While traditional cheese has become a staple on keto, more than 60% of the world’s population cannot digest dairy, and many more have opted to go dairy-free in order to avoid its inflammatory effects.
Unfortunately, there really aren’t any super clean dairy-free keto cheddar cheese options, however we have scoured the market to find a few products that would be ok to consume from time to time.
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Dairy-Free Cheddar Cheese
In most instances, attempts to replicate the taste, texture, color, and melting ability of traditional cheddar cheese, have resulted in products that only loosely resemble food. Unhealthy oils, fillers, and soy are common cheese alternative ingredients, along with various starches, fibers, gums, and artificial colorings.
Although some of the ingredients listed in these products may sound a little scary, they aren’t as bad as you may think. It is also important to remember that ingredients are listed in order of abundance, meaning items near the bottom of the list are likely only present in very small amounts.
To narrow this list down we omitted products that contain more than 6g of carbs per serving/slice and those containing unhealthy oils (see healthy oils chart), soy or gluten.
Before we jump directly into the products I’d first like to settle some misconceptions when it comes to certain vegetable starches.
Ingredients like potato starch, tapioca starch, and corn starch are often an immediate red flag when it comes to keto, however most of these starches are resistant starches that function similarly to soluble fiber.
Resistant starches are ‘resistant’ to digestion, meaning they pass through the digestive system largely unchanged until they reach the intestines and colon, where they become food for healthy bacteria.
Similar to fiber, the breakdown of these starches releases butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that reduces inflammation and boosts gut health by feeding the cells that line the colon.
Several studies have outlined the therapeutic effects of resistant starches on various digestive disorders including inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. They have also been linked to improved insulin sensitivity and mineral absorption.
Because the foods that contain these starches are generally extremely high in carbohydrates, it is often assumed that these starches in isolation must also be avoided, but that’s not necessarily the case.
It is also important to note that the culturing and aging processes that several of these products undergo can dramatically reduce the sugars and starches that are present in the final product.
All of the products on this list are dairy-free, soy-free and gluten-free. That being said, most of these products are highly processed which is not ideal for keto or optimal health in general, therefore moderation is key.
Follow Your Heart
Follow Your Heart started out as a soup and sandwich counter and expanded into an international brand of plant based products. They pride themselves on their commitment to quality ingredients and sustainable practices, and they have created several award winning dairy-free products.
Like most of the brands on this list, Follow Your Heart offers dairy-free cheddar cheese in a variety of forms including blocks, shreds and slices. The ingredients are not the same for each form however, and the cheddar cheese slices were the only one of their products that made our list.
Follow Your Heart Cheddar Slices
Ingredients: Filtered Water, Coconut Oil, Modified Potato & Corn Starches, Potato Starch, Sea Salt, Lactic Acid (Plant Sources), Citric Acid, Natural Flavor (Plant Sources), Yeast Extract, Olive Extract, Annatto Extract, and Beta Carotene for color.
Macros: Serving size 1 slice (20g) – 60 Calories, 4.5g Fat, 0g Protein, 4g Carbs, 0g Fiber.
Where to Buy Follow Your Heart Cheddar Cheese
Miyoko's Cheddar Cheese
Miyoko’s Creamery originally gained popularity through its cultured vegan butter (a must try), but now also offers a variety of dairy-free cheeses (blocks, slices and shreds), cheese wheels, cream cheese and dips.
The primary ingredient in Miyoko’s cheddar cheese is Miyoko’s cultured vegan milk, which is made from oat milk (filtered water, organic oats), navy beans, organic garbanzo beans and cultures, along with organic coconut oil, fava bean protein, potato starch and organic tapioca starch.
Beans and other legumes are not commonly consumed on keto due to their generally high carb content, however, a single 1oz (28g) serving of Miyoko’s cheddar cheese contains only 5 grams of carbs.
Miyoko’s also adds cultures which help with digestion, and the same ingredients are used in all of their cheddar cheese products
Miyoko's Cultured Cheddar Cheese
Ingredients: Miyoko’s Cultured Milk (Oat Milk (Filtered Water, Organic Oats), Navy Bean, Organic Garbanzo Beans, Cultured), Filtered Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Faba Bean Protein, Potato Starch, Contains less than 2% of Sea Salt, Calcium Sulfate, Natural Flavors, Organic Yeast Extract, Organic Annatto, Organic Cultured Dextrose, Konjac, Organic Locust Bean.
Macros: Per 1oz (28g) serving – 70 Calories, 4.5g Fat, 3g Protein, 5g Carbs, 0g Fiber.
Where to Buy Miyoko's Cheddar Cheese
You can purchase Miyoko’s products directly from miyokos.com, and they also provide a store locator tool on their website. I have found a few of Miyoko’s products at my local markets (vegan butter and cream cheese), but not their cheeses.
Again, Instacart is a great service to use to track down these types of products nearby, and have them held for pickup or shipped directly to your door.
