Are you looking for a way to make your meals healthier without sacrificing taste or texture?
You may want to consider switching away from the regular cream cheese.
Dairy-free cream cheese substitutes are an easy and delicious way to switch out the ingredient usually used in baking, spreading over toast and bagels, or adding as a creamy addition to casseroles.
There are a variety of dairy-free cream cheeses that can be used instead of regular cream cheese, so what are the best ones?
Read on to find out the five best dairy-free substitutes for cream cheese.
What’s Cream Cheese?
Cream cheese is a type of soft, mild-tasting cheese originally from the United States.
It has a smooth, spreadable texture and is creamy white in color.
It can be used as an ingredient in many dishes, as well as eaten on its own.
Cream cheese is slightly tangy in taste and is made by combining milk fat with an acidifying agent (such as vinegar or lemon juice).
It’s different than regular cheese because it typically contains fewer curds, meaning it has a deeper flavor and a more spreadable texture.
Those who are looking to avoid dairy may consider a vegan cream cheese alternative instead.
This type of cream cheese is made without dairy ingredients and is often soy-based— meaning it’ll have a similar creamy texture and taste to traditional cream cheese but without the dairy component.
The 5 Best Dairy-free Substitutes for Cream Cheese
If you’re looking for dairy-free alternatives to cream cheese, you may be surprised at the variety of available substitutes.
From nut-based cheeses to tofu, there are a number of options that can easily replace traditional cream cheese in recipes.
Here are five of the best dairy-free substitutes for cream cheese:
1 – Hummus
Hummus is a popular Middle Eastern dip that has been delighting tastebuds for centuries.
It’s made with mashed chickpeas and tahini, giving it a creamy texture.
The flavor is savory, rich, and slightly nutty.
Depending on the ingredients used, hummus can be mildly spiced or deeply flavorful.
You can enjoy hummus as an appetizer or use it as a sandwich or wrap spread instead of mayonnaise or cream cheese.
Thanks to its dairy-free nature, hummus works wonderfully as an alternative to traditional cream cheese for vegans and those with lactose intolerance.
2 – Tofu
Tofu is a versatile food that has been around for centuries.
It is made with condensed soy milk and then pressed into soft, creamy blocks.
The taste of tofu can be described as mild and slightly nutty, while the texture lends itself to absorbing flavors and spices very well.
Although tofu doesn’t have an overpowering flavor, it can be used as an excellent vegan substitute for cream cheese.
To achieve a similar texture to dairy-based products, simply mash the tofu and then mix in chopped herbs, garlic, or other seasonings.
With a bit of seasoning and some creativity, tofu can make an easy alternative to cream cheese that even die-hard vegans and non-vegans will enjoy.
3 – Cashew Cream Cheese
Cashew cream cheese is an incredibly versatile and tasty dairy-free alternative to traditional cream cheese.
Made from raw cashews, it has a very creamy texture with a slightly nutty flavor.
As it is not made from animal products, those who are vegan, lactose intolerant, or otherwise non-dairy still have the chance to enjoy classic cream cheese recipes.
You can use it in spreads, dips, and sauces – simply substitute one-for-one with regular cream cheese.
If you are after a healthier version of classic baked goods traditionally made with cream cheese, like cheesecakes or pumpkin bars, cashew cream cheese delivers that creamy consistency without adding dairy products and cholesterol.
Add some extra flavorings like fresh herbs or spices, and you have yourself an indulgent treat.
4 – Almond Cream Cheese
Almond Cream Cheese is a vegan alternative to traditional cream cheese.
It is packed with the same creamy texture and taste but made from almonds instead of dairy.
The almond base gives it a slightly nutty flavor that pairs wonderfully with jams and other spreads.
When used as a substitute for cream cheese, Almond Cream Cheese can be spread on crackers or enjoyed in desserts, giving you all of the yumminess of traditional cream cheese without any animal products.
It also has less fat than conventional cream cheese, making it an excellent choice for people looking to make healthier choices.
5 – Store-Bought Vegan Cream Cheese
Store-bought vegan cream cheese options are increasingly diverse, with flavors ranging from savory garlic and herbs to sweet strawberry or blueberry.
It offers a dairy-free alternative to traditional cream cheese and can certainly fit almost any cheese lover’s taste buds.
Plant-based cream cheese usually has the same enjoyable texture as regular cream cheese, but it contains no dairy, zero cholesterol, and is low in saturated fat.
If you could substitute this product in any recipe that calls for cream cheese, just like other plant-based food items, these products can also be used in baking and making spreads or dips.
As long as it’s refrigerated properly once opened, store-bought vegan cream cheese will last anywhere from two weeks to several months on your shelf.
In conclusion, there are several great dairy-free alternatives to cream cheese that can be used in a variety of recipes.
Whether you’re vegan, lactose intolerant, or just looking for healthier options, using one of these five substitutions can help make any dish tasty and enjoyable without adding animal products.
From traditional hummus to store-bought vegan cream cheese, there is a substitute for everyone’s tastes.
So next time you’re looking to enjoy cream cheese, remember that dairy-free options are out there and can help make any dish delicious.