Here is a quick and easy vegan queso that even dairy lovers will find irresistibly creamy, silky, and delicious. Whether you're looking to dunk some tortilla chips, dress a plant-based burrito bowl, or dunk into a fondue pot, this vegan cashew queso has you covered!
This stuff is liquid gold for anyone diving into the plant-based lifestyle or just looking to mix up their dip game. I think you'll be super happy you gave this recipe a try.
This vegan queso is a blend of two other delectable cheese sauces – the Best Nut-Free Vegan Cheese Sauce and the Easy Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce. The result is a mouthwatering, slightly spicy cheese sauce that's simply perfect for those moments when you crave a little kick.
Why You'll Love This Vegan Cashew Queso
- It's creamy as a dream, and yet there's not a drop of dairy in sight.
- All wholesome, plant-based ingredients.
- It's incredibly forgiving – if you mess up, blend a little more, adjust your seasonings, and voila, it's like your kitchen flub never happened.
- This queso is like the Swiss Army knife of sauces. It's ready to jump on a chip, slide into a burrito, or cozy up with some pasta immediately.
- Easy-peasy prep. No roux, no fuss, just a blender and a dream. This queso comes together faster than you can say, "More chips, please!"
- It's a crowd-pleaser for groups with diverse dietary needs. No gluten, no dairy, no problem.
Truthful Taste Test: Does Vegan Cashew Queso Taste Similar To Traditional Queso?
Short answer: Yes! Keep reading for a more detailed response.
In my recipes, honesty is key, particularly with vegan cheese, where everyone hopes for a taste just like the original. It's all about setting realistic expectations. So, my goal in when I include this section is to reveal the authentic flavors, textures, and nuances before you make the recipe. After all, as a food blogger, communication and authenticity are key, so it's important to me that you know what to expect. So, for those wondering if this recipe echoes the original queso, here's my more nuanced take:
This cheese is primarily made from blended cashews, which mirror the creaminess of the classic version really, really well. They lend a subtle, earthy nuttiness that further enhances its rich and creamy profile. This is a delightful twist that traditional cheese doesn't offer, as it typically brings a sharper, tangier flavor to the table. But that's where the other ingredients step in to really drive up that cheesy, familiar flavor.
By adding things like nutritional yeast, it carves its own niche, offering a very familiar cheese-like taste that will keep you dipping those chips. But don't think of this vegan cashew queso as a mere substitute but as a standout on its own, remarkably akin to traditional queso. After all, I have served this to many people who never thought in a million years that this was a vegan queso sauce. I'm eager to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
Here is the lineup of all the ingredients ready to dive into the pool of your blender and transform cheese sauce forever. See the recipe card for quantity details.
- cashews (soaked)
- plant-based milk
- nutritional yeast
- roasted red pepper
- chipotle in adobo sauce
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- smoked paprika
- cayenne pepper
- tapioca starch/flour
Here is a visual storyline for those who like to see what they'll be doing. See the recipe card for detailed instructions.
Start by soaking the cashews. If you're short on time, boiling them for 30 minutes works just as well. This softens the nuts, making them easier to blend into a creamy texture. See other options at Guide to Soaking Cashews.
In a high-speed blender, combine all the ingredients. The tapioca powder is optional but highly recommended for that thicker consistency we know and love.
Blend for about 4-5 minutes until the mixture is hot. If you don't have a high-speed blender, cook in a saucepan for 5-10 minutes until hot and slightly thicker.
Garnish with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and serve alongside tortilla chips. Alternatively, drizzle it over nachos, tacos, or burritos. It also serves as a delightful veggie dip or a delicious complement to any grain bowl.
- For an ultra-smooth texture, use a high-speed blender and soak the cashews well. When you have soaked them long enough, they should look plump. Visit Guide to Soaking Cashews for ways to soak your cashews quickly.
- If you don't have a high-speed blender, transfer the mixture to a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens to your desired consistency. This should take about 5–10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Adjust the heat level by tweaking the amount of cayenne pepper and the amount of chipotle pepper and adobo sauce you incorporate.
