Smooth, creamy, vegan "cheesy" deliciousness is what this recipe for Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce is all about! It has the perfect pourable texture with just a hint of spice that takes a simple cashew cheese to the next level using one of my favorite secret ingredients.
I have no doubt that you've had some sort of vegan nacho cheese, also known as queso, during your time as a plant based eater. I mean who doesn't love vegan cheesy goodness! There are a lot of different recipes out there and some pretty darn good ones. But you've not had mine!
So I'm here to share my quick and easy recipe for a cashew based vegan nacho cheese sauce! This version combines a few different plant based cheese making concepts to produce a delicious outcome.
The recipe basically takes a very basic cashew cheese to the next level. For one, I create a smooth and creamy texture by adding in some yukon gold potato. I then bump up the flavor by using a combination of spices. And finally I add in some chipotle pepper, which is one of my favorite secret ingredients. The results are amazing!
You can use this vegan cheese on nachos, tacos, enchiladas, burgers, and more! Not to mention, you can adjust the level of spice to your own liking.
You only need 10 easy to find ingredients to make this recipe! All of them can be found at your local market.
The chipotle puree does take a little bit of prep. But this ingredient is the secret to this recipe and makes it taste so good! Yet, if you don't have time to make the chipotle puree don't worry. You can use whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce right out of the can.
- Yukon Gold Potatoes- You must use yukon gold potatoes. It is the texture of this type of potato that gives the cheese its amazing consistency.
- Raw Cashews- You want raw unsalted cashews for this plant based cheese.
- Nutritional Yeast- You can find nutritional yeast in almost any health food store. The nutty cheesy flavor of this ingredient helps to develop the cheese taste.
- Chipotle Puree- For this recipe, you'll need a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and to follow these instructions on how to make chipotle puree. But if you don't have time to make the puree just use canned whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Yet, be aware that the seeds will increase the level of spice. So be cautious in how many you add.
- Lemon Juice- Fresh lemon juice creates the best flavor and helps to add a touch of tang to the nacho cheese.
- Chili Powder- Any blend will do and you can add more if you like.
- Garlic Powder- I found fresh garlic to be too much in this recipe, so I just add a dash of garlic powder.
- Smoked Paprika- You want smoked paprika, not standard paprika. It will add an extra layer of flavor that works in harmony with the chipotle pepper.
- Turmeric- This is used for a touch of color.
- Salt- I used sea salt.
How To Make Vegan Nacho Cheese
This recipe is super simple to make. You just need about 20 minutes and a food processor or blender.
And if you forgot to soak your cashews the night before you don't need to worry. There is a shortcut. All you have to do is cover the cashews with boiling water and allow them to sit for 20 minutes to soften up. Then they are ready to go.
Now, once your cashews are ready to go, you will boil the yukon gold potatoes in salted water until they are nice and soft. Then drain and set aside. But you will want to reserve the potato cooking water for a later step.
Next, you will put all the ingredients into your blender or food processor except the salt along with a quarter cup of the potato cooking water. Now, blend until creamy adding more potato cooking water as needed until the mixture is velvety smooth. Finally, after the cheese is fully pureed you will taste the nacho cheese and season with salt as needed. At this point, you can also add more chipotle or cayenne pepper if you would like for more spice.
And that's it! Vegan nacho cheese otherwise known as queso ready to top your nachos, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and more!
How To Store
Vegan nacho cheese will keep in the fridge for up to a week and in the freezer for up to 3 months when stored in an airtight container. In fact, I often make a double batch and then put half in the freezer for later use. All you have to do is allow the cheese to defrost at room temperature and in a few hours you've got nacho cheese already made and ready to go!
This recipe for Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce is amazing because it's...
- Vegan "cheesy" good
- Perfectly spiced
- Smooth and creamy
- Easy to make
If you try this recipe please let me know how it turns out by leaving a comment and rating. You can also hashtag #danceswithknives with a photo of your creation on Instagram where you can find me @dances_with_knives.
More Vegan Dip Recipes
- The Best How To Make Guacamole Recipe
- Vegan Ranch Dressing
- Creamy "Cheddar" Cashew Cheese Dip
- Restaurant Style Salsa
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Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce
- 2 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
- ¾ to 1 cup of reserved potato cooking water (add a little at a time)
- 1 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoon chipotle puree or 1 whole chipotle pepper canned in adobo sauce (how to make chipotle puree)
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- Salt to taste (about 1 to 2 teaspoon of sea salt)
- Soak the cashews in water overnight. If you forgot to do this step or you are in a hurry, you can cover the cashews with boiling water and then allow them to sit for about 20 minutes to soften up. I recommend soaking them overnight. Either way when you are ready to make the recipe, drain the cashews and set aside.
- Boil the peeled and cubed yukon gold potatoes in salted water until good and done. About 10 minutes. Then drain, but DO NOT discard the cooking water.
- Place the cooked potatoes along with ¼ cup of the reserved potato cooking water into your blender or food processor. Now, add all the other ingredients except the salt and blend until the mixture is nice and creamy. Add more of the reserved potato water ¼ cup at a time as needed. I used 1 cup of the reserved potato water in total. A blender will produce a creamy texture faster. You have to let the food processor run longer to achieve the same texture. It should be velvety smooth when you have finished blending.
- Once you reach the desired consistency, season the nacho cheese to taste with salt. How much salt you add is dependent on how salty your potato water and chili powder are. If it tastes bland keep adding salt. Start with ½ teaspoon and go from there. I typically add between 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons. It sounds like a lot, but remember you are using unsalted cashews and potatoes have little to no real flavor without salt. Also, keep in mind all cheese has a lot of salt added to it to bring out the flavor. Your goal is to season your nacho cheese well without it tasting salty. You can also add more chipotle puree or a dash of cayenne if you want it to have more spice.
- Eat with chips, on enchiladas, as a taco topper, with veggie burgers, or even just straight out of the blender!
- The nacho cheese will store in the fridge for up to a week and in the freezer for up to 3 months in an airtight container.