This creamy and smooth Vegan Nacho Cheese Recipe is so easy to prepare yet so deliciously addictive. Cashews, bell pepper, nutritional yeast flakes, tahini paste, lemon juice, and spices blended until creamy and thickened on the stove.  The vegan nacho cheese sauce is much healthier than traditional nacho cheese, your non-vegan friends and family will be amazed.

 

If you have ever been to a Mexican restaurant, you have probably had nacho cheese. Everyone loves good nacho cheese on their tortilla chips or as a veggie dip. It goes great with chips and salsa – and it’s definitely one of my favorites. After all, it is cheese, right?

I have been asked over and over again a question: How do you make the best vegan nacho cheese EVER? It’s sometimes nearly challenging to find vegan nacho cheese at your local grocery store or restaurant, so making your own will be key. Have no fear— I’ve got you covered! This post is going to tell you how to make the best vegan nacho cheese!

All you need are some ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen: red bell pepper, cashews, nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice, garlic & onion powder, tahini paste, and salt and pepper. This recipe lets you make vegan nacho cheese in under 10 minutes, it’s totally worth it. The result is a rich, creamy, and savory vegan alternative to traditional nacho cheese! 

See, Vegan Cheese Sauce and Vegan Cheese Ball

FOR THE FULL LIST OF INGREDIENTS, SCROLL TO SEE THE RECIPE CARD AT THE END. BUT BEFORE YOU SCROLL CHECK THE IMPORTANT INFORMATION THAT IS INCLUDED IN THE BLURB.

 vegan nacho cheese sauce in grey bowl garnished with cilantro leaves

Why You’ll Love This Vegan Nacho Cheese?

This amazing Vegan Nacho Cheese Recipe is great for your next event and will certainly be a huge hit because:  

  • It’s rich, cheesy, hearty, and comforting.
  • It’s nutritious, gentle on the stomach, and delicious.
  • It tastes amazing!
  • This vegan nacho cheese is so easy to make.
  • Another good thing is that most of the ingredients can be found in every well-stocked pantry except for the Nutritional yeast flakes that can be found online and the tahini paste can be found here if you cannot find them in your local health food store.
  • Kid-friendly and budget-friendly.
  • It’s perfect for topping on top of your favorite Mexican dish, or if you are looking for something cheesy without all the dairy, then this recipe is for you!
  • Spices are mild, however, they can be increased or decreased according to your taste buds.

Ingredients for Nacho Cheese

Here Are Why I Choose The Ingredients:

  • Red Bell Pepper: Red bell pepper for orange color and vitamins.
  • Nutritional Yeast Flakes: Nutritional yeast flakes for cheesy flavor and Vitamin B12.
  • Cashews: Cashews for creamy, velvety sauce and a good source of protein.
  • Tahini Paste: Tahini pastes for an added cheesy flavor.
  • Lemon Juice: Lemon juice for sharp taste and Vitamin C.
  • Smoked Paprika: Smoked paprika for a smokey flavor.
  • Onion Powder: Onion powder gives it a more savory flavor.
  • Garlic Powder: Garlic is an essential ingredient in almost every savory dish, and the same is the case with this vegan nacho cheese. It brings in an intense savory flavor which makes this vegan nacho cheese more tasteful.
  • Salt: Salt brings the flavors together and makes the recipe complete.
  • Cayenne Pepper: It imparts a more neutral “peppery” flavor to the nacho cheese.

How To Make Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce?

To prepare your vegan cashew nacho cheese, soak your cashews for 1 hour in warm water, rinse them and place them in a blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and cook stirring constantly with a whisk until thick. 

Pouring nacho cheese sauce

Serving Ideas

Serve with chips, a baked potato, or a drizzle over steamed vegetables! Or splash it over tacos, fajitas, and burrito bowls.

I use this non-dairy vegan nacho cheese as a dip with chips, as a sandwich spread, as pasta, and as a substitute for all your old non-vegan recipes that called for nacho cheese. It is delicious on my Vegan Black Bean Nachos and Vegan Pinto Bean Chili.

 

Vegan nacho cheese sauce being dipped with tortilla chips

Recipe Notes

Check out these helpful tips for the finest vegan nacho cheese sauce:

  • In order to achieve the velvety cheese sauce, I highly recommend you use a high-speed blender such as Blentec or
  • If you don’t have a high-speed blender then make sure to soak your cashews before blending, I also recommend that you blend at least two times resting the blender after each time you process the sauce to prevent your motor from getting damaged.
  • You may add more or less water depending on the consistency you choose.
  • It’s much better to make it a little bit thick, which can be readily adjusted than to be too thin, which can’t be.
  • If you don’t have nutritional yeast flakes on hand —just leave them out!
  • The cheese sauce will thicken if it rests for a bit or if you refrigerate the leftovers. Simply reheat it on the stove, thinned with water as needed.
  • Cashews can be substituted with raw slivered almonds, but they must be thoroughly soaked.
  • This recipe is very easy to adjust to your preferred level of spiciness! You can use slices of jalapeno that are mild or spicy, so you can add more or less chipotle, cayenne, or chili powder.
  • If you have a nut allergy, you can omit the cashews, but the creaminess will decrease. Others have suggested using potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, white beans, or sunflower seeds, but I like cashews.
  • You can use lime or even apple cider vinegar in place of the lemon. To enhance the tang, add mustard or pickle juice.

Try Enjoying This Vegan Nacho Cheese with the Following Recipes:

Nacho cheese sauce finished look in a grey bowl

For More Mexican Inspired Recipes Try My:

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Gives Nacho Cheese Its Name?

