The Best Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce

Nightclub & Bar's recipe database is composed of tasty treats from top culinary and industry experts' food menu creations. The Best Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce is sure to please vegetarian, vegan and health-conscious guests.

Courtesy of The Food Lab,


  • 6 Tbsp. vegetable shortening or palm oil
  • 1 Small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic powder
  • 1 chipotle pepper packed in adobo sauce, finely chopped & 1 tsp. adobo sauce
  • 4 oz. Russet potato (about 1/2 medium), peeled & thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. Roasted cashews (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • 1/2 Cup almond milk
  • such as Frank
  • 2 tsp. pickling liquid from a can of pickled jalapeño peppers
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Pickled jalapeño peppers, to taste


  1. Melt shortening in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and jalapeños and cook, stirring, until completely softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and chipotle (with sauce). Cook, stirring, until fragrant and mixture starts to sizzle, about 1 minute.
  2. Add potatoes and cashews and cook, stirring, until cashews are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add water and almond milk. Bring to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, until potatoes are fully tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer mixture to the jar of a high-powered blender (see note above). Add hot sauce, jalapeño pickling liquid, and a pinch of salt. Start on low speed and slowly increase speed to high. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, about 2 minutes, adding water a few drops at a time as necessary to thin to desired consistency. Season to taste with more salt.
  4. Press mixture through a chinois (see note above), using the bottom of a ladle to get it through. Cheese sauce can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 1 week. To reheat, microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, or reheat in a small pan on the stovetop, stirring constantly, and adding extra water to loosen sauce as necessary.

NOTE: For the best, smoothest results, use a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix or Blendtec) and press mixture through a chinois.