Nacho Cheese - A Really Easy Vegan Recipe (2024)

5:2 Diet, Cheese, Frugal Fare, Recipes, Sauces, Dips, Spreads, and Condiments, Vegan Basics

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Fantastic with so many dishes, and made with just a handful of staple ingredients (and no nuts), my vegan nacho cheese is creamy and cheesy, with a little bit of a spicy kick!

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Nacho cheese

The trouble with all of the nacho cheese I've tried over the years is that that it's all been just a bit…. well, bland. When it comes to cheese, I prefer stronger flavours.

Perhaps in Tex-Mex land, nacho cheese is supposed to be mild and not-very-cheesy but to my way of thinking, if you’re going to make a cheese sauce, it really ought to taste of cheese. Or as close to cheese as it’s possible to make a plant-based recipe.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that as someone who grew up with incredibly flavoursome cheese, and who loved nothing better than extra mature Cheddar so strong it made my gums tingle, I am just not accustomed to mildly-flavoured cheese!

Vegan queso recipe

Anyway, for my own vegan nacho cheese (aka queso), I’ve really ramped up the flavour, and added a bit of spiciness too. Yes, it requires a lot of nooch (nutritional yeast) but I can tell you that it’s so worth it because this is frankly, amazing.

Of course, if you actually prefer a milder cheese, by all means use less nooch but for us (and everyone else who’s had it), my version is perfect. I am of course, massively biased… but try it, I bet you’ll agree with me!

As well as being incredibly simple to make from just a few basic ingredients (see below... and yes, potatoes and carrots!), this makes a fantastic dip for chips and crisps, on fries, on baked potatoes, on pasta and pizza, for quesadillas, enchiladas, and burritos. And of course, it’s an essential part of loaded nachos too. Plus, it works very well for lasagne instead of béchamel.

And there’s not a cashew in sight!

Oh, and Brit friends - this makes a really nice base for Welsh rarebit, too. Just sayin'. 🙂

Ingredients for vegan nacho cheese

Not only is this recipe quick and simple to make, it only needs a few basic ingredients, too.

  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • nooch
  • garlic
  • oil
  • lemon juice
  • mustard
  • miso paste
  • Tabasco
  • salt

How to make vegan nacho cheese

  1. Boil the potatoes and carrots (and fresh garlic if using) until soft, then drain and reserve the water they were cooked in.
  2. Blend the veggies and the rest of the ingredients until you have a thick, smooth and creamy sauce.
  3. Serve immediately or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Alternatively, freeze for up to three months.

Tips & notes

  • If you're using fresh garlic, add it to the pan with the potatoes and carrots.
  • I love to use wholegrain mustard but do feel free to use whatever you prefer.
  • Do check the ingredients list of your mustard - some contain honey. I use Waitrose's own brand wholegrain mustard, which is not only vegan but doesn't contain sulphites either (unlike several other brands).
  • Depending on the speed and power of your blender, you may have to stop and scrape the sides down. It should still only take a few minutes however, until the ingredients are fully-blended.
  • If you prefer a milder-tasting nacho cheese, add the nutritional yeast a few tablespoons at a time, and taste in between.
  • The same goes for the Tabasco – just add a few drops, blend, taste. Add more if desired.
  • Similarly, if you don't want a spicy kick, leave the Tabasco out.
  • If you don't want to use oil, omit it but add a bit more of the cooking water, or even some of your favourite plant-based milk. The oil does give a richer flavour and mouthfeel though.
  • You’ll find that this nacho cheese ‘sets’ a little in the ‘fridge but don’t worry – just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds, and it will be saucy again. Or gently warm it in a saucepan over a low heat.

You'll love this vegan Nacho Cheese

Because it's...

  • tangy and slightly spicy
  • creamy and melty
  • bursting with flavour
  • nut-free
  • nutritious
  • awesomely delicious!

We really, really love this, and I’m sure you will too. Enjoy!