You're looking at a vegan cheese dip that's going to cozy up with pretty much anything you throw at it. You see, this queso is like that friend who gets along with everyone at the party. It’s sociable, it’s flexible, and it’s always welcome. Here are some ideas on how to use it:
- Tortilla Chips: This is a no-brainer. Scooping up that golden goodness with a crunchy chip? Perfection.
- Veggies: Think bell pepper strips, carrots, celery, and broccoli. They all add a nice crunch and a health kick.
- Pita Bread: Toast it, slice it into triangles, and there you go – pita chips ready for dipping.
- Loaded Nachos: Drizzle or dollop it on top of a mountain of nachos with black beans, salsa, guac, and whatever else you fancy. Use this Easy Vegan Nachos recipe as a guide for how to make delicious nachos.
- Burrito Bowls: For a creamy touch, spoon it over a bowl filled with rice, beans, veggies, and tofu. This has to be my favorite way to enjoy the queso sauce.
- Stuffed Bell Peppers: Fill those peppers with quinoa and veggies, bake them, and then pour on the queso.
- Queso Mac & Cheese: Use it as the base for a vegan mac. Mix it with your favorite pasta and maybe even bake it with a breadcrumb topping.
- Queso Fondue: Add a cup of beer and keep it warm in a fondue pot or small crock pot for a delicious queso beer cheese. Dive in with roasted potatoes, bread cubes, soft pretzels, and plant-based sausage - nom, nom, nom, so delicious.
The key to a great vegan cashew queso is balance. You want to taste that creamy, nutty base with whatever exciting flavors you add. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- If you want to get really fancy, you can char jalapeños for a smoky, spicy queso and add it to the blender.
- Stir in some dried herbs like Mexican oregano. I feel Mexican oregano is a game changer in all Mexican-inspired dishes.
- Mix in some chunky salsa, a spoonful of vegan refried beans, or even some vegan taco meat to give it that Tex-Mex vibe. This version is killer for nacho toppings or burrito filling.
- Add some lime zest and a squeeze of lime juice for a citrusy punch. This brightens up the queso and gives it a refreshing zing.
- Stir in some caramelized onions for a sweet and savory take on the classic queso. They add a whole new layer of flavor.
- A few drops of truffle oil can make your cashew queso feel super gourmet. It's rich decadent, and a little goes a long way.
- Combine your cashew queso with vegan buffalo sauce for a tangy, spicy twist that's perfect for dipping celery sticks or drizzling over vegan buffalo cauliflower wings.
Yes, you can use sunflower seeds or hemp seeds as a substitute for cashews, but it will have a slightly different taste and consistency.
This vegan queso can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
While it's best fresh, you can freeze it for up to 2 months. Thaw and reheat on the stove, stirring well.
- 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours and drained
- 1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk (almond, oat, or soy work well)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 1 small roasted red pepper (from a jar or freshly roasted)
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch (for stretchiness)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon turmeric (for color)
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust for heat)
- Start by soaking the cashews. If you're short on time, boiling them for 30 minutes works just as well. This softens the nuts, making them easier to blend into a creamy texture.
- Drain the cashews.
- In a high-speed blender, combine all the ingredients.
- Blend on high in a high-speed blender for 4-5 minutes until smooth, creamy, and hot. When you open the blender's lid, you should see some steam if you blended it long enough. It should also be warm or hot when you touch the blender. If you don't have a high-speed blender, see the notes below.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Serve immediately with tortilla chips, drizzled over nachos or tacos, or as a dip for veggies. See post for more serving ideas.
See other options for softening cashews at Guide to Soaking Cashews.
If you don't have a high-speed blender, transfer the blended mixture to a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens to your desired consistency. This should take about 5–10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Please note that the nutritional information provided is an estimate. For accurate assessments of ingredients and amounts, consider using a reliable app like Cronometer to stay informed about what you consume.
- Prep Time: 3 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 minutes
- Category: condiment
- Method: blender
- Cuisine: Mexican-inspired
- Diet: Vegan
- Serving Size: ¼ cup
- Calories: 246
- Sugar: 2.3 g
- Sodium: 428.2 mg
- Fat: 17.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 16.4 g
- Protein: 8.7 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg