This vegan queso will fool even hard-core cheese-lovers. A high-speed blender produces the thickest, creamiest cheesy sauce. Try it in our Mac and Cheese with Roasted Veggies, whip up your own mac and cheese mix, pour it over a baked potato, or serve it as a dip for chips!

By Shelli McConnell,


  • 1 cup regular rolled oats
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 7-oz. jar roasted red peppers, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons bottled hot pepper sauce


  • Bring 2 cups water to boiling. Meanwhile, in a regular or high-speed blender place the first four ingredients (through salt). Pulse to combine. Add the next four ingredients (through hot sauce). Add the boiling water. Cover and blend on low until combined. Increase speed to high and blend 5 minutes. Sauce will thicken as it blends. Serve immediately.
  • Transfer any leftovers to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Reheat sauce in a saucepan over low, stirring in water as needed to reach desired consistency.

Comments (242)

(5 from 85 votes)

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Ok, don't do what I did. I doubled the recipe ... except for the boiling water! UGH!! Super thick and my vitamix was MAD. I added more water, probably just another 1/2 cup, the divided it up into containers to freeze. As I was labeling the containers, I just glanced over at the recipe and realized my mistake. Funny, but annoying. I guess it won't taste "watered" down when I reheat it later! LOL!

Deena Garber

What does through salt and through hot paper sauce means.

Lisa, Forks Over Knives Support

Hi Deena, Great question! The first instruction, "in a regular or high-speed blender place the first four ingredients (through salt)" means to place the first four ingredients through to the salt. So you'd add the rolled oats, nutritional yeast, corn starch, and sea salt. In the next part, when it says, "Add the next four ingredients (through hot sauce) - you add the remaining four ingredients, the last one being hot sauce. Hope that helps! A lot of our recipes use this style.


I made this and subbed half the peppers for rehydrated sundried tomatoes. It tastes amazing. I wondered if anyone had nutritional info?

Lisa, Forks Over Knives Support

Hi Catherine, That's great to hear you enjoyed the sauce and thanks for sharing your variation. We are in the process of adding nutritional information to all of our recipes. Stay tuned for updates, as we hope to have this ready soon. In the meantime, there are free websites where you can plug in the ingredients to find the nutritional information.


It won’t overheat something like a Vitamix.


How much boiling water????!!!! 1 cup, 2 cups, 3 cups ????


It says to blend 5 minutes. That feels excessive. Won't that overheat the motor?


For anyone having doubts about this recipe, read on before giving up on it. The first time I made it was almost my last. Didn't like it at all. Didn't taste like cheese. I did refrigerate most of it. Reheated the next day it tasted MUCH better. There are times now I struggle to STOP eating it. What I've learned: 1. DON'T serve immediately -- give time for the flavors to combine and more thickening. If you still don't like it, refrigerate and reheat later. 2. If you still don't like it, cut down on the acid (vinegar/lemon juice). I think 1 Tbsp. is too much. Still experimenting , but I think 1 tsp (or less) each of vinegar and lemon juice works. 3. Vary the hot sauce (or if you love love hot stuff like me, do what I do now and just use 1 fresh habanero pepper instead). Happy Cheezing!


This is ok as a sauce. Didn’t really taste like queso to me. The slippery mouth feel is a little weird to me too and there is a bitter after taste that I can’t figure out what it’s from. Maybe the oats?


Hi Theresa, I just made mine, using 1/2 cup oat flour; I don't have an adequate blender to grind the oats, and rule of thumb is 1 cup oats = 3/4 cup flour. So, I used less than the recipe called for. I think the slippery mouth feel is at least partially from the corn starch, but I've never been a fan. Didn't detect a bitter after taste.


Fantastic! We love it. So tasty and versatile.

Rosemary Rimar

OH Hell Yes!!!!


I was definitely skeptical about this one with oats but it’s the best one I’ve made. Hands down.

Rosemary Rimar

I love, love, love this recipe! So much lighter than the usual cashew recipes! Who wouldn't love oatmeal and roasted peppers as the main ingredients for a vegan cheese! I eat it with wild abandon!!


So delicious! Glad there’s no cashews.


I’m sorry, but nutritional yeast is anything but nutritional. It acts like MSG in your brain. Not a health food!

Rosemary Rimar

Yummy. Even the pickiest eater on the planet said it was "OK"! That is a very high compliment! I say, it's great!!! I increased the heat and added cumin. Now if I can just forget it's sitting on my stove in a pan.....all hot and steamy....until game time!


This is the best "cheese" sauce I have tried, and I have tried many. Most use cashews - while they can be delicious, they are also high in fat and calories. I feel like this sauce is as healthy as it is delicious!


This is outstanding! I roasted a red pepper in the air fryer, as recommended by another reviewer and it turned out perfect. I didn’t have bottled hot sauce so I subbed with 1 tsp Ancho Chile Pepper powder. I put it in with the dry ingredients. My daughter in law came in after it was made and she said “I can’t stop eating this, it’s soooo good!” I felt the same. I will definitely keep this as a regular and we both agreed I could serve it to guests and they wouldn’t even know it’s vegan.


This was terrible, didn't taste like cheese sauce at all. Anyone who says they are "fooled" by this is lying. I even tried some of the commenters' suggestions. Still not good or cheesy. Waste of time and money.


