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Is Cheese Vegan? The New Vegan’s Guide to Cheese

Vegan cheese and bread

Last updated on December 4th, 2023

No, cheese isn’t vegan. If you’ve been in the vegan world for a while this might seem like a simple question but if you’re just learning about the vegan lifestyle the question ‘is cheese vegan’ is a perfectly good one.

Why can’t vegans eat cheese?

Vegans can’t eat cheese because, quite simply put, it comes from an animal. Following a vegan lifestyle means you do not use or consume any products that come from animals.

Cheese comes from the milk of an animal, usually a cow but sometimes buffalos, goats, or sheep.

Why don’t vegans eat cheese?

As mentioned above, cheese is made by using milk that comes from an animal. Most vegans believe we should not farm animals in this way and the milk should go to their babies, as nature intended. Profiting from animals is something that vegans avoid.

Are any cheeses vegan?

Yes, there are lots of vegan cheeses available, and the range is constantly growing and improving.

Here in the UK, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to vegan cheese. These are plant-based products none of which are derived from animals.

So, yes, they are not true cheeses, of course, but they can allow vegans to enjoy many of the dishes they loved before becoming vegan which makes the transition much easier. So, while they are not actually cheese they do have a place for many people.

What is vegan cheese made of?

Is pasta vegan - Vegan pasta with vegan cheese

There’s not only one way to make vegan cheese, there are plenty of creative and interesting ways people make vegan cheese some of the most popular ingredients are soy, cashews, macadamias and coconut oil.

What cheese isn’t vegan?

Well, all real cheeses aren’t vegan. There are so many types of cheese such as cheddar, feta, gouda, emmental, mozzarella and the list goes on. But if these are real cheeses they’ll be derived from an animal and in this case, they are not suitable for vegans.

However, any cheese that is made completely from plant-based products is vegan-friendly.

Is cheese vegetarian?

Vegan mac and cheese Is Pasta vegan?

Now, this question doesn’t have a clear-cut answer. Most cheeses are suitable for vegetarians and are often a big part of a vegetarian’s diet. This can be a shame because vegetarians usually want to reduce the harm caused to animals but don’t realise the harm the dairy industry causes, this was me for 13 years.

Some cheeses, such as mozzarella and parmesan are not suitable for vegetarians because they use an ingredient called rennet. Rennet is found in the stomach lining of goats and calves. So cheeses that use rennet are not suitable for vegetarians.

What kind of cheese do vegans eat?

Vegans eat a huge range of cheeses that are made using only plant-based ingredients. These days it’s possible to get vegan cheeses that taste like cheddar cheese, smoked cheese, feta, mature cheese, mozzarella, camembert, cheese spread and even blue cheese.

There are so many brands you can choose from now. They offer some really great vegan cheese products such as Violife, Sheese, Applewood, and Nurishh, as well as supermarkets’ own brands.

Is cheese vegan - Cheese pizza.

What do you call a vegan that eats cheese?

Somebody who is following most of the guidelines of a vegan diet but still consumes milk and cheese is called a Lacto-vegetarian. This diet would not be considered a vegan diet because it involves the consumption of products that come from an animal.

What happens if a vegan eats cheese?

There has been a lot of research from organisations such as Switch4Good to prove that dairy is not good for our bodies. According to Switch4Good, 65% of the world’s population is intolerant to milk.

So, when someone removes dairy from their body they get used to the positive change, however, if they later eat some cheese and reintroduce dairy it may be hard to digest at first but their body will likely learn to tolerate it again after a while.


Cheese is not suitable for vegans, however, there are plenty of vegan options available and the quality and quantity keep growing so you’ll surely be able to find a vegan cheese that does the job for you.

If you enjoyed reading about ‘is cheese vegan?’ maybe you’ll be interested in these posts Why is Vegan Wine Different? Why Vegans Don’t Eat Eggs. Aren’t they natural? and Do Vegans Eat Honey? Everything vegans need to know about honey!

Meet the Author

Author Bio - Sinead OCarroll - The Wondering Wandering Vegan

Meet Sinead O’Carroll: Vegan explorer, sustainability advocate and the founder of The Wondering Wandering Vegan. Embracing veganism since 2018 and vegetarianism since 2005, Sinead is armed with a Vegan Health, Nutrition and Lifestyle qualification, and is on a mission to share her passion for cruelty-free living. 

With a taste for adventure and a heart for eco-conscious choices, she’s here to prove that vegans never miss out on flavour, fun or style. Join her in enjoying the delights of a vegan-friendly world! 🌱✈️🌍
Want to know more? Check out Sinead’s About page here.

Follow me on Instagram to see all the delicious vegan food I find, the vegan and cruelty-free products I use and what I get up to as a travelling vegan.

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