Discover the Top 11 Lactose-Free Cheese Brands and Types for Your Dietary Needs

Best Lactose-Free Cheese Brands/Types: A Comprehensive Guide

Lactose intolerance is a common food sensitivity among people in the United States. Many dairy products, including cheese, contain lactose, making them off-limits to those with lactose intolerance. However, there are several lactose-free cheese brands and types that can be enjoyed by people with lactose intolerance. In this article, we will explore the best lactose-free cheese brands/types, their characteristics, and how they can be incorporated into a lactose-intolerant diet.

Understanding Lactose in Cheese

Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk and dairy products such as cheese. In the human body, lactose is broken down into simple sugars by an enzyme called lactase. However, people with lactose intolerance do not produce enough lactase to properly digest lactose, resulting in gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, gas, cramping, diarrhea, and nausea.
The severity of lactose intolerance can vary from person to person, and age may also play a role, as lactase production tends to decrease over time. While some cheeses are naturally low in lactose, the exact lactose content depends on factors such as the cheesemaking process and aging. Soft cheeses such as Brie tend to have higher lactose content due to their moisture content, while hard, dry cheeses such as Cheddar have lower lactose content because most of the whey, which contains lactose, is removed during production.

Can cheese be lactose-free?

Contrary to popular belief, people with lactose intolerance do not have to give up cheese altogether. Some cheeses are naturally low in lactose, especially those made from sheep’s or goat’s milk. Aging also reduces the lactose content, as the cheese loses moisture during the process.
For people who cannot tolerate dairy products without discomfort, lactose-free cheese alternatives are available. These cheeses are made from non-dairy ingredients such as soy, rice, cashews, and almonds. While they may not have the exact texture and flavor of dairy-based cheeses, they are close alternatives that people with lactose intolerance can enjoy.

Choosing Lactose-Free Cheese: A Buyer’s Guide

There are several factors to consider when choosing lactose-free cheese:

1. Ingredients

Lactose-free cheese is typically made with non-dairy ingredients such as cashews or root vegetables, which provide a creamy texture. It is important to check for allergens in lactose-free cheese, especially tree nuts or soy, if you have allergies. Some lactose-free cheeses may contain nutritional yeast for a “cheesy” flavor and tapioca starch as a thickener.

2. Texture

The degree of processing affects the texture of non-dairy cheese. In general, more processed cheeses resemble the texture of dairy cheeses, while less processed cheeses may have a grainy or chalky texture. It is important to note that there may be a change in texture when transitioning to lactose-free cheese.

3. Taste

Lactose-free cheese comes in a variety of flavors, achieved through different ingredients used in the manufacturing process. Some cheeses use natural flavorings like nutritional yeast to mimic the taste of dairy cheese, while others use a similar cheesemaking process with starter cultures to break down fats and proteins in nuts.

4. Shape and Format

Lactose-free cheese comes in a variety of shapes and formats, including blocks, rounds, shreds, slices, sauces and spreads. The choice of cheese format depends on how it will be used, whether for snacking, shredding over pasta, or melting in a grilled cheese sandwich.

5. Labels and certifications

When purchasing lactose-free cheese, look for labels that indicate the product is lactose-free. Vegan options, which are typically lactose-free, may carry certifications from Natural Food Certifiers and The Vegan Society.

Top 11 Lactose-Free Cheese Brands/Types

If you are lactose intolerant and looking for delicious lactose-free cheese alternatives, consider the following brands/types:

1. Treeline Creamy Soft French Style Cashew Cheese

Made with a creamy cashew base, Treeline offers a variety of flavors such as Chipotle-Serrano Pepper, Herb-Garlic, Scallion, and Sea Salt & Pepper. These organic cashew cheeses are dairy-free, soy-free and gluten-free. Treeline also produces plant-based cream cheeses and artisan aged cheeses.

2. Violife Like Parmesan Wedge

Violife, a Greek brand, offers a wide variety of lactose-free cheeses made with coconut oil. The range includes sharp cheddar, creamy feta, crumbly parmesan and mozzarella-style shreds. Violife cheeses are free of dairy, soy, gluten, nuts and preservatives, making them suitable for a variety of dietary restrictions.

3. Field Roast Chao Creamery

Field Roast specializes in plant-based meats and also offers a line of lactose-free cheeses called Chao Creamery. Their cheeses are made from fermented tofu and coconut oil, resulting in a creamy and flavorful product. Chao Creamery offers options such as Creamy Original, Coconut Herb with Black Pepper, Tomato Cayenne, and Garden Herb.

4. Miyoko’s Creamery

Miyoko’s Creamery is known for its artisan vegan cheeses made from a blend of nuts and plant-based ingredients. Their products include Miyoko’s Classic Double Cream Chive, Aged English Smoked Farmhouse, and Fresh VeganMozz. Miyoko’s Creamery cheeses are known for their rich flavors and creamy textures.

