The best vegan cheeses: rated

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Ali Ryland discusses the results of the great Vegan Society cheese tasting event, demonstrating which vegan cheeses came out on top for price, accessibility, taste and 'meltability'. 

At The Vegan Society, we were lucky enough to have a mammoth vegan cheese tasting event, the fabled kind that many vegans dream about. Thanks to our wonderful Vegan Trademark holders, we received over 33 types of cheese – only one of our staff members managed to try them all. Too much cheese data

Armed with scorecards, dips and tortilla chips (alongside cocktail sticks, olives, pickled onions, crackers and bread) we got to work. Stories are sure to be written of our arduous trial, but we all made a valiant effort to eat as much as humanly possible. And yet, the hardest part for me wasn’t the eating, or the scoring – it was dealing with all that cheese data at the end.

But what I did learn from the reams and reams of scorecards is that our taste buds tickle us all in different ways. For example, there were a few instances of one person scoring a cheese as 3/10, while another gave the same one a 9. Now isn’t that intriguing? Some love milder tastes while others prefer cheese with a kick. And across the board, melted cheeses generally performed better than cold – which isn’t surprising given how temperature can change tastes drastically. 

Our taste test covered 5 different areas: taste (shockingly!), texture, meltyness (if applicable), closeness to dairy counterpart and ease of use. Two cheeses stood out as joint winners, but it is important to consider other variables too, such as price and availability. 

Read on to learn who the overall winners of the taste test were, and which cheeses performed best in our six additional categories. If you've still not found your favourite, why not head to a local vegan fair and sample the smaller companies' offerings? Don't forget, you can also make your own.


 

No-Moo Mild-AromaticVegusto No-Moo Mild-Aromatic – Winner in our ‘Best one to give to non-vegan friends’ category

Scoring a whopping 10/10 for taste and achieving joint first place in the overall tasting, these Swiss cashew nut cheeses are guaranteed to impress your mates. The only downside to this cheese is that it does not melt well; Vegusto do produce a melty version, but it’s really only practical for toasties and sauces. It also comes with a relatively hefty price tag – but hey, you don’t need to impress friends and family ALL the time, right?

Where to buy:  Vegusto have suppliers in online and health food shops in AustraliaItalySwitzerland, SwedenUK, France and Germany; they are also currently looking for country partners


 

Cheezly White Cheddar Style in sandwichesCheezly white cheddar style – Winner in our ‘best value and availability in the UK’ category

Scoring consistently well in melty and cold, Cheezly white cheddar style is the perfect everyday cheese that won’t break the bank. It’s a mere £2.19 from VBites’ online store, but you can often find a better deal online, and it is even cheaper in some health food shops and Morrison Supermarkets. The best thing is that Cheezly is supplied in just about every Holland & Barrett’s, which makes it perfect for the high street shopper.

Where to buy: Cheezly is found online and in health food/vegan stores in Australia, UK and in many countries in the rest of Europe, including France, SpainGermany and Sweden. Unfortunately Cheezly no longer has a supplier in the US, but you could instead try…


 

Follow Your Heart Mozzarella Shreds – Winner in our ‘best value and availability in the US’ category

A smooth mozzarella (that reminded us of Daiya’s Mozzarella shreds) with pretty re-sealable packaging makes these shreds ideal for the busy consumer. Not only that, but it’s found in Whole Foods Markets and other vegan-friendly stores across the US, costing less than $5 for a 10oz (285g) package.

Where to buy: Follow Your Heart has suppliers online and in vegan and wholefood shops in Germany, UK, Mexico and US. Want it in your store? You could always ask the manager to supply Follow Your Heart products, which also include yummy blue cheese salad dressings and mayo.


 

Sheese Melty Smoked Cheddar Style– Winner in our ‘best all-rounder’ category

This melty version of the classic smoked block is what crowns Melty Smoked Cheddar Style as the best all-rounder cheese – it tastes great on its own, in a sandwich or melted on pizza, pasta and nachos. Ranking third in our taste test, it’s a definite favourite among our staff. If you’re not a fan of smoked cheeses, you should try Sheese Melty Strong Cheddar Style instead.

Where to buy: Sheese is stocked online and in health food stores across the UK, as well as in Sainsburys and Tesco for a mere £2.25. Note that Tesco packages Sheese Melty Smoked Cheddar Style as ‘Tesco Free From Soya Smoked’. We urge you to try their newer feta alternative which may even be better than smoked, found in Sainsburys as 'FreeFrom Greek-style', as well as their vegan Wensleydale with cranberries and caramelised onion. Sheese also has suppliers all over the world.


 

Violife Creamy OriginalViolife Creamy Original – Winner in our ‘best spread’ category

Dubbed ‘great for kids’, this spread really captures the creamy essence of Philadelphia, without the unnecessary dairy. Ranking second place in our taste test (though closely followed by Original Creamy Sheese) this one could just as easily be broken out as a dip at parties as put in the kids’ lunch boxes.

Where to buy: Violife's spreads and cheeses can be affordably found online and in health food shops as well as in many ASDA, Morrisons and Tesco supermarkets across the UK. They also have suppliers all across the world.


