Creamy dairy-free vegan cheese sauce made with only 4 basic ingredients. This nutritious mock cheese sauce is perfect for using on pasta, vegetables, risotto, baked potatoes, and more!

Vegan "Cheese" Sauce made with 4 basic whole food ingredients. This easy recipe makes creamy, delicious vegan-friendly sauce that tastes cheesy! | #paleo #dairyfree

I did a thing.

I made us dairy-free cheese sauce. What in the world are we going to do with a dairy-free vegan cheese sauce, you ask?

What aren’t we going to do with dairy-free cheese sauce is my response.

My vision for making this recipe was to provide an asset for those times you’re craving macaroni and cheese, but want to keep it reasonably healthful, and/or a delicious sauce for pairing with steamed or roasted vegetables. Ever get a hankering for a broccoli-cheddar situation? This is the sauce to make that happen.

In essence, this sauce is perfect for those who love rich and creamy flavors but follow either a dairy-free, vegan, or paleo diet (or simply those who like to limit their dairy intake and prefer sticking with plant-based whole foods).


  • Dairy-Free, vegan, paleo, plant-based, whole food
  • Quick, easy, and straight-forward to prepare
  • Small boost of plant-based protein
  • Rich and creamy while being healthful
  • Mouth-wateringly delicious and versatile

Vegan "Cheese" Sauce made with 4 basic whole food ingredients. This easy recipe makes creamy, delicious vegan-friendly sauce that tastes cheesy! | #paleo #dairyfree

So, what four ingredients are we using to prepare this sauce? Cashews, tahini, nutritional yeast, and cider vinegar. The combination of ingredients yields a super creamy sauce, with cheesy flavor and just the right amount of tang.

How to Make Vegan Cheese Sauce

Start by soaking raw cashews in water. You’ll want to soak the cashews for a minimum of three hours, but you can also do this overnight.

Once cashews are soaked, transfer them to a high-powered blender along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend on high for 1 minute, or until the sauce is nice and creamy.

Taste cheese sauce for flavor and add more sea salt, some garlic powder, and/or more cider vinegar depending on your personal taste.

Use vegan cheese sauce for your dairy-free macaroni and cheese recipes, drizzle over your bowls, and/or use for dipping steamed vegetables.

You can use this sauce in both hot and cold applications, but my favorite is serving it warm on hot foods.

Recipe Adaptations:

  • If you’re a garlic lover, add 1 large clove of garlic for added flavor, or ½ tsp garlic powder.
  • You can replace the tahini with sunflower seed butter if you prefer. I wouldn’t recommend replacing the tahini with almond butter or peanut butter unless you’re willing to change the flavor substantially.
  • Add a chipotle chili to make this a spicy cheese sauce.
  • If you like “sour cream and onion” flavor, add 3 chives or 1 green onion.

Vegan "Cheese" Sauce made with 4 basic whole food ingredients. This easy recipe makes creamy, delicious vegan-friendly sauce that tastes cheesy! | #paleo #dairyfree

I’ll be posting a recipe soon that showcases this delicious sauce…stay tuned!

Vegan "Cheese" Sauce made with 4 basic whole food ingredients. This easy recipe makes creamy, delicious vegan-friendly sauce that tastes cheesy! | #paleo #dairyfree

Vegan "Cheese" Sauce

5 from 1 vote
A vegan, plant-based "cheese" sauce to go on everything! Whip it up to drizzle over your vegetarian meals!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Soak Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 1 cup



  • Place cashews in bowl and cover with 2 inches of water. Soak 3 hours or overnight. Drain cashews.
  • Add all ingredients, including soaked cashews, to a high-powered blender. Blend on high for 1 minute or until sauce is completely smooth. Taste for flavor and add more sea salt, cider vinegar, or 1/2 tsp garlic powder. 
  • Either use immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. The sauce stays fresh for up to 10 days. Note: Sauce will thicken in the refrigerator, so stir well before using.


Serving: 1grams
Author: Julia
Course: Salsas, Sauces, Spreads, Dips, & Dressings
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy free, paleo, vegan
Did You Make This Recipe?I want to see it! Tag @the.roasted.root on social media!
Julia Mueller
Meet the Author

Julia Mueller

Julia Mueller is a recipe developer, cookbook author, and founder of The Roasted Root. She has authored three bestselling cookbooks, – Paleo Power Powers, Delicious Probiotic Drinks, and The Quintessential Kale Cookbook. Her recipes have been featured in several national publications such as BuzzFeed, Self, Tasty, Country Living,, etc.

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Questions and Reviews

  1. I actually just made a salad dressing this week using tahini and nutritional yeast (and apple cider vinegar!) together this week as part of my meal prep, and it’s a delicious combination!! 🙂

  2. Made this tonight for our baked potatoes. Different but delicious! We love how the tahini and nooch balance each other out.

  3. Hello! I just found your website yesterday and I’m so excited!
    Do you think this recipe would work with another nut, maybe walnuts? My daughter is allergic to cashews.

    1. Hi Robyn!

      Welcome! I’ve never tested the recipe using another nut, but cashews are notorious for being creamy when blended and also very subtle and creamy in flavor. I think walnuts would turn out grainy and slightly bitter. It’s possible that blanched almonds would work, although they also may turn out a bit grainy. I wish I had a better answer for you! If you do cauliflower, I did recently post a Creamy Cauliflower Sauce recipe, which may be a nice alternative. Let me know if you have any other questions! xoxo

    1. Hi Donna! The cashews need to be raw or else they won’t have a creamy texture. Once roasted, the nuts harden which makes them more difficult to blend into a sauce. Hope you enjoy!