We've made lot of FoK recipes and they are SO good, but this sauce didn't taste remotely like cheese to me or my partner but a mediocre replacement for cheese if you can't eat or choose to stay away from dairy and you want to pretend. I think we'd pass on making it again. We didn't end up eating it - tried it for veggie dip but it's not for us. Certainly a healthy alternative if you like it. If it's your first time making it, maybe make half the recipe or even a quarter if you want to not waste it if you end up not liking it.

Helen Plenert

This is my go to cheese sauce. Sometimes I add less hot sauce for a Mac and cheese. *** I've also frozen the extra in a icecube tray so I can add just a touch of cheesy goodness when I want to top a dish or drizzle.

Rachel Moule

Hi I’d live to give this a try but please can you explain, should the jar of undrained red peppers be in oil or water please? I’ve seen both in my supermarkets UK). I’m guessing it needs to be oil?


Hi. I believe it’s the red peppers in the water.

Megan Edwards

Hi Rachel, We recommend using red peppers in water because our recipes focus on whole-food, plant-based ingredients, and oil is a processed food. Let us know how it turns out!


What are the macros

Lisa Fontenot

No self-respecting Texan raised on Tex-Mex is going to be fooled into thinking this is queso. That being said, it was pretty good and my husband and I were pleased to have another option to add to our chips and salsa routine. I'll definitely be making it again.


Sensational - easy pantry ingredients. I didn’t have a raw onion so I used onion powder. This recipe deserves permanent status - beats all others. Thank you!


Very Tasty. Serving Suggestion: Double the recipe & freeze 1 cup batches. Thaw & heat with 1 can of Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes (Aldi's knock-off works great). Perfect with tortilla chips or on a baked potato. Mmmmm!!!


I have stared at this recipe for about 6 months wondering how it could possibly make a cheese-like substance before finally trying it. It is, hands down, the best vegan cheese sauce I’ve ever had. Whatever alchemy this simple list of ingredients does is remarkable. My non-vegan friends have no idea it’s not dairy cheese.

Tracy Pearce

This is delicious! It has a subtle cheesy flavor, which the red peppers really make pop! My non-wfpb husband loved it! I made it as a condiment for tacos, but I think we will be using it to make some nachos for happy hour Friday!


I wholeheartedly agree with the others, this is the best plant-based cheese sauce recipe! I gave up on finding one that I liked years ago, but this one caught my eye today because of the oatmeal! It thickens without being gooey! Authentic texture! Credible queso flavor! A+++


I've been making this recipe for a long time and it never lets me down. Today I did a slight variation with was just a great. I had some hot cherry peppers and used those instead of the red peppers and it was still great. And a great use for something that has been sitting in my refrigerator. I got the hot ones by mistake, I usually get the sweet ones so this was a great way to use something that otherwise would go to waste.


I have tried a lot of vegan cheese sauces--and thrown away several. Shelli, yours is the very best. I never need to try another one. And this one was so very easy. Thank you so, so much. I think I can do the WFPB thing now more successfully. Mary T. and others saying this is amazing, I agree with you no more.

Mary T

My hunt for the perfect plant-based cheese sauce has ended. This is it!


Sounds delicious.Bill

Mike C


Julie R.

This is my favorite queso. It goes together beautifully in my vitamix blender. I only make half a recipe as it makes quite a bit. The closest sauce to cheese. I made homemade Mac and cheese with it. My husband who will not eat plant based things didn't even know!

Mary Hess

Tasty but very sticky. Hard to clean Blender. Will use less cornstarch next time.

Amy griffin

What I do is put hot soapy water in the blender and put on high and it cleans it. Hope that helps.


Been making a slightly different version of this for several months now and it's great! Better than any store bought cheese dip out there. Especially for pretzels, chips, or bean and cheese burritos!

Janet Gruenewald

And your slightly different version is... I would be interested to know. Thank You

Phil Kaiser

Good recipe. Makes A LOT of queso. Try half a recipe for two or three. Served with FOK Air Fryer Taquitos recipe. Came out pretty thick so next time I’ll cut the cornstarch down. Had leftover taquitos the next day and the sauce was even better reheated with a little water. FOK, please post Nutritional info with recipes. Thanks


Can use yellow bell peppers (roast them yourself) and turmeric

Linda Moore

Delicious! Thank you!

Laurie Masters

SUPER DUPER EASY TO AIR FRY YOUR OWN BELL PEPPERS I *HATE* when people say something is easy but it's really time consuming. This is NOT! And you get no oil, waste no bottle, and save lots of expense -- so expensive for just a piece of fruit! (Yes, a nonsweet fruit -- like tomato, zucchinni, okra.) Click this link to see a couple photos and a short video of me slipping the skin off the bell pepper after it's roasted. If you can (1) slice off the shoulders (the top 1/4 inch or so) of the bell pepper, (2) reach in and twist out the core, (3) bang the decapitated bell pepper on the counter to knock the seeds out, and (4) place it in the air fryer cut side down and hit Start (400 degrees, 17 minutes or more), you'll have gorgeously roasted bell peppers while you prepare the rest of the meal. Easy-peasy! (I used to try this in an oven and drove myself MAD trying to tweezer off all the little pieces of skin that stuck ... Grrrr!)

