How to Turn Tofu into Cheese

Tofu is a great base for all kinds of vegan cheese recipes, and it’s especially perfect if you have a cashew or other nut allergy. Even if you are just looking for a less-expensive cashew alternative, tofu helps to make a more affordable vegan cheese as well! We use this tofu cheese method to make everything from dairy-free cream cheese to vegan cheese sauce to cheesecake. You can use tofu cheeses on pizza or nachos, and the best part: It’s super easy to make. In this post, we’re going to share our best tofu cheese recipes as well as some tips and tricks for using our methods to make your own!

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We love to make homemade vegan cheeses out of tofu. I know, I know: TOFU CHEESE? How stereotypically vegan can you be, right? It may sound a little weird, but no matter what it may SOUND like, tofu-based cheeses taste delicious. 

Trust me, I wouldn’t be going out on a limb and sounding so ridiculous if it weren’t ridiculously good and something everyone needs to know about because it’s also SO easy! So anyway, here we are…tofu cheese. 

You’ll be amazed not only at how good this is, but also how easy and versatile the process can be. We’ve used this tofu cheese method to make everything from tofu cheesecake, tofu cream cheese, tofu feta cheese, tofu cheese sauces and dips, and so, so much more. 

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What is tofu cheese?

Tofu cheese is simply cheese made from tofu (and not dairy!). 

Just like people make vegan cheese using cashews or almonds, we like to use tofu! Tofu by itself is completely flavorless and comes in a variety of textures, so it’s a great canvas for a variety of dairy-free delights. 

Looking for a soft herb cheese to spread on crackers? Not a problem. Something smooth and creamy for a spicy cheesy dip? Tofu has your back. Wanting something firmer with a little zip? Tofu can do that too. 

How do you make tofu taste like cheese?

You may be thinking okay you say tofu is flavorless but how can you make it taste like cheese without…cheese?! Well, that’s precisely the point: Tofu IS flavorless, so it’s ready to suck up ALL the flavors you want to incorporate in it. And we have a few tricks up our sleeves here to help you out with that.

How to Achieve the Best Texture

Tofu on its own doesn’t make a great cheese substitute, mostly because it’s all protein and no fat and we all know cheese has a lot of fat. Hello, that’s what we LOVE about it in the first place! 

That’s why, with the exception of our vegan queso dip, we create our cheesy base by emulsifying the tofu with some refined coconut oil in a food processor until the mixture goes from being grainy and a little chunky to super smooth and shiny. (That shiny part is key!) We’ve found this combination of protein + fat is the secret to achieving the best texture.

Coconut Oil Substitutions: Unfortunately, refined coconut oil is not interchangeable with olive oil or other oils you may have in your home. We use refined coconut oil to make tofu-based cheeses because it has similar fatty properties to animal fat — it hardens at around 75F which helps our cheeses firm up and be able to slice. With the exception of our vegan queso dip, we do not have an oil-free substitution option for these recipes.

Texture Tips:

  • Make sure you’re using refined coconut oil and NOT something labeled “unrefined” or “virgin”. Refined coconut oil has no flavor. If your cheese tastes like coconuts, this is where it went wrong. 
  • Make sure you are melting your coconut oil fully before adding it to the cheese mixture, and add it last! Even if it’s a hot day and the coconut oil is already in liquid form, I always find it most effective when I heat it up a bit so it’s fully melted.
  • We suggest using a high-powered blender or food processor for these tofu recipes. (The exception is the vegan queso.) Start blending on low and then slowly increase the speed as it gets easier to blend. We usually use our Vitamix, and the tamper it comes with REALLY comes in handy!
  • Be patient; it can take some time to fully emulsify all the ingredients in these recipes. Stop to scrape down the sides as needed, and keep blending until the texture goes from being a little chunky to thick, smooth, and shiny. Shiny is really the key element to look for here. If your cheese comes out with a weird texture, this step is probably where it went wrong. See the photo below.
The process of blending your tofu cheese mixture. First photo shows all the ingredients in your high-powered blender or food processor. Middle photo shows what it looks like after blending a few minutes - the mixture is still a little grainy. Final photo shows the finished tofu cheese mixture where the refined coconut oil is fully emulsified.

