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 available for me to buy.
All of you newly looking to go dairy-free are in luck in 2023.
With so many options, it can be very overwhelming, which is why we have created this, “Best Of,” list. We cover everything from non-dairy milk 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 into it with fresh eyes and taste buds thinking, “hey, I’m just trying something new,” you can absolutely find ones you will like.
Disclaimer: This article includes links to products. While we are not endorsed by ANY of these products, if you click on certain links and purchase we may (at no extra cost to you) receive a small commission. We will never compromise our honesty and integrity, here at VeggL, to make a couple of dollars. You can trust any information you read will be our 100% honest opinion.
The Best Of Dairy Alternatives, 2023 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 milk 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 when they are on sale.
This one is Ryan’s department. I’m not much of a chocolate milk drinker; however, I will say I do take sips of our Non-Dairy Chocolate Milk pick because it’s that GOOD. And a bonus for those of you wanting a higher protein milk, you’ll appreciate our Chocolate Milk pick, 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.
Country Crock and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter also have Vegan/plant-based options. The Country Crock Plant Butter is my mother-in-law’s favorite.
Dairy-Free Ice Cream has come A LONG way! It has probably grown the most of the dairy alternatives over the last couple of 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: Lights! Caramel! Action!, Netflix & Chilll’d and Cherry Garcia
- Ryan: Fish Food, Netflix & Chilll’d and Tonight Dough
- So Delicious
- Jen: Vanilla Sandwiches, Buttery Pecan Wondermilk and Strawberry Wondermilk
- 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.
Like the cream cheese, I tend to make our own sour cream with raw cashews but a vegan-friendly sour cream is one I rarely buy so I did some research and am giving you the top 3 I am finding people seem to like the most– Kroger’s Simple Truth Plant Based Dairy Free Sour Cream, Kite Hill Sour Cream Alternative and Follow Your Heart Dairy Free Sour Cream.
This is a category that really is specific to your taste and texture preference. We suggest you do your own taste test. Pick up a few different brands and see which you like best.
Oh boy. There are SO many ways to use cheese and reasons to use cheese. We are making the cheese category last to give you a full breakdown.
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 into cubes) and Daiya’s Block Cheeses (cut into cubes).
Our pick for your most classic American Grilled Cheese Sandwich is Follow Your Heart’s American Cheese. So good! And if you want to mix it up, we also really liked Follow Your Heart’s Smoked Gouda in our grilled cheese.
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 surprised to hear that we FIRST recommend a cheese that is NOT in our, “Shredded Cheese,” category. For a pizza, we use Miyoko’s Fresh Vegan Mozzarella. This cheese does not come pre-shredded. 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 and bake!
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.
I want to point out that 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. Go to Veg Fests closest to you. Look for other alternatives in your farmer’s markets or smaller organic-type grocery stores, as well.
And lastly, 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 they should supply it.
–> This “best of” was originally created in 2020 and we are continuing to update it. Let us know if you notice an item is no longer available or maybe you have a recommendation we should add.