In addition to being creamy, flavorful, and versatile, cheese is also a dairy product, so it is not suitable for people who have lactose intolerances or follow vegan diets. There are now a number of plant-based cheese substitutes available! Dairy-free vegan cheese may not be suitable for dishes like vegan lasagna or vegan cheese pizza, which rely heavily on melted cheese.
As vegan cheese does not contain casein, the animal protein that causes dairy cheese to melt, most types of vegan cheese won’t melt as regular cheese does. With varying degrees of success, vegan cheese has been able to mimic the melting effect. Let’s take a closer look at this topic to see how vegan cheese can be successfully incorporated into your recipes.
What Is Vegan Cheese?
Often made from soy, cashews, macadamias, or coconut oil, vegan cheese is a dairy-free alternative to regular cheese. Vegan cheese can also be made from other protein-rich plants, such as chickpeas, tapioca, or arrowroot. Vegan cheese is made by separating plant proteins from their sources and mixing them with oil and thickeners to replicate the taste and texture of dairy cheese.
Fermenting the cheese breaks down the vegetable proteins, which gives it a flavor profile similar to dairy cheese. As a result, vegan cheese is dairy-free and can be enjoyed by everyone. The production of vegan cheese does not require the use of cows or other animals, so it has a smaller carbon footprint than traditional dairy cheese.
So, Does Vegan Cheese Melt?
Thanks to advances in food science, vegan cheese has come a long way in recent years and can now closely mimic the taste and texture of regular cheese. Unfortunately, vegan cheese does not melt like regular cheese. Vegan cheese won’t melt like regular cheese. Most types of vegan cheese will become crumbly when heated and won’t melt nearly as easily as dairy cheese.
The good news is that there are some easy ways around this! For example, you can shred or slice vegan cheese before adding it to a recipe, or you can use it as a topping for dishes that don’t require melting.
Why Doesn’t Vegan Cheese Melt?
As a result, cheese contains a number of milk’s key chemical components. Lactose, or the natural sugar in milk, is present in cheese, as is casein, a type of animal protein. Cheese melts more easily when casein breaks down when heated. When heated, casein forms a sort of gel that allows the cheese to flow more easily. In addition to giving cheese its distinctive texture and flavor, this protein is also essential for making cheese.
Plant-based proteins cannot replicate casein, which can only be found in animal milk. Due to its plant-based protein composition, vegan cheese is very difficult to melt the same way as dairy cheese. As vegan cheese continues to evolve, we are likely to see even more close imitations of regular cheese in the future, including melting products!
Can You Melt Vegan Cheese?
Vegan cheese can still replicate the melted, bubbly effect of regular cheese. Vegan cheese doesn’t create the melted effect by itself – you need to add additional ingredients to achieve the same effect. Store-bought vegan cheese can be melted by adding a bit of fat (like vegan mayonnaise or olive oil), which allows the cheese to separate and bubble when heated.
Furthermore, you can replicate the stretchiness of mozzarella cheese using starch if you want to make your own vegan mozzarella cheese at home. The vegan cheese will become stretchy when heated by adding starch! In spite of these methods, the melted cheese won’t have the same texture as regular cheese.
It may feel more crumbly or chewy than regular cheese due to the added fat or starch. In order to perfectly recreate the texture of melted cheese, use starch in moderation if you’re adding it to the cheese. Take a look at each of these methods below!
How To Melt Vegan Cheese
By adding additional fat to the mix, vegan cheese can be made to melt and bubble.
The vegan cheese may separate from the fat and cause the pasta to become crumbly if you add it to baked dishes like lasagna and pizza.
You will need the following:
You will need 12 cups of grated vegan cheese of your choice (grating the cheese will make it melt faster).
Vegan mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon
Olive oil, 12 tbsp
Salt to taste
Mayonnaise with 1 tbsp lemon juice (to balance the fatty taste)
Here’s what to do:
Spread the mixture over your dish before baking by mixing all the ingredients together.
If you bake the dish according to your recipe, you’ll find that the cheese will bubble and melt beautifully without crumbling.
How To Make Stretchy Vegan Cheese
How can you replicate the stretchy, melted texture of mozzarella cheese in vegan dishes?
Starch thickens foods, of course! Tapioca powder is well known for its thickening properties.
You can make vegan cheese that resembles melted mozzarella by adding this ingredient!
You will need the following:
Cashew nuts, 1 cup raw
Nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon
Lemon juice, 2 tablespoons
Garlic powder, 14 tsp
To taste, salt
Tapioca powder, 1–2 tablespoons
As needed, water
Here’s what to do:
Soak the cashews in boiling water for about 30 minutes to soften them.
All the ingredients, including the cashews and hot water, should be blended until smooth. You don’t want chunks of nuts in your cheese.
As the water boils and evaporates, the mixture will start to thicken. Place the mixture in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
You can add a little bit more tapioca powder if the mixture is not stretching as quickly as you would like. Make sure to add just a little bit at a time since tapioca powder is quite potent.
After it resembles melted mozzarella, remove it from the heat source and use it to make your favorite recipes.
You should add the mozzarella in the last 5–10 minutes of cooking since it is considered cooked and melted.
In case you don’t use all of the stretchy vegan cheese right away, you can store it in the fridge or freeze it for up to a month.
When cheese dries out in the fridge or freezer, you can add a few drops of water before cooking, which will rehydrate the cheese.
We thought you might have a few additional questions now that you know if vegan cheese melts, as well as how to help it get there.
Is vegan cheese healthy?
There is a perception that vegan cheese is healthier than dairy cheese, mainly because it does not contain dairy products. There is no guarantee that vegan cheese is healthier than regular dairy cheese. It all depends on the type of vegan cheese you eat.
Obviously, vegan cheese, which contains oil and preservatives, can’t be healthier than regular cheese from your local cheese shop if it is highly processed! With whole ingredients like cashew nuts, making your own vegan cheese is relatively easy. As far as health benefits go, vegan cheese definitely surpasses regular cheese in this case.
Is vegan cheese dairy-free?
Since vegan cheese contains no dairy, it is made from nuts and seeds that contain plant-based proteins. Lactose intolerant or vegan people can enjoy every type of vegan cheese because it is dairy-free!
Is vegan cheese gluten-free?
It is possible for vegan cheese to be gluten-free, but not all vegan cheeses are gluten-free. It is important to check the ingredient list of vegan cheese to ensure that it does not contain flour, which contains gluten.