It wasn’t that long ago that if you asked for vegan cream cheese you’d have been laughed out of the store.
Alright, probably not laughed out, but you still wouldn’t have been able to buy any.
Nowadays, vegan cheese has become a booming market.
No longer the sad, rubbery cousin of dairy, vegan cheese is a product in its own right. Some of it’s even (whisper it) better than the non-vegan stuff.
So where do we stand on cream cheese? Vegan cream cheese has been off to a slower start than sliced cheese, but the market’s beginning to grow.
Manufacturers are starting to realize vegans want more on their bagels than just avocado. So, what of it is actually worth trying?
Best Vegan Cream Cheese
- Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
- Miyoko’s Creamery Organic
- Kite Hill
- Violife Just Like Cream Cheese
Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
The original and still the best on the market. Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese is thick, spreadable, and tasty.
It comes in three flavors: plain, herbs and chives, and garlic and herb. They also do a whipped option, although the original is pretty easy to whip.
The best thing to use Tofutti for is to spread it nice and thick onto a bagel and then get your teeth in. The original works well for baking, too.
The flavor is subtle, so it can be whipped into frosting, baked into mac and cheese, and even made into ice cream.
If you’ve found yourself missing cheesecakes since going vegan, give Tofutti a try.
Tofutti is widely available, which is another tick. Although vegan cream cheeses are growing in popularity, they can still be difficult to source.
Tofutti is popular enough to be found at most major supermarkets.
Miyoko’s Creamery Organic Vegan Cream Cheese
Miyoko’s cream cheese contains no oil, and only five-ingredients.
With a base of cashews and coconut cream, it’s like making it yourself without the hassle of making it yourself. There are three flavor options: plain, savory scallion, and fish free lox.
The reception to Miyoko’s has been pretty mixed. The organic, cultured cream cheese is sour and tastes slightly of coconut. It’s a matter of personal taste: some love it, some hate it.
The scallion option isn’t much better, as the scallion becomes overwhelmed by the sour taste. It’s a similar situation with the lox, with some people raving and others hating (although lox can be divisive anyway).
With Miyoko’s, the best advice is to try it yourself. It’s not for everyone, but if you like your cheese with some tang then this could be what you’re looking for.
Soy-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, and dairy-free, this coconut based cream cheese is also flavor free as well.
Okay, not quite, but the taste of the plain is subtle enough to be missed when paired with other ingredients.
It does, however, spread well. There’s no bad taste, per se, it’s just not a flavor you may ever find yourself craving.
It does come in other options: chive and onion, garden vegetable, and strawberry. The chive and onion is best, with strawberry as a close second.
Daiya is well known for their vegan cheese, so hopefully the plain can get a bit of a boost eventually. For now, stick with chive and onion.
An almond based option, Kite Hill cream cheese has really nailed the texture. Whipped to be light and airy, it spreads wonderfully.
Other than the plain, there’s chive, everything, and garden vegetable. The plain flavor is subtle, but pairs well with fruit.
The chive adds a bit of tang, and spreads great on a bagel. The only issue with the everything flavor and the garden vegetable is the additions mess up the smooth texture.
Plain is best, and can be experimented with for cooking.
It’s growing in popularity, but Kite Hill is harder to find than the other vegan cream cheese options. Try looking in Wholefoods, and be prepared for a higher price tag.
Violife Just Like Cream Cheese
One of the most popular brands of vegan cheese, Violife have branched out into the cream cheese market.
They offer plain, garlic and herbs, cheddar, and hot pepper flavor. Thick and creamy, these are one of the best available.
Violife comes very close to getting the exact texture of dairy-based cream cheese. The plain has the tang that can be lacking, without becoming overly sour. You can spread it on a bagel, but you can also mix it into a cheesecake. Even, perhaps, try baking with it.
The fan base for Violife’s cream cheese is fast growing. They’re eager to recruit people away from Tofutti, so give it a go and see if it’s worth the hype.
Make your own
It’s always going to be difficult for a dairy-free brand to make cream cheese. There’s more than just the taste, the texture is a huge part of it.
Getting those two things right, without needing an ingredients list that rolls off the tub, is almost an impossible task.
If you’re interested in making your own vegan cream cheese, there are lots of easy, and some difficult, recipes out there.
Be warned, many of them involve soaking raw cashews, and you need a really good food processor to get them smooth. You can also try making tofu based cream cheese, which is a slightly quicker option.
The advantage of making it at home is you can adjust the flavors and the textures to your taste. As long as you don’t go in expecting a perfectly matched cream cheese, it’s a fun process to try.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best vegan cream cheese?
Tofutti is the best out there, and the original. Violife and Kite Hill both make good options. Daiya cream cheese is a good texture but very subtly flavored.
Miyoko’s is too sour for some tastes.
Is vegan cream cheese good?
It can be, so long as you don’t expect an exact match to dairy-based cream cheese.
Vegan cream cheese is subtler in flavor, and some cultured options are sour.
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