20+ Vegetarian Friendly Cheeses That Don’t Contain Animal Rennet

Due to the utter shock and disgust that I felt when I first discovered that I was eating cheese with animal by-product, I decided to make a list of cheese brands that have us vegetarians in mind.

Note that these are not vegan cheeses. These are dairy based cheeses that do not use animal rennet during the manufacturing process. You can read more about rennet in my previous post, hidden animal ingredients in common “vegetarian friendly” foods.

I wanted to find cheese brands that are available in any supermarket. This varies by region, so I visited my local supermarkets, made a list of cheese brands, and then checked if these are available countrywide. I’m sure that your local supermarket carries at least a handful from this list. A few I found online and are only available in select regions.

I’d also like to point out that if the ingredients label only reads “enzymes” it does not mean that it is made using animal rennet. There’s always the possibility that microbial or vegetable rennet is used, but the only way to know is by doing some research.

Clicking on the logo will take you to the source.

ALDI

ALDI LOGO

Although the Aldi website doesn’t mention it, and they did not give me a clear answer when I e-mailed them, I’ve found that most of the time the source of rennet is noted in the ingredients. This will save you all the guess work.

The Happy Farms and Simply Nature brands are mostly made using microbial rennet. On the other hand, the Priano brand only reads “enzyme.”

I don’t understand why they’d specify in some and not others, so I’d just stay away from cheeses that are not specific of the rennet source.


Applegate

APPLEGATE FARMS LOGO

Their Swiss and Havarti cheese contain animal rennet; all others are vegetarian friendly.


Boarshead

BOARS HEAD LOGO

The Boars Head cheese line isn’t entirely vegetarian friendly, but they have a selection of about 25 cheeses that are. Clicking on the logo will take you to the list in the Boars Head website.


Cabot

CABOT CHEESE LOGO

Their Processed American Cheese may contain animal rennet. It is made in a plant that is not owned by Cabot and they can’t confirm it. However, all other cheeses are vegetarian friendly.


Clover Stornetta Farms

CLOVER STORNETTA LOGO

All cheeses are vegetarian friendly. Only available in CA, AZ, CO HI, NV, and WY.


Coach Farm

COACH FARMS LOGO

This company only makes goat cheese. All are vegetarian friendly.


Cobb Hill Cheese

COBB HILL CHEESE LOGO

All cheeses are vegetarian friendly. Only available in NY, VT, MA, ME, and NH.


Cypress Grove Chevre

CYPRESS GROVE CHEVRE LOGO

All cheeses are vegetarian friendly. This cheese is available throughout the country but only in specialty stores.


Dutch Farms

DUTCH FARMS LOGO

All cheeses are vegetarian friendly, but beware of their gelatin that contains animal by-product.


Finlandia

FINLANDIA LOGO

Their provolone cheese contains animal rennet; all others are vegetarian friendly.


Galbani

GALBANI LOGO

I couldn’t find any information so I sent them an email. Here’s their response. Galbani is a trademark of Lactalis.

Lactalis, Inc. understands that the source of coagulant used in the manufacturing of cheese is important in today’s ever-changing world, for both the intermediary processors and consumers of our products.

Lactalis uses only Microbial Rennet in the manufacturing of all its Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheeses. This source of chymosin is widely accepted and used throughout the entire US Dairy Industry for the manufacturing of natural cheeses.


Horizon Organic

HORIZON ORGANIC LOGO

All cheeses are vegetarian friendly.


Kerrygold

KERRYGOLD LOGO

This info was on their website but it was taken down, not quite sure why. Probably a website redesign. I asked them to confirm via email and here’s their response:

Thank you for contacting Kerrygold.

We conduct the fermentation process with bacteria not taken from animals, to produce the Chymosin enzyme (in rennet).

This is a form that is suitable for and complies with the vegetarian classification.  This cheese starter is known as Microbial (or sometimes ‘Vegetarian’) Rennet.


Kirkland Signature

COSTCO KIRKLAND SIGNATURE LOGO

This is the Costco brand. The website had no information about this so I emailed them as well. Here’s the response:

Thank you for contacting Costco.

We are happy to assist you. Kirkland Signature cheeses use microbial rennet.

