Vegan Life | Lifestyle

The Best Vegan Cheese for Pizza (6-Mozzarella Taste Test)

January 3, 2023

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Vegan cheese may be the final frontier of vegan food; at least it seems to be one of the hardest products to get right. And these non-dairy substitutes often get a bad rap for being goopy, plasticky, and artificial tasting.

Fortunately, vegan cheese has come a long way. So whether you're vegan, lactose intolerant, or just looking for a healthier option, the best vegan cheeses for pizza are now quite good.

Six slices of vegan pizza topped with six different vegan cheeses, alongside the packages.

When I make vegan pizza, I usually use Miyoko's Cashew Milk Mozzarella, or my own homemade cashew mozzarella recipe. But I wanted to find the absolute best pizza-friendly option available. So for this taste test, I went to Target, Sprouts, and Whole Foods to find as many brands of vegan cheese for pizza as possible.

I ended up with 4 bags of shredded mozzarella, one Italian-style block, and a pourable liquid mozzarella (the latter two both being Miyoko's varieties). And together with a friend, we put them to the test to see how well they melt, stretch, brown, and (of course) how they taste.

Six packages of vegan mozzarella cheese.

If you're interested in some of my other vegan food taste tests, I've also tried:

Testing Methods

I made six small pizzas for these taste tests using the same dough and sauce. The American pizza dough recipe comes from the r/pizza Subreddit, and the sauce recipe is from my Detroit Style Vegan Pizza recipe.

After I made the dough, I allowed it to sit in the refrigerator for four days before baking the pizzas. The recipe recommends refrigerating for 3-8 days with best results at five days.

To make sure each pizza had the same sauce-to-cheese ratio, I weighed the sauce and cheese. I used 70 grams of sauce, and 60 grams of vegan cheese on each pizza.

A hand sprinkling vegan cheese on top of an uncooked pizza on a vented pizza pan.

The pizzas were baked on vented pizza pans at 550°F (290°C) for 7 minutes. At this temperature, every vegan cheese passed the melt test very nicely. So if your oven can reach 550°F, I'd definitely use that temperature to bake your pizzas with vegan cheese.

Since I made these pizzas myself, I knew which cheese I was eating when I tasted it. However my friend who helped me taste test these pizzas tasted them blindly, without knowing which cheese she was eating.

Vegan Cheese Similarities and Differences

The Miyoko's cheeses are both cashew-based, which makes them unique in these tests. The remaining four cheeses have bases of oil and starch. The Daiya does advertise that it's made with chickpeas, however "chickpea protein" is pretty low on the ingredient list, so I wouldn't call it a base.

Make Your Own Vegan Pizza Cheese

If you don't have these dairy-free cheeses available to you in your area, or maybe you just prefer to make your own, you can do that with delicious results! My vegan cashew mozzarella cheese performs very similarly to the Miyoko's Cashew Milk Mozzarella in terms of melt and flavor. And my homemade version even has more stretch than the Miyoko's cheese.

Taste Test Results

1. Winner: Miyoko's Liquid Vegan Pizza Mozzarella

Miyoko's Liquid Vegan Pizza Mozzarella bottle.

This mozzarella is unique because it's already liquid, so there is no melting that needs to happen. When you bake it, it actually causes the cheese to coagulate into a solid form, rather than melting. So you won't see any visible shreds on your pizza, (which might be good or bad depending on your preference). We also noticed little bubbles in the cheese and a bit of browning as well.

I did find this a little strange to pour on top of the pizza at first, but after the first try it wasn't too challenging. You will want to keep the cheese layer pretty thin in order to ensure that it solidifies in the oven.

A top-down view of a sliced pizza topped with Miyoko's Liquid Vegan Mozzarella.

The flavor of this cheese is where it shines, with a mild cheesy flavor that's also unobtrusive. It has no hint of that fake vegan cheese flavor that's so common among vegan cheeses. Instead, the flavor harmonizes with the sauce and bread to create a delicious pizza that most people would love, vegan or not.

Where this cheese falls short is in the texture. Like the others in this taste test (except the Follow Your Heart), the Miyoko's Liquid doesn't have the body or density of regular cheese, feeling very light in the mouth. It also has exactly zero stretch.

While I realize that cheese pull is not easy to accomplish for a vegan cheese, some of the others on this list do have a bit of it.

A slice of pizza topped with Miyoko's liquid vegan mozzarella cheese.

Because of the texture and mild flavor, I'd personally use this cheese alongside some other toppings, rather than on a plain cheese pizza. With more toppings, I think you might not even notice that the Miyoko's liquid isn't actually real cheese. And veggie pizzas are the best pizzas (in my opinion) anyway.

While the cheese itself is very good, judging it as a whole pizza improves our opinion of it. The pizza made with this cheese is absolutely delicious, and we would happily devour it.

