There are many popular brands of vegan cheeses, in shredded, spreadable, and sliced varieties. As more and more people begin to question their dietary choices and resolve to eat healthier for their own sake and for the sake of the environment, these brands become more plentiful and present in your local grocery store. Vegan cream cheese is still a bit of an afterthought, with fewer brands offering it. However, we have the top five best-tasting brands here, plus a simple recipe you can use to make dairy-free cream cheese at home in your own food processor.
Why Eat Vegan?
Vegan recipes are gaining popularity even among non-vegan eaters, such as those with allergies or sensitivities who need dairy-free or gluten-free options. The vegan diet is also embraced by athletes, bodybuilders, and Olympians. However, those who choose a fully vegan lifestyle are likely making a moral choice that helps take their money and consumer choices out of factory farm practices. Whatever causes you to seek out vegan foods, you'll find nothing but positive results.
What Is Vegan Cream Cheese?
The texture of cream cheese is right there in the name: creamy. Food manufacturers use a few common staples to get a passable non-dairy cream cheese out of vegan and veggie sources. Vegan cream cheese can be made from cashews, coconuts, soy, and almond milk, then used to make all the recipes you love, including no-bake vegan cheesecake, cream cheese frosting for cakes and desserts, or a rich bagel schmear.
The Top 5 Best Vegan Cream Cheese Brands
Here are the best-tasting vegan cream cheese brands, made in five different ways.
The light flavor of Kite Hill's cream cheese is thanks to artisan almond milk. Light and with a whipped texture, Kite Hill cream cheese is tasty enough to be enjoyed without any extra flavoring or accompaniment, and spreadable enough for crackers or as a veggie dip. Fair warning: it's a bit pricey down at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.
You can even use natural food dyes to make a colorful cream cheese frosting for cupcakes, a birthday cake, or the fun and healthy unicorn or mermaid toast, which is regular toast with cream cheese that's been mixed with spirulina, beet juice, turmeric powder, or blueberry juice. By mixing vegan cream cheese with these superfood additives, you get a beautifully creative nutritious snack.
Much thicker than Kite Hill's vegan cream cheese, Tofutti's Better Than Cream Cheese is made from soy and extremely versatile for including in various recipes. Creamy macaroni and cheese, queso, cheesecake, smooth ice cream, cream cheese frosting, you name it, and Tofutti brand vegan cream cheese can stand in for the original. Enjoy carrot cake and red velvet muffins the way they were meant to be tasted.
Daiya is one of the most ubiquitous and popular vegan brands, perhaps best loved for its shredded cheese varieties. They also have cream "cheeze" options made from coconut, with velvety textures and a much more affordable price. These cream cheeses also come in unique flavors, including Strawberry, Chive & Onion, Garden Vegetable, and Plain. The Plain version is a tad flavorless in comparison to the others, but all the better for you to add your own tasty twist, from vanilla extract to garlic and more.
With flavors like Plain, Scallion, and vegan Un-Lox Your Dreams without the fish (vegetable juice lends the pink coloring and seaweed the seafood-y taste), Miyoko's Creamery has classic cream cheese options made from organic cashews, coconut cream, sea salt, and natural cultures, all derived from non-GMO ingredients and free of lactose, gluten, cholesterol, and soy.
The cream cheese option from Follow Your Heart is made using faba bean protein, organic coconut oil, and corn starch. Originally made with soy, this brand has phased out soy for an allergen-free option that's perfect for enjoying on loaded baked potatoes, over bagels, in nacho cheese dips and cheesecakes, wherever you want it.
Homemade Vegan Cream Cheese Recipe
Homemade vegan cream cheese should have a prep time equal to its total time of just 10 minutes and is easily made with cashews.
You'll have to soak raw cashews for a few hours, adding lemon juice, salt, and any other flavors or add-ins you want (like onion powder, nutritional yeast, sun-dried tomatoes, jalapeños, or chives), and pulsing that mixture in your food processor until it's all well-blended.
As a condiment, homemade vegan cream cheese is good for the better part of the workweek in the fridge, and it can freeze safely for up to 2 months.
Just as is true for non-dairy yogurt and sour cream, cream cheese is a treat you don't have to give up to stay vegan.
Vegan Cream Cheese with Ease
If you like making your own vegan delights, there are recipes galore for vegan cream cheese, easily made in your own Vitamix food processor. If you want even easier cream cheese options, there are plenty of brands out there ready to feed that need. Shop around until you find the right flavor, consistency, and base ingredients to suit your vegan food requirements, and enjoy all the classic cream cheese dishes without letting dairy into your diet.