Whether you are looking for Dairy Alternatives because you’re newly vegan, plant based, have an allergy, etc etc…. we’re going to give you our BEST of the bunch! In 2012 when I gave up dairy for my new vegan lifestyle, I had one cheese brand, one butter brand and one sour cream/cream cheese brand.
All of you newly looking to go dairy free are in luck in 2020, although with SO many options, it can be very overwhelming which is why we have created the, “Best Of,” list! We cover everything from non-dairy milks to the best cheese for a grilled cheese!
Please be aware, these alternatives are NOT going to taste EXACTLY as you remember your dairy version to taste like. If you go in to it with fresh eyes and taste buds thinking, “hey, I’m just trying something new,” you can absolutely find ones you will like.
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The Best Of Dairy Alternatives, 2020 Edition
You will find the MOST options to choose from in the Non-Dairy Milk category. I will say this is VERY personal. You may want to try a few to decide which is best for your taste buds. Here’s why…
Non-dairy milks can vary greatly in price, creaminess and sweetness. On one hand, there are three highly touted brands, Milkadamia, Oatly and Ripple. I would say in the highest rankings, these top our list of taste and creaminess. On the other hand, they are the most expensive.
Because of expense, we tend to purchase Silk Unsweetened Soy Milk(Jen’s Pick) and Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk(Ryan’s Pick) the MOST. We will purchase one of the others if they are on sale.
This one is Ryan’s department. I’m not much of a chocolate milk drinker; however, I will say I did take a couple sips of our Non-Dairy Chocolate Milk pick because it’s GOOD! …and for those of you wanting a higher protein milk, this one is for you! Ripple Chocolate Milk
If you were used to a salted butter, Earth Balance‘s Original will be your pick. It’s the most used butter in our house. We also LOVE Miyokos. It is considered a European style butter and has the most incredible taste. This is the kind of butter you want for a meal that it’s going on top of, not in–if that makes sense. It needs to be “presented” …on toast or a muffin for example, as it is much more expensive. Country Crock and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter also have Vegan/Plant Based options.
Dairy Free Ice Cream’s have come A LONG way! It has probably grown the most at of the dairy alternatives over the last couple years. There are many options so I will give you the brands we buy the most. ..and for fun, our favorite flavors.
- Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy
- Jen: Caramel Almond Brittle, Cinnamon Buns & Cherry Garcia
- Ryan: Chocolate Fudge Brownie and P.B. & Cookies
- Revolution Gelato (an incredible local Atlanta brand)
- Jen: Cardamom Spice
- Ryan: Darkest Chocolate
- So Delicious
- Jen: Peachy Maple Pecan
- Ryan: Snickerdoodle & Dark Chocolate Truffle
- Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
- Jen: Roasted Peanut Butter & Strawberry Jam. (–>Link to a review I did on this one in March 2019)
I actually make my cream cheese more often than I buy it but that doesn’t mean we don’t love a vegan cream cheese and have had our fair share of trying them. Kite Hill and Miyokos are the winners in the cream cheese department! They each have a few different flavors if you can find them.
Sour Cream has oddly been the one I cannot find a go-to alternative so I did some research and am giving you the one I am finding people seem to like the most. I am hearing Krogers’ new Plant Based Sour Cream is dead on for taste and is affordable. Once we try it out, I will report back & let you know!
Of all the yogurts we have tried, Kite Hill Almond Milk Yogurt tops our list! We love it by itself or mixed with a vegan granola. Silk Soymilk and So Delicious brands are up there as well. This is another arena that is getting very popular so pick a couple out and see which you like the best.
Oh boy. There are SO many ways to use cheese and reasons to use cheese.
We’re going to make this one last & will break it down for ya!
Spreadable Cheese (for crackers & cheese)
My number 1 go-to for a night of crackers, cheese & wine is Miyokos Classic Double Cream Chive or Treeline‘s Cracked Pepper or Scallion. If you are creating a Cheese Board, I would also include Miyokos Smoked English Farmhouse, Violife Feta(cut in to cubes) and Daiya’s Block Cheeses(cut in to cubes)
Last year we did a Vegan Grilled Cheese taste test. It was supposed to make it to our YouTube Channel but never made it out production(ha!). Our pick for your most classic American Grilled Cheese Sandwich is Follow Your Heart’s American Cheese. YUM! And if you are wanting to mix it up, we also really liked Follow Your Heart’s Smoked Gouda and Chao’s Tomato Cayenne.
We are very picky on this one! Our favorite pre-shredded dairy free cheese is Violife’s Grated Mozzarella. For a cheddar, I prefer to shred the Daiya Medium Cheddar Block Cheese myself. But will also use Daiya’s Cutting Board cheeses if necessary. We used the Violife Mozzarella in our Vegan Baked Mac N Cheese and the Daiya Cheddar in our Vegan Cincinnati Skyline Chili recipes. Check them out!
You may be suprised to hear that we FIRST recommend a cheese that is NOT in our, “Shredded Cheese,” cateogory. For a pizza, we use Miyoko’s Fresh Vegan Mozzarella. This cheese does not come pre-shreddded. To make the BEST Vegan Cheese Pizza:
- Freeze the block of Mozzarella for about an hour or two before
- Remove from the packaging and grate with a cheese grater(Link to a great one–>OXO Good Grips Two-Fold Grater) or use your food processor grater
- Top the Pizza & Bake!
Our other two suggestions would be Follow Your Heart Mozzarella Shreds and Daiya Cutting Board Mozzarella Shreds. With Daiya, they have a newer revamped shredded cheese, called Cutting Board Shreds. Always choose this one over the old version.
Wasn’t really sure which category to put Parmesan in but I still felt like it needed its place in this article. Violife has the only true hard Parmesan cheese. I will be honest, the first time I tried it, I wasn’t too sure but after that my taste buds were like, “um yes please,” so this is our pick! You can slice it, shred it thick over a salad or thin over spaghetti just like you would the dairy version. It is a very powerful flavor so remember a little goes a long way.
In Conclusion, I Want To Point Out
The companies I have recommended are the MOST convenient in the United States. There are many other smaller companies that are making their way as well. Ask questions in your local Vegan Facebook Groups. For instance, there is a small Vegan-Only Market called V Marks The Shop in South Philadelphia that carries many other amazing brands of dairy alternatives. Look for other alternatives in your farmers markets or smaller organic-type grocery stores, as well.
AND, do not be afraid to ask your local grocer to carry a brand you would like!! If they do not know the demand is there, they have no idea to supply it.
*Did we miss something you consider to be one of the best dairy alternatives currently available? Reach out to us on Facebook or Instagram and let us know!