We receive so many inquiries about dairy-free “cheese” that it seemed about time we put up a comparison review of the most popular brands. Each of the vegan soy cheese brands tested are dairy-free (that means casein-free, lactose-free, whey-free, etc.), gluten-free, and vegan. This review and comparison is from the popular vegan restaurant reviewer, quarrygirl.com (alas, she is no longer posting reviews, but this one lives on!).
Note: Since this original review and comparison, Daiya, a soy-free vegan cheese alternative, arrived on the scene. Quarrygirl gives Daiya very high marks (just below Cheezly). It is available at natural food stores and some major grocers throughout the U.S. This is just a review nad comparison of the vegan soy-based cheese alternatives on the market.
We took all the top retail vegan soy cheese brands and put them to the test in the ultimate vegan pizza contest. the soy cheese contenders consisted of all the big names: Follow Your Heart, Sheese, Cheezly and Teese. We ordered them all online at veganessentials.com and sampled each of them on a standard, basic, homemade vegan pizza crust.
Let’s start off by defining the rating system. We will determine the absolute best vegan soy cheese by evaluating them based upon 5 very simple criteria: taste uncooked, taste cooked, meltyness, value, and availability. The ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best of the best of the best.
Teese Vegan Soy Cheese Alternative
From the ordering website: “Teese is the first dairy-free and casein-free cheese that melts and tastes like a real dairy cheese. Teese is crafted through a proprietary process by certified “Teesemakers” to taste just like artisanal cheese. Teese promises to deliver the taste and melt non-dairy connoisseurs have sought for years”
taste uncooked: The taste raw is definitely sour. Cheese-like, but weird, wet and waxy. 3 out of 5 (see note below)
taste cooked: Pretty close to real cheese, I’ll take it! 4 out of 5
meltyness: Teese’s melt factor was insane! we threw this pizza in the oven, and when it came out, the cheese on top was a pinkish SOUP. I have tried a few times subsequently, and it seems that teese cheese always turns into pink mush. I found if you let it cool for about 10 minutes, the pink teese soup turns into a decent edible pizza cheese, thus ultimately warranting a 3 out of 5 (see note below)
value: Teese is $7.49 for 16 oz, that works out to $0.47/oz. 4 out of 5
availability: not sold in my area, but always available online. 4 out of 5
NOTE: Teese has come out with a new and improved version that quarrygirl rated as “vastly superior” to the version in this review. It is now very stretchy rather than soupy, has a better taste when raw, and has moved up the ranks to just below Cheezly.
Sheese Vegan Soy Cheese Alternative
From the ordering website: “Imported from Scotland, Sheese is a delicious alternative to dairy-based cheese that’s firm in texture and is by far the best eat-straight-from-the-package vegan cheese we’ve ever tried. It can also be used in many recipes, too – it takes a bit longer to melt than other vegan cheeses due to the firmness, but it works extremely well in just about any recipe you use.”
taste uncooked: Oddly enough, this stuff grated beautifully, but it tasted like ice cream! There wasn’t a sour raw flavor to it, instead something oddly vanilla or cake-like. 3 out of 5
taste cooked: When cooked, the vanilla taste of sheese was not so prominent. It was still a tad too sugary, but had definite hints of mozzarella. 4 out of 5
melty-ness: Sheese just straight up refuses to melt. You can see that the grated shreds just sit there, after 45 minutes in the oven, totally refusing to budge. 1 out of 5
value: Sheese typically costs 8.69 for an 8 oz package. This equates to $1.08/oz. 2 out of 5
availability: While Sheese soy cheese alternative isn’t available at your typical whole foods, it’s pretty easy to find. Grab it online at veganessentials or one of the many vegan specialty internet grocers. 4 out of 5
Follow your Heart / Vegan Gourmet Soy Cheese Alternative
From the ordering website: “Hailed as the best American-made vegan cheese, Vegan Gourmet melts beautifully and has a delicious, authentic cheese flavor. Perfect for topping pizzas, pastas, Mexican dishes, or shredded plain in salads!”
