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!

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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 (153 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!

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  1. I cannot explain how or why this tastes like cheese but it is delicious. Froze the half we didn’t use and excited for the next time!

  2. My favorite vegan dip with nooch includes 1/2 red bell pepper in the blender so I tried it with this and it gave it the finish I was looking for.
    I often find nutritional yeast too “yeasty” (maybe overpowering is a better word) the pepper balanced it and we loved this on nachos. It was mild in flavor still but perfect in texture to compliment the nachos and not feel like you sacrificed by cutting dairy

    1. Hi Sara. Thanks for sharing your wonderful idea and feedback! I’m glad you loved the nacho sauce!

    1. You can simply leave it out if you want. If you want more cheesy flavor, you can add 1-2 cups of vegan shredded cheddar cheese (just add to the blender).

      1. This was better than I even hoped! Can it be frozen in smaller batches? I’ll never use all this within a few days.

  3. Not sure how Id never come across this recipe before but Im very thankful I have now! Holy smokes is it good!! Used it on enchiladas but will be using it for many more dishes

  4. Nora… have only taste tested from the pot while adding salt and Sriracha but it’s absolutely delicious!
    I know my non-vegan friends will love it as well. I used veggie broth instead of water and decreased salt.
    Now onward with the rest of your enchilada recipe. Thank you

  5. Just made this and yum! I did leave out the lemon juice because to me it always ruins a good cheese sauce. But perfection without that. Wow and so easy!

    1. Hi Tricia. How fantastic you loved the cheese sauce! Thanks for sharing your fabulous feedback and review!

  6. This was exactly what I was looking for – a simple healthy alternative to nacho cheese sauce! I made a test batch and it was thinner than I wanted for dipping veggies or chips. Second time I only used one cup of water total while blending (maybe a tablespoon or two more) and I skipped heating it. It was perfect! Thanks

    1. Hi Nicole. How great you loved the cheese sauce and found the perfect consistency you love! Thank you for your great ideas and feedback! Wishing you happy cooking!

  7. This is delicious ! We had ample leftovers (about 1/2 of the recipe) , so I added a can of diced green chilies and used it as the sauce for sour cream Daring plant chicken enchiladas (inspired by your sour cream enchilada recipe ) and that was awesome too! Love all your recipes !

    1. That sounds absolutely delicious! I’m thrilled you loved the cheese sauce! Thanks for sharing your fantastic feedback, review, and ideas! Happy cooking!

  8. I always use your recipes if you’re an option for a food i’m trying to make on Pinterest. I’ve made this a few times already and it’s the best. Just wanted to give you props! Our household really appreciates your magic in the kitchen.

    1. I appreciate your kind words, Kelley! I”m thrilled that you love my recipes! Thanks for sharing your fantastic feedback and review!

  9. I locked it up a couple notches by adding a tablespoon or 2 of picked jalapeños and juice as we as a slice or 2 of Daiya cheddar before blending 💥

  10. I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate this recipe. I go through a batch a week since I discovered it 4 weeks ago. Nacho chips with cheese sauce and pickled jalapeños is my favourite food of all time! If i didn’t have a wife and kids, this would be all I ever ate. And I hadn’t had my fix since going vegan 6 years ago. So thank you Nora, your wisdom has made me very happy. 🙏

  11. I’m baffled, I’ve made this at least twice and I loved it, wanted to drink it! I just made it today, followed all directions to a T but it has no taste at all (No, I don’t have COVID). What could be the culprit? Bad nooch? Any suggestions to fix it?

    1. Hi Lyn. It’s hard to know what went wrong without being there, but is it possible you missed the salt, garlic powder, or another ingredient?

  12. Yummy!! I just gave my husband a bite on a tortilla chip, and I said “good” he said “very”, “so good I need some more” haha!! Thanks for a great recipe!!

    1. I’ve made this one before, but wow what a difference a vitamix makes! Finally got one and the creaminess it added is amazing, and super quick compared to my ninja blender lol. Even with a 10 minute quick soak, the whole process took about 12 minutes start to finish. My omni bf thought it was great too, and he’s picky lol. Tasted great on baked potatoes.
      Thank you very much for another great one. <3

      1. How exciting that you got a vitamix! It really does make a difference! The sauce sounds delicious on baked potatoes – I’m so glad you loved it! Thanks for your wonderful feedback!

  13. I thought it tasted great but I struggled with it being a little chunky any advice? I’m assuming I didn’t blend it long enough?

    1. Hi Lara. I’m glad you loved the flavor of the cheese sauce! Did you use a high powered blender such as a Vitamix? If you didn’t, it won’t get as smooth and creamy so that could be why. Did you soak the cashews? If you are using a regular blender or food processor, make sure to soak the cashews well for a smoother cheese sauce. Hope that helps!

  14. I am speechless. This sauce is heavenly good! I want to bathe in it and have a nacho bowl floating around so I can grab and dip. 😛
    I’m gonna have a cosy movie night today and serve it with steamed veggies tomorrow.
    So so good and pretty much WFBP and oil free. Impressive.

    Thank you <3

    1. You are welcome! Your feedback means so much to me! I am thrilled that you love the sauce! It’s perfect for movie night! I hope you enjoy that thoroughly! Thanks for sharing your positive experience and review! Happy cooking!

    1. Hi Sophie. How awesome that you found the cheese sauce recipe you’ve been looking for! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback and review! I hope you enjoy the sauce on a variety of yummy food!

  15. I just made Mac and cheese with this sauce! It was so nice to have something creamy and “normal” again. I also love that there’s no plant milk in this recipe. No almond or oat taste at all!

    1. Hi Diane. I’m glad you love the cheese sauce! How clever to use in Mac and cheese! Thanks for sharing your feedback and ideas!

  16. Hi

    I made this last night, I halved the batch and still have so much left over. I saw on a few comments this can keep for 4/5 days on the fridge but I was wondering if this could be frozen!

  17. This was my first attempt at a vegan cheese sauce and I can’t believe how delicious it is! My family of dairy-eaters also whole heartedly agreed that it was delicious and went through the pantry trying to find various snacks to dip into the nacho sauce to keep eating it. Thanks for the great and easy recipe!

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