raw cashew cheese is tasty, but you can’t really grate it ;). I’m positive you can order the pectin internationally, and since one package makes 2 batches of cheese, I think it’s a worthy investment. If I’m serving a lot of people, I double the recipe. I’ve tried a lot of vegan cheeses and I think because the ingredient lists contain so many things I wouldn’t normally consume, that I haven’t enjoyed the taste of any of them. I think you would be pleased with this one. Take care! -Somer

  9. Hi, When do you add the salt? I don’t see it in the directions, although it’s listed in the ingredients. Also, have you tried making variations with other herbs or flavorings? It seems like a basil version would be great with Italian foods…

    1. Add the salt with the other ingredients when you grind the cashews. Thanks for letting me know, I’ll adjust the recipe. Also, I have tried sun dried tomato & kalamata cheese, smoky pesto cheese and some other varieties. All were tasty, but this one got published because it’s my favorite 🙂

  10. This is one of the easiest recipes I have seen. How can I make “mozarella” type cheese? Could I just leave out the peppers? I love the Diaya brand, but would love to have something that melts but is healthier.

    1. I have two versions of “moxarella” type cheeses on my blog. One comes together in minutes and is more like a fresh sauce that is dolloped on things, when you bake it, it forms a “cheesy shell” just like real cheese does:

      The other moxarella cheese is similar to this one and grated and melts:

  11. Can this recipe be doubled or tripled? I’m catering a friend’s wedding and this would be a great addition to the “cheese” plate, but I need a larger quantity. Thanks!

    1. Of course! I did the same thing when I catered my brother’s art show:

      I would just double it since you use a whole packet of pectin for each batch. Then if you need to make another batch you can do it after that, otherwise you might overload your blender. I also recommend adding diced green chiles and pimientos (options) stirred in (hastily) at the end for a more dramatic presentation and putting the prepared cheese in a lightly oiled loaf pan so when it’s set you can cut it into proper squares. I also did my Macadamia Nut Brie En Croute: Both were huge hits! Good Luck! xx

    1. They do freeze, but funnily enough they freeze a bit like dairy cheese, the cheese is drier and more crumbly after being frozen and doesn’t melt quite as well.

  12. So, I finally had a chance to make our own Pepper Jack Vooish (vooish = vegan cheese); using this recipe.

    I doubled the recipe. The pepper flakes used, were the flakes from the little packets that come with our pizza delivery! I was afraid of creating cashew butter instead of cashew powder, or not getting the entire cashews ground and instead ending up with pieces of cashews within the cashew powder; and so instead of grinding the cashews in some kind of grinder; I soaked them for 5 hours in water and they were just as good as can be with a very nice texture.

    The rest of the recipe went as documented; and as stated it’s very important that you:
    1. Constantly stir the pectin mixture to prevent it from sticking to the pan.
    2. Work very quickly at the end when you finally mix all the ingredients.

    Instead of putting the vooish into a cupcake pan, I sprayed grease on the inside of a small pan so that we would end up with a “wheel” of vooish rather than individual serving sizes. I can take this round wheel and cut it into a square and then wrap that in plastic wrap.

    It tastes GREAT! Next step tonight is to wait the four hours for the “wheel” of vooish to harden properly and then make toasted cheese sandwiches to test how the cheese melts. Tomorrow, will attempt to grate the cheese and perform a melt test.

    Thank you for the recipe!!

  13. just found your site through a weird random chain of events…following vegan cheese recipes…and i landed here! and this post is from my bday, so i think its a sign. 🙂
    im so excited to continue to read.

  14. Sounds good to me! How do u know when the cheese has “gone bad”? Will it just not melt anymore or will it smell/taste bad?

  15. Hi, i’m down in Australia, and not sure i’ll be able to get Pomona’s Pectin. Does anyone know if there any alternatives to that brand down here?

    1. You can order it online. One if my readers had success making this recipe with all agar instead of pectin. They used 5 Tablespoons agar flakes (equivalent to 5 teaspoons powder). They boiled everything but the ground cashews for several minutes then added the ground cashews and stirred til smooth and glossy. Hope that helps.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s