Is vegan cheddar cheese actually tastes like real cheddar? The reviews are usually mixed, in fact most people will be able to tell the difference if just eating the cheese. Frankly speaking, if you are looking for the exact same taste, it might disappoint you. However, it can be a great alternative for those looking to cut down on their dairy consumption or give veganism a try.
Also, it’s very much dependent on the type of vegan cheddar cheese you choose. Some brands may have a better taste than others, so it’s always good to try out different ones and find which one fits best for your taste. I’ll have some recommendations for you to try out as well, read below.
Vegan Cheddar — No Milk
Like many other cheeses, cheddar is made with milk, rennet enzyme and bacteria culture. And months of aging will give it the sharp savory taste that we all know and love. But without milk, vegan cheddar will obviously have a different taste. You can expect the flavor profile to be somewhat similar but distinguishable from the regular cheddar and the texture may not be as crumbly either (usually smoother).
Vegan cheddar cheese can be made using a variety of dairy-free ingredients such as soy proteins, vegetable oils, starches, nuts and spices, to mix with small amounts of various other ingredients such as flavorings, fibers, nutritional yeast, vitamins, gum thickener, and other food additives. The combination and twisting of these components result in a dairy-free cheese with a similar umami-like creamy taste right around the ballpark of real cheddar.
But you need to be aware that some of these vegan cheeses might contain wheat and gluten which are common allergens and might not be suitable for those with allergies. However, if you are lactose intolerant, vegan cheddar cheese is free from lactose since it doesn’t contain milk — even though many types of real cheddar are already quite low in lactose — read my previous post.
But it will not melt like regular cheddar
Vegan cheese lacks animal casein proteins, so it will not melt like regular cheddar. It may soften when heated but it won’t stretch, spread and ooze out like real cheese does. Still, vegan cheddar can be used in dishes that require melting such as lasagne, quesadillas or pizza.
As we can see. Not all of these vegan cheddars will melt, some holding shape, some browned, while others melted okay-ish depending on their ingredients. But they simply don’t go gooey or bubbly like regular dairy cheeses. That being said, certain products are created to melt better and will usually label as such.
Brands and Ingredients
Some of the popular vegan cheddar brands are 365 Whole Food market, Follow Your Heart, Tofutti, Daiya, Moocho, Violife, and So Delicious. I’ve compiled a table of vegan cheddar brands and their respective ingredients.
If you are looking for a vegan cheddar cheese that is closest to the taste and texture of real cheddar, I’d personally recommend 365 Whole Food Market Plant-Based Cheddar Slices. It’s on Amazon, this one. It has a very similar cheddar flavor profile and is reasonably close in terms of melting properties. But the downside is that it can be a little salty. Mashable has tested and compared it with American cheese in this video, the result turned out great.
Have you tested any of these brands, write down your opinion below.
If you’re OKAY with milk, maybe these vegetarian cheddar brands will work for you.