Choosing the best vegan cheese is difficult these days with so many great dairy-free cheeses now available.
It’s not all that long ago that if you said you were in the market for vegan cheeses, people might have looked at you funny.
Recently, the game has completely changed. All hail vegan cheeses!
You have so many awesome options for vegan cheese that nearly every small grocery store has at least one kind and a supermarket will have a dozen or more.
“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth.”
Joseph Poore, University of Oxford, UK; 2018
So, with that in mind we’ve put together a list of the best vegan cheeses of the year.
What is the Best Dairy Free Cheese?
Daiya Foods | A Serious Vegan Cheese Brand
In the late 2000s, Daiya Foods set their sights on tackling the challenge of producing vegan cheese.
They wanted to develop a product that tasted like cheese but was better for your health, for animals and for the planet as a whole.
Now, they’ve had a few bumps in the road on their journey but in 20212 – they can offer up to 30 vegan dairy products that actually resemble dairy products. They're one of our favorite vegan cheese brands too!
Some of our favorites include the Zesty Cheddar Style Deluxe Cheeze Sauce which is one of the best accompaniments to a bowl of nachos that we’ve ever had. These non-dairy cheeses all have a really cheesy flavor
These vegan deluxe cheese sauces are the exquisite answer to the age-old question: Which vegan cheese melts the best? They all have such a creamy texture! They work so much better than shredded cheese does!
We’re also fans of the Cheddar Style Deluxe Cheez Sticks which are perfect for slipping into your purse and then wolfing down whenever a hunger pang hits you. Yummy!
We’ve also been impressed by the Daiya Cutting Board Collection shreds. This veganic cheese behaves very much like the real thing and the texture is excellent. It's ideal with vegan meats, a veggie burger, on a homemade pizza or slathered in a sandwich with vegan mayo! Cheddar shreds ftw!
It can be melted onto a vegan homemade pizza or added to delicious vegan lasagna to give it that real stretchy cheese feel.
They come in Mozzarella, Pepperjack and Cheddar flavors and are completely soy and dairy free.
This is achieved by blending potato proteins with coconut oil and tapioca starch. They’re remarkably low in fat and offer a super source of dietary calcium.
Daiya Foods was one of the leading members of the Plant Based Food Association.
Which, as the name suggests, is a top industry body designed to promote plant-based eating.
In addition to cheese products, Daiya Foods is all about the taste and you can find their pizzas and dessert bars in any major store.
In fact, they’re available at over 25,000 outlets in the United States. So every cheese-loving vegan can enjoy the best vegan cheese options and avoid dairy cheese with ease now!
If you've got kids then you'll be happy to note that the children we've prepared a grilled cheese for and we've found that they could not tell the difference.
The daughter of Whole People's Director of Social Media declared “It tastes like the real thing!” Certainly, it's much better than the limited option of nutritional yeast which was the only cheese we vegans had only a few years ago.
Chao (Field Roast) | GMO Free Plant-Based Dairy Products
The Chao brand is brought to you by Field Roast which is best-known for developing plant-based meat substitutes. Their sausages are very popular, for example.
Chao is currently limited to just three flavors of cheese but they are designed to truly emulate sliced cheeses of a dairy nature. They're all superb and we think Chao is one of those vegan cheese brands to watch in the future.
They will shred, melt and peel without any problems at all and that’s a really good thing if you love to cook with vegan cheese.
The base of their cheese is tofu. They offer three flavors: Garden Herb, Tomato Cayenne and Creamy Original.
The Creamy Original is a decent generic vegan cheese which can be used in almost any circumstances.
As you’d expect the Tomato Cayenne has a bit of fire in the pack.
The garden herb is almost like a French herb cheese.
They also make a Mac’n’Cheese which can be picked up in their standard creamy version but also has a chili variant.
At the time that we go to press – the Chao Creamy Original Slices are said to be the best selling plant-based cheese slices in America.
You can find them in almost any major grocery store or online.
New Roots | Swiss Expertise Takes On The World
Yes, New Roots, was founded in Switzerland back in 2015.
They wanted to make an ethical alternative to cheese but with a difference – they wanted it to taste better than the real thing. We love vegan cheese brands with real ambition.
After all, how do you win people over to plant-based alternatives unless they’re delicious?
They use a very traditional process to make their cheese. They just don’t use any animal products as they ferment the non-dairy cheese.
So, how do they do it? They use an organic cashew milk which is a solid substitute for dairy milk. It makes a great cream cheese and even works in a grilled cheese sandwich!
