There are a lot of vegan and non dairy cheeses out there, but the best vegan cheese? The best non dairy cheese? Only a few brands can achieve that kind of greatness (or should I say grateness—little cheese joke for you). We tasted some of the top brands to find the best vegan cheese on the market.
I would have never expected to say the words, “Yum, this vegan cheese is good.” And yet, here we are. I have eaten and enjoyed vegan cheese. Over the past few years, the category of plant-based, non-dairy cheese has grown alongside the explosion of plant-based meat alternatives. Of course it makes sense—you want to maintain your plant-based lifestyle while enjoying an Impossible cheeseburger or a Beyond meatball sub.
So, the Sporked team sat down to try an array of “cheeses.” We tried them plain, we tried some on crackers, and we did some melt tests as well. As a mix of vegan cheese newbies (me) and regular consumers of vegan cheese (Sporked writer Jordan Myrick), we came at the category with both trepidation and excitement. And we all came out of it with a newfound respect for the fake cheese arts. Here’s what we picked as the best vegan cheese on the market right now.
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- Follow Your Heart Smoked Gouda
This “cheese” is extraordinary and an argument that there should be more smoked faux cheeses. The smoky flavor is key here. It covers up any obviously non-cheese flavors and is the star of the show—which is exactly how it is in real smoked gouda. The smoked flavor is powerful but not overwhelming, and it doesn’t taste overly fake. The texture is also smooth and creamy—not grainy at all like some vegan cheeses—probably due to the coconut oil base. It would be great on a sandwich or, honestly, for snacking. I really have to examine my self identity because I never thought I would recommend snacking on vegan cheese—and certainly never thought I would be craving it. But I would absolutely scarf down a slice of this one right now. It is, hands down, the best tasting vegan cheese.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Albertsons
- Violife Mature Cheddar
I was so impressed by this “cheddar.” Though it’s not quite as sharp as a traditional dairy cheddar, it has a lovely mild cheddar flavor. And the texture—ooo wee. The creaminess lingers. And creamy is hard to achieve with a vegan cheese! This is the best vegan cheddar cheese for a plant-based cheeseburger, for sure. It’s so close to being number one on this list. The only reason it isn’t is because I would still prefer to snack on the top fauxmage, while this one is best as a topping.
Credit: Liv Averett / Walmart
- Boursin Dairy-Free Garlic & Herbs
This tastes like regular Boursin. So, if you like Boursin or you’re missing Boursin, then this is the best vegan cheese for you because…it’s a dairy-free dupe for dairy-full Boursin. The Sporked team absolutely loved it when we tasted it. It’s so garlicky and so herby and so spreadable. “I’m really happy for them,” Jordan commented. We’re proud of you, Boursin.
Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart
- Field Roast Chao Slices
According to Jordan, these slices “melt like a dream.” Another coconut-based product, this one also includes fermented tofu for a touch of that cheesy, funky taste. Sporked contributor Danny Palumbo says it’s the best melting vegan cheese plant-based burgers and meatball subs, and I would add that it would be a fine choice for actual meat-based versions of those sandwiches too. If you’re avoiding lactose for whatever reason, these slices are the creamy, silky, melty toppers you’ve been looking for. I’m only docking them half a spork because I wouldn’t necessarily eat them on their own.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Walmart
- Babybel Plant-Based
How can you tell the difference between this new plant-based Babybel and the original Babybel? The wax is green instead of red. Other than that, it’s a pretty close copy. It’s a touch firmer than the classic Babybel with a slightly smoky flavor. “It tastes like fake butter but i like that,” Jordan said. “If you can’t eat cheese you’ll be stoked,” said Sporked managing editor Gwynedd Stuart. It’s the best vegan cheese for straight up snacking.
Credit: Liv Averett / Target
- Trader Joe’s Vegan Feta Cheese Alternative
Like so many Trader Joe’s products, this one came highly hyped. It has a bit of a cult following, so I was skeptical about the follow-through. But if you crumbled this faux feta onto a salad and told me it was the real dairy deal, I would totally believe you. It’s salty, creamy, and briny, which makes sense because it comes floating in a pool of brine—just like real, authentic feta. I’m no feta expert, but I did live in an extremely Greek neighborhood in Queens, New York, for years. So I’ve had my fair share of feta. Believe me when I say this is good. Maybe not give-it-to-your-ya-ya-good. But very good and certainly one of the best vegan cheeses.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Trader Joe’s
- Daiya Cheddar Style Slices
These slices have more flavor than your traditional American cheese but less flavor than a clothbound cheddar—aka, the best vegan cheese for a grilled cheese. They melt into a stretchy semi-good, which doesn’t sound great as I type it, but is exactly what I’m looking for in a grilled cheese sandwich. Sure, you can eat these slices on their own—they have a nice, almost smoky flavor and creamy texture—but it’s almost like these slices were engineered for grilled cheese sandwiches, so you’d be missing out if you didn’t try.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Target
- Violife Parmesan
This is not the best vegan cheese to eat on its own but it is absolutely ideal for grating over pasta or roasted veggies or anything that could use a sprinkling of umami. While we loved Trader Joe’s vegan parmesan shreds in our best vegan shredded cheese taste test, this is the best vegan parmesan cheese for fresh grated cheese. It even has that funky tang that real parmesan has—which makes it great in small amounts but too intense as a nibble.
Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart
Best of the Best
Best for Burgers
Best for Melting
Best for Snacking
Best for Salads
Best for Grilled Cheese
Best for Grating
Rhett & Link’s Pick
Field Roast Chao Slices
“This isn’t trying to mimic anything, this is just trying to be Chao,” Rhett astutely noted during his and Link’s vegan taste test on Good Mythical Morning. “I think it’s pretty freaking great,” Link noted in an equally astute manner. It made it to the tippy top of their list and it just missed the top spot on ours.
Other vegan cheeses we tried: Violife Smoked Gouda Round Slices, Nuts for Cheese Super Blue, Violife Smoked Provolone Slices, Treeline Dairy Free Goat Style, Nuts for Cheese Unbrielievable, Good Plant Smoked Gouda, Daiya Cheeze Sticks Mozzarella Style
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