On a per-ounce basis, this cheese is the least expensive of all the cheeses on this list. There's enough liquid cheese in the bottle to make 6 or 7 small (10-inch) pizzas. However, you do need to use the bottle within 14 days of opening, so it may not be as cost-effective if you end up throwing out most of the bottle.

Another bonus for this cheese is that it's organic and made without highly processed ingredients, so I feel good about eating it.

Overall rating: 8.5/10

Flavor: 8/10

Melt: 10/10

Cheese Pull (Stretch): 0/10

Organic: Yes

Price for 454-g. package (US): $6.99*

Price per 28 g.: $0.43 (least expensive)

Made in: USA

Per 28 g.:

  • Calories: 70 (approximately average)

  • Fat: 6 g. (approximately average)

  • Sodium: 220 mg. (approximately average)

2. Best Gourmet Cheese: Miyoko's Organic Cashew Milk Mozzarella

Miyoko's Organic Cashew Milk Mozzarella package.

This vegan cheese comes in a block form, so to get it on the pizza, I had to firm it up in the freezer before grating it. Even so, the shreds were quite wet and stuck together in clumps on the pizza. You might prefer to thinly slice this mozzarella rather than going through the freezing and grating process.

This cheese is the one that most closely resembles Italian mozzarella, so it's perfect if you are going for the gourmet pizza look and taste. It melts quite nicely, and browns as well, but the cheese itself has minimal stretch. It's also not as dense as dairy cheese, so it has a very light mouthfeel.

A top-down view of a sliced pizza topped with Miyoko's Organic Cashew Milk Mozzarella.

Both my taste tester and I preferred the flavor of the liquid mozzarella over the block mozzarella, but it was very close. Neither one of the Miyoko's cheeses have any hint of fake vegan cheese flavor.

Even though the unbaked mozzarella shreds are on the wet side, the baked cheese is a little more solid than many of the others on this list which lean towards "cheese sauce" territory rather than solid cheese.

However, the grating does require a bit more work, and it's the most expensive option on the list.

A slice of pizza topped with Miyoko's Organic Cashew Milk Mozzarella.

Overall rating: 8/10

Flavor: 7.5/10

Melt: 9/10

Cheese Pull (Stretch): 1/10

Organic: Yes

Price for 226-g. package (US): $8.49-9.49*

Price per 28 g.: $1.11 (most expensive)

Made in: USA

Per 28 g.:

  • Calories: 60 (lowest)

  • Fat: 5 g. (lowest)

  • Sodium: 210 mg. (lower than average)

3. Best Junk Food Cheese: Follow Your Heart Vegan Shredded Mozzarella

A package of Follow Your Heart Shredded Vegan Mozzarella.

Right out of the oven, the Follow Your Heart Mozzarella looked the most like real cheese. It even had some cheese pull when I pulled the slices apart (while it was not a ton of stretch, it was the most out of any of the vegan cheeses). You can also see from the photos that this pizza looks quite greasy on top.

A close-up view of a pizza topped with Follow Your Heart Vegan Mozzarella.

The flavor of this cheese is really quite good... in an unhealthy cheese kind of way. It reminded me of "mall pizza"; that cheap but delicious junk food pizza that we would eat at the mall when I was a teenager. It's that oily pizza that you want to eat after a long night out.

A hand pulling a slice of pizza topped with Follow Your Hearth Vegan Mozzarella.

While it's not quite as dense as real cheese, this vegan cheese was the densest out of all the vegan cheeses we tested. So its mouthfeel was the closest to dairy cheese out of all the non-dairy options on this list. However, the texture is a little goopy and pasty, and it stuck to our teeth a lot.

Even though this cheese didn't make it to our number one spot, the top 3 contenders were all very close and very good. And if you want to make a junk food vegan pizza, this is definitely the cheese for you. It may also be a good option if you have a nut allergy and can't eat the cashew-based Miyoko's options.

Overall rating: 8/10

Flavor: 7.5/10

Melt: 10/10

Cheese Pull (Stretch): 4/10

Organic: No

Price for 200-g. package (US): $5.29*

Price per 28 g.: $0.74 (approximately average)

Made in: USA

Per 28 g.:

  • Calories: 80 (highest)

  • Fat: 7 g. (highest)

  • Sodium: 230 mg. (approximately average)

4. Violife Just Like Mozzarella Shreds

Violife Just Like Mozzarella Shreds package.

The Violife shreds are pretty thick, and they melted very well on our test pizza. However, the shape of the shreds is still visible on the pizza, even after melting. The pizza made with this cheese was also a bit greasy, and the look of the cheese could be considered a bit plasticky.

A top-down view of a pizza topped with Violife Just Like Mozzarella Shreds.

