Finding cheese substitutions may be the biggest obstacle for people wanting to eat a vegan diet. Here is your complete guide to replacing cheese. With so many store bought and homemade options, your cheese craving will be satisfied!
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It's the ULTIMATE guide to replacing cheese!
Cheese is, perhaps, the hardest thing to give up when you're switching over to a plant-based diet. When I first went vegan in 2006, the options were limited (and not very good).
But so much has changed in the past 14 years! There is now incredible homemade and store bought options that truly rival traditional cheese and it's never been easier than now to ditch the dairy.
This vegan guide breaks down the different types of cheeses and then highlights the best store bought and homemade varieties. Learn how to make delicious dairy free cheese at home and find out how to spot the best ones at your local grocery stores.
Types of Plant Based Cheese
Store-Bought: Commercial vegan cream cheeses are quite good and can be easily used in place of traditional cream cheese. We recommend Daiya, Miyokos, or Violife. Trader Joe's also has a variety worth trying.
Homemade: You can easily make cream cheese at home. You can either use a cashew base, a vegan yogurt base, or a tofu base.
Store-Bought: You can find high-quality vegan feta, ricotta, soft mozzarella, and a variety of other soft cheeses at your local grocery store. We recommend trying Violife's Feta, Miyoko's Soft Mozzarella, and Kite Hill's Ricotta.
Homemade: These cheese can be easily made at home with cashew, macadamia nut, or tofu base. Easy vegan cheese to make at home include ricotta, feta, and soft mozzarella.
Store-Bought: For slices, shreds, and blocks there are a few commercial brands that we recommend. We love Violife blocks and slices. They also carry aged blocks that are unbeatable. As for shreds, try Violife, Follow Your Heart, and Daiya.
Homemade: You can make spreadable and meltable cheeses at home. With a few simple ingredients you can make classic favorites like Cheddar Cheese, Pepper Jack Cheese, Swiss Cheese, and Mozzarella Cheese all at home.
Store-Bought: Fermented, spreadable, and gourmet cheeses are some of the easiest cheeses to replicate and, for that reason, easy to find. Miyoko and Treeline Treenut Cheese are two national brands that we recommend. You will also find regional brands at your local food co-ops, farmer's markets, and health food stores.
Homemade: Fancy non-dairy cheese is also super simple to make at home. They are usually made with a cashew, almond, or macadamia nut base like this Smoked Jalapeño Cheddar Cheese Ball, Garlic and Herb Cheese Wheel, and Homemade Blue Cheese.
Homemade Vegan Cheese Recipes
Making homemade plant-based cheese is surprisingly simple to master. You just need a few basic kitchen gadgets to get you started.
For nut-based cheeses, you will need a food processor and a high powered blender (like a Vitamix), depending on the desired consistency. You will also need cheesecloth and cheese molds. A few key ingredients to homemade cheese making include tapioca flour, agar powder, nutritional yeast.
You can also pick up Dairy Free Cheese Making Kits to help get you started. (<<affiliate links)
Here are some classic homemade cheese recipes to try.
- Cashew Ricotta
- Hemp Vegan Parmesan
- Jalapeño Cheddar Cheese Ball
- Vegan Cream Cheese
- Vegan Feta
- Homemade Blue Cheese
- Soft Vegan Mozzarella
- Nacho Cheese Sauce
- Vegan Provolone
- Homemade Pepper Jack Cheese
- Vegan Swiss Cheese
- Garlic and Herb Cheese
Do you have a favorite homemade cheese? Let us know in the comments below and I'll add it to the list!
Store-Bought Dairy-Free Cheese
This is a list of major brands found in the United States. If we're forgetting any of your favorites, leave us a comment and we will add it to the list.
- Violife - Violife carries a variety of blocks, slices, and shreds. They also have the BEST feta, cream cheese, and parmesan on the market.
- Go Veggie - Go Veggie carries slices, shreds, parmesan, and cheese snacks. However, not all of Go Veggies products are vegan. Make sure to look for the word "vegan" on the front of the packaging.