taste uncooked: Edible but not great. The shreds were wet and waxy and a slight taste of chemicals. 2 out of 5
taste cooked: When on homemade pizza, Follow Your Heart still has a strange taste. While not as prominent as when raw, there is a definitely chemical flavor. 3 out of 5.
meltyness: Follow your heart cheese melts sometimes; and in my experience, even after a round in the oven, it needs some microwave love to get it melted. Plus, it started falling off the pizza in big clumps. 3 out of 5
value: Vegan Gourmet soy cheese alternative does very well in this category. It is a mere $4.69 for a 10 oz package, putting it at a shocking $0.47/oz! 4 out of 5
availability: Finally, Follow Your Heart’s reach is just as impressive as its price tag. i find it in basically every whole foods, and even some ralph’s outlets. i’m in LA, so i can’t speak for the rest of the country, but here the availability is 5 out of 5
Cheezly Vegan Soy Cheese Alternative
From the ordering website: “Cheezly is simply incredible and must be tasted to be believed. We’ve never used a vegan cheese that melts this well AND tastes so much like real dairy cheese! Ideal for pizzas, quesadillas, pastas, grilled cheese sandwiches- anything you can imagine melting cheese onto or into!”
taste uncooked: Cheezly tasted pretty darn good raw. It was firm, chewy and slightly sour. Pretty impressive. 4 out of 5
taste cooked: The taste of the cheezly on a pizza was absolutely delicious. It was salty, cheesy, milky, and probably the best tasting fake cheese I’ve ever had. 5 out of 5
meltyness: Cheezly’s melt factor was awesome. Pretty much like real cheese. 4 out of 5
value: When it’s not on sale, cheezly will run you $8.95 for 6.7 oz, that’s $1.34/oz! Whoa!! Pretty pricey. 1 out of 5
availability: Cheezly is harder to find in the U.S. and usually must be ordered online. 4 out of 5
Now, for the results!
In the end, Teese and Cheezly tied for the win with 18 points! follow your heart was right behind with 17 points, and sheese coming in last with 14 points.
Even though Teese scored the same number of points, Cheezly will always be the winner in my book. cheezly won most of its points on pure taste, but fell behind because it’s 3 times the price of teese. so if you don’t mind paying extra, go with Cheezly. in my opinion, it is the best tasting vegan cheese.
This is a third party review from quarrygirl.com, reprinted with permissions. To find out more about these products and where to purchase, see the respective links within the review above.
I was trying to purchase the Cheezly and could not find where to buy it online. I will look in my health food stores but I have yet to find it. The link you have doesn’t go anywhere and I am brand new to finding out about my casein allergy and so I want the closest taste I can get. Where can I find that?
Thank you – the company rebranded from Redwood to Vbites – I’ve updated the link. To the best of my knowledge, they discontinued exporting Cheezly to North America, but it is still sold in the UK.
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Just an FYI Daiya cheese and pizza do not mix well, since dx with the alpha gal allergy I have yet to find a cheese that is comparable to the real thing. This is the first i’m hearing about teese cheese and will give it a wirl.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this alpha girl! I’m going to be posting several cheese reviews in the next few months, so keep your eyes on our site and I welcome your thoughts on the reviews, too!
Daiya took a little while to get used to but I actually really like it on pizza now. My husband recently made a pizza with Teese and I thought it was great and almost tasted like real cheese and wasn’t nearly as sticky as Daiya which is a real plus when you’re feeding a 2 yr old. Cleaning him after eating Daiya is like cleaning glue off his hands and it gets all in between his fingers and stinks.
great website and article!
I tried Daiya several times on homemade pizza and I’ve never thought of it too fondly. I think I’ll have to learn how to make homemade cheese! I might try “Teese” and see.
