Vegan Cheese Sauce (Nut-free and Oil-free) - The Vegan 8

Steps by steps Smoky plant-based Cheddar Cheesy Dip

Creating a Smoky plant-based Cheddar Cheesy Dip allows you to enjoy the bold and comforting flavors of a classic cheesy dip while adhering to a vegan or dairy-free diet. The challenge lies in replicating the distinctive smoky taste and the rich, smooth texture of cheddar cheese without using any animal products.

To tackle this, the base of the dip is often comprised of nuts, such as cashews, which are soaked and blended to achieve a creamy consistency similar to that of traditional cheese dips. Incorporating a plant-based milk can further enhance the smooth texture.

Crafting the ‘Cheddar’ aspect involves choosing the right flavoring agents. Nutritional yeast remains a staple for its cheesy flavor profile. The addition of smoked paprika not only provides a smoky flavor but also contributes a deep color reminiscent of cheddar cheese. Liquid smoke can be added in small quantities to intensify the smokiness.

For tanginess and depth, ingredients like apple cider vinegar or lemon juice can be used sparingly. These elements help to mimic the slightly sharp taste characteristic of cheddar cheese. Seasonings such as garlic powder, onion powder, and mustard powder can also be incorporated to layer in complexity.

Thickeners like tapioca starch or arrowroot powder are essential in achieving a dip that closely resembles the texture of one made with melted cheddar cheese. These thickeners allow the dip to reach the desired consistency while incorporating the smoky notes throughout.

Smoky plant-based Cheddar Cheesy Dip

Vegan Cheese Sauce (Nut-free and Oil-free) - The Vegan 8

Smoky plant-based Cheddar Cheesy Dip

Creating a smoky plant-based Cheddar cheese dip is a delicious way to enjoy classic cheesy flavors without dairy. The base of the dip typically uses soaked and blended cashews, which mimic the creamy texture of traditional cheese dips. Plant-based milk can be added to enhance this smooth consistency even further.
Flavoring agents are key to achieving the 'Cheddar' taste; nutritional yeast provides the cheesy flavor, while smoked paprika and liquid smoke give the dip its characteristic smoky taste and rich color. To replicate the slightly sharp taste of cheddar cheese, you can use apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, as well as seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, and mustard powder, to add depth and complexity.
Thickeners such as tapioca starch or arrowroot powder help achieve the right texture, akin to melted cheddar cheese. Garnishing with toppings like chopped chives or smoked almonds can add extra visual appeal and texture, making the dip an attractive addition to any snack spread. This smoky plant-based Cheddar cheese dip can be paired with a variety of dippers for an enjoyable snacking experience.
Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 cup
Calories 120 kcal


  • 1 bowl
  • 1 skillet over medium heat
  • 1 blender bowl


  • 1 cup raw chopped cashews
  • 1 medium fresh hot chile pepper seeded and thinly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 cup cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 to 3 tbsp lemon juice to taste
  • 2 tsp barbecue seasoning blend
  • 1 tsp smoked or sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Pinch of dry mustard optional


  • Place the cashew in a bowl, cover with hot water and let it soak for at least 1 hour.
  • Heat the in a skillet over medium heat, add chile pepper and let it cook for 2 minutes or until it begins to brown, stir often as you cook.
  • Drain the cashew and transfer to a bowl of a mini food processor or blender, add the pepper flowed by the rest of the ingredients and process or blend until smooth.
  • Stop and scrape down the sides of the blender bowl or mini food processor bowl, often as possible as you blend until smooth and creamy dip is achieved
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and serve as you want or store in a air tight container and keep in the fridge, use within 1 week.


Note: This can serve as dip, spread or sauce. If using as spread or dip serve
with grilled bread, fresh bread, raw veggies, and crackers and so on. If
serving as sauce, toss with hot noodles, hot cooked grains or dollop into
baked sweet potatoes. It also perfect for seaming cauliflower and broccoli.
Keyword cannellini beans, nutritional yeast flakes, olive oil