It has plenty of protein, fats (but healthy ones) and vitamins. Then they add a vegan probiotic to kick start the fermentation process and some salt (Himalayan, of course) and that’s it.
Despite this very simple approach, they offer a decent range of finished products including a vegan ricotta and a vegan cheese camembert!
They’ve won a lot of awards for their vegan cheeses including one from PETA!
It’s hard to find New Roots’ cheese in America though it’s easily available throughout the European Union. You might be able to order some online.
Tofutti | New Jersey’s Dairy-Free Dream
The folks at Tofutti started out in the ice cream business and, in particular, making plant-based ice creams.
As you might expect that gave them some real insight into the process of making vegan substitutes for dairy products and cheese was a natural next step.
We really like their “Better Than Cream Cheese” which comes in four different flavors: Whipped, Original, Garlic and Herb, and Herb and Chives. This really is as good as cream cheese and it's 100% vegan cheese!
If you’ve been missing your Philadelphia hit in dairy-free cheese then this is going to make you very happy, indeed. This vegan cream cheese-style vegan cheese is to die for!
Grab a bagel and then slather some on or you know, make sandwiches with it, or use it as the foundational ingredient for the most awesome vegan cheesecake that you’ve ever made.
If that’s not enough for you they also make cheese slices in mozzarella (great for a grilled cheese) and American varieties and if you want something a little extra they also do a very credible ricotta.
I'm not convinced these products will replace my beloved aged cheddar but I fully endorse these vegan cheese brands and the products
You can find Tofutti products in most upmarket health food stores and supermarkets.
Kinda Co | The Cheese Addict’s Cheese Company
Ellie Brown the founder of Kinda Co has been a life-long lover of real cheese but she was sure that her decision to go vegan would bring that love to an end.
In fact, she decided that she was going to make sure that she never had to miss out on the taste of cheese, and she started a vegan cheese company.
Her cheeses are not specifically modeled on dairy cheeses, but you can certainly get a taste of familiar flavors from some of them. They use ingredients like fermented tofu which is great in non-dairy cheeses as it gives a very “cheese-like texture”.
Many people say that her Farmhouse Cheese is just like a mature crumbly cheddar cheese, for example. Artisanal vegan cheese like this are playing a really important part in the dairy-free cheese game.
They must be doing something right because the UK’s Dragon’s Den (similar to the US-based show Shark Tank) invested £25,000 in this business and another £10,000 was made available to them for branding. Obviously, fermented tofu gets others excited too!
This is the kind of product that gives you ammunition when someone asks cynically, “Is vegan cheese actually good?”
Kinda Co products (though one of the best vegan cheese brands) are hard to find in the US but if you’re passing through the UK they’re available from Planet Organic and you can buy them from their online store too. We always want to own vegan cheese like this.
Bute Island Foods | 30 Years Of Non-Dairy Cheese
Bute Island Foods must be one of the world’s first producers of vegan cheese as they launched “Sheese” back in 1988. That was a soy-based product designed to emulate the classic cheddar.
In 1994, the company completely transitioned to a vegan focus and abandoned any animal-based products from their range.
They have, however, moved on from a completely handcrafted process to a slightly larger production facility in recent years.
They offer vegan alternatives to a wide-range of dairy cheeses including Edam, and Red Leicester.
They also do grated cheese, sliced cheese, wedges of cheese and cream cheese all in vegan variants.
They export their products on a global basis and while you might have to hunt around for them – they’re definitely available somewhere near you.
Interestingly, one big user of their cheese is Papa John’s Pizza in the UK who use it for all of their vegan pizzas!
Treeline Cheese | Making Artisanal Cheese Accessible To Vegans
The folks at Treeline pride themselves on taking the humble cashew nut and raising it to the level of the finest cheeses in the world.
They ferment the Brazilian nuts, flavor them and produce something incredible.
They are based out of Hudson Valley and they try to employ classic cheese making processes to try and recreate the taste of the best of European cheese.
Yet, they don’t add any gum, there’s no oils or fillers or preservatives, either.
Their certified vegan cheeses are also certified to be Kosher Parve and have no gluten, soy or GMO ingredients too. In short, no matter what your diet plan is – you’re probably OK with Treeline Cheeses.
They have seven different styles on their tasting board at the moment.
The Premium New York Style Cashew Cream Cheese is a big hit in our house, and it spreads perfectly while retaining that gentle tang that you want from a cream cheese.
