Mouth-Watering Vegan Nacho Cheese Recipe

Welcome to my vegan kitchen! Today, we will be making a scrumptious, cheesy and plant-based recipe that has been often compared to the beloved Taco Bell’s nacho cheese sauce. Yes, you guessed it right – it’s the vegan nacho cheese sauce!

Now you might wonder what vegan nacho cheese tastes like. Don’t worry; trust me when I say that this recipe is sure to impress your taste buds with its distinct gorgeous flavor while saving you calories and animals. Whether you’re a die-hard cheese fan or looking for an easy vegan recipe to add to your repertoire, this vegan nacho cheese will surely tickle your tastebuds.

This recipe is proof that going dairy-free does not mean forgoing delectable and cheesy dishes. And despite its name, this vegan nacho cheese is not just for your chips; feel free to drizzle over veggies, add to pasta, taco bowls or simply use as a dip.

Ready? Let’s dive into this tantalizing and easy-to-make vegan nacho cheese sauce recipe!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vegan Nacho Cheese
Vegan Nacho Cheese

Are you searching for a vegan-friendly snack that is healthy, quick to make, and irresistibly delicious? Look no further than this mouth-watering vegan nacho cheese recipe. Trust me when I say that once you try this recipe, you’ll never go back to the greasy cheese-filled dips again.

Made with plant-based ingredients like raw cashews, coconut milk, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast flakes, this recipe delivers all the goodness without any of the bad stuff. The blend of seasonings like cayenne pepper and smoked paprika gives it that perfect hint of spiciness while also providing health-boosting antioxidants.

You’ll be amazed by how easy this recipe is to make; within minutes, you can have a bowl of ooey-gooey cheesy goodness ready to serve. Plus, there are multiple variations and substitutions you can apply to cater to everyone’s taste buds. Whether you’re serving guests at a party or throwing together an afternoon snack for yourself, this vegan nacho cheese is sure to satisfy every craving.

So go ahead and ditch the animal-based nacho cheese sauce from Taco Bell or your typical supermarket because this recipe is a game-changer. Enjoy your cheesy indulgence guilt-free, knowing that each ingredient in this recipe is not only delicious but also nourishing for your body.

Ingredient List

 Drizzle our vegan nacho cheese sauce over chips for a tasty snack!
Drizzle our vegan nacho cheese sauce over chips for a tasty snack!

The Vegan Cheese Ingredients:

  • Raw cashews (1 cup) soaked in filtered water for at least 2 hours or overnight

  • Nutritional yeast (1/2 cup) to add that “cheesy” flavor

  • Lemon juice (1/4 cup) to give a tangy taste

  • Garlic powder (2 tsp) for some garlic bite

  • Sea salt (1 teaspoon) to enhance the flavor

The Nacho Cheese Sauce Vegan Base:

  • Potatoes (2 cups) peeled and diced to create a creamy texture

  • Carrot (1 cup) peeled and chopped to give a nice yellow-orange color

  • Onion (1/4 cup) thinly sliced for added depth of flavor

  • Coconut milk (1 cup) for richness and creaminess

  • Water (1/4 cup or more) to achieve desired consistency

Additional Flavor Boosters:

  • Cayenne pepper, paprika, or smoked paprika for heat or smokiness (add according to taste)

  • Miso paste, tapioca starch, or nondairy milk like soy or almond milk as optional ingredients

The Recipe How-To

 This vegan nacho cheese is perfect for dipping veggies.
This vegan nacho cheese is perfect for dipping veggies.

Now that we have covered the ingredients list, it’s time to dive into the recipe how-to. Follow these easy steps to make the best vegan nacho cheese sauce:

Step 1: Soaking the Cashews

Start by soaking 1 cup of raw cashews in enough water for at least 4 hours or overnight. This process will help to soften the cashews, making them easier to blend and resulting in a smoother sauce.

Step 2: Preparing Vegetables

While the cashews are soaking, prepare the vegetables by peeling and dicing 1 cup of potatoes, dicing ¼ cup of carrots, and peeling and chopping ½ an onion.

Step 3: Boiling Vegetables

Bring a pot of water (enough to cover vegetables) to a boil and add in the diced potatoes, chopped onion, and diced carrots; then simmer around 15 minutes or until they are tender. Drain the vegetables from the pot and set aside.

Step 4: Blending Ingredients

In a high-speed blender, combine your soaked cashews along with 1 cup of coconut milk, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes, ½ teaspoon each of sea salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Add in your boiled vegetables.

Blend everything together until smooth (about 2-3 minutes). Add more salt or pepper if needed.

