Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce is made with soaked, raw cashews, blended with water, nutritional yeast and spices; and warmed on the stove until it reaches nacho cheese perfection! Optional but good: Add Sriracha to taste or keep it mild for kids with sensitive palates. Serve nacho cheese sauce with chips, or even drizzle on steamed broccoli or baked potatoes!

Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce: Made with cashews, this vegan nacho cheese sauce is a cinch to make, healthy and kid-friendly!

Last week, we ate at the Veggie Grill near us. Oh my goodness, I could eat there every day! Unfortunately (or fortunately, for the budget!), it’s a good 25 minutes away, so we really don’t get there often enough. We do live near Portland, THE Mecca for vegan food, but it’s far enough that with 3 kids and traffic, we rarely make it to the city for good vegan eats.

Anyhow, we got the nacho appetizer to share, and that’s when I started thinking about the fact that I really needed to up my nacho game. I was anxious to come home and try to re-create the nacho cheese sauce they had. It was SO good. And mild enough that I knew my kids would totally go for it.

Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce: Made with cashews, this vegan nacho cheese sauce is a cinch to make, healthy and kid-friendly!

I do have a tried and true recipe on the blog for Vegan Queso Dip with Cashews that is somewhat similar to this one. It’s amazing and a real crowd pleaser, but it is quite spicy and has chunky tomatoes and green chiles in it, which my kids aren’t crazy about. It’s also thicker, and makes for a better dip with chips than a pourable sauce.

I hope you love this Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce! It’s:

  • Creamy and rich
  • Mild, but spice adjustable
  • Pourable; not too thick
  • Kid-friendly
  • Easy and Quick to prepare
  • Versatile: Enjoy with chips, on a baked potato or drizzle on steamed vegetables!

Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce: Made with cashews, this vegan nacho cheese sauce is a cinch to make, healthy and kid-friendly!

Want more delicious vegan Mexican recipes? Try any of these:

Ultimate Fully Loaded Vegan Nachos

Cauliflower Walnut Mushroom Taco Meat

Sheet Pan Cauliflower Fajitas

Vegan Queso Dip with Cashews

Roasted Vegetable Enchilada Casserole

Instant Pot Spanish Rice

Instant Pot Refried Beans

If you make this recipe, let me know how it goes! Rate it, leave a comment and tag a photo @noracooksvegan on Instagram or find me on Facebook. Enjoy!

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”1AaDabKO” upload-date=”2020-04-30T14:30:58.000Z” name=”Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce” description=”Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce, perfect for drizzling over tortilla chips, broccoli, baked potatoes and more!” player-type=”static”]

Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce: Made with cashews, this vegan nacho cheese sauce is a cinch to make, healthy and kid-friendly!
4.95 stars (155 ratings)

Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce

This Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce is made from raw cashews, nutritional yeast and dried spices. It is quick to make, kid-friendly and perfect on chips, or even drizzled over steamed broccoli or a baked potato!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 12 servings


  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1 large lemon)
  • 4 cups water, divided, plus more as needed to thin
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, optional for color


  • Soak the cashews: You can either do a quick soak, or soak the cashews for several hours or overnight. To quick soak, simply boil water in a tea kettle or on the stovetop, cover the cashews with the boiling water and set aside for 10 minutes. Drain.
  • Blend: In a high powered blender, add the cashews, lemon juice, 3 cups of the water, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and the salt. Add optional turmeric to make the cheese more yellow/orange.
  • Warm: In a medium saucepan, add the cheese sauce from the blender. Using a whisk, warm over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble and thicken. Add the last cup of water, depending on how thick or thin you want the sauce to be.
  • Add more salt to taste, and Sriracha if using, depending on your spice preference. If the cheese sauce sits for a while, or you refrigerate the leftovers, it will thicken. Simply warm it again on the stove, adding water as needed to thin. Serve over tortilla chips, steamed broccoli, baked potatoes and more.



  1. Raw slivered almonds may be able to subbed for cashews, but they will need to be soaked very well. If you need a nut free cheese sauce, check out my Nut Free Vegan Cheese Sauce.
  2. You do really need a high powered blender for this cheese to get smooth and creamy. A food processor or regular blender just won't be able to get it very creamy. I use a Vitamix blender and love it.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 128kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 405mg | Potassium: 185mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 66IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

ebook ad plant based family dinners



We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Read my full disclosure here.

Posted In: , , , , , , , , , ,

you may also like:


  1. Loving your site. Already made the carbonara and fettuccine but my blender doesn’t cut it. Looked at vitamix from $289 to $1081. Which one do you use that you like?

  2. Tried this when I was out of ingredients for my usual sauce. I did add more spices to our taste. It thickened beautifully on the stove top. May be my new go to cheese sauce. Thank you!

  3. Me and my wife loved this recipe! We also made your pretzel bites and they work well together. Thank you so much!

    1. I’m so happy you loved the cheese sauce! It’s so good with the pretzel bites, right?! Thank you for you wonderful review 🙂

  4. Definitely a fan!!! I used 1 cup northern white bean and 1 cup of cashews, I also added chipotle seasoning and diced pickled jalapeños. I agree with another comment about only 2 cups of water total. They are great with sweet potatoes chips.

