what is the best vegan cheese
What is the best vegan cheese

What Is The Best Vegan Cheese

What Is the Best Vegan Cheese? Unveiling Top Dairy-Free Alternatives

With the rising popularity of plant-based diets, the quest for the best vegan cheese has become a central topic for both culinary enthusiasts and those seeking dairy-free alternatives for health or ethical reasons.

Vegan cheese aims to recreate the flavour, texture, and culinary experience of traditional dairy cheeses without the use of animal products.

Innovation within the industry has led to a broad range of vegan cheese varieties, making use of different plant-based ingredients to cater to diverse tastes and dietary needs.

A variety of vegan cheese wheels, blocks, and slices arranged on a wooden board with colorful fruits and nuts scattered around
A variety of vegan cheese wheels, blocks, and slices

Key considerations include the source of the primary ingredients, manufacturing processes, and the nutritional profile of the resultant cheese alternative.

Consumers now look beyond the simple exclusion of dairy; they seek products that also deliver on taste, meltability, and texture.

Environmental and ethical considerations along with consumer insights play an increasingly vital role in shaping the market for vegan cheese products, as people make more informed choices about the foods they consume.

Key Takeaways

  • Vegan cheese alternatives replicate traditional cheese flavours without animal products.
  • Factors like taste, texture, and nutritional value are key to determining the best vegan cheese.
  • The rise of vegan cheese reflects evolving consumer preferences and ethical considerations.

What Is The Best Vegan Cheese

Vegan cheese is a plant-based alternative to traditional dairy cheese, ideal for those on a vegan diet or for people looking for lactose-free options.

Unlike conventional cheese, which relies on animal milk, vegan cheese is crafted from various plant sources such as nuts, soy, seeds, and root vegetables. The primary aim is to mimic the flavour and textural attributes of dairy cheese while adhering to veganism principles—avoiding all animal products.


  • Plant-Based: Made from non-animal ingredients, important for a vegan or plant-based diet.
  • Dairy-Free: Contains no milk products, suitable for lactose intolerance and milk allergies.
  • Vegan: Excludes all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty.

Types of Base Ingredients:

  • Nuts: Almonds, cashews
  • Seeds: Sunflower, pumpkin
  • Root Vegetables: Potatoes, carrots
  • Legumes: Soybeans
  • Various Grains: Rice, oats

Production Method: The making of vegan cheese often involves a process of soaking, blending, and fermenting the base ingredients. Additives like thickeners, nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavour, and oils are commonly used to achieve the desired consistency and taste.

Despite not containing dairy, vegan cheeses aim to offer a sensory experience similar to traditional cheeses, including meltable varieties for use in cooking. The market offers an array of styles, from soft and spreadable to firm and sliceable, designed to suit various culinary applications.

While taste and texture can vary, the best vegan cheeses are those that successfully balance flavour and mouthfeel, providing a convincing alternative for cheese enthusiasts.

Consumers can find options such as applewood smoky vegan cheese and mozzarella-style vegan cheese, each offering unique qualities.

Health and Nutritional Benefits

A variety of colorful vegetables and fruits surround a block of vegan cheese, highlighting its health and nutritional benefits
Colourful vegetables and fruits surround a block of vegan cheese, highlighting its health and nutritional benefits

Choosing vegan cheese can offer various health and nutritional advantages, from being cholesterol-free to including essential vitamins and minerals.

Here, the focus will be on the nutritional components of vegan cheese, how it caters to those with allergies and sensitivities, and its role in weight management.

Nutritional Components

Most vegan cheeses are a good source of calcium and vitamins, including vitamin B12, which are often added during manufacturing to enhance their nutritional profile. They typically contain various plant proteins, although the protein content may be lower than that of dairy cheeses.

Additionally, many vegan cheeses are lower in fat and saturated fat, making them a heart-healthier choice compared to traditional dairy options.

