For many people, a life without cheese is unimaginable.
There’s a general consensus among foodies that veganism is too intimidating because they “can’t live without cheese.”
Some have even gone as far as comparing cheese to crack.
The truth is that vegans still indulge in all the cheesy goodness that we’re all shamelessly addicted to.
How so? Vegan cheese.
There’s just one largely important thing to remember about vegan cheese: Some will blow your mind, but others can turn you off of non-dairy cheese forever.
To experience vegan cheese the right way, stick to these tried and true brands and recipes.
Vegan Cheese Brands You Can Get in Stores
No matter where you live, you should be able to find at least one of these vegan cheese brands that are actually worth trying.
Vegan Cheese Shreds
As cheesy as it sounds, the sky’s the limit with shredded cheese. You can put it on tacos, burritos, enchiladas, pizza, mac n’ cheese, vegan eggs, etc. Here are the ones that can actually replace shredded cheese forever.
Best: Follow Your Heart Shreds
Follow Your Heart is one of the top vegan cheese brands. The shreds come in a wide variety of flavors: mozzarella, cheddar, fiesta blend, and pizza blend. The base is palm oil, so these shreds are perfect when you want a gooey quesadilla or greasy pizza. Find them here.
So Delicious Dairy Free Shreds
I have to give a shout out specifically to the So Delicious cheddar jack shreds. So Delicious vegan shreds also come in mozzarella and cheddar. They’re made with coconut milk, but you wouldn’t know it based on taste alone. Find them here.
Daiya Cutting Board Shreds
Daiya makes seven vegan cheese shreds in total, but only the three Cutting Board Shreds varieties (pepper jack, mozzarella, and cheddar styles) are worth your time. The ingredients are mainly vegetable oils and tapioca starch, so they’re easy to melt. Find them here.
Violife vegan cheeses are top-quality among all categories. They currently offer the two most common flavors in this category: mozzarella and cheddar. The core ingredients are coconut oil and various starches. Violife also puts a lot of effort into flavoring their cheeses, so both the texture and taste are spot on. Find them here.
Vegan Cheese Slices
There’s nothing more American than sliced cheese. If you’re a fellow grilled cheese lover, this is all you. Vegan cheese slices also go perfectly with a meaty Impossible Burger.
Best: Field Roast CHAO Slices
CHAO cheese melts perfectly on grilled cheeses and burgers, and they’re super convincing. The creamy original flavor is the most versatile—you can use this to substitute essentially any type of sliced cheese. These are made with tofu (though they don’t taste at all like the tofu you’re thinking of). Find them here.
Follow Your Heart Slices
Unlike the shreds, Follow Your Heart slices are made with coconut oil. Their slices are among the best and come in a wide variety of flavors. They have classic flavors like American and even Smoked Gouda, Provolone, and Pepper Jack. Find them here.
Tofutti Dairy-Free Cheese Slices
Tofutti is a brand that’s usually easy to find and affordable. The American slices are reminiscent of Kraft singles. They also have a mozzarella flavor. Like the name suggests, Tofutti cheese is made of tofu. Find them here.
Some cheese slices (vegan or not) are slimy and slippery, but Violife slices aren’t. They’re thick and hold up well on sandwiches. There’s a fair amount of flavors, too, ranging from mature cheddar to hot pepper. They’re all made with a base of coconut oil. Find them here.
Vegan Cream Cheeses
Cream cheese is all about the texture. Is it thick? Spreadable? Level-10 creamy? I’m impressed with these vegan cheeses because they meet my strict requirements for this category.
Best: Miyoko’s Vegan Cream Cheese
Miyoko’s specializes in creamy vegan products, so it’s no surprise their vegan cream cheese is the clear winner. It’s cashew-based, so it’s very spreadable and indulgent. It also has a gourmet feel to it. There are three flavors: classic, lox, and scallion. Find them here.
Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
Tofutti uses a blend of oils and tofu as the base of their four vegan cream cheeses: plain, herbs and chives, garlic and herb, and whipped. The plain isn’t savory at all, so it’s a great choice for making vegan desserts. I’ve actually made cannolis with it! Find them here.
Trader Joe’s Vegan Cream Cheese
If you want vegan cream cheese on a budget, go to Trader Joe’s. The texture is exactly what you’d expect, and the plain flavor is versatile. The base is coconut and soy. Find them here.
Violife Just Like Cream Cheese
Everything made by Violife is delicious, including their cream cheese. It comes in five flavors: original, herb, hot pepper, tzatziki (Greek), and tomato basil. They use a similar recipe for their other products. Find them here.
Gourmet Vegan Cheeses
I love a good vegan cheese board with all the fixins’ for aesthetic reasons, but it also has to taste amazing. When you want to impress friends and family, these are the spreadable vegan cheeses to wow them with.
Best: Treeline Creamy Soft Treenut Cheese
Treeline has a variety of soft vegan cheeses and aged nut cheeses. You guessed the main ingredient: cashews. Toss one of these bad boys onto a cutting board with some crackers and veggies, and your tastebuds will be blown away. Find them here.
Miyoko’s Cheese Wheel
Miyoko’s has 10 different vegan cheese wheels, and they’re each equally addicting. The texture is creamy, and the presentation is on-point. Like Treeline, these are also made with cashews. These slice like butter and make for a tasty spread. Find them here.
Kite Hill Cream Cheese Style Spread
Technically, this is a vegan cream cheese. But it belongs in the “gourmet” category because it’s rich and luxurious. It comes in four savory flavors and one sweet flavor: plain, chive, jalapeno, everything, and strawberry. The base of each one is almond milk with various added flavors. Find them here.
Vegan Mac N’ Cheese
We all grew up on it, so naturally we try to recreate it. Vegan mac n’ cheese exists, and it’s amazing. These boxed vegan mac n’ cheeses are comforting, salty, and cheesy.
Best: Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac
Daiya’s Deluxe Cheezy Mac is one of their stand-out products. In fact, I think it’s their best product overall. If you want a boxed vegan mac n’ cheese that will take you back to your childhood, this is it. The Cheezy Mac comes in both cheddar and alfredo. Find them here.
Chao Creamy Mac N’ Chao
This vegan mac n’ cheese is interesting because it’s found in the freezer section and can be microwaved, yet it has a gourmet flavor. The cheese is very thick and creamy, though it’s not trying to be cheddar. The two flavors are creamy original and chili mac. Find them here.
Amy’s Non-Dairy Macaroni
Another vegan mac n’ cheese you can find in the freezer is Amy’s. Just make sure to grab the vegan option, because Amy’s has non-vegan products, too. Their vegan mac n’ cheese is made with Daiya cheese. It’s a very cheesy and convenient grab-and-go option. Find them here.
Road’s End Dairy-Free Shells & Chreese
This vegan mac n’ cheese is made with simple ingredients, yet it gets consistently good reviews from people who try it. The cheesy flavor comes from nutritional yeast, a delicious plant-based protein source. The mac n’ cheese also has gluten-free and alfredo variations. Find them here.
Other Store Bought Vegan Cheeses
Vegan cheese has come a long way, but it still has a long way to go. There’s basically an endless supply of cheddar and mozzarella alternatives, but we’re still waiting on more flavors. Here are some of the other store bought vegan cheeses that don’t fall in the main categories.
Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- Follow Your Heart Grated Parmesan
- Go Veggie Vegan Parmesan Grated Topping
- Violife Just Like Parmesan Wedge
Vegan Ricotta Cheese
Vegan Cheese Blocks
Vegan Queso (aka Nacho Cheese)
Vegan Cheese Recipes You Can Make at Home
The beauty of making vegan cheese at home is that you can make cheeses that you can’t buy at the store. Homemade vegan cheese is usually healthier, too.