Violife Foods Cheddar Cheese
Violife Foods is another popular dairy-free cheese company that has been around since the 90’s. They originated in Greece but their products are now available in more than 50 countries worldwide including the US.
Violife offers several vegan cheese products, and their base ingredients include coconut oil, vegetable starch (potato and corn), and natural flavors, all non-GMO.
Violife Cheddar Block
Ingredients: Filtered Water, Coconut Oil, Food Starch-Modified (Potato & Corn), Potato Starch, Salt (Sea Salt), Organic Ground Sunflower Kernel, Mature Cheddar Flavor (Vegan Sources), Lactic Acid, Olive Extract, Beta Carotene (Color), Vitamin B12.
Macros: Serving size 1oz (28g) – 85 Calories, 7g Fat, 0g Protein, 6g Carbs, 0g Fiber.
Violife Cheddar Shreds
Ingredients: Filtered Water, Coconut Oil, Food Starch-Modified (Potato & Corn), Corn Starch, Salt (Sea Salt), Cheddar Flavor (Vegan Sources), Olive Extract, Paprika Extract & Beta Carotene (Color), Vitamin B12, Powdered Cellulose to prevent caking.
Macros: Serving size 1/4 cup (28g) – 80 Calories, 7g Fat, 0g Protein, 6g Carbs, 0g Fiber.
Violife Cheddar Slices
Ingredients: Filtered Water, Coconut Oil, Food Starch-Modified (Potato & Corn), Potato Starch, Salt (Sea Salt), Cheddar Flavor (Vegan Sources), Olive Extract, Paprika Extract & Beta Carotene (Color), Vitamin B12.
Macros: Serving size 1 slice (20g) – 60 Calories, 4.5g Fat, 0g Protein, 4g Carbs, 0g Fiber.
Where to Buy Violife Cheddar Cheese
Violife cheese products are available directly from violifefoods.com, and a store locator tool is also available on their website. Instacart makes it easy to locate Violife products near you and have them set aside for pickup or have them delivered directly to your door.
Depending on your location Violofe products may also be also available online at Fresh Direct.
So Delicious is the largest brand on our list and their products are available in most grocery store. as I recall, most of their original vegan products contained soy, however they have since expanded their product line considerably and now use coconuts and almonds as the base for many of their products.
In terms of dairy-free cheddar cheese, So Delicious currently offers slices and shreds. The ingredients for each form is slightly different and outlined below.
So Delicious Cheddar Style Slices
Ingredients: Filtered Water, Coconut Oil, Modified Starches (Corn, Tapioca, Potato), Potato Starch, Salt, 2% or less of: Potato Protein Isolate, Yeast Extract, Cultured Sugar (To Retain Freshness), Lactic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Konjac Gum, Natural Flavor, Annatto Extract (For Color).
Macros: Serving size 1 slice (20g) – 60 Calories, 5g Fat, 0g Protein, 4g Carbs, 0g Fiber.
So Delicious Cheddar Style Shreds
Ingredients: Filtered Water, Coconut Oil, Potato Starch, Modified Potato Starch, Potato Protein Isolate, Salt, Cellulose (To Prevent Caking), Yeast Extract, Natural Flavor, Cultured Sugar (To Retain Freshness), Xanthan Gum, Konjac Gum, Annatto Extract (For Color).
Macros: Serving size 1oz (28g) – 90 Calories, 7g Fat, 0g Protein, 6g Carbs, 0g Fiber.
Where to Buy So Delicious Cheddar Cheese
Daiya Cheddar Cheese
In a prior post we answered the question, is Daiya cheese keto friendly? The simple answer is, some of their products can be, if consumed in small amounts.
Daiya offers a wide variety of cheese alternatives that are vegan and entirely free of the most common food allergens including tree nuts, soy, dairy, and gluten.
Unfortunately, they have recently opted to use low quality unhealthy vegetable oils (canola & safflower) in most of their products with the exception of their cheese sticks.
Daiya Cheddar Style Cheese Sticks
Ingredients: Filtered Water, Coconut Oil, Potato Starch, Tapioca Starch, Potato Protein Isolate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Sea Salt, Vegan Natural Flavors, Xanthan Gum, Lactic Acid (Vegan), Konjac Gum, Fruit and/or Vegetable Juice Concentrate, Annatto (Color), Vegan Enzyme, Yeast Extract, Coconut Cream.
Macros: Serving size 1 stick (22g) – 60 Calories, 5g Fat, 0g Protein, 4g Carbs, 0g Dietary Fiber.
Where to Buy Daiya Cheddar Cheese Sticks
Daiya products are becoming more available in large chain grocery stores and health food markets, however in store selection is usually quite limited.
Depending on your location, Daiya products may also be available online at Fresh Direct.
Have you tried any of these dairy-free cheddar cheese products? Which one is your favorite? Please consider sharing your experience by commenting below to help support others navigating a healthy keto lifestyle.
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