All-Purpose Vegan Cheese Sauce

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on November 8, 2017

all purpose cheese sauce 00059 1

4.9 from 19 reviews

All-Purpose Vegan Cheese Sauce

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free


Here it is: my favorite vegan “cheese” sauce that not only tastes amazing, but can also be used in a wide variety of dishes! Who knew that just a few simple ingredients could create such a silky, decadent, and pourable sauce? No, the recipe isn’t quite a dead ringer for traditional cheese sauce, but we think it’s delicious in its own right. This pairs perfectly with my Chili Cheese Nachos or Mac and Peas recipes from Oh She Glows Every Day, but is just as good heated up and used as a nacho dip for salsa, guacamole, or refried beans. It’s also fantastic drizzled over roasted or steamed broccoli or cauliflower. A big thanks to Ruth Tal’s Super Fresh cookbook for inspiring this versatile and wallet-friendly recipe.

1 cup (250 mL)
Soak time
overnight or 30 minutes
Prep time
Cook time


  • 1/4 cup (35 g) raw cashews, soaked*
  • 1 1/4 cups (190 g) peeled and diced yellow or red potatoes**
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) peeled and diced carrots**
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons (8 to 11 g) nutritional yeast, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) grapeseed oil or refined coconut oil***
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (37.5 mL) water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 medium (4 g) garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar, to taste
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste (optional)


  1. Soak the cashews in a bowl of water overnight. Drain and rinse. (For a quick-soak method, bring a small pot of water to a boil and turn off the heat. Add the cashews to the hot water and soak for 30 to 60 minutes. Drain and rinse.)
  2. Add potatoes and carrots to a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes until fork tender. Drain. Alternatively, you can steam the veggies until cooked through.
  3. Add all ingredients except hot sauce to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. (See my tip for a food processor option.) If the mixture is too thick, a splash of water or oil can help it along. Sample the sauce and adjust seasonings as desired. Add Sriracha (or other hot sauce) as preferred, if you’d like to give the cheese a spicy kick! The sauce will keep for up to one week refrigerated in an airtight container.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size 1/4 cup (60 mL) | Calories 160 calories | Total Fat 11 grams
Saturated Fat 1.5 grams | Sodium 280 milligrams | Total Carbohydrates 14 grams
Fiber 2 grams | Sugar 2 grams | Protein 4 grams

Recipe makes 1 cup (250 mL).
* Nutrition data is approximate and is for informational purposes only.


* If your blender has a hard time blending cashews smooth, you may omit them (or try using a tablespoon of raw cashew butter instead!).


** To cut down on cooking time, be sure the potatoes and carrots are diced finely.


*** If you don’t have either of these oils on hand, a light-tasting olive oil should do the trick. Be sure not to use virgin coconut oil as it can impart a coconut flavour in the sauce (unless you’re down with that of course!). Refined coconut oil has no flavour.


If you don’t have a high-speed blender, a heavy-duty food processor will work in a pinch. Note that you may have to process the mixture for several minutes, and keep in mind that if you use cashews they won’t fully break down like they do in a Vitamix, resulting in a slightly more textured sauce.


Make it nut-free: simply omit the cashews. The sauce won’t be quite as rich, but still tastes great. You can also add an extra tablespoon of nutritional yeast if omitting the cashews.

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram @ohsheglows, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Google+

Previous Posts

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Page 2 of 2«12
Lori May 21, 2018 at 2:16 pm

I’ve not tried making a cheese sauce before, so I’d like to get your thoughts on using safflower oil in place of the grapeseed or refined coconut oil, as I don’t have either of those and know that safflower oil is very mild flavored. Do you think that would be an acceptable substitute for your recipe?


Lori June 16, 2018 at 11:55 am

FYI-Safflower oil worked fine. I also didn’t have white wine vinegar so i used rice vinegar & this still turned out great!


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 18, 2018 at 7:53 am

Thanks for following up…that’s great news :)


Kat June 27, 2018 at 3:32 am
Recipe Rating:

Great recipe. I’ve made this ‘blend veggies and cashews and you won’t believe how cheesy it is!’ type of recipe before and have been severely unimpressed. That said – this one is great. I subbed the garlic for garlic powder (1/4 tsp) and oil for sunflower oil – super tasty & tangy! I made it for the Cheesy Lentil Bolognese Casserole – yum!


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 27, 2018 at 8:52 am

I’m so glad it passed the taste test! I hope you love the casserole…it’s one of my fave dishes. So comforting!


Katie August 6, 2018 at 9:59 am

I am allergic to potatoes. Is there a good substitute for potatoes in this recipe? Maybe cauliflower or turnips??


