Best Vegan Cheese Brands by Category (2023)
Since transitioning to a plant-based diet over 5 years ago, the most frequent question I get asked is, “But don’t you miss cheese?”
Believe it or not, not really.
Not after discovering the best vegan cheese brands!
The selection and accessibility in the dairy alternative market has been growing exponentially in recent years, so whether you’re aiming to decrease your dairy intake for your health/allergies, for the planet, or for the animals, there has never been a better time to swap cheese for an alternative! From almonds and cashews, to coconut oil and potato starch, it is amazing what brands have achieved in the vegan cheese category.
While it is possible, and sometimes fairly simple, to make certain styles of cheese from scratch (like parmesan and ricotta), most of us need quick and easy options that are readily available.
I have tried almost all of the choices available at the major grocery chains, and although taste preferences are personal, there are some clear standout plant-based cheese brands that have WOWED me, my family, and many of my dairy-eating friends.
Without further ado, here is my curated and *unsponsored* list of the best in vegan cheeses by categories generally accessible across the U.S. today.
Best Vegan Cheese Brand for Spreadable Cheese:
No one should live without cheese and crackers! Miyoko’s brand of artisanal cashew cheeses uses traditional creamery cultures and age-old cheesemaking techniques, just like dairy artisanal cheeses.
The cheddar Roadhouse Cheese Spread is a pub-style cheddar cheese that is sharp, tangy, nutty, and hits the spot! My kids and husband especially LOVE this one; in fact, they will literally dig into the tub with crackers and devour it in minutes if I let them.
Miyokos Cheese Wheels are beautiful and impressive cheeses to serve at a gathering. The Classic Chive is always a crowd-pleaser: a flavorful yet mild option.
For sun-dried tomato lovers out there, you must try the Sundried Tomato Garlic. One of my very first memories of vegan cheese (years before I became plant-based) was when a friend brought this cheese to a dinner party. Assuming it was pate, I stayed away from it while others polished it off in minutes. Then, the host fished the packaging out of the trash so she could check the brand to purchase it again, and what do you know?! Everyone was shocked that it was vegan, even the gal who bought it!
Best Vegan Cheese Brands for Cream Cheese:
Tofutti, Kite Hill & Violife
NEW! Our official family favorite cream cheese these days is Tofutti brand (and we are connoisseurs if I do say so myself): it is creamy and mild with no weird aftertaste or texture.
We still enjoy Kite Hill almond-based cream cheese when it comes to flavors like chive, jalapeno, and everything, though it is a bit gritty these days (new formula/recipe?). The plain Kite Hill is still a staple in cooking when using cream cheese in dips, frosting, etc. because it has that rich flavor like it’s dairy counterpart.
Best Vegan Cheese Brands for Pizza:
Miyoko’s Liquid Vegan Pizza Mozzarella
If you are looking for the best vegan cheese for pizza, look no further! This Miyoko’s liquid vegan pizza mozzarella cheese is a GAME CHANGER! Because it is already in liquid form, it is truly the best vegan cheese for melting. And it’s absolutely delicious!
This vegan cheese is worthy of serving to omnivores too…you may even fool them!
Best Vegan Cheese Brands for Salad Cheese:
Miyoko’s Classic Cream Cheese & Trader Joe’s Feta
The dish I missed most when I eliminated dairy was my favorite salad combination: savory, sweet, and spicy. That is, until I discovered these two alternatives: Miyoko’s Plainly Classic Cream Cheese (yes, cream cheese!) has that coveted creamy, tangy bite.
Trader Joe’s Feta Cheese Alternative is newer on the scene than most vegan fetas…and they nailed it! Impressive both in taste and texture, TJ’s takes the cake for best feta on the market.
Both of these vegan salad cheeses hit the spot on a bed of fresh greens with some diced apples and sweet and spicy pecans in a balsamic vinaigrette, or however you typically enjoy your feta or goat cheese.
Best Vegan Cheese Brands for Cheese Sauce:
Wayfare Nacho Cheese & Oasis Craft Kitchen
Wayfare nacho cheddar tastes quite similar to traditional queso; simply heat and serve…and likely fool the happy recipients. This nacho cheddar is made of butter beans and oats.
NEW! Our newest favorite for a spicy kick is White Cheddar Style Cashew Dip from Oasis Craft Kitchen, which I found at Costco! It is ADDICTIVELY DELICIOUS in burritos, quesadillas, atop potatoes, and as a dip with tortilla chips.
Best Vegan Cheese Brands for Shredded Cheese:
Good Planet & Whole Foods 365
Shredded cheese comes in handy when making our kids’ favorite comfort foods, like pizza, burritos, and quesadillas.
After years of trying every brand, Good Planet tops our list these days for best taste and meltability combination for mozzarella.
Whole Foods 365 is our go-to for cheddar, though their vegan mozz is a close second.
2 tips for melting vegan cheese:
- Put the vegan cheese under the broiler for a couple of minutes on your bread of choice.
- Try putting the cheese directly on a hot pan until it starts to melt, then scoop it onto your bread, tortilla, etc.
All of these brands taste better melted, just like their dairy counterparts!
Best Vegan Cheese Brand for Block Cheese:
Violife Epic Mature
This new plant-based cheese option is wildly impressive! Violife has managed to emulate aged cheese with this nutty new block. And while their shredded cheddar works for the kiddos, this block is a level up in taste, perfect for impressing adults too.
It is delicious cold as a topping and EXCELLENT melted…our current fav is on baked potatoes. Can’t wait to continue experimenting with this vegan cheese.
Best Vegan Cheese Brand for Sliced Cheese:
Chao & Whole Foods 365
These sliced plant-based cheeses are quite impressive, whether in a simple grilled cheese sandwich or as a tasty layer in a massive sandwich or burger. Chao stands out for its Creamy Original and Spicy Cayenne slices, while Whole Foods 365 is our favorite for cheddar. In fact, I have fooled many of my kiddos’ friends with this cheddar.
All of these sliced cheeses are also best when melted and they melt fairly well when you use my husband’s tips for melting vegan cheese above!
Trader Joe’s, Violife, & Follow Your Heart
Every marinara sauce deserves shaved parmesan on top!
I must admit that parmesan is the one dairy alternative that I make from scratch regularly because it best achieves that parmesan nuttiness and is so easy to make a batch and store in the cupboard.
But we certainly use store bought parm too! Our current favorite is the new Trader Joe’s version, slightly creamy and without any aftertaste. Violife and Forager are also great options for store-bought alternatives. Violife shaves beautifully!
Best Individually Wrapped Vegan Cheese:
The plant-based Babybel is SO similar to the dairy version. In a green wax wrapper, these nostalgic bites are worth trying. Available at Trader Joe’s!
Best Vegan Cheese Brand for Ricotta:
Kite Hill Ricotta is impressively similar to its dairy counterpart, especially when covered with sauce or other toppings. We love experimenting with this vegan cheese on various bruschetta and crostini combinations, both savory and sweet. And of course, lasagna!
With so many cheezy options to choose from, there has never been a better time to try plant-based cheese! I look forward to hearing about it once you do, so drop me a line in comments below and please share with your friends too!
For more cheezy ideas check out 19 Kid-Friendly Vegan Dinner Ideas Beyond Pasta, and 6 Family-Friendly, Plant-Based Pasta Recipes.
2 thoughts on “Best Vegan Cheese Brands by Category (2023)”
Hi Jenn! What is your fave yogurt? I would love to eat vegan all the time, but Bob isnt crazy about some of the things I have tried to make..love reading all the info you sent out!! Thanks
Great question! We use Kite Hill and Forager (cashew line), usually plain. They are great as a topper or mixed with a flavored yogurt to cut the sweetness- Kite Hill is a little thicker, Forager is creamier. For flavored yogurts, the Kite Hill key lime is TO DIE FOR. But both these brands are solid! If eating the plain alone as a yogurt replacement, I prefer it with fruit or granola as they aren’t exactly the same flavor as the dairy one but still so good and so much cleaner/healthier. Plus the have probiotics too. Keep em coming! First newsletter coming out soon!