Make a vegan grilled cheese sandwich that mirrors the gooey, melty cheese of the classic version. You can make this classic cheese sandwich recipe in less than ten minutes! (pass – the process is the same as a classic!)
Ah, grilled cheese. The classic comfort food that Americans love. However, making vegan cheese sandwiches has traditionally been a challenge. Until ten years ago, the store-bought cheeses did not melt well and tasted funky.
But, with more people eating dairy-free, there has naturally been an increase in demand for vegan products, especially in the United States. Vegan cheese has come a long way thanks to this demand and creativity. I prefer sliced cheese made from a cashew base; they tend to melt better and have that oozy, gooey quality.
An alternative to store-bought is homemade cheese. The advantage is you are using wholesome ingredients that you know are free of animal products. There are many vegan recipes online. While I am sure many are good, like regular cheese, making it at home is a labor of love I am unwilling to take now.
Best Vegan Cheeses
The vegan cheeses below are available at most large and natural grocery stores. Many options are available now, and you might want to experiment to find your favorite brand. Normally, I love Chao for melting, but I recommend Follow Your Heart American brand for a classic grilled cheese sandwich.
Vegan Cheese Slices
- Chao Creamery Slices – Made by Field Roast, Chao slices have a creamy texture and soft flavor. They melt very well, making them perfect for grilled cheese or pizza!
- Daiya Deluxe Cheese Slices – Daiya is well-known for its dairy-free products. Their slices come in cheddar and Swiss. Their recipe has been reformulated and has come a long way from old-school Daiya slices,
- Follow Your Heart Cheese Slices – These soy-free slices melt beautifully and are sold in American, provolone, and smoked gouda flavors. This was by far my favorite cheese for a grilled cheese sandwich!
- Violife Vegan Cheese Slices – Violife slices are free from soy and gluten and offer a range of flavors, including Colby jack and mature Cheddar. I love the mature cheddar with apple slices!
Vegan Cheese Shreds
- So Delicious Dairy-Free Shreds – They melt well in cheddar and mozzarella styles.
- Miyoko’s Creamery Organic Vegan Cheese Shreds – Miyoko’s is known for its artisanal approach to vegan cheese. Their cashew-based shreds have a rich and authentic cheese flavor.
- Daiya Cutting Board Shreds – Available in cheddar, mozzarella, and pepper jack flavors. The recipe has been reformulated and now melts better than old-school Daiya.
- Violife Just Like Mozzarella Shreds – Ideal for a stretchy, melted cheese experience, these shreds are great for those who prefer a milder, mozzarella-like flavor.
- Bread: gluten-free, whole wheat, white or sourdough bread.
- Room Temperature Plant-Based Butter: I typically use Earth Balance or Miyoko’s.
- Vegan Cheese: Look for a thinly sliced cheese that melts well. See melting tips.
- Optional additions: tomato, avocado, vegan pesto, spinach. See additional suggestions.
Air Fryer Cooking Method:
Tips for Achieving the Perfect Melt
- Thinness Matters: Thinner slices melt faster.
- Pan Matters: Use a good nonstick pan.
- Medium Heat: Cook your sandwich on medium-low heat. A slower cook is key for melting cheese without burning the bread.
- Cover the Pan: Trapping the heat helps in melting the cheese evenly.
Up your game by adding addtional flavor. I recomend using 1-2 additions.
- Apple Slices
- Avocado Slices
- Caramelized Onions
- Pesto Sauce
- Red Onion Slices
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Pickled Jalapeno Slices
- Tomato Slices
How to Make A Perfect Vegan Grilled Cheese
- 1 Skillet with cover
- 1 Spatula
- 2 slices bread of your choice
- 2 tablespoons (28g) butter, room temperature
- 2-4 slices vegan cheese
- Butter the Bread: Generously butter one side of each bread slice. Don't hold back; a thick coating is necessary for the perfect grilled crunch.
- Assemble the Sandwich: Place your cheese (and any other ingredients) between the non-buttered sides of your bread.
- Heat Your Pan: Preheat your nonstick pan to medium-low heat. Patience is key here.
- Grill to Perfection: Place your sandwich in the pan, buttered side down. Cook for 2-4 minutes on each side or until the bottom is golden brown, and then flip. Cover the pan if necessary to trap the steam and help the cheese melt.
- Serve and Enjoy: Once both sides are crispy and the cheese is melted, remove from the pan, slice, and serve immediately.