This Easiest Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce is the ultimate quick and easy way to get your cheese fix in a hurry. It’s about the easiest vegan cheese sauce you can imagine that really tastes like cheese.
This sauce is SO versatile, it will quickly become your go-to vegan cheese recipe. Because let’s face it—vegan or not—when we’re jonesing for cheese, we gotta have it!
I’ve been in the kitchen trying to perfect the tastiest, easiest vegan cheese sauce for months. (I know, poor me.) I’ve tried a bunch of recipes (I’m still working on a version without cashews), but couldn’t find one I truly loved enough to share with you. Until now.
Most of the versions I tried were easy but a bit bland and one-dimensional, or took more time and effort than a truly simple recipe should.
And the most convincing recipe I stumbled on—based on the mac & cheese from my local co-op’s deli—calls for ⅓ cup of vegan butter! (Some things you can’t unlearn.?)
Not only is this the easiest vegan cheese sauce recipe, it checks all the boxes! It takes just 5 minutes once your cashews are soaked—and even that’s optional if you have a high speed blender. (See recipe notes for a little trick to speed things up.)
And it’s addictively delicious without being heavy or unhealthy. Oh yeah, did I mention this cheese sauce recipe is actually healthy!
This plant-based cheese sauce is perfect for pasta, veggies and baked potatoes. Add some salsa, and you’ve got queso sauce for tacos, enchiladas and nachos. Make a thicker version to fill your quesadillas or grilled cheese sandwiches. The possibilities are endless!
The next time you think of cheating on your vegan vows because you miss cheese so damn much, RUN into the kitchen and whip up the tastiest, easiest vegan cheese sauce ever! Drink it right out of the blender if you have to; just stay vegan. 🙂
Easiest Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce
- 2 cups raw cashew pieces, soaked for 20 minutes in hot water (see notes to skip this step)
- ¾ cup to 1 ¼ cup prepared low sodium vegetable broth (or use water - see notes)
- ¼ cup lemon juice (about 1 ½ lemons. Or sub 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast or more, to taste
- ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ teaspoons onion powder
- sea salt, to taste
- Optional: ½ teaspoon turmeric, for color (the photo in this recipe is without turmeric)
- Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and process on high speed until thoroughly blended, about 20-30 seconds. Taste and adjust seasoning/nutritional yeast as desired.
- You can skip soaking the cashews if you have a high speed blender. Place the cashew pieces and hot liquid together in the blender first, while you gather and add your other ingredients. Process on high, and the sauce will be smooth and creamy.
- I recommend vegetable bouillon for the extra flavor and saltiness it adds, but water will work. You may want to increase the salt by ½ teaspoon or so.
- Depending on what you're going to do with your cheese sauce, you may want a thinner or thicker consistency. (For example, you may want a thinner sauce for pasta and a thicker sauce for nacho dip.) I recommend starting with about 1 cup of liquid and adding more until you reach the desired consistency.
- Makes about 3 cups of sauce.
Not sure what I did wrong, but it came out gritty (even though I soaked the cashews for over 20min in boiling water), SUPER salty and very watery. It was pretty inedible (even had the husband try it too) and I had to throw it away. Maybe one day I'll try it again with some adjustments, but it won't be anytime soon.
Future recipe tryers, soak the cashews overnight, be gentle with the salt, and be gentle with the liquid.
Hi Meg, sorry to hear this. I'm curious about the blender you used? I've made this many, many times in a high speed blender, and as long as you blend thoroughly, it should come out creamy every time. Also, with low sodium broth, it shouldn't be salty. (I made a couple of updates to the recipe to help with the salt content. )
This was delicious. I really am thankful for simple. So many of the recipes for vegan cheese sauces are not quick or easy.
I've made a LOT of non dairy cheese. This was the easiest and it's very good. Thanks!
Thanks SO much, Mel. Love hearing that!
This cheese sauce is delicious! I went heavy on the seasonings and love,love, love it. Thank you for sharing it.
Thanks so much, Sage! very glad you like this sauce.