📖 Recipe

Nacho Cheese - A Really Easy Vegan Recipe (6)

Best-Ever Vegan Nacho Cheese

My vegan nacho cheese is creamy and cheesy, with a little bit of a spicy kick. It’s fantastic as a dip for chips and crisps, fries, on baked potatoes, on pasta and pizza, for quesadillas, enchiladas, and burritos. And of course, it’s an essential part of loaded nachos too.

Print Pin Rate

Course: Sauces

Cuisine: Tex-Mex

Nut-Free: Yes

Soy-Free: No

Gluten-Free: No

Prep Time: 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes minutes

Makes (slide to adjust): 50 tablespoons

Calories: 28kcal

Author: Nico

Ingredients

  • 500 g potatoes , peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 175 g carrots , peeled and diced
  • 6 tablespoon cooking water (the water the veggies were cooked in)
  • 75 g nutritional yeast flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder , or 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste (or soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (or your favourite hot sauce)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Equipment

  • blender

Metric - US Customary

Instructions

  • Bring a medium-large pan of water to the boil.

  • In the meantime, prepare the carrots and potatoes, then add to the boiling water, and boil for around 15 mins until the vegetables are soft.

  • Once the veggies are cooked, remove them from the water, and put into a blender jar, along with the rest of the ingredients.

  • Blend for a couple of minutes, until you have a thick, creamy sauce.

  • Either serve immediately, or decant onto a sterilised screw-top jar. Once cooled, keep in the ‘fridge for up to two weeks. This also freezes well.

Nutrition Facts

Best-Ever Vegan Nacho Cheese

Amount Per Serving (1 tbsp)

Calories 28Calories from Fat 9

% Daily Value*

Fat 1g2%

Sodium 34mg1%

Carbohydrates 3g1%

Fiber 1g4%

Protein 1g2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Did you make this recipe?Do mention @yums0me and/or tag #yums0me - I'd love to see how yours turned out!

DisclaimerMeasurements in parenthesis are approximate; it is beyond the scope of yumsome to be able to provide pinpoint-accurate ingredient quantities for every type of measuring utensil. As a guideline however, I make the assumption that:

  • 1 cup = US cup = 240 ml
  • 1 tablespoon = US/UK = 15 ml
  • 1 fl oz = US = 30 ml
Further information may be found here

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  1. Skyler Noble

    Nacho Cheese - A Really Easy Vegan Recipe (11)
    I have been vegan for about a month and a half now. I have also had a hard time finding "cheese" sauces without cashews. This is perfect!! I am so excited to try it!

    Reply

    • Nico

      Congratulations, Skyler - what a fantastic journey you have ahead of you! Hope you love the nacho cheese - do let me know what you think of it! xx

      Reply

  2. Choclette

    Nacho Cheese - A Really Easy Vegan Recipe (12)
    I am so going to make this tonight. Sounds awesome and I have a bag of tortilla chips waiting at the ready. Really looking forward to it.

    Reply

    • Nico

      Excellent - really hope you enjoy it, Choclette! xx

      Reply

  3. Jassica

    Nacho Cheese - A Really Easy Vegan Recipe (13)
    Hey, Nico
    I've been a vegan for about nine years and am always looking for a new and tasty recipe, Which drew me first to your grillable burgers, Which mentioned the nacho cheese. Unfortunately, I can't have nuts - or fat. so I wondered if you might have an idea for a substitute for the raw cashews, which seems to be a major ingredient in the recipe.
    meanwhile, I plan to try your burger recipe
    Many thanks for any suggestions you might have for the nacho cheese.

    Reply

    • Nico

      Hi Jassica,

      My nacho cheese recipe doesn't have any nuts in it whatsoever (and never has) - the main ingredients are potatoes and carrots! You can leave out the oil if you want, and use a bit more of the water the veggies were cooked in. It won't be quite as velvety as it is when made with oil but it will still be wonderfully delicious! Enjoy! xx

      Reply

      • Jassica

        Nacho Cheese - A Really Easy Vegan Recipe (14)
        Hye, Nico
        Thank you very much for this reply, Nico!!