  5. This is brilliant. BUT… start with only 2 cups water. I never need to add more, except “a bit” when re-heating.

  6. I’m looking forward to using this recipe for a my son’s birthday party! If I’m making it ahead of time and storing in the fridge, do you think it’s worth heating twice? (prep day and serving day) Or do you think its ok to heat and thicken to day I plan to serve it? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Lindsey. Yes, you can make it ahead of time and reheat it for a second time later on. The texture goes back to being smooth and creamy.

  7. Very tasty. A friend had jaw surgery and is using this as flavoring on the soft foods she is required to eat. I added some canned chiles for kick and it was delightful. Used the vitamix soup setting and didnt have to dirty a pan to thicken. Definitely a new go to recipe for me!

    1. Thanks for sharing your wonderful feedback and ideas! I’m thrilled you love the cheese sauce, and that it is a new to go recipe for you! Wishing you happy cooking!

  8. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe.  I made a batch of this tonight with some quinoa taco (meat), cabbage and guacamole for burritos.  It was so good I had some nachos later.  I will definitely make this again.  

    1. Hi Kay. I’m so glad you enjoyed the cheese sauce! There are so many fun ways to eat it! Thank you for sharing your great feedback! Happy cooking!

  9. I made this last night and used it with nachos. The recipe worked perfectly and was delicious on the nachos. We will use some of the left overs with veggie tacos later this week. Thank you, Nora!

  10. Does anyone know if this vegan nacho cheese sauce has to be refrigerated if there are leftovers? My grandaughter, who has a dairy allergy, is going away on an educational field trip for 3 days, and we will be sending her meals with her since she will not be able to eat the same foods as the other kids. I would love to make some of this cheese sauce and send it with her for some of her meals.

    1. Hi Debra. The cheese sauce should be refrigerated rather than kept at room temperature. It’ll stay fresh for about 1 week when kept in the fridge.

  11. Super fast, easy, and delicious as printed here. Didn’t even have to soak cashews with Vitamix. So so good and just about instant.

  12. This is a yummy cheese sauce without all the fast and calories of  cheese. I use a sm jar of pimentos and leave out the paprika & chili pwd. 

  13. Not a vegan, but trying to eliminate dairy due to autoimmune issues. Must say, this was tasty! I would definitely recommend this recipe. Super simple to make too.

  14. I made this receipe today..I only have one word to describe it ..FABULOUS..I will be freeze half for later..I will differentlly be making this over and over again..I love that your receipes are so easy..Keep them coming I big fan of your site.

  15. Hi Nora! This recipe looks wonderful. Any idea if I could use roasted or regular cashews? I’m unable to eat any raw nuts as my stomach cannot process. Would these need to be soaked?

    Thanks so much!

    1. I’m sure roasted cashews will be fine, although the flavor of the cheese sauce will be slightly different. Yes, they need to be soaked beforehand, especially if you don’t have a high-powered blender.

      1. If you boil the cashews first to soften them, then they get ground up making the sauce, then the sauce gets cooked… would the ground up cashews still be raw then? Incase that might help the person above.

  16. I made this nacho sauce last night and made my husband and I nachos for dinner! It was so delicious! I mean, I really enjoyed it and so did my husband. I haven’t had nachos in a long time because I couldn’t find a nacho cheese I’ve liked. I also made myself a late night snack tonight with the leftovers, and the cheese reheated on the stove super easy. I just threw in a small amount of water and whisked.

    I opted to add the turmeric, but left out the sriracha. I always boiled my cashews for an hour before blending them. I think next time I made add some pickled jalapeños to the blender & see how that comes. Yumm!

    Thank you so much for this recipe & I just had to come tell you how happy it has made me lol 🙂

    1. You’re so welcome, Nikki! Thanks for using my recipe, and for sharing your wonderful review and feedback! Happy cooking!

  17. I really love it and the consistency is fabulous. My husband compared it to as good as the boxed cheese sauce…which is a major compliment!

    1. I am glad you and your husband loved the cheese sauce! It goes with so many things! Thank you for your wonderful feedback and review!

  18. I know the last comments on this are from three years ago. Nora, are you still writing recipes? Because I swear I love all of them I’ve tried so far. I made this sauce/dip mild and not spicy but it turned out really well. I think it would do well with some pan fried impossible ground mixed in. 

    Tip for those of us without a high-powered blender. I have a small Ninja which has a good little motor but is certainly not a Vitamix. I use a small aluminum handheld mesh strainer ($7 at Walmart, can probably buy at Dollar store as well). After boiling the cashews (or soaking in boiling water for 10 min) i strain the water out, then add to my blender, blend everything together, then strain the sauce again right into the saucepan. This removes any remaining cashew bits/skin that didn’t blend and after following the heating directions the sauce is very smooth.

    1. Hi Leah! I sure am! Actually, there are comments as recent as a few weeks ago on this recipe. 🙂 I’m so happy you have loved each recipe you’ve tried, thank you so much! And thanks for your tips about the Ninja.

    1. Leftovers will keep for 4-5 days in a covered container in the refrigerator. Sometimes I add a little more water after warming it because it can thicken up. Thanks!

  19. SOO GOOD! This is the best vegan nacho cheese I have ever had. My friend who is definitely not vegan loved it. So, I am going to call it a win!! Thanks!?

    1. I’m so glad you love the cheese sauce, and that it was a hit with your friend! Thank you or sharing your wonderful review and feedback!

  20. it is also good for your elimination system not to eat at veggie grill every day, i did that when i was camping and it was delicious but not recommended

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.