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5-Minute Vegan Cheese Sauce

Easy vegan cheese sauce made in 5 minutes with 8 simple ingredients. Made without nuts. Gluten-free and soy-free.

A chip being dipped into a bowl of cheese sauce that's vegan.

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A good vegan cheese sauce will change your world! The best part is that this recipe requires no blending! It is also soy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free. The base is coconut milk, but you can substitute with another kind of creamy dairy-free milk (see the section on variations below.)

The only equipment you need is a whisk and a pot.

This vegan cheese sauce is super versatile. Here are some ways to use it:

🧂 Ingredients

You are only 8 ingredients away from the most epic cheese sauce. No nuts needed! See the section on variations below if you have substitution questions, and the recipe card for the measurements.

Ingredients laid out on a table: canned coconut milk, salt, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, paprika, and cornstarch.
  • Coconut milk: Full-fat canned, unsweetened coconut milk.
  • Cornstarch: Thickens the sauce.
  • Lemon juice: Adds brightness and a zing! to the cheese sauce.
  • Nutritional yeast: Otherwise known as “nooch” – a great cheesy substitute for vegans.
  • Garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt: Flavorful seasoning. No blandness here.

🧀 How to Make Vegan Cheese Sauce

This dairy-free cheese sauce is super quick and simple to make! You can find the full printable recipe in the recipe card below.

Vegan cheese sauce in a saucepan with a whisk.

Step 1: Whisk all of the ingredients together in a saucepan.

Vegan cheese sauce made with coconut milk and nutritional yeast in a pot with a wooden spoon.

Step 2: On medium heat, bring the cheese sauce to a simmer for 5 minutes. (Reduce to low if the sauce is splattering.)

🥣 Storage

  • Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
  • I do not recommend freezing the cheese sauce. Cornstarch does not freeze well.

🥛 Variations & Substitutions

  • Coconut milk substitutions: You can substitute the coconut milk with 1.5 cups of another type of milk. I recommend using extra creamy oat milk for the best consistency. Other kinds of milk will work, but you may need to add more cornstarch. To do this after the sauce is warm, make a cornstarch slurry (dry cornstarch will clump in warm liquid.) Mix 2 tablespoons of water with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Add a little at a time until the sauce is the thickness you desire.
  • Cornstarch substitutions: Arrowroot powder is the next best substitution for cornstarch. Tapioca starch will also work in a pinch.
  • Different flavors: Add taco seasoning for a nacho-style sauce, or find inspiration from this carrot and potato vegan nacho cheese. Use smoked paprika instead of regular paprika for a smokey flavor. Add hot sauce for some heat.
Diary-free cheese being poured over a bowl of pasta.

Try this homemade vegan feta cheese next!

Did you enjoy this recipe? Please leave a comment and a ⭐ star review below!

Cheese sauce in a pot

Vegan Cheese Sauce

Karissa Besaw
The best vegan cheese sauce made in 5 minutes with just 8 ingredients. This easy sauce is great as a dip and as a pasta sauce.
4.86 from 106 votes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Appetizer, Seasoning
Cuisine Vegan
Servings 8
Calories 116 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • In a medium-sized pot, whisk all ingredients together.
  • On medium heat, bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.

Notes

  • Use full fat, unsweetened coconut milk.
  • You can substitute the coconut milk with 1.5 cups of another creamy non-dairy milk. I recommend oat milk because it tends to be the creamiest (Planet Oat’s Extra Creamy Oatmilk is my favorite!) See the variations section in the blog post about thickening the sauce if using a different kind of milk.
  • Because the sauce is so thick and creamy, it may splatter when simmering. Reduce the heat to low or cover with a lid.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 116kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 3gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 9gSodium: 79mgPotassium: 192mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 35IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 9mgIron: 2mg
Did you try this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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24 Comments

  1. I kept reminding myself that I’m not making cheese, I’m making a nutritional yeast dip, because I didn’t want to be disappointed. To my surprise, I was shocked with the cheese flavor (almost like cheetos). I used it for BBQ pulled pork nachos and I’m very grateful for this quick, easy and tasty recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    I love love love this vegan cheese sauce! I just add a little of Daiya cheese to thicken, like someone had mentioned. Turned out delicious ! Thanks for the wonderful recipes that you’ve shared.

  3. the nutrition information does not state the serving size or the # of servings. can you provide this information?

  4. 4 stars
    Delicious!
    I used some hemp milk I got on clearance and finely chopped up some pickled jalapeños for spice. Also added a bit more salt and some pepper. Loved it 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    Finally! I have now found a cheese sauce we really like…thanks to you! Followed the recipe like you said. At the end I sprinkled just a tiny bit of timeric for a little coloring.

  6. 1 star
    Not sure what I did wrong…. Followed the recipe exact and it was gross! And brown…. Maybe it was the brand of Nooch??

  7. 5 stars
    Love how easy and quick!! Will definitely be using this lots:)
    I added a tsp of ACV, 1/2 tsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp mustard powder, and a pinch of nutmeg to really bring it home. So goood!!

  8. I made this for my 3 year old who has lots of food allergies. I added some daiya cheddar and mozzarella blend. It was a bit thick so I added some oat milk to thin it out added a bit more paprika. I’m not a vegan it was tasty. Making nachos

  9. 5 stars
    Simple, flavorful and I had all the ingredients on hand! Based upon a few of the comments, I used almost the complete can of coconut milk but put about a 1/4 of a cup aside. Turned out perfect!

  10. I’ve made it twice following the recipe exactly both times, and it came out super watery both times. If you dip, it drips. Any suggestions?

  11. Much easier than the cheese sauce recipes that use potato or cashews. I used oat milk and a little more cornstarch to make it thicker. Will make this one again.

  12. 3 stars
    This was pretty good! I made this for lunch (quick mac and cheese), the only subs oat milk instead of coconut and tapioca instead of arrowroot. I also left out the paprika because I don’t enjoy that in my mac and cheese. Texture was SUPERB. My sister even said it looked like real cheese! The only reason two stars are knocked off is because the flavor could use a little work. It was pretty bland, needed a lot more salt, and left a bitter aftertaste. I eventually stopped eating it because it got really bad. I may make it again (texture!) but maybe tweak the flavors a little bit.

    1. Hey, Theresa! Tapioca starch definitely gives this cheese sauce a different texture. I prefer the texture with cornstarch or arrowroot powder. Definitely try one of those next time!

  13. 5 stars
    I agree with Buff’s comment! Definitely good for a quick and easy “cheese” sauce! This was the perfect recipe for me as I always have these items on hand. Nooch, oatmilk, easy….YUM!!!! TFS!

    1. 3 stars
      I found it bland for my taste, but it was a good start. With the addition if some dry mustard powder, spicy deli mustard, nutmeg and Tajin seasoning, it does almost taste like actual cheese sauce!

  14. 4 stars
    Very good for a quick sauce. It is heavy on the nutritional yeast flavor so may not be for those who aren’t a fan. I used soymilk/oatmilk combo instead of coconut milk, and added about 1/2 t of tapioca starch in addition to the arrowroot powder and it came out nice and thick.

  15. I only had the lite coconut milk on hand. It still turned out perfectly! I added a little turmeric for color. Thank you for this recipe. We loved it.

    1. 5 stars
      Thank you for this!! I was looking for a cheezy sauce that didn’t involve getting groceries and this defied all expectations. Truly amazing thank you.

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