The 5 Best Vegan Cheeses to Try
From meltable shreds and sandwich slices to cream cheese, there are many options when it comes to buying vegan cheese. To help you make your way through the aisle with ease, learn what to look for when shopping for a plant-based cheese. Plus, get our picks for the best vegan cheeses.
What to Look for When Buying Vegan Cheese
Screen for Saturated Fat
While dairy-based cheese typically has at least 3 grams of saturated fat per serving, vegan cheese is often made with coconut oil and can have as much as 7 grams. Look for 6 grams or less per serving—ones made from nuts and seeds will primarily contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats—to help keep your saturated fat intake from exceeding 10% of your total daily calories.
Watch for Sodium
Cheese is inherently salty. Hard varieties, like Parmesan, are on the higher side, while cream cheese is on the lower. Aim for 260 milligrams or less of sodium per serving to help stay under 2,300mg a day.
Consider Calcium and Protein
Something to keep in mind: vegan cheese is usually low in protein and calcium compared to the dairy-based kind—so don't rely on it to fulfill those goals. Nut- and seed-based cheeses have the most protein while those made with starches and coconut oil have the least. As for calcium, some plant-based cheeses are fortified, but they often still have less than dairy versions.
Related: The 10 Best Vegan Protein Sources
5 Vegan Cheeses to Try
Best Vegan Cream Cheese
So Delicious Creamy Original Cream Cheese Style Spread
70 cal, 6g sat fat, 0g protein, 115mg sodium, 0mg calcium
Coconut oil makes this super-creamy spread look and feel just like the real thing (minus a little of the tang).
Best Soft Cheese
Treeline French Style Cheese Herb Garlic
90 cal, 1g sat fat, 3g protein, 90mg sodium, 10mg calcium
Best Vegan Mozzarella
80 cal, 5g sat fat, 190mg sodium, 0g protein, 0mg calcium
Don't be fooled by the drier-looking melt of this mozz— it's plenty gooey. Cheese pull, anyone?
Best Vegan Cheddar Cheese
Daiya Cheddar-Style Slices
60 cal, 4g sat fat, 0g protein, 170mg sodium, 140mg calcium
Best Pepper Jack
Field Roast Spicy Original Vegan Chao Slices
60 cal, 4g sat fat, 0g protein, 180mg sodium, 0mg calcium
Dotted with spicy pepper flecks, these creamy slices are good both cold and melted.
This article originally appeared in EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2022.