        Reply

        • Nico

          You're very welcome, Jassica! xx

          Reply

  4. Diane

    Nacho Cheese - A Really Easy Vegan Recipe (15)
    Yum, I made this tonight and it’s so additive. Love it. Looking forward to making a big batch of loaded nachos. :}

    Reply

    • Nico

      I'm so happy you enjoyed it, Diane - pretty good, isn't it?! xx

      Reply

  5. Vanessa

    Nacho Cheese - A Really Easy Vegan Recipe (16)
    This looks great! I want to make this for a big group (6-12) for nachos, can i double the recipe?

    Reply

    • Nico

      Absolutely Vanessa - I regularly make it much larger quantities for some of my clients' cafés. If you have any left over, you can freeze it too. Enjoy your get-together! xx

      Reply

  6. Laura

    I was wondering if you think this would work with cauliflower instead of the potato? Or

    Reply

    • Nico

      Probably not because the cheese sauce needs the starch from potatoes to give it its texture. If you use cauliflower, it'll be thinner and far less rich. If that's your thing, however, go for it - I just don't see it being very good!

      Curious to know why you'd want to use cauli, not potato though? Potatoes are actually very nutritious; higher than cauliflower in protein, fibre, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and A & B vitamins, plus lower in fat, sugar, and sodium. 100g of potatoes has far higher satiety than cauliflower (which is 92% water, compared to 79% for potatoes), so it keeps you feeling full for longer.

      I love cauliflower... but as cauliflower, not as a pale substitute for already nutritious and delicious foods! xx

      Reply

  7. Byrd Bergeron

    I can't find white miso and only have red miso. Would this be an adequate substitute or should I go with the soy sauce/brown sugar mixture you've mentioned previously?

    Reply

  8. Andrea

    Is there an alternative to the olive oil for the wfpb diet? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Nico

      TBH I have very little idea about what you can and can't have on a wholefood plant-based diet - beyond the obvious, of course! It's not something I subscribe to, as it's not something that would suit my lifestyle or outlook. Plus, I like olive oil, and see no good reason for me not to use it. The one I use is just olives pressed to release their oil - nothing added, no artificial processes or anything.

      Where does nutritional yeast, Tabasco, garlic powder, and wholegrain mustard fit into WFPB? The mustard especially, since it's not a wholefood. Is nooch considered a whole food, even though it's processed? Ditto, Tabasco? Although for the Tabasco and garlic, you could just use fresh chilli and garlic!

      Using oil in this recipe gives the sauce a velvety mouthfeel, adds flavour, and helps to increase satiety. However, if you don't want to use it, you could add more of the cooking water (same amount as you would of oil). It won't have quite the same texture as when it's made with oil but I'm guessing that you've probably not made this recipe before, so you won't know the difference anyway! 😉

      Enjoy! xx

      Reply

  9. Antonella Preuss

    Hi! I was wondering if it would be okay to use powdered nutritional yeast, or is it the same as the flaked one? I'm new to it and I really want some cheddar for my nachos! If it's not the same kind, what's the measurement for the powdered one? xo from Argentina!

    Reply

    • Nico

      Hi Antonella! I haven't come across powdered nutritional yeast before but this one from Frontier is what I use. They call it 'mini flakes' but it can be more like a powder, so if you have actual powdered nooch, just use the quantity in the recipe! Hope you love this on your nachos! xx

      Reply

  10. Cat

    Nacho Cheese - A Really Easy Vegan Recipe (17)
    I made this and added extra lemon juice, salt, and nutritional yeast.. and mixed in some medium SALSA. The most delicious vegan con queso now. I'm in love!

