Have you been searching for a dairy-free alternative to cream cheese? Are you looking for a healthier, plant-based replacement? You’re in the right place.
This article will highlight the five best substitutes for cream cheese, helping you make an informed decision about which one is best for you.
So let’s get into it and see what delicious dairy-free options are out there.
What’s Cream Cheese?
Cream cheese is a soft and spreadable cheese, typically made of cow’s milk or goat’s milk.
It has a subtle yet characteristic flavor that pairs wonderfully with sweet fruit or savory spices.
Cream cheese is usually white, but can sometimes be yellow or green depending on the food coloring added.
It’s texture is similar to ricotta, but it’s more dense and creamy.
When compared to other cheeses, cream cheese has less fat and calories than regular cheese but still packs a great flavor.
Take your omelets up a notch by adding in some creamy crumbled cream cheese; Or jazz up some Friday night tacos by melting some shredded cream cheese inside of a warm tortilla wrap for extra zest and flavor.
The possibilities with cream cheese are endless – get creative in the kitchen today.
5 Dairy-free Cream Cheese Substitutes to Consider
Cream cheese has its fair share of fans and is often used in baking, desserts, appetizers, and more.
Unfortunately, this popular dairy-based product isn’t suitable for those with a lactose intolerance or vegan diet.
Thankfully, there are a few cream cheese substitutes available that will still allow you to enjoy the creamy texture and unique taste that comes with cream cheese.
If you’re looking for the best dairy-free substitute for cream cheese, the following five options should meet the bill:
1 – Hummus
Hummus is a go-to dip for many vegans and vegetarians.
Making hummus can be fun and easy, and have many variations depending on the beans you choose or the flavor combinations you add to it.
It is made by blending chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil into a creamy spread.
It makes an excellent substitute for cream cheese spreads because it has a similar texture and can be flavored in many different ways.
Try adding herbs, vegetables or dairy-free cheeses to make unique flavors of your own.
2 – Tofu
Tofu is an excellent dairy-free alternative to cream cheese, especially for those looking for a vegan option.
It’s made from curdled soy milk and is often fortified with calcium and other minerals.
Tofu cream cheese is easy to make at home and you can adjust the ingredients to get your desired consistency.
All you need is a food processor, one pound of firm or extra-firm tofu, three tablespoons of oil (preferably light tasting), two tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar, one teaspoon each of salt and sugar, and two tablespoons of water.
Blend all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy.
You can enjoy it as-is or add different herbs and spices to customize it according to your palate.
3 – Cashew Cream Cheese
Cashew cream cheese is a great substitute for regular cream cheese for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan.
It is made with raw cashews that are soaked overnight to soften them, then blended until creamy and thickened with a plant-based milk or thickener, such as agar.
Cashew cream cheese is incredibly versatile and can be flavored with spices, herbs, and other ingredients to create unique variations.
Its creamy texture adds a layer of richness to any sandwich or wrap but can also be used as dip or spread.
Like many dairy-free cheeses, cashew cream cheese does not melt the same way that regular cream cheese does so it’s not suitable for baking.
4 – Almond Cream Cheese
Almond cream cheese is one of the most popular dairy-free cream cheese substitutes, as it provides an almond-based alternative to traditional cream cheese.
The best almond cream cheeses are made with raw almonds, giving them a creamy finish and smooth texture.
You can also find many store-bought almond creams that are flavored with herbs and spices to give them even more flavor.
Additionally, they are usually vegan, gluten-free and low in carbohydrates, making them a great alternative for those following dairy-free diets.
Almond cream cheese is best used for spreading on breads or crackers and makes a delicious addition to dips and spreads when paired with your favorite fruits or veggies.
5 – Store-Bought Vegan Cream Cheese
Commercially-prepared vegan cream cheeses offer a convenient alternative to traditional cream cheese.
These store-bought cream cheeses generally resemble their dairy-based counterparts in terms of texture and flavor, yet are free of dairy products, cholesterol and preservatives.
Here are five popular store-bought vegan cream cheeses:
- Kite Hill Cream Cheese – This vegan cream cheese offers a light and creamy texture as well as a traditional taste without the use of dairy products. It also contains protein from almond milk, as well as nutritional yeast for B12 vitamins, zinc and folate.
- Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese – This popular brand has been around since 1981 and is made from tofu and non-dairy sour cream for a light, smooth taste that is perfect for spreading on bagels or baking into pies. It’s also cholesterol and preservative free.
- Trader Joe’s Non-Dairy Cream Cheese Alternative – For those looking for an organic version of vegan cream cheese, this product is the perfect choice. Made with organic ingredients like zesty lemon juice, it provides a delicious spreadable texture that easily substitutes into recipes calling for conventional cream cheese.
- Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Cream Cheese – Perfect for those who want to enjoy original flavors like jalapeno or herb garlic, this tasty product features vegetable oils along with soy beverage to deliver the mellow flavor of traditional cream cheese with no trans fat or cholesterol.
- NoMoo Creamy Original –Soy-free option in an affordable price range. This vegan cream cheese arrived on the market recently but already earned itself quite a following due to its unique approach: it’s made from nutmilk instead of soy. It has an exceptionally creamy consistency that cheesy lovers will love without having to compromise their health by consuming dairy products Full Flavor with zero cholesterol or animal sources.”.
It’s not always easy to find a dairy-free cream cheese substitute, but there are several options available that mimic cream cheese’s texture and taste.
The best substitutes depend on whether you’re looking for a vegan or low-calorie option.
Generally, vegan options contain a combination of coconut oil, blended nuts or tofu, while low-fat substitutes usually use pureed silken tofu as their base.
When browsing the grocery store shelves for cream cheese alternatives, be sure to read the labels carefully to make sure you’re getting an appopriate option for your lifestyle and health needs.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to experiment with different mixes of ingredients such as adding herbs or flavoring agents like garlic powder or lemon juice to enhance the product’s flavor.
Remember: Cream cheese is just one small part of a healthy diet – no matter what kind you choose.
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!