You've lived through the dairy-free milk movement - now it's vegan cheese's turn.
I'm a massive cheese fan. I was before I was vegan and now I still am after going vegan more than 5 years ago. So you can imagine my joy at the surge in vegan cheese brands bringing dairy-free cheese to the shelves of every supermarket in America. That's right, creamy, rich, deliciousness can now be enjoyed by all - no cow needed.
So buckle up for the next wave of healthier, ethical, eco and, dare I say it... tastier cheese!
So, what is vegan cheese made from?
Vegan cheese is typically made from a variety of plant-based ingredients that mimic the texture and flavor of traditional dairy cheese. Some of the most common ingredients used in vegan cheese include:
- Nuts (Cashews, Almonds etc)
- Coconut oil
- Nutritional yeast
Nuts such as cashews and almonds are popular choices for making vegan cheese due to their creamy texture and mild flavor. They can be soaked, blended, and seasoned to create a variety of different cheese flavors and textures.
Soybeans are another popular ingredient in vegan cheese. They are often used to create tofu-based cheese products that have a smooth and creamy texture.
Coconut oil is a key ingredient in many vegan cheese recipes, as it helps to create a rich and creamy texture. It can be combined with other ingredients such as nuts, soybeans, or nutritional yeast to create a variety of different flavors and textures.
Nutritional yeast is a staple ingredient in many vegan cheese recipes, as it adds a cheesy, umami flavor to the cheese. It is a deactivated yeast that is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, and can be used to make a variety of different cheese flavors.
Other ingredients that may be used in vegan cheese include tapioca starch, agar agar, and carrageenan, which are used as thickening agents to help create the desired texture and consistency.
8 Best Vegan Cheese Brands
1. Miyoko's Creamery
- Best product: Vegan Pizza Mozzarella
- Supermarkets that stock: Target, Whole Foods, Walmart
- View online
Miyoko's cheese has brought plant-based artisan cheese to the front lines of supermarkets across America. While we're big fans of Miyoko's standard mozzarella wheel, cream cheese and other cheeses - it's their Vegan Pizza Mozzarella that makes Miyokos our top vegan cheese choice. The liquid motz actually melts and browns taking the plant-based pizza game up a whole other notch. Since finding this cheese. there's simply no going back for us.
2. Chao (Field Roast)
- Best product: Cheese slices
- Where to find: Target, Costco
- View online
As someone who has tried many different types of vegan cheese, I can confidently say that Chao cheese is one of my absolute favorites. This cheese alternative, made by Field Roast, is unique in that it is made from fermented tofu and coconut oil. The combination of these two ingredients results in a creamy and salty cheese alternative that reminds me of dairy cheese. I've also taste-tested non-vegan friends who haven't been able to taste the difference.
3. Follow Your Heart
- Best product: Dairy-free Smoked Gouda slices
- Where to find: Walmart
- View online
Follow Your Heart vegan cheese is one of my go-to choices for a delicious and satisfying cheese alternative. What I love about Follow Your Heart is the variety of flavors they offer, from provolone to gouda to pepperjack. Their vegan parmesan is also a favorite of mine, perfect for adding to pasta dishes. Follow Your Heart cheese melts okay, has a good texture, and is flavorful enough to satisfy my cheese cravings. Overall, I highly recommend Follow Your Heart vegan cheese to anyone looking for a tasty and versatile cheese alternative.
- Best product: Feta block
- Where to find: Whole Foods
- View online
Violife is one of my favorite vegan cheese brands. They offer a wide variety of flavors, from mozzarella to cheddar, all of which are delicious and flavorful. What I particularly love about Violife is their feta block, which is an excellent alternative to traditional feta cheese. The texture and flavor are spot-on, and it works well in Greek salads, sandwiches, and wraps. The feta block is also versatile enough to use in cooked dishes like pasta or stuffed peppers. Overall, if you're looking for a delicious and satisfying vegan cheese alternative, I highly recommend giving Violife a try, especially their feta block.
5. Earth Grown
- Best product: Vegan Mozzarella shreds
- Where to find: Aldi
- View online
Earth Grown vegan cheese is a great option for those looking for an affordable and tasty cheese alternative. An Aldi-exclusive product, Earth Grown offers a range of vegan cheese options, including mozzarella shreds. Their mozzarella shreds are particularly noteworthy, as they have a great texture and melt well in recipes like pizza and lasagna. While the flavor may not be as bold as some other vegan cheese brands, Earth Grown cheese is a solid choice for those on a budget or who are new to vegan cheese.