How to Achieve the Best Flavor

Flavor is the next element we need to address. We like to break it into two components: spices + fermented flavor. I think since tofu  has no flavor of its own and therefore sucks the life out of anything you use to flavor it, you need to err on the side of overseasoning any flavor you’re making. 

SPICES: Think about the taste of the cheese you’re trying to emulate and go from there. We like adding garlic and onion powder and some herbs to things like tofu pizza cheese, and some smoked paprika or hickory salt are always a good spice to add if you’re looking for a little hint of smoky flavor. We also like to add nutritional yeast for a somewhat nutty taste (depending on the type of cheese we’re making). 

FERMENTED FLAVOR: Adding fermented flavors is a must when making vegan cheeses — miso paste, mustards, vinegar, even different brines like sauerkraut, kimchi, or kalamata olive — can help your tofu cheese achieve that classic fermented flavor without actually being fermented. Lemon juice and zest can also work here.

Vegan Tofu Cheese Recipes

Silken Tofu Recipes

Silken tofu is a soft tofu that’s perfect for blending into cheese sauces or used as the base for softer cheeses, like mozzarella!

Spicy Tofu Queso Dip (vegan nacho cheese)

Make this incredible vegan queso in 5 minutes flat, no cashew-soaking or even a stove top required! It's creamy and flavorful and just begging to be poured (slow-mo-style) over all your nachos, tacos, and basically your entire life. #vegan #queso #superbowl #snack #appetizer #tacotuesday #veganrecipes #oilfree //

This tofu queso dip is simple, oil-free, and tastes just like you remember. It’s obviously awesome with nachos, but we also love making vegan chili-cheese-fries just piled high and dripping with this quick, quintessential queso! 

Tofu Mozzarella (for pizza)

Overhead shot of half of a homemade vegan cheese pizza with one slice pulled out a bit. There is a pizza cutter and salt and pepper shakers to the side.

You know the kind of pizza cheese that gets sticky-dropped all over the pizza and melts in delicious randomly-chosen patterns of goopy chaos? This silken tofu mozzarella is exactly that, packed with fantastic flavor and gooey goodness. We love it on our Vegan Baked Ziti Pizza, Vegan Chicken Parm Pizza, and Vegan White Pizza.

Silken Tofu Mac and Cheese

Overhead shot of a round white plate piled high with medium shell pasta in a creamy cheesy sauce sprinkled with fresh minced herbs

Make this oil-free vegan stovetop mac and cheese recipe on a busy worknight or a date night in with your sweatpants and cat! Using a silken tofu cheese sauce, this vegan mac and cheese is an easy dinner to make with simple methods and just 3 steps – boil, blend, and stir!

Firm Tofu Recipes

We like to use firm tofu for thick “whipped” style dips and vegan cheese sauces!

Tofu Feta Pasta

This Vegan Baked Feta Pasta is a Mediterranean-inspired, veganized version of the viral TikTok pasta recipe made famous by Finnish food blogger Jenni Häyrinen. In our version, we take it to the next level with flavors like tahini, kalamata olives, and roasted red peppers. Made with a luxurious homemade vegan feta cheese sauce, this recipe is not only a cheaper version than using store-bought vegan feta cheese, but it’s healthier and allergy-friendly too

Simple and sublime. This tofu feta pasta is our Mediterranean-inspired take on the TikTok feta pasta fad! It is PACKED with veggies and flavor. This cheesy vegan pasta will definitely be making a weekly star appearance at your house! 

Whipped Tofu Feta Dip

This vegan tahini feta dip is quick, uncomplicated, mind-blowingly flavorful, and the perfect spring appetizer. All you need is a food processor, 10 minutes, and 11 simple ingredients. #vegan #plantbased #appetizer #dip #tofu //

Perfect for the patio or the poolside, or even just in your lap with your feet up watching your favorite shows. This tofu feta dip pairs perfectly with these air-fried pita chips for a healthy and delicious snack!