If you have any additional questions, or if there is anything further we may assist you with, please let us know. Have a great weekend!

Another reason to love Costco!


Laughing Cow

LAUGHING COW LOGO

All cheeses are vegetarian friendly.


Land O’Lakes

LAND O'LAKES LOGO

Their deli American cheese contains animal rennet. All other cheeses are vegetarian friendly.


Rumiano Cheese

RUMIANO CHEESE LOGO

All cheeses are vegetarian friendly.


Sargento

SARGENTO LOGO

Okay, pay attention here. These are the cheeses that DO NOT contain animal rennet:

  • MOST shredded cheeses, all sliced cheeses, and all natural cheese snacks.

These are the cheeses that MAY contain animal rennet:

  • All cheeses that contain Romano or Asiago cheese, which are: Artisan Blends Shredded Parmesan & Romano Cheese, Chef Blends Shredded 6 Cheese Italian, Shredded Reduced Fat 4 Cheese Italian and Tastings Medium Asiago Cheese.
  • The cheese dip in non-refrigerated MooTown Snacks, Cheese Dip & Cracker Sticks, Cheese Dip & Pretzel Sticks and Cheese Dip & Crackers, is made with beef rennet.

Pretty much, most of Sargento’s collection contains animal rennet. I almost didn’t include it in this list but it’s such a commonly found cheese that I figured it’s better that you know.


Tillamook

Tillamook Logo

I added Tillamook to the list thanks to a reader comment. So please, if you know of any other other brands let me know in the comments. You’ll be helping a fellow vegetarian!

The majority of Tillamook cheeses are vegetarian friendly, and use a fermentation-produced rennet. I believe this is the same as microbial rennet. The following varieties are vegetarian friendly:

  • Medium, Sharp, Special Reserve Extra Sharp, Kosher, and Reduced Fat Cheddar
  • Monterrey Jack
  • Mozzarella
  • Colby
  • Colby-Jack
  • Pepper-Jack
  • Provolone
  • Muenster
  • Swiss
  • Reduced Fat Monterrey

Tillamook white cheddar varieties (Medium White, Sharp, Vintage Extra Sharp, 3 Year Aged Vintage Extra Sharp, and Smoked White Vintage Extra Sharp) are NOT vegetarian friendly.


Trader Joe’s

TRADER JOES LOGO

There’s no information on their website, but the majority of the time the rennet source is noted in the ingredients. I’ve seen both microbial and vegetable enzymes/rennet. In some cases it just says “enzymes.”

The selection at Trader Joe’s is so large, and it’s so varied by region, that it’s impossible to check the rennet source for each and every cheese that they may carry. Like Aldi, I recommend that if the ingredients label only reads “enzymes,” then you should put it down and pick up another one.


Vermont Creamery

VERMONT CREAMERY LOGO

All cheeses are vegetarian friendly.


Yancey’s Fancy

YANCEY'S FANCY LOGO

All cheeses are vegetarian friendly, except for those that are pepperoni and bacon flavored. Obviously.


If you know of any other brand I should include here, please post it in the comments and I will research it!

Sorry, I’ve decided to turn off comments

The number of comments and emails that I receive are too much to handle, so I’ve decided to centralize all communication to email only. Just scroll down to “contact me”, and feel free to send me any comments, questions, complaints, or concerns 🙂

26 Responses
  • Bala K
    February 15, 2018

    Hi all, I hope this information helps.
    One Kirkland Signature cheese and One Kirkland Signature cheese based product are not Vegetarian. I sent an email to them and received the following response –

    My email
    Hello Costco,
    I am a vegetarian (I don’t eat any kind of meat or meat derived products including eggs but I drink milk). My question is do cheeses sold under the Kirkland brand contain animal based rennet or enzymes or any other animal based ingredient other than milk?
    For example products such as Kirkland Signature Aged Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, Shredded (Item 186626) and Kirkland Signature Imported Basil Pesto (Item 990551) etc

    Their Response
    Response By Email (Stacy A) (09/17/2016)
    Dear customer,

    As for the Kirkland Signature cheese in the coolers, all enzymes are animal-free & No Artificial Preservatives. These would include;
    Kirkland Signature American slices
    Kirkland Signature Monterey jack
    Kirkland Signature shredded cheddar/jack
    Kirkland Signature mild cheddar
    Kirkland Signature sharp cheddar
    Kirkland Signature mild shredded cheddar
    Kirkland Signature Swiss American slices

    As for the specific products you listed,
    Item number 186626 – the enzymes and rennet are animal based, from calves.
    Item number 990551 – the rennet is from animal (sheep).

