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Best Dairy-Free Cheeses

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Undoubtedly, one of the hardest dairy products to substitute in cooking is cheese. Some dairy-free cheeses taste great, but don't melt. Some melt, but don't stretch. And some honestly don't taste great at all. But after trying and tasting my way through many varieties, I've narrowed the selection down to what I feel are the 5 best dairy-free cheese substitutes on the market, taking into consideration overall flavor, creaminess, melt, and stretch.

NOTE: when buying dairy-free cheese, make sure the product is labeled Dairy-Free or Vegan; those labeled Non-Dairy or Lactose-Free may still contain dairy ingredients.

1. Daiya Mozza Shreds

Daiya Cheese Shreds
Daiya Cheese

For pizzas, strombolis, and baked pasta dishes, I have yet to find another dairy-free cheese that I like more than Daiya Mozza Shreds. It melts, it stretches, and it's flavor is balanced in savor and richness.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes for which I almost always choose Daiya:

  • Easy Skillet Pizzas
  • Gluten-Free Pizza
  • Vegan Broccoli Stromboli
  • 2. Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Cheddar

    © 2010 Ashley Skabar, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Follow Your Heart's Vegan Gourmet Cheddar Cheese Alternative is a dairy-free cheese that I prefer eating with crackers or using in baked dishes like dairy-free and vegan quiches. It doesn't stretch quite as much as traditional cheese, but it melts to creamy, delicious perfection, and it has one of the best flavors I've found in vegan cheeses.

    Here are a few dairy-free recipes that, for me, always call for Follow Your Heart:

  • Crustless Tomato Basil Quiche
  • Dairy-Free Crustless Spinach Quiche
  • Vegan Quiche
  • 3. Teese Cheddar Vegan Cheese

    © 2010 Ashley Skabar, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Teese Cheddar Vegan Cheese is hands-down my favorite store-bought dairy-free cheese for sandwiches, from panini to vegan grilled cheese sandwiches. With a punchy cheddar flavor and plenty of melt and stretch, it's so satisfying on a toasted sandwich.

    Here are two of my favorite dairy-free sandwiches that were made for Teese:

  • Dairy-Free Toasted Cheese, Peanut Butter and Apple Sandwiches
  • Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  • 4. Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese

    © 2008 Ashley Skabar, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    There is no other dairy-free cream cheese on the market that I adore more than Tofutti's Better Than Cream Cheese. I'm not kidding when I say that it tastes just like real cream cheese. In addition to using it as a spread for bagels and toast, it can be whipped up into some of the best dairy-free dips and vegan cheesecakes.

    Here are just a few dairy-free recipes that use Tofutti that you'll love:

  • Creamy Carrot Dip
  • Dairy-Free Cheesecake
  • Herbed Mushroom and Walnut Pate
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake
  • Strawberry Cheesecake Cups
  • Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake
  • 5. Homemade Dairy-Free Queso Cheese Dip

    © 2008 Ashley Skabar, licensed to About.com, Inc.
    I have yet to find a store-bought dairy-free cheese dip that I like, but until then, I love this Dairy-Free Queso Cheese Dip that I've been making for years. Great as a dip for crackers, chips or veggies, this recipe also makes a rich cheesy sauce for burrtitos and quesadillas.

    Here are a few more homemade dairy-free cheese dips and sauces I love:

  • Cheesy Sesame Sauce
  • Easy Dairy-Free Cheese Sauce
  • Herbed Dairy-Free Yogurt Cheese
  • Homemade Dairy-Free Brie Round
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    5. Techniques & Substitutions
    6. Dairy-Free Vegan Cheese (Top 5 Picks)

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