Angela (Oh She Glows) August 9, 2018 at 7:11 am

Hey Katie! I have heard that some readers have successfully used cauliflower in this recipe, but I have yet to try it out myself. I’d love to hear how it goes if you do. :)


anna pace September 8, 2018 at 5:18 pm
Recipe Rating:

I’ve made this wonderful recipe many times, and will offer a couple of modifications I use to make it more
cheese like in flavor: use 1/2 the amount of Nutritional yeast (many palates don’t like the taste, so using 1/2 the amount is just enough to add flavoring, without saying it ‘tastes like’ Nutritional yeast. I also don’t use the vinegar…it simply doesn’t need it!


Melissa Weir September 10, 2018 at 11:05 am
Recipe Rating:

Tasty! I turned up the heat by adding half a jalapeno and used it on nachos and it was great.

I’m going to try another batch in a casserole soon. So happy to have found a cheezy sauce to use, because I really miss the real thing.



Angela (Oh She Glows) September 11, 2018 at 8:51 am

Hi Melissa, I’m so happy it was a hit! I love adding jalapeño too…the best!


Jenn September 10, 2018 at 7:37 pm

I am in the minority here. While the taste was good overall, the texture was gluey. Any thoughts on what to change?


Angela (Oh She Glows) September 11, 2018 at 8:02 am

Hey Jenn, The potatoes definitely are responsible for that bit of “gluey” texture (which oddly enough, many people love as it has a tiny bit of stretch like a regular cheese sauce), but if you want you can try swapping the potato for cooked cauliflower. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve heard from readers who enjoyed it. :) I’d love to hear how it goes!


Amanda September 18, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Does anyone know if this will freeze well? I want to make some breakfast burritos to freeze and have ready to go. Thanks!


Angela (Oh She Glows) September 19, 2018 at 10:25 am

Hey Amanda, I love your idea of having this cheese sauce on-hand for breakfast burritos! I’m happy to say it freezes beautifully. There’s a slight change in the texture when thawing (from the potatoes I think), but it works well overall!


Becca September 23, 2018 at 9:11 pm

I have found that using my food processor to make cashew butter first in recipes like this gives the end result the same creamy texture as using a Vitamix. Looking forward to trying this recipe b y subbing sweet potatoes.


Angela (Oh She Glows) September 24, 2018 at 7:39 am

Hey Becca, I’d love to hear how the sweet potato swap goes!


Cathy September 28, 2018 at 5:56 pm
Recipe Rating:

I just made this recipe and sampled it from the blender. It tastes delicious! I’m looking forward to putting it on my pizza. I guess it has worked out well that I tried your recipe for vegan cheese sauce first before any others!


Angela (Oh She Glows) September 29, 2018 at 8:25 am

Hi Cathy, So glad you love it…thanks for your review! Putting it on pizza is such a great idea…mmm


Debi November 2, 2018 at 9:17 pm
Recipe Rating:

Angela you are amazing. First time leaving a comment , however my family and friends have enjoyed all the meals I make from your recipes. I just tried this one this evening it was fabulous! I added Cayenne and onion powder which I adapted from your life-affirming nacho dip. Spectacular! Which BTW all my non vegan friends ask for that recipe and have made it themselves …clap clap. With holidays approaching one of my daughters is a huge scalloped potato…cheesy fan. Would this sauce bake ok for that. Would you maybe add sautéed onions to it? Also notable recipe that is a family favorite is your chocolate almond brownies. So appreciate all your effort and tenacity to create these beautiful dishes. Thank you


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 4, 2018 at 1:13 pm

Hey Debi, Aww I can’t thank you enough for your sweet note! It made my day! I really appreciate your support and encouragement so much. That’s so funny you are thinking about using this sauce for scalloped potatoes because I’m planning on testing this exact idea this fall. I can’t see why it wouldn’t work…I’m just not sure on the bake times and such. If you try anything I’d love to hear how it goes. I think I will probably double the cheese sauce recipe when I attempt it so there is a ton of the cheesy sauce to coat.


Renee P January 5, 2019 at 7:55 pm
Recipe Rating:

I’ve wasted a lot of ingredients in the past on vegan “cheese” sauces that were just blah. This one is spectacular!!! I used it to pour over roasted broccoli and now I’m sitting here with a spoon in the blender trying to lick up every last bit. Thank you SOOO much for such a fantastic recipe. I can always count on your website to steer me to some fab noms!!!! You are a blessing to vegans everywhere!!!


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 6, 2019 at 1:11 pm

haha I can relate to the spoon cleaning the blender!! I hate wasting even 1 teaspoon of this sauce. So glad you love it so much too!


Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: