I will be the first to claim it, I am a cheese addict, any way you slice it. Practically raised on brie and a classic baguette, the world of cultured milk is second nature to me. However, I also reside in the county of L.A. where health consciousness is never far from our minds—and I like any other oat-milk-drinking inhabitant of the city, strive for the best when it comes to what I eat.
At first, vegan cheese received a pretty bad rep for its rubbery textures, and inability to melt with grace — but it seems those days are far behind us. With the progression of the vegan industry, we now have entire aisles stocked with cashew cheese, tofu-based products, and coconut milk alternatives so no one feels left out of the pizza party.
What Is Vegan Cheese?
Vegan cheese is a category of non-dairy or plant-based cheeses and cheese analogues. The defining characteristic of vegan cheese is the exclusion of all animal products.
So I put my figurative detective cap on and did some digging to find 15 of the best vegan cheese brands that could fool an Italian. What I came up with was an abundant list from spreadable to soft cheeses and even toppings.
Read on for my 15 favorite vegan cheeses.
Spreadable Vegan Cheese
Famous for their vegan cheese, Kite Hill created a cream cheese style spread that you will not soon forget—but you may mistake it for the real thing. Made with plant-based ingredients it has that velvety smooth texture you can’t wait to get on a Mary’s cracker.
Tofutti's Better Than Ricotta
You never have to skip that tempting stack of lemon ricotta pancakes at brunch again with Tofutti’s Better Than Ricotta. Holding the title of first ever Ricotta alternative, this dairy-free, vegan cheese is the perfect creamy texture to swirl into your sweet or savory dishes.
Thick and tangy, this cream cheese gives the dairy-based schmear of New York City a run for its money. With a soy-free, cashew base bound by lemon juice, water, and sea salt, you might think a creamy slick on a toasted bagel might be the ultimate way to enjoy, but a vegan cheesecake could just take the cake.
When it comes to vegan cheese, Miyoko’s wrote the book, literally, they have a book. Known for products that are “radically real,” yet “made without cows”—melted or in its soft spread form, this faux fromage takes the gold among vegans. The Vegan Roadhouse comes in a variety of delicious flavors but Cheers to Cheddah seems to be a favorite.
This buttery, savory spread is akin to the dairy-free version of Boursin—meaning it’s addictive and pairs well with just about anything. With a base of organic cashews, its texture is synonymous to cheese, and Miyokos suggests using it to whip up some delicious vegan artichoke dip.
Soft Vegan Cheese
Treeline French-Style Soft Cheese
This French-Style Nut Cheese will transport you to the valleys of the Alps in just a few bites. With flavors such as Scallion, Chipotle-Serrano Pepper, Herb-Garlic, and Green Peppercorn, with a few of these cheese on hand, you’d have the makings of a pretty stellar vegan cheese plate!
Violife Just like Smoked Provolone
This soy-free, vegan delight is masterfully similar to a classic Italian smoked provolone. Perfect for layering into veggie sandwiches for a smoky flavor or topping your favorite cracker for an afternoon snack, Violife goes so far as to suggest that you’ll be tempted to eat a slice straight out of the package.
Always have a fresh baguette at hand, as this semi-hard smoked vegan cheese wheel is bound to be a regular in your fridge. Melt it down into a sauce, set it up as the star of a cheese board, or just enjoy on its own—the smoky flavor allows this wheel to stand alone.
Sliceable Vegan Cheese
Known for their plant-based cheeses and yogurts, Blöde Kuh makes a mean aged, semi-soft cashew wheel. Pick from a rotating array of enticing flavors like Chardonnay Cheddar, Smoky Kale Sriracha, or Cabernet. Whichever wheel you roll on home, you’ll be in for a treat.
Chao creamy slices are the one of the most versatile options for feeding the whole family. Coconut-based and seasoned with fermented tofu, it has the structure and bold flavor of a cheddar, allowing you to slice it, shred it, or melt it with ease.
A block of dairy-free cheddar that looks like the blocks you might have grown up, Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Gourmet Cheddar is a front runner when it comes to making epic vegan grilled cheeses (cheese-pull and all) or big batches of backed macaroni and cheese.
Shredded Vegan Cheese
Daiya claims this mozzarella style shred will “ooze, bubble, and stretch” when put to heat, and we claim it makes a pretty tasty quesadilla. Throw it on top of a pizza for a satisfyingly cheesy slice—a hard thing to come by when it comes to vegan pizzas.
Go Veggie Parmesan Grated Topping
You never have to settle for sprinkle of bland vegan parmesan again. Go Veggie’s Parmesan topping is the perfect match for deep bowls of sauced up pasta, hot baked dips—really anything you can dream up that begs for that salty little finish from a shower of parm.
These coconut milk-based shreds come in cheddar and mozzarella as well, but the cheddar jack is a unique offering that sets the brand apart. It melts well and is therefore suited to top game day platters of nachos, snuggle inside a quick quesadilla, or sprinkle over some enchiladas before you bake them off to cheesy perfection.
According to the masses, this parm melts better than any other vegan choice and tastes just like the real deal—don’t believe us, you’ll have to try it yourself. Follow Your Heart suggests you sprinkle this shredded option on some roasted veggies to truly taste the greatness.