Easy vegan cheese sauce with minimal ingredients and ready in 3 minutes! A super simple and nut-free plant-based recipe which requires only a handful of ingredients. This vegan queso is perfect for pizza, nachos, Mac and Cheese, burgers, pasta bake, toast, and more savory recipes. The sauce doesn’t contain cashews!
Easy Vegan Cheese Sauce Without Cashews!
This is probably the easiest homemade vegan cheese sauce ever! It might change your life, it changed mine, I am not kidding. Coconut milk, tapioca flour, nutritional yeast flakes, water, and salt – these are the ingredients which you will need to make this delicious sauce.
Since most people have water and salt at home, all you need to buy is coconut milk, tapioca flour, and nutritional yeast flakes. But maybe you already have these ingredients at home as well. So let’s start to make this easy recipe, it will be done in 3 minutes!
Only A Few Ingredients
I know there are tons of vegan cheese sauce recipes out there, but most of them contain cashews + many more ingredients and require longer preparation time. This cashew-free cheese sauce contains only a handful of ingredients and is ready in 3 minutes.
How To Make Vegan Cheese Sauce
You just need to put all the ingredients into a saucepan, bring the mixture to a boil and that’s it! You don’t even need a blender or food processor. No cooking of veggies, no soaking of cashews. It seriously couldn’t be easier than that.
Not Only For Vegans
This recipe is not only amazing for vegans. I served it also to vegetarians and meat eaters and everyone loved the taste AND texture of this vegan cheese sauce. The tapioca flour (which is also called tapioca starch) makes this recipe so special because it adds the amazing elasticity to the sauce. It makes the sauce stretchy and even reminds of real cheese. Nutritional yeast is an important ingredient for the taste because it adds a cheesy flavor. The spices are up to you, but I love to add some garlic and onion powder, and also a pinch of smoked paprika.
Perfect For Nachos, Pizza, Gratin And More
You can use this vegan sauce for any savory recipe which requires cheese. Whether it is pizza, nachos, gratin, pasta, or any other plant-based recipe. Sometimes when I am too lazy to make my Mac and Cheese recipe I will simply make this 3-minute cheese sauce and pour it over my cooked pasta and my dinner is served in just a few minutes. I have included some pictures of different dishes which I made using this cheese sauce recipe.
This easy vegan cheese sauce is:
- Gluten free
- Nut-free (no Cashews!)
- Easy to make in a few minutes
Make This Vegan Cheese Sauce Today
I made this cheeze sauce probably 100 times already because I use it in almost all of my savory recipes lol. I just love simple recipes which require only a few ingredients and this easy sauce recipe is one of them. So don’t wait any longer and make it NOW. I am sure you will love it as well.
Tapioca flour can be bought in every Asia shop or big supermarkets or simply ordered online. Same goes for nutritional yeast flakes. Check the Recipe Notes for a tapioca flour substitute.
Should you recreate this vegan nacho cheese sauce, please leave a comment below and don’t forget to tag me in your Instagram or Facebook post with @elavegan and #elavegan because I love to see your recreations.
Easy Vegan Cheese Sauce
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) coconut milk canned (*see notes )
- 3 tbsp (20 g) nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 tbsp (15 g) tapioca flour OR arrowroot flour/starch (*see notes)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional)
- Pinch of smoked paprika (optional)
- Put all ingredients into a saucepan and stir with a whisk. Once everything is combined, turn on the heat and bring the mixture to a boil while stirring constantly.
- Let simmer on low to medium heat for about one minute until the sauce is stretchy.
- Enjoy this vegan cheese sauce with nachos, on pizza, over pasta, and many other savory dishes! Please read the recipe notes below.
Video Of The Recipe
- Thickness: If the cheese sauce turns out too thick, just add more coconut milk or any other plant-based milk (or water), up to 1 cup.
- Coconut milk: I use coconut milk that contains 17% fat. In case you don't like the taste of coconut milk, you can use a different plant-based milk instead, e.g. almond milk, cashew milk, etc. The higher the fat content of the milk, the better will be the taste of the vegan cheese sauce.
- Tapioca flour: Tapioca flour/starch can be bought in every Asia store or larger grocery stores or simply ordered online.