Plant Life Journey Retreats

Awesome tip, Laurie! Thank you for these directions!


Thanks for the air fryer red pepper instructions. It turned out perfect!

Laurie Masters

SUPER SUPER EASY TO ROAST YOUR OWN BELL PEPPERS IN AN AIR FRYER - I skip the expense, the bottle, and the oil that roasted bell peppers are often packed in. I *HATE* when people say "super easy" but then it's really not. THIS IS. Take a look at this post, where I show several photos and a short video of how to roast them. Literally if you can slice the top off, twist the core out, and place them in an air fryer and hit START, you're 75% done. Then, if you've roasted them long enough, it takes another 30 seconds to slip the skins off. Which I show in the video. (Years ago I tried roasting bell peppers in my oven and drove myself crazy trying for 30 minutes with a tweezers to get all the stuck bits of skin off.)

Elizabeth Brzek

how much water or other liquid do you add to replace the liquid that was in the jar with the roasted peppers?


Substitution for nutritional yeast? My body treats it like MSG.

Milan Sandhu

Haven’t tried this recipe but I use white miso many times in my cheez sauces. You may be able to find chickpea miso as well - miso does have salt though if that’s something you are avoiding


Very good! First time I made this. Made per the recipe except that I used only 1/2 teaspoon of Tabasco brand pepper sauce, and this was plenty of sauce for me. Dipped white corn tortilla chips and couldn't quite eating. Will try on steamed Broccoli and other vegies. Will definitely make this again and will try it out on my non-Whole Food plant-based family.


Jill's Game Changer Cheese Sauce !






Then house would you measure the oat flour compared to while oats?


Are the roasted red peppers in oil?


Nope! FOK advocates for a whole food plant based diet, and oil isn't a whole food... it's basically just the empty, highly caloric remains left behind after all the nutrients and fiber are processed out of a food. It takes some getting used to eliminating it, but well worth the benefits!

Plant Life Journey Retreats

Definitely want to check the ingredients if buying a jar of roasted red peppers. I find most of them packed in oil but there are some (usually store generic brand or Trader Joe’s) that are packed in water. They are out there. However, it is very easy to roast your own ahead of time. See other comments on this thread for making in the air fryer. Oven if you don’t have an air fryer.


I made this first without changing recipe. Not so good and pretty runny...until I put it in a pot on the stove and heated up to thicken with another almost 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 1-1/2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp taco seasoning and a pinch of tumeric powder... delish!


great idea

Plant Life Journey Retreats

Great idea to heat on stove, especially if you don’t have a high speed Vitamix or similar blender. I find with the Vitamix, you won’t have to use the stove if you let it blend long enough to get it really hot. You will actually hear the sound of the speed change once the sauce is thickening. It can take several minutes to reach this point, but saves dishes and stove top time. Sauce will be extremely hot so be careful when you open it.


is this freezer friendly?


Made this and then added some of my home made salsa making it a fabulous queso! Served it to my carnivorous friend (with store made tortilla chips as he won't eat my oil free baked chips) without telling him it was vegan. He would have turned up his nose if I had. He loved it. After he had gobbled down quite a few chips, I told him the queso dip would not hurt his heart as it was vegan. He was shocked. I then encouraged him to try one of my baked corn chips which he did. Shook his head and said no, not good. Grabbed some more store bought tortilla chips and continued chowing down this dip. Baby steps.


It's dangerous to trick a meat eater,especially if you don't know their allergies.


Can arrowroot be subbed for cornstarch?


You can substitute equal amounts, arrowroot for cornstarch in any recipe that uses cornstarch.

Sue Buling

Holy Cow this is good! I think I cried a little. My husband said, "Wait. This isn't real cheese??" One question, mine didn't thicken very much. Is there a way to thicken to dip consistency?

AnnMarie Gombos

I would try adding a little more cornstarch and see if that works. Fingers crossed! I'm going to make this this weekend and I'll let you know how mine turns out.


If you don't have a high speed blender where friction cooks it, I'd recommend cooking it briefly in a pan until it does thicken.


For us non-Americans, are roasted red peppers capsicums or chillis? They're not so common in jars where I live.

Courtney Davison

Hi JP, Roasted red peppers are bell peppers (capsicums). If you're unable to find them at the store in a jar or can, you can roast red bell peppers in your oven. Thank you, Courtney Davison Editor, Forks Over kNives

Tammy T

I made this queso tonight and had friends over who aren't plant based. They loved it as much as I did.


Mine sure did thicken. Are you using a high-speed blender and blending it for 5 minutes? My blender (Ninja) turns itself off after a little bit; I have to set a timer for 5 minutes and turn the blender back on when it goes off. This sauce is highly approved by my picky husband.

Marie H

Holy cow, outstanding! No peeling potatoes and carrots and no expensive cashews but a superior taste to every other vegan queso I've ever had. I only used 1/2 tsp of the hot sauce because I figured I could add more if needed when done but like other people, I added a few slices (and a smidge of brine) from jarred jalapenos.

Veronica West

Amazing! So happy to have a “cheese” sauce that is compliant with a whole food plant based diet AND taste fantastic! Thank you FOK!


