Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce

February 14, 2013

After a week of particularly bad eating (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween… the usual suspects), I like to get back on track with a vegan week.  Being vegan isn’t so bad: until you remember cheese.  This definitely isn’t a vegan week– in fact, my grocery bill was probably 50% cheese this week (Hello, pound of gouda!), but this “cheese” sauce is so amazing and easier to make than a real cheese sauce.  It’s my go to recipe to put on tacos, spread on sandwiches, or pour over Mexican stuffed peppers (recipe tomorrow ;-)).

vegan cheese sauce recipe

The sauce’s not-so-secret ingredient is nutritional yeast.  If you’ve never tried it, don’t be scared off by the name.  It is NOT the same as baker’s yeast.  I’ve read some pretty funny reviews of other recipes online from someone using the wrong kind of yeast (“nasty spackle” comes to mind!).  I find mine in the bulk section of a local health store.

vegan cheese sauce recipe

Nutritional yeast isn’t exactly like cheese– it has a little more of an earthy, mushroomy taste.  The sauce is very delicious, but if you try it thinking you’ll have nacho cheese, you’ll be pretty turned off.  I made that mistake the first few times I used nutritional yeast, and it took me a couple of tries before I really appreciated the taste.

Easy Vegan Cheese Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4

  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour (or gluten free flour)
  • ⅓ c nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tsp taco seasoning
  • dash paprika
  • dash turmeric (for color)
  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk (or other milk)
  • ¼ – ½ tsp liquid smoke
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Toast the whole wheat flour in a small, dry saucepan for a few minutes– I like to take the time with this step as it develops a deeper flavor.
  2. Whisk the nutritional yeast and seasonings into the four and add the milk.
  3. Bring to boil and reduce heat slightly. Stir occasionally until desired thickness.
  4. Add liquid smoke, salt, and pepper

Nutrition Information
Calories: 60 Fat: 2g Carbohydrates: 7g Fiber: 3g Protein: 5g

 Update: Looking for some more ways to use this cheese sauce? Try a quesadilla, enchilada, stuffed pepper, chili meatball sub, or TVP tacos.  You can tell I make this sauce a LOT!

Tagged with:

    Tim Jan 19, 2016

    great recipe! I smeared my on some ribs

    Mleach Sep 11, 2014

    I am looking for a quick easy cheese sauce with ingredients i have in my kitchen. This looks super easy but I don’t have liquid smoke. Will it affect the flavor a lot or will it be okay without it?

      Kelly Sep 11, 2014

      Apologies for the delay! It will be fine. If you have smoked paprika I would sub that in. I make it without all the time. It’s moderately less cheesy but still great.

    Stephanie R Aug 06, 2014

    This was so delicious! I can’t wait to make it again. I’m cutting out dairy and this will make it so much easier. I thinned it a little more based on the meal I was making but it was seriously amazing. So happy to keep Mexican food on the menu!

      Kelly Aug 07, 2014

      I’m so glad you liked it — comments like this are my favorite! I make this cheese sauce at least once a week. I’m hooked on it!

    Vegan Cheesy Potatoes | Hidden Fruits and Veggies Jul 14, 2014

    […] when possible (I eat enough soy as it is in everything else!).  I almost went with my typical vegan cheese sauce, but this recipe demanded something a little more decadent.  Cashews help add a luscious quality […]

    Chili Meat Ball Subs (Vegan) - Hidden Fruits and Veggies Jun 22, 2013

    […] so all you have left is to make the cheese sauce and slap it in a bun.  I started with my vegan nacho cheese sauce in mind but took a few turns and made something different.  There is normally some amount of […]

    Ten Minute TVP Tacos - Hidden Fruits and Veggies Jun 10, 2013

    […] minutes!  They’re pretty minimally topped in the pictures, but I love to load mine up with vegan cheese sauce, taco sauce, sour cream, and a super ton of lettuce.  I’m curious if anyone else has ever […]

    Brandi May 03, 2013

    How long does it stay for?

      Kelly May 04, 2013

      in the fridge it keeps for at least 5 days. You may need to add a little more liquid when you reheat it to keep it smooth

    Court Star @ StarSystemz Feb 14, 2013

    This sounds great! I usually use Daiya cheese but no its processed so I have been on the lookout for an alternative! This sounds great! Thank you for sharing. Love + Shine CourtStar

      Kelly Feb 14, 2013

      Let me know how you like it!

    rebacox Feb 14, 2013

    I bought nutritional yeast a month ago and LOVE it. I still eat real cheese but nutritional yeast saves me the tummy the trouble. This would be good poured over veggies!

      Kelly Feb 14, 2013

      I’m about in the same boat as you. I eat cheese and other dairy, but I feel so much better when I don’t.

    Alex @ Cookie Dough Katzen Feb 14, 2013

    Love your blog! I’m a huge queso fan and so I definitely have to try this recipe. It looks delish!

      Kelly Feb 14, 2013

      Thanks! 😀

    Ashley Bee Feb 14, 2013

    Thank you! The last recipe I found used a nut butter and it came out just tasting like nut butter. Delicious, but not good for nachos!

      Kelly Feb 14, 2013

      Ha! This will definitely taste more cheesey than nut butter 😉