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:
I made your Vegan Cheese Sauce today and am absolutely thrilled how good it tastes. I have CKD (chronic kidney disease) and am very limited to what I can eat, this recipes checks all the boxes as far as what I am allowed. I have tried other recipes and have to say this is the best one so far!!!
Thank you again for sharing this recipe.
Hi Susan, I am glad you love it! Thanks for your feedback. 🙂
Absolutely gross. The mouth feel and the stretchiness is beyond awful. There’s got to be something out there that’s better than this.
Sorry to hear you didn’t like it. It’s the most popular recipe on my blog and so many people love it.
Hi Ela – I’ve made this recipe a couple of times in the past with great success.. My partner has high cholesterol so am wondering can I make this with a no sugar soya milk instead of the high fat coconut version., want to use it as a low cholesterol pizza topping?
Hi Bill, you can definitely give it a try, but it might not be as yummy. 🙂
Hi Bill, I have made this recipe numerous times with plain soy milk and it is perfect!
Followed your recipe..
Added more of the nutritional yeast, as I love the flavor to be “ stronger” than most people do.
It was so delicious!
I took out rhe “ packet of the Kraft Mac and cheese, and used this sauce instead.
I have a lot of inflammation, so I try to stay away from preservatives, etc..
Happy to hear! Thanks for your great feedback, Kaimana. 🙂
This sounds wonderful! I can’t eat a lot of foods I used to enjoy due to having Alpha Gal Syndrome. Cheese is definitely something I miss! I want to try this but currently I only have rice starch and potato starch right in the cupboard. Can I use that instead of tapioca starch?
Thank you for this recipe! 😊
You could try it, but it might not be as stretchy. 🙂
this is so good!! I didn’t believe it could be both good and easy, so I sat on this recipe for 2 weeks. I just made it today. Eating it now. And my family members, who have no dietary restrictions, are requesting Nachos tonight. with this cheese. THANK YOU!!!
Awesome! I try to make all my recipes as simple as possible and very delicious! That’s why my cookbook is called “Simple and Delicious Vegan”. 🙂
Thanks for your feedback!
Hi Ela, I have to follow AIP but I love cheese! It’s been so hard to give up. Making this tonight so I’m so excited to try it! Where can I buy your cookbook?
So happy to hear! You can buy it here: https://elavegan.com/cookbooks/ 🙂
Nikki, Eating Vibrantly
Worked fabulously! I added mushroom powder because I didn’t have any onion powder, and added a pinch of black pepper. So tasty and comforting.
I also added a cup of water to make it into a runny sauce suitable for a green bean casserole.
Will be making this one lots!
Awesome! Love the addition of mushroom powder, so yummy. 🙂
Genuinely the best vegan cheese recipe. I have this saved for any time I’m craving Mac and cheese
So happy you like the recipe, Annmarie. Thanks for your feedback! 🙂
This is so exciting!!! I finally found “the” recipe for cheese sauce! I’m so happy right now! It’s delicious!!!
Very happy you love it as well. 🙂
This was so simple to make and easy to customize. I added hatch green chilies for some heat and a little dry mustard. I can’t wait to get more creative with this recipe. Thank you so much!
You are very welcome, Barb! 🙂
Easy and like it. Finally almost a complète healthy cheese whiz replacement for me!
Awesome! Glad you like it, Elizabeth. 🙂
Added rótel tomatoes and some homemade taco seasoning and it was spot on for queso!!
Sounds awesome, Raven! Thanks for your great feedback. 🙂
Could I substitute the Unsweetened Coconut Milk for Unsweetened Coconut Cream?
You can, but you will need to add a little water, otherwise, it will be too thick. 🙂
I could only find Cassava starch in my local Asian store is this the same as tapioca flour or a good substitute?
When it says “starch” it should be totally fine. 🙂
I don’t tolerate more than a couple grams a day of starch, so I attempted this with coconut flour and a bit of flax. The result definitely was *not* what I was going for – but it came out very close to a hummus texture, which is something I’m also missing from my diet (since garbanzo beans have starch). I opted to season with cumin, turmeric, and cayenne, which turned out to be a fortuitous choice for the texture I ended up with!
Sharing for anyone else thinking of using coconut flour – it’ll be more like hummus than nacho cheese!
No, please never use coconut flour. Coconut flour is mainly fiber and soaks up all the liquid. It will be gritty and not good at all.
Edit: You can use my Vegan Mac and Cheese Sauce, replace the potato with cauliflower and leave out the tapioca flour. It should still turn out delicious. I hope this helps. 🙂
Chef a j on youtube has a recipe that uses no starch….. look her up . Its basical 1 bag ftozrn cauliflower thawed (1 pbs), 1 large approx red rooepper, (jarred) , nutritional yeast, 1 T lemon juice, seasonwith onion powder, a lithle salt, smoked papriika whatdver u want…. Put in a high speed blender.
I just finished making this sauce this morning for work lunch, took me no more than 5 minutes from beginning to end. Unbelievably easy! Just what I’ve been looking for ~ no oil, no vegetable prep ~ just a simple delicious sauce. Thank you so much! Most definitely in my recipe rolodex permanently.
You are very welcome, Rhipley! It’s my absolute favorite and I, therefore also included it to my cookbook. 🙂
Dear Ela, Wow, what a sauce, so simple to make and I am, now thinking of adding some Chillies. Such amazing flavour and functionality. It was a bit thick for my purposes so I did thin it with some more Coconut milk. Because I like cheese I put in an extra 8 grams of nutritional yeast. I couldn’t stop sampling it so I thought a review was definitely in order. before it was gone.
For the record, this was my first vegan cheese sauce and my last. nothing else can come close to this for sure. Well done and thank you for a brilliant recipe.
You are so kind to leave a review, Roger. Thank you! Adding chillies is a great idea. Enjoy!
I just made the cheese 🧀 and it is too sweetie to the coconut 🥥 milk. Also I used the wrong color yeast. I will remake💕 very soon.
Hey, you have to use unsweetened coconut milk.
New to this sort of cheese sauce and totally loving this one! It’s sooo easy and fast unlike some others!
It’s totally customizable as well!
So happy it was a hit, Susie! Thanks for your awesome feedback. 🙂
I’ve made this “cheese sauce” many times … and which is used in some of your recipes. It was a pain making other “cheese” sauces out of soaked cashews, cooked potatoes and carrots, etc. My family and I thank you for this easy and delicious recipe!
You are very welcome, Karen. 🙂
I tried this recipe today. and while I don’t think it necessarily tasted like cheese, it was DELICIOUS!!! Went great with my blue corn tortilla chips!! I can’t wait to make it again.
Sounds great! 🙂