I was fully expecting this to be 'meh', but I just made this and can't stop eating it by the spoonful right out of the blender and saying "NO WAY!" To me, it tastes just like any spicy queso I've had at restaurants. I'm so excited to have the hubby try it when he gets home. I only used 1 teaspoon of tabasco for the hot sauce and it's pretty spicy. Love it!


Is it safe to add boiling water to a blender?


I wondered that myself, but it seemed to go OK since I was adding it to other ingredients that were already cool.


It is as long as you are careful. Very careful as you would be when working with boiling water in other instances. Also, be sure the lid is on tightly. I can totally see someone getting hurt if he or she wasn't paying attention.


I am a former vegetarian/vegan and have never tried vegan queso before. I have nothing else to compare it to so it wasn't bad! I look forward to incorporating more plants into my families' meals.

Dorothy M.

This is definitely a keeper! Far superior to the MANY cashew based versions of queso I’ve tried. I read all the reviews first, and added a little garlic and few sliced jalapeños with their brine. The result was very much like a nacho sauce, which totally works for me! Can’t wait to try this over veggies and potatoes!

Shirley Hershberger

Great recipe! Did not have roasted red peppers so added little extra hot water and red peppers. After blended put in 1 Cup silken tofu and 2 tes. taco seasoning and blended till smooth. It was great on our taco's and Enchilada's.


Would it work without the nutritional yeast?


Not if you want the cheesy flavor

Jenny R

This is amazing. I added some chopped jalapeños for additional spice and texture and it is delicious! I am so excited to have a true replacement for queso in my diet!


Choose what does agree with you and use the same way as oatmeal!- worth a try! Just being adventurous is how we discover new things we love!


Anyone have a good substitute for oatmeal? I’m allergic


You can add a boiled potato, plus 1 small boiled onion, and 1 small boiled carrot. Comes out really good too. You probably would not need the cornstarch though.


My high speed blender will heat the sauce if blending for 5 minutes, so is it necessary to boil the water?


You can try blending all ingredients together until a smooth texture than heat the sauce on the stove top to thicken it. That's how I do it with another recipe.


No it's not. This is basically "Jill's game changer cheese sauce" which I have been making for years in my Vitamix. I even use frozen roasted red peppers (homemade), and the cheese sauce is smoking hot after 5 minutes.


This is really good. The closes to cheese I’ve found. I can’t stop dipping celery sticks in it.

Sarah Stopyra

Good recipe and a staple in my house now on Mexican food nights. A lighter cheese sauce option than the cashew varieties so we eat this up guilt free. I’ve made this several times with adjustments after the first time. I found the amount of red pepper to be far too much as listed in the recipe for my taste. Now I do a large piece or two only, not the whole jar. I also add some Mexican spices to taste- cumin, chili pepper and a dash of turmeric for color. A few Jarred jalepenos are also fabulous in this with a tablespoon or so of the brine thrown in as well.

Jan Cowger

Where do you find a 7 oz jar of roasted red peppers?

Amy V

Trader Joes.

Skye Gibbins

OOPS! I followed the recipe, but added a jar of peppers that turned out to be 12 oz. instead of 7 oz. A little more "liquidy" I guess, but still very tasty. I will put it on my black bean burger and then save some for rice, veggies, whatever. Very nice recipe. I did use WAY less Frank's Hot Sauce, but I'm a delicate little flower (haha).


Did everything asked for but items are NOT getting thick. What can I do? I thought about adding more corn startch?? It tastes great but very runny.


High-speed blender plus boiling water should generate enough heat to cook and thicken the sauce. If your sauce is thin, try cooking it in a saucepan after blending, like white sauce: moderate heat, constant stirring.


It took me a while but eventually it will get thick. I was amazed at how it all came together!


I've been making a recipe very similar to this. I've had the "hard core" non vegan people swear that there was milk or cheese in this until I gave them the recipe and the made it. Great stuff!!!

Laurie Swain

Can you send me your recipe . I’m having trouble finding one that my family will like . Thanks


Usually they’re packed in water

Robyn windeatt

Can someone tell me what the roasted red peppers are packed in? Here in Australia they are usually packed in oil. The recipe says don’t drain red peppers which would make for a very high oil recipe


I buy them packed in water.


Maybe you would find them as pimentos.


I buy them in water from Woolworths or Coles. Don't get them at the deli counter - everything is always in oil there - get a jar off the shelves in the vegetable sections

Kathleen Sherman

This stuff is absolutely amazing! I’ve made pant-based queso sauce before with raw cashews and although it was good, it wasn’t nearly as good as this - plus the cashews are much more caloric than rolled oats. It truly tastes like you just melted a block of cheese. My only question is how you came up with the color shown. Mine was a much darker color, almost like an orange red. Of course that was due to the roasted red peppers. Not sure how your color came out the way it did unless you used roasted orange peppers. Just curious. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.


What can the red pepper be substituted for?


By far my favourite vegan cheese like sauce, and my second favourite has 3/4 cup cashews per similar quantity, so happy to find a low fat version for more regular use. Kids loved it too, including one who hates peppers in any other form than raw.

Irene McDonald in Toronto

I just made this and was amazed at how good it is. Am going to have it on a large potato with sauted onions, mushrooms, red pepper stripes and steamed broccoli. I am so looking forward to supper tonight. I made it with only 1 cup water as I make way too much for 1 person.


