Vegan steamed rice cheese

by in Basics
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Time: Preparation time , cooking time , total time
Serves: 1 pound of cheese
Vegan steamed rice cheese

This is not a low carb recipe, but it is so awesome I wanted to share it here anyway. For a long time I've wanted to make a vegan cheese that was similar in texture to Violife (Europe) or Chao (US). I've tried many times with different ingredients and methods and this steamed rice flour based cheese is the closest I've come. It has a lovely firm texture that allows it to be grated and sliced super thin. It's nice to eat cold, but also works well on grilled cheese and pizza, although it doesn't melt quite as well as the store bought variety. It's also soy free, gluten free, fodmap free and very cheap to make. A real game changer!

The idea for this cheese came from an Indonesian dessert called kue lapis, where a mixture of rice flour and coconut milk is steamed to create a sticky cake. I accidentally made a slightly too dry version of it, and David said it would be a good texture for cheese, so I started experimenting!

The flavors are super adaptable. In this recipe I keep it really simple, but you can add as many herbs, spices and flavorings as you want. I would really like to try it with lactic acid instead of vinegar and some commercially available vegan cheese flavors, but I'll have to order those online which I haven't gotten around to yet.

Also try my other cheese recipes, like the super flavorful blue cheese and the lovely garlic herb cream cheese.


  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) water
  • 110 gram (+/- 1 cup spooned and leveled) white rice flour (NOT glutenous rice flour)
  • 75 gram (1/3 cup) melted neutral tasting coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon mild French mustard
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • a pinch of turmeric (optional, for yellow cheese)


Bring water to a boil in your steamer pot

Put all the ingredients in the jar of your blender or foodprocessor, and blend until it forma a completely smooth milky mixture, without lumps or visible oil droplets.

Pour the cheese mixture into a glass or ceramic mold (I used a cereal bowl). Choose a mold that is plenty high enough to accommodate the liquid as it will bubble up during the steaming.

Keep the water at a rolling boil and steam the cheese for about 45 minutes. After the steaming, the cheese will still be quite soft. Don't worry, it will firm up once it cools. If a thin layer of water dripped onto the cheese from the pot's lid, drain this off carefully. Let the cheese cool to room temperature and then cover it and put it into the fridge overnight to firm up.

Once it is firm, you can release it from the mold and store it in a lidded container for up to two weeks. The cheese tastes best if you leave it to firm and develop flavor for a day or two before eating, but I understand if you can't wait that long ;)


Aliyanna op 1-9-2016 - 19:55

I was wondering if you could tell me more about the flavorings....I am enjoying your ideas and would love to learn more... If you are low might want to watch the tofu for the goitergen problems...that causes weight gain and all the other issues as it messes with your thyroid. Just a thought.

Martine op 2-9-2016 - 9:20

Hey Aliyanna, I've considered ordering cheese flavors form this French company: They are all vegan:

On the subject of tofu, research has shown that 2-3 servings of soy foods a day are actually beneficial for health (see for instance the paper by vegan dietitian Jack Norris on soy), so I am not worried about that at all.

Marcela op 25-2-2017 - 20:52

In my country is coconut oil expensive. Can I replace it?

Martine op 26-2-2017 - 8:24

Hi Marcela, you preferably need an oil that is solid at room temperature. if you have access to vegan shortening or a firm vegan margerine, you could try using that. Neutral flavored cacao butter or palm oil would also work.

Bett op 1-3-2017 - 2:02

Alas cheese flavors from that company cannot be sent to the USA! :-( This came up in my checkout page: Sorry, food items cannot be shipped to your country. Please remove this item before you confirm your order.

Martine op 1-3-2017 - 8:30

That's too bad! Thanks for letting us know Bett.

Anders op 19-3-2017 - 11:40

Really enjoying this cheese the texture is almost perfect could you add some cultures and age it or will the steaming kill of the bacteria?

Martine op 19-3-2017 - 12:53

Glad you like it Anders! Steaming will kill the bacteria, so aging this cheese is a bit difficult. The flavor will improve if you let is rest in the fridge for a few days up to a week. I also had comments on facebook from someone who subbed part of the rice flour with tapioca en was able to blend the cheese after steaming before letting it cool and set. You could experiment with something like that and add cultures during the blending.

Dareen op 14-7-2017 - 18:14

I don't have nutritional yeast. Is there any reason for it in the recipe other than flavour? can i omit it or is it a must?? and are there any other substitutes for it??

Martine op 15-7-2017 - 21:17

Hi Dareen, you can omit the nutritional yeast if you want. It is just there for flavor. There are no real substitutes. If you have it around, you could add a little miso to the cheese for savoriness, but it isn't absolutely necessary.

Pedro op 16-8-2017 - 9:41

Hi, can you please clarify how you steam this cheeze? Do I understand correctly that you pour a mixture into a mold first and then put this mold into a steam pan with a lid?? Why not cooking the mixture straight away in a normal pot, stirring constantly and then pour into a mold to cool down? I'm confused... :( Cheers!

Martine op 16-8-2017 - 10:06

Hi Pedro, you understand the process correctly. This cheese cannot be cooked in a pot. During cooking it becomes so firm that you cannot stir or pour it, so making it in a pot results in an unevenly cooked ugly cheese. Steaming it solves that problem, because the cheese can be cooked right in the mold. I hope this clears it up for you!

Pedro op 17-8-2017 - 23:04

perfect, thank you for your prompt response and clarification :) I will try making the cheese tomorrow! :)

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