The First-Ever VegNews Cheese Awards: Meet the 2024 Winners

The First-Ever VegNews Cheese Awards: Meet the 2024 Winners

Bleeding vegan burgers have had their heyday. Alt milks have changed the way we coffee shop (even if we still have to contend with an annoying upcharge). And as we speak lab-grown chicken is battling for its place in the spotlight. But in 2024, one thing is for sure: we are in the golden (melty, stretchy) age of vegan cheese. Enter: our first-ever VegNews Cheese Awards.

The VegNews Cheese Awards winners

In these awards, more than 110,000 votes from VegNews readers poured in to help us name the best of the best. From artisanal wedges and everyday shreds to frozen pizza and cheesy puffs to the restaurants serving the gooiest nachos and mac and cheese in America—no stone was left unturned in our pursuit of all things cheesy.

So whether you’re a plant-based charcuterie connoisseur or are frequently caught licking the cheesy powder from your fingers after that 3pm snack, we’ve got something savory, salty, and creamy just for you. 

The Best Dairy-Free Cheese and Cheese Products

From the slices, shreds, and spreads you can’t get enough of to the crunchable, munchable snacks you just have to pick up during your grocery store runs, our winners are setting a new standard for dairy-free delights and proving that giving up dairy doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor or fun. Whether you’re looking for a snack on the go, a staple for your kitchen, or something special to share with friends, our top picks have got you covered. So get ready to discover your new favorites and see why these dairy-free cheeses are winning over taste buds everywhere.

1.-Miyokos-Cheese-WheelBest Artisanal Cheese: Miyoko’s Creamery

Renowned for its traditional cheese-making techniques used to craft plant-based masterpieces, this pioneering decade-old company was a shoo-in for Best Artisanal Vegan Cheese. Its aged cashew milk cheese wheels—like Smoked English Farmhouse and Herbes De Provence—deliver flavors and textures that rival even traditional cheeses. Planning a wine and cheese night? Look no further.
FIND it here
1st Place: Miyoko’s Creamery
2nd Place: Rebel Cheese
3rd Place: Treeline2.-Vioife-Feta

Best Staple Cheese: Violife 

In a sea of vegan cheese options, Violife effortlessly claims the crown for Best Staple Vegan Cheese. Founded in Greece during the ‘90s, this veteran cheese brand first popped onto the US scene in 2015 to ensure everything from pizza to pasta is made better with its uber-meltable, coconut-based shreds, slices, and blocks.
1st Place: Violife
2nd Place: Chao Creamery
3rd Place: Follow Your Heart

3.-Vioife-ChaoBest Cheese Slices: Chao Creamery & Violife [tie!]

When it comes to the cheese that will take your sandwiches over the edge: we have a tie. Violife’s smoky Gouda slices are a staple at VegNews offices, offering an aromatic, full-flavored taste that never disappoints. And with Chao’s creamy, fermented tofu-infused slices, you get that unmistakable cheesy funk and a supreme, creamy meltability that’s hard to beat. So for your next grilled cheese, don’t overthink—use both.
1st Place: Violife & Chao Creamery 
2nd Place: Follow Your Heart
3rd Place: Daiya4.-Vioife-shreds

Best Cheese Shreds: Violife

With its third straight win in this yer’s Cheese Awards, Violife cements itself as an all-time vegan cheese favorite. Its shreds—in flavors like Colby Jack, Mexican blend, and Parmesan—are unmatched in stretch and meltability, making them a versatile choice for topping pizzas, stuffing quesadillas, or creating gooey mac and cheese.
1st Place: Violife
2nd Place: Daiya
3rd Place: Follow Your Heart5.-Kite-Hill-Cream-Cheese

Best Cream Cheese: Kite Hill

Thick, New York-style schmears? No problem. Ultra-creamy pasta sauces. We’re doing it. Tangy, delicious cheesecakes? A piece of (cheese)cake. Anytime we need that touch of extra lusciousness in our recipes, we’re reaching for Kite Hill’s chef-crafted, impossibly smooth almond milk cream cheese (in plain, chive, garden veggie, and everything flavors)—and you agree.
1st Place: Kite Hill
2nd Place: Violife
3rd Place: Miyoko’s Creamery6.-Follow-Your-Heart-Parmesan

