Dairy-Free Cheese Sauce (Paleo, Vegan)

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Let’s get one thing straight – non-dairy cheese sauces will NEVER taste as good as the real cheese sauces. Nor will they have the same stringy, gooey consistency. BUT you can still make a pretty creamy and damn delicious paleo cheese substitute sauce that is similar in texture and savouriness to that made from cheese.

I wanted to make a paleo white sauce so I could recreate dishes like cauliflower cheese, paleo nachos and lasagna bechamel sauce. My adaptations and experiments produced this version of a paleo cheese sauce and I have to say that I licked every last bit in the saucepan. The coolest thing is that you can also add it to other sauces, soups and casseroles for extra creaminess.

Cook’s notes

  • Vegetable stock can be used if you’re a vegetarian.
  • Tapioca flour or arrowroot flour can be found in most baking sections of a supermarket and in health food stores.
  • Nutritional yeast flakes (sometimes they go under the name of Savoury Yeast Flakes) can be found in most health food shops and online. They are neutral when it comes to Is it Paleo? Learn more about nutritional yeast here and here. They contain B-complex vitamins and protein and have a lovely nutty, cheesy, savoury flavour.
  • You can use any miso you like but I prefer the light colour, shiro miso. Make sure to get organic, fresh miso which is full of probiotics (not the dried powdery stuff). Read my take on miso here.


I hope you enjoy this recipe. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Don’t forget to share with friends and family, or bookmark it for later on Pinterest from here.


Paleo Cheese Sauce

  • Author: Irena Macri
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x


If you’re trying to avoid all soy, omit the miso and add a little extra sea salt.



  • 1 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup macadamia oil or olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon tapioca flour (or arrowroot flour)
  • 1/4 cup savoury/nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste (shiro)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 small garlic clove, finely diced
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 cup almond meal


  1. Add the chicken stock, oil and tapioca flour to a small heavy bottom saucepan. Whisk together until well combined and tapioca is dissolved, more or less. Then bring the mixture to the boil and remove from the heat.Whisk again, it should thicken quite a bit.
  2. Now add the yeast flakes, miso, nutritional yeast flakes, miso, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder and a pinch of salt. Whisk together and then add the almond meal. Whisk again until well combined. Place the saucepan back on the heat and stir for about 2 minutes over medium-low heat. Make sure to stir a lot to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom. If you want a thinner sauce, skip the last 2 minutes of stirring over the heat and if you wanted it thicker, stir for a little bit longer.
  3. [url href=”https://irenamacri.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/dairy-free-cheese-sauce-recipe-making.jpg”][/url]


  1. Hey thank you! I’m going to try this. I think I’ll substitute sprouted, ground walnuts though because they actually have a ‘Parmesan’ like flavor to them.

  2. This sauce is amazing!!
    After it had cooked I put it in the Vitamix for minute or so to just finish off that creamy texture
    Used it in paleo lasagna and it tasted wonderful
    Thank you so much for great recipe
    Greetings from the UK

  3. I’m definitely going to try this now that I have nutritional yeast for the first time. I’ll leave out the garlic and nuts though.

    But just to fix up your post.. Tapioca and arrowroot are two different things as they’re from 2 different plants. Arrowroot is slightly better on digestion and actually works a bit different in some situations 🙂

  4. Hi Irena,
    Thanks so much for sharing this delicious recipe! I tried it last night on lasagne & i didn’t miss the real cheese sauce at all, it did the same trick & is sooo delicious! I can’t wait to try it on other dishes.

  5. hi there
    I’m planning to make a lasagna tonight, without red sauce. do you think this bechamel would work with squash/kale? I’m worried it may be a very sharp cheese sauce but don’t want to make a normal Italian lasagna. just curious! thanks for the recipe 🙂

  6. Could the almond meal be substituted for something else? Maybe cassava flour? I can’t eat almonds 🙁 But this looks awesome!

    1. If you can have cashew nuts, then I would soak those in some water for 2-3 hours and then process them with the sauce ingredients. Cassava might work as well, actually, but might create slightly gloggy/gluey texture.

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