 

Wilmersburger Pizza ShredsWilmersburger Pizza Shreds –Winner in our ‘best melter’ category

While we tested our pizza shreds on nachos to great success, I can also confirm that they are similarly superb for pizza. Yes, getting home and making pizza was a sacrifice I was willing to make in order to perfect this review – I’m just that dedicated. The textured stretch that is often missing from vegan cheese is there, reminiscent of Daiya or Violife for Pizza. But the great, cheesy taste seen across Wilmersburger’s range is not lost, while the pre-shredded cheese is a god-send. It’s no wonder that these shreds (alongside Vegusto’s No-Moo Mild-Aromatic) scored the highest mark overall. It’s fairly affordable on the continent too, at €3-3.50 for a 250g bag in Germany, or £3.80 in the UK.

Where to buy: In the UK, you can order Wilmersburger from Vx, or pick it up from their store in London. You can find online suppliers throughout the rest of Europe here, and well as suppliers in many stores here

Wilmersburger are also interested in finding suppliers in the US to import Wilmersburger – contact them if you could be that supplier.


 

The raw stats

Now that all the boring stuff is out of the way, I thought I'd just leave these here for the vegan cheese nerds. These tables contain the averages of Vegan Society staff scores to the nearest 0.5. Exciting stuff. At least I think so.

Melty Category

Spread Category

Cold Category

By Ali Ryland

What's your favourite vegan cheese? Let us know in the comments what it is, and in what country you can get your hands on it. You can also search for our Trademarked cheeses here.

If you'd like to search for more vegan companies and products in your area, check out our Vegan Trademark search.

Comments

There is also a small manufacturer of hand-made nut cheeses in Cuxhaven/Germany. It is called Happy Cheeze. The products are mainly made of cashews and are superb. Because it is all hand-made there is only a batch production and therefore the products are still very expensive but worth every euro to my mind. They recently finished a Kickstarter campaign successfully to gather money for bigger production environment and the new Cheeze called Happy White. I was lucky to order two of these (it is like the French Camembert and as far as I can remember it is better than the original from France). All in all, if you are in Cuxhaven/Germany or if you have any other chance to try it, you must do it. ;)

Hi Lars, thank you for pointing this out! Seems to be something like an "Insider Tip" so far, possibly the first European Artisan Vegan Cheese sold on a wider scale. Too bad I hear that 2 weeks after coming back to Asia from Austria... It should be available in all the VEGANZ shops in Germany and Austria, maybe inquire with the UK branch whether they can get it.

Did you test Diaya Cheese? They are the best! Also some do not like soy in their cheese. Daiya cheese does not contain soy.

There is a Vegan Cheese in Sweden. It is called Jeezly Pizza Perfect from astrid och aporna and it beats the melting of the Wilmersburger and the taste of anything else! It tastes like something between German Butterkäse and Gouda! Heavenly, but so hard to get. I would spend a fortune, on getting it here!

You need to test-drive Tyne Chease - artisanal cultured, 100% plant based, organic, gluten free, nut based cheases made in the north east of England and available online at www.tynechease.com. Totally delicious.

Thank you for doing this great test, however, I must inquite whether the Vegusto "Strong taste / Rezent / Piquant" was also part of the test (and did not make it to a top score) or whether it was not included? To me, it is, hands-down, the best option for people who like strong tasting cheese.

Nope we had two Vegusto samples, Melty and Aromatic.

definitely the best cheese! Have given this cheese to many people who are not vegan,and they all think this is the nearest equivalent to 'real' cheese.No-one ever liked the 'Scheeze' varieties(including myself,actually)

I did not find this article helpful as the cheeses are not available in the U.S.

Follow Your Heart is available across the US as the category indicates, and sometimes you can find Sheese too! However all the manufacturers of the rest would be happy to sell to the US if you know someone who would be interested in importing them.

Hello - i'm opening a vegan cheese shop and was wondering if you know which of the cheeses you tried, are also being sold in the US? We have great vegan cheeses but would love to bring some "European flair" to my shop.

Follow Your Heart is a US brand so don't pick that one! All the European manufacturers would be happy to sell to the US if you wish to import them, just get in contact with them directly via their websites as linked on the article.

This might not be the right place to raise this subject but isn't the whole idea of vegan 'cheese' a bit odd? Like vegan 'bacon' or vegan 'chicken nuggets'? David

Vegan cheese is a great accompaniment to meals, and on pizza, etc. This way vegans can enjoy their favourite dishes from before they went vegan. We hope that vegan replacements will become so normalised that they won't be the replacements, but the norm.

I'm so pleased to see Vegusto Aromatic get the praise it deserves! A few of my other favourites: tofutti Better than Cream Cheese, Scheese Blue Cheese, Tesco smoked soya cheese. Thanks for this.

I made a very nice cream cheese using soy based yoghurt. I simply strained it for 24 hours through a fine sieve, lined with kitchen paper. Then added a very little salt. Herbs are nice in it too.

Sheese Hickory smoked and cheddar styles are my definite favourites, though I do like Cheezly too. And both are readily available in Ireland, yay :) And what's wrong with vegans liking to find similar products that they enjoyed from before they were vegan? I don't see why anyone has an issue with this! Very strange :)

I can't say I have tasted many vegan kinds of cheese, but the ones I had from Miyoko's kitchen (http://miyokoskitchen.com/products-miyoko/) sent me straight to heaven. Looking at the various contestants above, I don't think any of them can compete, really.

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