These Are the Best Vegan Cheese Slices
We tested ten commonly available vegan cheeses to find out which ones are the creamiest, the meltiest, and the tastiest
When it comes to vegan cheese, sometimes you want to impress guests with your homemade fermented macademia-nut cheese on crostini with mint and a drizzle of apricot syrup, and other times, it’s 2 a.m. and you need an effortless and yet indulgent snack. That’s when pre-packaged deli-style plant-based cheese slices call your name; but which of the commercially available options is your best bet?
At the two Washington, D.C.-area Whole Foods I surveyed, there were ten available styles of plant-based cheeses, spanning five brands, in varieties including cheddar, provolone, smoked gouda, American, and pepper jack. I set out to create a definitive ranking, considering each slice’s suitability as a raw deli slice (for example, in a vegan cold cut sandwich), and in a vegan grilled cheese.
I used Whole Foods availability as a marker of what vegan cheese slices may be most accessible in your area. Consumers concerned about Whole Foods’ recent decision to cut medical benefits for its part-time workers may want to support an independent retailer instead.
Though all ten plant-based cheese slices had a similar ingredient list (all listed coconut oil as the top ingredient besides water, and all derived most of their calories from fat), their taste and textures varied considerably.
I split testing across two days, enlisting friends to provide additional insight.
In the first day, I assigned each vegan cheese into a “division” (provolone slices, cheddar slices, smoked gouda slices, and a “wildcard” round). Within each division, my panel of three provided tasting notes on the slices, first in a grilled-cheese preparation (cooked with Earth Balance and slices of Whole Foods’ “seeduction” bread, made on a cast-iron grill pan), and then raw. After trying both the raw and grilled slices, each panelist then ranked the cheeses within each…