Is there gluten-free dairy free cream cheese?

Quick Answer

Yes, there are several brands that make gluten-free dairy free cream cheese alternatives. These are usually made from nuts, soy, or other dairy-free ingredients. Some popular options include Kite Hill Almond Milk Cream Cheese, Miyoko’s Creamery Cashew Milk Cream Cheese, and Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spreads.

What is Cream Cheese?

Cream cheese is a soft, mild-tasting fresh cheese made from milk and cream. Traditional cream cheese is made by curdling pasteurized milk with an acid like vinegar or lemon juice. The curds are drained, pressed together, and aged for a short period to develop the signature tangy flavor and smooth, creamy texture.

Cream cheese has a fat content of at least 33%. It has a custard-like texture and can be spread easily at room temperature. Cream cheese is valued for its versatility and is used as a spread, dip, frosting, or filling. Popular uses include bagels with cream cheese, cheesecake, and vegetable or cracker dips.

Why Choose Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Cream Cheese?

There are several reasons why someone may want a gluten-free dairy-free cream cheese alternative:

Dairy Allergy or Intolerance

Those with a dairy allergy or intolerance like lactose intolerance cannot consume regular cream cheese. Symptoms of dairy intolerance can range from mild bloating and gas to severe reactions. Using a dairy-free cream cheese eliminates this issue.

Vegan Diet

Vegans do not consume animal products, including dairy like cream cheese. Opting for dairy-free cream cheese allows vegans to still enjoy “cream cheese” on bagels, in spreads, and in cooking and baking.

Gluten Intolerance or Celiac Disease

Those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance must avoid gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Some cream cheeses contain ingredients or thickeners with gluten. Choosing a gluten-free cream cheese ensures people with celiac can safely enjoy it.

Preference for Plant-Based Foods

Many people simply prefer to choose plant-based versions of dairy products for health, environmental or ethical reasons. Opting for dairy-free, gluten-free cream cheese caters to this preference.

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Alternatives

Fortunately, there are now many brands that produce vegetable-based cream cheeses that are both gluten-free and dairy-free. Here are some of the most popular options:

Kite Hill Almond Milk Cream Cheese

Kite Hill makes several types of dairy-free cream cheese, all made from almond milk. Their original cream cheese has a similar tangy, creamy texture to traditional cream cheese. They also offer versions with chives, onions and peppers, and a vegetable-based probiotic cream cheese. Their cream cheeses are gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free and certified vegan.

Miyoko’s Creamery Cashew Milk Cream Cheese

Miyoko’s is a popular brand for artisanal nut cheese products. Their cream cheese is made from cultured cashew milk and has a soft, spreadable texture. It comes plain or in flavors like garlic and herb and is certified gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan.

Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spreads

Daiya makes a line of dairy-free cream cheese spreads made from a blend of plant-based ingredients like potato starch, tapioca, and natural oils. It has a smooth, rich texture and comes in plain and chive flavors. Daiya cream cheeses are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan and Kosher.

Go Veggie Vegan Cream Cheese

The Go Veggie lactose-free cream cheese alternative is made from plant-based ingredients like palm fruit oil and soy protein. It has a comparable texture and flavor to dairy cream cheese in both plain and chive varieties. Go Veggie is also gluten-free, dairy-free, lactose-free, Kosher Pareve, and vegan.

Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese

Tofutti has been making dairy-free cream cheese since the 1980s. Their Better Than Cream Cheese is made from soybean oil, water, and pea protein. It has a creamy, smooth texture and is sold plain or with chives. Tofutti cream cheese is gluten-free, dairy-free, lactose-free, and vegan.

Homemade Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Cream Cheese

It’s also possible to make easy homemade gluten-free dairy-free cream cheese:

Cashew Cream Cheese – Soak raw cashews overnight then blend with water, lemon juice and salt.

Coconut Cream Cheese – Blend full-fat coconut milk and coconut oil with lemon juice, salt and garlic powder.

Almond Cream Cheese – Use soaked almonds instead of cashews in a homemade cream cheese recipe.

Soy Cream Cheese – Blend silken tofu with coconut oil, lemon juice and salt for a soy-based version.

Be sure to use certified gluten-free ingredients when making homemade cream cheese. Flavor it with herbs, garlic, or other spices to taste.

