You might think “dairy-free cheese” is an oxymoron, but many health food stores and sections carry a variety of cheese alternatives. Each brand, type and flavor of dairy-free cheese has a different texture and flavor, so you may need to try several kinds of dairy-free cheese until one find you like. Many dairy-free cheeses can be eaten plain or melted, so they work well for sandwiches (including grilled cheese sandwiches), pizza and casseroles. Unfortunately, most dairy-free cheeses do not melt well enough to make fondue or cheese dips. Since not all alternative cheeses are completely dairy free, be sure to read the ingredient lists carefully.
Things You'll Need
Buy Dairy-Free Cheese
Choose a type of dairy-free cheese. You can buy soy cheese, rice cheese, almond cheese and tofu cheese. If you have nut allergies, you’ll need to avoid almond cheese, and if you’re allergic to soy you’ll need to avoid soy and tofu cheese. Rice cheese is one of the types of dairy-free cheeses that causes the least allergies.
Check the ingredient list. Many soy, rice and almond cheese products contain casein, which is a protein derived from milk. This helps hold the dairy-free cheese together and give it a cheese-like texture. Most people who are lactose intolerant can tolerate casein, but people with severe milk allergies and strict vegans need to avoid cheeses with casein.
Choose a flavor of dairy-free cheese. Mozzarella and cheddar are the most common flavors of dairy-free cheese, but you can also find flavors like jalapeno and garlic.
Choose a form of dairy-free cheese. You can buy dairy-free cheese that comes in bricks, slices, or bags. Bricks of cheese are the most versatile, but slices are convenient for sandwiches and pre-grated cheese is great for making dairy-free pizza. The sliced version of a dairy-free cheese may taste different from the brick or grated version, even for the same flavor of the same brand.
Compare prices and pick a brand. You may want to try several different kinds of dairy-free cheese for comparison.
Dairy-free cheeses (including those with casein) have no cholesterol and significantly less fat that cheeses made from milk.
Vegans may want to make sure the dairy-free cheese is free of all other animal ingredients, such as rennet.
You can also find dairy-free cream cheese in many health food stores and sections, which you can use for dips, as a spread or for making dairy-free cheesecake.