Is the recipe missing a comma between 1 and 7, or is it a 17oz jar of roasted red peppers?


Recipe calls for one 7 ounce jar of roasted red peppers...

Peggy Lee

It’s one 7 ounce jar.

Brenda Schnell

If you can get some Canadian measuring tools they generally have both measurements. We switched to metric while I was in school (long ago). And I use both. Does that make me bilingual?? Also if I need to convert ounces to ml as for canned goods I just ask Siri and she tells me. Canned goods are similarly sized enough that it doesn’t matter. But in all fairness a big company like FOK should be providing both to a world wide audience IMOP.


What kind of hot pepper sauce do I use? I don’t know much about hot pepper sauce

Theresa Preston

As much as you want?


I would use standard issue Tabasco for this recipe.

Kathleen Sherman

I didn’t have hot sauce so I used Sriracha sauce and it turned out great.

Alejandrina Gonzalez

Finally found a recipe that didn’t require cashews, although I like them—but not in every recipe. One new favorite queso recipe just added!


I tried this recipe for the first time - it was delicious! I made some mashed sweet potato and pour the vegan queso and it was delightful! Since this batch made a lot, I am going to use over veggies, rice, etc. Wonderful recipe!


Wow! I made this exactly per the recipe for the Super Bowl and it is delicious! Super creamy and great flavor. Definitely as good or better than any store bought queso, vegan or not.


Wow Sue! That sounds delicious. My mom was just telling me about this recipe, I'll have to try it!


I live in Germany and have only found roasted red peppers in oil or vinegar (the vinegar made the queso very bitter). Are the roasted red peppers in this recipe in a brine or..?


They are in water. Could you roast some fresh red bell peppers? I would add them to the rest of the ingredients and after blending, add more water to get the right consistency.

Sue Buling

I used Trader Joe's Fire Roasted Red Peppers. They are in water and vinegar and the recipe wasn't bitter at all.


Hi Marie-Louise, I recently moved to Germany from the US. I found the brand Freshona of Paprika-Schoten gegrillt at Edeka. These would definitely work in this recipe.


Maybe just drain and rinse them, then add another 1/4 cup or so of water?


Thank you so much for your replies. I did try the grilled bell peppers from Freshona - this was the bitter variant. I found another recipe that called for fresh bell pepper. Fantastic. I will try this recipe again though only with bell peppers that I have grilled in my air fryer.

Bonnie Bobbitt

I really like the flavor - quite different from the cheese sauces made from raw cashews (which I also like). I excluded the hot sauce, and it still had some tang from the roasted red peppers. Substituted arrowroot for the corn starch - the result wasn't very thick, but it was pourable and worked.

Daniela Thom

A few tweaks and this also makes a lovely Béchamel Sauce for potatoes, steamed veggies, etc. I followed all the steps the same, except I left out the peppers, vinegar and hot sauce and added one big clove of garlic, black pepper, a little nutmeg and an extra splash of nut milk instead - it's fantastic! :)


If you took things out then you didn't follow exactly the same.. ha


Great idea! TY for sharing!


Holy Hannah!! I like to go through the annual tradition of telling my husband that I am going to try a new cheeze recipe, he rolls his eyes, I try, he makes fun of me, we have a good laugh and then we have the annual “throw it in the bin” party. It’s like tradition! Well, happily that tradition came to an end tonight…I actually had to limit intake so we have something left for Super Bowl!! Thank you, thank you, a million thank yous!!


Okay, update, I couldn’t stay out of it. I warmed it up and poured it over baked sweet potato and steamed broccoli… OMG!!! It was JUST as good on day 2!

Della J. Vest

Oh, man! This is GENUINELY GOOD! Cheesy texture; tastes just like the "real" queso from the grocery store! 10/10, will make again! I personally can't have too many oats, as I am allergic, but this works for my husband! I used the cider vinegar option, and Tabasco's Chipotle hot sauce.


Great cheese sauce. I like a spicier and smokier cheese sauce, especially for chili or tortilla chips. I added some garlic and a bit more onion, as well as some guajillo chile and smoked paprika to bolster the flavor. It definitely hit the queso spot.


I roast my own pepper in season and freeze to use for this. I love it.


I would drain the water from the jar of bell peppers as it's full of salt. Best to add a pinch of salt instead. Not tried this yet but definitely will!


What can I use instead of oats? I have an allergy to them. Chickpea flour?


Barley, millet, or wheat berries would all have the desired effect.

Jeanne Brown

How much boiling water?


2 cups boiling water Best. Sauce. Ever!

Catherine ODonoughue

Mine was thin however I was able to thicken it by cooking.


Really good. I was surprised. Very cheesy tasting. Going to put mine over broccoli.


Kind of don't think you have to finely chop the onion if you're gonna blend it for five minutes on high.


Wow! I’ve made this recipe a few times now. Just had to substitute tomato sauce for the roasted red peppers. Delicious!

Jessica G

This was great! A bit thin at first, but thickened with standing. I might add 1.75 c water or a touch more corn starch for next batch. We used ours as a crudité dip and with tortilla chips, beans and roasted veggies for football Sunday, and my usually picky, anti-veggie family gobbled it right up. Thank you! Will definitely make this again.


