Quick 5-Minute Vegan Cheese Sauce! (oil-free)

cheese sauce in pan

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This is the cheese sauce I turn to when I want cheese FAST. I have been making this for years, and have tinkered with the recipe to get it to just how I like it.

Potato stuffed with broccoli and cheese sauce

It’s very versatile, too: great for grilled cheese, quesadillas, in casseroles, over pasta, nachos, you name it!

grilled cheese sandwich made with cheese sauce

Even though this is nearly instant, it tastes really good, and is healthy to boot! I do not add any vegan butter or oil to it. Years ago, I experimented with adding a bit of vegan butter, but really it wasn’t necessary.

This sauce gets very thick as it cools. If you don’t use it right away, you will want to re-heat it and whisk it with more water. You can use a stick blender to make it easier.

But, depending on what you plan to make with this, you may prefer that is it more like a spreadable cheese after it cools.

Usually, I use it as a sauce when I 1st make it, then I will use it for things like quesadillas and grilled cheese later as it cools.

Here is a grilled cheese sandwich my daughter made recently after the sauce had chilled for one day:

grilled cheese sandwich

I usually double the batch, as my family really loves this. Enjoy!

Note about Nutritional Yeast: I buy all my Plant-Based groceries for the best price, meaning I compare all the prices for the sources available to me. I have discovered that the best price at my stores are $9.99/lb. in the bulk areas at Whole Foods & Safeway. If you price this per pound, it is shocking how much the prices can vary.

I also often buy this one on Amazon in a one pound bag for a similarly good price:

Quick 5-Minute Vegan Cheese Sauce (oil-free)

Amy – thepennypantry.com
This is what I make when I want Cheese Sauce FAST!  It thickens a lot as it cools, making it perfect for grilled cheese or quesadillas.  You also re-heat it, add more water while whisking it to return it to a sauce.
Note: Recipe heavily adapted from a VegWeb Recipe.
Course Sauce
Cuisine American


  • 1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 cup Flour I use White Whole Wheat or Whole Wheat Pastry, any will work
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp. Salt Start with 1 tsp. salt, add more if needed
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder or Granulated Garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 tsp. Miso If you don’t have Miso, just leave it out or use Brown Mustard instead.
  • 1 TB Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp. Maple Syrup


  • Add all dry ingredients to a saucepan and mix well.
  • Slowly add water and miso or mustard, whisking well.  I use a whisk and a wooden spoon to incorporate everything well.  An immersion (stick) blender works well too, but make sure yours is ok for hot foods.
  • Continue stirring and whisking over medium heat until thick.  You may want to add more water depending on how thick you want the sauce at this point.  Stir in lemon juice & maple syrup at end.  Taste, and adjust for salt.
  • Use immediately, refrigerate any leftovers.  When cooled, the sauce becomes “spreadable”.  You can return it back to a sauce by reheating and adding more water while heating it on the stovetop.  An immersion blender makes this easy.  Enjoy! 🙂
    cheese sauce in pan

You can use an immersion blender like this one to blend the ingredients, either while making it or after it cools.

Amazon also sells smaller packs of Nutritional Yeast if you don’t want to commit to one pound:


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