Silky smooth vegan cheese sauce that is also nut free! It’s absolutely perfect over nachos, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli and makes a delicious mac and cheese.

vegan cheese sauce being poured onto chips

What’s the hardest thing for people to give up when they want to go vegan? CHEESE. I hear it over and over again; people can usually imagine going meatless but cheese? That’s a hard one! As a former cheese fanatic, I totally understand! It felt really difficult in the beginning, but now I don’t miss it at all. 9 years ago, when I went vegan, there weren’t as many delicious vegan cheeses you could buy at the store like there are today. Now I can find vegan cheese products at my local discount store. These are exciting times people!

Even though you can buy special vegan cheese products at many stores now, I still mostly prefer to make my own. Often, those products are super pricey and not all of them taste good. You can tell I love “cheese” by the fact I have several recipes for vegan cheese on my blog:

🙂

vegan cheese sauce in a pan with a ladle picking it up

All of my vegan cheese recipes to this point have included cashews, because when soaked and then blended with other ingredients, they make a really rich, thick and creamy cheese sauce. I fell in love with cashews awhile back for their ability to create such rich, creamy dishes such as the cheeses above and sour cream.

But what’s a person to do that can’t eat nuts? That’s who this recipe is for today! And anyone else who enjoys an ultra-creamy vegan cheese sauce to drizzle over EVERYTHING. Seriously, I was surprised at how good this turned out with such simple ingredients. I hope you love it, too!

How do you make vegan cheese sauce (nut free!)?

Boil some potatoes and carrots (amounts are listed below in the recipe card.)

While they boil, add everything else to a blender:

  • non-dairy milk
  • nutritional yeast
  • olive oil (optional, but I highly recommend for richness)
  • lemon juice
  • salt & spices
  • cornstarch
  • optional for nacho cheese: can of diced green chiles

Once the potatoes and carrots are fork tender, drain and add to the blender. Blend on high until silky smooth.

 

vegan cheese sauce in a blender

You shouldn’t need to warm it on the stove, since the potatoes and carrots were hot when you blended it. But if you want, you can add it to a pot and warm, stirring frequently, until it thickens up a bit more.

This vegan cheese sauce is incredibly versatile and can be used many places, such as:

  • With tortilla chips, for nachos (of course)
  • On baked potatoes
  • Over steamed or roasted broccoli
  • With elbow noodles for Mac and Cheese

My toddler went crazy over this vegan cheese sauce; he literally could not get enough of it! My older kids were impressed, too.

Enjoy!

vegan cheese sauce on a chip

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vegan cheese sauce being poured onto chips
4.89 stars (35 ratings)

Vegan Cheese Sauce (Nut Free!)

Silky smooth vegan cheese sauce that is also nut free! It's absolutely perfect over nachos, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli and makes a delicious mac and cheese.
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped russet potato (1 medium)
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped carrots (about 2-3 carrots)
  • 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Optional for nacho cheese: 4 oz can diced green chiles, drained

Instructions 

  • Add the potatoes and carrots to a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes, until fork tender.
  • While the vegetables are boiling, add all the other ingredients (including green chiles if using) to a blender. 
  • Drain the potatoes and carrots and add them directly to the blender with the other ingredients. Blend on high until silky smooth. You don't need to warm it further, but if you want you could add it to a pot to keep it warm. Stir frequently if you do this; it will thicken even more.
  • Serve over tortilla chips, drizzle on baked potatoes or steamed broccoli. Mix into macaroni pasta to make mac and cheese! Store leftover vegan cheese in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, if it lasts that long.

Notes

  1. May also use yukon gold potatoes, you will need 2 small potatoes.
  2. The oil adds some richness to an otherwise low fat cheese sauce, but if you are avoiding oil you may omit it. 
  3. You can use any unsweetened non-dairy milk that you like, I used coconut milk. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 513mg | Potassium: 298mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 3646IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Comments

  1. Hi Nora,
    I can’t wait to try this cheese sauce. I am trying to avoid oil and calories and was wondering if there might be a substitute for the olive oil?

      1. I had to admit I couldn’t wait to try this recipe so I went ahead and made it with the oil although I was a little frugal. It was absolutely fantastic! Next time I make (and there certainly will be a next time) I’ll try without oil, although I hate messing with perfection! Thanks so much Nora!

  2. Hi, Nora! So this reheats well? I’m hoping to make it a day in advance, and then assemble nachos at a friend’s house. Do you think I should warm it on the stove before layering it into the chips and quinoa “meat,” then putting everything in the oven? Or layer it in cold and let it heat in the oven? Thanks!