Cooking Tips about Smoky plant-based Cheddar Cheesy Dip

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  • Soak the cashews: For a truly creamy base, remember to soak your cashews in water for at least 4 hours or overnight. This softens them and helps them blend into a smooth consistency.
  • Choose your plant milk wisely: Use an unsweetened and unflavored plant-based milk to avoid adding unwanted sweetness or flavors to your dip. Creamy options like cashew milk or soy milk work well for thickness.
  • Maximize cheesiness with nutritional yeast: Nutritional yeast is crucial for that cheesy flavor. Don’t be afraid to add enough to suit your taste buds, allowing the flavor to develop fully.
  • Achieve smokiness through spices and liquid smoke: Smoked paprika will give you color and a smoky essence, but a few drops of liquid smoke can deepen that flavor for the authentic smoky cheddar taste.
  • Consider your thickening agents: Tapioca starch or arrowroot powder are excellent choices for achieving a stretchy, gooey consistency that mimics real melted cheese.
  • Balance flavors with acidity: Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice can add a tangy profile to the Cheddar flavor, so adjust these according to your preference for sharpness.
  • Season properly: Garlic powder, onion powder, and mustard powder offer depth and complexity. Taste and adjust these seasonings as you blend to get that perfect Cheddar flavor.
  • Cook at the right temperature: Gently heat the blended mixture on the stove while stirring regularly to prevent sticking and burning, which also helps the thickeners activate effectively.
  • Garnish for extra appeal: Serve with a sprinkling of chopped chives, smoked almonds, or even a dash of extra smoked paprika to make it visually inviting and add another layer of flavor.
  • Experiment with additional flavors: Feel free to customize your dip by adding vegan cheeses or herbs for extra flair. You could also consider mixing in sautéed onions or mushrooms for added texture.

Serving suggestions about Smoky plant-based Cheddar Cheesy Dip

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  • Traditional Dippers: Pair the dip with a variety of classic dippers such as crackers, breadsticks, or toasted baguette slices for those who love the crunch and simplicity.
  • Fresh Vegetables: Offer a healthy and colorful array of raw vegetables like carrot sticks, celery, bell pepper strips, and cucumber rounds that complement the rich smoky flavors.
  • Tortilla Chips or Pretzels: Serve with an assortment of tortilla chips, pretzels, or pita chips, which can hold up well to the creamy texture and make for a satisfying snack.
  • Stuffed Mini Peppers: For a more elegant presentation, stuff small sweet peppers with the cheesy dip and bake them until they’re slightly charred for an extra layer of smokiness.
  • Loaded Nachos: Drizzle the smoky Cheddar dip generously over a mountain of nachos and top with jalapeños, black beans, and salsa for a tasty twist on traditional loaded nachos.
  • Baked Potato Topping: Use the dip as an indulgent topping on baked potatoes, along with chives and vegan bacon bits, offering a comforting and hearty option.
  • Sandwich Spread: Incorporate the dip as a spread inside wraps or sandwiches, adding a bold flavor boost to veggies and other fillings.
  • With Grilled Items: Complement the dip with grilled items such as veggie skewers or vegan sausages, allowing the smoky elements of the dip to enhance the chargrilled taste.
  • Charcuterie Board: Integrate the dip into a vegan charcuterie board, surrounded by olives, nuts, fruit, and artisanal vegan cheeses for a gourmet snacking experience.
  • Fondue Style: Keep the dip warm in a fondue pot and invite guests to dip and swirl their chosen dippers for a fun and interactive experience.

Top 5 FAQs about Smoky plant-based Cheddar Cheesy Dip

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  • How do I create a smoky flavor in my plant-based Cheddar Cheesy Dip without using cheese or meat products? Smoked paprika and liquid smoke are excellent sources of smoky flavor for your plant-based Cheddar cheesy dip. Smoked paprika adds both color and a subtle smokiness, while liquid smoke provides a more intense smoky essence without any animal products.
  • What can I use to mimic the creamy texture of traditional Cheddar cheese dips? Soaked and blended cashews are the base for many vegan cheeses due to their creamy texture when processed. To amplify this creaminess and achieve a similar consistency to melted Cheddar, you can also add plant-based milk, such as unsweetened cashew or soy milk, to the blend.
  • Can I enhance the cheesy flavor of the dip without actual cheese? Yes, nutritional yeast is your best friend when it comes to imparting a cheesy flavor into plant-based dishes. It provides a savory, umami taste that resembles cheese. Feel free to adjust the amount to suit your taste preferences.
  • What ingredients add the sharp tangy taste characteristic of Cheddar to the dip? Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice can be used to introduce a sharp tangy profile, which replicates the slight acidity found in cheddar cheese. Adjust these according to your preference for sharpness in the dip.
  • Are there any specific seasoning suggestions to make my plant-based Cheddar Cheesy Dip more flavorful? Seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, and mustard powder are recommended to add depth and complexity to the Cheddar flavor. Additionally, you can experiment with your choice of herbs and spices to customize your dip further.

In conclusion, the smoky plant-based Cheddar cheesy dip is a mouthwatering and vegan-friendly alternative to traditional cheese dips that does not compromise on flavor or texture. The creamy base created from soaked and blended cashews, combined with an unsweetened plant-based milk, provides the perfect foundation. This is elevated by the addition of nutritional yeast for the cheesy flavor and liquid smoke along with smoked paprika for the essential smoky taste.


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