Nutrition Facts

Here is a nutrition comparison of regular cream cheese versus dairy-free, gluten-free cream cheese alternatives:

Cream Cheese (2 Tbsp) Kite Hill Almond (2 Tbsp) Miyoko’s Cashew (2 Tbsp)
Calories: 104 Calories: 60 Calories: 100
Fat: 10g Fat: 5g Fat: 9g
Protein: 2g Protein: 1g Protein: 1g
Carbs: 1g Carbs: 3g Carbs: 2g

The dairy-free alternatives tend to be lower in calories and fat compared to regular cream cheese. They also contain no cholesterol since they are plant-based. However, they provide less protein. All types contain minimal carbohydrates per serving.

Price Differences

There is a difference in cost between regular vs. gluten-free dairy-free cream cheese:

– Regular cream cheese: $2.50 – $4 per 8 ounce package

– Dairy-free cream cheese: $4 – $7 per 8 ounce package

Gluten-free vegan cream cheeses tend to cost more than regular cream cheese. However, prices have gone down slightly as more brands enter the market and offerings increase. Buying larger packages or when on sale can help lower the price per ounce.

Where to Buy Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Cream Cheese

Gluten-free and dairy-free cream cheese alternatives are becoming easier to find. Here are some places you can find them:

– Natural food stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts, Earthfare

– Mainstream grocery stores in the natural foods section

– Online stores like Amazon, Thrive Market, Vegan Essentials

– Direct from manufacturers online

– Co-ops and farmers markets

You can also find lactose-free or soy-based cream cheese options in many standard grocery stores that are labeled gluten-free. Check ingredients carefully since some contain added gluten or dairy.

How to Use Cream Cheese Substitutes

The best substitutes mimic the texture and neutral flavor of regular cream cheese. Here are some tips for using dairy-free, gluten-free cream cheeses:

– Spread on bagels, toast or muffins

– Use in dips like artichoke or veggie

– Make frostings and fillings for cakes and cupcakes

– Use in savory dishes like casseroles or pasta

– Mix with herbs, garlic or spices for spreads

– Blend into smoothies, nice creams or sauces

– Frost or fill donuts, pastries, cookies or crepes

– Mix into batter before baking like for blintzes

– Use in any recipe that calls for cream cheese like cheesecake

With the right substitutions, you can still enjoy all your favorite cream cheese recipes. The dairy-free alternatives work well measuring for measuring in baked goods or spreads.

Do Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Cream Cheeses Melt Well?

This depends on the specific ingredients, but most brands are formulated to have a melting texture similar to regular cream cheese when heated.

Tips for melting dairy-free cream cheese:

– Slowly heat, stirring frequently to prevent separation

– Combine with a small amount of plant-based milk or oil if needed

– Use in cooked applications, not raw to better melt fat and proteins

– Add a binder like arrowroot or cornstarch if separating

– Shred or slice thinly so it melts faster

– Allow extra time to fully melt into dips, sauces or baked goods

With some trial and error, you can get many plant-based cream cheeses to melt smoothly for quesadillas, grilled cheese, and other hot dishes.

Do These Cream Cheese Alternatives Taste the Same?

There is some difference in taste between regular dairy cream cheese and plant-based substitutes. Here’s what to expect:

– Most have a tangy flavor, but less creamy than dairy

– Nut-based have a nuttier flavor like cashew or almond

– Soy-based tastes more similar to dairy but some detect a bean flavor

– Can have earthy, nutty, tart flavors from plants vs dairy cream

– Herbs, garlic, salt enhance flavor; sweeteners improve creaminess

– Nutritional yeast adds a cheese-like umami taste

The flavor differs brand to brand based on ingredients. Most provide a good stand-in for cream cheese, just with a different mouthfeel and subtle flavors. Adding your own mix-ins helps improve taste and texture.


Gluten-free dairy-free cream cheese gives those with food intolerances, allergies or lifestyle preferences delicious options for enjoying traditional cream cheese foods. Brands like Kite Hill, Miyoko’s, Daiya and Go Veggie make quality nut-based spreads that go great on bagels, in dips, frostings, baked goods, and more.

With more choices now available, it’s easier to find a gluten-free dairy-free cream cheese alternative that fits your dietary needs, taste preferences and budget. Just read labels carefully and experiment with different brands and flavors to find your perfect cream cheese substitute.

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