Who can resist the simple pleasure of a bagel smothered with cream cheese? Not this dairy free queen! The good news is, there are a lot of vegan and dairy free cream cheeses on the market. The bad news is, a lot of them are truly awful! So what’s a dairy intolerant person to do? Luckily for you, in this week of my Review series, I sampled four vegan cream cheese alternatives so you don’t have to. Today I tested Follow Your Heart‘s Vegan Gourmet Cream Cheese, Kite Hill‘s Cream Cheese Style Spread, Toffuti‘s Milk Free Better than Cream Cheese, and Daiya‘s Cream Cheese Style Spread.
I have this one memory from a couple months after I became dairy intolerant, when I paid 7 dollars for vegan cream cheese from a health food store, took one bite of it when I got home, and promptly threw it out. Needless to say, after doing this review, three of these cream cheeses are now sitting in my trash and one has a prized pedestal in my refrigerator…
So which vegan cream cheese reigned supreme? Read on…
When I’m eating cream cheese, I’m looking for 3 main things:
- Taste. Tangy, cheesy, milky, and slightly sweet.
- Texture. Creamy AF, smooth, nothing gritty or oily.
- Spreadability. Thick, but not too thick. Easily coats a freshly cut bagel.
So how did these dairy free cream cheeses stack up? Here is my official F*ck Dairy Review…
Last Place (tie): Daiya
I’m going to start by saying this: I do love the Daiya brand. They offer a lot of great dairy free alternatives. Unfortunately, this just isn’t one of them. I actually–and I never do this–spit this one out after tasting it. It was just wrong. First, the texture was way too thick. It was the thickest out of all the ones sampled and extremely hard to spread. That to me can be forgiven, because regular cream cheese can be difficult to spread sometimes, but the taste cannot be forgiven. It was sour instead of tangy, and extremely artificial tasting. I can’t even really discern a flavor note that I found unappealing, it just tasted very chemical, sharp, and acidic. This cream cheese was all tang and no creaminess or cheesiness. I give it: 1 out of 5 F*cks.
Last Place (tie): Follow Your Heart
The makers of the amazing Veganaise also tied for second. What is up with these brands I love failing at cream cheese??? The first thing off was the color: a beige/light brown that really threw me off. The second was the texture: it was extremely spreadable, a little too spreadable, I’d say the texture akin to a loose ricotta–too thin. The third thing off was the taste: pungent, instead of being tangy, with a strong soybean oil and oily flavor (and oily texture to if I’m being honest, which I am, and very bluntly today). I give it: 1 out of 5 F*cks.
Second to last: Kite Hill
I’m not even going to call this one second place, because it simply does not compare to first place. I don’t know much about Kite Hill, but their products really aren’t doing much for me. If you’ve read my previous Vegan Blueberry Yogurt Review, you know their yogurt ranked dead last, so I was already a little skeptical about this cream cheese. And then, when I open the container, what did I find? A couple spots of fuzzy blue mold. Gross. But I scraped it off and tasted it anyway, because I’m a trooper and I had dedicated myself to tasting all the dairy free cream cheeses on the market.
Even with the mold, this product was far better than the last two, but then again that’s not really saying much. The thinnest consistency of the lot, this cream cheese was more like the texture of sour cream and I think the bagel actually started absorbing it. It spread easily just like sour cream, but was grainy. I will say it was tangy just like cream cream, but I was missing the creaminess and that milky, slightly sweet cheese taste. This cream cheese was all tang with no sweetness, a strong nutty flavor (it’s made of almonds) and a flat, cardboard-esque aftertaste. I give it: 2 out of 5 F*cks.
Our Winner (By a landslide!!!): Tofutti
Let’s bask in this perfection, shall we? First, the color. Look, it’s white! Not beige, not tan, not brown. Second, the spreadability: thick, without being too thick, just like a wonderful tub of Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Third, the texture: creamy, not oily, and not gritty. Last but not least, the taste: milky, cheesy, with no pungency and no weird aftertaste. It is a pleasant mild cheese flavor that to my palette is a tad sweeter than traditional cream cheese. I will say there isn’t much tanginess to it, but I can overlook it because look what else is on the market! I’m giving it 4.5 out of 5 F*cks, just because I wish it had that signature cream cheese tang, but that’s just me being picky.
Tofutti really has a winner here on their hands, they blow their fellow vegan cream cheese competitors out of the water! Before this review, this was my go-to dairy free cream cheese, and now I can honestly say I don’t think I’m ever going to stray again. Go out and buy a bagel and spread this on, pronto! Or you could whip up a batch of my Cheese & Cherry Dairy Free Danishes or mix up some Dairy Free Clotted Cream to put on some freshly baked scones, two recipes that feature Tofutti‘s Milk Free Better Than Cream Cheese!