The 15 Essential Plant-Based Groceries for Home Cooks in 2021 and Beyond

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Credit: Courtesy of Chobani

You might have noticed something different about this year’s grocery edition of Kitchn Essentials. While we’ve always included plant-based groceries in our picks, this year we dedicated an entire section to plant-based goodies. That’s right, we added a 12th section just for these finds.

During our many months of testing, tasting, and debating, our list of plant-based groceries just got longer and longer. The list got so long, we realized these items deserved to shine in their own section. Take a look. Note: Our pick for vegan mayo is very good.

1 / 15
Best Oat Milk

Chobani Oat Plain Extra Creamy checks all the boxes. It's extra creamy (as its name implies!) and is the superior companion to coffee, cereal, and smoothies — it’s even great by the glass. Tip: Swirl it into a strong iced coffee with a dash of maple syrup.

2 / 15
Best Nut Milk

One of our editors wondered why everyone isn't drinking Elmhurst Nut Milks. A whole lineup includes almond, hazelnut, walnut, and oat, but we especially love the cashew one. These beverages are organic, relatively inexpensive, and shelf stable with one ingredient: the nut (okay, and water). Umm, why isn't everyone drinking this stuff?

3 / 15
Best Pistachio Milk

Let’s get this out of the way: Táche Pistachio Milk is pricey. Beautiful, but pricey. But! “It’s like pistachio ice cream without the sweetness,” says Studio Food Editor Amelia Rampe. This “barista-friendly” drink also froths like a champ and was actually designed to complement warm drinks, so say hello to your delicious new plant-based latte!

4 / 15
Best Plant-Based Yogurt

Siggi’s has done it again — this time with their non-dairy yogurt. They nail the texture and flavor in the Icelandic-style yogurt, and manage to do it with only 7 grams of sugar per serving (why do so many yogurts think they're actually candy bars?). Made with a creamy coconut milk base, and containing plant-based pea protein, it’ll keep you full whether it’s your breakfast or afternoon snack. They have SO many yummy flavors, but we especially love the strawberry.

5 / 15
Best Plant-Based Kefir
Culina Yogurt

Culina makes a dairy-, sugar-, and gluten-free kefir that's packed with probiotics. It comes in dreamy flavors like Salted Caramel Espresso, Passion Fruit, and Pina Colada. Reach for these when you want a wholesome treat, and don't sleep on their plant-based yogurt options either!

6 / 15
Best Vegan Cheese

Melty, stretchy, creamy, tangy … this vegan-dedicated community from Greece is all-in on claims that their ‘Just Like’ product line, including Colby, cheddar, mozzarella, and feta (we did say they're Greek, after all!), really is just like cheese. And their adoring fans, whether vegan, flexitarian, or just looking for alternatives to conventional dairy, are quick to back them up.

7 / 15
Best Vegan Butter
Miyoko's Creamery

This vegan butter does everything you ever wanted from a butter. It will melt, brown, bake, and spread — and it’s entirely plant-based. The hint of sea salt takes it entirely to another level.

8 / 15
Best Vegan Mayo
Hive Brands

Are you ready to hear this? One of our writers wants you to know that HLTHPUNK Vegan Mayo is just as good as Duke’s. And not just because of the super-cool squeeze tube. The sunflower oil and oat-milk based recipe really is just that good. It especially shines on sandwiches.

9 / 15
Best Vegan Pesto

Pesto can be so much more than the (delicious!) basil and pine nut version we know and love. Venture beyond the usual with Trader Joe's Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto. This creation tastes so homemade, one of our writers called it her favorite TJ’s find in months. That’s some high praise, indeed.

10 / 15
Best Tofu
Hodo Foods

This freshly made, artisanal tofu handcrafted in Oakland is a revelation for anyone who thinks of tofu as just a blank canvas. Voluptuously creamy, complex, and deeply flavorful, it can and should get the spotlight in any meal. Don’t believe us? Try it straight out of the package. We won't even say we told you so.

11 / 15
Best Soy Chorizo

Frieda's Soyrizo packs all the flavor of traditional chorizo, but is vegetarian (and gluten-free!) and has about 60 percent less fat. Remove the casing, and try it anywhere you’d use chorizo. This is a good place to start!

12 / 15
Best Veggie Burgers

We've come a long way from the tired one or two options in the veggie burger offerings. And from all these new options, we vote for Dr. Praeger's California Veggie Burgers. Inexpensive, easy, delicious ... what’s not to love? Oh, and they're actually loaded with, you know, vegetables!

13 / 15
Best Plant-Based Meat

People eating meat-free burgers are looking for different things. If you're looking for the closest thing you can get to “real” beef burgers — complete with a bloody look — it’s Impossible Burger you're after. In a taste test we found the texture and flavor to be almost identical, calling it the most realistic alternative to ground beef.

14 / 15
Best Dairy-Free Ice Cream

Turns out, the best lemon bar isn't a lemon bar at all. Rather, it's a pint of Jeni's! This dairy-free, coconut cream treat features vegan lemon curd, shortbread crumbles, and coconut flakes. And guess what? It rivals traditional ice cream.

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Best Dairy-Free Ice Cream Bars

How about a non-dairy “ice cream” bar with all the classic ice cream appeal? That’s what we found with Daiya Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Bars — specifically the Classic Vanilla Bean version. Chocolate Fudge Crunch and Salted Caramel Swirl flavors also came in hot in our taste test.