I got this recipe originally from a "Forks Over Knives" magazine. My kiddo, who is very picky, loves it!

Leeanne Fitzpatrick

There isn’t any water in the recipe ingredients but the instructions mention adding water? Maybe a typo? Thanks for clarifying :)


I think that's for when you reheat it after it's been stored in the refrigerator.


2 cups of boiling water added to the blender right before the final 5 minute blend :)

Elizabeth Allen

Wow! Usually me making any kind of cheese sauce goes like this: make recipe, taste, throw away. THIS is the game changer! Thank you!

Mieke Riezebos

Lovely, but my sauce was much darker. I used red bell roasted peppers. Is that the same what you used? I live in the Netherlands. So sometimes the translation is difficult. Also oz, never heard of it. But thank you fot these free recipes, really I love your site ❤️

Jeanne Rose

Mieke, oz is the abbreviation for ounces in the US. There are 8 ounces in one cup. The jar of roasted red peppers would be slightly less than one cup or 8 ounces. I hope this helps.

Mieke Riezebos

Thanks for the explanation, I think I used to much red Bell pepers

Gloria Guillen

I just made a double batch and I used it on my steamed veggies and potatoes and it is awesome…can I freeze some..


Tasted good, but was too thin. Any suggestions to thicken it up for the second day? I'd like to add it to some pasta.


I am going to try adding less water. Someone suggested 1 3/4 c.

Shari T

bring it to a boil over low heat; it will thicken right up

Dee Dee

How much boiling water? It is missing.


It says 2 cups in the written instructions.

Wanda McCoy

How many total carbs? Thanks!

Marchita Gilson

What are the nutritional factors such as protein, carbs, etc?

Steven, FOK Support

Hi Marchita, we have not included calorie/nutrition information in our recipes to avoid encouraging nutrient tallying and calorie counting, which can create more problems than they solve. With a whole-food, plant-based diet, it's recommended to eat until comfortably satiated instead of counting calories. The higher water and fiber content of whole plant-based foods allows our bodies to more accurately gauge how much food we need to eat. If your condition requires you to know specific nutrient information, we recommend entering our recipes into online nutritional software, like Cronometer or MyFitnessPal. You may find Jeff Novick’s “The Caloric Density Approach to Nutrition and Lifelong Weight Management” article helpful:


This is the one I have been used for awhile, I believe Jill McKeever came up with the original recipe.


You were close. Jill McKeever stated in her video that she got the recipe from Dr. McDougall and adapted it. It is a very tasty recipe!

Stephanie Waugh

How many calories?

Steven, FOK Support

Hi Stephanie, we have not included calorie/nutrition information in our recipes to avoid encouraging nutrient tallying and calorie counting, which can create more problems than they solve. With a whole-food, plant-based diet, it's recommended to eat until comfortably satiated instead of counting calories. The higher water and fiber content of whole plant-based foods allows our bodies to more accurately gauge how much food we need to eat. If your condition requires you to know specific nutrient information, we recommend entering our recipes into online nutritional software, like Cronometer or MyFitnessPal. You may find Jeff Novick’s “The Caloric Density Approach to Nutrition and Lifelong Weight Management” article helpful:


Wow! Always on a cheese replacement quest sine I became vegan. This satisfies my nacho-taco quest cravings! So good!!!! Lol my dog loves it too


Please be mindful that dogs cannot eat onion. Its terrible for their blood, its a cumulative allergy, no shaming just informing.


Wow! Delicious. We love our dairy. Our whole family loved it! I finally found a plant based recipe EVERYONE will eat. Thank you FOK!


Please don't feed it to your dog, onions are toxic to dogs.


Would it make a huge difference to omit the onion :)? I cannot eat onion but I’m wondering if it will impact it drastically consistency-wise Thanks for the recipe xo


itd be amazing if ppl could leave comments that arent just attacking other ppl and countries over prefered systems of measurements :o(

Keshia Nicewander

Just a suggestion to people asking for metric, another option would be to measure it out how the recipe has it and use your scale to estimate measurements for a future time you make it. I do this with recipes, we aren't baking in this recipe so weight isn't AS important. This recipe, if you use what is basically given, can be adjusted to taste preference. I don't use as much water because I don't want it very watery, I like more of a "queso from the jar" texture. Since I keep track of all my recipes in an app, I just measure as I go when using cups and other measurements. Best


Could you share the name of the app you use to track recipes? Thank you in advance

Keshia Nicewander

Hello, I use LoseIt. Works very well for me. I make "Recipes" on their and use them frequently to recreate prior meals.

Mike Bishop

Hi there! Love this recipe, and want to continue making it as consistently as possible. In the future, would you consider including your recipes a weight-in-grams & the metric system conversion? I often try and use a conversion method, but it would feel reassuring coming from directly from the source. Cooking by weight has created such a consistent outcome for me! No matter what, thank you so much for these free recipes! Working to maintain a whole-foods, plant-based diet has been life-changing for me, and recipes like this are a big help along the way.

Traclyn Barrett

I add a squeeze of lemon to give it some tang.

Steven, FOK Support

Thank you for your comment, Mike! Your message has been received by the team :-) So glad you know you're enjoying the free WFPB recipes!


