vegan nacho cheese

Nacho Cheese Sauce (for Cinco de Mayo)

This post may contain affiliate links (see full disclaimer). This means if you make a purchase after clicking, I may get a small percentage of the sale, at absolutely no extra cost to you.

This post may contain affiliate links (see full disclaimer here). This means if you make a purchase after clicking, I may get a small percentage of the sale, at absolutely no extra cost to you.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for 5th of May) celebrates the victory of the Mexican army over French forces on the 5th of May, 1862.  What does this have to do with nacho cheese sauce?

Not much, but Cinco de Mayo seems to be an excuse to eat Mexican food.  Many Americans mistake it for Mexican Indepdence Day (it isn’t – that’s the 16th of September) but anyway, it’s a good time to enjoy delicious food.  I thought it would be a good time to enjoy an American interpretation of Mexican food…hence nacho cheese sauce.

You know the ooey-gooey, frighteningly bright yellow stuff you get poured over tortilla chips at the cinema?  This is kind of like that, but so much better (in terms of flavour and being better for you – I imagine whatever they use to make cheese sauce bright yellow is the same dye they use to paint traffic lines on the road).

This is the kind of thing that goes well on anything.  Put it on nachos or even pasta, or drizzle over veggies.

Equipment you’ll need

Vegan Nacho Cheese


  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup soya milk
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch (corn flour)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder or 2 tbsp chopped fresh onions
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder, or 1 clove chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/2 heaping tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1/2 tsp sesame tahini, optional


  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until completely combined and smooth in texture.  If you don’t have a high speed blender, you may wish to grind cashews in a coffee grinder first, then add the resulting powder, along with the rest of the ingredients, to the blender and blend.  I normally do this, and it prevents you getting chunks of cashew in your finished cheese sauce (if you have a blender that’s not as good and doesn’t blend things as smoothly).
  2. After you’ve blended it, pour the sauce into a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until it thickens.
  3. You can pour over the nachos immediately, or store in the fridge for later use.  It’s also great on baked potatoes/jacket potatoes.  It thickens and becomes somewhat solid in the fridge, but will melt once reheated.

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Caitlin Galer-Unti

Hi, I’m Caitlin and I’ve been vegan since 2008 and vegetarian my whole life. Since going vegan, I’ve lived in 4 countries and travelled to over 30! I’ve also published two bestselling vegan books (The Essential Vegan Travel Guide and The Barcelona Vegan Guide) and had my work featured in The New York Times, Vegetarian Food & Living and Vegan Life magazine. I’ve veganised my life and I’m here to help you design your life around your vegan values. 


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