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This 10-minute Vegan Queso is a Mexican-inspired cheese dip made with simple plant-based ingredients. Ultra-creamy and loaded with smoky seasonings, it’s an addictive snack you’ll want to serve at all of your parties!
All bets are off when Vegan Queso arrives at the party! Incredibly cheesy, smoky, and with just the right amount of spice, it’s a dairy free cheese dip that no one will be able to resist.
While traditional queso dip is made with melted cheese, this vegan queso recipe swaps the dairy for plant-based alternatives, like cashews, plant milk, and spices. The blender works its magic to transform softened cashews, garlic and onion, nutritional yeast, and a blend of smoky spices into a creamy and smoky dip that looks and tastes just like the real thing.
This 10-minute dip is guaranteed to be a hit at the party! Pair it with plenty of tortilla chips and more colorful dips, like my pineapple salsa, then enjoy!
- This easy vegan queso is creamy, spicy, and cheesy. You won’t even notice that it isn’t made with real dairy!
- All you need are a handful of pantry-staple ingredients and a blender to make it.
- Cashew queso is the perfect snack for parties. Put it out with tortilla chips and dig in! You can also drizzle it over nachos, tacos, and your other Tex-Mex favorites.
Cashews - Raw, unsalted cashews are boiled or soaked in hot water to help them soften. This way, the nuts blend into a smooth and creamy sauce with ease.
Garlic and red onion - You could use garlic and onion powder in this cashew queso sauce, but I prefer the sharp, tart flavors from the real thing.
Nutritional yeast - The secret behind realistic vegan cheese sauce! Nutritional yeast is deliciously savory and cheesy, leaving this cashew queso with a taste that will remind you of real cheese.
Dry spices - A blend of chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and turmeric gives the queso its signature spicy and smoky flavors, as well as a yellow-orange color.
Step 1: Soak the cashews. If you haven’t already, simmer the cashews in boiling water for 15 minutes so they soften. You can also soak them in room temperature water overnight.
Step 2: Blend. Add the softened cashews, milk, red onion, garlic, nutritional yeast, salt, chili powder, smoked paprika, and turmeric to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
Step 3: Serve. Pour the queso into a serving bowl and top it with chopped tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro. Enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
- A high-speed blender, like a Vitamix, is best at blending nuts into creamy sauces. If you don’t have one, just use a regular blender instead! The queso will only take a little bit longer to blend.
- Make the queso spicier by blending in pickled jalapeños, red pepper flakes, chipotle peppers, harissa, or hot sauce.
- Want your queso served hot? Pour it into a saucepan and warm over medium heat, stirring often, until heated through.
- For an irresistible presentation, top the bowl of queso with diced tomatoes, pico de gallo, fresh cilantro, scallions, red onion, jalapeno slices, shredded vegan cheese, red chili flakes, or diced chili peppers.
You can deepen the flavor by sautéing the onion and garlic before blending them into the cheese sauce.
How do you serve vegan queso?
You can’t go wrong with a bowl of vegan queso paired with tortilla chips for dipping. But that’s not all it’s good for! Drizzle it over a plate of vegan loaded nachos or french fries with vegan chili, on top of burrito bowls, or use it as a dip for quesadillas.
Make vegan chili mac for a fun and flavorful dinner! Stir the queso into a batch of cooked macaroni, then add vegan taco meat and a scoop of chili.
I don’t have cashews. What can I use instead?
I’ve only tested this recipe with cashews but slivered almonds might work as a substitute, although the flavor of the queso will be slightly different.
Is vegan queso spicy?
The queso has a subtle heat from the chili powder and smoked paprika. However, the creamy cashew sauce and plant milk prevent the heat from being overpowering.
If you don’t want the queso to be spicy at all, only use ½ teaspoon of chili powder or omit it altogether.
Refrigerator: The blended vegan queso can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Freezer: It also freezes well for about 1 month! Just let it thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
More delicious dips to try
If you made this recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
- If you haven’t already soaked the cashews, you can boil them instead (this helps to soften them so the end result is smooth and creamy). Add cashews to a saucepan, then cover them with water by 1 inch. Boil the cashews, then simmer for 15 minutes; drain and rinse.
- Add the softened cashews, along with the milk, red onion, garlic, nutritional yeast, salt, chili powder, smoked paprika, and turmeric to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste test, and add more salt and/or black pepper.
- Pour into a bowl, then top with tomatoes, red onion and cilantro. Enjoy!