Baked Tofu Mac n Cheese

Head-on shot of a slice of dairy-free mac and cheese with melty vegan cheddar and minced parsley on top

This classic baked vegan mac and cheese, made with a high protein tofu cheese sauce, tastes like the Stouffer’s version you grew up eating! It’s easy to make, contains no cashews, and is the perfect side for a BBQ, party, holiday dinner, or make-ahead lunch to take to work or school. The bright cheddar flavor will tantalize your taste buds and have even the omnivores at the table asking for seconds!

Vegan Beer Cheese Dip

Overhead zoomed in shot of a bowl of vegan beer cheese dip topped with fresh minced herbs and surrounded by celery and carrot sticks and soft pretzel bites

This thick and creamy vegan beer cheese dip has that classic tangy flavor of traditional beer cheese but is made from tofu right in your food processor! Serve it hot or cold – as a dip with warm homemade pretzel bites and veggies or a spread on sandwiches and plant-based burgers and brats! It’s the perfect dairy-free appetizer for game day, a party, or movie night snack!

Extra Firm Tofu Recipes

We use extra firm tofu for a variety of recipes, but especially anything we want to REALLY firm up.

Vegan Tofu Cheesecake (infused with sparkling wine!)

This easy vegan champagne cheesecake recipe is the perfect way to celebrate! Made with 7 simple ingredients, these tofu-based desserts combine the classic flavor of cheesecake with the celebratory spirit of champagne so perfectly I could cry! #vegan #cheesecake #dairyfree #tofu //

Yes, tofu does that too! These creamy and dreamy decadent little tofu cheesecakes pair perfectly with a date night in and a bottle of bubbly. Top with fruit(s) of your choosing, or leave as is!

Creamy Tofu Goat Cheese

Head-on shot of two tubes of vegan goat cheese on a wooden cutting board topped with fresh minced parsley. There are slices of baguette surrounding the board along with cheese knives, and salt and pepper shakers

This vegan goat cheese recipe tastes as legit as the real thing! It’s the best substitute for soft goats cheese in all your favorite dairy free recipes. The tangy flavor and smooth and creamy base that’s also somehow crumbly are sure to please every palate.

Tofu Cream Cheese (Veggie-Style)

This easy vegan cream cheese recipe has had me happy-dancing around the kitchen every morning this week! It’s bursting with flavor, has a soft creamy texture you have to taste to believe while still being nut free, and requires very minimal effort  on your part. Use this dairy free cream cheese substitute as a dip for crackers or bagel chips or spread it all over bagels and toast. #vegancheese #tofu #dairyfree #veganbreakfast

This tofu cream cheese is quite possibly one of the simplest and tastiest recipes we’ve put together. And what’s a bagel without a big old schmear of veggie cream cheese?! Perfect for bagel sandwiches as well!

Tofu Cheese Ball

You will not believe how easy this vegan cheeseball recipe is! It uses simple methods and ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Not to mention, this vegan cheeseball has a killer cheesy flavor, mind-blowingly creamy texture, is omnivore-approved, and cashew-free! #vegan #appetizer #veganrecipes #tofu #plantbased #vegancheese //

Classic. Elegant. The perfect centerpiece for your holiday hors d’oeuvres table or your summer charcuterie board. This vegan cheese ball is a year-round favorite and total crowd-pleaser!

Tofu Feta Cheese (sliceable block)

The most awesome vegan feta cheese! It’s slice-able, crumbly, easy to make, and flavorful’. Great for salads, snack plates, pitas, and pastas! #vegan #vegancheese #veganfeta #tofu #dairyfree #plantbased

From falafel bowls to pita pockets to feta grilled cheese sandwiches, mixed in a salad, or served simply with apples and grapes, you’ll want to make this sliceable tofu feta recipe again and again to satisfy ALL your feta needs.

Do you have a question about tofu cheese? Have a tofu cheese tip you’d like to share? Leave a comment and let us know, so we can make this a more complete resource for future visitors!

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    1. Hi, Alicia! Are you looking for a specific recipe? There are numerous links in this post to other recipes pages that contain the full instructions and recipe for a variety of vegan cheeses.

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