What is Daiya cheese slices made of?

Daiya cheese slices are a popular dairy-free and vegan alternative to traditional cheese slices. Daiya uses a variety of plant-based ingredients to create a cheese-like texture and flavor in their products. Let’s take a closer look at what goes into Daiya cheese slices.

Main Ingredients

The main ingredients in Daiya cheese slices are:

  • Filtered water – Provides moisture and binds ingredients.
  • Tapioca flour – Adds stretchiness and acts as a binder.
  • Non-GMO expeller pressed canola and/or safflower oil – Provides fat and creaminess.
  • Coconut oil – Adds richness and creamy mouthfeel.
  • Pea protein – Lends a savory, cheesy flavor.
  • Potato starch – Gives thickness and stretchiness.
  • Natural flavors – Enhances cheese-like taste.
  • Annatto extract – Provides yellow color.

These primary ingredients work together to create the distinctive melted cheese texture and taste that Daiya is known for. The tapioca flour, oils, and starches provide the smooth, stretchy consistency of the slices. Meanwhile, the pea protein and natural flavors impart a convincingly cheese-like flavor.

Vitamins and Minerals

Daiya slices are enriched with several vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Zinc
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • Vitamin D2
  • Calcium

These vitamins and minerals are added to help increase the nutritional profile of Daiya slices, making them more comparable to dairy cheese. Vitamin B12, in particular, is an important nutrient that vegans and vegetarians need to be mindful of getting from non-animal sources.

Thickness and Varieties

Daiya cheese slices come in two thicknesses:

  • Regular slices – 0.7 mm thick
  • Deluxe slices – 1.5 mm thick

The deluxe slices are thicker and provide a heartier texture. Daiya offers their cheese slices in several flavor varieties:

  • Cheddar – Aged cheddar taste
  • Swiss – Nutty Emmental Swiss flavor
  • Gouda – Sweet and salty like Gouda
  • Provolone – Mild like provolone cheese
  • Mozzarella – Robust mozzarella taste
  • Pepperjack – With a kick of spicy jalapeños
  • American – Mild and creamy American-style

This range allows you to enjoy different cheese flavors in dairy-free form. Daiya also makes cheese blocks, shreds, and cream cheese spreads.

Nutrition Facts

Here is the nutrition information for a 1 oz (28g) serving of Daiya cheddar cheese slices:

Nutrient Amount Daily Value
Calories 90 5%
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 0.5g 3%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 330mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 6g
Calcium 10%
Iron 0%
Potassium 2%

Daiya slices are high in fat from the oils used, providing 9% of the daily value. They also contain 330mg of sodium per serving. Each slice has 2g of carbohydrates, with no fiber or sugar. There are 6g of pea protein. The slices are fortified with calcium and vitamin D, but otherwise lack significant amounts of other vitamins and minerals.

Ingredients to Look Out For

Most ingredients in Daiya slices are likely safe for consumption for most people. However, there are a few things some people try to avoid:

  • Tapioca flour – Some people avoid it for the starch content.
  • Canola oil – It’s often GMO unless organic. Some avoid for the omega-6 content.
  • Coconut oil – High in saturated fat, which some people limit.
  • Natural flavors – Broadly defined term. Could be problematic for some.
  • Annatto – Natural dye that can cause allergic reactions in sensitive people.

Those following low FODMAP or paleo diets may want to avoid tapioca and natural flavors. People avoiding GMOs or high omega-6 may choose alternate oils. Those cutting saturated fats may limit coconut oil intake.

Allergens Present

Daiya cheese slices contain no dairy, lactose, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish or sesame. This makes them safe for people with allergies or sensitivities to those foods.

They are produced in a facility that also processes milk, soy and tapioca. There is a chance of cross-contamination for people with severe allergies.

Daiya slices are certified vegan and kosher OU Pareve. They are suitable for vegetarian, vegan, kosher, and halal diets when avoiding cross-contamination.

Are They Healthy?

Compared to regular dairy cheese slices, Daiya slices offer some benefits:

  • Lower in saturated fat and cholesterol
  • Lactose-free
  • Compatible with vegan diets
  • Provide protein and some calcium

However, they are highly processed and have less nutrition than whole foods. Some downsides:

  • High in sodium
  • Lack nutrients like B vitamins, phosphorus, and vitamin K2 found in dairy
  • Use refined vegetable oils
  • Contain thickeners and emulsifiers
  • More expensive than real cheese

Overall, Daiya cheese slices can be an occasional option for those avoiding dairy or animal products. But incorporating more minimally processed foods and fortified plant milks may offer better nutrition. Moderating portion sizes is advised due to the high sodium content.

