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