This vegan nacho cheese sauce recipe takes about 10 minutes to make. It’s also nut-free, so it’s perfect if you have a nut allergy.
Instead of cashews, this cheese sauce owes its creamy consistency to vegan butter and all-purpose flour. Together, these ingredients create a roux, which is used to thicken sauces and soups. You can also use gluten-free flour, if needed.
This dairy-free nacho cheese sauce is similar to our all-purpose Vegan Cheese recipe. However, it calls for extra spices, making it zesty and darker in color.
Serve this cheese sauce with tortilla chips, vegetables, crackers, or Vegan Tacos. Enjoy!
- Vegan butter. You’ll need plant-based butter to make a roux, which will thicken the vegan nacho cheese sauce.
- All-purpose flour. You can use gluten-free flour, if needed.
- Non-dairy milk. Use unsweetened plain milk. We used hemp milk.
- Nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast, or nooch, offers a cheesy flavor.
- Chili powder. Chili powder, along with paprika and cumin, give this cheese sauce a spicy kick.
How to Make Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce
This vegan nacho cheese sauce takes about 10 minutes to make. If you prefer a spicier cheese, feel free to add more spices or a dash of hot sauce. Here’s how to make it:
1. In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until combined and thick.
2. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
3. Simmer for 7 to 9 minutes or until thick, whisking frequently. Taste and add more spices if necessary. To thin the sauce, add milk or broth, one tablespoon at a time. Keep in mind that the sauce will thicken as it cools.
Recipe Tips, Variations, and Substitutions
- Add more spices. For a spicier nacho cheese sauce, add more chili powder or paprika. You can also add extra ground black pepper.
- Mix in hot sauce. Add your favorite hot sauce for more heat.
- Add turmeric for color. To intensify the yellow color of this sauce, add a sprinkle of turmeric.
- Add apple cider vinegar. For a tangier cheese, add a splash of apple cider vinegar.
- 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. Your preferred ingredient ratios might vary depending on how you plan to use this nacho cheese sauce. Keep track of each version so you can easily recreate it later on.
Can I store leftovers?
Yes, you can store the leftover cheese sauce in the refrigerator in a sealed container. Enjoy within 3 days for best results. When reheating the cheese, mix in a splash of broth or milk to make it smooth again.
Can I freeze it?
This cheese sauce is best enjoyed freshly made. 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.
Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce (No Nuts)
- 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
- 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
- In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until combined and thick.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
- Simmer for 7 to 9 minutes or until thick, whisking frequently. Taste and add more spices if necessary. To thin the vegan nacho cheese sauce, add milk or broth, one tablespoon at a time. Keep in that the sauce will thicken as it cools.
- If the cheese is too thick, or if you’re reheating it, add a splash of reserved pasta water. You can also use vegetable broth or non-dairy milk.
- 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.
- When reheating the cheese sauce, rehydrate the cheese with broth or liquid.
- Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
- The exact number of servings depends on how you plan to use this nacho cheese sauce.
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.