Dairy Free Cashew Cheese Sauce

This Dairy Free Cashew Cheese Sauce is delicious.  Two weeks ago we took the kids to the zoo.  Afterward, we decided to try out a vegan restaurant here in Dallas called The Spiral Diner.  The food was so good!

My husband got a vegan nacho plate and the cheese sauce was made from cashews.  He liked it so much he decided to try to create his own cashew cheese sauce and after a few tries it worked out pretty good.

This dairy free cashew cheese sauce is really quite a good replica. We never would have thought to make a cashew cheese sauce.

dairy free cashew cheese sauce

A lot of vegan cheeses are soy based, but we wanted to do something different since a lot of people are avoiding soy these days.  The cashews gave it a nice creamy feel.

This would not only be a good sauce to eat with nachos, but it makes a great base for a dairy free mac and cheese.

With so many kids having dairy allergies these days, it’s nice to have a soy free cheese option.  To give this a cheesy flavor, we used nutritional yeast.  Nutritional yeast is a great source of protein, fiber and vitamin B12.


Here is a quick little video of my husband and daughter making this. For more videos, you can subscribe to my You Tube Channel.


Dairy Free Cashew Cheese Sauce

Dairy Free Cheese Sauce

Prep Time 10 min Serves 2 cups     adjust servings


  • 2 cups raw cashews (soaked overnight and drained)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • salt to taste


  1. Soak the cashews in water overnight.
  2. The next day, drain and rinse them.
  3. Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.


Recipe Notes

You can store it in the fridge in an airtight container. Should keep for a few weeks. You may even be able to freeze it.

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94 thoughts to “Dairy Free Cashew Cheese Sauce”

  1. Hi, My 8 year old daughter was just diagnosed with a dairy allergy. She loves her cheese sauce but she also has a nut allergy. Is there anything I could use instead of the cashews?
  2. I've seen recipes calling for soaking the cashews, and others saying there is no need. My understanding is that the only reason to soak them is to get some of the toxins out. Is this why you soak them in this recipe, or is there some other reason (texture perhaps?) that you call for soaking them? I'm making tostadas tonight, totally excited to try the "cheese" sauce on them! :)
    1. Sorry, should have finished reading the other comments first! Just so everyone knows, when I DO soak my cashews, I soak them in extremely hot water for an hour, and they end up just as soft as soaking overnight. I don't know how/if that would affect the release of toxins, though. :(
      1. Okay, so I made this the other night with UNsoaked cashews (I have an awesome BlendTec though), and I used soy milk instead of water. Turned out absolutely incredible! It was fantastic on the tostadas, and I used the leftovers as a dip for chips and veggies. Absolutely delish!
  3. Delicious flavor! Mine was pretty thick, and I added quite a bit of extra water. Still doesn't seem too "saucy". Will try adding some more to the blender next time. Could the thickness be a reason in difficulty heating up? I've tried both the microwave and a saucepan and it seems to almost conjeal before it's even really warm. Have you had this issue? How do you recommend heating?
    1. I gently heat mine on 50% power. It really thickens up once stored in the fridge. You can always add a little more water.
  4. Absolutely loving this cheese sauce and your website! It's so nice to have a go-to site for healthier living. I prepared this cheese sauce as part of a fun vegan appetizer dinner tonight....we're having vegan potato skins with broccoli and tempeh bacon as well as crunchy buffalo cauliflower and vegan ranch dip. I think this cheese sauce will go perfectly! !
  5. Melissa, How do you store your nutritional yeast? I buy mine as well from the bulk bins at my local co -op and they just have the little clear plastic containers with covers out to fill (Like the containers you'd see at a super market deli for potato salad and such) I just store mine in my pantry, but since I'm not too familiar with it, I don't know how long it will keep. Perhaps you could answer those 2 questions for me. Also when you soak the cashews, do you soak in cold or warm water and place them in the fridge or leave them out on the counter???? Thanks :)
  6. One thing I add to homemade dairy free cheese sauce is a little (VERY little) tumeric. It's full of health benefits and adds a nice yellow color. :)
  7. This sauce is amazing. Thank you. I keep it in the fridge and when I heat it I only use about half a cup then I add coconut milk. I have used it with so many things. Even my husband loves it and he is tricky to please.
  8. We soak cashews all the time. If I forget to do it, I soak them in warm water with a few pinches of salt. It accelerates the process. If the water cools, replace it with more warm water and always rinse your cashews well after soaking. Takes about two hours, instead of overnight.
  9. Has anyone tried freezing it? My husband and son go through a lot of cheese sauce, and I don't want to have to make it every week if it freezes well.
  10. Tried this tonight, was a little worried at first as it wasn't tasting like I thought it should. I started with just 1/2c cashews in case I had to throw it out ;) Anyway I added a little more yeast a little at a time, got my husband to test it and he thought it was great!! :) Will definetly be making more of this. Thank you!!!
  11. Love all your healthy recipes ! My roommate just became vegan and I introduced her to your site and she is just as in love as I am! We made your cauliflower cheese sauce for the zucchini noodles and it turned out really good so I was just wondering what the difference between the two cheese sauces is? Cashews are more expensive so if I can sub the cauliflower sauce in the recipes you have the cashew sauce, that would be better for me! I wasn't sure if there was a big difference between the two
    1. Thank you!! The cauliflower sauce is a little more watery, but you may be able to use it in place of the cashew sauce if you add some kind of thickening agent. Like arrowroot? Just a guess
  12. Is there anything I could use instead of cashews? My son is allergic to them. He is ok with other nuts. Any help is appreciated!! It looks so good!

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