Canyon Cheddar

Canyon Cheddar is my plant-based, oil-free answer to traditional cheddar cheese.

Plant-based Canyon Cheddar Cheese block

Canyon Cheddar

This is my plant-based, oil-free, Canyon Cheddar. It's just the right amount of salt, tang, structure, and it looks wonderful, too! I find that it ages best for a couple of weeks refrigerated in wax paper, which will continue to improve the flavor and density of this absolutely delightful plant-based cheese.
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 slices



Canyon Cheddar Base

Agar Mix


  • Blend 'Canyon Cheddar Base' ingredients (1 cup water though annatto) in a high-powered blender for about 60 seconds.
  • Add agar and ½ cup cool water in saucepan, whisk, turn on medium heat.
  • Whisk frequently 5-10 minutes until aroma mostly dissipates. Note: mixture will thicken greatly.
  • Add agar mixture to the blender with the rest of the blended ingredients, blend 30-60 seconds.
  • Move mixture to a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently for for just a few minutes to activate the cornstarch. It should only just come to a simmmer, and not simmer for beyond a minute or two.
  • Pour mixture into a glass dish and chill several hours.
  • Remove from dish directly onto wax paper and store refrigerated. This cheese can be enjoyed immediately, but the flavor and texture will continue to develop over the next 1-2 weeks into a sharper, somewhat refined aged taste.


This recipe is fairly forgiving. I have made variations dozens of times. This particular blend hits the mark on salt, tang, structure, and appearance. I love it!
This plant-based cheese does not readily melt, but if you want to melt it, you can grate it and melt it with liquid (water, plant-based milk) to create a cheese-style sauce. You can also make a mac and cheese using plant milk, water, pasta, and this as finely grated cheese stirred into the hot al dente pasta. I plan to add a recipe for that, keep an eye out!


Serving: 1ounce
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About Agar Agar

If you’ve made plant-based cheese with agar agar before (I’ll just stick to ‘agar’ moving forward), you probably have thoughts about it’s texture. I did, too, but this blend of agar with cornstarch produces a texture initially reminiscent of American cheese. If you choose to age the Canyon Cheddar in wax paper, it will become denser and more flavorful, approaching the qualities of a brick of Cheddar cheese.

It is important to cook the agar + water mixture not until it’s odorless, but until the seaweed aroma is about 80% dissipated. This usually takes about 5 minutes of constant simmering and whisking until it’s very thick.

Recipe Yield

The above darker, slightly cracked cheese is actually a smoked version of the same Canyon Cheddar. Smoking the cheese can cause cracks due to drying, but it tastes wonderful. If you have the time, it’s best to age the cheese 1-2 weeks to enjoy, and if you’d like to smoke it at that point, you can cold smoke it using a pellet smoker tube I recommend an apple wood or cherry wood pellets. I put the smoker tube on my propane grill to use it safely.

This recipe typically yields between 12-14 ounces of cheese. Nutritionally, a basic 1-ounce serving will have less than 2 teaspoons of nuts, which is very sustainable, even at higher amounts for most diets that can include nuts.

Smokehouse Canyon Cheddar

As mentioned earlier, a smoked version of this Canyon Cheddar is divine.

My Favorites & Sharing

I love using Canyon Cheddar in sandwiches, but it’s also delightful in a plant-based quiche. If you have new ideas to use this plant-based cheese, please let me know! I would delight in seeing you use hashtag #craigsgreentable if you do make this or any of the recipes I share!

Here’s one last photo (for now) of me sneaking in a bit onto my plant-based, oil-free sausage, tofu egg, and smoked Canyon Cheddar breakfast sandwich.

plant-based, oil-free sausage, tofu egg, and Canyon Cheddar breakfast sandwich