3 Ways to Make Vegan Cheese Sauce

Jane Marsh - March 21, 2023

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Even if you’re not restricting your diet, you might still be curious about vegan cheese sauce. How can you make a cheese sauce when the main ingredient isn’t vegan at all? Crafty plant-based cooks got innovative and found the best ways to replicate that rich, creamy sauce everyone knows and loves. These are some of the most accessible and promising methods to make a delectable vegan cheese sauce.

Why Do We Need Vegan Cheese Sauce?

Whether it’s a requirement or personal preference, every dietary restriction should be taken seriously. Some individuals are lactose-intolerant or choose the vegan lifestyle for environmental advocacy. Regardless of the motivation, options should be available.

Looking at all food and creating options for varying diets, including vegans, creates more diversity in food cultures and encourages more to consider plant-based diets. Vegan cheese sauce helps bring one of the most desired food groups back into vegan diets with its own ethical twist.

Method 1: Premade Vegan Cheese Block Sauce

Not everyone has a blender or time to invest in artisanal vegan cheese sauce. How about a fast alternative that only takes a few minutes and still tastes delicious? You can manage that with a little help from purchasing a vegan cheese block of any brand to jumpstart the process.

You can choose Violife, Daiya, or any other brand with the cheese flavor you want to replicate. Feel free to mix it with shredded cheese of different flavors to give it some pizzazz. 

All you have to do is melt a vegan-friendly fat in a saucepan to prevent sticking. You could use vegan butter or your choice of oil if that’s how you want the flavor to turn out. Then, add the store-bought vegan cheese and a smidge of dairy-free milk to thin it. As with most vegan cheese sauces, the choice of spices is up to you, but some classics to add include turmeric to highlight the color and Italian herbs for a more classic taste.

Method 2: Traditional Cashew Sauce

If you want a more classic vegan cheese sauce, this recipe adapted from Eat Plant-Based has the staple ingredient — cashews. It also has many other nutritious vegetables to give it a lot of body.

You’ll need to prepare carrots, potatoes, and onions to boil until tender. These are all going into a blender with a little bit of the delicious broth created from the boiling process. Then, all you have to do is add the rest of the ingredients into the blender and blend away until it’s smooth. Other ingredients include the signature cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and your choice of seasonings. Add cayenne if you want the sauce to pack a punch or compliment Mexican-inspired dishes.

Not all blenders can handle cashews raw. Depending on the power in your blender, you may want to soak the cashews for a bit in water to soften them. Doing this will not impact the flavor at all — it will just reduce the stress on your blender.

Method 3: Allergy-Friendly Sauce

If you have a nut allergy, this could be your strategy. An incredible recipe adapted from Ela Vegan makes one of the most agreeable vegan cheese sauces out there. Here’s how to get started. It’s insanely quick to prepare and easy to multiply ingredients for larger servings.

You can utilize any alternative milk for this sauce. However, most recommend higher-fat content milks, like coconut milk, because they more effectively replicate the feel of traditional cheese sauce. It also helps that coconut milk is an option for those with a nut allergy.

To get that delicious flavor, home chefs will need nutritional yeast and flour — that’s it. You can choose a flour that best suits your needs, whether it’s all-purpose flour or arrowroot for those with gluten intolerance. Everything else is optional. However, additional seasonings like salt to taste, garlic, or paprika will make the sauce shine. 

It’s as simple as gathering all the ingredients, putting them in a saucepan, and bringing them to a boil. The sauce will thicken to a more familiar consistency within a few minutes. 

Vegan Cheese Sauce FAQs

Even after seeing the recipes, making cheese with no cheese can lead to further ponderings on how to edit it to fit your dietary needs. Maybe you want a different taste or don’t like some ingredients. Here are some of the most popular questions answered.

How Do You Make Vegan Cheese Taste Cheesier?

Those who don’t love vegan cheese mostly dismiss it because it isn’t the cheese taste humans are familiar with. It’s not as rich, and the consistency can vary. To make it resemble more of a classic cheese flavor depends on the cheese you’re going for — a sharp white cheddar would need different edits than a funky feta. However, the general rule is to experiment with nutritional yeast and spices to give more pops of flavor.

Does Veganism Help the Environment?

Animal product-reliant diets are inherently better for reducing individual carbon emissions. There are pros and cons, such as how much water nuts need to grow, contributing to water scarcity concerns. For the most part, vegan diets are an active stance against the highly polluting livestock industry, in which animals like cows bred specifically for consumption produce immense quantities of methane that harms the atmosphere.

Does Vegan Cheese Melt the Same?

How can vegan cheese be so gooey but, at the same time, be hard to melt? Because vegan cheese ingredients have no dairy, the temperature required to melt the components differs from what you expect. Research the unique elements in cheese sauces to see what the melting points would be.

What Brands Make Premade Vegan Cheese?

Many vegan cheese sauces come as a queso or in boxed macaroni and cheese. However, these are some of the most popular vegan cheese sauces on the market, in several forms:

  • Core & Rind Cheesy Cashew Sauce
  • Wayfare Dairy-Free Cheese
  • Vegan Valley Cashew Cheeze
  • Violife Mozzarella Shreds or Just Like Parmesan
  • Follow Your Heart Feta Crumbles
  • Daiya Plant-Based Mac and Cheese

The Top Vegan Cheese Sauce to Try, No Matter Your Diet

You can try a homemade vegan cheese sauce no matter your dietary decisions. Nutritional yeast has a lot of B vitamins and nuts bring in healthy fats for a nutritious sauce to please the taste buds. With a lower environmental footprint and unique yet familiar flavor profiles, it will surely impress regardless if it’s on nachos or pasta. 

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About the author

Jane Marsh

Starting from an early age, Jane Marsh loved all animals and became a budding environmentalist. Now, Jane works as the Editor-in-Chief of where she covers topics related to climate policy, renewable energy, the food industry, and more.