Irresistibly creamy 5 Ingredient Vegan Queso will be the appetizer or snack of your dreams! Whip up this tasty Tex Mex vegan cheese dip in just 10 minutes. All you need is a blender and 5 easy ingredients!
Giving up cheese can feel like a huge hurdle when going vegan. Thankfully, there are alternatives that will help during the transition!
Once you try my 5 Ingredient Vegan Queso, there’s no going back to dairy. This vegan cheese dip is rich and smooth, just like the real thing. It still has a cheesy flavor and is so much more fresh and satisfying than dairy versions.
You’re going to love this queso because it’s…
- Oh so creamy
- Cheesy and delicious
- The right amount of spicy
- And so easy to make!
Vegan queso vs. vegan queso blanco
Both vegan queso and vegan queso blanco are melted cheese dips. The difference lies in the flavor and color! Queso dip is usually made by melting orange cheddar cheese (or highly-processed Velveeta) and stirring in Ro-tel canned tomatoes and green chilies (or fresh sauteéd peppers/tomatoes/onions).
Vegan queso blanco has more complex flavors, blending together cashews, potatoes, green chiles, and jalapenos. This cheese dip has a spicier flavor and is always white.
Both dips are delicious served hot and with tortilla chips!
Ingredients you need
- Raw cashews – Use raw, unsalted cashews to avoid any disruptions to the flavor. If you do use salted nuts, make sure to test your vegan cheese sauce before adding any additional salt. You can also make my nut-free cheese sauce if nuts aren’t your thing.
- Lemon juice – Juice the lemons yourself for the best flavor, or use bottled if that’s what you have at home.
- Nutritional yeast – The golden ingredient! This is what will give the vegan queso its cheesy flavor. You can buy nutritional yeast in most major grocery stores or online.
- Canned tomatoes and green chilies – These will add texture and spice to each bite. Use Ro-tel canned tomatoes with green chilies for the best results! You could also use salsa for a different flavor, or chopped small onion, red bell pepper and minced jalapeño that have been sautéed.
- Salt – To round out the flavors and achieve balance.
How to make it
- Start by adding the soaked and drained cashews, water, lemon juice, salt, and nutritional yeast to a high powered blender.
- Drain the juice from the tomatoes and green chiles over a small bowl. Add the saved liquid to the blender. Keep the tomatoes and green chiles on the side for now. Blend on high for a few minutes until very smooth.
- Add the “cheese” sauce and the tomatoes and green chiles to a medium pot. Stir well and warm gently over low-medium heat. Stir frequently as to not burn the queso. The mixture will thicken slightly.
- Serve while warm with tortilla chips and enjoy!
Do I need a high powered blender to make this recipe?
A high powered blender, like a Vitamix, will make your life a bit easier when making this nut based dip. This tool has the power to pulverize the nuts into a creamy cashew sauce without soaking them for very long. You can use a regular blender or a food processor instead, but make sure the nuts are soaked in water for at least 4 hours beforehand. It still might not get super creamy without a high powered blender though.
How to store leftovers
This easy queso recipe can serve up to 10 people, meaning it’s perfect for potlucks, events, and parties! Store the leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. It can even be frozen if needed, in a freezer friendly container.
The vegan queso cheese sauce will be delicious when reheated over medium-low heat on the stovetop or in the microwave for a minute or two. Add a little water if needed to thin it, as it will thicken in the refrigerator.
What to serve with queso dip
My queso will go perfectly with these Mexican-inspired recipes:
5 Ingredient Vegan Queso
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked in hot water for at least 5 minutes
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice; from about 2 small lemons
- 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 28 ounce canned Ro-tel tomatoes and green chiles
- optional fresh chopped cilantro and a few diced tomatoes, for serving
- Soak the cashews for at least 5 minutes in boiling hot water. I do this by heating water up in my tea kettle, then pouring it over the top of the cashews to cover. You can also boil in a small pot for 5 minutes.
- Drain the soaked cashews and add them to a high powered blender along with the water, lemon juice, salt and nutritional yeast. Drain the juice from the tomatoes and green chiles and add the liquid to the blender as well (don't add the tomatoes and green chiles yet). Blend on high for a few minutes until very smooth.
- Add the cheese sauce and the Rotel tomatoes and green chiles to a medium pot. Stir well and warm gently over low-medium heat. Be careful not to burn the queso; stir frequently while warming. The mixture will thicken slightly, and you can add a little water if needed for a thinner texture.
- Sprinkle with optional chopped cilantro and tomatoes and serve warm with tortilla chips. Enjoy!
- Cashew allergy? Raw slivered almonds may work here, but if you can’t have any nuts, try making my Nut Free Vegan Cheese Sauce, and add Ro-tel tomatoes and green chiles.
- I can usually find the 28 oz cans of Ro-tel tomatoes/green chiles but if you can only find the 10 oz cans, that is fine. Simple use 3 of them, but don’t add quite all the chunks of tomatoes. Or do for a chunkier sauce! If you don’t have Ro-Tol brand, another brand of diced tomatoes with green chiles will work fine.
- For a fresher alternative to canned tomatoes and chiles, in a small pan sauté a small onion, a red bell peppers, 1-2 jalapeños that have beed seeded and diced and even a few cloves of garlic. Once sautéed, add to the final cheese sauce in the pot, or blend in for flavor and a smooth queso. You will have to add a little more water to blend though.