Are you a vegan who loves cheese but you’re not sure how to melt it? Or are you transitioning to plant-based eating and curious about how vegan cheese melts? Melting vegan cheese is easier than you think and can be just as creamy and delicious as regular cheese. Here’s how to melt vegan cheese in a few simple steps.
Have you ever tried adding vegan cheese on top of a casserole? You were hoping for gooey melted cheese on top, but you ended up with a hard, crispy topping.
Those days are over!
Whether you’re making pizza, plant-based nachos, cheesy dips, or any other cheesy dish, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to perfectly melt vegan cheese with ease.
So, let’s dive in and learn how to achieve gooey, melty vegan cheese perfection.
What is Vegan Cheese?
Vegan cheese is a plant-based alternative to traditional dairy cheese. It is made from plant-based ingredients, such as nuts and seeds, vegetables, and sometimes coconut oil.
You can find vegan cheese in various forms, such as slices, blocks, or shredded.
But if you’re making sandwiches, roasted veggies, or casserole and want to add vegan cheese, how do you melt it?
Plant-based cheese needs some coaxing in order to melt properly. Here’s my favorite recipe to make that happen.
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
- Vegan Cheese Shreds — Use your favorite vegan cheese products, such as Daiya or Follow Your Heart. You can use cheddar, mozzarella, or any flavor of vegan cheese.
- Vegetable Broth — I prefer to make my vegetable broth by combining water with Better than Bouillon vegetarian base. It delivers a high-quality vegetable broth every time.
- Nutritional Yeast — We need to replace some of the cheesy flavors lost from adding the vegetable broth, and nutritional yeast is the perfect cheesy flavor enhancer.
How to Melt Vegan Cheese
- Add cheese shreds to a microwave-safe bowl.
- Stir in vegetable broth and nutritional yeast flakes.
- Heat in the microwave for one minute.
- Stir vigorously until it’s mostly smooth.
- Continue heating in 15-second increments until the cheese has melted.
- Drizzle over casseroles, pizzas, etc.
When Will Vegan Cheese Melt Without Coaxing?
You don’t always have to pre-melt plant-based cheese. It will melt naturally under certain circumstances, such as:
- Baking at high temperatures. When you’re making a pizza, and the oven is heated to 430°F/220°C, vegan cheese will melt nicely.
- Steaming between other ingredients. When you make a vegan grilled cheese sandwich, the cheese is between other ingredients, and this causes it to be steamed, which helps it melt.
- Covered. You can usually cover a casserole with foil while you’re baking it. This foil captures the steam, causing the cheese to melt.
But if you want 100% certainty that your vegan cheese melts, pre-melting is always a great option.
Ways to Use Melted Plant-Based Cheese
Using melted vegan cheese is incredibly versatile and can create a wide variety of vegan-friendly dishes.
For instance, you can drizzle it over vegan pizzas and quesadillas for an extra cheesy kick. It’s also delicious when added to vegan mac and cheese, nachos, and dips.
Simply melt the vegan cheese and add it to the desired dish, and you’ll have a mouthwatering vegetarian meal that’s sure to please.
Additionally, it can also be used as a topping for tacos, burritos, and salads for extra flavor.
Do you want to know about melting plant-based cheese on a sandwich? First of all, I am a big fan of serving the best vegan sandwiches. Serving them with plant-based cheese just makes them so much better!
- Grilled Sandwiches — If you’re serving something like a grilled plant-based tuna melt, the heat from the skillet or griddle may be enough to melt that cheese.
- Burgers — I find placing a cheese slice melts nicely on a vegan patty in the skillet or toaster oven. If that fails, a quick 20 seconds in the microwave will do the trick.
- Cold Sandwiches — Serving a veggie BLT? Or how about a vegan club sandwich. You can simply add sliced cheese, but if you prefer it melted, be sure to pre-melt the cheese and drizzle it over the top.
The tricky thing with casseroles is melting vegan cheese in a 350°F/175°C oven. This is the temperature most casseroles are baked at, and it’s not quite hot enough to coax vegan cheese to spread.
Here’s why. The oven can dry out the cheese. Once that happens, it will never spread and become gooey and stretchy.
You have two choices for melted vegan cheese on casseroles:
- Add the vegan cheese, but cover the pan with foil
- Add pre-melted vegan cheese after the casserole cooks (see the recipe card below).
One thing that a pizza can handle that a casserole may not is high temperatures. Cooking the pizza fast at high temperatures is a great way to encourage your vegan cheese to melt.
For nachos, I prefer to melt plant-based cheese using the recipe in this post. Pre-melting the cheese and drizzling it over your nachos is the only way to go!
Best Vegan Cheese for Melting
Most vegan cheese brands will melt. However, if you can find a block of vegan cheese and shred it yourself, this is a better option. That’s because pre-shredded cheeses often come with starches to prevent the shreds from sticking together. Those starches can make it difficult for the cheese to melt.
It’s important to note that most vegan cheese melts best when thinly sliced so that steam can escape and help the cheese evaporate.
With the right kind of cheese and a few simple steps, you can create creamy, cheesy vegan dishes in no time.
Whether you’re vegan or transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle, you don’t have to go without cheese. So go ahead and get melting!
Melting Vegan Cheese
- 1 cup vegan shreds (cheddar or mozzarella)
- ¼ cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- MICROWAVE OPTION: Place vegan cheese shreds in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the vegetable broth and nutritional yeast flakes.
- Heat in the microwave for one minute. Stir vigorously until it's smooth. Reheat in 15-second increments if necessary.
- STOVETOP OPTION: Place vegan cheese shreds in a small saucepan. Add the vegetable broth and nutritional yeast flakes. Cook over medium heat until the cheese melts, around 3 to 5 minutes. Stir regularly, until it's smooth.
- Drizzle over nachos, casseroles, pizzas, etc. (See notes).
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When to add melted vegan cheeseHere’s when to add melted vegan cheese to various dishes:
- Nachos — Add your favorite toppings to tortilla chips then drizzle the melted cheese right before serving.
- Cooked Veggies and/or Baked Potatoes — Serve melty cheese on the side so everyone can add as much as they’d like.
- Casseroles — When you’re adding melted cheese to casseroles that will bake in the oven, bake the casserole without the cheese for 90% of the bake time. For the last 5 to 10 minutes, remove the casserole from the oven, drizzle the top with the melted cheese, and return it to the oven. This allows the vegan cheese to continue melting over the top of the casserole, but it won’t burn or become dried out.
The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.