Please provide metric units for all recipes. I'm an American but the metric system is so much easier to work — it feels like going backwards to deal with the imperial system again. Metric units applies to everyone in the world so your traffic can only increase. For those who are ignorant of the metric system and its benefits — literally try it. You won't want to go back because it makes no sense to continue with imperial measurements. It makes clean up so much easier. You don't dirty as many dishes and utensils. And, because you weigh your ingredients — there's never any ambiguity as with volumetric measuring. Finally, for those Americans with a misguided allegiance to the imperial system: I hate to let you down hard but it's British. It's literally a British invention. It's not American. Maybe learn to let go of a system that was never American to begin with.

Steven, FOK Support

Thank you for your comment, Andromeda! It has been received by the team.


I don't care whether it's American or British, whether I'm misguided or not, that's what I use, I like it, and prefer it, has always worked for me. You do your thing and I'll do mine, and see no need to criticize others for their preferences.


Despite the criticism of the criticism stated above the point about increasing traffic and making the recipes more accessible to a wider international audience is a good one. Most people from 'metric countries' are mystified by gallons, quarts, pints, pounds, ounces, cups, tablespoons and teaspoons and their respective fractions. It requires a lot of research to find out what is what and what is how much. Some of the measures of capacity can even convert into different metric measurements depending where you look them up (US and Imperial systems differ). If you're not familiar with these units you're sometimes not even sure whether you're supposed to measure volume or weight (it's a problem I have with ounces especially). Decades ago when I visited the US I bought a set of measuring cups and spoons. If i didn't have those, I probably wouldn't even attempt many of the recipes.


What could we sub for the nutritional yeast?

Jamaal Richardson

Just leave the nutritional yeast out or substitute with a variety of other spices.

Penni Lopez

Hi Peg, I am allergic to the yeast, and have learned to make my own recipe. The idea came from "The Gourmet Kitchen on the web, posted Dec. 13, 2019. I went further and grind already roasted chickpeas and buy dried miso powder. I mix them together in an approx. 1:3 ratio. I make a lot and keep it in the freezer. Its working well for me.


This is the best I have ever made. It can be used for so many dishes. The whole family just loves it.

Danielle Feiger

Hi - Metric units too please. The USA isn't the only country!


You can easily convert the units using Google. I believe forks over knives is based in the US, which would explain the method used.


I often find recipes on non US sights that provide measurements in the metric system. I would never demand the author use another measurement system. I appreciate all the work the author did to create the recipe. It is minimal effort on my part to convert the measurements to another measurement system. We should be thankful these recipes are for us all to share no matter the measuring system because they measure up to a great plant based meal!


Try this


You can swap out cornstarch for Xanthan gum if you prefer. Xanthan is great because it doesn't require heat to thicken. Also Agar-Agar can be used if you want a firmer cheese that you can pour into a bread pan or similar and then refrigerate. You can then slice it for "cheddar cheese slices".


This has become my go-to cheese sauce on the grounds it's super easy to make. I don't have to peel anything, the only thing I have to boil is water, and I have most of the ingredients on-hand and the ones I don't are cheap to purchase. I do swap out the chopped onion for 2 tsp of onion powder to make it even easier on me. I will either measure out the roasted red pepper on a scale to get about 7 oz or I'll just used a drained 10 to 12 oz jar. This doesn't taste anything like queso though! It reminds me more of Cheeze-Its (or at least vegan versions of them) than queso. It doesn't make it any less delicious! I've put it on pasta, chili, numerous rice dishes, and fries. I've found it heats up the best when I can drizzle it on something and then just zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute. For most dishes I can do that, but for pasta, I'm better off using it when it's fresh or just slowly heating it up and stirring frequently. Highly recommend!!

Irene Raymond

It's great!!! It is eaten every day at our house! I'm hoping James can let us know how much agar-agar he used.

Lee Ellman

The best cheese sauce we have found since going vegan, bar none. I like that it does not have coconut milk, which I don't mind but for the extra calories,. My substitution was to fire roast a red pepper, medium to large size, over the burner and put it in a covered bowl to steam. Remove the char and seeds and use the whole pepper and whatever liquids came from it. One less bottle to recycle.Poured over white beans sauteed with onions and garlic for "Cheesey Beans" enjoyed by the whole family

Patricia Sullivan

Please don’t convert to the metric system. Keep the current system of measurement. I live in the United States and do not plan to leave the country.


My daughter has to stay away from nightshades (ie peppers, cayenne, chili, etc), are there any suggestions on what I could replace the red peppers with? I will try to replace the hot pepper sauce with ginger but I'm not sure about the red peppers. I could add a little liquid smoke and maybe some zucchini as the replacement has anyone tried modifying to account for nightshade free?


Yes please FOK include the metric units as well so that everyone around the world can follow the recipes just that little bit easier. This is a global website Patricia, not just created for Americans and it’s pretty weird to demand that they don’t do it because you won’t be leaving the USA anytime soon. Extremely selfish.

Mike Bishop

Why couldn’t they just include both?


i love this cheese sauce.. i will be making it often.. i am so glad it freezes well... thank-you.. oh by the way i added white beans to mine.. it is so creamy!!!

Becki Henderson

Someone asked if they could freeze this. Yes, I have successfully frozen batches of it and reheated it. However, it does get thicker when reheated, so you'll have to adjust it with water.