Ignacio Anaya invented the first nachos for a gathering of hungry military wives. He cooked tortilla chips and topped them with cheddar cheese with jalapeno slices to serve. Nacho was his nickname, so that’s what he named his new appetizer.

The term “nacho cheese” is a bit of a misnomer. The recipe varies based on who prepares it, and it can be whatever people enjoy. Originally, though, it was just an orange cheddar cheese with jalapenos.

Is Vegan Nacho Cheese Good For You?

It depends on the ingredients used. Some vegan cheeses are made with a variety of processed ingredients, while others are prepared from whole ingredients. If you’ve ever tried any one of my recipes, you know that we only use the freshest, healthiest ingredients. To supply you with enough vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and antioxidants, we combined a variety of nutrient-dense plant-based ingredients (such as cashew, tahini paste, bell pepper, and nutritional yeast flakes) in this sauce. All of this in the form of a delightfully “dippable,” delectably tasty vegan nacho cheese made without dairy? Yes, absolutely! Are you ready to start digging?

Are Cashews Healthy?

Yes! Cashews are a good source of plant protein and fiber, they’re low in sugar and rich in heart-healthy fats.  Additionally, they are high in copper, magnesium, and manganese, all of which are necessary for brain health, immunity, bone health, and energy production.

Because of their high levels of carotenoids and polyphenolic antioxidants, cashews may help to reduce inflammation while also protecting against disease.

Is Tahini Paste Good For You?

Tahini is a sesame seed paste made from toasted ground sesame seeds.

Tahini is a delicious way to get potent antioxidants, healthy fats, and a variety of vitamins and minerals into your diet. It contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities, and its potential health benefits might include decreasing the risk of heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, and protecting brain health.

Several studies have shown that sesamol, a natural substance present in the seeds and oils of sesame, has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-aging properties. According to other research, it has potent anti-cancer properties.

Are Nutritional Yeast Flakes Good For You?

Yes! Nutritional Yeast Flakes are a staple in many kitchens. It has a cheesy, nutty, or savory flavor a vegan source of protein, B vitamins, and trace minerals that are necessary for optimal health.

It contains a high amount of vitamin B12 which helps prevent vitamin B12 deficiency in vegans. Glutathione and selenomethionine, two antioxidants found in nutritional yeast, may help protect your body from oxidative stress-induced chronic diseases.

Do I Have To Use A Blender?

While I believe that making this vegan nacho cheese recipe in a blender is the quickest and easiest method, it is not the only option. You can also use a food processor.

Is It Possible To Make Vegan Nacho Cheese In Advance?

Absolutely! In fact, the flavor improves with time, so preparing it ahead of time is a great idea. Allow cooling entirely at room temperature before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

How To Store Vegan Nacho Cheese?

To Refrigerate: The nacho cheese can be kept in the refrigerator for three to five days, airtight, after it has been cooled completely.

To Freeze: The nacho cheese can be stored in an airtight freezer bag or container for up to one month. Before reheating, I recommend letting it defrost overnight in the fridge.

To Reheat: Reheating the nacho cheese is as simple as placing it in a skillet over low heat and stirring regularly until it is warmed through. Because the sauce thickens as it cools, you may need to add a bit more water or plant-based milk to achieve the desired consistency. It can also be microwaved for one to two minutes.

How Can This Nacho Cheese Sauce Be Used?

This recipe for vegan nacho cheese has a lot of options. For a variety of Mexican meals, burgers, or as a flavorful and nutritious addition to your vegetables, this cheese alternative is an excellent choice!

Because it can be used in so many ways, I make this vegan nacho cheese sauce more than once a week. Nobody ever complains about it being too much!

  • Tacos: We’ve got you covered if you’re looking for some delicious non-dairy taco recipes!
  • Burritos: Nothing beats a loaded burrito topped with nacho cheese sauce.
  • Nachos: This cheese sauce is perfect for nachos!
  • Fries with a lot of flavors: Did someone say chili cheese fries? That’s exactly what we’re talking about!
  • Dipping: This cheese sauce is great for dipping veggies, crackers, and other snacks.
  • Pizza: It may sound unusual, but if the toppings suit the sauce, the flavor will be fantastic.
  • Drizzle over-baked potatoes or steamed broccoli.

What Does Vegan Nacho Cheese Taste Like?

Like nacho cheese! The classic cheesy flavor is derived from cashews and tahini paste, and combining them with lemon juice produces that flavor.

Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce in a grey bowl on beige background

Bottom Lines!

This is my tried and true Vegan Nacho Cheese Recipe that will be a hit every time you make it.

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vegan nacho cheese recipe in a grey pot

Vegan Nacho Cheese Recipe

This creamy and smooth Vegan Nacho Cheese Recipe is so easy to prepare yet so deliciously addictive. Cashews, bell pepper, nutritional yeast flakes, tahini paste, lemon juice, and spices blended until creamy and thickened on the stove.  The vegan nacho cheese sauce is much healthier than traditional nacho cheese, your non-vegan friends and family will be amazed.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vegan nacho cheese recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 145kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews soaked for 1 hour in warm water
  • 1-1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes or 1/2 teaspoon cumin if yeast-free
  • 1 tablespoon tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 or 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Soak cashews for about an hour in warm water to soften or boil in water for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse
  • Place water in a high-speed blender, add cashews, red bell pepper, nutritional yeast flakes, tahini, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, and cayenne pepper. Process until smooth.
  • Pour sauce into a medium sized saucepan and bring to boil on medium heat stirring constantly with a whisk until thick and bubbly, being careful not to burn.

Nutrition

Calories: 145kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 395mg | Potassium: 215mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 246IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 2mg