Amazing Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe: #1 Dairy Free Nacho Cheese

This has got to be the best vegan nacho cheese sauce out there! When it comes to dairy free nacho cheese you got to have a bit of finesse in your cooking. Nothing to worry about because this recipe is ridiculously easy, it’s quick, and it’s made without any nuts or fat!

You got to be interested by now! Follow this recipe and you will not be disappointed. Not only is this recipe super healthy, it’s delicious! I was pretty impressed with how good this recipe turned out, because it tastes so close to the real thing! Read through this article and you with know everything you need to know about making the perfect dairy-free nacho cheese.

Vegan Nacho Cheese Recipe Ingredients

Plant Based Milk

For this vegan nacho cheese sauce you can basically use any plant based milk you want. I like to use soy milk because I like it, but feel free to use your favorite one! The only thing I recommend about your dairy free milk is that you use unsweetened with no added flavor.

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast gives this dairy free nacho cheese its cheesy flavor! This helps the recipe get as close to the real flavor as possible. This ingredient shouldn’t be omitted.


Cashews are one component of the creaminess of this vegan nacho cheese. If properly soaked, they offer a delicious “cheese- like” consistency without flavoring the sauce.

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Potatoes give the sauce some bite and also add to the creaminess of the sauce. The high starchiness of these potatoes is perfect for mashing or in this case, blending!


Carrots help with the color of this recipe. They also help make a textural bridge between the cashews and the Yukon gold potatoes creating a seamless dip like consistency.


The consistency is only one part of this vegan nacho cheese sauce, the seasonings are for the flavor! From trial and error, I have come up with a spot on mixture that screams vegan nacho cheese flavor! 

vegan nacho cheese, vegan nacho cheese recipe, vegan nacho cheese sauce, dairy free nacho cheese ingredients in a blender before shot.

What is Vegan Nacho Cheese?

Vegan nacho cheese is a plant based alternative to the mainstream nacho cheese recipes which, more than likely, contain animal products. Unlike the traditional nacho cheese recipe, a homemade vegan nacho cheese sauce is made with real ingredients and is less likely to contain food additives or preservatives.

Although homemade versions of dairy free nacho cheese can be extremely healthy, the same cannot be said for the store bough versions. I’m not saying store bought versions are bad for you, I’m simply stating I cannot vouch for them!

A vegan nacho cheese recipe can pack huge flavor! Most of the flavor you get from a vegan nacho cheese sauce comes from herbs, spices, nutritional yeast, and other ingredients that give away the trademark “cheesy” flavor.

Picture of vegan nacho cheese, vegan nacho cheese recipe, vegan nacho cheese sauce, dairy free nacho cheese on a wooden table. Chip sticking out of the dip in a ramekin.

How to Use This Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce

I’m just going to get the obvious use out of the way and say, NACHOS! Nachos are great and are definitely on my list of top 5 favorite foods. With that being said, nachos are not the only way to use this dairy free nacho cheese recipe! Check out some other ways to use this vegan nacho cheese sauce.

  1. Enchiladas- This cheese sauce is perfect for topping a couple soft tacos and then baking it in the oven. Enchiladas are the perfect Togo food too! This is a good way to plan ahead!
  2. Pizza- Feeling like pizza and don’t have a tomato sauce ready to go? Use this dairy free nacho cheese sauce and keep the ball rolling on curbing your pizza cravings!
  3. Lasagna- This is another classic that meshes well with the vegan nacho cheese recipe! Include your favorite veggies and some pasta and bake a meal your family or friends can enjoy.
  4. Fajitas- Perfect for a build your own taco situation! Easily shareable with minimal work involved!
  5. Burritos- There’s nothing better than a giant burrito that is meant to be eaten with a fork and knife! Covered in this vegan nacho cheese sauce and whatever else you can conjure up!
  6. Mac and Cheese- What’s stopping you from making a double batch of this vegan nacho cheese sauce and making mac and cheese too? It’s definitely worth a try.
  7. Other Dips- You don’t have to just keep this a vegan nacho cheese recipe. You could easily use this as a base for other dips like spinach artichoke, or maybe, beer cheese?
vegan nacho cheese, vegan nacho cheese recipe, vegan nacho cheese sauce, dairy free nacho cheese casserole. A great way to use the leftovers of this recipe.