Allergies and Sensitivities

For individuals with dairy or soya allergies, vegan cheese offers an alternative that can alleviate the risk of allergic reactions. It is essential, however, to check labels, as some vegan cheeses may contain nuts or soya among their ingredients.

Vegan Cheese and Weight Management

Vegan cheese can be beneficial for weight management due to its typically lower fat content. However, one should be mindful of the calorie content, as certain vegan cheese alternatives may be high in calories depending on the ingredients used.

The choice of vegan cheese as part of a balanced diet should be chosen by considering its overall nutritional value and how it fits into individual dietary needs.

Popular Varieties of Vegan Cheese

Vegan cheese comes in an array of textures and flavours, catering to a variety of culinary uses and personal preferences.

Whether one is looking for the creamy indulgence of soft cheese or the satisfying bite of a firm cheddar, there is a vegan cheese to meet those needs.

Soft and Spreadable Cheeses

Vegan cream cheese and soft cheese alternatives are perfect for spreading on bread or incorporating into dips. Products like cashew-based vegan Brie and Camembert offer a decadent experience similar to their dairy counterparts.

Consumers looking for these options have praised brands for achieving a rich taste and creamy texture.

Firm and Sliceable Cheeses

Vegan cheddar and mozzarella come in firm blocks and slices, suitable for sandwiches and salad platters. Cheddar-style shreds have also become popular, offering a convenient way to enjoy the sharp taste of cheddar without dairy.

Vegan Parmesan is another credible option, often crafted from ingredients like almonds or cashews to mimic the savoury, hard texture of traditional Parmesan.

Meltable Cheeses

For those after the gooey goodness of melted cheese, meltable vegan cheeses have been crafted to deliver. These include shreds and slices of mozzarella and cheddar that behave similarly to dairy cheese when heated, making them perfect for pizzas or gratins.

Vegan Applewood, known for its smoky flavour, is amongst the meltable cheeses that have been lauded for their ability to melt and stretch.

Key Ingredients and Manufacturing

A variety of plant-based ingredients are being mixed and processed in a modern manufacturing facility to create the best vegan cheese
A variety of plant-based ingredients are being mixed and processed in a modern manufacturing facility to create the best vegan cheese

In the realm of vegan cheese, the recipe of base ingredients and precise manufacturing processes is essential for replicating the texture and flavour of traditional dairy cheese.

Specific nuts, plant-based oils, and fermenting agents are skilfully combined through various stages of production to achieve the desired qualities.

Base Ingredients

The core elements of most vegan cheeses include nuts such as cashews and almonds, which are often soaked, blended, and combined with plant milks like coconut or almond milk to create a creamy base.

Seeds and soyabeans are also widely used in varieties that require a firmer texture. The inclusion of organic and non-GMO ingredients is frequently emphasised to cater to health-conscious consumers.

Flavouring and Texturing Agents

Nutritional yeast is a staple for adding a cheesy flavour, while food starches and tapioca starch contribute to the thickness and meltability of vegan cheese. Coconut oil is commonly incorporated for richness and smoothness, whereas fermented tofu can impart a depth of umami.

These agents are carefully measured to reflect the particular characteristics of cheeses they emulate, such as cheddar, mozzarella, or camembert.

Manufacturing Process

The manufacturing process often commences with the blending of base ingredients to form a consistent mixture. This is followed by the addition of enzymes and cultures, if a fermented or blue cheese variety is desired.

The mixture is then heated, with starches acting to thicken it. The final product may be matured, or it could be promptly cooled and solidified, depending on the type of vegan cheese being produced.

The highest standards of production are maintained throughout, ensuring the resulting product is safe, flavourful, and has a pleasing texture.

Sensory Attributes: Taste and Texture

When selecting the best vegan cheese, the sensory aspects, notably taste and texture, are crucial. These factors significantly impact the consumer’s culinary experience and the product’s versatility in various dishes.