Best Parmesan: Follow Your Heart

In case you hadn’t noticed, Caesar salads are absolutely everywhere right now. And when it comes to veganizing viral chicken caesar pizzas or rolling up a giant salad wrap for lunch, not only are we turning to iconic 54-year-old vegan brand Follow Your Heart’s for its savory, tangy Caesar dressing, but for its addicting shredded parm as well.
1st Place: Follow Your Heart
2nd Place: Violife
3rd Place: Go Veggie7-Kite-Hill-Queso

Best Queso: Kite Hill

It should come as no surprise that the company founded by the brains and talent behind VegNews Restaurant of the Year, Crossroads Kitchen, is next-level when it comes to quality. So when Kite Hill added this subtly spicy, creamy queso to its lineup, we knew our tacos, burritos, and nacho fries would never be the same.
1st Place: Kite Hill
2nd Place: Primal Kitchen
3rd Place: Chao Creamery8.-Boursin

Best Cheesy Spread: Boursin

French cheese giant Bel Group first forayed into the plant realm with a vegan version of fan-favorite Boursin Garlic & Herbs cheese spread back in 2020. And ever since, the ultra-savory, fluffably spreadable cheese has been making everything from crostini and finger sandwiches to pasta dinner that much more magnifique.
1st Place: Boursin
2nd Place: Miyoko’s Creamery
3rd Place: Daiya9.-Baybel

Best Snacking Cheese: Babybel Plant-Based Cheese

The mini, red-wax-coated cheese wheels of your childhood have gotten a major upgrade. This dairy-free iteration packs all the creamy flavor of the original for maximum snacktime nostalgia. Do like we do, and enjoy in three easy steps: 1. Unrobe the bright green wax. 2. Nibble away on the smooth, cheesy goodness, and 3. Create a tiny wax sculpture just like the old days.
Find it here
1st Place: Baybel Plant-Based Cheese
2nd Place: Good Planet Snackable Wedges
3rd Place: Laughing Cow Spreadable Wedges10.-Annies-Mac

Best Mac & Cheese: Annie’s

In a world of exciting, AI-powered food tech helping to perfectly replicate dairy cheese, it’s significant that VegNews readers chose the wholesome, homestyle comfort of Annie’s as your favorite boxed mac. The brand’s organic pasta doused in luscious vegan cheddar sauce has earned its spot—now if only those cheddar bunnies would go vegan, too …
Find it here
1st: Place: Annie’s
2nd Place: Chao Creamery
3rd Place: Daiya11.-Daiya-Flatbread

Best Vegan Pizza: Daiya

It’s not delivery, it’s Daiya. The OG vegan brand has been upping its game recently, and its collection of gluten-free pizzas and flatbreads are no exception. Take your pick from Meat Lovers pies with pepperoni and Beyond Italian sausage to the elegant Mushroom, Caramelized Onion & Fig flatbreads—whatever you choose, you can kiss the days of cheeseless pizzas goodbye forever.
Find it here
1st Place: Daiya
2nd Place: Blackbird Foods
3rd Place: Wicked Kitchen11.-Kite-Hill-Pasta

Best Cheesy Meal: Kite Hill Filled Pastas

Spaghetti and Meatball Sundays, we salute you for all your incredible work. But we regret to inform you that we’re switching to Tortellini Tuesdays from here on out, thanks to Kite Hill. Sumptuous, tender tortellini and ravioli are stuffed with fluffy almond milk ricotta and other mix-ins like spinach, butternut squash, and shiitake and portabello mushrooms for a quick and easy pasta that makes humdrum dinners feel like a reservation-required outing.
Find it here
1st Place: Kite Hill Filled Pastas
2nd Place: Trader Joe’s Vegan Spinach & Cashew Ravioli
3rd Place: Daiya Flatbreads12.-Follow-Your-Heart-Pamesan

Best Cheesy Condiment: Follow Your Heart Grated Parmesan

Step aside, nooch. For an extra cheesy sprinkle guaranteed to level up pizza, roasted veggies, and even popcorn, VegNews readers are bypassing the golden flakes in favor of this powder that packs a big punch of flavor.
Find it here
1st Place: Follow Your Heart Grated Parmesan
2nd Place: Kelly’s Croutons Parms
3rd Place: Go Veggie Grated Parmesan13.-Back-to-Nature-Cheddar-Crackers

