If you’re looking for a show-stopping vegan cheese sauce to put on everything, then you must try this incredibly silky smooth vegan cheese sauce.
Our recipe is made with cashews, nutritional yeast, tons of garlic, and spices. It’s truly the best vegan cheese sauce recipe.
Best Vegan Cheese Sauce
Looking for an epic cheese sauce to top your noodles with or serve with chips, but looking to hold the dairy? Try this easy vegan cheese sauce recipe!
This is our basic vegan cheese sauce that’s packed with nutrition and made with a base of cashews, sweet potato puree, and nutritional yeast.
We promise you that this cheese sauce made without any real dairy is delicious and a great supplement for those who don’t eat animal products!
This u003cstrongu003evegan queso recipe u003c/strongu003eis smokey, creamy, and tastes exactly like real queso. It’s made from cashews, nutritional yeast, spices, secret roasted veggies, and hot sauce.
What You Need
- Raw cashews: make sure to buy raw cashews as they soften much easier than roasted.
- Sweet potato puree: sweet potato puree not only adds a cheesy color, but so much flavor and nutrition!
- Nutritional yeast: nutritional yeast is what gives you that cheesy taste without the dairy. Our favorite brand is Bob’s Red Mill.
- Broth: broth adds flavor and salt. You can use any kind of broth for this recipe, but to keep it vegan, we’re recommending veggie broth.
- Apple cider vinegar: ACV adds a little tang and also balances out all of the flavors of this vegan cheese sauce.
Why raw cashews? When soaked, raw cashews become malleable and soft, making them super creamy when blended with liquid. The flavor is light and you can really make them taste however you want!
No, really — soak your cashews Yes, you really have to soak your cashews! People ask if they can skip this step and the answer is no! Soaking the cashews breaks them down so the sauce is easier to digest AND it softens your cashews so your vegan cheese sauce is nice and creamy!
You can use whatever potato you want Though we prefer sweet potatoes for this recipe, any potato would do! You just want to make sure your potato is fully cooked. We like the little bit of sweetness that the sweet potato gives the cheese sauce!
Broth offers more flavor You will definitely need some kind of liquid when you make this vegan cheese sauce. We use vegetable broth because it gives the sauce another delicious layer of flavor. Feel free to use water instead!
Your food processor matters Feel free to use a blender or a food processor to mix up this cheese sauce. Just make sure that it is a high-powered blender (we used a Vitamix) or food processor. It really does matter!
Looking to upgrade your blender? Check out our favorite Vitamix Blender. It’s our favorite high-speed blender perfect for making smoothies, soups, and nut butter.
Make this vegan cheese sauce your own Listen, we tested this recipe multiple times and we think it is absolutely delicious. However, feel free to make it your own. If you would like to add some other roasted vegetables to your pureed sweet potatoes, go for it.
If you want to add a little spice, do it! Just keep in mind every blender and potato are different, so you may have to add a little more or a little less liquid depending on your ingredients!
Serve it Hot or Cold!
Feel free to serve this vegan cheese sauce as is. Or, you can serve it hot too!
To serve hot: transfer the cheese sauce into a medium saucepan. Heat over medium/low heat until warm. You may need to add more broth if it thickens.
Mix with noodles: cook up around 6-oz. of your favorite noodle and toss it with this epic vegan cheese sauce. PS: try our vegan mac and cheese!
Serve with steamed broccoli: serve your steamed broccoli (or any steamed veggie) with this yummy cheese sauce.
Use as a dip for chips or nachos: keep it simple and dip your favorite tortilla chips into this cheese sauce.
Drizzle on a baked potato: are you a cheesy baked potato lover? Whip up one of our easy baked potatoes and serve it with vegan butter and this vegan cheese sauce to keep it plant-based.
Vegan Cheese Sauce
- 1 cup soaked raw cashews*
- 1 cup sweet potato puree pumpkin puree works too
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth** or water
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Begin by submerging 1 cup of raw cashews in water. Let soak overnight or for at least 12 hours.
- Once your cashews have softened, strain and rise and place into a high-speed blender.
- Then, add sweet potato puree, nutritional yeast, salt, vegetable broth, and apple cider vinegar.
- Blend on high until everything is pureed together and smooth. You may need to stop and scrape the sides. If your cheese is too thick, add a little bit more vegetable broth by the 1 tablespoon.
- If you’re looking to serve this hot, transfer it into a medium saucepan and heat over medium/low heat. Cook until hot. You may need to add more broth as it thickens.
- Enjoy over pasta, on broccoli, as a dip, on nachos, etc!
Tips & Notes
- *Option to flash boil your cashews. Place your cashews on the bottom of a bowl and then pour 2 cups of boiling water on top of them. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- **If your cheese sauce is too thick for you, add more vegetable broth by the tablespoon.
- This recipe yields 1.5 cups.
Hi. I was wondering if this freezes well. Any thoughts you have on that would be great.
Hey Trish! I actually haven’t tried freezing this myself, but I don’t see why you couldn’t!
I made this extra quickly using canned yams instead of home-pureed sweet potatoes. I just dumped them in the blender with all the other ingredients after the cashews and blended until smooth and creamy. I’ve never tried any other vegan cheese sauces but this is pretty dang good. Thank you!
Soooo smart with the caned yams!
Yum!! My family loved this sauce. I did use most of it for a vegan taco salad we had so I did add a little chili powder and cumin to go with the Taco salad. It was so good!! I will definitely be adding to our regularly used recipes. Thank you for always sharing such great recipes!
Glad you guys love this recipe!
Thank you! Easy and delicious. I’ll be making this often.
This is my favorite vegan cheese sauce I have ever made! It’s perfect as written and I use it as a dip or in casseroles. I once used a half almond/cashew blend and it still tasted great, but needed longer to blend in the food processor. Love. It. So. Much!
Yay! So glad you love this! And love the almond / cashew blend idea — we’ll have to try that! 🙂
So glad you love it!!
Hi there! This looks so delicious but unlucky for me I have a serious nut allergy. What can I sub for the cashews?? This is always a killer (literally for me 😂) in these plant based recipes! Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
Hi Kaleigh! Unfortunately, there is no nut-free alternative :(((((
I haven’t tried this, but I’ve seen many vegan cheese recipes that use sunflower seeds. Might be worth a try.
How long does this cheese last for if keep in the fridge in an airtight container?
Up to 5 days in the fridge!
This was delicious!! I’ve tried a lot of vegan cheese recipes and this is my favorite so far.
I used a regular potato instead of a sweet potato, added some extra salt and used a little bit of hot sauce instead of ACV.
(I can’t get it out of my head that ACV is for cleaning and catching fruit flies 😂)
I love this so much though thank you for sharing! 💛
YAY!!! So so sooooo yummy. Love the hot sauce addition.
What else can you use instead of the nutritional yeast? Anything?
I got 2 questions for you:
1- can I use sunflower seed instead of cashew?
2- can I use lemon juice instead of apple cider vinegar?
Thank you 🙂
Hi Durga! We’ve never tried this with sunflower seeds, but you can give it a shot! As for the lemon juice, it will alter the taste a little bit, but I don’t see why not! You can also use another vinegar, as well.
Addicted ! Have made this a good handful of times now and it’s the BEST !!
I’ve tried vegan cheese recipes before with not much luck but this one is pretty good! I made it for the quinoa broccoli cheese recipe. I mixed the leftover cheese sauce with some sriracha and makes a delish pretzel dip!
SO FREAKING GOOD, right?!
Great recipe, was surprised what good flavour it has and nice texture.
Don’t waste your time with this revipe.