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This Vegan Nacho Cheese is made from healthy plant-based ingredients yet satisfies any cheesy comfort food craving! Have this oil-free, gluten-free vegan cheese ready in just 30 minutes and serve with your favorite tacos, burritos, nachos, tortilla chips and 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

Ingredients You’ll Need 

  • 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.

Equipment Needed

How to Make Vegan Nacho Cheese 

  1. Boil the potatoes, carrots, and cashews. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, then add in the potatoes, carrots, and cashews. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots are fork tender. Drain and place in a high speed blender. 
  2. Blend until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients into the blender and blend until completely smooth. 
  3. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add additional salt, pepper, and juice from the jar of jalapenos as desired.
pouring vegan nacho cheese into bowl from blender

What is Nacho Cheese Good On?

The possibilities for serving this vegan nacho cheese sauce are endless. Here are a few of our favorite ideas, but don’t limit yourself to just these! This cheese is truly meant to be drizzled on anything and everything. 

a sheet pan of loaded vegan nachos

Need Vegan 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

Storage and Reheating Instructions

This vegan nacho cheese will last for up to 7 days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen and stored for up to 3 months. 

To freeze, allow the vegan nacho cheese to cool completely at room temperature. Once cool, transfer to a freezer safe jar like a mason jar or a freezer safe bag, such as a reusable Stasher Bag. If freezing in a glass jar, make sure to keep the nacho cheese below the freeze line to prevent the glass from cracking. When ready to use, transfer the nacho cheese to the refrigerator to thaw completely (about 24-48 hours). 

Reheat leftover nacho cheese in the microwave or on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through.

dipping tortilla chip into vegan nacho cheese

Tips for Success

  • Cook the potatoes until just fork tender. If they are overcooked, they will become grainy and will make your cheese slightly grainy. 
  • Don’t overblend! If you’ve over mashed homemade mashed potatoes, you’ll know that doing so makes them gluey and unfavorable in texture. The same thing will happen if you overblend this potato based nacho cheese. For best results, blend until just smooth.
  • Taste your plant milk before using! Recently a few brands have been making “unsweetened” non dairy milks that are made with sweet, perfume-like preservatives that add an unnatural sweetness to the milk. If you’re using store-bought milk, smell and taste the non-dairy milk before adding it to the cheese. It needs to be completely neutral in taste in order to work in this recipe. When in doubt, try our homemade almond milk without the optional sweet ingredients.

More Homemade Vegan Cheese Sauces You May Enjoy: 

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 is made from healthy plant-based ingredients yet satisfies any cheesy comfort food craving! Have this oil-free, gluten-free vegan cheese ready in just 30 minutes and serve with your favorite tacos, burritos, nachos, tortilla chips and 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!

Meet The Bloggers

hey there! we’re jasmine & chris.

Hi, we’re Jasmine and Chris! We share fresh and fun recipes to show you that vegan cooking is easy, approachable and delicious. When we’re not blogging, you will probably find us enjoying live music, tending to our backyard garden or playing with our dogs Berry and Louie

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  1. I made this for a nacho night and it was preferred over the dairy cheese! It was so good. Just make sure to give it time to blend to get that silky texture! So great!

  2. Delicious! Very easy recipe. Love that it’s a blend of veggies and cashews. This will be our go to vegan queso recipe from now on.

  3. 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?