Dairy Free Cheese Sauce

a dish of bright yellow cheese sauce next to some corn chips

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This dairy free cheese sauce is a healthy and delicious alternative to cheese sauce that actually tastes like cheese! This is perfect served with tortilla chips and guacamole as a vegan appetizer for a New Year’s Eve or super bowl party. Or drizzle this on top of tacos or nachos. No special occasion is really necessary to enjoy this cheese sauce recipe. You could also use this as a sauce for dairy free mac and cheese. It’ll just have a little more kick than traditional mac and cheese on account of the jalapenos (which you can just omit if you prefer a milder sauce).

Nutritional yeast is the star of this sauce and gives it its cheesy flavour. Commonly used in vegan cooking, nutritional yeast has many health benefits and imparts a cheesy flavour to vegan versions of classic dairy based dishes such as mac and cheese, spinach artichoke dip, and pesto.

Cashews give this cheese sauce its creamy texture without overpowering the other flavours in this recipe. Pickled jalapeños add a little zing and spice, and the puréed pumpkin adds body and colour to this healthy vegan cheese sauce. You can easily substitute pureed carrots or butternut squash instead of pumpkin if you prefer. Or if a white sauce is more appealing,  go ahead and substitute white beans instead of pumpkin. 

A white dish of dairy free cheese sauce next to a pile of blue corn chips.
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5 from 1 vote

Dairy Free Cheese Sauce

This dairy free cheese sauce makes a delicious vegan snack or appetizer for parties.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword queso
Prep Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 7
Calories 141kcal
Author A Sweet Alternative


  • 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 dairy free cheese sauce.


Calories: 141kcal | Fat: 9.4g

Dairy Free Cheese Sauce Nutritional Information:

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