Culinary Experience

A vegan cheese’s ability to emulate the tangy and salty taste associated with traditional dairy cheeses contributes largely to its culinary appeal.

Reviews, such as those from Good Housekeeping, suggest that the market has seen much-improved iterations that closely mimic these sensory experiences. The texture should neither be too firm nor too flimsy, providing a satisfying bite and mouthfeel similar to dairy counterparts.

Cooking and Melting Behaviours

The melting characteristics of vegan cheese plays a pivotal role, particularly in cooked dishes like pizzas and toasties.

Some plant-based cheeses exhibit excellent meltability, becoming gooey and stretchy when heated, as one would expect from a mozzarella or cheddar. However, not all vegan cheeses behave consistently; some may become grainy or fail to melt adequately, impacting both texture and taste.

Aromas and Additives

Aroma is an integral sensory component that can enhance or detract from the overall enjoyment of vegan cheese. Food scientists strive to replicate the distinct, nuanced scents of dairy cheese, which range from buttery to sharp, all contributing to the taste perception.

Additional flavourings and aromatics are often incorporated to lend depth and authenticity, but these should not overwhelm the cheese’s inherent taste notes, nor should they impart that horrid synthetic aftertaste.

Environmental and Ethical Considerations

Choosing the best vegan cheese involves more than taste; it also encompasses the wider environmental and ethical impacts of production. This section delves into sustainable agriculture and animal welfare (or lack of it). Two pivotal aspects that shed light on why vegan cheese can be a better choice for those concerned with these issues.

Sustainable Agriculture

Sustainable agriculture is a key factor in the production of plant-based cheeses. Compared to traditional dairy farming, plant-based cheese often requires less land and water, leading to a lower environmental footprint.

Vegan cheeses that avoid ingredients like palm oil further reduce their impact, offering a more ethical choice for consumers. The Ethical & Vegan cheese guide highlights brands that prioritise environmentally friendly practices.

Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is at the heart of vegan cheese production. By definition, vegan cheese is cruelty-free, meaning it’s made without animal products.

This avoids the valid ethical concerns associated with the shockingly cruel dairy industry, such as animal violence and the use of hormones and antibiotics.

Consumers who choose vegan cheese contribute to a demand for products that respect animal welfare and promote a more compassionate food system.

Vegan Cheese in the Market

The vegan cheese market has expanded significantly, with a wide range of brands offering diverse products, from cheddar to mozzarella alternatives. Availability has also increased, making plant-based cheese options more accessible to consumers.

Commercial Brands and Products

Violife and Daiya are prominent players in the vegan cheese sector, with a wide range of flavours and styles.

Follow Your Heart and Sheese also provide a variety of choices aligning with traditional cheese types. Artisan brands like Palace Culture, I Am Nut OK, Julienne Bruno, Kinda Co, and Treeline have carved notable niches with their gourmet offerings. Nush and Nurishh emerge as options for those looking for alternatives to soft cheese styles like camembert.

Availability and Accessibility

Major online supermarkets such as Vegan Supermarket UK stock a huge range of vegan cheeses that, reflect the growing demand from consumers. Specialist vegan fromageries like La Fauxmagerie cater to the refined palate – also available at Vegan Supermarket UK

Meanwhile, some health food stores also provide access to plant-based cheese products, ensuring that vegan alternatives are more readily available than ever.

Consumer Insights and Preferences

In the UK, consumers’ preferences for vegan cheeses are evolving, with a clear inclination towards varieties that closely emulate the taste and texture of traditional dairy products.

Dairy-free and plant-based cheese options have expanded significantly, with brands such as Honestly Tasty, Cathedral City, and Ilchester entering the market.

  • Cathedral City Plant Based Cheese has made an impressive entry, attracting those seeking the familiar taste of their standard cheddar but in a vegan format.
  • The Applewood Vegan Smoky Cheese offers a smoky flavour profile that has received positive consumer feedback for its authentic smokiness.
  • For a French cheese experience, Honestly Tasty’s Shamembert provides a credible alternative to Camembert, appealing to purists of soft cheeses.
  • Nurishh and Babybel have also joined the plant-based arena, extending choice in the snack category with offerings like Babybel Plant-Based which caters to on-the-go consumers.