    Reply

    • Nico

      Wow, that sounds really epic, Cat - I must try it with salsa too, it sounds wonderful. Thank you for the idea (and I am so happy you like the recipe)! xx

      Reply

      • Cat

        I should also mention I brought this to a work potluck and it got so many compliments! So many people said they wouldn't have known it wasn't real cheese if it wasn't labeled as Vegan. SO HAPPY.

        Reply

        • Nico

          That's brilliant, Cat - I am so happy your colleagues not only enjoyed it but couldn't tell it apart from dairy! Vegan win! xx

          Reply

  11. Renee

    Nacho Cheese - A Really Easy Vegan Recipe (18)
    Hi, this recipe looks amazing, and I am excited to try it, but my husband is allergic to soy. Is there anything I can sub in for the miso?

    Reply

    • Nico

      Hi Renee! You could use 1-2 tbsp (depending on preference) of liquid aminos instead. It's sometimes called coconut aminos, and you can easily buy it online and in some health/whole food stores. Because miso has a bit of a sweet edge, I'd add about a quarter of a teaspoon of sugar too. Let me know how you get on, and if there's anything else I can help with. And enjoy the nacho cheese! xx

      Reply

  12. Michaela

    How important is the white miso in this? Want this fairly soon and not sure I have time to order it on amazon! Thanks 🙂

    Reply

    • Nico

      It's pretty important, TBH, Michaela - the kind of thing you'd notice if it weren't there. However, if you have any doenjang (Korean fermented soya bean paste), it would work. Failing that, try a tablespoon or two of light soy sauce, and a pinch of brown sugar. xx

      Reply

  13. Brittney

    Nacho Cheese - A Really Easy Vegan Recipe (19)
    This looks so good! Can’t wait to try it. One question however, what kind of potatoes do you recommend? I wasn’t sure if something starchy would be beneficial or not.

    Reply

    • Nico

      Hi Brittney! Floury potatoes work the best, in my experience, something like Maris Piper or King Edward are my go-to varieties. If you use waxy ones, the nacho cheese tends to be a bit gluey! xx

      Reply

  14. Lisa

    Nacho Cheese - A Really Easy Vegan Recipe (20)
    This truly is one of the best vegan cheese sauce recipes ever! Thank you for posting. Just as a note, I did add 1 tsp. of paprika. Also, I didn't have any tabasco on hand, so I used a 1/4 tsp. of ground cayenne. Still turned out fantastic!

    Reply

    • Nico

      That sounds absolutely lovely, Lisa - thanks for the tip! So glad you liked it! xx

      Reply

  15. Maggie

    I've been dairy free for a year and a half and I miss miss miss cheese, but you're so right, dairy-free cheese is horrendous. Super excited to try this recipe! Wanted to know if it was at all possible to freeze it? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Nico

      Ha ha ha, glad I'm not the only one who isn't worshipping at the altar of store-bought vegan cheese, Maggie! TBH, I've never tried to freeze it but someone I know did say they were going to try, so I'll ask them whether they did, and if so, how they got on with it. I'm tempted to say that there should be no problem with freezing it but I don't want to say that, only for you to discover that it didn't work, and that you've wasted a batch of otherwise delicious nacho cheese. Next time I make it, I'll put some in the freezer, and see how it turns out, then add a note to the recipe. xx

      EDIT: It absolutely does freeze well!

      Reply

  16. Mary DiSangro

    Any idea if this freezes well?

    Reply

    • Nico

      I've never tried freezing it, Mary, so I can't advise you! If you try, it would be great if you'd come back and let me know! xx

      EDIT: I've now frozen this nacho cheese many times, and I am happy to confirm that it freezes very well!

      Reply

  17. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

    Haven't had nachos in a long time! But I always enjoyed them!