Best Cheesy Cracker: Back to Nature Cheddahlicious

The original schoolyard cheesy cracker still hasn’t gotten the memo (seriously Cheez-It, dairy is so 2000 and late), but we aren’t missing out. Back to Nature’s Cheddalicious cracker squares offer up all the same savory, buttery, crispy, cheddary goodness, proving yet again that vegans do it best.
Find it here
1st Place: Back to Nature Cheddahlicious
2nd Place: Real Food From the Ground Up
3rd Place: Mary’s Gone Crackers

Best Cheesy Puff: Hippeas

For a satisfyingly crunchy, cheesy puff, VegNews readers are stocking up on Hippeas. Founded eight years ago, the brand has already become a fan favorite (even earning the backing of Hollywood A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio), and we’re not surprised. The White Cheddar and Nacho Vibes puffs aren’t just finger-licking good, they each pack four grams of protein per serving. It’s a win-win if you ask us.
Find it here
1st Place: Hippeas
2nd Place: Vegan Rob’s
3rd Place: LesserEvil15.-Siete-Chips

Best Cheesy Chip: Siete Foods

Everyone deserves to indulge in the joy of eating their way through a bag of extra cheesy chips, and thanks to Siete Foods, those with soy, dairy, and gluten allergies can partake on the action. The family-founded, allergen-friendly brand combines cassava and coconut flours with nutritional yeast, tomato, garlic, onion, jalapeño, serrano chili, and sea salt for a boldly flavored grain-free chip.
Find it here
1st Place: Siete Foods
2nd Place: Hippeas
3rd Place: Beanfields16.-SkinnyPop-Porcorn

Best Cheesy Popcorn: SkinnyPop

When we say corn fuels America, we’re not joking: according to Science World, Americans eat about 17 billion quarts of popped popcorn a year—enough to fill the Empire State Building 13 times. And if our voracious appetite for SkinnyPop’s Dairy-Free White Cheddar popcorn is any indicator, we’re not at all surprised.
FIND it here
1st Place: SkinnyPop
2nd Place:
3rd Place: Trader Joe’s17.-Love-Corn

Best Cheesy Snack: Love Corn’s Cheezy Crunch Corn

Once again, corn reigns supreme, and Love Corn’s ultra-crunchy, seasoned-to-the-max Cheezy Crunch Corn is proving it. Do like we do and add to your southwest-inspired salads or go cornception by pulverizing and using to sprinkle on elotes.
FIND it here
1st Place: Love Corn’s Cheezy Crunch Corn
2nd Place:
Quinn Cheddah Cheezy Filled Pretzel Nuggets
3rd Place: Spudsy Sweet Potato Fries

The Best Vegan Cheese Restaurant Meals

But of course, there’s cheesy vegan golden goodness to be had outside the supermarket, too. All across the country, chefs, restaurateurs, and grocers are taking full advantage of all the excellent dairy-free cheese at our disposal.

In San Diego, CA, the local legends at Donna Jean have gotten such a positive response to their rustic-yet-perfected pizzas, that they’ve started an entirely separate, successful side business just to get their cheeses (made from Great Northern beans and cashews) to the masses. Over in Atlanta, Planted Soul is forgoing the standard bacon bits, and instead is majorly upgrading its mac and cheese with vegan oxtails, lobster, or by stuffing it into crispy eggrolls with candied yams and collard greens.

But which restaurants are going above and beyond and keeping their customers coming back for more? Keep reading to find out, along with a surprise final, all-time winner.

18.-Screamers-Pura-VidaBest Pizza in America: Screamer’s Pizzeria (Brooklyn, NY) & Pura Vita Screamer’s (West Hollywood & Redondo Beach, CA)

Brooklyn pizza wins big on both coasts, with New York’s Screamer’s Pizzeria and West Hollywood’s Pura Vita (opened by Brooklyn native Tara Punzone) both taking the crown. So whether you’re in the mood for punky-fun slices like Screamer’s Reuben-inspired slices or Pura Vita’s classic neapolitan pies, there’s delicious cheesy pizza for every taste.
Find Screamer’s here Find pura vita here
1st Place: Screamer’s Pizzeria (Brooklyn, NY) & Pura Vita Screamer’s (West Hollywood & Redondo Beach, CA)
2nd Place:
20th Street Pizza (Philadelphia, PA)
3rd Place: Big Nonna’s (Austin, TX)19.-Voodoo-Vegan

