Two slices of toasted bread and paired with melted cheese in the middle is an essential part of the American diet and culture. Whether you like to cut your vegan grilled cheese sandwich into fours or dip it in ketchup, we all know that finding the perfect, melty, stretchy, gooey, pull-apart cheese is the secret to success, and while dairy-free cheese is not known for its "meltability," we picked a winner you’ll want to try.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are one of the easiest meals to make, yet there are so many versions of this sandwich, that there are permutations on the recipe that add or subtract decadence. We found the right combination of more taste but using dairy-free cheeses and vegan mayo or plant-based butter on the toast so you can still enjoy this American classic if you're off the dairy.  To find the best cheese, worthy of your favorite Grilled Cheese sandwich, we tested five best-selling non-dairy kinds of cheese and rated them for taste and health, and gave extra points for melt factor, so you can enjoy the foods you love on a vegan diet.

Note that anyone trying to avoid saturated fat won't be well served with any of these cheeses since most of them are still fairly high in sat fat, but instead of from animal sources, these cheeses get theirs from tropical oils such as palm oil and coconut oil. But that is what also gives them their cheese-like texture. The health criteria of the rating here were created by an RD who gave extra points for products that have a whole food as the first ingredient and also credit for having 3 grams of protein per slice.

Oftentimes, as plant-based product experts, we get asked, “what kind of vegan cheese has that stretchy, gooey, pull factor?” To answer this question (which can make or break a grilled cheese sandwich), we enlisted Britt Berlin, a well-known food blogger, also known as @the_bananadiaries, to show you how these five popular vegan cheese brands melt in between the bread on video. The proof is in the pan!

Here are the best vegan cheese slices

Overall Winner:

1. Violife Just Like Smoked Provolone Slices

If you love a bold, smoky flavor Violife is the one for you. Violife's texture, consistency, and taste resemble real cheddar cheese and melts better than any of the other slices we tried. It has the most flavor out of all the other brands sampled. This cheese is so dairy-like that you can eat the slices straight out of the fridge, no melting required. Since it is another coconut-based cheese, the coconut flavor comes through a tiny bit and the cheese has some saturated fat content with 4 grams per slice.


2. Parmela Creamery Plant-Based Smoky Gouda

If you're avoiding coconut-based products, Parmela is a great choice. Parmela is a cashew-based cheese that has a slightly smoky flavor to it. You don't have to melt this on a grilled cheese to love it. Parmela's Smoky Gouda cheese tastes just as good right out of the fridge. (If you tried it a while back, it's worth another go, since they reformulated and the new version is awesome.) Eat it with crackers or add it to a vegan bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.


3. Field Roast Vegan Chao Slices Creamy Original

Chao is a coconut-based cheese that is made with fermented tofu. It has a milk taste and doesn't have an overwhelming coconut taste like some coconut-based cheeses do. Chao is for anyone who loves a melty, gooey cheese and is so good you can eat it all by itself. The texture is so similar to real cheese and the taste resembles American cheese. It's worth noting that one slice of cheese has 4 grams of saturated fat, which is 20% of your daily intake.


4. Daiya Mozzarella Style Slices

Daiya has a similar consistency as real cheese and reminds us of the single slices we used to eat as kids. Daiya has a bit of a milder taste than the rest making it the perfect pair with a flavorful veggie like garlic and oil spinach or marinated mushrooms. Daiya isn't the most nutritious option as it is made with coconut oil, canola oil, and safflower oil, making it higher in saturated fat.


5. Miyokos Creamery Farmhouse Cheddar

Miyokos Creamery has the healthiest ingredients we came across. The Farmhouse Cheddar flavor includes oat milk, beans, and coconut oil. Even though the ingredients are "whole foods" it still contains 3.5 grams of sat fat or 18% of your daily value. Miyokos Creamery doesn't melt as well as some but the texture and color are just like dairy cheese. Use it to make a loaded veggie sandwich with portobello mushrooms, spinach and avocado.


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