- Best for: Italian 4 cheese blend shreds
- Where to find: Target, Walmart
- View online
In all honesty, Daiya isn't one of our go-to vegan cheese brands. However, Daiya is undoubtedly one of the biggest plant-based cheese brands in the US, so they are doing something right. We haven't had the chance to try all of their cheese selections, but there's a good variety of shredded and sliced cheeses which we're aiming to try soon.
7. So Delicious
- Best product: Mexican-style shreds
- Where to find: Target
- View online
So Delicious vegan cheese is a solid option for those who are looking for a dairy-free cheese alternative. While it may not be the best vegan cheese brand in my opinion, it's still a good choice. So Delicious offers a range of flavors, from cheddar to mozzarella, and their cheese alternatives melt well and have a decent texture. However, the flavor can sometimes be a bit lackluster compared to other vegan cheese brands. Overall, I would recommend So Delicious as a decent option for those who want a vegan cheese alternative, but it may not be the best choice for everyone.
8. Good PlaneT
- Best for: Smoked provolone slices
- Where to find: Sprouts, Wegmans
- View online
While I haven't personally tried Good Planet vegan cheese, I've heard good things about this brand from other people. Good Planet offers a range of cheese alternatives, including smoked provolone slices that have received rave reviews. According to others, the flavor and texture of Good Planet cheese are both impressive, making it a great option for those who are looking for a dairy-free cheese alternative. While I can't speak from personal experience, I would recommend giving Good Planet a try based on the positive feedback I've heard.
6 Best Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Brands
1. Boursin Original Cream Cheese
Boursin vegan cream cheese is a game-changer for anyone who loves cream cheese but wants a dairy-free option. It has a creamy and spreadable texture that's perfect for bagels, crackers, or even as a dip. The flavor is rich and tangy, with just the right amount of herbs and spices to give it a delicious taste.
What I love about Boursin vegan cream cheese is that it's versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes. Whether you're vegan or not, this cheese alternative is definitely worth trying for its great taste and texture.
2. Treeline Cream Cheese
Treeline vegan cream cheese is a delicious and versatile dairy-free alternative. Its texture is smooth and creamy, and the flavor is rich and tangy, making it a great option for spreading on bagels, crackers, or using in recipes.
Treeline offers a range of flavors, including plain, scallion, and herb-garlic, all of which have received positive reviews from consumers. What I appreciate about Treeline vegan cream cheese is that it's made with simple, whole-food ingredients, without any artificial additives or preservatives. Overall, if you're looking for a tasty and healthy cream cheese alternative, Treeline is definitely worth a try.
3. Kite Hill Cream Cheese
Kite Hill vegan cream cheese is a top-notch dairy-free alternative that has been impressing vegans and non-vegans alike. Its texture is creamy and smooth, and the flavor is tangy and rich, just like traditional cream cheese.
Kite Hill offers a range of flavors, including Garden Veggie, Everything, Strawberry and plain, all of which have been well-received by consumers. What sets Kite Hill apart is that it's made with simple, wholesome ingredients like almonds and cultures, without any artificial additives or preservatives.
4. Daiya Cream Cheese
Daiya vegan cream cheese is a decent option for those who are looking for a dairy-free alternative. Its texture is smooth and creamy, and the flavor is tangy and rich, making it a good choice for spreading on bagels or using in recipes. Daiya offers a range of flavors, including plain, strawberry, and chive & onion, all of which have been well-received by some consumers. However, the taste can be a bit artificial and lacking in depth compared to other vegan cream cheese brands.
What I love about Nurishh vegan cream cheese is that it's made with basic, wholesome ingredients like cashews, coconut oil, and nutritional yeast, without any artificial additives or preservatives. Nurishh offers a range of flavors, including classic, chive & onion, and garlic & herb, all of which are delicious.
Tofutti vegan cream cheese is a classic option that has been around for years. Some people have stated the cream cheese to be a little lacking, but overall, I enjoy the taste and purchase Tofutti from time to time.
Is vegan cheese healthier than dairy cheese?
Yes, vegan cheese beats out dairy when it comes to being healthier. Dairy was long been associated with significant health risks like heart disease, diabetes, and breast and prostate cancer. It also has significant links to acne and weight gain due to the hormones - after all, it is cow milk intended to grow a baby calf into a big cow.
Due to this, vegan cheese is a better-for-you alternative to traditional dairy cheese for several reasons. First and foremost, vegan cheese is made from plant-based ingredients that are naturally lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than dairy cheese. Saturated fat is a type of fat that is found in high amounts in animal-based products like cheese, and is known to contribute to heart disease and other health issues.
Moreover, vegan cheese is also free from the hormones, antibiotics, and other additives that are often found in traditional dairy cheese. These additives may have negative effects on human health and the environment.