    Thank you,

    Stacy A.
    Member Service Center
    Costco Wholesale Corporation

  • Bala Krishna Sarathy
    February 15, 2018

    One Kirkland Signature cheese and One Kirkland Signature cheese based product are not Vegetarian. I sent an email to them and received the following response –

    My email
    Hello Costco,
    I am a vegetarian (I don’t eat any kind of meat or meat derived products including eggs but I drink milk). My question is do cheeses sold under the Kirkland brand contain animal based rennet or enzymes or any other animal based ingredient other than milk?
    For example products such as Kirkland Signature Aged Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, Shredded (Item 186626) and Kirkland Signature Imported Basil Pesto (Item 990551) etc

    Their Response
    Response By Email (Stacy A) (09/17/2016)
    Dear customer,

    As for the Kirkland Signature cheese in the coolers, all enzymes are animal-free & No Artificial Preservatives. These would include;
    Kirkland Signature American slices
    Kirkland Signature Monterey jack
    Kirkland Signature shredded cheddar/jack
    Kirkland Signature mild cheddar
    Kirkland Signature sharp cheddar
    Kirkland Signature mild shredded cheddar
    Kirkland Signature Swiss American slices

    As for the specific products you listed,

    Item number 186626 – the enzymes and rennet are animal based, from calves.
    Item number 990551 – the rennet is from animal (sheep).

    Thank you,

    Stacy A.
    Member Service Center
    Costco Wholesale Corporation

  • Jennifer Paier
    January 29, 2018

    I emailed stella cheeses to see if their parmesan, asiago and Romano are vegetarian because I’ve read on a few sites that they are. While it’s true that they’re made using microbial enzymes, they also use animal lipase, making Them NOT vegetarian. Here’s the info I I got from them. It sounds to me that their parmesan is in fact vegetarian!  

    UPC 075805874897 – ASGO AGED C&W WDG 16/8oz EW

    The item listed above is manufactured with microbial enzymes and calf lipase.

    UPC 075805874866 – PARM C&W WDG 16/8OZ EW

    The item listed above is manufactured with microbial enzymes and no lipase.

    UPC 075805874873 – ROM C&W WDG 16/8oz EW

    The item listed above is manufactured with microbial enzymes and kid, calf and lamb lipase.

  • Tammy @ GFV
    January 26, 2018

    Hi Heather! So sorry for the delay. I reached out to Loblaws and it took some time for them to research this. Very happy to say that the cheese they use contains microbial rennet, so it is vegetarian friendly 🙂

  • Yogeshbhai Patel
    January 26, 2018

    What about the cheese sold at Restaurant Depot, are they made from microbial and vegetable enzymes/rennet ?

  • Emma
    January 19, 2018

    My favorite find so far has been BelGioiso cheeses. They have a vegetarian parmesan! And vegetarian mozzarella, asiago, fontana, and several others. This is awesome because I cook a lot of Italian meals so thought I’d share 🙂

    http://www.dachshundmom.com

    • Tammy @ GFV
      January 26, 2018

      WOW I will check with them to see if I can add them to the list. Vegetarian Parmesan is unheard of, and I’m not being sarcastic. Thanks so much for suggesting it!

