Vegan Nacho Cheese

February 4, 2022

Dips Spreads & Sauces

By: Chris Petrellese 

This vegan nacho cheese sauce recipe is easy to make, has wholesome ingredients, and pairs perfectly with nachos, tacos, fries, and so much more. 

tortilla chips in vegan nacho cheese

If you’re looking for a creamy vegan cheese sauce loaded with veggies, this recipe is for you. The consistency and flavor are spot on to a traditional cheese sauce but are entirely dairy-free. It also takes less than 30 minutes to make and requires no fancy ingredients. To top it all off, this recipe is naturally gluten-free! 

ingredients for vegan nacho cheese

Here’s What You Need to Make this Nacho Cheese Sauce:

  • Potatoes: We like to use Yukon gold potatoes for this recipe, but russets would work well. Make sure to wash and peel your potatoes before boiling them! 
  • Carrots: Not only will carrots add additional nutrients and flavor, but they will help add a nice golden and “cheesy” color to the sauce. 
  • Cashews: This will help our sauce get nice and creamy. The cashew nut provides a fatty element that enriches the nacho cheese. For optimal creaminess, it’s essential to soak your cashews, so they blend smoothly. If you’re short on time, you can soak them in boiling water for just 10 minutes. It’s also essential to use raw cashews for this recipe instead of roasted. 
  • Almond Milk: Make sure to use unsweetened milk for this recipe. Any unsweetened plain variety will work if you prefer not to use almond milk or have another type of plant milk on hand. 
  • Jalapeños: We like to add pickled jalapeños and a little bit of the juice to our sauce to give it a pop of heat. We don’t recommend adding raw jalapeños. However, substituting them with green chiles would also work. 
  • Lemon Juice: The flavor will be much more balanced by adding an acidic element like lemon juice. You can also add lime juice or vinegar to the sauce instead. 
  • Spices: The spices for our sauce are simple. Garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper are all we add. If you want to add some additional heat, you can also add smoked paprika and chili powder. 
  • Nutritional Yeast: This will help add a more cheese-like flavor to our sauce. Additionally, nutritional yeast is packed with B vitamins and protein. 

Recommend Equipment:

pouring vegan nacho cheese into bowl from blender

How Can This Nacho Cheese Sauce be Used?

The possibilities for this sauce are endless. It can also be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days. Here are a few suggestions on what to do with your sauce! 

  • Tacos: If you’re looking for some spot-on taco meat recipes, we’ve got you covered! Check out our lentil walnut taco meatcarne asada, and sheet pan tofu taco meat.
  • Burritos: There’s nothing more satisfying than loading up a burrito with all the fixings and drizzling over this nacho cheese sauce. 
  • Nachos (of course): Find your favorite tortilla chips and toppings, then smother them in this cheese sauce. 
  • Loaded fries: Did someone say chili cheese fries? Now that’s what we are talking about! 
  • Dipping: This cheese sauce makes an excellent dip for veggies, crackers, and more. 
  • Pizza: This may sound strange, but the taste will be epic if toppings complement the sauce. 
dipping tortilla chip into vegan nacho cheese

Looking for Similar Recipes? 

a sheet pan of loaded vegan nachos

Need Nacho Inspiration? 

There are many ways to top nachos, so if you aren’t sure how you want to make yours, here are some topping ideas.

  • Plant-based meat: You can use Beyond Meat or Impossible grounds, but we have our lentil walnut taco meat that we think is stellar to use. 
  • Salsa: We like to use pico de gallo, but any mild, medium or spicy salsa will be a great addition to your nachos. 
  • Veggies: Lettuce, tomato, onions, black olives, and jalapeños are perfect toppings.
  • Beans: Black beans, pinto beans, refried beans, white beans, you can’t go wrong. 
  • Chips: Traditionally, you use corn tortilla chips for nachos, but you can also use blue corn tortilla chips or tater tots or french fries. 
  • Cheese: Of course, we recommend this nacho cheese sauce, but you can use other vegan cheeses like cheddar, mozzarella, or Colb Jack-style shreds.
  • Sour Cream: Our favorite dairy-free sour cream to use is either Tofutti or Follow Your Heart. If you want to drizzle your sour cream on top of the nachos, we recommend loosening it up with water beforehand. 
  • Avocado or Guacamole: Guac doesn’t cost extra when you use our simple recipe.
close up of a tortilla chip from loaded vegan nachos

Make sure you tag us on Instagram @sweetsimplevegan and @consciouschris and hashtag #sweetsimplevegan if you recreate any of our recipes, we love to see your photos!

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dipping tortilla chip into vegan nacho cheese

Vegan Nacho Cheese

  • Author: Chris @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings


This vegan nacho cheese sauce recipe is easy to make, has wholesome ingredients, and pairs perfectly with nachos, tacos, fries, and so much more.


  • 2 cups peeled and chopped Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños with juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Black pepper to taste, if desired


  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, and place the potatoes, carrots, and cashews in once boiling. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain and transfer to a high-speed blender.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients into the blender and blend until completely smooth.
  3. Adjust seasonings to taste and add the additional juice from the jar of jalapeños as desired.


This recipe is adapted from our Chipotle Cheddar Cheese Sauce

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes

Disclaimer: This page may contain affiliate links, which simply means that we earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!

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Recipe rating

  1. Kirsten says:

    Excellent! This has a great nacho sauce flavor & is healthy! I made a little over four cups of sauce. Do you think this sauce could be frozen?

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