Can vegans eat pizza?

Pizza is a beloved food for many people across the world. With its warm, chewy crust, savory tomato sauce, and melty cheese, it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular meal and snack. However, for those following a vegan diet, which excludes all animal products, pizza can seem off-limits due to its traditional ingredients like cheese, meat toppings, and even the dairy in the dough. Thankfully, vegan pizza has become widely available, making it easier than ever for vegans to enjoy this iconic comfort food. In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at vegan pizza and answer common questions like:

  • What makes traditional pizza not vegan?
  • How is vegan pizza made?
  • What can vegans use to replace cheese?
  • Where can you find vegan pizza?
  • Is vegan pizza healthy?
  • How does vegan pizza taste compared to regular pizza?

Whether you follow a vegan diet or are just looking to reduce your meat and dairy intake, read on to learn everything you need to know about enjoying delicious, animal-free pizza.

What Makes Traditional Pizza Not Vegan?

Standard pizza contains several animal ingredients that make it incompatible with a vegan diet. Here are the main non-vegan components of traditional pizza:


The cheese used on most pizzas is made from cow’s milk or goat’s milk. All animal-based dairy products are avoided by vegans. Popular pizza cheeses like mozzarella, Parmesan, cheddar, feta and more are non-vegan.

Meat Toppings

Pepperoni, sausage, bacon, ham, chicken and other meat pizza toppings come from animal sources, so they are not vegan.

Dough Conditioners

Some pizza dough recipes call for ingredients like egg, honey, or dairy-based dough conditioners. These animal-derived ingredients make the dough non-vegan.

Butter or Milk On the Crust

For a browner, crispier crust, some traditional pizza recipes brush the outer rim with butter or milk. Vegans avoid these animal ingredients.

So in summary, the cheese, meat, and sometimes the actual dough itself make most traditional pizzas incompatible for people following a vegan diet. Thankfully, there are more and more vegan options available now, making vegan pizza readily accessible.

How is Vegan Pizza Made?

Vegan pizza employs plant-based substitutions for the non-vegan ingredients. Here’s an overview of how it’s made:


Instead of using dairy-laden dough, vegan pizza crust is made from simple ingredients like flour, yeast, olive oil and salt. Sometimes vinegar and sugar are added. No eggs, dairy or other animal products are used.


The tomato sauce on vegan pizza contains no cheese or meat. It’s made from simple tomato puree with seasonings like garlic, basil and oregano.


Vegan cheese replicates the stretchy, melty properties of regular cheese. The base is usually nuts, soy or tapioca. More on vegan cheese substitutes later!


Meats are replaced with plant-based options like vegan pepperoni, sausage, ground beef and chicken. Lots of veggie toppings like mushrooms, onions, olives, bell peppers and pineapple are used.

Cooking Method

Vegan pizza can be cooked in a pizza oven, baking sheet or pizza pan just like regular pizza. No animal products come in contact with the food during preparation or cooking.

So while traditional pizza relies heavily on meat and dairy, vegan pizza uses plant-based alternatives to mimic the classic taste and texture without harming any animals.

What Can Vegans Use to Replace Cheese?

One of the biggest challenges with making vegan pizza is replacing the cheese. Thankfully, there are several plant-based options that melt and stretch like real cheese. Here are the most popular vegan cheese alternatives and how they’re made:

Vegan Cheese Made From
Soy cheese Soy milk, soy protein
Almond cheese Almonds
Cashew cheese Cashews, nutritional yeast
Coconut cheese Coconut milk
Tapioca cheese Tapioca starch, non-GMO oils

These nut- and plant-based cheeses get their stretchy, gooey properties from natural starches. Combinations of nuts, soy, tapioca and coconut along with nutritional yeast give vegan cheese its distinct flavor and texture.

Many popular brands like Daiya, Follow Your Heart, Miyoko’s, Violife and others make pre-shredded vegan cheeses you can use right out of the bag. There are also recipes for making easy homemade vegan cheese you can slice or shred yourself too. With so many types available, vegans can get that satisfying, ooey-gooey cheese pull on their dairy-free pizza.

Where Can You Find Vegan Pizza?

One of the biggest shifts in recent years is how easy it is to find vegan pizza, both for dining in and takeout. Here are some of the top places to enjoy pizza without the dairy and meats:

Vegan Pizzerias

Major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Portland, Austin and others have popular all-vegan pizza restaurants. These use high-quality, artisanal ingredients to create authentic Neapolitan, New York-style, deep dish and other pizzas without animal products.