Consumers are increasingly interested in the ingredients used in vegan cheese. Small companies’ products, like Mouse’s Favourite Camembert, are praised for their minimal ingredient list, often containing just cashews, water, salt, and cultures.


Brand Product Type Noteworthy Attribute
Cathedral City Cheddar-style Plant-Based, Familiar Taste
Applewood Smoky Cheese Vegan, Authentic Smokiness
Honestly Tasty Shamembert Vegan Camembert Alternative
Nurishh Cheese Variety Plant-Based, Snacking Cheese
Babybel Mini Cheeses On-the-Go, Plant-Based


Consumers prioritise not only the flavour but also the ethical and environmental impacts of their choices, leading to a continued demand for sustainable and honestly produced vegan cheeses.

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to vegan cheese, many consumers have specific questions about taste, texture, and melting capabilities. This section aims to address those common inquiries with a focus on top-rated products and brands available in the UK.

What are the top-rated gourmet vegan cheeses on the market?

Gourmet vegan cheeses have been rigorously taste-tested, with brands like I Am Nut OK often coming out on top, especially for their artisanal flavours including black truffle and smoky charcoal.

Which organic vegan cheeses are considered the best by consumers?

Consumers seeking organic options frequently commend brands that prioritise natural and organic ingredients. Specific brands and varieties, however, are subject to personal preference.

Which brand of vegan brie is most recommended for its authentic taste?

For an authentic taste experience, the Nurishh Plant-Based Camembert Alternative is often cited, despite mixed reviews on its similarity to traditional brie.

What are the best vegan cheeses available in the UK for creating a melty texture?

Meltable vegan cheeses are a key component in many recipes. Vegan Cheeseboard suggests considering coconut oil-based cheeses for an optimal melty texture, particularly useful in items like quesadillas.

Can you recommend a vegan cheese that is most suitable for topping pizzas in the UK?

For pizza toppings, consumers often search for a cheese that crisps up nicely while still providing that desirable stretchy quality. The MozzaRisella brand is a top contender, highly regarded for its performance on pizzas due to its effective melting properties.

How do artisan vegan cheeses in the UK compare to traditional cheeses in terms of flavour and texture?

Artisan vegan cheeses are crafted to mimic the complexity of traditional cheeses, and while they have their own unique qualities, many consumers find them to be delightful alternatives that closely resemble the flavour and texture profiles of their dairy counterparts.


Selecting the finest vegan cheese comes down to personal preference, including taste, texture, and how it melts or spreads. However, expert reviews and consumer feedback provide a solid starting point. The best vegan cheeses for 2024 UK listed by Good Housekeeping give an insight into tested and approved options.

For a robust vegan cheddar, Cathedral City Plant Based Cheese emerges as a top pick, available at UK supermarkets. MozzaRisella is frequently praised for its mozzarella alternative and can be located via its stockists. Those seeking a flavoursome vegan Camembert can consider the Nurishh Plant-Based Camembert Alternative for a dairy-free indulgence.

Innovation in the industry has made vegan cheeses from nuts or coconut-oil bases common and enjoyable. It’s notable that the preferences for vegan cheeses are highly subjective, so individuals are encouraged to explore the vegan cheeses to discover which aligns best with their palate.

When venturing into vegan alternatives, it’s key to manage preconceptions and embrace the unique qualities of these plant-based options.

Consumers will find that the range of vegan cheeses caters to a variety of dietary needs and culinary uses, thereby making the selection process both personal and engaging.

Whether used for cooking, spreading, or enjoying on its own, the quest for the best vegan cheese is a testament to the evolving and rich landscape of plant-based cuisine.

See our extensive range of vegan cheese here!

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