  • Nicole
    January 11, 2018

    Hey There! I came across your blog in looking for more options for Pet food brands that do not test on animals. Your articles were very insightful and Thank You for taking your time to do so much research. I have to admit with the amount of concern and compassion you have shown I was surprised to find out that you are not Vegan. The Dairy industry is one of the most cruel and horrific industries that exists. There is a lot of information to support this and I think you would be very interested to further investigate this for yourself. There are a lot of great alternatives to cheese on the market today if this is a concern. You will be helping so many animals and making the planet a much better place by going Vegan 🙂

    • Tammy @ GFV
      January 26, 2018

      Hi Nicole! Going vegan is definitely in my plans down the road. I actually haven’t had milk in years, and I’m DONE with eggs. I’ve been implementing other sources of protein into my diet so that I can completely cut eggs out of my diet. Cheese is definitely a concern as you said. I’ve tried the Chao slices by Field Roast which surprisingly are very good, but I still don’t see myself completely cutting cheese out. I’m not very creative in the kitchen, lol. I cut out meat cold turkey years ago, but cheese has turned out to be a big challenge. Still, as I said it is something that I HAVE to do down road so that I can live with a clean conscience. However, I don’t think that I’ll ever classify myself as vegan because I don’t have a problem consuming honey. I’m actually somewhere in the middle of vegetarian and vegan; I wish there was a name for it. Thank you so much for your very kind comment, and for also doing your part to help animals 🙂

  • Tammy @ GFV
    January 11, 2018

    Hi Lisa! I reached out to Napoli for you but unfortunately they do not keep a running list of their vegetarian friendly cheeses. It seems like they have a huge selection. You’d have to reach out to Napoli directly and let them know the specific cheese that you’re interested in.

  • Kim
    December 29, 2017

    Thanks! This is VERY helpful!

    • Tammy @ GFV
      January 2, 2018

      You’re welcome, glad to be of help 🙂

  • maruj8
    December 20, 2017

    Amul is the big brand from India and they are vegeterian

    • Tammy @ GFV
      January 3, 2018

      I just read that the use of animal derived rennet is prohibited in India. That’s great! I wish that would be implemented in western nations.

  • Christina Mueller
    November 27, 2017

    I have contacted the manufacturer of Old Croc and not recieved an answer. Do you have any info on this brand? TIA

    • Tammy @ GFV
      November 29, 2017

      Thanks for asking about this brand. They are vegetarian friendly and I’ll soon add them to the list! The info is available on their website. Go to http://oldcroccheese.com/ and click on products on the top menu, then click on the cheese type. You will see a small window open up on the right hand side. On that window, click where it says “Nutrition Information.” You will see that it says vegetable rennet for all 4 cheese options.

  • Megan
    November 2, 2017

    What about Publix brand?

    • Tammy @ GFV
      November 29, 2017

      Hi Megan! Sorry for the long wait. Publix natural cheeses, with the exception of Jarlsberg Wedges, are vegetarian friendly. Their processed cheeses, like the deli slices and those found in the cheese/dairy section are not vegetarian friendly. I’ve copy and pasted their full response below. Publix cheese is manufactured my Great Lakes Cheeses hence their reference…

      “Rennet: The source of rennet in the current cheese-making world is from microbial sources. Natural cheese products sold by Great Lakes Cheese are made with rennet that is microbially produced. The only exception is Jarlsberg Wedges, which is made with animal sourced rennet.

      Lipase: Used when making certain cheeses to provide flavor development, these enzymes can be either animal or microbially produced. Since these raw material sources can be used interchangeably when producing Provolone, Romano, Asiago, Fontina, Feta, and Blue Cheeses, Great Lakes Cheese cannot guarantee that these cheeses, or blends made with these cheeses, are free of animal sourced enzymes.

      Pasteurized processed cheeses: These cheeses are made from a blend of different cheeses that are sourced from wide geographical areas. Because of these facts, we recommend that people that are trying to avoid animal sourced enzymes should also avoid our Processed Cheeses.
      Because of the facts stated above, we consider all of our natural cheeses, except for the styles that use lipase, acceptable for a vegetarian diet.”

  • [email protected] cats&burning soup
    September 15, 2017

    Thank you! I always assumed when it just said “enzymes” it wasn’t vegetarian friendly or they’d put that it was. So I’d been avoiding some of these (quite sadly, I might add). So I appreciate the heads up!

    • Tammy @ GFV
      September 18, 2017

      You’re welcome, glad you found this helpful!

  • 123 123
    August 7, 2017

    Simply Truth Organic

  • Rachel Collet
    July 16, 2017

    Swiss Knight fondue cheese! The container just says “rennet”.

  • Tammy @ GFV
    May 30, 2017

    Thank you! I’ll add it to the list asap 🙂