Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread

$3.49 per 8-ounce tub

Reviewed by:
On February 3, 2015
Last modified:January 2, 2016


Daiya gets definite props for creating cheese alternatives like this one without any top allergens, in their dedicated facility. But the Plain falls a little short as a mimic - it is softer (but very spreadable) than traditional cream cheese with a tangy flavor that is sharper and takes a bit getting used to. That said, we've found that it works quite well in recipes (such as "cream cheese" frosting and even "stuffed" savories) - in fact, it might offer more punch than dairy.

I recently spotted Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread on sale at our local coop, and realized that I’d never reviewed it! Time to put that trial to rest.

Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread (Plain) - Deliciously Dairy-Free, Vegan, and Free of Top Allergens

Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread comes in three varieties: Plain, Strawberry and Chives & Onion. I was only able to get the Plain this time around, but will update this review when we sample the other two.

Upon opening, the Plain Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread looked appealing enough, and my knife spread through it with ease – almost too much ease for a cream cheese alternative. It is definitely softer than “the real deal”, but that does make it spread much more easily, even on non-heated items.

Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread (Plain) - Deliciously Dairy Free

When sampled atop an English muffin, the flavor of the Plain Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread was quite pronounced. It was much tangier than expected with lightly sweet undertones. It wasn’t bad, just a bit sharp and unbalanced, requiring a bit of getting used to. I think they are close, but the flavor needs some tweaking (either by ingredients or method) to help the flavors meld and mellow.

Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread (Plain) on an English Muffin - Deliciously Dairy Free

While I don’t think it will be my first choice for spreading, the slightly bolder flavor of the Plain Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread does hold significant promise for recipes. With other ingredients added, to bring it all together, I can see it excelling in sauces, stuffed mushrooms, shakes, and perhaps even frosting (update: it’s my new favorite for cream cheese frosting!).

Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread (Chive & Onion) - Deliciously Dairy-Free, Vegan, and Free of Top AllergensCurious, I checked the internet in search of other thoughts on the Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread. There seemed to be a consensus that the Plain is a bit too bold and slightly “off”, but I did see many kudos for the Strawberry and Chive & Onion flavors. It seems that just a couple additions do bring an appealing cohesiveness to this cheese alternative.

I also have to give a big shout out to all of the Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spreads for being top allergen-free (though, for those with peanut/legume concerns, they do contain pea protein). Yes, they are made in Daiya’s dedicated facility, and to date this is the only soy-free, dairy-free cream cheese alternative.

Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread (Strawberry) - Deliciously Dairy-Free, Vegan, and Free of Top AllergensDaiya is also very well distributed for a cheese alternative. It can be found at natural food stores (and even some mainstream grocers) throughout North America (they are a Canadian company), so it’s accessible in most cities.

Certifications: Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spreads are Certified Kosher Pareve. They are labeled as vegan and made without gluten, but did not show certifications for these at our time of review.

Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spreads are dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Nonetheless, check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.

For More Product Information: Visit the Daiya website at www.daiyafoods.com.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Thanks for the review. I haven’t tried the plain yet…but opted for the chive and onion. Just tried it on a bagel at first. I spread it on a warm, toasted bagel…and noticed the flavor of this too was a bit sharp and pronounced. ..only it wasn’t the chive or onion flavor I was expecting…but rather the undertones of the spread itself…was almost plastic tasting for lack of a better comparison. When I opened it it smelled wonderful and looked good…was expecting the taste to match…was a bit dissapointing. …I had a hunch that perhaps it would taste a bit better if it was spread on cold…..so I tried again with another toasted bagel…only let the bagel cool slightly first…..and yes! It was much better! Bo more funny aftertaste. 🙂 Happy experimenting!

