This oozy, gooey vegan cheese sauce is just as good as the real thing! Versatile and easy to make, it's delicious on pasta, nachos, and more.
You don’t have to be vegan to fall for this vegan cheese recipe! It’s creamy, tangy, and rich, with a crave-worthy oozy texture just like that of dairy-based cheese sauce. Even Jack – the biggest real cheese lover I know – adores this recipe. Last time I made it, we stood at the counter, scooping it up with tortilla chips. We only got halfway through the first batch before we decided to make a second. Yep, it’s that good!
Serve this vegan cheese as a dip with tortilla chips or fresh veggies, toss it with pasta to make vegan mac and cheese, top it onto a baked potato, or drizzle it over chips to make a vegan nacho platter. Once you have it on hand, you’ll find endless ways to use it, and you won’t be able to get enough!
Vegan Cheese Recipe Ingredients
This dairy-free cheese is not only delicious – it’s good for you, too! Unlike processed vegan cheese that you might find at grocery stores, it’s made of a short list of whole foods ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Yukon gold potatoes and cashews – They’re the key ingredients for giving vegan cheese recipes oozy, creamy texture.
- Sweet potatoes – You couldn’t make a cheddar-style cheese sauce without an orange ingredient! Sweet potato gives this recipe its vibrant color, and it adds a light sweetness that’s delicious with the rich, tangy flavors here.
- Nutritional yeast – It gives this dairy-free cheese the nutty, savory flavor of the real thing!
- Garlic and onion powder – They add delicious depth of flavor.
- Apple cider vinegar – It gives this vegan cheese a bright, tangy finish. Yum!
To make this cashew cheese recipe, start by boiling the potatoes. When they’re tender, transfer them to a high-speed blender. Add the nutritional yeast, garlic, onion powder, cashews, and vinegar, along with water, extra-virgin olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Blend until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy, adding more liquid as needed. Then, enjoy!
Best Vegan Cheese Variations
Though I love this recipe as written, I also like to change it up from time to time. Here are a few of my favorite variations:
- Change the veggies. If you don’t have sweet potato on hand, swap in carrots or butternut squash.
- Make it smoky. Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, to taste. I love to serve this variation as a loaded queso dip with guac, pico de gallo, and black beans!
- Spice it up. For extra heat, blend a tablespoon of pickled jalapeños or a chipotle pepper from a can of chipotles in adobo into the cheese.
Let me know what variations you try!
More Plant-Based Basics
If you love this vegan cheese recipe, try one of these plant-based basics next:
- Cashew Sour Cream
- Sriracha Baked Tofu
- Coconut Whipped Cream
- Vegan Bacon
- Homemade Oat Milk
- Marinated Tempeh
Then, check out this post for more of my favorite vegan recipes!
- ¾ cup peeled and diced Yukon gold potato
- ¾ cup peeled and diced sweet potato
- 2 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup water
To make your cheese spicy or smoky, try adding:
- ½ to 1 chipotle pepper from canned chipotles in adobo
- 1 tablespoon pickled jalapeños
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water by about 1 inch. Add a few pinches of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until fork-tender, 8 to 12 minutes.
- Drain and transfer to a high-speed blender with the garlic, cashews, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, olive oil, and water. Blend until smooth.
- For spicy vegan cheese, add the chipotle pepper or pickled jalapeños. If you’d like a smoky flavor, add the smoked paprika.
- Serve with tortilla chips for dipping or over pasta to make vegan mac & cheese.
Great recipe! I highly recommend 1-1.5 tbsp capers for a little extra salty/briny flavor.
I love capers, thanks for the idea!
Absolutely perfect vegan cheddar sauce.
I’m so glad you loved it!
Yummy! Just tried it first time. Non-dairy Cheez Whiz! Without all the bad stuff. Congratulations on a great recipe. I think I may try to double it next time. I inserted generous amounts of your spices, used regular paprika, plus I added dried coarse ground garlic. Needless to say, I’m checking out your other recipes.
I’m so glad you loved the vegan cheese!
I am planning to make this in advance. What’s the best way to reheat it? Do I need to worry about it sticking or separating?
Hi Carina, the sauce might thicken a bit in the fridge, so you can reheat it gently on the stove, adding water as needed, or in the microwave, adding water as needed and stirring well every minute or so.
I was very impressed by this recipe! Store bought processed vegan cheese always taste so artificial. This however tasted very natural and super delicious. The only modification I made was a small amount of salt on top and a small amount of chopped green onion to add some color and combo with the potato base. I will definitely make this again.
Hi, I’m so glad you loved it!
I have a nut allergy. So could I use sunflower or hemp seeds?
Yep, that would work! I might start with 2 tablespoons instead of 1/4 cup and add more as needed to reach your desired consistency. Sunflower seeds and hemp seeds pack more tightly into a measuring cup than cashews do, so there’s a good chance you’ll need less.
Can you use roasted cashews instead of raw?
Hi Lori, no the raw cashews become creamy without any cashew flavor – roasted cashews would bring a strong cashew flavor to the sauce that will take away from the cheesy sort of flavor.
Finally!!! I found my cheese sauce. Thank you so much. This is delicious.