Vegan Cheese

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.

Vegan cheese

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!

Potatoes, sweet potatoes, cashews, and nutritional yeast

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!

Vegan cheese sauce

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!

Best vegan cheese recipe

More Plant-Based Basics

If you love this vegan cheese recipe, try one of these plant-based basics next:

Then, check out this post for more of my favorite vegan recipes!

Best vegan cheese

Vegan Cheese

rate this recipe:
4.97 from 58 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Serves 4
The BEST vegan cheese recipe! It has a delicious oozy texture and cheesy flavor. I love to toss it with pasta, drizzle it over nachos, or serve it as a dip. Gluten-free.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Note: if you're using a high powdered blender, like a Vitamix, there's no need to soak the cashews. If you're using a less powerful blender, you can soak them for 2 hours. Drain before adding to the recipe.

102 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Robyn
    08.02.2021

    5 stars
    I’ve made this a couple of times using butternut squash because I didn’t have sweet potato on hand. It was okay to good-ish. I finally had sweet potato, and now I get why everyone raves about this … SO GOOD!

  2. Kerstin
    07.28.2021

    5 stars
    Just made this today, very good. Love it

  3. Laurie
    07.15.2021

    5 stars
    Just made a double batch…love it

  4. Shelly
    07.04.2021

    5 stars
    This is legit, TASTY!!! I appreciate the recipe!

  5. Bill
    06.20.2021

    Will these work with a Nutra-Bullet?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.20.2021

      Hi Bill, I think so, but I haven’t tried. I’m not sure if it’ll get quite as creamy as it does in the Vitamix.

  6. Rae
    06.15.2021

    Can you use this cheese sauce for Mac n cheese?

  7. Camille
    06.14.2021

    I have a blender but it is not a high speed blender will that work

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.14.2021

      Depending how powerful it might… you might just have to blend it a little longer to get creamy.

  8. Camille
    06.13.2021

    I do not have a high powered blender,would this recipe work in a food processor

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.13.2021

      I’m sorry, it won’t – it’ll be gritty instead of smooth.

  9. Mrs. C
    06.10.2021

    Excited to make this, but don’t have a blender. Will this work with a food processor or will texture be off?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.10.2021

      Hi, the texture will be gritty and not smooth, so a blender is really required for this one.

  10. Layne
    05.15.2021

    How long with this hold up in the fridge?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.16.2021

      up to about 5 days.

  11. Flannery
    05.05.2021

    Do you have a suggestion if I’m avoiding nightshades? White sweet potato comes to mind but maybe the taste will be too sweet?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.06.2021

      You can use white sweet potatoes or replace the yukon gold potato with just more regular sweet potatoes. It won’t be as stretchy but it’s still delish.

  12. Leslie
    05.02.2021

    5 stars
    I LOVE mac n’ cheese. I made this last night – it was so easy, and it was better than the stuff in the blue box. Thank you for making my first foray into vegan cheese a HUGE success! This recipe is so yummy and tastes like real cheese!

  13. Ron
    04.25.2021

    Hi Jeanine, I’m going low-glycemic so I have to avoid potatoes. Is it possible to make this recipe with all sweet potatoes?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.25.2021

      Hi Ron, yep you can!

    • Wanda
      07.02.2021

      How about using riced cauliflower totally keto or paleo

  14. Christine
    04.25.2021

    4 stars
    I liked it! Maybe next time I’ll skip adding an extra garlic clove to the vegan cheese. It was too garlicky for my taste. Also the olive oil over powered the other flavors. Maybe more water and less olive oil. Overall healthy alternative to my favorite dish.

  15. Karel Riley
    04.19.2021

    5 stars
    This sauce is just delicious. It has so much flavor. I cooked some edamame pasta and mixed in the vegan cheese sauce. So easy and so good. I have frozen it and when reheated, the sauce is as good as when I first made it. Make up a big batch and freeze some for later.

  16. Megan Hosch
    03.30.2021

    Can this be stored? Frozen? Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.30.2021

      Hi Megan, it keeps in the fridge for about 4 days. It’ll thicken, if that bothers you just stir in a little water to loosen it up. It doesn’t freeze well, the texture becomes more gritty.

      • Megan Hosch
        03.30.2021

        Thanks so much. I’m new to the vegan world and would love if you mention whether your great recipes can be stored or frozen in large batches.

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          03.30.2021

          Thank you for the feedback – we’ll try to include that info more often! Always feel free to ask if we haven’t listed it.

      • Karel Riley
        04.19.2021

        5 stars
        I have successfully frozen it. The texture looked a little different when I thawed it, but after reheating, it got the original taste and texture back. It was just as good as when I first made it. At least that was my experience.

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          04.20.2021

          Oh I’m excited to hear that it worked out for you!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.