Build Your Perfect Plant-Based Bagel with These Vegan Cream Cheeses

Cream cheese is one of the most perfect dairy products known to humanity, so it makes sense that vegans and the lactose intolerant want to get in on the delicious fun. I learned about the wonders of vegan cream cheese when I moved to New York for college and found out every bagel shop stocks plenty of plant-based options. To my surprise, they were always as good as the real deal. Despite knowing where to get the best vegan cream cheeses at bagel shops in Brooklyn, I don’t know much about store-bought dairy-free cream cheese.

The Sporked team decided to try an extensive list of vegan cream cheeses in an attempt to figure out which are actually bagel worthy. Caleb Hartsfield, Mythical graphic designer, joined us to get the 4-1-1 on dairy-free schmears. I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised by the creaminess and flavor of the products listed below, and I think you will be too!

The following article contains affiliate links that may generate a small commission to us when you make a purchase through the link. Learn more about how we work with affiliates here.

Best of the Best

Trader Joe’s Vegan Cream Cheese Alternative

Trader Joe’s deserves huge props for this tasty spread. In the past, their vegan cream cheese has tasted like cold coconut oil, but they’ve really stepped up their game. This new iteration of the dairy alternative is incredible. It’s totally spreadable, not too hard, and super creamy. It has no weird coconut or chemical aftertaste. I think you could easily convince someone that this was real cream cheese. The entire Sporked staff and Caleb all agreed that this was the best vegan cream cheese we tried.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Trader Joe’s

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Best Splurge

Kite Hill Everything Cream Cheese

It’s expensive, I know, but the Kite Hill Everything Cream Cheese is so good. Each person that tried it immediately went “Wow!” because the taste was so unexpectedly delicious. It’s so creamy and flavorful that it comes off as more than just a cream cheese. Obviously you could slather this onto a bagel, but it would also make an incredible dip for veggies or a luxurious sandwich spread. The creaminess and sesame seeds give it a tahini-esque vibe while maintaining a distinct everything bagel energy. And, unlike most of these cream cheeses, no toppings are needed. It’s good enough to enjoy on its own on a warm bagel.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Instacart

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

Best Plain Runner Up

Violife Original Cream Cheese

Violife Original Cream Cheese really gave Trader Joe’s a run for its money. It’s another wonderful plain, vegan cream cheese alternative. It’s dreamy, creamy, and melts in your mouth but loses out to Trader Joe’s by half a spork because it’s not as easily spreadable. That being said, I think this could also fool a full-fat dairy cream cheese lover if it was smeared onto an everything bagel with raw onion, lox, capers, and sliced tomato.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Instacart

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

Best Chive

Kite Hill Chive Cream Cheese

Whether it’s chives or scallions or caramelized Vidalias, I want onions in my cream cheese! Luckily, Kite Hill Chive Cream Cheese has a great onion flavor thanks to the abundance of pieces of chives peppered throughout the tub. They have a nice bite that contrasts the creamy, convincing dairy substitute. This is what I’m reaching for when I make myself a bagel. Then, I add even more raw onion on top because I am an onion goblin.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Target

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

Best Fruit

Daiya Strawberry Cream Cheeze

Daiya Strawberry Cream Cheeze is a good fruit-forward vegan cream cheese option if you prefer a sweet bagel breakfast (a thing I cannot wrap my mind around). The flavor is 100% fake strawberry but in a way that’s very nostalgic and tasty. I also think it would be good if you subbed this in for jelly in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. One thing to note is that the strawberry flavor of Daiya cream cheese is the only Daiya cream cheese flavor I’d buy.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Instacart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

Best Plain 3rd Place

Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese

While I typically wouldn’t include so many runners-up for one category, I couldn’t help myself when it came to plain cream cheese! Tofutti is delicious and deserved to be included. It is the old standard. If you’ve been dairy-free or vegan for a long time, you know (and probably love) Tofutti. It’s not exactly like regular cream cheese, but it’s a great approximation. It provides a mild, creamy, spreadable taste to a bagel, dip, or cucumber tea sandwich.

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

Best Allergen Friendly

Spero the Herb Sunflower Cream Cheese

This loses a few sporks because it is absolutely not a cream cheese in any way, shape, or form. This is a seed spread. That’s not hate, it’s just facts. I felt conflicted even including it on the list, but it does call itself a cream cheese and it does taste good. It’s a little tangy, very nutty, and super earthy. I would definitely add a smear of this to bread when making avocado toast or dip little sweet peppers into it for an afternoon snack.

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

best vegan cheese

The 5 Best Vegan Cheeses for All Your Vegan Cheese Needs

Over the past few years, the category of plant-based, non-dairy cheeses 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.

Film your own taste test at home and share with us using #SporkedTasteTest for a chance to be featured on our social pages!


About the Author

Jordan Myrick

Jordan is an L.A.-based writer and comedian who believes all food should come with extra sauce. When they're not writing for Sporked, Jordan is at the movies or sharing an order of french fries with their elderly chihuahua.

Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!

Your thoughts.

Your email address will not be published.

  • Oh man I have never seen Trader Joe’s vegan cream cheese at the TJ’s near me! I will keep my eyes peeled!!!

    Reply
    • They used to make a really bad one, but this new rendition is really great! I hope you find it!

      Reply
  • Love these so damn much!
    I am not a vegan or vegetarian, but I do enjoy vegan food when it is done right.

    Reply
  • Excellent list. The Spero comment is spot on because while it absolutely is not cream cheese it is very tasty.

    Reply