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 (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!

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. Is there anything I can substitute the cashews with? I would really like to make this but I have a severe nut allergy. Thank you in advance.

  2. This sauce is the bomb!!! Made it with the enchiladas last night and made another batch to have nachos tonight. I could drink this sauce!
    And if you are not a huge fan of chili like me, the recipe is still amazing without it.
    Thanks Nora! 💜💚💜

    1. You are welcome, Angela! Thanks for sharing your awesome review and feedback! This sauce is so delicious with so many things! I’m thrilled you are loving it!

  3. I had a craving and made this , but neglected to read the serving size. Now I could feed my entire street with queso and probably also the block over.
    And I’ll never get my 30 bucks in cashews back.
    I really wish I read things more carefully .

    1. Yes, and this is delicious in the nachos recipe.
      Pasta, baked potatoes, broccoli, a soup. Lots we can do with this once it’s in the refrigerator. I’m looking forward to the combinations. Thanks, Nora.

      1. You are welcome, Lee! I love seeing all the way you use the sauce! Thanks for sharing your wonderful review!

    2. I hear you on the expense of cashews, but if there is an ALDI near you, organic raw cashews are about $8 or $9 a bag (14 oz.) – non-organic are even less – which makes vegan life much much less expensive!

      Hope this helps.

  4. Just made this cheese sauce for the enchilada recipe and it tastes great! I could just eat this with a spoon! Yummy

  5. Firstly; excellent recipe. I had no plant based milk, so I used the water I simmered the potatoes and carrots in. I also forgot about cashews (btw, one of your ad sponsors had their ad blocking part of your ingredients list)..since I was using the hot water from the veggies, I added my non soaked cashews to the blender and it blended very well. Smooth, not grainy whatsoever.

    1. Hi Rose. I’m really glad the cheese sauce turned out for you and that you enjoyed it! Thanks for the heads up about the ad sponsor. I appreciate your awesome review and feedback! Happy cooking!

        1. Yeah there are no potatoes or carrots in this recipe; I wonder if the commenter actually made a different recipe. I have a nut free vegan cheese that uses potatoes and carrots…

  6. Holy Smokes! This was wonderful. I love your recipes. They always knock my socks off. I agree with someone else. I only use your recipes and I’m an old cook that has cooked forever! Thanks so much for all you do.

    1. Hi Irene. I am so inspired by your wonderful words! I’m thrilled you love the cheese sauce! Thank you for your wonderful review! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

  7. Have you tried canning this? I’ve frozen it before and love it but would love to can some and have them as grab and go meals.

    1. I have not tried that and don’t know anything about canning unfortunately! But I could see why that would be convenient. 🙂

    1. Hi Sue Ann! The cheese sauce freezes very well. You can thaw it first OR reheat it from frozen (on the stove or in the microwave) 🙂

  8. I am a mild-flavor-only boring person so I skipped the hot sauce but ultimately that probably gives the sauce a more accurate flavor. But I am still spooning it on tortilla chips for my lunch 😆 It is creamy and orange so it works for me!

    For those of us without a high-powered blender, I get the creaminess using a handheld strainer. I boil the cashews until the water is nearly gone and strain the rest out, then I add the cashews to my little Ninja blender, blend everything up, and use the strainer *again* to pour into a small pot. The strainer filters out all the cashew bits that were not chopped. Heating and whisking per the recipe made it perfectly creamy, no hard bits. Handheld strainer is only 5-10 USD vs the 300 USD Vitamix! I did have one many years ago and loved it for lots of things, but for one person it isn’t completely necessary.

      1. This nacho cheese was so awesome to make…but I would like to add a couple of critiques…
        *nutritional yeast (Braggs cheesy selection) or else you can grab the plain selection
        *cashews should sit longer then 10 minutes in the boiled water (mine cashews were not fully softened)
        But other than this, Nora your recipe is amazing and Thank You

  9. Hi! I have am allergic to yeast.
    Would I be able to omit the yeast or is there a substitute I could use?
    Thank you!
    I’m looking forward to eating a cheese sauce! Really miss it!

  10. Thank you for the fabulous recipe! I followed the recipe exactly but mine came out a bit runny. Still super delicious and my kids loved it too 🙂 Have recently moved to a dairy-free lifestyle and this was just as easy, if not easier than making homemade cheese sauce! Huge win

    1. You are welcome, Sandra. Thanks for sharing your great review and feedback! I’m glad the cheese sauce was a win with your family! Happy cooking to you!

  11. Made this and it’s a hit with minimal ingredients! Used it for Nora’s enchilada recipe and mixes perfect using it that way adds ton of flavor and texture. I used gochujang instead of sirraacha, pretty good wished I had jalapeño juice or something to make it a little spicy.
    Thanks Nora, love how simple and realistic your recipes are!

    1. You are welcome, Kassandra! I am really encouraged by your feedback, and am glad to know you find my recipes simple and delicious! That is part of my goal! Thanks for taking time to share your awesome review and feedback! Happy cooking!

        1. Thank you, glad you are enjoying it! The nutritional info is for 1/12th of the recipe, or about 1/3rd cup per serving. Hope this helps!

  12. Nora I love this nacho sauce and make it quite often. Whenever I have a small amount of broccoli I need to use I make broccoli cheese stuffed potatoes and sprinkle it with crispy onion rings. One of my hubby’s favorites. My question is can you freeze this sauce for later use?
    Thanks again! Love your recipes!

    1. Your ideas sound so good, Sue! I’m so glad you are loving the sauce! Yes, the cheese sauce freezes very well! Thanks for your fabulous review!

  13. How much is the serving…in tablespoons or something. I can’t figure it out. Appears to be about 1/12 of the whole but…separate in 12 parts is hard. 🙂 Just trying to see as cashews are high in calories. Love this cheese though!! Thanks.

  14. OH! What a wonderful recipe! Thank You!

    I have a poor man’s Ninja Blender and I soaked the cashews overnight and used very hot water for the 3 cups of water in the recipe and it worked perfectly!

    I’m waiting for it to cool slightly as I’m going to vacuum pack this liquid gold! ha!

    Thanks Again for your artistic talents and sharing Nora!

  15. I only use Nora recipes bc they’re consistently amazing! I halved the water the second time I made this, and it was even creamier. Best cheese recipe I’ve made! Thanks!

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.