As the popularity of veganism and dairy-free alternatives continues to rise, the search for the best vegan cheese that melts to creamy perfection has become a culinary quest. Vegan cheese options have multiplied, each promising to deliver the melty, savoury satisfaction we associate with traditional dairy cheese. However, not all vegan cheeses are created equal.
In this guide, we’ll explore the key factors to consider when choosing the best vegan cheese for melting. We’ll also highlight top-rated brands known for their texture, flavour, ingredients, and affordability. Additionally, we’ll delve into making your own homemade vegan melting cheese, providing recipes and tips for your culinary experiments.
Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or just curious about plant-based options, join us to discover the ultimate vegan cheeses, ensuring your dairy-free dishes are irresistibly delectable.
Criteria for Choosing the Best Vegan Cheese for Melting
When searching for the best vegan cheese for melting, it’s important to consider several factors that will contribute to a satisfying culinary experience. These factors include:
Texture and Meltability:
A top-quality melting vegan cheese should have a smooth and creamy texture when heated, melting evenly without becoming clumpy or grainy.
The ideal melting vegan cheese should offer a delightful cheese flavour that compliments your dishes, without leaving any undesirable aftertaste.
Ingredients and Health Considerations:
Look for vegan cheeses made from whole, plant-based ingredients, avoiding overly processed options. Ensure the cheese has minimal additives or preservatives and meets any specific dietary restrictions you may have.
Availability and Affordability:
Consider how readily available your chosen vegan cheese is in local stores or online. Additionally, compare the price to ensure it fits your budget without compromising quality.
8 Best Vegan Cheese for Melting
Let’s explore our top picks for the best vegan cheese for melting:
1. Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds:
Daiya’s Mozzarella Style Shreds are known for their excellent reliability, providing a stretchy and gooey texture when heated. They work wonderfully for dishes like pizzas, quesadillas, and casseroles. The flavour is mild and versatile, making it suitable for various recipes. These shreds are free from dairy, soy, and gluten, accommodating various dietary preferences and restrictions.
2. Applewood Smokey Cheese:
Applewood offers a delicious vegan alternative with its Smokey Cheese, known for adding a smoky and savoury dimension to your dishes. This cheese melts smoothly, making it perfect for grilled sandwiches and burgers. It’s an excellent choice for those looking to infuse their dishes with a rich, smoky taste without using dairy.
3. Violife Epic Mature Cheddar Cheese:
Violife’s Epic Mature Cheddar is a well-regarded vegan cheese known for its exceptional reliability. It provides a creamy consistency when melted, making it perfect for macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, or as a topping for baked potatoes. The mature cheddar flavour is robust, offering a satisfying cheesy experience.
4. Follow Your Heart Smoked Gouda:
Follow Your Heart’s Smoked Gouda is a delightful choice for those seeking traditional Gouda cheese’s smoky, creamy goodness. This vegan cheese option melts smoothly and is ideal for enhancing the flavour of sandwiches, burgers, or plant-based charcuterie boards. It adds a smoky twist to your favourite dishes without the need for dairy.
5. Sheese Mature Cheddar Style
Sheese’s Mature Cheddar Style vegan cheese is known for its rich cheddar flavour and excellent meltability. When heated, it achieves a smooth and creamy consistency, making it a versatile choice for various recipes. Whether you’re making cheesy sauces, grilled sandwiches, or baked dishes, this cheese offers a satisfying dairy-free alternative.
6. Green Vie Mozzarella Cheese Block
Green Vie’s Mozzarella Cheese Block is a popular option for those who prefer a block format for their melting needs. It melts well, resulting in a creamy texture that’s perfect for shredding over pizzas, pasta bakes, or salads. Its mild flavour complements a wide range of dishes without overpowering them.
7. Nush Cream Cheese-Style Spread
Nush Cream Cheese-Style Spread is an excellent choice if you’re searching for a vegan cream cheese that melts beautifully. While it’s primarily used as a spread for bagels and sandwiches, it can also add creaminess to pasta dishes or as a base for creamy sauces. Its smooth texture and mild flavour make it a versatile addition to your kitchen.