    Reply

    • Nico

      I have to admit that they're my go-to lazy food! xx

      Reply

  18. Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

    Ohhh my, this looks dangerous. But at least it's made from vegetables, so I can put it on absolutely everything, right? 😀

    Reply

    • Nico

      Ha ha ha, of course... and it must count as at least one, if not two, of your five a day! 😉 xx

      Reply

  19. Wanderlust Vegans

    Nacho Cheese - A Really Easy Vegan Recipe (21)
    Oh my, does this nacho cheese ever look delicious!! I wish I had this last weekend when we threw our going away party! It would have been perfect. Saving this for future reference. We can use it at our next going away party.

    Reply

    • Nico

      You might need to make it before then though... y'know, to practise! Heheh! Have you left Brum now? Are you back in Canada? xx

      Reply

  20. pretty

    Nacho Cheese - A Really Easy Vegan Recipe (22)
    I only like strong, flavoursome cheeses too. I have never tried vegan cheese before but I am sold with this recipe.

    Reply

    • Nico

      I don't know what store-bought vegan cheeses are like outside Europe, Pretty but here, they're just not very good. Not very cheesy at all, so in my view, just not worth bothering with. Fortunately, it's so easy to make vegan cheese at home. I hope you love my nacho cheese when you make it! xx

      Reply

  21. Mari

    Nacho Cheese - A Really Easy Vegan Recipe (23)
    I don't know what would I put in my nachos but I know my husband said, "I want this" 🙂 so our next nachos will be by your recipe! Thank you, Nico, I'm so happy to have found this blog!

    Reply

    • Nico

      Your husband sounds like a very wise man, Mari! Do let me know what you think of the nacho cheese when you make it.

      Looking forward to more recipes on your site soon - so glad to have found you too! xx

      Reply

  22. Johanne

    Nacho Cheese - A Really Easy Vegan Recipe (24)
    You are tunring into the carrot whisperer! I love the transformation from basic pantry staples to ooey gooey cheesy yumminess.
    That you for this seductive sauce!
    Oh yes and thank you so much for the Tailwind gift. That was so kind and thoughtful of you!
    -Hanne

    Reply

    • Nico

      Ha ha ha, carrot whisperer - I love it! As much as I love the magic that happens when we take a seemingly ordinary ingredient, and turn it into something truly amazing (like this cheese)!

      Hope the Tailwind thing is useful - someone sent me one to get me started, so I thought it only fair to pay it forward. I wish I'd known about stuff like that when I started yumsome, so I'm always happy to help make my friends' lives easier if I can! xx

      Reply

Nacho Cheese - A Really Easy Vegan Recipe (2024)

FAQs

What is vegan nacho cheese made of? ›

Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce is made with soaked, raw cashews, blended with water, nutritional yeast and spices; and warmed on the stove until it reaches nacho cheese perfection! Optional but good: Add Sriracha to taste or keep it mild for kids with sensitive palates.

What do vegans substitute for cheese? ›

SAY CHEESE- 10 VEGAN SUBSTITUTES TO SATISFY YOUR CHEESE CRAVINGS”
  • Cashew Cream Cheese: Creamy Dream Come True. ...
  • Nutritional Yeast: The Cheesy Secret. ...
  • Tofu Ricotta: ...
  • Tahini – ...
  • Roasted salted almonds – ...
  • Hummus – ...
  • Peanut Butter or Sunflower Butter. ...
  • Avocado –
Oct 20, 2023

How do you make nacho cheese that doesn't get hard? ›

Keep Your Nacho Cheese Warm and Creamy

It is best to keep your nacho cheese dip warm in a small crockpot or slow cooker, or on low heat on the stove. Stir it regularly, as it can begin to clump and harden if even heat is not applied. Stir in a bit of milk if it starts to lose its creaminess.

How is Taco Bell's nacho cheese vegan? ›

In this case, “vegan” means no animal products are in the fries or the cheese sauce—the Vegan Nacho Sauce is soy and chickpea-based—but Taco Bell did mention in its announcement that because there's a shared kitchen, the company can't guarantee a lack of cross-contact.