    1. Hi there! Yes, it reheats pretty well. It might thicken up a bit, so I would just warm it, whisk it well and add a little water if needed to make it pourable for nachos. I would probably warm it up first, but you could probably do it either way. 🙂

  3. I’ve never written any review of online recipes I try (and it’s been lots over the years), but this cheese sauce is SO good I had to. I still cannot get over how easy and fast this came together with all stuff I already had in the pantry. I made it in a Vitamix, and it’s a really smooth perfect texture. My fave way to use it so far is vegan loaded BBQ fries with jackfruit prepared like pulled pork.

    1. Thank you for taking your time to share your review on my cheese sauce recipe! I am so glad you find it easy, and that you LOVE it! I love your loaded fries idea!

  4. Absolutely delicious in my enchiladas tonight, thank you so much for the recipe! We like it spicy so I added cayenne powder and jalapeño juice.
    Can’t wait to use the leftover cheese on vegetables tomorrow!

  5. Thanks for the recipe!! I even had my parents guess what it was and they guessed cheese, they were surprised when I told them it was vegan lol. They also loved it and said it tasted better than storebought

  6. This is fabulous! Today, I played with it and added smoked paprika, cumin, red pepper, jalapeño juice instead of lemon. A neighbors was here when I made it. I gave her a taste and she became wide-eyed. She said can I take some of that home. It’s amazing that a potato and carrot with a few other seasonings can come out so delicious. You could definitely take this to a party and everybody would enjoy it.

    1. Thank you SallyAnn, for sharing your great review! I’m glad you guys loved the cheese sauce! Friends and food, what a great combination!

  7. The texture, even after a solid blend in my Vitamix, was still grainy and had little potato lumps. Maybe I’ll try yellow skin potatoes next time? That could be a little smoother. That said, flavor was very good and I tried it just as a chip dip and was pretty tasty. I think I’ll make this a veggie-topper for the future so the texture doesn’t matter. Blended in a can of Ro-Tel instead of just chiles and the amount of spice is just right 🙂

    1. Hi there! If it was lumpy at all that just means you didn’t blend it enough. Unless your potatoes just didn’t get cooked enough so they were too hard to blend. A Vitamix should have no trouble blending cooked potatoes smooth. I’m glad you enjoyed it and I hope you get it super smooth next time, because it has a silky smooth texture that would be missed. 🙂

  8. I miss cheese SO much! I am on the AIP diet and it is SO restrictive! Could I use white sweet potatoes (which are only a little softer that a reg potato and tastes pretty similar). Cornstarch I am sure I can sub. What do you think? Play around with the texture maybe if it is too soft?

    1. I’m sorry to hear you are on such a restrictive diet. Much compassion to you! I’m sure white sweet potatoes would be fine, in fact regular sweet potatoes would probably be okay as well. You could probably sub tapioca starch for cornstarch if you can have that, or arrowroot. Hope that helps!

  9. This recipe is unreal! Every recipe we’ve tried from your site has been perfect. Thank you so much for your effort in sharing these recipes.

  10. AMAZING.
    I did it tonight and turned out super delicious.
    I didn’t expect to turn out so yummy. We ate A LOT haha
    Thank you very much!

    1. You don’t even have to warm it on the stovetop, but if you do, about 5 minutes should do it, if the heat is high enough. But stir constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

  11. Turned out amazing! We made nachos with it and it really tasted amazing. I used red potatoes because that’s on my approved list at the moment and it worked perfectly. Can’t wait to try this nacho cheese on other meals! 

  12. This was by far the best vegan queso recipe I’ve tried!! Chips and queso/ nachos is my all time favorite snack and this queso was perfect for my nacho cravings. 10/10! 

  13. Wow, this was the best vegan cheese sauce I’ve had. I made a few substitutions I’ll share –
    I’m on a strict AIP diet, and instead of potato I used cauliflower, tapioca starch instead of Corn starch, and water instead of non dairy milk. It turned out SO WELL I’ve dubbed it “please sauce” because it went outrageously fast! Awesome recipe Nora, I’m going to print and laminate to use in my rotation

  14. Wow!!!! Finally made this today…… it was fantastic!!
    Thank you for all your hard work in developing your recipes!

  15. I absolutely LOVE this recipe!! I have made it several times now. I can’t believe a nacho sauce could be so simple, healthy and low calorie. ?? Sometimes I make it with part of the oil; sometimes without. I eat it on chips, sandwiches, salads, potatoes, by the spoonful, everything I can think of!  I think people have trouble adjusting to the flavors of vegan cheese because they expect an exact replica of the dairy versions, but let’s be honest, who really wants to eat whatever is in nacho cheese sauce. The ingredients here and other homemade vegan cheese recipes are so simple, healthy, and, well, edible.  It’s best to think of vegan cheeses as a different type of cheese, and personally I LOVE them. Especially when they are as simple, delicious and healthy as this one. Thank you for this recipe! ??

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