An intro to dairy free cheese

Cheese is definitely a staple dairy product. I think it’s up there with milk, butter, yoghurt and ice-cream. So you’d be forgiven if you thought a dairy free diet meant no cheese. It doesn’t have to, there are a lot of dairy free cheese alternatives available these days.

Like the milk alternatives, the non dairy cheese options are mostly derived from coconuts, almonds and other nuts. Which gives them their protein value and general base. They’re then mixed with a few other ingredients like starch, oil and salt, to make a block of cheese. This is definitely a “check the packet” situation because there is variation and we all know how important it is to check may contain warnings.

I want to go on record and say I don’t think the cheese alternatives are on par with the non dairy milk and ice cream alternatives. I think with the milk and ice cream options available today you can get some really good dupes, if not better. There are lots of cheese alternatives available, many of which I’ve tried. I wouldn’t have any of them plain, I’d always melt them. For example, I wouldn’t *just* have a cheese sandwich, unless it was a grilled cheese. I like to use the dairy free cheese options as part of a recipe, either grated and melted on top of a spaghetti bolognese or mixed in with other ingredients to make cheese straws.

I think the other thing to address is there isn’t the massive variety of dairy free cheeses that there is with regular cheese. With regular cheese there’s over 1000 variations to choose from, although I reckon most of us have maybe tried, at max, 20. With the dairy free cheeses you’ll be hard pressed to find an exotic variation. However you’ll be able to find cheddar and cream cheese substitutes easily as well as things like mozzarella and camembert – so quite a range from soft to hard.

The new Nurishh alternative to Camembert
Dairy Free Mozzarella available at Tesco

You’ll also be able to find cheese pre-grated and sliced; which will mean kids should be none the wiser when eating burgers or spaghetti. 


I would summarise the alternative cheese situation as “okay”. There’s a nice variation of cheddars and other “standard” cheeses. But the flavour isn’t quite there yet. Saying that, I really like and regularly buy the soft cheese options from Oatly and Philadelphia.

Earlier this year McDonalds introduced a dairy free cheese as part of their McPlant burger, so there’s brightness on the horizon!

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