Vegan Mac N’ Cheese Recipe
This vegan mac n’ cheese recipe uses cashews as the base, and it’s flavored with nutritional yeast and spices. This is a great dish to bring to a potluck because non-vegans will love it. Bonus points if you bake it in the oven with breadcrumbs on top!
Vegan Blue Cheese Recipe
There aren’t many vegan blue cheeses on the market, so this is the perfect example of vegan cheese you can try to make at home. This vegan blue cheese recipe gets its color from spirulina and its creaminess from soaked cashews.
Vegan Brie Cheese Recipe
The creator of this vegan brie cheese recipe describes it perfectly: “Sharp, creamy with a white and flowery rind. Before going any further, be aware this is not a quick recipe, don’t expect to have a cheese ready tonight. The whole process will take you about three weeks. BUT: It is totally worth it!”
Vegan Parmesan Cheese Recipe
The easiest vegan cheese recipe award goes to Minimalist Baker. This vegan parmesan cheese recipe couldn’t be any simpler. It has four ingredients and can be used on top of salads, pizza, and pasta.
Which Vegan Cheese is Best?
The best vegan cheese really depends on what you’re trying to make with it. Here’s a quick breakdown of the best vegan cheese based on use.
Best Vegan Cheese for Pizza
For pizza, you should obviously go for mozzarella. The So Delicious Mozzarella Shreds would work perfectly. They melt nicely in the oven, and they have that classic mozzarella taste. Follow Your Heart also has a delicious Pizza Blend.
Best Vegan Cheese for Burgers
Best Vegan Cheese for Mac N’ Cheese
Vegan mac n’ cheese is really easy to make at home if you have vegan cheese shreds on hand. Just melt them on the stove top with some plant milk, vegan butter, and some spices. For mac n’ cheese, you can melt down any cheddar shreds or even slices. The Follow Your Heart Gourmet Cheddar shreds would do the job perfectly. You can even mix brands for a complex flavor.
Best Vegan Cheese for Mexican-Style Food
Hands down, the best vegan cheese for tacos, burritos, and enchiladas would be the So Delicious Cheddar Jack shreds. They would melt down nicely in a quesadilla, too.
Vegan Cheese FAQ
In which we answer everything you’ve ever wanted to know about vegan cheese.
What is vegan cheese made out of?
Store bought vegan cheese is typically made with vegetable oils, nuts, starch, and/or tofu. It’s common to see coconut oil or palm oil as the base of a store-bought vegan cheese. Softer vegan cheeses might use various nuts and/or tofu as the base.
Is vegan cheese healthy?
Vegan cheese isn’t trying to be a health food. The store-bought options are usually high in calories, fat, oil, and salt. Though they may be made with plants, vegan cheeses are still processed foods.
Is vegan cheese healthier than real cheese?
Probably. Real cheese is high in cholesterol and animal fat. Homemade vegan cheese is especially healthier than real cheese. If you follow some of the recipes above, you’ll see they call for mostly whole foods.
What is the healthiest non-dairy cheese?
The healthiest vegan cheese is probably one you make at home with minimal ingredients. Out of the store bought vegan cheeses, Treeline soft cheeses have some of the cleanest ingredients lists.
Final Thoughts: What’s the Best Vegan Cheese?
If you’ve ever had awful non-dairy cheese, don’t let one bad experience turn you away from vegan cheese forever. There are hundreds of options now, and you’re bound to like a few of them.
So, what’s the best vegan cheese for you? Your best bet is to find a brand you really like and stick to that brand until you’re ready to experiment some more. Follow Your Heart and Violife are some of the most universally liked vegan cheeses, and they both have multiple flavors and types to choose from.
When you’re introduced to the world of vegan cheese, you realize that you don’t have to live without dairy. You can still eat cheese at every meal if you’d like. Just eat cheese made from plants instead of animals. It’s a win-win.