Best vegan foods, tried & tested
Switching to a vegan diet for Veganuary and beyond? Discover our super satisfying, top plant-based picks – including vegan bacon, yogurt, chicken, doughnuts, custard, ice cream and more
Now, more than ever, is an exciting time to be vegan. Innovative products are hitting supermarket shelves every week, and big name brands are investing in new vegan ranges, proving that plant-based eating really is here to stay. And there’s absolutely no need to say goodbye to foods like bacon, cheese and cake.
However, with so many vegan options out there, it can be hard to know the good from the bad. Whether you’re new to the vegan diet or you’ve been following it for some time, we’re here to help you make the right choices for you. Below, you’ll find our team’s top picks for meat and dairy-free foods, including doughnuts, mayo, ice cream, and lots more.
Best vegan foods at a glance
- Best vegan bacon: La Vie Plant-Based Bacon (£3.50)
- Best vegan biscuits: Nairn’s Mixed Berries Oat Biscuits (£1.40)
- Best vegan creme fraiche: Oatly! Creamy Oat Fraiche (£1.60)
- Best vegan cupcakes: Oggs Mini Vanilla Cupcakes (£3.95)
- Best vegan chocolate cake: Lazy Day Celebration Chocolate Cake (£7.50)
- Best vegan jerky: Kings Veggie Jerky (£1.50)
- Best vegan tiffin: Lazy Day Chocolate Tiffin (£2.25)
- Best plain vegan mayo: The Vurger Co. Original Vegan Mayo (£2.95)
- Best flavoured vegan mayo: Hellmann’s Vegan Garlic Mayo (£2.60)
- Best vegan chicken: Eatplanted Lemon & Herb Chicken Alternative (£5.29)
- Best vegan sweets: Free From Fellows Gummy Bears (£1.30)
- Best vegan hot chocolate: Knoops 38% Oat M*lk Chocolate Flakes (£10.95)
- Best vegan custard: Oatly! Whippable Vanilla Custard (£1.20)
- Best vegan ‘cheese’ sauce: The Vurger Co. Spicy Cheezy Vegan Sauce (£3.75)
- Best vegan egg substitute: Oggs Eggs Alternative Aquafaba (£1)
- Best vegan flavoured yogurt: The Coconut Collab Mango & Passion Fruit Coconut Yog (£2.75)
- Best vegan ice cream: The Coconut Collab Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream (£4)
- Best vegan doughnuts: Doughnut Time The Good Times 6-pack (£25)
- Best vegan ‘chicken’ nuggets: Quorn Nuggets (£2.50)
- Best vegan white sauce: Sacla Vegan Cheese Sauce (£2.50)
Best vegan foods to try 2023
La Vie Plant-Based Bacon
Best vegan bacon
We don’t just love this meat-free bacon for its fabulous packaging, what’s inside is even better. The thin streaky strips of soya protein look like bacon, feel like bacon and taste just like bacon. Once fried in a little oil, the pieces go nicely crisp and golden brown. Perfect for sticking in a sarnie, cooking into carbonara or eating as part of a veggie fry-up.
Nairn’s Mixed Berries Oat Biscuits
Best vegan biscuits
Satisfyingly crunchy with a hearty texture from the oats, these are what we call a proper biscuit. Strong enough to be dunked in tea without crumbling (if that’s your thing) or delicious eaten as they are, studded with tangy dried raspberries and cranberries. What’s more, they contain 40% less sugar than the average sweet biscuit. Impressive stuff.
Oatly! Creamy Oat Fraîche
Best vegan creme fraîche
Don’t be thrown off by the texture, which is closer to a set natural yogurt. This vegan alternative stirs into a smooth, creamy texture that’s perfect for adding to sauces or dolloping onto puddings. The taste is lightly sour, as you might expect, and not at all oaty.
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Oggs Mini Vanilla Cupcakes
Best vegan cupcakes
These little treats taste as good as they look. Moist, light and fluffy vegan sponges are topped with a dairy-free buttercream and a good scattering of colourful rainbow sprinkles for a nostalgic treat that will bring a smile to the faces of kids and adults alike.
Lazy Day Celebration Chocolate Cake
- Available from Sainsbury’s (£7.50)
Best vegan cake
Chocolate lovers, form an orderly queue. For a cake that’s gluten-, dairy- and egg-free, this delicious cake is surprisingly decadent. The rich chocolate sponge, made with Belgian chocolate for a nice, deep flavour, is generously topped with chocolate buttercream.
Kings Veggie Jerky
- Available from Ocado (£1.50)
Best vegan jerky
Once you’ve tried this delicious snack from popular jerky brand Kings, you may never go back to the meaty version. They’ve taken everything they know about making delicious, succulent jerky and applied it to pieces of vegetable protein. The texture is just right and every bite is coated in a sweet, peppery black bean sauce.
Lazy Day Chocolate Tiffin
- Available from Ocado (£2.25)
Best vegan tiffin
Going vegan doesn’t mean you have to miss out on afternoon treats. When you need a little pick-me-up, try one of these gluten-, dairy- and egg-free tiffins made with dark chocolate, sultanas and pieces of biscuit. We must admit, they don’t have quite the same rich flavour as the non-vegan versions, but they did satisfy our sugar cravings. And they got the full approval of the four-year old son of our associate editor, Amanda – we think that speaks volumes.
