The Best Vegan Cream Cheese

Which is the best vegan cream cheese? I have tasted, tested and reviewed many a vegan cream cheese to find that answer. I want you all to know that if I have to eat vegan cream cheese cake, vegan cream cheese Alfredo, vegan cream cheese cookies and more in order so that you all know which is the best, well then, I guess I will make that sacrifice. Haha. So what are the results of all this labor? Let’s find out.

Low carb cinnamon mug cake with vegan cream cheese frosting. Oh my yum.

Vegan Cream Cheese Criteria

First, we have to determine why we need the vegan cream cheese. Are we making frosting? Are we making cookies? Do we need it for a savory dip or a sweet dip? Or perhaps just spreading on some vegan bagels? What we hope to achieve will determine which one is best for our purpose. 

Through trial and error, I have come up with what I believe are the best vegan cream cheeses for various recipe scenarios. I have also separated them into the following categories for review. To make it simple I compared the plain version of the different brands. I choose the brands I tested and reviewed based on which ones were most available in most markets. I am as annoyed as you are when reviewers rate as the Holy Grail of X product a something that is so obscure it can only be found in an upside down valley under a blue moon. Plus having food allergies, I had to make sure they were gluten free and allergen friendly. Otherwise all I could have done is review the colors of the containers. Not very useful to you I think.

Meet the contenders…

  • Violife Just Like Cream Cheese Original (plain)
  • Trader Joe’s Vegan Cream Cheese Alternative (plain)
  • Miyoko’s Organic Cultured Vegan Cream Cheese (classic plain)
  • Kite Hill Cream Cheese Alternative (plain)
  • Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese (plain)

So let us see how they hold up under the first category.

Creaminess and texture

In the category for creaminess and texture, I would rate them on the scale from 1-5, 1 being “least creamy” and 5 being “most creamy” in the following order:

  1. Tofutti. This one seems to be the most watery.
  1. Trader Joe’s, is sometimes watery, sometimes creamy. While the taste is good, it’s hit or miss with the consistency.
  1. Kite Hill has a thicker consistency than Trader Joe’s brand but has a tendency to seperate.
  1. Miyoko’s brand is much thicker than those on the list so far. However Miyoko’s cream cheese is cultured which gives it a more “cheesy” taste. Which is great if that’s what you are going for, but it doesn’t seem to pair well with sweet recipes.
  1. Violife has the creamiest consistency, the mildest flavor, and really could go either way in terms of pairing with sweet or savory recipes. 

That’s pretty straightforward. On to the next event.

How they hold up to cooking or baking

Low carb meat balls with vegan cream cheese and mozzarella sauce. So good!
Low carb meat balls with vegan cream cheese and mozzarella sauce. Super yum!

In the category for how they hold up to cooking or baking, I would rate them in the following order using the same 1-5 scale where 5 is the best.

  1. Tofutti. It’s soy, soy changes consistency when it’s cooked. Simple as that. 
  1. Kite Hill has a good taste on a bagel or made into frosting in which no cooking is involved. However, it doesn’t hold up as well as some of the others when baking. It’s usable, but I when I used it to make my peanut butter cream cheese cookies, I noticed they were runnier and spread out more than they otherwise would have. That being said, when used in a recipe where you want the cream to dissipate, such as savory vegan cream sauce or vegan Alfredo, Kite Hill works like a charm.
  1. Trader Joe’s vegan cream cheese makes beautiful vegan cheese cake.  It tends to separate more so than others in certain recipes where more direct heat is involved, though. 
  1. Miyoko’s brand is well, interesting. It did not break down nearly as much as I was expecting. I used it to make baked tomato and broccoli in cream sauce. After baking it at 350º for 30 minutes, it was still pretty much the exact same as when it went in the oven. Which is great if I hadn’t needed it to liquefy some and spread out. The texture was closer to paste than sauce. This one would probably work better in a savory dip than baking. This would be great though if you were aiming for a warm dip as it holds up very well to heating.
  1. Violife brand holds up well in baking. I have used it with success for replacing regular cream cheese in my low carb tahini cream cheese cookies.

So far there seems to be a pattern. Let’s see if one of these guys can make up the distance in the last category.

Stand alone taste 

In the category for stand alone taste I would assign them to the following order (1-5 again) from least tasty to tastiest.

  1. Tofutti. Tofu…need I say more?
  1. Miyoko’s was hard to judge in this category as it has a peculiar taste that I think some people will adore, but just not me. It was too “cheesy”, as odd as I know that sounds. Normally, the closer a vegan cheese tastes to actual dairy cheese the higher the quality. However instead of equating this vegan cream cheese with actual dairy cream cheese it is more akin to goat cheese in my opinion. If that is what you are going for, then this is the cheese for you. But if you are looking for a vegan cream cheese to complement a particular recipe and not overpower it, then another brand may be a better choice.
  1. Trader Joe’s has a great neutral taste that is very versatile. It seems to pair better with sweet recipes than savory but it can work with both. 
  1. Kite Hill vegan cream cheese has a fairly neutral taste as well, but it stands up slightly better without losing the cheese flavor completely when paired with stronger flavors. Because of this, it adapts well with savory dips and spreads.
  1. Violife. This stuff, oh my goodness, I could eat it with a spoon, and I have done so. The taste most closely resembles dairy cream cheese of all the vegan cream cheeses I have tried. (If I remember what dairy cream cheese tastes like of course) This is one to use if you are trying to pull one over on your non-vegan friends. They will never know your gourmet “cheese” platter was dairy free if you serve this. 

Further Notes on Vegan Cream Cheese Results

Poor Tofutti. I actually kinda feel sorry for you, not enough to eat you though.

Both Violife and Kite Hill have unsweetened versions that are good if you follow a low carb or no sugar diet.

All of them are gluten free as well as dairy free of course as they are vegan.

Not all of them are nut free or soy free. If that is a concern then you will need to choose accordingly.

I hope this breakdown helps you in your search for the perfect vegan cream cheese. Bon appétit! 

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