- Daiya - Daiya is one of the leading brands of daiy alternatives. They offer blocks, slices, shreds, and cheese sticks as well as plant based yogurt, ice cream, and salad dressings.
- Miyoko - We love Miokyo's artisan cheese. They carry a variety of gourmet and aged cheeses such as Garlic Herb, Smoked Farmhouse, and Winter Truffle. Miyoko's also carries the best cultured vegan butter.
- Kite Hill - Kite Hill carries delicious soft cheeses such as ricotta, cream cheese, sour cream, and cheese dips. They also are a leading brand of vegan yogurts.
- So Delicious Dairy Free - So Delicious carries three types of vegan shreds - cheddar, cheddar jack, and mozzarella.
- 365 - Whole Foods has started making their own vegan cheese. They carry slices, blocks, and shreds and complete with the top brands in great taste and texture.
- Follow Your Heart - Follow Your Heart carries blocks, shreds, and feta. It is one of the best meltable cheeses for pizza and pasta.
- Chao Slices - Chao carries a variety of gourmet cheese blocks including Tomato Cayenne and Garden Herb.
- Treeline Treenut Cheese - They offer a variety of soft, gourmet cheeses that are delicious. You will find Chipotle-Serrano Pepper, Scallion, and Cracked Pepper.
My Darling Vegan's Top Picks
Here are my favorite store bought cheeses that I recommend to everyone.
Everyday Cheese Replacements
- Follow Your Heart (especially good on pizza)
Vegan Cheese Cookbooks
If you want to learn more about making your own cheese at home, I highly recommend picking up a cookbook. Here are a few cookbooks I've used over the past few years.
- Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner
- Vegan Cheese by Jules Aron
- This Cheese is Nuts! by Julie Piatt
- Super Easy Vegan Cheese Cookbook by Janice Buckingham
Do you still have questions about how to replace cheese in a vegan diet? Let us know in the comments below so that we can continue making this guide better for everyone.
More Vegan How-To Guides
- How to Replace Eggs
- Vegan's Guide to Replacing Fish
- Ultimate Guide on Vegan Sugar
- How to Stock a Vegan Pantry
- MDV's Guide on Dairy-Alternatives
- Your Guide on Vegan Protein
If you're new to veganism, make sure to check out my Beginners Manual to Going Vegan and the Vegan Starter Kit .
Can cheese be made w/out nutritional yeast? It is considered harmful to health in some vegan circles.
David Watson says
"When I first went vegan in 2006, the options were limited (and not very good)."
I know, right? Their biggest selling point was either "It MELTS!" or "It STRETCHES!" Well, yeah, but so does Silly Putty.
I believe there exists cheese called Midas by Miriam Sorrel.
Lori Brown says
I have had bad luck with my vegan cheese experiences. My experience with Daiya mozzarella shreds so put me off that I am skittish about spending money on another brand. The texture on pizza was like mucus. I actually gagged. Did I not cook it enough? It was beginning to brown. Does it need to be dark brown?
I’m not expecting things to be identical. I have made some cashew cheese sauces at home successfully. But my venture into store bought slices for sandwiches and mozzarella and cream cheese haven’t yielded anything that is worth eating.
Thank you for the list. I will have to screw up my courage to try again.
Pam Davis says
Thank you for the cheese information. What I found missing in it was protein content. I'm finding it hard to get enough protein on my vegan diet and I'm looking for cheese with more protein i n it. Can you recommend cheeses based on that? Thank you. I use your recipes often. Pam
Thank you for this post- by chance are any of these cheese substitutes that you highlight here soy-free? This seems to the most challenging aspect of adopting a plant-based diet- finding ingredients to make the meals that don't have soy protein in them...I am hoping more brands would be willing to cater to those who are unable to consume it...
Sarah McMinn says
Miyoko and Violife are both soy free!
Thank you for this write up! I have tried Daiya and did not like it. I have a list to try now. My first will be Miokyo.
Great article! Very thorough, thanks for sharing.