Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce

by Jill Dalton

Life is just better with Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce. It is definitely a family favorite condiment of ours and this plant based version will knock your socks off. We use it to top off bowls of beans and greens, as a dip for chips, and as a sauce for burgers and sandwiches. Being so popular and versatile, we always have a container of it in the fridge.

Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce

Print Recipe
Serves: 8 Prep Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 3.2/5
( 147 voted )


1 cup raw, unsalted cashews (substitute for nut allergies: 1 cup rolled oats)
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp Braggs liquid amino acids
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 cup water 



  1. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Add a little water if necessary to get it blended well.
  3. As is sits, it thickens.
  4. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
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Mrs Gillian M Rowe June 7, 2020 - 4:51 am

It’s a pleasure to have found this site. I’m in Scotland…right at the top edge..far away from everything but we grow all our veg in a polytunnel and have planted an orchard..and have soft fruit trees. There are many things we can’t get up here…but I enjoy finding the alternatives to ingredients not available. Your eeducational shows are so clear and informative. Thanks Jill…

Laura June 8, 2020 - 7:52 pm

Just made this 1/2&1/2 oats/cashews to lower the cost and fat content. It is sweet. Was that the desired taste? Not spicey.

Sandra Prudames June 10, 2020 - 6:23 pm

What can you use to replace the Braggs liquid aminos ?

Louise Bakley June 18, 2020 - 3:57 pm

Greetings I gave this a try today, following the recipe to the t. Unfortunately it does not taste like nacho cheese. it actually isn’t the same color. Too sweet and paprika too strong.
I was so hoping as we have company coming for Mexican Night:-(

Donna Tecce September 19, 2020 - 9:01 pm

Hi, me too. Lol. W raisins, mine was dark not yellow and tasted more like an onion dip which I love but want that cheese dip taste. Jill pls help. Lolol

Jill Dalton September 21, 2020 - 4:37 pm

You can add more nutritional yeast. Some have a stronger taste than others.

Magda November 17, 2020 - 10:16 am

Very sweet, I don’t find cheese. Nice for salad or coleslaw dressing. I keep looking for a cheesier version.

Kay July 13, 2020 - 2:28 pm

Can you please tell us how to bake the corn chips and can I use flour tortillas?

Jill Dalton July 14, 2020 - 9:58 am

I just put the whole tortillas on the oven racks at 400°F and watch them carefully so they don’t burn. Flour tortillas work too, just watch them close because they burn even faster.

Lori August 12, 2020 - 2:04 pm

This is my go to cheese sauce. I love it! It is easy to make and so very tasty. I can eat it by the spoonful…and, I do! It is delicious atop a freshly baked potato. Jill thanks for experimenting in the kitchen and coming up with this awesome alternative to dairy cheese. It’s the best!

Michael September 12, 2020 - 4:28 pm

I finally tried your version of nacho cheese using 50/50 cashews and oatmeal. I have only tried no nut versions before that use potato/carrots.

I did find it too sweet for a cheese sauce but perfect for a dressing, next time I will use half the raisins. I used this for a bagged coleslaw mix for the dressing with some added vinegar and it was perfect. Thank you.

Lorraine November 5, 2020 - 1:21 pm

I find this much too sweet rather than cheesy or tasty.

Shannon December 14, 2020 - 5:58 pm

I have a very similar recipe that tastes just like nacho cheese IMO; I have found 1 cup of nutritional yeast to 1 cup of liquid (milk, water, vegetable broth, or any combo of those) to be a good ratio, then you only need ¼ cup cashews because of the thickness added from all the nutritional yeast. The rest of the recipe can remain the same, but NO raisins! I agree that adding the raisins would turn it into a dressing.

Kim March 5, 2021 - 2:03 pm

I used oatmeal instead of cashews. The consistency was great, but it was too sweet with the raisins and didn’t taste anything like nacho cheese, in my estimation. For my purpose of using as a veggie sauce, I added an additional tsp of Bragg’s and a tsp of yellow mustard to amp up the flavor and give it some tanginess. I would omit the smoked paprika next time, maybe use a 1/2 tsp of garlic powder instead and increase the nutritional yeast as I’m a big fan of nooch. 🙂

Sydney Drake April 3, 2021 - 7:51 pm

Love it. I went 1/2 and 1/2 too. Next time I’m substituting red pepper (sweet) for the raisins, I found using less than 1/2 the raisins was still more sweet than I want. And, the time after that, yes, there will be another time because this_is_a_really_great_sauce, but the time after that I’m going to try pimientos instead of raisins.

Sydney Drake April 13, 2021 - 6:39 pm

Update: YUM! Over the last 10 days I’ve loved this sauce on salads, veggies, potato, and today I finished it with some chips (homemade flax seed ++). When the ingredients have time to settle the sweetness fades nicely into play. I think it illustrates why so many pre-packaged foods contain tons of sugar consumers don’t notice. I’m still going to grab some water-packed fire-roasted red peppers (in place of raisins) and try this again. Your dressings and sauces are amazing. Thank you.

joyce October 18, 2021 - 11:17 am

What can I use instead of nutritional yeast? Many vegan chefs recommend against it since it’s still a yeast.

Joy Morrow November 14, 2021 - 12:41 pm

After reading the comments about it being too sweet, I replaced the raisins with two tablespoons each of pickled jalapenos and the juice from the jar. Came out perfect.


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