Dreamy Vegan Queso
Our creamy vegan queso is outrageously creamy, thanks to cashews. Enjoy it spooned onto tacos, inside burritos, or serve it with homemade tortilla chips. We love it! Jump to the Vegan Queso Recipe
“Cheesy” Creamy Cashew Dip aka Vegan Queso
Vegans and non-vegans love this creamy dip. With a minute or so in a blender, cashews transform into a smooth and creamy sauce (called cashew cream). You can turn this creamy base into various things like cashew butter, vegan cheese sauce (Alfredo sauce), cashew yogurt, and this queso-inspired dip.
More: For our traditional queso made with cheese, see this recipe for homemade queso.
For the Creamiest Vegan Queso, Start with Cashews
Our queso starts with raw cashews. If you have blended cashews, you might have soaked them in water first. However, this isn’t necessary for this vegan queso recipe since we have a high-powered blender (most blenders are these days).
Soaking the cashews isn’t a bad idea, and you can always choose to add the step. Soaking cashews before blending is suggested for two main reasons:
- To soften the nuts, making them easier to turn into a smooth and creamy sauce
- To break down the shell of the nuts for easier digestion
With our blender, the cashews quickly turn into a smooth sauce — you can see this in action by watching our video! My guess is that your blender will do the same, but know that if you are concerned, you can always soak the cashews first. We added instructions in the recipe below.
For more suggestions on using cashews to make creamy sauces, dips, and more, see our homemade cashew cream recipe!
The Rest of the Ingredients
Once you have the cashew cream, you must add a few tasty ingredients to turn it into a vegan queso dip. Here’s what we add:
- Taco seasoning — This can be store-bought (salt-free is preferable), but I highly recommend making your own. Here’s our taco seasoning recipe. I just love it!
- Nutritional yeast — To mimic the cheesy flavor of queso dip, we add nutritional yeast. I use this a lot when cooking at home. I especially enjoy it when sprinkled over popcorn, avocado toast, and even eggs.
- Canned green chilies — We add these to our traditional queso and love it, so it made sense to add them to this dairy-free version.
- Pickled jalapeños and some of their brine — We always have a jar of pickled jalapeños in our fridge. This dip is the perfect use for them! They are optional, but I love the extra kick of flavor.
After blending in the extra ingredients, the dip is ready! It’s delicious when served next to homemade tortilla chips! You could substitute the cheese for this vegan queso in our veggie quesadillas, add it to these spicy cauliflower burritos or spoon it over these veggie tacos.
Dreamy Vegan Queso
Vegans and non-vegans love this dip. It’s creamy and flavorful, thanks to cashews, nutritional yeast, and pickled jalapeños. If you have a high-powered blender, there is no need to soak the cashews before making the dip. However, if your blender is not very powerful, you might consider soaking the cashews for the smoothest vegan queso.
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will Need
1 cup (5 ounces) raw cashews
3/4 to 1 cup hot water
1 to 2 teaspoons taco seasoning, see our taco seasoning recipe
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies, mild or hot depending on preference
1 tablespoon juice from jar of pickled jalapeños, optional
1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeño, optional
Salt to taste
Chips for serving, try homemade tortilla chips
- (Optional) Soak Cashews
- Make Vegan Queso
If you have a high-powered blender (most blenders are), it is unnecessary to soak the cashews. Therefore, we do not soak cashews for this recipe. However, you may decide to soak cashews for two reasons: (1) to soften the nuts, making them easier to blend into a smooth and creamy sauce, and (2) to break down the shell of the nuts for easier digestion.
Quick soaking method: Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, turn off the heat, and add the cashews. Allow the nuts to soak for 30 minutes, drain, and then use in the recipe.
Overnight soaking method: Add cashews to a bowl of water and allow to soak for 6 to 8 hours, drain, and then use in the recipe. Be careful with this method since cashews soaked for too long can take on an unpleasant flavor. Changing the water after a few hours can help.
Place the cashews and 3/4 cup of hot water into a blender. Blend until very smooth.
Add taco seasoning, nutritional yeast, chopped green chilies, and the jalapeño pickle juice to the cashew cream. Blend until smooth.
If the queso dip is too thick, blend in a little more water.
Taste, and then season with salt or taco seasoning. Spoon into a serving bowl and top with chopped pickled jalapeños.