5. Kite Hill Soft Fresh Truffle, Dill & Chive Cheese

Kite Hill specializes in dairy alternatives made with almond milk. Their lactose-free cheeses are creamy and spreadable, perfect for crackers and sandwiches. The Soft Fresh Truffle, Dill & Chive Cheese offers a unique flavor profile with truffle undertones and herbaceous notes.

6. Daiya Cheddar Style Cutting Board Shreds

Daiya is a well-known brand in the lactose-free and vegan cheese market. Their Cheddar Style Cutting Board Shreds are a versatile option for melting over nachos, pasta, or grilled sandwiches. Daiya cheeses are dairy, soy, gluten and nut free.

7. Go Veggie Vegan Parmesan Grated Topping

Go Veggie offers a variety of lactose-free and vegan cheeses. Their Vegan Parmesan Grated Topping is a popular choice for adding a savory, cheesy flavor to pasta dishes, salads and soups. It is made with a combination of coconut oil and rice flour.

8. Follow Your Heart Dairy-Free Feta Crumbles

Follow Your Heart makes a variety of lactose-free and vegan cheeses. Their Dairy-Free Feta Crumbles are tangy and crumbly, making them a great addition to salads, wraps, and Mediterranean-inspired dishes. These feta crumbles are made with coconut oil and natural flavors.

9. So Delicious Dairy-Free Mozzarella-Style Shreds

So Delicious offers a line of lactose-free and vegan cheeses made with ingredients like coconut oil and potato starch. Their Mozzarella-Style Shreds are perfect for pizzas, lasagnas, and casseroles, providing a gooey and melt-in-the-mouth texture.

10. Vtopian Artisan Cheeses

Vtopian produces a wide variety of artisan, lactose-free vegan cheeses. Their offerings include flavors such as Aged White Cheddar, Peppercorn Brie, and Macadamia & Cashew Camembert. Vtopian cheeses are handmade and aged to develop complex flavors.

11. Heidi Ho Veganics Ne Chèvre Pure

Heidi Ho Veganics specializes in vegan and lactose-free cheeses based on nuts and nutritional yeast. Their Ne Chèvre Pure is a creamy and tangy alternative to traditional goat cheese, perfect for spreading on crackers or incorporating into recipes.

Incorporating lactose-free cheese into your diet

Lactose-free cheeses can be used in a variety of ways to add flavor and texture to your meals. Here are some ideas:

1. Sandwiches and Wraps

Use lactose-free cheese slices or spreads to enhance the flavor of your sandwiches and wraps. They can provide a creamy and savory element to complement your favorite fillings.

2. Pasta and pizza

Sprinkle lactose-free cheese shreds or crumbles over pasta dishes, pizzas and casseroles for a melty, cheesy experience. They can be used as a topping or mixed into the sauce for added richness.

3. Salads

Crumble lactose-free feta or sprinkle grated lactose-free parmesan over salads to enhance their flavor. The tang and saltiness of these cheeses can complement a variety of salad ingredients.

4. Snacks and Appetizers

Pair lactose-free cheeses with crackers, fresh fruit or vegetables for a satisfying snack or appetizer. The creamy and flavorful nature of these cheeses makes them a great addition to a cheese platter.

5. Sauces and Dips

Add lactose-free cheeses to sauces and dips to enhance their creaminess and flavor. They can be used in creamy pasta sauces, cheesy dips, or even as a base for vegan macaroni.


What is lactose-free cheese?

Lactose-free cheese is cheese that has been specially made or processed to remove or reduce lactose, the natural sugar found in milk. It is suitable for people with lactose intolerance who have difficulty digesting lactose.

How is the lactose removed from lactose-free cheese?

Lactose is removed from lactose-free cheese by several methods, including the use of lactase enzymes, which break down lactose into simpler sugars that are easier to digest. Some lactose-free cheeses are made with non-dairy ingredients, such as nuts or plant-based milks, which are naturally lactose-free.

Are all lactose-free cheeses vegan?

Not all lactose-free cheeses are vegan. While many lactose-free cheeses are made from plant-based ingredients and are suitable for vegans, some lactose-free cheeses may still contain dairy-derived ingredients such as casein or whey protein. It is important to read labels carefully if you are following a vegan diet.

Can lactose-free cheese be substituted for regular cheese in recipes?

Lactose-free cheese can generally be used as a substitute for regular cheese in recipes. However, it is important to note that lactose-free cheeses may have different textures and flavors than traditional dairy-based cheeses. Experimentation and adjustment may be required to achieve the desired results in recipes.

Are lactose-free cheeses suitable for people with dairy allergies?

Lactose-free cheese may still contain dairy proteins such as casein or whey, which can cause allergic reactions in people with dairy allergies. If you have a dairy allergy, it is important to read labels carefully and choose cheeses that are specifically labeled as dairy-free or vegan, as they are more likely to be free of dairy allergens.

Are lactose-free cheeses lower in calcium than regular cheeses?

Lactose-free cheeses are generally made from dairy sources that naturally contain calcium, such as nuts or plant-based milks. Therefore, they can still be a source of calcium, although the exact calcium content may vary between different brands and types of lactose-free cheese. It is a good idea to check the nutritional information on the package for specific calcium content.