What is the main ingredient in vegan cheese? ›

Vegan cheese is usually made from soy, nuts, vegetable oils, and various other natural ingredients like peas or arrowroot. Vegan cheese is seen as a healthier alternative to cheese by some, and may reduce your risk of heart disease due to its lower content of fat.

What cheese is vegan but real? ›

Real Vegan Cheese (RVC) is a grassroots, non-profit research project working to produce real cheese using cellular agriculture. We add the genes for cheese proteins to yeast and other microflora, and turn them into little protein factories, then make real cheese by adding plant-based fats and sugars.

What is a really good vegan cheese? ›

Farm-to-table brand Parmela Creamery, which uses cashews and traditional cheesemaking methods to make its plant-based cheeses, offers several types of vegan cheddar, including Sharp Cheddar Slices, Mild Cheddar Slices, Sharp Cheddar Shreds, and Mild Cheddar Shreds.

Does any vegan cheese taste like cheese? ›

It's important to understand that vegan cheese, being made with different ingredients, typically does not taste exactly like traditional dairy cheese. However, it does replicate some of the flavors and textures that you might remember from dairy cheese and tastes great in its own right.

What is the best melty cheese for nachos? ›

Sharp cheddar gets my vote for nacho cheese. It melts smoothly without being stringy, while having a nice flavorful punch. You can use mild or medium cheddar if you prefer, but the flavor will be a bit blander. Monterey jack and pepper jack also melt really well into sauces and make a great white nacho cheese sauce.

What is the best melting cheese for nachos? ›

A: While you can technically use any type of cheese for nachos, some cheeses work better than others. The best options include Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, and Queso Blanco.

How do you keep cheese dip creamy? ›

For dips, you'll want to use a tablespoon of cornstarch per pound of cheese, then add at least five ounces of evaporated milk. After that, you can use more evaporated milk to thin out your dip as much as you need.

Are Doritos vegan nacho cheese? ›

These are arguably the most popular Doritos flavor, but are Nacho Cheese Doritos vegan? Unfortunately, the Nacho Cheese Doritos are not vegan. This product contains several dairy ingredients, including cheddar cheese, whey, buttermilk powder, Romano cheese, lactose, milk protein concentrate, milk powder, and skim milk.

Did Taco Bell get rid of the vegan nacho cheese? ›

Sadly, Taco Bell removed their limited-time, delicious Vegan Nacho Cheese from the menu Thursday October 19th, 2023. I am lactose-intolerant and a vegan, and like many others, I struggle to find satisfying vegan options at most fast food restaurants.

Does Taco Bell still have vegan nacho sauce? ›

“We're thrilled to reintroduce Nacho Fries, now with a larger-than-life flair, and our beloved Vegan Nacho Sauce,” Liz Matthews, Global Chief Food Innovation Officer at Taco Bell, shares her excitement “This sauce, born from the success of our Vegan Crunchwrap, represents Taco Bell's commitment to providing delicious, ...

What is the difference between vegan cheese and dairy cheese? ›

Dairy cheese is made my separating the different kinds of milk proteins and adding enzymes and bacteria to curdle the casein protein. Vegan cheese is made in a similar way, but involves separating plant proteins.

Is vegan cheese the same as non-dairy cheese? ›

Vegan cheese is a non-dairy alternative to cheese, usually made from plant-based proteins and fats. Most vegan cheeses you'll find on the market or on vegan recipe blogs are typically made from some combination of: Soy. Tree nuts and seeds (cashew in particular is a big time ingredient in vegan cheese)

Does fake nacho cheese have dairy? ›

Many artificial cheese flavor products are specifically labeled as dairy-free or vegan, indicating that they do not contain any dairy ingredients. So, the next time you enjoy a cheesy snack or sauce, remember the intricate science and careful formulation that goes into creating artificial cheese flavor.

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