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Cheesy and creamy vegan nacho cheese sauce made without cashews. It's a little spicy, full of flavor, and perfect with tortilla chips or in tacos.
Believe it or not, cooked potatoes and carrots give this vegan cheese it's creamy and smooth texture - and bright color! Blended with nutritional yeast and spices, you get a super flavorful cheese that is perfect with so many dishes or as a dip.
If you're newly vegan and desperately miss cheese (I hear you, cheese was tough for me to give up) this will definitely satisfy that craving.
Plus, it's nut-free, oil-free, gluten-free, and pretty dang nutritious since it's made from vegetables.
For full list of ingredients and amounts, see the recipe card below.
- Potatoes and carrots: These are the base for this cheese sauce! Potatoes create the smooth and creamy texture and carrots add to the flavor and color.
- Nutritional yeast: AKA "nooch", this helps give it a cheesy flavor.
- Lime juice and tomato paste: both of these add an acidic, tangy oomph and flavor.
- Cornstarch: A thickener! You can also use arrowroot powder.
- Chili powder, garlic, onion, paprika, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper: Spices are really the key to get that nacho cheese flavor!
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How to Make Vegan Nacho Cheese
For the full, printable recipe for this easy vegan nacho cheese sauce see the recipe card below.
Step 1: Add potatoes and carrots to a pot of water. Bring to a boil, and let boil for 10 minutes, or until potatoes and carrots are soft.
Step 2: Strain the potatoes and carrots. Add to a blender along with the remaining ingredients.
Step 3: Blend until super creamy and smooth. Add more vegetable stock or milk if you want a thinner sauce.
Step 4: Pour the nacho cheese into a pot and heat on medium-low heat until it starts to bubble. This will activate the cornstarch and help thicken the nacho cheese.
Variations and Substitutions
- You can add some pickled jalapeños to this vegan nacho cheese for extra heat!
- Add fire roasted tomatoes or Rotel.
- Don't have lime juice? Substitute with lemon juice.
- The cornstarch can be substituted with arrowroot powder.
Fell in love with this cheese sauce and now you want to use it with all the things? Here are some ideas:
- in quesadillas or tacos
- with pretzel bites
- to make a spicy mac & cheese
- on a veggie burger
- to dip roasted veggies or bread in (like a fondue!)
- in wraps or sandwiches
- in a homemade crunchwrap
- on chili cheese vegan hot dogs
- mixed into rice
- with enchiladas
- on top of lentil chili
Did you enjoy this recipe? Please leave a comment and a ⭐ star review below!
Try vegan queso blanco next!
Vegan Nacho Cheese
- 1¼ cup potatoes peeled and cubed
- ⅔ cup carrots peeled and cubed
- 1¼ cup plant based milk plain, unsweetened
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional, for extra spice
- Add potatoes and carrots to a pot of water. Bring to a boil, and let boil for 10 minutes, or until potatoes and carrots are soft. Strain and add to a blender.
- Add all remaining ingredients to the blender and blend until super creamy and smooth.
- Pour the nacho cheese into a pot and heat on medium-low heat until it starts to bubble. This will activate the cornstarch and help thicken the nacho cheese.
- Serve warm with your favorite chips!