Skip to Content

Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce

  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  5 min
  • Calories: 84
Vegan cashew cheese in a jar with a spoon and some raw cashews

Drizzle it on salads, grain bowls, or on sandwiches as a vegan sub for mayo. Our creamy, smoky vegan cashew cheese sauce is as versatile as it is delectable.

Magical Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce

As mouth-watering and delectable as it is healthy, this lusciously creamy vegan cashew cheese sauce—or should we say vegan cashew “cheese” sauce?—will enliven any meal it touches. If you’ve ever had Yumm sauce, this sauce is a little bit like that, but better. Drizzle it on salads, grain bowls, use it in sandwiches as a vegan sub for mayo—it’s an incredibly versatile sauce. It’s as easy as tossing everything in a blender or food processor and hitting “start”.

One warning, though: once you’ve made it and know how truly easy and addictively delicious it is, there’s no going back. You’ll be making this once a week, minimum. We’re...sorry? No, scratch that. It’s easy, tasty, and plus! Topping veggies with a healthy pour of this vegan cashew cheese sauce just might get your kids to actually eat them. You’re welcome.

Bowl of raw cashews soaking in water
Vegan Cashew Queso in the base of a vitamix blender

Is Soaking Cashews Necessary?

Soaking the cashews ahead of time is the one thing about this recipe that takes a little foresight. It softens them up, which means they blend easily and make for an ultra-silky cashew cheese sauce. However! If you have a Vitamix or similarly powerful blender and are pinched for time, you don’t have to soak them. Your cashew cheese sauce might be a smidge less creamy, but the final product will still be killer.

Vegan Cashew Queso cheese sauce in a jar with a spoon

Is Nutritional Yeast Good For You?

YES! And it’s the combination of the rich, savory umami-ness of nutritional yeast and creamy, good-fat filled cashews that makes creamy vegan cashew cheese sauce so gloriously “cheesy” in flavor. If you’ve ever experimented with vegan cooking, you’ve probably encountered nutritional yeast—you may even know that it makes the world’s greatest popcorn topper, and therefore always have a container of it handy. If you’re not familiar with it, here’s what you need to know:

  1. Nutritional yeast is not the same as the yeast you bake with. Do not—we repeat DO NOT—substitute a packet of dry active yeast for the nutritional yeast called for in this recipe. They’re not at all the same. This is nutritional yeast.
  2. Nutritional yeast is super good for you! It’s especially important for vegans and vegetarians, because it’s one of the very few sources of B12 that is not derived from an animal product. Just one tablespoon offers about 40% of your daily recommended dose of B12.
  3. It is really delicious! The most apt comparison—and one you’ll hear a lot—is that it’s similar in flavor to parmesan cheese. A sprinkle of nutritional yeast lends a super satisfying dose of umami to just about any dish.
Vegan Cashew Queso cheese sauce held on a spoon.

What Can I Put Cashew Cheese Sauce on?

We love to drizzle this sauce of everything! If you need a few suggestions may we recommend one of these great recipes!

Vegan Cashew Queso cheese sauce in a jar with a spoon
Vegan Cashew Queso cheese sauce in a jar with a spoon

Did You Give This Vegan Cheese Sauce A Try?

If you make this vegan cashew cheese sauce, we’d love to hear about it! Be sure to snap a photo, add it to your Instagram feed or stories and tag us @themodernproper and #themodernproper if you do. Also, feel free to leave a comment on the post and tell your friends where you discovered the recipe.

Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce

  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  5 min
  • Calories: 84


  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for three hours
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. In the base of a food processor, combine the cashews, tomato paste, nutritional yeast, paprika, chili powder, chipotle peppers, lemon juice, garlic, 1 cup water, and salt. Process until smooth

  2. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Note: Makes 2 cups

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories84
  • Protein4 g
  • Carbohydrates5 g
  • Total Fat6 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium193 mg
  • Total Sugars1 g

Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Victoria Anderson

    Made the cashew cheese sauce but looks nothing like the picture. Thick in consistency. Should I not have drained the cashews?

    It is a thicker sauce sounds like you did it right!

  • Julie Roark

    Are the cashews raw or roasted?

    They're raw!


    What is the serving size? Or is it 120 calories total for this recipe?

    Serving size is about 1.5 oz. 120 per serving.

  • Breanna

    Delicious! Nice smoky change to a regular vegan cheese with the adobo chilis. Great even as a sauce for tacos for meat eaters. This will be a go-to for tacos or any other southwest style meal in the future.

    This is so great to hear Breanna! We are so glad you love it, thanks for trying it out!

  • NLA

    This is awesome! We made it along with the sweet potato tacos and it was great but now just thinking how many other things we can use this on. Was a hit with even the big meat eater in the house so glad to intro him to some options.

    Thank you Natasha! This is so great to hear, we are so glad everyone enjoyed it!

  • Ashley

    AMAZING! I only had about 30 minutes to soak the cashews, but it still turned out so creamy. We will definitely be making this again and again.

    Yay! Happy to hear that Ashley!

  • Elizabeth A Larson

    Tweaked this recipe just a bit due to items on hand and the desire to keep it very "mild" for a potluck.

    Didn't add chili powder. used only 1/2 tps of chipotle powder.
    No tomato paste on hand so grabbed 2 small campari tomatoes.

    Turned out GREAT; heated but remained nice and drizzly for a baked potato bar. A friend put some on his salad, LOL.

    Glad you liked it Elizabeth! Way to improvise with what you had on hand!