Vegan Options at Regular Pizza Chains

Mainstream pizza chains like Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Papa Johns, California Pizza Kitchen and others have added vegan cheese and meatless topping options to their menus. This makes it easy for vegans to order delivery or takeout from familiar spots.

Frozen Vegan Pizza

Major grocery stores now stock frozen vegan pizzas from brands like Daiya, Amy’s and Tofurky in the freezer aisle. These are an easy weeknight dinner option – just bake and serve.

Make Your Own

Craft your own personal vegan pizzas at home using pre-made dough or dough you make from scratch. Top with your favorite sauce, veggies and vegan cheese shreds or slices.

So whether ordering in or making it yourself, vegan pizza is accessible just about everywhere these days. The options are far beyond a boring slice of cheeseless bread – you can enjoy delicious pizza without the dairy.

Is Vegan Pizza Healthy?

Going vegan automatically eliminates some of the more unhealthy animal-based ingredients, like fatty cheese and processed meats. But is vegan pizza itself actually good for you? Here’s a look at the nutrition profile of vegan pizza and whether it can be part of a healthy diet:

Lower in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol

Ditching dairy cheese and meats significantly cuts down on the saturated fat and cholesterol you take in. This reduces the risk of heart disease.

Higher in Beneficial Nutrients

Using more veggies as toppings increases the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants on vegan pizzas. Vegan cheese made from nuts provides protein and good fats too.

Can Still Be High in Sodium

Like any pizza, salt levels can get high, especially for frozen or restaurant vegan pizzas. Look for low-sodium options or make your own with less salt.

Often Higher in Carbs

With less cheese and meat, the ratios change to relatively more dough and toppings. Keep portions in check to control carb and calorie intake.

Healthfulness Depends on Ingredients

Homemade pizzas with a whole grain crust, nutritious toppings and healthy vegan cheese are best. Limit overly processed ingredients.

Overall, vegan pizza made the right way can fit into a nutritious diet. It gives you an opportunity to load up on veggies and cut back on saturated fat from meat and dairy. Just watch your portions and sodium intake to keep it healthy.

How Does Vegan Pizza Taste Compared to Regular Pizza?

This is the big question for many pizza lovers considering going vegan – how’s the taste? Thankfully, brands have gotten so good at mimicking the creamy, tangy flavor of real dairy cheese that you’ll barely notice the difference. Here’s a taste comparison:


Today’s top vegan brands like Follow Your Heart and Miyoko’s offer extremely realistic cheese flavor and texture. The nut-based cheeses melt, stretch and even get browned and caramelized like the real thing.


A good vegan pizza crust is indistinguishable from regular pizza dough, as long as both are equally fresh. Italian 00 flour makes a light, crispy artisanal-style crust.


Veggie toppings obviously taste the same on vegan pizza. And advanced meat substitutes like Beyond pepperoni and sausage are near identical to their meaty counterparts.

Overall Flavor

With so many high-quality vegan ingredients now available, the herby, savory flavor profile of pizza can be replicated flawlessly in animal-free form.


Part of pizza’s appeal is the textural satisfaction from flavorful dough, stretchy cheese and tasty toppings. Vegan pizza delivers on all of these fronts.

While homemade and smaller brand vegan pizzas may fall short, the very best dairy- and meat-free pizzas are now virtually indistinguishable from traditional versions. Pizza connoisseurs likely won’t sacrifice satisfaction if they go vegan.


Pizza occupies a special place in many people’s hearts – and stomachs. Thankfully for the vegan community, traditional pizza has undergone an impressive plant-based makeover. With creative combinations of wheat and nut flours, plant-based proteins, warming spices and balancing acids, incredible vegan pizzas can be created that are indistinguishable from dairy- and meat-based versions.

From elevated veggie toppings to sophisticated vegan cheeses, today’s options mimic the indulgence of classic pizza without compromising ethics or health. While veganizing a global favorite comfort food may have once seemed unlikely, the growing movement has achieved the impossible by bringing sensational plant-based pizza into the mainstream.

So for all the vegans who thought they’d have to say farewell to pizza nights, fear not! The options for enjoying mouthwatering, animal-friendly slices are now better than ever before.

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