This vegan nacho cheese sauce is creamy, cheesy, and absolutely irresistible. It comes together in about 30 minutes with 10 simple ingredients. It’s super easy to make and totally versatile. I promise you’ll want to put it on everything!
Although this is a nacho cheese recipe, I’ll admit, the inspiration for updating this cheese sauce came from my soft pretzel bites.
I was looking to make a smooth and creamy cheese sauce to dip soft pretzels into or drizzle over nachos.
And something everyone can enjoy on game day, Cinco De Mayo, or at the next party!
This new and improved vegan nacho cheese sauce has it all. It’s smooth, creamy, melty, pourable, and best of all it tastes better than anything you can buy in the store.
And it gets devoured everywhere it’s served.
This vegan cheese sauce uses cashews as the main ingredient and is seasoned with simple pantry staples.
Below are the 9 simple ingredients (plus water) you’ll need.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutes
- Cashews. Use raw cashews for the best taste and texture.
- Nutritional yeast. Don’t skip the nutritional yeast. This gives the sauce a cheesy flavor.
- Tapioca starch. This helps thicken the cheese sauce. Cornstarch can be used as a replacement, but the consistency may not be as smooth and creamy once cooled or reheated.
- Lemon juice. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is best.
- Paprika. The paprika adds flavor and color to the cheese sauce. You can also add smoked paprika for a smoky flavor.
- Chili powder. Use a chili powder blend for a mild taste.
This vegan nacho cheese sauce is quick and easy to prepare.
Start by soaking the cashews. Once the cashews are soaked follow the 4 simple steps below.
Step 1. Add the soaked cashews and remaining ingredients, reserving 1 cup of water, to a high-speed blender.
Step 2. Blend until the cashews are creamy and the liquid is smooth, not grainy. Scrape down the sides if needed so no cashew chunks get left behind.
Step 3. Pour the blended cashew cheese into a medium saucepan.
Tip: Use the reserved 1 cup of water to swish around in the blender to clean off the sides. Pour the water into the saucepan as well.
Step 4. Heat the cheese over medium heat whisking constantly until it thickens into a sauce. The consistency should be creamy and easily pour off of a spoon.
Storing and Reheating Vegan Nacho Cheese
Transfer any leftover vegan cheese sauce to an airtight container.
Store the cheese in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Or, in the freezer for up to 3 months—thaw in the refrigerator.
Reheat any leftovers in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk constantly until the cheese is heated throughout, about 5 minutes.
This vegan nacho cheese is great for gatherings, holidays, game day, and Cinco De Mayo parties.
Use it as a dip for chips, soft pretzels, fries, crackers, or anything else you find to be an edible spoon.
Or try it as a sauce drizzled over loaded nachos, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli or cauliflower, tofu ground beef burritos and tacos, and more.
For spicy vegan cheese sauce, add a jalapeño or two, a few dashes of cayenne pepper, or your favorite hot sauce to the ingredients before blending.
This new and improved recipe is so tasty and creamy. It’s the best vegan nacho cheese sauce around!
One bite and you’ll be adding it to your saved recipes!
Frequently Asked Questions
Roasted cashews will work, but they may slightly change the flavor. Also, be sure they are unsalted. And follow the same soaking instructions as the raw cashews.
I don’t recommend using a food processor. It isn't able to blend the cashews as well as a blender or NutriBullet. Therefore, the nacho cheese won’t be as smooth and creamy.
Yes. Almonds, sunflower seeds, and hemp seeds are all good substitutes. The flavor may differ depending on what option you use. Adjust the seasonings if needed. Also, no matter which nut or seed you choose, remember to soak them first.
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- In a high-speed blender add the soaked cashews and remaining ingredients, reserving 1 cup of water.
- Blend on medium-high speed until the cashews are smooth and creamy. Periodically stop the blender and scrape down the sides as needed so no cashew chunks get left behind.
- Pour the blended cheese into a medium saucepan. Then, add the reserved 1 cup of water to the blender and swish it around to clean the cheese off of the sides. Pour the water into the saucepan.
- Heat over medium-low, whisking constantly, until the cheese sauce thickens, about 5-10 minutes.
- Serve warm as a dip or sauce.
- Use the optional smoked paprika for a slightly smoky flavored cheese.
- For spicy nacho cheese, add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce, cayenne pepper, or jalapeños before blending.
- If the cheese sauce is too thick, add water to thin it out to your desired consistency.
- If the cheese sauce is too thin, mix 1 teaspoon of tapioca starch with 1 Tablespoon of water. Slowly pour about a teaspoon at a time of the slurry into the cheese sauce until thickened to your liking.
- Transfer any leftover vegan cheese sauce to an airtight container. Store the cheese in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Or, in the freezer for up to 3 months—thaw in the refrigerator.
- Reheat any leftovers in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk constantly until the cheese is heated throughout, about 5 minutes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 65Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 180mgCarbohydrates: 4gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g
**Nutritional info is provided as an estimate based on the ingredients I used and for convenience and as a courtesy only.**
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