Best Mac & Cheese in America: Voodoo Vegan (Los Angeles, CA)

Los Angeles’ New Orleans-inspired vegan restaurant has only been a brick and mortar since June, but its velvety gouda Voodoo Mac easily earned top spot. Topped with grilled onions, scallions, and voodoo sauce, this mouthwatering Mac can be topped with your choice of Southern-style proteins, like fried shrimp, crab cakes, or smoked sausage.
Find them here
1st Place: Voodoo Vegan (Los Angeles, CA)
2nd Place:
Modern Love (Brooklyn, NY & Omaha, NE)
3rd Place: Compton Vegan (Carson, CA)

20.-Jajaja-Bams-VeganBest Nachos in America: Bam’s Vegan (Irving, TX) & Jajaja Mexicana (New York, NY & Wynnwood, FL)

Crispy tortilla chips, gooey cheese, and a mess of tasty toppings: the allure of nachos is truly universal—just ask the restaurateurs behind the country’s best vegan nachos. At New York-born Jajaja Mexicana (opened by first-generation Iranian Americans Koorosh Bakhtiar and Nima Garos), the nachos include boldly spiced chorizo and habanero queso, while just outside of Dallas, Bam’s Vegan (a Black-owned eatery owned by Brandon Waller) experiments with flavors like bacon cheeseburger and jerk mushroom. Nachos for all!
Find Jajaja here Find Bam’s Vegan Here
1st Place: Jajaja Mexicana (New York, NY & Wynnwood, FL) & Bam’s Vegan (Irving, TX)
2nd Place:
Penelope’s Vegan Taqueria (Chicago, IL)
3rd Place: Tacos Veganos (Phoenix, AZ)21.-Sluytty-Vegan

Best Cheeseburger in America: Slutty Vegan (Nationwide)

Slutty Vegan has been slinging its cult-favorite burgers since it started in a shared kitchen and food truck in Atlanta in 2018. Today, it has exploded to 12 locations across the South and in New York (where owner Pinky Cole first got into the restaurant business), and the fervor for its drippy, cheesy, almost inappropriately-indulgent burgers is still raging on.
Find them here
1st Place: Slutty Vegan (Nationwide)
2nd Place:
Monty’s Good Burger (Los Angeles & Riverside, CA)
3rd Place: Next Level Burger (Multiple Locations)22.-Rebel-Cheese

Best Place to Buy Cheese: Rebel Cheese (Austin, TX & New York, NY)

Walk into a shop and casually have your choice of aged cheeses, tangy chèvres, dips and spreads, firm cheeses, and fancy fromages—all made without a drop of dairy. That’s the beauty of Rebel Cheese’s Austin bistro and newly acquired Manhattan cheese counter (the former Riverdel shop in Essex Market). The only downside to a reality of high-end vegan cheese shops at our fingertips? Narrowing down your choices.
Find them here
1st Place: Rebel Cheese (Austin, TX & New York, NY)
2nd Place:
Besties Vegan Paradise (Los Angeles, CA)
3rd Place: The Herbivorous Butcher (Minneapolis, MN)23.-Miyokos-Pourable-Mozzarella

The Vegan Cheese of the Year: Miyoko’s Creamery Pourable Plant Milk Mozzarella

Remember the days when people would complain about vegan cheese and its inability to melt? Yeah, we can’t really either. Since 2021, beloved artisan cheese brand Miyoko’s Creamery has been wowing customers with the ultimate workaround—skip the middleman and deliver the cheese already melted. Made from cultured cashew milk, this ingenious liquid cheese bubbles, browns, and blows every other cheese out the water, handily cementing its place as The VegNews Cheese of the Year.
Find it here
1st Place:  Miyoko’s Creamery Pourable Plant Milk Mozzarella 
2nd Place:
Violife’s Just Like Parmesan Wedge
3rd Place: Rebel Cheese’s Truffle Brie

For more vegan winners, check out:

Here at VegNews, we live and breathe the vegan lifestyle, and only recommend products we feel make our lives amazing. Occasionally, articles may include shopping links where we might earn a small commission. In no way does this effect the editorial integrity of VegNews.

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