  2. For some reason, this cheese does not react well with my dairy allergies. I think the ingredients say it has lactic acid for flavor, so beware if you are very sensitive. I had bad stomach pains and bloating 20 min or less after testing a few teaspoons ): very disappointed!! Cream cheese was one of my favorite things to eat and cook with before I developed an allergy 7 years ago ):

  3. I wish I had read your review prior to purchasing two containers of Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread, Alisa. I, too, think they need to tweak that tangy tartness. I bought one in plain and one in the chive & onion flavor. I tried both on bagels and I didn’t get through the bagel with the chive & onion flavor before I just gave up and tossed it. Since then, I’ve tried to put different flavors of Ms. Dash seasoning on the plain flavor such as Tomato Basil Garlic, Southwest Chipotle, and finally adding chopped sun-dried tomatoes in it to see if I can overcome that tangy tartness. None of those attempts worked. Just can’t get over that odd flavor. I won’t even give the chive & onion a second chance. I’m intrigued by the strawberry flavor but did not see that in the store. If I were to base it on the previous two Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread flavors I tried, I’d be foolish to try a 3rd. If anyone wants the two open containers in my fridge, I’d probably even pay for postage as I hate to see something go to waste…but I ain’t gonna eat it! There are plenty of other non-intrusive flavored non-dairy cream cheese substitutes out there that I don’t mind eating.

    • I hear you Adrian! If you still have some left, I would definitely try the plain in a dessert (like frosting) as that seems to make it work better. For the chive and onion, baked into something it adds flavor without overpowering. I agree that just on bagels, it wasn’t the best.

      • Thanks Alisa! Great ideas on uses for the remainder of the spread. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that found that it taste a little different.

      • i tried mixing it in a buffalo chicken dip (chicken & wing sauce )- it was a big fail- the taste is just bad and i agree with the plastic-y taste too. i’m now terrified of the flavors, experimenting with the different brands in PLAIN, wish i had trusted my instinct and started there…

        • Yes, we really didn’t find that it worked well on its own or in savories. If you have leftovers, I would use it in a sweet application – that seems to work much better with the Daiya. As for your buffalo dip – if you can do soy, I would try the Go Veggie Vegan or Kite Hill (very pricey though!). Those two should yield better results based on our trials.

  4. I loved it! And I honestly didn’t find it tasted much different than ‘real’ cream cheese. It was creamy and spread well. Had it on top of a bagel, was amazing! (Had the plain)
    I’ll definitely be making some great goodies out of it. I wonder how it would react to being heated to make an Alfredo sauce… May have to try that! Mmmmm…

  5. I haven’t had regular cream cheese in years, so for me there was no recent comparison to worry about and the Daiya Cream Cheese tasted pretty good. I liked the tart flavor and it went well with some hearty crackers. I shared it with some lactose intolerant friends and they liked it spread on scones. Then I made a vegan cheesecake using one of the recipes on the Daiya web site and that was a HUGE hit. Nice and creamy and the tangy flavor went well with the lemon and coconut. So, I thought it was a great product for folks who miss cream cheese desserts but can’t eat them due to lactose issues.

    • Thanks for your feedback Kimberly, it does seem to go really well in sweets! They actually have new Daiya cheezecakes out now, too! I’ll be reviewing those soon.

  6. I use this cream cheese for cupcakes, even adults can’t taste the difference. I have also used it in sausage balls my little boy who is 4 loves it!

  7. I used this product to make the cream cheese frosting for a carrot cake. I tried it out of the container and thought it tasted a bit “off” from regular cream cheese…but let me tell you…. Did it make an amazing cream cheese frosting! Wow! A total hit!!!!!

  8. I used cream cheese a lot before I became vegan so the Daiya was one of the first things I tried afterwards. I found it much too sweet. I ruined a recipe of olive/cream cheese spread (thought my son and I were going to throw up) and then tried it with pineapple which was one of our favorites–not any better. I have not tried their strawberry. I agree with you, the flavor needs work. I suppose it might be ok in cheese cake, but I don’t eat that.

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