How to Make Vegan Cheese Sauce

This flavorful and creamy non-dairy sauce is the perfect replacement for a classic cheese sauce. It’s simple, nutrient-dense and hard-to-believe it’s not actually cheese. We’re sharing all the tips you need to know for How to Make Vegan Cheese Sauce today.

a pitched of vegan cheese sauce made with cashews

How to Make Vegan Cheese Sauce

We’ve been on a dairy-free “cheese” kick here over on LCK, and today we’re doing another one with How to Make Vegan Cheese Sauce. This recipe is oh-so-versatile! It can be used as the backbone for a classic tasting Mac and cheese or other recipe using a creamy cheese sauce or, just as easily, served as a dip! All you need are a handful of ingredients and a blender.

To make it, we take the base of our cashew cream that you all have been loving, and add in a few other flavor components. We add in butternut squash for a little flavor and color base, plus we use nutritional yeast to make it taste truly cheesy and finally we add in a touch of apple cider vinegar to help balance it all out. Trust us, you’re going to love this one!

Here’s what you need to make it:

  • unsalted raw cashews
  • diced butternut squash
  • salt
  • nutritional yeast
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • black pepper
  • apple cider vinegar

bowl of Mac and cheese made with vegan cheese sauce

How long will this vegan cheese sauce last?

This non-dairy “cheese” sauce lasts about 5 days in the refrigerator, assuming all the whole components were made fresh. However if you used leftover roasted butternut squash when making this recipe that was already a few days old, then the cheese sauce may last only a few days. 

You can freeze vegan cheese sauce for up to 3 months! Store in an air tight container or bag. When ready to use, defrost overnight in the refrigerator and once thawed you may need to blend, or whisk it up again to make it smoothy and creamy.

What can this be used on?

We love the versatility on this non-dairy cheese sauce alternative!

  • As a dip
  • As a sauce for a classic Mac and Cheese
  • In other pasta dishes
  • Over a baked potato
  • For nachos
  • Over broccoli
  • As a creamy pizza sauce
  • On enchiladas

how to make vegan cashew cheese sauce

Watch the video:

These are the tools we used for this recipe:

  • Medium Pot
  • Blender
  • Spatula

If you like this dairy-free recipe, check out these others:

5.0 rating
1 reviews

How to Make Vegan Cheese Sauce

This flavorful and creamy non-dairy sauce is the perfect replacement for a cheese sauce. It's simple, nutrient-dense and hard-to-believe it's not actually cheese. We're sharing all the tips you need to know for How to Make Vegan Cheese Sauce.

Yields 1-1/2 cups
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Recipe Type: sauce
Cuisine gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, whole30

Author: Lexi's Clean Kitchen


  • 1-1/4 cups unsalted raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup peeled and diced butternut squash (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water, to blend
  • 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


  1. Place cashews and butternut squash in a small pot and add enough water to cover by 1".
  2. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or until the butternut squash is tender. Turn off heat, cover and let sit for 1 hour.
  3. Drain water and rinse cashews and squash. Place in the basin of a blender with 1 teaspoon salt.
  4. Blend with ½ cup water. You may need to scrape down the mixture several times.  Continue to blend until the cashews and squash are a creamy smooth consistency. Add up to ¼ cup more water if needed to get a creamy consistency.
  5. Add in the remainder of the ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
  6. Store in a container for about 5 days.

Recipe Notes

  1. Alternatively you can roast the butternut squash separately. It will add more depth to the flavor of the cheese sauce, but also adds considerable amount of time so we opted to just boil with the cashews. If using the roasted squash add in when blending the cashews in step 4.


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June 5, 2019

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6 Responses

  1. This sounds good and I want to try it. Will this work using a regular blender? I don’t have a high-powered one. Thanks!

    1. Hi Amanda! Yes, you can use a regular blender to make this. You may need to blend for a longer period of time to make it smoother, but we’ve tried it in both.

  2. Such a good and tasty alternative to real cheese! I used it on chickpea pasta but looking forward to using as a dip next!!

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Author: Lexi



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