How to Make This Vegan Nacho Cheese Recipe

This is definitely one of the easier recipes I come across! If it is any consolation, it is very easily explained as well. Ha! The hardest thing about this recipe is gathering the ingredients, which brings me to the first step in this vegan nacho cheese recipe!

If that little intro wasn’t a big enough hint, the first thing you need to do is gather your ingredients. Once the ingredients are gathered, you will need to do just a little bit of prep work to get the best out of the recipe.  Simply, soaking the cashews until soft and cutting your vegetables into roughly the same size so they cook at the same rate.

Now that your vegetables are cut, it is time to cook them. Do so by combining them in a small sauce pot and simmering them in water until just cooked. Depending on the size you cut your vegetables, this could take anywhere from 5-20 minutes.

Once the vegetables are cooked, its time to put together the sauce! First things first, drain the cooking liquid from the sauce pot and transfer the vegetables into a high powered blender with the rest of the ingredients. Then blend the ingredients until smooth. This will take a good minute or two before the mixture is truly smooth.

Once you are satisfied with the puree, you can transfer the mixture into your storage vessel or serving dish. Now your vegan nacho cheese recipe is finished and ready to enjoy!

Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce FAQs

vegan nacho cheese, vegan nacho cheese recipe, vegan nacho cheese sauce, dairy free nacho cheese with jalapenos on a wooden table. chips are scattered in the background .

Can you make vegan nacho cheese sauce in advance?

Absolutely, this sauce taste better the next day! It holds up really well! I would recommend making it in advance.

Can I make this vegan nacho cheese recipe without cashews?

Yes, you can! Simply omit the cashews and replace with corn starch, tapioca starch, or potato starch. Then, just up the amounts of potato and carrots. You will have to play with amounts to get it how you like it.

You could also replace the cashews with seeds. Sunflower seeds are the first that come to mind. I would be sure to buy unsalted if you choose this method.

Can you freeze this vegan nacho cheese sauce?

Yea you can! This dairy free nacho cheese sauce freezes really well. Store it in an airtight container, with the least amount of air possible. Be sure to plan ahead when you want to thaw it out, then thaw it in the fridge.

How do I reheat vegan nacho cheese sauce?

Honestly, using steam is the best way to reheat this vegan nacho cheese recipe. The easiest way to get a steam effect is to use the microwave! I know it sounds weird, but its true! If you don’t want to use the microwave, then you can always heat it up in a sauce pot over medium heat. Using this method will require you to stir frequently to avoid any burning.

What does vegan nacho cheese taste like?

This particular vegan nacho cheese recipe tastes as close as you can possibly get to the real thing! That’s why I love this recipe so much!

Can I make this dairy free nacho cheese spicier?

I like to add a few extra jalapeno slices in mine! You can also go for the hot green chiles that they sell at the store. You can also make your own!

Vegan Nacho Cheese Recipe Tricks and Tips

Thoroughly Soak Cashews

Soaking your cashews is especially important when it comes to making a creamy vegan nacho cheese sauce. The longer you soak them, the creamier your sauce will be! If you can, soak your cashews overnight for the best results. You will want to replace the water they are soaking in at least once.  This will help remove the unwanted cashew flavor from your dairy free nacho cheese.

High Powered Blender

You definitely want to use a high powered blender that is designed for making food purees like this.  Soaked or not, the cashews need to be blended very thoroughly to achieve a smooth and silky puree. Only a high powered blender or a “high speed blender” can achieve this level of execution.

Make This Recipe Yours

Maybe you are making this recipe for nachos or maybe even a bowl of fries for poutine. You can use this sauce for multiple recipes, so customize this recipe to fit the end result! If you are having a social gathering for a sporting event, maybe you add a bit of green chilis or some vegan ground beef for a more robust dip.

