Vegan Nacho Cheese


Your friends and family will never believe this creamy vegan nacho cheese dip is plant-based and healthy.

This unbelievably creamy plant-based vegan nacho cheese dip is not only healthy but extremely satisfying and delicious. Made with cashews, bell pepper and nutritional yeast, you’ll feel good serving this to your loved ones.

Plant-based cheese

As a Midwesterner I grew up eating a fair amount of cheese and in particular, nacho cheese. I think the nacho cheese you get in the school cafeteria or at the stadium is probably a petroleum product or some version of Velveeta, but whatever it was I freaking loved it.

As I’ve grown up to realize I have a dairy allergy (yes, that’s technically illegal in the Midwest), I’ve luckily been forced into finding healthier options of my favorite comfort foods. Enter this unbelievably creamy vegan nacho cheese made with bell peppers, cashews and nutritional yeast. It’s the best dairy-free nacho cheese you’ll want to use as a dip, on loaded nachos or even as a taco salad bowl dressing.

You have to soak your cashews

Don’t skip this step! To speed up the process, soak the cashews in warm to hot water for at least an hour. It makes all the difference in this recipe.

Tips for making vegan nacho cheese dip:

There are 3 main things that make this recipe extra creamy:

  1. Soak your cashews: You just can’t skip this step. It really doesn’t take much time if you soak them in warm water. Give it at least an hour up to 24 hours.
  2. Soak cashew pieces or halves: Cashews get soft in a lot less time when they’re in smaller pieces. These are my absolute favorite brand of cashews to use.
  3. Use a high speed blender. You can still make this recipe using a regular blender or a food processor but it might be just one notch less creamy.

Questions about vegan nacho cheese dip:

Should I serve this dip warm or cold?

Both work amazingly! I think my favorite is to eat it slightly warm. You can use it warm on your loaded vegan nachos, as one layer in a taco dip or cold on a taco salad as dressing.

Is this really healthy?

It totally is! With heart-healthy ingredients like cashews, nutritional yeast, bell pepper and olive oil you can feel good about eating this recipe and serving it to your loved ones.

Can I use red bell pepper instead of yellow or orange?

Yes! The color of the dip will be a little bit darker but it tastes just as great. Just don’t use green bell pepper as you won’t get the same color, taste or texture.

Ways to enjoy this plant-based vegan nacho cheese dip:

  • Serve it slightly warm with chips and loaded toppings like sliced jalapeno, scallions and cilantro.
  • Drizzle it on top of vegan nachos.
  • Add a little extra water and use it as a salad dressing in a taco salad bowl.
  • Use it as a layer in a Midwestern taco dip with beans, shredded lettuce and salsa.
  • Don’t forget the drinks! Make my Paloma Cocktail to serve alongside.

Vegan Nacho Cheese

Unbelievably creamy plant-based vegan nacho cheese.
Servings 8 servings
Cook Time 5 minutes
Soaking time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1 cup cashews soaked 1-24 hours
  • 1 medium yellow or orange bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder optional
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water


  • Soak your cashews in water for a minimum of 1 hour up to 24 hours.
  • Drain and rinse the cashews and add to a high-speed blender with all ingredients except the water.
  • Turn on the blender and slowly add water until you've reached your desired consistency.
  • Serve with tortilla chips.
  • Can be made up to 5 days ahead of time.
Course: Savory

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @growingwithgertie on Instagram.

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