The Cheezly you get in the UK sounds nothing like the one you’ve reviewed. I wonder how much the recipe varies, because I had to throw mine to the pigeons (who loved it) because it tasted like I’d just grated dried potato onto my pizza – ick. Never again.
For me daiya and teese are unbeatable; love the taste of both.
I emailed the VeganEssentials.com people. I haven’t tried the cheezly product yet but I intend to. The response I received said that the product ships out of Wisconsin in cold bags (to keep the cheese cold and to prevent spoilage) for shipping. For those that choose not to have items shipped in cold bags, the company doesn’t accept the responsibility of how the product arrives.
i’ve tried daiya and it is not consistent- sometimes good, sometimes horrid! plus i really need dairy-free/vegan. i don’t see cheezly or nutty cow for sale in any store in my area (west central florida) and i’ve looked online to order cheezly and nutty cow but can’t find anywhere to order from in the U.S…. if anyone can please post a website i can order both or one at, it would be greatly appreciated~ i miss pizza with cheese & grilled cheese!!!
Stef, vegan essentials sells the most dairy-free/vegan cheese alternatives online that I’ve seen – http://store.veganessentials.com/cheese-alternatives-c6.aspx. They used to sell Cheezly, but it may be out of stock.
I’ve been vegan for 3 years and I have to say I absolutely LOVE NuttyCow cheese spreads! They’re so easy to use when making lasagnas and they’re a healthy dairy-free alternative. NuttyCow has the best vegan ricotta cheese I’ve ever had. Definitely a recommendation for everyone 🙂
That is a good brand! You might be interested in sharing your thoughts on our review of the product Aimee – http://www.godairyfree.org/product-reviews/ricotta-nutty-cow-cheese.
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I am looking for a cheese that is free of dairy, soya, corn, gluten, egg.
Try “shreds” from Daiya.
Daiya cheese is not corn free. It contains corn derivatives (xanthan gum and citric acid) which is not suitable for those with corn allergies.
I love Daiya Cheese. It has a really nice taste and melts well.
i disagree its horror and no way near regular pizza. As I said below I want something that tastes good and can be edible during lent. I tried the best soy pizza in Greece. At least there they always something for those on lent. Here in NY no one fasts so they don’t take it into consideration. Talking about Soy by the way, i know soy is good for you, just not too much. All those old people told me they had a lot of soy in their diet and they didn’t suffer hot flashes during menapause interesting eh?
Another contender you should try is Galaxy Foods vegan mozzarella (has no casein, I checked).
The first time I tried it, it tasted good but I wrote it off because it did not melt in the toaster oven, which is how I bake my whole wheat pita pizzas. But it says it’s melty, so I figured I’d experiment a bit. I microwaved the pizza for 1:30 and it melted the cheese, then I toasted for one cycle. It ended up being excellent.
I tried daiya and it was absolutely the worst thing I’ve ever tasted in my life. I’m not even exaggerating. It tasted like vomit, and it smelled like vomit. It melted pretty well, but I couldn’t even swallow the stuff and I was sick for a couple of days.
I’m definitely going to give Cheezly a try. I’m not a huge cheese fan but I do miss my cheese pizzas. I don’t mind the price so much since it’s only a special-occasion treat. Now there’s just the matter of where to order it…
I agree with you. its disgusting and it really makes you feel deprived of the real thing but because I’m on lent I want to have vegan pizza. I had the most tastiest soy pizza in Volos Greece on Holy Thursday at a friends house. I told her to please let me know where it is. She lives in another city now. but I want my mom to taste it. Its so good , you feel guilty that is so good like as though
your not fasting.
By the way, this is a GREAT blog!
Are there ANY dairy free SOY free cheeses? My son can’t have either and I have to make his gluten-free pizzas without any sort of cheese at all, which is just sad. Help?
Shannon, give Daiya Shreds and Galaxy Vegan Shreds a trial. Both are allergy-friendly and soy-free!
Where can you find dairy free cheese
Natural food stores, many traditional grocers, and on websites such as veganessentials.com for shipment.
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