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.
Did I mention how easy it is to whip up a batch? All you need are 5 pantry-staple ingredients and a blender! Try serving it with tortilla chips, or add it to nachos and burritos.
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.
How much is 1 serving?
Hi Ellie. It’s 1 of 10 servings total. You can measure it out for an exact measurement, but it’s about 1/4 cup I believe.
Echo all the raves above, best recipe of many, added a bit more salsa liquid to smooth further in nutribullet, yes to pickled jalapenos! Has anyone tried freezing this? thoughts?
THIS DIP IS LEGIT!!! Even my non-vegan family loved it. As always, your recipes are reliable and always delicious. I like a chunkier dip so I used 3 10oz cans of rotel and a little more salt then it called for. Thank You Nora!!! ♥
You are welcome! I’m so glad you loved the queso! Thanks for sharing your awesome feedback!
It was okay, you can definitely tell it’s not real cheese though.
Delicious! I had soaked my cashews overnight intended for use in another recipe, but ended up deciding not to make what was planned & found this instead. I didn’t have RoTel but had fresh pico de gallo on hand so used that instead with great results. This is SO good. Made “nachos” with Siete tortilla chips, black beans, the vegan queso, extra pico de gallo and some pickled jalapeno slices. Will make again!
Oh yum! Your meal sounds delicious! Thanks or sharing your wonderful feedback and ideas!
This recipe is amazing! I’m thinking of tripling it for a party. Would I be able to keep it in a crock pot on low or will
That’s a great idea and I don’t think it will burn! If you’re worried, just stir it periodically throughout the night.
AMAZING! Best recipe ever and so quick to make. I had to use my food processor and than a magic bullet because I don’t have my vitamix! Just wonderful.
Thank you for your wonderful feedback! I’m so glad you loved the queso!
Literally the best vegan queso I’ve ever had. Cheese loving family loved it!
Thank you for your great review! I’m glad you guys loved the queso!
This was my first queso since finding out that I’m allergic to milk products. It’s fantastic! I used my NutriBullet blender after soaking the cashews about three hours. There was no graininess to the dip. I’m looking forward to trying other recipes.
How long does this keep in the fridge for
It will keep for about 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
I had never made anything like this before, and this recipe was great! I don’t have a high-powered blender so I used an immersion blender and it worked fine. I soaked the cashews for about an hour to soften them more. The result had a slightly granular texture but not too noticeable when eaten with chips. I’m sure a better blender would get it smoother, but this texture was fine too. Also added a little cayenne for some extra spice. Really good!
Can you use cashew milk or cream instead? I can’t seem to get rid of the grainy look and feel of the cashew sauce or is that normal?
Hi Rachel. Not using a high enough powered blender will result in a grainy and less smooth queso. I’m not sure what you are using, however, a food processor will not result in the queso being as creamy as a high powered blender will. I hope this helps.
I have not made this yet, but I DO substitute cashew butter when using recipes that call for cashews because I do not have a high speed blender. I just use half the amount of cashew butter….if a recipe calls for 2 cups of cashews, I use 1 cup of cashew butter. I also either omit the added water or liquid or use less. Hope this helps! Making this queso this week! I can’t wait!
Omg! Probably my favorite queso so far. And I’ve made a lot! I had to modify slightly as I didn’t have any lemons, so I used the brine from a jar of pickled jalapeños! Worked out perfectly. Consistency is exactly like the real thing. Will definitely be making this again! Thanks for another fantastic recipe.
Omg. This turned out FANTASTIC! I added a package of impossible spicy sausage and followed the rest of the recipe exactly (the sausage will add some salt FYI). I can’t believe this isn’t real queso dip.
The addition of sausage sounds amazing! I’m so glad the recipe turned out fantastic for you! Thank you for sharing your amazing review and comments!
I took this to a party last night and the bowl was SCRAPED clean. When they found out it was vegan, they were shocked. I gave them your website.
Tonight my family made me make it again tonight because they wanted their own bowl. 🙂
I love your party experience, Ted! Thank you for sharing my recipe, and my site, with your friends! I am thrilled the queso was a hit! You family definitely needs their own bowl! Thank you for sharing your fantastic review and comments! Happy cooking!
So TASTY! My friend said she would have had no idea it wasn’t real cheese. I ended up halving the recipe, but keeping the Rot-el the same (except 2 10 oz cans). I also added a bit of tapioca flour to thicken it, and a pickled jalapeño for some heat, and smoked paprika for smokiness. Really good. Will definitely make again.
That sounds great! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and your friend, too!
My little $40 food processor could not handle the cashews, though. Gave it a good 7 minutes and it was fairly gritty. Tasted good though, I had it over broccoli, so it felt good too.
Oh yes, it doesn’t really work well in a food processor, but I’m glad you enjoyed it over broccoli.
I was craving this tonight but out of several ingredients, so sharing the substitutions I used, because it’s not as good as Nora’s recipe, but still yummy!
Instead of lemon juice, I used equal amounts apple cider vinegar;
instead of green chili’s, jalapeños;
instead of diced tomatoes, salsa.
Thanks for sharing what you did, glad you enjoyed it!
Absolutely delicious! My pregnancy craving has been satisfied:)
This queso is sooooooooo good! It was super easy to make and packed a queso tasting punch that I’ve been missing since eating plant based. Thank you so much!
I’m so glad you liked the queso, Jami! Thank you for taking time to share your review!
This is SO GOOD, Nora.
I did 2x 10oz cans or regular ro-tel and one of the Chili marinated ones!
This is such an easy, delicious recipe! This Texan gives your queso her stamp of approval.
Thanks Patricia! I’m glad you love the queso!
I have tried numerous vegan queso recipes and this one is the BEST. Tastes genuinely queso-y and absolutely delicious when served warm with corn chips or on bean burritos. I did add half of a baked sweet potato to thicken it, and this worked like a charm and didn’t alter the taste. This recipe is going right to the front of my box and the others are getting tossed. Thank you! *Caroline
Hi Caroline. I’m glad you love the queso! I appreciate you taking your time to share your valuable review! Thank you for using my recipes, and happy cooking!
I’m sure this is going to be delicious like all of your recipes I’ve tried. I’m just wondering if I can use a food processor instead?
Thanks Heather! Unfortunately a food processor is not going to be the queso as creamy as a high powered blender will. It will turn out a bit grainy and less smooth.
I made it with my food processor and it is delicious. It turned out creamy enough for me. I soaked my Cashews for an hour and put my processor on high for a good 10mins. Since I don’t have you in person to compare, I’m not sure how much creamier it can get. The flavors however were delicious and goes great on top of tortilla chips. I currently have it in my fridge waiting to be reheated come super bowl time, if I can keep away from it for that long 😉 I am definitely going to be making this again. Thank you 🙂
Great to hear! Thanks for checking back in to let me know how it went. I hope you enjoy it!