The Vurger Co. Original Vegan Mayo
- Available from Ocado (£2.95)
Best plain vegan mayo
Finding a replacement for mayo was a challenge. However, we think this creamy original sauce from vegan burger brand The Vurger Co. is a great option. It’s spreadable, not too oily and the flavour is neutral enough to add to sandwiches, burgers, wraps... and just about everything else can think of. Plus, it’s gluten-, nu-t and soya-free.
Hellman’s Vegan Garlic Mayo
Best flavoured vegan mayo
There’s a time and a place for garlic mayo, but if we’re going to have it we’d like it to be the good stuff. Hellmann's plant-based version is surprisingly thick and creamy, with a noticeable hit of garlic. It would be a delicious addition to wraps or jacket potatoes.
Eatplanted Lemon & Herb Chicken Alternative
- Available from Planet Organic (£5.29)
Best vegan chicken
This vegan chicken alternative really got us talking. Created using pea protein, the texture and flavour are so similar to regular chicken breast, we think you’d struggle to tell the difference. If anything, we thought this was tastier, thanks to the golden, crispy crust that forms after frying. We’ve tried a lot of spongy meat alternatives in the past and this is far superior. Add it to stir-fries, curries, wraps, sandwiches, pittas, salads – the possibilities are endless. There’s a plain option too, though we loved the garlicky, herby flavour of this one.
Free From Fellows Gummy Bears
Best vegan sweets
Chewier than regular gummy bears, but well received by all the sweet-lovers on our team. As with all the Free From Fellows products, these are gelatine-, gluten- and sugar-free, and made with natural colours and flavours. We also enjoyed the vegan strawberry mallows (made without egg white) and rhubarb & custard sweets.
Knoops 38% Oat M*lk Chocolate Flakes
- Available from Knoops (£10.95)
Best vegan hot chocolate
It was love at first sip when we tried this indulgent oat milk hot chocolate. Made with toasted oats and single origin chocolate, it’s worlds apart from the powdered version most of us have at home. The chocolate comes in chunky flakes which, when whisked into hot, dairy-free milk, melts to create a rich, velvety smooth drink. It is considerably more expensive than supermarket hot chocolate, but we consider this a very special treat.
Oatly! Whippable Vanilla Custard
Best vegan custard
This has all the vanilla flavour of proper custard, minus the dairy. Yes, it does mean it’s a little thinner (more like the consistency of double cream) than usual, but this pleasing alternative had us craving apple crumble immediately. We didn’t notice any difference after whipping, so we’d recommend skipping this step and pouring straight into a jug before drizzling generously all over your vegan pud of choice. If you need any sweet ideas, check out our vegan dessert recipes.
The Vurger Co. Spicy Cheezy Vegan Sauce
- Available from Ocado (£3.75)
Best vegan ‘cheese’ sauce
For those who are more used to consuming classic cheese products, the taste of this vegan sauce might be a little strong. However, vegan testers found it to have an enjoyable taste, a good hit of spice and a texture that’s perfect for drizzling over chips and nachos.
Oggs Egg Alternative Aquafaba
Best vegan egg substitute
If you still haven’t tried using aquafaba (the water from canned chickpeas) in your baking, we urge you to pick up this clever product from Oggs. A 200ml carton is equivalent to four eggs. It whips to a velvety smooth consistency and will even form stiff peaks. We whisked it with sugar to make meringues and found ourselves licking the spoon in disbelief at its similarity to egg whites. Try it in our vegan meringue recipe.
The Coconut Collab Mango & Passion Fruit Coconut Yog
Best vegan flavoured yogurt
Don’t be put off by the slightly scrambled texture when you open the tub, this tasty yogurt just needs a little a stir before you dive in. We enjoyed the tropical vibe that comes from the coconut, passion fruit and juicy pieces of mango. However, if you prefer something more simple, we think you’ll love The Coconut Collab’s smooth natural yogurt.
Best dairy-free milk
The Coconut Collab Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream
- Available from Sainsbury’s (£4)
Best vegan ice cream
Lots of the vegan ice creams we tried had an unsatisfying airy, whipped texture – not this one. This rich pot of dairy-free goodness from The Coconut Collab is just want you want in a vanilla ice cream. Scoop it on puds or eat straight from the tub, either way you’ll be impressed.
Doughnut Time The Good Times Vegan 6-pack
- Available from Doughnut Time (£25)
Best vegan doughnuts
A box of pure happiness, these vegan doughnuts are light, fluffy and made with the sort of nostalgic toppings and generous fillings you dreamed of as a child. There’s classic jam, red velvet with cookies and cream buttercream, blueberry cheesecake and double chocolate with colourful sprinkles. Our team favourites were The OG, a simple glazed doughnut, and David Hasselhoff, a Biscoff-filled beauty that comes with a whole biscuit.
Best vegan ‘chicken’ nuggets
If what you’re craving is a proper chicken nugget, these crispy bites from plant-based experts Quorn should do the trick. Several members of our team strongly felt that these could replace regular nuggets, due to the similar texture and coating. Dunk in tomato sauce and enjoy.
Sacla Vegan Cheese Sauce
Best vegan white sauce
While this silky smooth sauce doesn’t have quite the ‘cheesy’ hit we expected, it was an excellent replacement for white (or bechamel) sauce when making dairy-free lasagne. It would also work well simply stirred through pasta. The taste and texture are neutral enough that you can add whatever other vegan ingredients you fancy.
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What’s your favourite vegan product or recipe? Let us know in the comments below...
This review was last updated in December 2022. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.