The Best Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

A thick, creamy, tangy, gooey vegan nacho sauce made with supermarket staples. Perfect for dipping or topping nachos, baked potatoes, veggie burgers, or macaroni and cheese.

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

The Best Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce

About This Recipe

Yield:Makes about 2 cups
Active time:25 minutes
Total time:25 minutes
Special equipment:High-powered blender and chinois (see note above)
This recipe appears in: The Food Lab: Vegan Nacho Sauce That's as Good as the Real Thing
Rated:

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons 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 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
  • 1 chipotle pepper packed in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
  • 4 ounces russet potato (about 1/2 medium), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces roasted cashews (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Frank's)
  • 2 teaspoons pickling liquid from a can of pickled jalapeño peppers (plus peppers, to taste)
  • Kosher salt to taste

Procedures

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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.

Comments

Add a rating with your comment:

Comments can take up to a minute to appear - please be patient!

Previewing your comment: