Looking to know if that cream cheese bagel is vegetarian? Well look no further, because lots of people are wondering if cream cheese is a vegetarian food.
Given how common cream cheese is, you’re bound to run into it at some point. If you’re vegetarian you may have sim misgivings about it, so it’s best to clear thing up.
Today we’re going to see if cream cheese is vegetarian, how to tell when cheese is vegetarian in general, and what kinds of cheese vegetarians can eat.
Is cream cheese vegetarian?
Cream cheese is vegetarian, because it only contains milk, cream, salt, and either carob bean gum or carrageenan as stabilizers. There is no animal enzyme added to this cheese, so it is completely vegetarian.
This cheese is made in a very similar way to mascarpone and can often be substitutes for one another.
As a very common spread, cream cheese is found in different flavors and some may contain animal products. For example, cream cheese with bacon bits is not vegetarian. The cream cheese itself is vegetarian, but the bacon is not.
This kind of question is becoming more and more common, as more and more people are option for vegan or vegetarian foods. We think it’s important to be informed, so we’re going to help you figure out when cheese is vegetarian or not.
How do you know if cheese is vegetarian?
Cheese (of any kind) is only vegetarian when animal enzymes are not used. Those animal enzymes come from rennet, which is derived from the stomach of slaughtered young calves.
Some cheeses that are traditionally made using rennet – like feta – can also be made using vegetal rennet. They are becoming more and more common, as vegetal rennet is easier to produce and cheaper.
Another option is to not use rennet, and use a food acid instead. The most common acids are lemon juice and vinegar, as they are very good at curdling milk.
To notice all of this you have to look at the label on the cheese packaging. It should mention ‘vegetal rennet’, or ‘lemon juice’, or ‘vinegar’. If you’re buying the cheese from a farmer’s market, be sure to ask the farmer how they made the cheese.
Is Philadephia cream cheese vegetarian?
Yes, Philadelphia cream cheese is vegetarian as it contains the same ingredients as other cream cheese brands. Milk, cream, salt, and carob bean gum. Any other flavorings are usually vegetarian, like herbs, cream, yoghurt, tomatoes and basil, etc.
So, you can rest assured that Philly cream cheese is vegetarian, and if you use it for a vegetarian recipe, it will be safe.
What cheeses can vegetarians eat?
You may be wondering what other cheeses vegetarians can eat. Like we said before, you have to look at the label on the cheese. Make sure there is no animal rennet used, and you’re fine.
We’re going to give you a few examples of cheeses that are traditionally made without rennet, so you know these are always going to be safe.
Paneer is an Indian cheese that can be made in 3-4 hours. It’s made of milk (usually cow’s milk) and lemon juice. The curds are separated from the whey by draining, and then the curds are pressed into a block of cheese for several hours.
This results in a hard, crumbly cheese that tastes mild and fresh. Salt may be used, but only in very small amounts. Paneer is traditionally used in Indian cooking, does not melt, and is meant to absorb a lot of flavors.
Cottage cheese is another white, fresh cheese. The curds are obtained via lemon juice and then there are two options. Either the curds are left dry and sold as-is, or they are mixed with light cream and become very similar to ricotta.
Ricotta is another fresh, white cheese with a very mild and fresh taste. It’s best used for sweets, like cannoli. No rennet is used, not even lemon juice. The name ricotta means ‘recooked’, so this gives us a hint as to how it’s made.
You can find ricotta in two stated: fresh and aged. Fresh ricotta is the smooth, creamy paste we all know and love.
Aged ricotta can be smoked, and is a semi-firm cheese that keeps its shape when cut.
Queso blanco is a Spanish name for any cheese that looks white. This type of cheese is always made using lemon juice or vinegar, and is in the ‘fresh and mild’ category.
You may have noticed that the only cheeses that do not use rennet are fresh, white cheeses. With the exception of feta, halloumi, and mozzarella which are all kept in a suspension or brine and use rennet.
Rennet cheese is always going to be stretchy when heated, so that’s one thing you can guide yourself by. And they will almost always be the aged, yellow-orange cheeses most people think of when it comes to cheese.
As a vegetarian, you still have a lot of options when it comes to vegetarian cheeses. You may have to look for the specific ingredients on labels, but the brands are out there.
Even cheeses that traditionally use animal rennet can be made with vegetal rennet. Some brands to look for are 365 from Whole Foods, Organic Valley, Kraft, Stella, and Laughing Cow to name a few. Not all their cheeses are vegetarian, but they have vegetarian options as well.