Step 5: Thickening Sauce

Pour blended mixture back into pot over medium heat. Then whisk together 2 tbsp of tapioca starch with 2 tbsp cold water until it becomes smooth slurry. Gradually whisk this slurry into your saucepan while continuously stirring until it thickens up.

Heat your saucepan for another few minutes until your cheezy sauce boils up one final time while whisking non stop.

Step 6: Serving

Once you’re happy with the texture, turn down the heat to low then transfer your cheese sauce vegan into a bowl or jar for serving. The sauce will thicken as it cools off so make sure you use it warm to drizzle it over your nacho chips or into tacos. Enjoy with some tortilla chips, crispy potatoes, grilled veggies or drizzle on some tacos.

That’s all there is to it – now you know how to make an easy vegan nacho cheese sauce that is sure to please any Taco Bell lover out there!

Substitutions and Variations

 One bite of our vegan nacho cheese and you'll be hooked!
One bite of our vegan nacho cheese and you’ll be hooked!

There are various options to customize your vegan nacho cheese sauce recipe according to your taste and preferences. Here are some substitutions and variations you can try:

– Instead of potatoes, you can use sweet potatoes, turnips, or cauliflower. These vegetables have a similar texture and nutrient profile to potatoes, but can add a slightly different flavor and color to the sauce.

– For a spicier cheese sauce, increase the amount of cayenne pepper or add a diced jalapeño pepper while cooking the onions and carrots.

– If you’re out of nutritional yeast flakes, try substituting them with vegan cheddar cheese or 1 tablespoon of miso paste for an umami flavor.

– To make the sauce gluten-free, use tapioca starch instead of flour as a thickener. You can also use cornstarch or arrowroot powder.

– For a smokier flavor, add 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika along with the other spices in the recipe. Smoked paprika has a rich, earthy taste that complements the tanginess of the nutritional yeast flakes.

– If you don’t have raw cashews on hand, you can substitute them with blanched almonds, pine nuts, or sunflower seeds. However, keep in mind that each nut or seed has its own flavor and texture that may affect the overall taste and consistency of the sauce.

– For a creamier consistency, use full-fat coconut milk instead of nondairy milk. Coconut milk is rich in healthy fats that can help thicken the sauce and provide a silky mouthfeel.

By experimenting with different ingredients and ratios, you can create your own unique version of vegan nacho cheese sauce that satisfies your cravings for savory and cheesy flavors without compromising on health or ethics.

Serving and Pairing

 This vegan cheese is so deliciously cheesy, you'll forget it's dairy-free.
This vegan cheese is so deliciously cheesy, you’ll forget it’s dairy-free.

Now that your vegan nacho cheese sauce is all ready to go, what’s the perfect way to serve it? Well, there are plenty of options!

First off, you can keep it classic and serve this vegan nacho cheese sauce with a big ol’ pile of tortilla chips. It has that gooey texture we all know and love from traditional nacho cheese sauce, so it’s the perfect pairing for crunchy chips.

Another great way to enjoy this vegan queso dip is by using it as a topping for your favorite tacos or burritos. Add some black beans, avocado, and fresh salsa along with a dollop of this cheesy goodness for an extra kick of flavor.

Vegan nacho cheese sauce is also wonderful when served as a dip for veggies like carrots, celery and cauliflower. It’s the perfect combo – guilt-free snacking with that cheesy flavor we often crave.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you might even try using this sauce as a topping for fries or baked potatoes. Yes sir! That’s one way to take your spuds to the next level.

Overall, this vegan nacho cheese recipe is pretty versatile and can be served up in many different ways. Whether you’re team chips or team veggies, it can satisfy any craving.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Pair this vegan cheese sauce with your favorite taco recipe for a winning combination.
Pair this vegan cheese sauce with your favorite taco recipe for a winning combination.

Now that you’ve made your delicious vegan nacho cheese sauce, it’s time to think about how best to store and reheat it. One great thing about this recipe is that it’s easy to make ahead of time and keep in the fridge or freezer for later use.

To store the cheese sauce in the fridge, transfer it into an airtight container and store it for up to 5 days. When reheating, gently warm it up over low heat on the stove, stirring frequently as you go. If you find that the consistency is too thick after refrigeration, simply add in a little bit of nondairy milk or water to thin it out.

If you want to freeze the sauce, transfer it to freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to a month. Before serving, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat over low heat until warmed through.

Another great way to enjoy this vegan nacho cheese recipe is as a dip with tortilla chips. Simply scoop some of the sauce into a microwave-safe bowl and heat it up in 15-second increments (stirring with each interval) until heated through.

