Learn how to make vegan nacho cheese sauce with nutritional yeast (aka "nooch") and cashews. This vegan cheese sauce can be poured on pasta, potatoes, nachos...you name it! It's cheesy, creamy and so delicious that even non vegans will ask for seconds.
Ask anyone the thing they'd miss the most if they went vegan, and they'll say cheese! And, with good reason...who doesn't love the oozy melting topping that adorns everything from enchiladas to pasta?
Now you can enjoy the same umami cheesy flavor and oozy texture with my delicious vegan nacho cheese sauce.
I keep a container of this classic vegan cheese dip in my fridge at all times. It's so versatile that you can make a delicious meal with it on the fly. Or, if you prefer, just enjoy it solo on toast.
💚Reasons You'll Love This Recipe
✅It's dairy free, gluten-free, vegan and 100% plant based.
✅You can freeze nacho cheese sauce, so it's a great recipe to make a big batch of and defrost it when you need an easy midweek meal of cheese over pasta.
- Cashews: You'll need raw, unsalted cashews to make vegan nacho cheese sauce. Ideally you should soak them overnight. If you're pressed for time, they can be soaked for two hours, but you'll need a high powered blender like a Vitamix to get the creamy consistency we're after.
- Lemon Juice: You'll need 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, which is equivalent to the juice of one lemon.
- Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast adds that umami, cheesy flavor that makes vegan cashew cheese sauce so yummy. Don't skip it!
- Garlic Powder: For that intense, garlicky taste.
- Onion Powder: This is one spice that is so great in dips and dressings!
- Turmeric: The super spice of its time - here we're using it for the intense color it's so good at providing.
- English Mustard: Adds a tangy background twang that's super yummy.
- Cayenne Pepper: Enough to enjoy that subtle kick only cayenne can supply, without verging into spicy territory. If you like spicy, try my Sriracha Cashew Cream Sauce.
- Salt: I like flaky sea salt here, but any salt will enhance the flavors.
👩🍳How To Make Vegan Nacho Cheese
- Soak your cashews. Put them in a large bowl of water and allow them to soak overnight. You can soak them for a few hours, but you'll need a high speed blender to get the creamy consistency we're after.
- Drain the cashews and rinse them well.
- Add all the ingredients to your blender and pulse until you get a creamy consistency. You can adjust the texture and consistency by adding more almond milk.
💡Variations on Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce
***Here's a few creative ideas to get you started on making your own inspired versions of vegan cashew cheese sauce.
- Roasted Red Pepper Vegan Nacho Cheese: Add roasted red peppers and omit the turmeric and mustard.
- Spicy Nacho Cheese Sauce: Add some Sriracha sauce for a spicy kick. Have a look at my special Sriracha Cashew Cream Sauce recipe.
- Smoky Chipotle Cheese Sauce: Add chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to the blender for a smoky and spicy kick.
- Herbed Cheese Sauce: Mix in a combination of fresh or dried herbs like basil, thyme, and oregano for a flavorful herbed cheese sauce.
- Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Cheese Sauce: Incorporate sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil leaves to create a tangy and aromatic cheese sauce.
- Nachos: Of course, the classic choice! Pour the vegan cheese sauce over a bed of tortilla chips and add toppings like black beans, diced tomatoes, jalapeños, guacamole, and salsa.
- Baked Potatoes: Drizzle your vegan cheese sauce over baked potatoes for a creamy twist on a classic favorite.
- Veggie Dip: Serve vegan nacho cheese sauce as a dipping sauce for fresh vegetable sticks like carrots, celery, bell peppers, and cucumber. It would be a great addition to a veggie platter.
- Veggie Burgers: Use your vegan cheese sauce as a tasty topping for veggie burgers to add a creamy and flavorful element.
- Macaroni and Cheese: Combine the vegan cheese sauce with cooked macaroni for a comforting and dairy-free version of the classic mac and cheese.
Allow the vegan nacho cheese sauce to cool down to room temperature after making it. Then, transfer it to an airtight container. Seal the container tightly to prevent air from entering. Store the sauce in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
If you want to store the sauce for a longer period, you can freeze it. To do so, transfer the cooled cheese sauce to a freezer-safe container or a resealable freezer bag. Leave some room for expansion, then seal it tightly. Label the container with the date. The sauce can be stored in the freezer for up to 3-4 months.
When you're ready to use the frozen sauce, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. To reheat, gently warm it on the stovetop or in the microwave, stirring occasionally until it reaches the desired consistency. Keep in mind that the texture might change slightly after freezing, but it should still be enjoyable.
Did You Make This Recipe?
🙋Frequently Asked Questions About This Recipe
Vegan cashew cheese sauce can be a healthier alternative to traditional dairy-based cheese sauces. Cashews provide healthy fats, protein, and various vitamins and minerals. The absence of dairy in this recipe makes it suitable for those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. However, like any sauce, moderation is key, as it may be high in calories and should be used as part of a balanced diet.
To store vegan nacho cheese sauce, transfer it to an airtight container once it has cooled down to room temperature. Seal the container tightly to prevent air from entering, which can lead to spoilage. Store the sauce in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days, and when ready to use, gently reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave, stirring occasionally until it reaches the desired consistency.
Yes, you can freeze vegan nacho cheese sauce. To freeze it, transfer the sauce to a freezer-safe container or a resealable freezer bag, making sure to leave some room for expansion. Seal it tightly and label it with the date. The sauce can be stored in the freezer for up to 3-4 months. When you want to use it, thaw the sauce overnight in the refrigerator and reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave, stirring occasionally until it's smooth and creamy again. Keep in mind that the texture might change slightly after freezing, but it should still be enjoyable.
Yes, you can! Put it in a saucepan and simmer over low heat.Use it as topping for potatoes and pasta.
Craving More Easy Vegan Recipes?
Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce
- 1¼ cups raw, unsalted cashews soaked overnight *see notes
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¾ cup almond milk *or any other plant-based milk (or water)
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon English mustard
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- Soak the cashews overnight, or, if you have a high powered blender, for only two hours. Drain and rinse well.
- Add the cashews and the rest of the ingredients to the blender and pulse until the vegan cheese sauce is smooth and creamy. Add more almond milk to thin as desired.