We’ve been impressed by the French-style soft cheeses that they do too which include a Sea Salt and Pepper, a Herb-Garlic (very traditional, indeed), a Scallion and a Chipotle-Serrano option.
We think the Classic Cheese and Cracker Pepper artisanal range is very good too and we’d like to see a few more options coming soon.
When you buy products from Treeline, you’re also supporting a range of good causes.
You can find their cheese in more than 3,000 retail locations in the United States. There’s some near you. We promise.
Miyoko’s Creamery | An Indisputable Vegan Pedigree
Miyoko Schinner is one of the vegan world’s big stars. She's the self-proclaimed “Queen of Vegan Cheese.”
Once she’d introduced the world to vegan cooking through her cookbook range, it seemed only natural for her to start a food business and what better thing to bring to the world than delicious artisan cheese?
Well, we can’t think of anything and neither could Miyoko.
Her range boasts an impressive 19 different dairy but not-dairy products and includes Mozz (a mozzarella substitute), cheddar spread, artisan cheeses (using a blend of cashew and coconut) and, of course, a solid cream cheese.
The artisan vegan cheese wheels are definitely the big stars of Miyoko’s show.
They look so good that you’ll be a bit hesitant to eat them because then you won’t be able to look at them anymore.
We’ve found that Miyoko cheeses can be used in nearly every recipe requiring a cheese and that they deliver superb results every time.
The Double Cream Chive Wheel is unique in that it won the non-dairy cheese Delicious Living Best Bites of 2019 and it also won the diary category because they felt it was the best thing that they’d tasted that year!
We’re big fans of the other cheese wheels too which include Black Ash, Winter Truffle, Sun-Dried Tomato and Fresh Loire Valley. They all work well just sliced and served on crackers.
As you’d expect from a brand from Miyoko – there are no GMO ingredients and everything is not just vegan but also organic.
They don’t use soy or gluten and you’ll be pleased to learn that it’s all cholesterol-free too.
Miyoko’s cheeses have one of the deepest levels of market penetration for vegan cheese in the United States and more than 12,000 retailers carry her products – including all the big name brand supermarkets.
Violife | One Of The Big Players In Vegan Cheese
Violife is all about the Greek influences and that background led to the creation of the Greek White Block which was the company’s first dairy-free cheese.
It’s absolutely delicious and if you’ve been missing Feta since you went vegan – this is the way to go.
Their products are very cheese-like indeed and you can get the melt, the stretch, the taste of cheese from Violife without compromising your vegan principles.
We find that it looks like cheese too which can make it easier to transition to for younger family members than some of the other alternative options which aren’t quite as aesthetically similar.
The original flavor is also good, and their Mediterranean Block Cheese is absolutely excellent.
Violife was the first company to advertise vegan cheese on television which gives you a strong idea of how successful the company has been.
However, as they’re based in the UK – it’s very easy to find their products there but a bit more of a challenge in the USA.
Don’t fear though, Whole Foods and Publix have got you covered – they stick Violife with pride.
Kite Hill | The Silicon Valley Outsider?
Food and technology go together hand-in-hand and where better to facilitate the technological side of cheese making than Silicon Valley?
Headed up by celebrity chef Tal Ronnen and with the help of Dr Pat Brown (biochemist from Stanford) and French cheesemakers Monte Casino – Kite Hill has one objective.
To make vegan cheese that tastes good.
Their products are made from almond milk that is then cultured using traditional cheese making techniques.
This separates Kite Hill from many of their competitors.
They are entirely nut and soybean free. The cultures they use are all plant-based microbes too and not the cultures commonly used to make dairy cheeses.
The packaging on Kate Hill products is really attractive and guaranteed to catch your eye.
Sadly, this isn’t the cheapest of cheese – so make sure you have a full wallet before you commit.
We were a bit disappointed to find that their cheese is calcium-free but it has some protein and the fats are no trans or saturated fat.
We really like this cheese for snacking on with crackers and we’re excited to see much more come our way soon. It could be a bit more salty but that's personal preference.
We think Kite Hill is likely the future of vegan cheese and that future is bright, indeed.
So, What is the Best Brand of Vegan Cheese?
Shopping for vegan cheese in 2021 is a great experience and there are 14 great brands above to choose from and more vegan cheese brands emerging every day. Of course, if you fancy going old school, you can also check out the best nutritional yeast brands which are a great cheese substitute in their own right.
And once, you've had your main courses, then you can always check out the best vegan ice creams for dessert!