So whether you’re using your vegan nacho cheese sauce right away or saving it for later, know that it can be easily stored and reheated for convenient use when needed. Enjoy!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Our vegan nacho cheese is great for entertaining guests, no one will know it's vegan!
Our vegan nacho cheese is great for entertaining guests, no one will know it’s vegan!

If you want to create the best vegan nacho cheese sauce, there are several tips you can follow to get perfect results every time. Here are some of my favorite tips:

Firstly, don’t skip the nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast not only gives that cheesy flavor but also adds a nutty, savory taste to the sauce. It’s a crucial ingredient in creating the quintessential vegan nacho cheese taste.

Secondly, if you’re looking for a spicier flavor profile, try adding cayenne pepper or smoked paprika instead of or in addition to regular paprika. These two spices can add an extra kick of heat and smokiness that make your vegan nacho cheese sauce bold and flavorful.

Thirdly, if you want a creamier cheese sauce, try soaking raw cashews overnight or at least for a couple of hours before blending them with other ingredients. This softens the cashews and makes them more easily blendable.

Fourthly, if your sauce is too thick, try adding more water gradually until it reaches your desired consistency. Water helps thin down the cheese sauce without diluting its flavor too much.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment with different add-ins like diced onions or even chopped jalapenos. Those little touches can add boldness and complexity to the classic vegan nacho cheese flavor.

By following these tips, you can easily make the best vegan nacho cheese sauce that is smooth, flavorful and perfect as a dip for tortilla chips or as a topping on your favorite plant-based dishes.


As a vegan chef, I know that making cheese sauce without dairy can be a bit daunting. That’s why I’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about this vegan nacho cheese recipe. These answers should help you to get a better understanding of how to approach this recipe and make it perfectly every time. Let’s dive in and address some common concerns with plant-based cheese alternatives.

What can I substitute for nacho cheese?

There are various types of cheese that can be used to make a delicious nacho cheese sauce, including processed American cheese such as Velveeta, as well as Cheddar, Colby Jack, or Mozzarella.

What does vegan nacho cheese taste like?

If you’re curious about the taste of vegan nacho cheese, let me assure you that it is every bit as delicious as the dairy counterpart. The flavor profile is cheesy and mildly piquant, with a perfect blend of tangy, savory and sharp notes that’ll tantalize your taste buds. Additionally, the texture is luxuriously smooth and ultra-creamy, making it a delightful addition to any nacho dish or dip.

How is Taco Bell nacho cheese vegan?

It’s interesting to note that Taco Bell’s nacho cheese sauce, despite being named after cheese, is actually vegan-friendly. This sauce includes a combination of spices, including paprika and cheddar cheese flavoring, from which it derives its unique taste. Although some individuals may opt to avoid Taco Bell altogether due to the restaurant’s use of animal products in several menu items, the nacho cheese is still a vegan and tasty option to try.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you’re a vegan who misses enjoying delicious and creamy nacho cheese sauce, this vegan nacho cheese recipe is just what you need. It is easy, quick, and made from simple plant-based ingredients that are full of flavor and nutrition.

With this recipe, you can make the best vegan nacho cheese sauce in the comfort of your own home at a fraction of the price of store-bought ones. Plus, you will be able to cater to your specific taste preferences and dietary needs by making substitutions and variations as needed.

Follow the tips and recommendations included in this article for perfect results every time- from serving suggestions to make-ahead options, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s not forget that creating this vegan nacho cheese sauce using nutritional yeast flakes and cashews instead of dairy products makes it dairy-free and suitable for people with lactose intolerance or milk allergies.

So why not give this easy vegan queso recipe a try? Taste the difference of plant-based cooking with this cheesy yet healthy alternative. Enjoy it with tortilla chips, over a baked potato or as dip.

Go ahead and make the best vegan nachos to rival even those at Taco Bell! With this recipe on hand, there is no need to compromise on taste or ethics in food choices.

Vegan Nacho Cheese

Vegan Nacho Cheese Recipe

The best, most delicious & healthy nacho cheese I have ever tasted!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Vegan
Calories 105 kcal


  • 1 cup diced potato
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup diced carrot
  • 3/4 cup boiled water
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 dash paprika
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper (optional)


  • In a small pot bring several cups of water to a boil.
  • Add potatoes, carrots, and onions to boil for 10 minutes or until tender.
  • Place boiled ingredients into a blender with 3/4 cup of boiled water (preferably same water as just used).
  • Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth.
  • Enjoy with chips or place in pasta to make macaroni & cheese!

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 88gCalories: 105kcalCarbohydrates: 11.5gProtein: 4.1gFat: 5.7gSaturated Fat: 1.1gSodium: 688.8mgFiber: 2.3gSugar: 1.5g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Vegan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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