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Spice up your game-day snacking with this delicious Vegan Nacho Cheese. It's creamy, tangy, and down-right addictive! It calls for simple ingredients and takes less than 20 minutes to make. It's gluten-free and oil-free too!
I'm not a huge sports fan, but I LOVE game-day parties! It's the perfect atmosphere to pig out and have some laughs with friends over a few cold beers. It also helps the die-hard fans feel a little calmer too.
This year I'm totally spicing things up with my Potato Air Fryer Tacos, Loaded Vegan Nachos, Vegan Jalapeño Popper Dip, and this Vegan Nacho Cheese. I think Blood Orange Margaritas might have to happen too.
What Does Vegan Nacho Cheese Taste Like?
Well, It tastes cheesy and a tad bit spicy... just like the one made with dairy. It has a great balance of tangy, savory and sharp flavors that'll make your taste happy! The texture ie velvety-smooth and ultra-creamy.
How to make Vegan Nacho Cheese
(full ingredient amounts in recipe card below)
It's so easy! Here's what you'll need to do:
- Soften the cashews by either soaking them in hot water for 20 minutes or in cool water for 2-4 hours. They will breakdown easier and create an ultra-creamy texture.
- Now pop everything into a high-speed blender and blitz until smooth.
- Pour the cheese into a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook until it thickens up.
Serving ideas: Top with fresh-cut cilantro, diced tomatoes, and serve warm alongside crispy tortilla chips, lime wedges, and sliced jalapeños.
Ways to use Vegan Nacho Cheese:
Use it for a Vegan Burrito, Loaded Nachos (recipe coming soon), Carrot Hot Dogs, Veggies, Sandwiches, Baked Potatoes, Chili Mac, Vegan Burger, Casseroles, Soups and more. The options are endless!
Also, it will stay good in the fridge for 3-5 days. Just reheat on the stove, and add a few splashes of vegetable broth. It does freeze well too, but I never get that far. This stuff is too good for keeping... it's for eating!
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU
If you make this Vegan Nacho Cheese, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs so I don’t miss it.
Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ¾ cup unsweetened soy milk (or any plant-based milk)
- ½ cup vegetable broth , low sodium
- 3 tablespoons pimientos
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 ½ tablespoons tapioca flour/starch
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- ½ teaspoon granulated onion
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt , more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper * optional
- To soften cashews, boil water in a small pot and remove from heat. Add cashews and cover for 15-20 minutes (*see note for an alternative method).
- Drain cashews and discard soaking water. Add all ingredients to a High-Speed Blender. Blend on high until smooth (the sauce will be thin).
- Pour cheese into a medium pot over medium heat. Cook until the cheese thickens up. It should take about 4-6 minutes. Stir often so it doesn’t stick or burn. Taste for seasoning and add more if needed. For a thinner consistency, add a few splashes of broth and combine. Remove from heat and serve.
- If you don't have a high-speed blender, the cashews might not completely break down and this could result in a gritty texture. You can try soaking the cashews longer for 6 hours or more.
- Add a subtle zing with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
- Add more heat with 1 tablespoon of jarred jalapeños.
- For smoky heat, add 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.
- For a little more depth add a ½ teaspoon of chili powder
- For a thicker consistency, add ½ tablespoon more of the tapioca starch or a tablespoon more nutritional yeast.
- For a thinner sauce, add a few splashes of vegetable broth and combine.
Claude Lynn Leger
Thank you for this great recipe! It’s delicious!! I use it in all sorts of things too. Haven’t made it in awhile, and just saw the nachos post on ig. Now I’m off making it for Mac and cheese!
Support @ Vegan Huggs
We're so happy to hear that you've found different ways of using the Nacho Cheese and that you love the recipe! Thank you for sharing! 🙂
What can I use instead of cashew nuts? I have allergy for it. Also no yeast 🙁
Can you have macadamia nuts? They work great and the method is the same. Blanched almonds work too, but you'll have to soak them much longer. I soak them in room temp water for 6-8 hours. You can omit the nutritional yeast and add 1 teaspoon of white miso paste. You may want to reduce the salt in the recipe because miso is salty. I hope this helps.
So much flavour! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, Linda! I'm so glad you liked it! 🙂
This is amazing - will use this on all my Mexican dishes. The sauce is guilt free, have poured it over fat-free chips for a late afternoon snack. Thank you, love all your wonderful recipes!!!
Hi Mary, you're most welcome! I'm so happy you liked it! Thank you for giving it a try 🙂
Delicious! I didn't have pimentos but I added some sweet and spicy roasted peppers instead. It was just what we were looking for to compliment draft day treats.
Thank you so much! I'm so glad the roasted peppers worked out well. I'll have to remember that. Have a great weekend! 🙂
Best nacho cheese I've ever tried.
You're so kind! Thank you for making it! 🙂
Wow! This looks amazing. Being the only vegan in my office makes things like parties a bit difficult to navigate. I’m going to give this a try and bring it to the office Super Bowl carry in and not tell anyone it doesn’t have any real cheese. Thanks for the recipe!
Hi Ashley, Yeah, it can be hard when you're the only vegan in a group setting. I think it's great that you're bringing a vegan dish for them to try. I bet they'll love it! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Hi, Can I use corn starch instead of tapioca for the thickening?
Hi Diane, yes, you can use corn starch. It won't have that slight stretch, but will thicken up perfectly! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
I am making this for my family's lunch today. I am so excited to try it. It looks amazing.
Hi Randy, this is so nice to hear! Thank you so much! Enjoy 🙂
This cheese sauce is gorgeous! It would make a spectacular plate of nachos!!!
Thank you, Sarah! It's great for loaded nachos. We might make them tonight. I've been craving them.
I am loving this! Anything cheesy and I'm in. It looks so thick and creamy. I am loving your baking tray too. Ive been wanting one like that for my photos for ages!
Thank you, Mel! I found the tray at a second hand store. I love it! 🙂
Amy Katz from Veggies Save The Day
This looks so delicious, Melissa! I know this nacho cheese will be a hit in my house!
Mary Ellen @ VNutrition
This looks soooo good Melissa! I used to be the same way - anything on the menu with cheese I ordered and then felt gross afterwards. I'm so happy to find vegan alternatives like this!
Thank you, Mary Ellen. Vegan alternatives are way tastier and so much healthier 🙂