One of the privileges of switching to a vegan diet is the creativity it brings to your food. Vegan versions of popular dishes are almost always safe to share, they're conversation-starters, and sometimes incredibly easy to make, as with no-bake recipes. Even more valuable, by trading out real cheese for vegan options, you know for sure you're not contributing to cruel farming practices, which is a boon to your peace of mind and to the environment. There are more and more options available each day to meet the demand for vegan cheese, so what are the best vegan cheese brands available right now? Here is our comprehensive list.
What's In Vegan Cheese?
Most people believe that cheese by definition must be a dairy product. If cheeses exist that are made without cow's or goat's milk, then what are they made of? Vegan cheeses can be made using:
- Soy protein (found in rubbery, slick, shiny styles of cheese)
- Solidified vegetable oil (like safflower, palm, or coconut oil)
- Vegetable glycerin
- Nuts (like almonds, macadamias, and cashews)
- Nutritional yeast
- Tapioca flour
- Pea protein
- Various bacterial cultures and natural enzymes
Keep in mind that some brands may be highly processed to get the most realistic texture, sometimes undergoing as much processing as dairy cheese slices or the average veggie burger. Check the ingredients list for additives you don't want before purchasing, but otherwise let your taste buds be your guide.
From hard cheeses, to soft cheeses, to spreadables, vegan cheese is a real thing, and you can put the following 10 brands to the taste test to find your favorite.
The Top 10 Best Vegan Cheese Brands
In no particular order, here are some of the best vegan cheese brands available to you.
1. Daiya Foods
Pronounced "day-ah," this brand is soy free (made from tapioca) and has the melty, stretchy consistency of traditional dairy cheese. They started out with dairy-free shreds and have since gone on to offer a wide array of creamy, rich vegan products, including their Classic Blend Shreds—Cheddar, Pepperjack, and Mozzarella—plus Daiya Slices in Swiss, Cheddar, and Provolone. They also have Diya Blocks in Gouda, Cheddar, Jack, and Jalapeño Havarti, not to mention vegan cream cheese options in Plain, Chive & Onion, and Strawberry.
Their shreds are perfect for making nachos, their blocks perfect for hors d'oeuvres, and they also have six different vegan pizza flavors, four selections of cheesecake, and three versions of cheesy mac.
Author of Artisan Vegan Cheese, Miyoko Schinner operates Miyoko's Kitchen, which carries a selection of plant-based vegan artisan cheeses, from pungent, to hard, to creamy varieties. Made with organic ingredients, options include Classic Double Cream Chive, Fresh Buffalo Style Mozzarella, Aged English Sharp Farmhouse, Double Cream Sundried Tomato Garlic, French Style Winter Truffle, and Double Cream Garlic Herb. Treat yourself with specialty vegan cheeses from Miyoko's Creamery and Kitchen.
3. Field Roast
Field Roast has many artisanal plant-based foods, including cheeses. From slices perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches to flavored options like Coconut Herb and Tomato Cayenne, their products are made with coconut oil and traditional fermented soybean curd, called "chao" in Vietnamese. These Chao Slices are non-GMO products made in collaboration with a Taiwanese family and a Greek cheesemaker, and can be eaten straight from the package.
Treeline makes Treenut Cheeses, aka cashew cheese. By using finely crushed cashew nuts that are aged and cultured, they provide creamy, tangy flavors like Green Peppercorn, Herb-Garlic, Cracked Peppercorn, the spreadable Soft French-Style Nut Cheese, Chipotle-Serrano Pepper Cheese, and Scallion. Treeline cheeses are perfect for a cheese plate, on bagels or crackers, or crumbled up into a salad.
Tofutti's dairy-free cheeses come in slices of Mozzarella and American cheese flavors made from non-GMO sources. They also have a "Better Than" line of non-dairy versions of guacamole, sour cream, Italian ricotta, and cream cheese (with flavors like French Onion, Herbs & Chives, and Garlic & Herb). Easier to find than some of the more specialty options in your local grocery store, Tofutti is a brand you may try early and always keep coming back to as you enjoy a vegan lifestyle.
5. Kite Hill
This is one of the best spreadable options on the list, as Kite Hill's Soft Fresh Original and Soft Fresh Truffle Dill & Chive flavors are velvety cream cheese options. Artisanally made from fresh almond milk, Kite Hill's aged Soft Ripened style is infused with the same aroma and rind as traditional cheeses. They've got fluffy ricotta too, and even use it to make vegan ravioli entrées with handmade dough and sautéed flavors of spinach and mushroom.
These handmade vegan cheeses out of Eugene, Oregon feature innovative flavors and probiotic cultures. Vtopian's list of 15 artisan cheeses include Spicy White Cheddar, Reserve Sharp Cheddar, Aged White Cheddar, Mediterranean Feta, Chive and Dill, Macadamia and Cashew Camembert, Creamy Basil Borealis, Mapled Seitan Cheese Ball, Dark Chocolate Strawberry Brie, and Cranberry Brie. An impressive inclusion on any cheese platter, these specialty cheeses bring an extra dimension to whatever bagel, sandwich, bread, or cracker they're layered on.
7. Heidi Ho!
In partnership with Whole Foods Market, this plant-based food company out of Portland produces a variety of cheeses free of unnecessary fillers or additives. They make Smoky Chia Cheeze (perfect for pizza), Creamy Chia Cheeze (ideal for pouring over macaroni or veggies), Fettuccine Alfredo, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Spicy Chia Cheeze (with a four pepper blend excellent for enchiladas and nachos), and Ne Chevre Pure, a live-culture cashew cheese that tastes just like goat cheese, and even comes with a layer of black lava salt and crushed hazelnuts for embedded flavor.
8. Go Veggie!
Another vegan brand easily found, Go Veggie! has classic stretchy and melty versions of American, Pepper Jack, Mozzarella, and Cheddar cheese for your grill or panini press, plus shredded versions of Mozzarella and Mexican cheese. Their line of cream cheese comes in Chive and Garlic, Strawberry, and Plain flavors, and they even have a vegan Grated Parmesan that tops off your spaghetti the way it deserves to be crowned.
With all the grated, cream, and sliced cheeses you'd expect, Violife also has a Feta Block and a Parmesan Wedge to fill all your cheesy needs. Made with coconut oil, rice flour, and potato starches, you can get Chili Pepper Cream Cheese and Smoked Provolone, the perfect vegan cheese alternative for your homemade calzone.
Maybe the best one to end on: Follow Your Heart...straight to a vegan lifestyle commitment! This company, well-known for its Veganaise product, also has non-dairy cheeses like gourmet Nacho and Cheddar blocks, and Mozzarella and Fiesta Blend shreds. Slices include American cheese flavor, Provolone, and a Garden Herb option that you can layer into your favorite sandwich or eat right out of the package as a quick snack. They also have a vegan Parmesan you can sprinkle over a tasty salad or lasagna.
Cheesy Vegan Food
Many of these vegan cheese varieties are found in higher end grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, which understand their clientele includes those looking for sustainable, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan food options. The more aware the population becomes about human dietary health and the health of the planet, the more options there are for vegan versions of classic foods, including tasty vegan cheeses.