Taste and Texture

Daiya slices melt smoothly and stretch when pulled apart, much like real cheese slices. Their taste is convincing enough when used in recipes like grilled cheese sandwiches or pizza.

However, upfront or on their own, the flavor can come across as overly tangy and bland. The texture also tends to be dense and rubbery rather than light. This is noticeable in a simple cheese and crackers snack.

Results vary based on personal taste preferences. Some people accustomed to dairy enjoy Daiya slices for their realistic melted properties. Others find them disappointingly artificial and unappealing on their own.

How to Use Them

Daiya cheese slices work best when melted or used to replace cheese in cooked dishes. Ideas include:

  • Grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Quesadillas
  • Pizza
  • Burritos or tacos
  • Casseroles like lasagna or enchiladas
  • On top of veggie burgers
  • In omelets or scrambled eggs
  • In macaroni and cheese

Their melting properties allow them to blend smoothly into hot sandwiches, dips, bakes, and more. But they tend to underwhelm when eaten cold or solo.

For uncooked applications like sandwiches or cheese boards, try pairing Daiya slices with tastier plant-based ingredients like roasted veggies, avocado, hummus, olives, nuts, or fresh herbs and spices to maximize flavor.

You can also try melting them slightly before serving, like on a freshly toasted bagel or English muffin. This improves the texture significantly.

Buying Tips

You can find Daiya cheese slices in the refrigerated section of most major supermarkets and health food stores. Here are some shopping tips:

  • Check labels for allergens if needed
  • Look at expiration dates and pick newer packages
  • Determine if you prefer regular or deluxe slice thickness
  • Choose your favorite flavors
  • Buy a single package to try if new to the brand
  • Compare prices between stores; they often go on sale

Daiya makes shreds, blocks, cream cheese, and numerous cheese products beyond slices. Their wide range allows you to replace dairy in almost any recipe.

Storage and Food Safety

Properly storing Daiya cheese slices helps maintain quality and safety:

  • Keep refrigerated until opened
  • Use within 3-5 days after opening package
  • Seal tightly between uses
  • Avoid temperature fluctuations in storage
  • Check for signs of spoilage before eating like mold, off smells, or discoloration
  • Discard if expiration date is exceeded

The vegetable oils can go rancid if left at room temperature too long after opening. Keeping the slices cold helps them retain texture and flavor.

As with any food product, practice good hygiene when handling and preparing. Avoid cross-contaminating ready-to-eat foods with raw meat, poultry, seafood, and their juices.

Common Questions

Are Daiya slices really dairy-free?

Yes, Daiya products are 100% vegan and dairy-free. They contain no milk ingredients or byproducts.

Do they contain any common allergens?

Daiya slices are free of dairy, eggs, nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish and sesame. They are made in a facility that processes milk, soy and tapioca.

Why are Daiya slices so expensive?

As a specialty vegan product, Daiya slices cost more than regular cheese to make. The elaborate proprietary process, custom ingredients, manufacturing equipment, and smaller market all drive up the price.

Can you microwave Daiya slices?

Yes, you can microwave Daiya slices to melt them on sandwiches, pizzas, and more. Use lower power and shorter durations to prevent overheating.

What is the shelf life of opened Daiya slices?

Daiya slices will keep for 3-5 days in the fridge after opening. Make sure to seal the package tightly between uses.


Daiya cheese slices allow vegans, dairy-free eaters, and lactose intolerant people the option to enjoy the melted cheese experience. Their main ingredients like tapioca flour, oils, and pea protein work together to create a convincing cheese-like texture when melted.

While not the most nutritious choice, they can be an acceptable occasional processed food option for those avoiding animal products or dairy. They perform best when paired with other ingredients and melted in recipes.

Overall, Daiya slices make an impressive plant-based substitute for cooked cheesy dishes. Just don’t expect the same creamy, fatty bite as real dairy cheese. With the right application, techniques, and expectations, they can satisfy cravings for melted cheese goodness.

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