8. Violife Le Rond Camembert Flavour
Violife’s Le Rond Camembert Flavour is a unique vegan cheese that brings the taste and texture of Camembert to your dairy-free creations. While it doesn’t melt in the traditional sense like shredded cheeses, it can be baked to achieve a gooey, decadent centre that’s perfect for dipping or spreading. This cheese is a luxurious addition to vegan cheese boards and appetisers, offering a rich and creamy experience.
Whether you’re creating comfort food classics or experimenting with gourmet dishes, these selections provide excellent dairy-free alternatives.
Homemade Vegan Cheese Melting Options
Creating your own vegan cheese at home allows you to customise flavour, texture, and ingredients to your liking. Here are some homemade vegan cheese options that melt beautifully:
Make a creamy base by soaking cashews and blending them with nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, and seasonings. Adjust the consistency with water or plant-based milk. Customise it with herbs and spices.
Potato and Carrot Cheese Sauce:
Boil and blend potatoes and carrots with nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, and plant-based milk. This creates a rich cheese sauce perfect for mac and cheese or drizzling over vegetables.
Soak almonds and blend them with lemon juice, agar (a natural thickener), and salt. Heat to activate the agar agar and set it in moulds. Use it for grating or slicing on pizzas and sandwiches.
Blend extra-firm tofu with garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and olive oil. It’s a great filling for lasagna or a creamy layer in baked pasta dishes.
Mix plant-based cheeses with white wine, garlic, and cornstarch. Heat the mixture on the stove until it becomes smooth and gooey. Serve it as a dip with bread, veggies, or crackers.
Meltable Vegan Mozzarella:
Blend soaked cashews, tapioca starch, nutritional yeast, and spices with water. Cook until it thickens and becomes stretchy. This mozzarella is perfect for melting on pizzas, grilled cheese, or quesadillas.
Vegan Cheese Slices:
Blend soaked cashews, agar agar, nutritional yeast, and seasonings. Pour into moulds and refrigerate until firm. Use these cheese slices in sandwiches, burgers, or to melt over veggie patties.
In the quest for the best vegan cheese for melting, we’ve embarked on a flavourful journey. From stretchy mozzarella to smoky gouda, we’ve explored a variety of options that promise to elevate your plant-based culinary adventures.
Whether you choose one of the top-rated brands known for their meltability or opt for homemade vegan cheese creations, the possibilities are endless. With a world of vegan cheese at your fingertips, you can craft delicious, dairy-free versions of your favorite comfort foods.
So, whether you’re a seasoned vegan chef or just beginning your dairy-free journey, embrace the world of melting vegan cheeses, and let your culinary creativity soar. Your dishes will be filled with flavour, and your taste buds delighted, all without a hint of dairy. Enjoy the creamy, melty goodness, and savor every bite of your plant-based delights.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are All Vegan Cheeses Suitable For Melting?
No, not all vegan cheeses are created equal. Some are specifically formulated for melting, while others may not achieve the desired texture or consistency when heated.
How Do I Store And Handle Melting Vegan Cheese?
Most vegan cheeses should be stored in the refrigerator. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for handling and storage. When melting, use low to medium heat to avoid scorching or burning.
Can I Find Vegan Cheese For Melting In Regular Grocery Stores?
Many grocery stores now carry a variety of vegan cheese options, including those suitable for melting. However, availability may vary by location, so you might also explore online retailers and speciality stores.
Are Vegan Cheeses Healthier Than Dairy Cheese?
Vegan cheeses can be a healthier option for those looking to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol intake, but the healthiness can vary depending on the brand and ingredients. Always read labels to check for nutritional content.
Are There Vegan Cheese Options For Those With Dietary Restrictions?
Yes, vegan cheese alternatives are available for various dietary restrictions, such as soy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free options. Always check the product labels for allergen information.