Taste is awesome but it’s really watery! Any recommendations???


Looks delicious! Could I use a different thickener than cornstarch?


I use arrowroot and have never had an issue


Potato or tapioca starch should work and make it kind of stretchy like melted cheese.

Pd Ford

This was so easy and very tasty I just made mushroom spinach chimichangas in my air fryer and didn't even miss the dairy or oil. I will be thinking of ways to use this all week!


I always use arrowroot powder. Same amount as called for for cornstarch.


This was great. It makes a lot, so I added it to everything for a week! It's a yummy, not-too-fattening way to add extra flavor. Even without onion, it was awesome.

Lauren Lockwood

What can I substitute for the red peppers? They are an inflammation trigger for me. Thank you!


I love the colour and texture and it tastes great. Thank you from Spain.


This is the best! Just made this, using 11.5 oz jar of peppers, with about 4 ounces pepper removed, used all the liquid. (I'm in Canada). I used my food processer. It seemed too runny, but as it cooled, thickened up. I added 1 tsp.siracha sauce. Would give 6 stars if I could! Great cold too.


Is this one 7 oz jar of roasted red peppers or a 17 oz jar?


Paula, I think 17 oz.would be way too much. I wondered about that too.. It's a forgiving recipe, I just removed 1/2 a pepper, from an 11.5 oz. jar , went with that. Worked out fine.

Aimee B.

It's just a 7 ounce jar. :) It's difficult to tell sometimes when the numbers get smooshed together.


I made this using my immersion blender in a quart jar, barely big enough, I had to add the last half cup of water after blending it. I heated it for a minute or two in the microwave to thicken it more, maybe a mistake since it is getting thicker as it cools. I am contemplating toasting some tortillas to have nachos for breakfast.


Wondering if you have a calorie/nutritional breakdown for this recipe? I would dearly love to have that.


Just adding up the calories of the ingredients, the whole recipe is less than 600 calories.

Ruth H.

This is my go-to cheez sauce. Its quick and easy to whip up and makes a lot. I add cayenne pepper for more heat and queso flavor. It makes AWESOME Mac and Cheese!


I too would like to have the FOK recipes in both Metric and Imperial measurements. PLEASE! I find metric much easier to work with. And I’m in the US. Thank you.


HI, I have a converter app on my computer that I downloaded. I plug in the numbers either as I go about making the recipe... OR I convert the entire group of recipes and write then down to follow.


This sauce is so delightful I want to make a huge batch to freeze and/or can to have available at my beckon call. Does anyone know if either of these methods work?

Kathryn Odell

I totally agree! I live in the US, and prefer metric measurements!

Steven, FOK Support

Thank you for your comment, Rosebud! It has been received by the team.


I like to use miso in place of salt for more umami flavor, but this is a great guilt free sauce! Add in a spoonful of salsa for a southwestern nacho cheese sauce to use on tacos and whatever!

Dawna Lane

Great idea! Thanks for sharing


Is there an alternative to the nutritional yeast if you can’t have yeast!?

Polly Warmuth

Do you need to use a dry ingredients blade when you first put the oats in the high speed blender or does it blend ok when you add the other ingredients and water?


I never use my dry ingredient Vitamix container. I think my regular works better at making flours out of oats, etc.

Andy from Scotland

Dear FOK, I realise that you are based in the US and as such use the old imperial system of measurement. But the rest of the world uses metric (save I think for Liberia and Myanmar). Could you therefor also post metric measurements too?


I too would like to see a Recipes in both imperial and metric. I find metric much easier to work with, otherwise my end product is never the same. Thank you, I look forward to having both imperial and metric measurements for your recipes. And I am in the United States.

Stans S.

Metric is much easier and I convert all my recipes to grams. Cooking by weight is so much easier and more accurate than cooking by volume, which the US does! Fewer dirty dishes too, as you can zero the scale after each ingredient added.

LJ Grant

I would love measurements in metric! I have lived in the US for my entire life and it's so much easier... just like 100 pennies to a USD, one hundred of any metric unit gets you to "the next size up." :D I'm not sure if any of us know why the Imperial is still in use...? I'd love to know why, myself.

Sylvia Ball

What else could you use besides hot pepper sauce??

Ruth H.

Cayenne pepper. Just be careful and don't add too much.


I now make this sauce weekly. I use it on tacos, nachos, taco salads, steamed veg and baked potatoes. It’s embarrassing how much of it I actually consume. It’s so delicious!! And I’ve never actually liked the “normal” queso.


this is amazing


I have made this using a food processor, and although it does not come out as smooth in texture, it is delicious!

About the Author

Headshot of Shelli McConnell

About the Author

Shelli McConnell

Shelli McConnell graduated with a bachelor of science in consumer food science and a minor in journalism from Iowa State University. She began her career as a home economist in the Better Homes & Gardens test kitchen before moving into an editorial position within DotDash Meredith. She has since freelanced for 25 years and has served as an editorial project manager for many books and magazines, including three editions of the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. She has also developed thousands of recipes for publications including Forks Over Knives magazine; Eat This, Not That!; Diabetic Living; Better Homes & Gardens; The Magnolia Journal; and more. McConnell loves to entertain and inspire, so when she’s not in her office, she’s usually in her kitchen. Find her on LinkedIn.
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