If you are a vegetarian since birth, it is doubtless that you have always acknowledged the contents of a delightful meal before grabbing a bite. But it is genuinely disheartening to learn that even cheese, an ingredient that stays beloved to all vegetarians, are not all veg. Some cheeses that have gained popularity over the decade use a non-vegetarian enzyme.
This brings us to one of the most common creams you might have encountered several times in your life-cream cheese! You must be wondering if not every cheese is vegetarian, what about cream cheese? Read ahead to know more.
This may lighten your heart to hear that cheese cream is vegetarian. It is composed of milk, cream, salt and either carob bean gum or carrageenan as stabilizers in industrial production.
However, you must always watch out for the contents that constitute an industrial cream cheese. The cheese cream now comes in countless flavours and variations, not all of them being vegetarian friendly. Some of these products may contain animal enzymes to enhance the taste. Cream cheese that is added to meat pieces and bacon bits is not vegetarian.
There is a frequently asked question about all the cheeses. Are all of the cheeses veg? If not, which cheese types should vegetarians avoid and all of that. Hang tight and I will cove that for you.
There are more than 2000 types of cheese that exist and sadly a majority of cheeses use animal enzymes. The enzymes are derived from the rennet, the stomach’s inner linings of calves.
Cheeses like Parmesan and Gorgonzola, which are consumed worldwide, also use rennet in their manufacturing process. These are becoming commoner with each passing day.
A brilliant alternative you can find for rennet is food acid. But food companies have taken into account that rennet is easily available and inexpensive, hence it is widely used. However, if you are making your own recipe for crafting cheese cream at home, you can add acids such as lemon juice and vinegar are an excellent choice for condensing milk.
So always consider checking the label of ingredients before buying off a cream cheese from the market. If it is unlabelled, ask the producer to provide you with details about the product.
Supposedly, several people today are turning into vegans giving up dairy and animal products. Woefully, cheese creams are only vegetarian friendly, and a person following a vegan diet cannot consume cheese cream.
But the production companies have upgraded their definition of cheese cream and now have started producing cheese cream which contains ingredients like coconut milk and tapioca. These cheese creams are free of dairy products, gluten, soy or peanuts.
They are also available in exotic flavours. If you were madly in love with cheese cream and decided to turn vegan, this can be your perfect substitute. If purchasing a vegan cheese cream, be careful to check the contents and question the supplier.
It is gravely saddening to unearth that some of the best cheeses are made from animal extract. And having discovered this, you might be afraid whether the cheese you prefer today is veg or non-veg. I will run you through some kinds of cheese that use 100% vegetarian ingredients for their production and are just as good.
Cottage cheese is a fresh white cheese derived from milk with a mild flavouring. Cottage cheese is also used to make paneer, another famous form of cheese, and can be mixed with light cream to form ricotta. This is one of the most widely used cheeses all across the globe. The curds are obtained through the lemon extract.
Paneer cheese, a typical Indian cheese, is derived from milk and lemon extract. The curds are separated by draining and are cut and shaped into blocks. This cheese also has a mild flavour but is very nutritious.
Paneer, for several centuries, has been used in Indian homes where it is given extra flavour by adding gravy and spices. Paneer does not taste like other kinds of cheese in its mildest form but is very fresh and pure. Paneer takes more than 3 hours to form.
Burrata is a certified vegetarian Italian cheese and is preferably made from cow milk Burrata, apart from being fresh and pure, is highly soft, creamy and milky. Burrata is made from a mix of mozzarella and cream. The inside layer of Burrata contains stracciatella giving it the oddball soft texture and the outer layer is formed with solid cheese.
Queso Blanco is originated from Spain. This cheese is the name of every white cheese in Spain which again has a fresh and mild taste and is created using lemon juice or vinegar.
One thing to notice is all the kinds of cheese that are authentically vegetarian are all fresh, white and have a mild flavouring of cheese. This is because rennet, along with bringing a change in taste, also changes the colour and texture.
All the popular kinds of cheese, like Parmesan, Mozzarella, Feta and Cheddar, use rennet in their production process. Rennet changes its behaviour and becomes stretchy. Mozzarella uses rennet in its making as it is one of the stretchiest kinds of cheese.
But if you are a vegetarian, you still have access to various kinds of cheese. All you have to do is keep a track of the ingredients used.