It doesn’t have to be a special occasion to enjoy this dairy free nacho cheese! Maybe you are just hungry and want a burrito for dinner.  Using a bit more dairy free milk will result in a thinner cheese sauce. Making a perfect topping for a great burrito!

Using Tapioca Starch

Add a couple tablespoons of this into your dairy free milk while its cold. And your dairy free nacho cheese will be stretchy and super “cheesy”. This will really give off a nice cheese effect, especially to unknowing guests!

Don’t Overcook the Vegetables

Be sure to simmer your vegetables low and slow. I know what you are thinking, you don’t want this to be an all day affair! I’m not saying take forever and a day! All I’m saying is take your time. You want to simmer your vegetables, so they don’t overcook.

This is a particularly important stage. Over cooking the vegetables will result in a grainy sauce, and there’s nothing you can do to fix it. Simmering your vegetables will ensure they don’t cook to much on the outside without cooking in the center. Take your time with this and your vegan nacho cheese will be greater for it!

Boost Nutrient Content

Want to really get bang for your buck with this vegan nacho cheese recipe? You can boost the nutritious factor of this dairy free nacho cheese exponentially by adding certain ingredients that also complement the flavor!

a spoon full of white miso in front of a jar of white miso.

One ingredient that packs amazing flavor and nutrient content is white miso. This ingredient delegates a really delicious umami flavor to your vegan nacho cheese sauce and it is also a nutrient powerhouse! If using this ingredient in your recipe, be sure to add it after the cooking process. This will ensure none of its probiotic effects are neutralized.

You can also try adding a bit of silken tofu into your dairy free nacho cheese. This ingredient alone will skyrocket the protein content and vitamin content. Silken tofu also adds to the sauce’s creaminess and acts as a binder. Using this ingredient is a win win!

Equipment Needed

1 sauce pot

1 strainer

1 heat resistant container

1 rubber spatula

1 high powered blender

1 storage container or serving dish

Vegan Nacho Cheese

Recipe thumbnail of vegan nacho cheese dip!

Yield: about 3 cups

Prep time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 20 Minutes


1 ¼         Cup        Yukon Potato, peeled & chopped

1             Cup        Carrots, peeled & chopped

2             ea           Garlic Cloves

2             ea           Green onion. trimmed

½            Cup        Cashews, soaked

¼            Cup        Nutritional Yeast

1/3         Cup        Dairy Free Milk, unsweetened

¼            Cup        Avocado Oil

1             tsp          Onion Powder

1             tsp          Paprika

1             ea           Lime, juiced

½            tsp          Salt

1             Tbsp       White Miso Paste


  1. In a medium sauce pot add chopped Yukon potatoes, chopped carrots, and garlic. Cover the vegetables with water, then bring to a boil.
  2. Once the liquid boils, immediately reduce to a simmer. Simmer these vegetables for about 15-20 minutes or so, depending on the size they are cut. Be sure the liquid stays at a simmering temperature.
  3. While the vegetables are simmering, combine the remaining ingredients (cashews, green onion, dairy free milk, avocado oil, onion powder, paprika, lime juice, white miso paste) in the blender.
  4. Once the vegetables are cooked strain off the liquid, saving some just in case you want to thin out your sauce.
  5. Add the cooked vegetables into the blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend the ingredients on high, stopping on occasion to scrape down the sides of the blender.
  6. Once the puree is blended completely smooth, the vegan nacho cheese sauce is done! Transfer to a storage container or serving dish and enjoy!

You got to check out some of my other Vegan cheese recipes! You’re going to love these!

Vegan Mozzarella Cheese

Vegan Cheddar Cheese

Vegan Cream Cheese

Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Check out some other awesome vegan blogs out there, who got some badass recipes!!

The Real Food RDs

Veggies Don’t Bite

Simple Vegan Blog

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