An easy creamy vegan cheese sauce made with raw cashews and spices. This versatile cheese sauce is perfect for nachos, quesadillas, steamed veggies, or using as a base for mac and cheese! It’s a vegan classic made with whole food ingredients that will become a staple in your kitchen!
Who doesn’t love a good cheese sauce? I remember as a kid bringing my lunch tray through the line at school and beaming when I saw nacho cheese sauce on the line.
It’s such a classic comfort food! My first vegan nacho cheese sauce recipe I ever made is nut free, and made with potatoes and carrots. If you need a nut free version, give it a try.
This cheese sauce is similar in texture but has a slightly different flavor, and is made with raw cashews to achieve a creamy texture. If you’re looking for cheese to top your pizza, give this vegan mozzarella a try!
Check out this post for more vegan sauces and vegan salad dressing recipes!
Having a good recipe for a creamy cheese sauce is a must have in any vegan kitchen. It is so easy to make (way better than anything store bought), and much healthier too!
No processed ingredients, just whole foods that combine to create a dipping sauce for all your favorite dishes.
Make it as a dip for chips on Game Day or other parties throughout the year!
Or create your own vegan quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas, and so much more! Let your imagination run wild!
This recipe produces a fair amount, but it will be gone before you know it!
I use it with my vegan nachos recipe and homemade vegan refried beans. I’ve also used it in my vegan pasta bake.
Why you’ll love this vegan cheese sauce…
- Versatile recipe with endless serving options
- Creamy texture
- Tastes like the real thing!
- Better than store bought vegan cheese!
- Vegan and Plant-Based ingredients
- Easy and quick
- A vegan staple recipe
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Raw cashews
- Vegetable stock
- Nutritional Yeast
- Chili powder
- Onion powder
- Dry mustard
- Lemon juice
Tools and Equipment You’ll Need
- Small Saucepan-You’ll use your saucepan to boil the cashews to soften them before blending, as well as to heat the sauce which allows it to thicken.
- High Speed Blender-A good high speed blender is necessary to achieve a creamy texture. Standard blenders do not do as great of a job at completely blending the cashews down.
How to Make Vegan Cheese Sauce – Step by Step
Step 1: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add cashews. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or until cashews have softened and plumped.
Step 2: Drain cashews. Add drained cashews, vegetable stock, nutritional yeast, spices, and lemon juice to high speed blender. Secure lid. Blend until smooth and creamy, starting at the lowest speed and slowly increasing to the highest speed.
Step 3: Transfer to a small saucepan. Bring to a bubbling boil, whisking constantly until it thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer to a serving bowl. Enjoy!
Top Tips for Making the Perfect Vegan Cheese Sauce
- Use raw unsalted cashews that have not been roasted. This not only avoids extra oil, and salt, but also creates a less distinct cashew flavor, and a creamier texture.
- Be sure to soak cashews before blending. This softens them and prepares them to blend into a smooth and creamy sauce.
- Use a high speed blender for best results. If you do not have a high speed blender you may need to blend for a longer period of time or use a food processor to achieve a smooth texture.
How to Serve
There are SO many serving options with this fabulous cheese sauce. Anywhere and everywhere a cheese sauce would elevate a recipe, this sauce can be used. Here are some of my favorites…
- Vegan Nachos
- Refried Beans
- Cheese Dip with chips
- Sandwiches and wraps
- Burritos and burrito bowls
- On top of steamed broccoli and other vegetables
- Mac and Cheese
- Cheesy pasta bakes
- Dip for potato wedges or baked potatoes
How to Store and Keep
Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container for 3-5 days.
Can vegan cheese sauce be frozen?
Yes, you can freeze this sauce. Transfer to a freezer safe bag. Label with the date and contents. Store for 2-3 months. When ready to serve, transfer to the refrigerator to defrost overnight. Reheat in a saucepan, and serve!
What is vegan cheese sauce made of?
Store bought vegan cheese is full of processed ingredients that are in no way good for you. For example, safflower, canola oil, vegetable glycerin, xanthan gum, citric acid, titanium dioxide.
As a result, most store bought vegan cheeses remind me of plastic. People desiring a cheese substitute will be greatly disappointed.
This vegan cheese is made using only whole food ingredients with a combination of spices, and nutritional yeast to give it that “cheesy” flavor.
Is vegan cheese sauce healthy?
Plant-Based Protein Source-The cashews in this sauce provide plant-based protein. One serving of cashews contains 5 grams of protein.
Healthy Fats-Cashews are a high fat plant-based food, but the fat in cashews are “good fats.” These fats help reduce risk of heart disease. They are also low in saturated fats, and high in unsaturated fats.
High in Vitamins and Minerals-Cashews and nutritional yeast are high in beneficial vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and manganese for bone health, and copper which helps with energy production.
High in Fiber-Cashews are also a good source of fiber which helps you feel full and satiated, as well as improves digestion.
Check out these recipes that would taste great with this vegan cheese sauce!
If you’ve tried this Vegan Cheese Sauce Recipe, please rate it and let me know how it turned out. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for more plant-based vegan family recipes your whole family will enjoy!
Vegan Cheese Sauce
- 1 cup raw cashews unsalted not roasted
- 1 ½ cups low sodium vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp ground mustard
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add cashews. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or until cashews have softened and plumped.
- Drain cashews. Add drained cashews, vegetable stock, nutritional yeast, spices, and lemon juice to high speed blender. Secure lid. Blend until smooth and creamy, starting at the lowest speed and slowly increasing to the highest speed.
- Transfer to a small saucepan. Bring to a bubbling boil, whisking constantly until thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer to a serving bowl. Enjoy!
- Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container for 3-5 days.
- To freeze transfer to a freezer safe container. Store for 2-3 months. When ready to serve defrost in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stovetop.
Can u substitute the vegetable broth with water? Thanks!
Yes, you can substitute water, but you may want to add some more seasoning to make up for the vegetable broth.
Easy and delicious, I will share with my vegan buddies.
Loved this cheese sauce! Such a great substitute 🙂
Love the recipe and all the tips in this post! I think the dry mustard is genius – really gives it that little extra oomph that other cashew “cheese” sauces are lacking.
We are always looking for vegan cheese sauces and this looks luscious!
My kiddos and I made this together! We have been spending a lot more time in the kitchen lately and its so fun. They really enjoyed making this recipe but they enjoyed eating it even more! Thanks for this delish creation, we are adding it to our “make again” list!!
This vegan cheese sauce was delicious. I’ve saved some for leftovers.