Real-Food Hot Nacho Cheese Sauce – Dairy & Gluten Free

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Real Food nacho Cheese Sauce - Dairy FreeA couple of times in her short life, my daughter had the ‘pleasure’ of partaking in one this country’s nastiest creations: powdered,  fake nacho cheese sauce.  When I tried to explain how it was made and why it was something that was not good for bodies, she seemed totally unconvinced.  “But Mom!!  It is really good!”  Sigh.  I remember how much I too enjoyed those sauces growing up, Eazy-Cheese was one of my favorites (gross!)!!  But now we know more.  And I know better.

I never have lofty hopes when trying to make dairy free cheese sauces.  I have made more than I can shake a stick at.  None of them convince anyone in the family.  But this one did.  I adapted this recipe from a lonely copied recipe that I have had in my ‘to try’ folder for some time.  There is no book name or author though on the page, so let me know if this looks familiar!

My daughter thinks I make this special hot cheese sauce just for her.  She doesn’t know or care that it comes from all wholesome, real -food ingredients!  And no, it does not taste like REAL cheese…it tastes like that hot nacho ‘cheese’!  And one day, I can hope, that she too will learn that what food she puts into her body really does matter.

Maybe after the 1000th talk about it.  If I’m lucky!


5.0 from 2 reviews
Real-Food Hot Nacho Cheese Sauce - Dairy & Gluten Free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 cups
  • 2½ cups water
  • ½ cup raw cashews (next time I might try raw soaked sunflower seeds to make it nut free)
  • 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast (most often in bulk foods sections of well-stocked grocery stores)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet rice flour (or any gf flour really)
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch (or any starch)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic granules or powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika (reduce if you don;t like a smoky flavor, but it is a key flavor here!)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
  • 2 tablespoons allowed butter or butter substitute
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, or lemon juice, or more to taste
  1. In a blender, puree all the ingredients through the seasonings until smooth and no gritty texture left from the nuts. I did this for one smoothie cycle in my Blend Tec.
  2. Pour into a small saucepan, and gently heat over medium low heat, whisking frequently.
  3. When the sauce is thick and creamy, remove from the heat, and stir in the butter and rice vinegar. Store in an airtight container.


Real Food Nacho Cheese Sauce - Gluten Free, Dairy Free

This post was shared on Fat Tuesday, Hearth & Soul, GF Wednesday, Waste Not Want NotReal Food Wednesday GF Friday, Lets Get Real FridaySavouring Saturdays,

It's only fair to share...Share on YummlyTweet about this on TwitterShare on StumbleUponShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

When her third child was born with severe food allergies, Tessa took to the kitchen to figure out how to feed her family well. Always up for a culinary challenge, their journey has taken many twists and turns! Lots of Paleo, and lots of top 8 free. Good food for families, that's what she's about!

Posted in Appetizers & Snacks Tagged with: , , ,
39 comments on “Real-Food Hot Nacho Cheese Sauce – Dairy & Gluten Free
  1. Eva says:

    Yay! You finally posted it! Do the cashews need to be pre-soaked?

  2. Amber says:

    Looks great Tessa!!! I make a similar “cheese” sauce, but I LOVE the idea of serving it has a nacho cheese sauce. So cleaver.

    I’m trying my best to keep up with all the posts each day! So much good information and awesome recipes. It may take a while to digest everything. But what you’ve shared thus far has been stellar. Great job friend!


  3. Wendi S says:

    My dairy free 5yo would love this!

  4. You had me at Nacho Cheese and then DF!! I would have to use sunflower seeds, as both of my kids are allergic to nuts but am excited to find this for my son who is also allergic to dairy.

  5. Michelle says:

    Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing :)

  6. Tessa,

    This looks so good!


  7. Laura says:

    This looks so tasty. I am all about “cheese” sauces-can’t wait to make this! Thanks Tessa!

  8. Thank you so much for linking up your yummy healthy recipe on Kids in the Kitchen! we’re so happy to have you- linking again on Tues! may 22

  9. I can’t wait to give this a try! My lactose intolerant son loves nacho cheese sauce and I have been looking for a substitute.

  10. Ina gawne says:

    Tessa – this sounds delicious! A great option for those that are dairy free!

  11. Miz Helen says:

    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you are having a great day and enjoy your new Red Plate!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

  12. That looks nice and creamy, just like they like it. I’ve had the same conversation with my daughter about the orange cheese food … yours looks great and is far healthier! Thanks for sharing at Hearth & Soul. :)

  13. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back later tonight when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  14. This looks terrific! I make a vegan cheese sauce but never exactly like this- I like the ingredients in this- I think I’m going to try this one out! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Thanks, Tessa!

    I was just saying we needed a more grain free dairy free yeast sauce!! Yippee!

  16. Anything that you can use in place of the nutritional yeast? My son has yeast sensitivity.

  17. emily says:

    Wow! I’m impressed! Thanks for linking up to Tasteful Tuesdays and for the link back :o) Can’t wait to see what you bring next week. Emily @ Nap-Time Creations
    oh, and I just posted looking for some help with my blog… maybe you can offer some advice?

  18. Mmmm, I love dairy-free cheese! And I love how oozy yours looks. Bet it would be delicious over cauliflower, apple slices, and tortilla chips! Well done!!!

  19. Miz Helen says:

    Wishing you a peaceful Memorial Day Weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  20. Your Nacho Cheese Sauce sounds terrific. I know it can be hard to make cheese sauces dairy free but you’ve done a fantastic job here – even the texture coming off the whisk looks perfect! I like the spices you have used too.

  21. Oh wow, this sounds amazing! GREAT to have a healthy alternative!! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

    Can’t wait to see what you are bringing to the party this week! We have another GREAT giveaway!

    Cindy from

  22. Valinda says:

    This sounds wonderful…but what can I use instead of the nutritional yeast. I can’t tolerate it.
    I have tried to find something else but without it, the flavor is bland.

  23. Seeing how I love cheese, but it don’t love me this could be an alternative for me. Pinned to my healthy eating board, would love for you to share on Real Food Fridays.
    Joyce @ It’s Your Life recently posted…Real Food Fridays #25 Link Up & GiveawayMy Profile

  24. Tessa says:

    This sounds like heaven….only catch were the cashews. I did definitely perk up with the mention that soaked sunflower seeds would work too, but can’t figure out how much should be added in replacement to the 1/2 cup of cashews? Would I need more sunflower seeds instead of 1/2 a cup?

    (from one Tessa to another)

  25. Dana says:

    Really good! I didn’t like the sauce with GF hard pretzels but it was amazing with org tortilla chips. Would be great on baked potatoes, tacos, enchiladas, etc. great job!

  26. My husband would be so glad to see this! He recently cut dairy out of his diet (hopefully temporarily!), and he misses cheese.

    Thanks for sharing with Waste Not Want Not Wednesday! I can’t wait to try it as soon as I get the ingredients!
    Elise recently posted…Gluten-Free Lasagna NoodlesMy Profile

  27. anni nz says:

    Sooooooo good!!! We’re not vegan, but I like to limit our dairy intake and thought I’d try this. Well, my husband had a taste while it was thickening on the stove and could not stop afterwards – YUM! This will become a family favourite. Thanks for sharing

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Welcome, I am happy you are here!

My name is Tessa, and I have learned to cook without almost all major allergens! I have a focus on making family foods as healthy as possible. Real food is my obsession. Gluten free, casein free, vegan, Paleo, sugar free: I have a little of something for anyone with restrictions., Take a peek, you're sure to find something delicious, and if you need any help, I am always willing to help you tweak things to YOUR tastes and dietary needs!

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