- Tapioca substitute: Two readers (thanks, Brooklyn and Nichola) commented that arrowroot flour (also known as arrowroot powder or arrowroot starch) is a great substitute for tapioca flour/starch.
- Cornstarch: You could use cornstarch instead of tapioca flour, but the result won’t be as good (stretchy) as with tapioca flour. It will still taste ok!
- How to store: You can store the sauce in the fridge for up to 2 days, but it will change the texture. Reheat with a splash of dairy-free milk. It tastes best freshly made.
- FAQ: "My cheese sauce didn't turn out yellow. What did I do wrong...?" Answer: Some nutritional yeast brands enrich their products with lots of B-vitamins. The nutritional yeast flakes which I ordered from Amazon contain B-vitamins and are therefore yellow. When I use 3 tbsp, the cheese sauce turns out pretty yellow, but when I use less (e.g. just 1 tbsp) the color is just light yellowish." You can also add a pinch of turmeric powder.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically
If you are using Pinterest, feel free to pin the following photo:
Hey! You already read that this girl is using your recipes and claiming them as her own. I found another. This one is on her blog too under her post about oat flour pizza crust (which she copied exactly from the gracious pantry). lauren loliving com I have found 6 recipes she’s copied so far from various food creators and claiming as her own. She even has recipe books she’s charging money for and no doubt some of these are there too. Your spinach wrap is the cover for one of them. Check the blog. Just fyi again. It’s not right and I wish she’d get caught.
I’d like to make this, but I can’t do tapioca flour, Can I sub out tapioca for an oat or chickpea flour?
Hi Karen, you could use arrowroot flour. Potato starch might work too, but not oat or chickpea flour. 🙂
This recipe has become a “go to” for me. My wife and I love the flavor and we typically add our favorite mushrooms to it and put it over pasta.
So glad you love it, Dan! 🙂
I have not made this yet, but plan to after all the great comments. I have a question though does the sauce bake well, if I wanted to try a baked mac n cheese?? Thanks!!
Yes, it does! I use it often for different bakes, like Curried Cauliflower Casserole or Pumpkin Pasta Bake. I also use it for a quick vegan Mac n Cheese. 🙂
That’s great, I can’t wait to try it! Thank you!
You are very welcome! 🙂
This is outstanding!! I’ve tried many “creamy, melty” cheeses recipes that don’t include actual cheese, vegan and non-vegan, and have always been let know by the texture and/or flavor. Then I found your recipe. Not only is it faster, uses fewer and easy ingredients, this is HANDS DOWN the ABSOLUTE BEST! I’m amazed with how good it is!
I’m not vegan, but due to health issues I have to eat a very low sodium diet. Very low. I searched high and low for a cheddar cheese that would work for me with no luck. I had given up mac and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, nachos, cheese grits, the list goes on.
THANK YOU ELA!!! You have created a recipe that makes these foods that I love so much an option again. I wish I could give you a great big hug!
Aww, that makes me so happy, Lisa! Thanks for your amazing feedback. 🙂
I added some crushed fresh garlic to this…yummy! I also use canned coconut milk, thinking that is what you were refering to?
I just noticed that you have a 2 day life span on in fridge…I make plenty of it, and use throughout the week…? So I ‘think’ it lasts at least 5 days in fridge…maybe thats just me 😉
Wonderful easy recipe THANKS!
Awesome! Glad you like it, Noel. Yes, it can be stored longer, but the texture does change, so I prefer to not store it longer. 🙂
After 49 years of what I thought was healthy eating, I became plant based vegan this year after an eye opening, jaw dropping show on Netflix. It’s been the best decision I have ever made for myself! Considered to be a great home cook, I’ve struggled finding delicious recipes where I can maintain my chef status. . I was looking for a cheesy sauce for my spinach mushroom raviolis & I FOUND IT HERE! This cheesy sauce is so simple & versatile it will continue to be my go to recipe. (added a pinch of red pepper flakes & BAM!!) My future has a new tastier outlook on; Nachos, chili cheese dip, spinach artichoke dip, stuffed (vegan) burgers, pizza, pasta, Au gratin potatoes…OMG the list is endless, especially when you’re a cheese lover…. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!
You are so welcome, Dawn! I am happy that you went vegan this year and that you enjoy this recipe so much! Thanks for your feedback. 🙂
This is the 2nd vegan cheese sauce I’ve tried and definitely the best. So good I made another batch right away. I added a touch of liquid smoke and a bit of dijon mustard to the 2nd batch. Today, it’s mac and cheese!
Sounds amazing! Thanks for your great feedback, Jane. 🙂
I want to use this cheese sauce recipe for Mac and cheese instead of the one that you use with your Mac and cheese recipe because I don’t have a very good blender to blend the cashews. Is this enough cheese sauce for 12oz of pasta?
Hi Hannah, if you add a little more milk (up to a cup) it should be enough. If not, you can always make more, it takes just a few minutes.
I’m making the vegan enchiladas right now. Was going to drizzle cheese sauce over the top. We don’t do any yeast including nutritional yeast. Any substitutes? Thank you for you time and effort.
You could try adding a little miso paste. 🙂
Hi Ela! I tried this recipe and I found it really tasty. It was the first cheez recipe that I had ever tried. However, I didn’t find it as ‘stretchy’ as I thought it would be. Would adding more tapioca starch fix this?
Hi Kevin, I am glad you liked it. Adding more tapioca starch will make it thicker.
Loved it – and it was as quick and easy as you said.
My vegan daughter in law suggested more Nutritional Yeast to give the cheese a sharper flavour, but also loved it.
Went so well with the stuffed portobello mushroom recipe – many thanks from 🇦🇺🦘
That’s awesome, Gordon! Thanks for your lovely feedback. 🙂
Back again! I absolutely love this game changer! I tried this recipe, & used it to make a coconut milk alfredo sauce. Double the recipe, & use a full can of coconut milk instead, for a creamy vegan alfredo base! Used one full 8.8 oz (250 g) box of chickpea pasta for a gluten free recipe! Thank you, again!
Sounds so delicious, Amy, and I love these ideas. 🙂
This recipe is simple and it tastes good. I didn’t like the sticky/stretchy nature though. I reduced the tapioca flour by half and it was much better – cheese sauce without the sticky texture but has the good taste. Thank you for the recipe.
Very welcome, Genie! 🙂
Hi, found you late tonight when really hungry and searching f0r a really quick vegan sauce to put on some instant pot steamed cauliflower…..sometimes in this sitution ok on its own but not tonight and am so grateful for this amazing recipe. Couldnt resist adding some cayenne and turmeric as couldn’t be bothered searching in cupboard for your recommended optional.additions, which do sound great…. do hope to find more low carb quick recipes… and thank you so much. My dog really enjoyed it too
That’s awesome, Sandy! I am happy you both liked it. 😀
I rarely leave comments on recipes but after making this cheez, I just had to! So simple, so delicious, and uses coconut! 😋 I substituted the tapioca for arrowroot and cut the amount down a bit but the result is hands down the best I’ve ever tried. And ready in a pinch! OMG can’t rave enough about this recipe. Thank you for sharing
You are so welcome, Renisha! Happy you like it. 🙂
Thank you so much for this great recipe!!! I had been looking for years for a copycat recipe to the vegan “Chreese” sauce by Road’s End Organics – this is it! I make this recipe for Mac n Chreese and I have made it numerous times now and it is always delicious and healthful.. I replace the coconut milk with unsweetened soy milk (or even vegetable stock! or half soy milk half vegetable stock!) to keep it a low-fat delicious vegan mac n cheese sauce. Highly recommend!!!
Thanks for sharing, Jess! 🙂
You indicate using canned coconut milk, though it seems that viewers/readers have been using other “drinkable” plant milks. What about soy ???
I can only recommend what I have been using for many years, which is canned coconut milk (17% fat). Of course, you can use other options, but the taste won’t be as good, as mentioned in the recipe notes. 😀
Can this be frozen after mixing for future use or should it be used immediately?
Hi Jill, I recommend using it immediately, however, freezing works too.
I recently went ,(almost entirely) vegan for health (and ethical) reasons. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Can I use reconstituted coconut milk powder instead of canned? Thanks and Happy Fourth!
Hi Janne, I never tried it, so I am not sure. Happy Fourth! 🙂