Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce (with Nutritional Yeast)

This vegan cashew cheese sauce is a delicious alternative to dairy-based cheese sauce that actually tastes comparable to the real thing. This sauce is perfect served with tortilla chips and guacamole as a vegan appetizer for a New Year’s Eve or game day party.

This sauce is delicious drizzled on top of tacos or nachos. You could also use this as a sauce for dairy-free mac and cheese. Or use it as a dipping sauce for steamed broccoli or cauliflower.

Another tasty way to use this sauce is drizzled on top of baked potatoes or sweet potatoes. Add other toppings too such as black beans and scallions to create a filling and delicious loaded potato.

Cheese sauce next to some chips.

Main ingredients

Nutritional yeast is what gives this sauce its “cheesy” flavour. It’s an ingredient that’s used often in vegan versions of dishes such as mac and cheese, spinach and artichoke dip, and pesto. You can find nutritional yeast at many grocery stores and health food stores or you can order it online.

Cashews give this cheese sauce its creamy texture without overpowering the other flavours in this recipe. In order to achieve the perfect luscious, creamy consistency, the cashews must be soaked first to soften them before draining, rinsing, and blending them up in the sauce.

Pickled jalapeños add a little zing and spice to this vegan cashew cheese sauce, but you can omit them if you prefer a milder sauce.

Pureed pumpkin adds body and colour to the sauce. You can substitute pureed carrots or butternut squash instead of pumpkin if you prefer. Just steam or roast the veggies until tender, then purée them before adding them to the sauce. 

More appetizer recipes

A dish of bright yellow vegan cheese sauce next to some corn chips
Print Pin
5 from 1 vote

Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce (with Nutritional Yeast)

This vegan cashew cheese sauce made with nutritional yeast is an easy and tasty plant-based snack or appetizer.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword dairy-free, game day, gluten-free, queso, vegan
Prep Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 7
Calories 114kcal


  • 1 cup soaked cashews (cover cashews with boiling water, soak for one hour, then drain and rinse)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeños
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic


  • In a food processor or blender, add the cashews, pumpkin purée, water, nutritional yeast, pickled jalapeños, salt, and garlic.
  • Process or blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • Makes approximately 1 3/4 cups of vegan cashew cheese sauce.


  • You can make this sauce in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.


Calories: 114kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 171mg | Potassium: 189mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2724IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 2mg