Cheese, glorious cheese. You can melt it, spread it, slather it, shred it—the possibilities are endless.
Although it adds depth and flavor to nearly any dish you put it on, cheese comes with quite a few downsides. From environmental to health impacts, there are plenty of reasons why people opt to go dairy-free.
Just because you nix the dairy does not mean your life will become dry and bland. Alas, there is a world of vegan cheeses and spreads out there, just waiting for you to open the gates to this dairy free heaven. Wondering where to start? Here are the very best vegan cheese brands we’ve found.
Why Should You Make the Switch to Vegan Cheese?
One of the most common complaints you’ll hear from someone considering giving up dairy is, “I could never give up cheese!” While they may have a point, with the growing popularity of dairy-free cheese, it is now easier than ever to make the switch.
Why might someone want to give up dairy?
As delicious as it is, dairy cheese is not the healthiest choice, and consuming it can come with health risks.
An estimated 75% percent of adults globally are lactose intolerant to some degree. This means that as humans age, they lose their ability to break down lactose, the main carbohydrate in dairy. Some telltale signs of lactose intolerance are indigestion, gas, constipation, irregular bowel movements, and bloating.
Dairy is high in sodium, cholesterol, saturated fat, and may even stimulate the release of insulin. This overstimulation of insulin may increase the risk of acne, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Not only can consuming dairy be harmful to the human body, but it’s also harmful to the cows making it. Consuming animal products often comes down to an ethical issue, and asks you to weigh the consequences of your actions. Even if you opt for “cruelty-free”, this still doesn’t guarantee the ethical treatment of any animals involved.
The Humane Society of the United States describes the life of the over nine million dairy cows that are in the U.S. dairy herd. These cows are subjected to repeated impregnation, restricted movement, shoddy housing, and poor nutrition. Their poor conditions result in physical disorders and health issues until they are eventually subjected to slaughtering. All in the name of cheese.
Non-dairy cheese allows you to enjoy all your favorite deliciously creamy and tangy meals—without the guilt and cruelty.
The 10 Best Vegan Cheese Brands
Wondering which dairy free cheese to turn to? Look no further.
While each brand on this list has its particular virtues, Miyoko’s is the best tasting vegan cheese around. Based in Northern California, Miyoko’s uses organic, non-GMO ingredients, along with processes like aging and fermentation to create a well-rounded line of dairy-free products.
Their best selling products include cashew-based artisan cheese wheels, farmhouse cheddar and pepper jack, vegan cream cheese, and even mozzarella. They also make vegan cultured butter that can be used for everything from baking to spreading on vegan thin wheat crackers! Try it for yourself by scooping it up at Whole Foods or your local health foods store.
Pioneering the dairy-free scene since the early 80s, Tofutti is a family favorite known for its snack-size ice cream sandwiches. Of course, that’s not all they’re known for.
Tofutti’s soy-based line also offers American and mozzarella cheese slices, different flavors of cream cheese, sour cream, and even ricotta! This reliable brand can be found in most supermarkets and health food stores.
This Greece based company has been crafting non-GMO cheese alternatives since the 90s, and can be found in stores in more than fifty countries!
Violife products are free of gluten, nuts, soy, and preservatives, so they’re an awesome option for those with allergies. Their selection of plant-based cheese includes smoked and mature cheddar blocks, different flavors of shredded and sliced cheese, spreadable cream cheeses, and even parmesan and feta.
Treeline makes their cashew-based vegan cheeses with the planet in mind. With a focus on sustainability, their pesticide-free cashews are sourced from Brazil, making the perfect base for creamy and delicious cheese alternatives.
These delectable cashew spreads come in all sorts of flavors of cream cheese, soft French-style cheese, and aged artisanal cheese. Treeline tree nut cheese is the perfect addition to a vegan organic tomato soup and a charcuterie board, complete with homemade bread.
This cult classic can be found in nearly every supermarket and plenty of local restaurants as a viable vegan option. Based in British Columbia, Daiya has been bringing dairy, gluten, and soy-free ‘cheeze’ options to the masses since 2008. Daiya has a commitment to the planet and to taste, which has led them to create an extensive range of vegan options.
Daiya has a variety of flavors in shred and slices, including smoked gouda, mozzarella, American, Swiss, cheddar, pepper jack, and provolone. It doesn’t stop there. They also offer cream cheese, cheese sauce, cheese blocks, cheese sticks, and frozen foods from pizza to burritos and desserts.
6. Follow Your Heart
Starting in the 1970s as a soup and sandwich shop in Southern California, Follow Your Heart is known for its innovative vegan products like Vegenaise, VeganEgg, salad dressings, and of course—cheese.
Follow Your Heart is dedicated to reducing their impact on the planet, and increasing sustainability with an entire department dedicated to the cause. In addition to cream cheese and sour cream, they also carry all different flavored shreds and slices from pepper jack to garden herb, as well as feta and parmesan. They can be found in many health food stores, as well as online.
7. Kite Hill
California-based Kite Hill has been pioneering the plant-based space since 2008. Their focus on sustainability and innovation merges food technology with classic processes like culturing and enzymes.
These almond-based products are made without GMOs, soy, or dairy. Amongst their extensive line of vegan offerings, they have cream cheese and ricotta, as well as ravioli stuffed with vegan cheese!
Kite Hill can be found at Whole Foods, Target, Sprouts, and plenty of other health food stores.
8. Trader Joe’s
Not to be overlooked, this U.S. based grocery chain offers affordable options for dairy-free on a budget. Trader Joe’s prides itself on offering quality, flavorful products, without the name brand price tag.
You can find their shelves stocked with plenty of vegan options, including cheese alternatives. Some of our favorites include mozzarella style shreds, perfect for a sandwich or pasta dish, cream cheese, and cheddar style slices.
9. Go Veggie
Go Veggie is crafted by devoted cheese lovers for a reliable cheesy flavor, without the guilt and upset stomach. They pride themselves on creating cheese alternatives that are packed with more nutrients like calcium and protein than the other leading alternative cheese brands.
While all their products are free of lactose, only some of them are totally vegan. Have no fear: these vegan options include cheddar shreds, cream cheese, dips, and parmesan. Go Veggie is carried at many grocery stores and health food stores.
10. Field Roast
Known for their flavorful lip-smacking vegan sausages, Field Roast has also broken into the land of vegan cheese with their Chao line. Based in Seattle, they aim to highlight culinary roots and classic flavors, with a vegan twist.
Their Chao Creamery line of vegan cheeses uses ingredients like nutritional yeast and soy for reliably creamy dairy-free deliciousness. They offer blocks, shreds, and slices in flavors like tomato cayenne and garden herb, and even their answer to mac and cheese—mac n’ chao!
Get Cookin’ with Vegan Cheese
Nowadays, it’s not hard to find creamy, cheesy options that spare pain and suffering of animals and people alike. Using healthful and nourishing ingredients like soy, plant oils, and nuts, vegan cheese has everything traditional cheese has to offer—without the drama.
Ready to dive into the world of vegan cheese? Bon appetit!
Download Our Free Guide to Sustainable Living.
From reducing waste to recycling and upcycling, our e-book shows simple ways to make choices you can feel good about.