We felt that the flavor of this cheese was pretty mild and similar to normal pizza cheese. The flavor gives mozzarella vibes and there's no hint of an undertone, such as coconut oil. It does, however, have something of an artificial "vegan cheese" flavor, although it wasn't as pronounced as the artificial flavor of the Daiya or the 365 mozzarellas.

The cheese melted well, but didn't have much stretch to speak of, making it feel more like a cheese sauce than a pizza cheese.

An angle view of a slice of pizza topped with Violife Just Like Mozzarella Shreds.

We would put this in "standard vegan pizza" territory, as it's about what we have come to expect from a vegan cheese on pizza. It definitely leaves you with a good, edible pizza, but it's not fooling anyone into thinking it's dairy cheese. Although it's not at the top of our list, you wouldn't be making a serious mistake by buying this cheese.

Overall rating: 7/10

Flavor: 6/10

Melt: 7/10

Cheese Pull (Stretch): 1/10

Organic: No

Price for 227-g. package (US): $5.69-5.99*

Price per 28 g.: $0.72 (approximately average)

Made in: Greece

Per 28 g.:

  • Calories: 80 (highest)

  • Fat: 7 g. (highest)

  • Sodium: 190 mg. (lowest)

5. Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds

A package of Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds.

Like the others, the Daiya melted well. However, the shreds are a bit thinner on this cheese so they're more visible than most of the others. When I pulled the slices apart, this cheese did give the tiniest little bit of cheese pull. It also has some greasiness on top.

A top-down view of a pizza topped with Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds.

Like the Violife and 365, this cheese has that distinct artificial vegan cheese flavor to it. It's more pronounced than the Violife, and less so than the 365. The texture is a little goopy, getting into cheese sauce territory. However, it's still not a bad option for vegan cheese. It won't convince anyone to go vegan, but if you're already vegan, I think you would still be happy with this pizza.

We were a bit surprised by this result, because in our vegan grilled cheese taste test, the Daiya cheddar slices came out on top, but these shreds were disappointing. Maybe they'll revise this recipe soon to come up with a version that's as good as their slices.

A slice of pizza topped with Daiya mozzarella style shreds.

Overall rating: 6.5/10

Flavor: 5.5/10

Melt: 6.5/10

Cheese Pull (Stretch): 2/10

Organic: No

Price for 200-g. package (US): $5.29-5.99*

Price per 28 g.: $0.79 (higher than average)

Made in: Canada

Per 28 g.:

  • Calories: 70 (approximately average)

  • Fat: 5 g. (lowest)

  • Sodium: 210 mg. (lower than average)

6. 365 Plant-Based Mozzarella-Style Cheese

365 Plant-Based Mozzarella-Style Cheese Alternative package.

This vegan cheese looked quite melted on our test pizza, and even stretched a bit upon cutting up the slices.

It tastes very similar to the Violife, but the artificial vegan cheese flavor is the strongest out of all the cheeses on this list. We also found this cheese to have a bit of an aftertaste; the flavor actually changes a bit as you eat it. The texture is goopy and tends to blend with the pizza sauce, rather than forming a separate layer (although that can be said for many of the others on this list as well).

A pizza topped with 365 Plant-Based Mozzarella-Style Cheese.

Overall, we felt this vegan cheese "meets expectations." It's certainly not bad, and it's also a budget-friendly option. Even though it does have a little aftertaste, it's not awful. So even if this is your only vegan cheese option, I wouldn't be afraid to make a vegan pizza with it. However, I probably wouldn't serve this pizza to omnivores to try to convert them.

A slice of pizza topped with 365 Plant-Based Mozzarella-Style Cheese.

Overall rating: 6/10

Flavor: 5/10

Melt: 8.5/10

Cheese Pull (Stretch): 3/10

Organic: No

Price for 227-g. package (US): $3.99*

Price per 28 g.: $0.49 (lower than average)

Made in: Greece

Per 28 g.:

  • Calories: 80 (highest)

  • Fat: 6 g. (approximately average)

  • Sodium: 310 mg. (highest)

Conclusion

The cheeses in this test all have a mild flavor, and overall, the flavor of the sauce stood out more than any of the cheeses. It was a little difficult to differentiate the cheeses from one another because in many ways, they were so similar. But none of them was a failure.

The top three non-dairy cheeses on this list are all very good. Both of the Miyoko's and the Follow Your Heart would all be good options to serve to vegans and non-vegans alike. The Miyoko's cheeses are better options for the gourmet or clean-eating crowd, while junk-food lovers will enjoy the Follow Your Heart shreds.

And the bottom three cheeses are still quite good, but might be off-putting to non-vegans because they have a bit more of that artificial vegan cheese flavor. However, most people who are already vegan would find every cheese on this list good enough to make a yummy pizza.

* Note: Prices are based on in-store prices in South Florida in January 2023. These prices may be different in your area or may change over time.

StephSunshine

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