Easy Vegan Cheese Sauce (Nut-Free)

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Make this creamy vegan cheese recipe in 10 minutes. Pair it with pasta or use it as a dip for tortilla chips, veggies, or soft pretzels. It can be made gluten-free, too!

Creamy vegan cheese sauce dripping from a spoon into a glass bowl
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

If you’re looking for an easy vegan cheese sauce recipe, you’ve come to the right place. This dairy-free and nut-free cheese sauce takes about 10 minutes to make and requires basic plant-based ingredients.

This cheese sauce owes its velvety texture to a simple roux, aka a mixture of vegan butter and flour. A roux is often used for thickening soups and sauces, but it works just as well in this cheese. You can also use gluten-free flour, if needed.

Once you’ve made this general-purpose vegan cheese sauce, the possibilities are endless. Toss it with pasta for a cheesy entrée, use it as a base sauce for mac & cheese, or drizzle it on Vegan Tacos. Craving a satisfying snack? Use it as a dip for tortilla chips or vegetables. Enjoy!

Key Ingredients

  • Vegan butter. You will need vegan butter to make a roux, or thickener.
  • All-purpose flour. When mixed together, flour and butter create a roux. You can use regular or gluten-free all-purpose flour.
  • Nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast offers a cheesy and umami flavor.
  • Plant-based milk. Be sure to use plain unsweetened milk. We used oat milk for this vegan cheese.
ingredients for making vegan cheese sauce based on a roux and nutritional yeast
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

How to Make Vegan Cheese Sauce

Once you’ve created this non-dairy cheese, be sure to taste and adjust the ingredients. For example, you may need to add more salt depending on the sodium content of your broth. This will also depend on how you plan to use the cheese. Here’s how to make it:

1. In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until combined and thick.

making a roux in a skillet
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

2. Add the remaining ingredients. Whisk well.

adding ingredients to a skillet for vegan cheese sauce
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

3. Simmer for 7 to 9 minutes or until thick, whisking frequently. Taste and add more spices if necessary. If it’s too thin, slowly add milk or broth, one tablespoon at a time. Keep in mind that the sauce will thicken as it cools.

thickened vegan cheese sauce in a skillet
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

4. Serve your homemade vegan cheese sauce with pasta, tortilla chips, or vegetables.

Vegan cheese sauce being served in a glass bowl
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Recipe Tips, Variations, and Substitutions

  • Add more liquid to adjust the thickness. Remember, the cheese sauce will thicken as it cools. But if it turns out too thick, slowly add more milk or broth, one tablespoon at a time.
  • Use canned coconut milk. For an extra-rich version, use canned coconut milk. Be sure to use the solid white portion.
  • Add apple cider vinegar. If the cheese sauce is not tangy enough for your liking, add a splash of apple cider vinegar.
  • Add ground turmeric for color. If you want to intensify the yellow-orange color of this cheese, add a dash or two of ground turmeric.
  • Use salt and pepper to taste. If you’re using a low-sodium broth, you may need to use more salt and/or pepper.
  • Reheat with a splash of milk. Once cooled at room temperature or in the refrigerator, the cheese sauce will become very thick. You can rehydrate and thin the cheese by adding a splash of milk (or vegetable broth) when reheating it.
  • Take note of your ideal ratios. Since this cheese can be used in many ways, your preferred ingredient ratios might vary depending on the dish you’re making. Keep track of each version so you can easily recreate it later on.
Vegan cheese sauce being spooned out of a glass bowl
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Can I store leftovers?

Yes. Store leftover Vegan Cheese Sauce in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Use within 3 days for best results. When reheating it, add a splash of broth or milk to make it smooth again.

Can I freeze Vegan Cheese?

This cheese sauce is best enjoyed fresh. However, you can freeze it, though it might alter the texture. Be sure to use a sealed container and eat it within 2 to 3 months. Thaw the cheese sauce in the refrigerator and reheat, adding broth or milk to rehydrate.

Serving Suggestions

Creamy vegan cheese sauce pouring over pasta

Easy Vegan Cheese Sauce Recipe (Nut-Free)

Make this creamy vegan cheese sauce recipe in 10 minutes. Pair it with pasta or use it as a dip for tortilla chips, veggies, or soft pretzels. It can be made gluten-free, too!
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Course: Condiments & Sauces
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan
Keyword: dairy-free cheese, non-dairy cheese, vegan cheese, vegan cheese sauce
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 130kcal
Author: Kirsten Nunez, MS

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour gluten-free, if needed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk unsweetened non-dairy milk, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until combined and thick.
  • Add the remaining ingredients. Whisk well.
  • Simmer for 7 to 9 minutes or until thick, whisking frequently. Taste and add more spices if necessary.
  • Enjoy warm.

Notes

  • If the sauce is too thin, slowly add milk or broth, one tablespoon at a time. Keep in mind that the sauce will thicken as it cools.
  • For an extra-rich version, use canned coconut milk. Be sure to use the solid white portion.
  • If the cheese is not tangy enough for your liking, add a splash of apple cider vinegar.
  • To intensify the yellow-orange color of your cheese, add a dash of ground turmeric.
  • Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
  • When reheating the cheese, add a splash of milk or broth to rehydrate it.
  • The exact number of servings depends on how you plan to use this cheese.

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Nutrition

Calories: 130kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 546mg | Potassium: 177mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 754IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CleanGreenSimple or tag #CleanGreenSimple!
Kirsten Nunez

About the Author

Kirsten Nunez is a journalist who focuses on healthy food and cooking. Her vegan and plant-based recipes have appeared on VegNews, eHow, Shape, and more. When she’s not creating vegan recipes for Clean Green Simple, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen and sharing plant-based meals with friends and family. More articles by Kirsten.

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