The Best Vegan Queso Dip

By Alexandra Caspero on February 28, 2024
Dairy-free, vegan and ready in just minutes.
Makes 3 cups

Vegan Queso Dip! This healthy queso dip is a must for tacos, nachos, burrito bowls, and more.

I take queso dip very seriously around here. Considering my husband goes through a bag of chips and a few jars of my homemade salsa weekly, it’s safe to say that we love a good chip and dip combo. My chili cheese dip is one of my most popular recipes and one of the most requested recipes in my house. 

However, I wanted to create something that wasn’t so heavy and didn’t require a cup and a half of cashews! I love cashews, but they are also energy-dense and expensive. This vegan queso dip is still creamy, luscious, and cheesy but light enough that you can pour it on whatever your heart desires: tacos, nachos, burrito bowls, or dipping straight from the bowl. 

See the post below for more details on how to make this queso dip, or scroll down for the full recipe!

Vegan Queso Dip

Ingredient Notes

  • Non-Dairy Butter: The butter is used to help create a roux and to also add a buttery flavor. You can use any butter that you’d like; I typically use Earth Balance.
  • All-purpose flour: I haven’t tried other flours in this vegan queso dip, and all purpose flour is my recommended option for creating a roux that isn’t chalky or gritty. I haven’t tested this with gluten-free flour, but I’ve used a gluten-free blend in other recipes and it usually works out fine. 
  • Almond milk: I’ve tried this vegan queso recipe with oat milk and regular milk, but almond milk is my preferred option. Any unsweetened milk will work.
  • Orange or yellow bell pepper: You need this specific color to make the queso dip look like cheese. Do not substitute red pepper or green bell pepper.
  • Nutritional yeast: Also known as “nooch.” This is essential to get a cheesy, umami-packed flavor to the cheese sauce. You can buy this at most grocery stores or online.
  • Raw cashews: Most recipes require soaking cashews before hand, but since you are cooking these with the other ingredients, you don’t need to soak first.
  • Chunky salsa: Stirring in salsa at the end gives this a queso con salsa flavor. I usually use some of my homemade salsa, but pico de gallo will also work.

How to Make this Vegan Queso Dip

Make a Roux

This dip is similar to how you’d make a regular cheese dip. First, you’ll saute garlic in butter to help with the aromatics and flavor. From there, add in flour to create a roux.

Add the milk

Next, you’ll add in almond milk and whisk until the mixture thickens. This is what makes the dip thick enough to dunk chips into, but also light enough that you don’t feel like you’re eating a spoonful of nut butter with every bite. 

Add the pepper and cashews

I’ve made enough queso cheese dips to know that I really like adding in a yellow or orange bell pepper to the dip. Not only does it provide color, but the slight pepper flavor really makes or breaks the profile of the dip– so don’t skip it. Likewise, you’ll need nutritional yeast for the cheezy flavor and spices to help round everything out. 

Blend and enjoy

Now you’re ready to blend! Using either an immersion blender or a blender, puree until creamy and smooth. To finish, you’ll spoon in a 1/2 cup of chunky salsa, and your vegan queso is ready to be enjoyed. 

Vegan Queso Dip

Tips for Success

If you’ve got a little lime lying around, I like to squirt a bit in to help balance everything out. However, I didn’t put it in the ingredient list as it’s not necessary and I hate asking you to grab something that you only need a tiny amount of in a recipe. If you have it, use it. If you don’t, that’s OK too. 

Queso dip is naturally salty, so don’t be afraid to add the salt. If you are subbing in roasted cashews that are salted, then you’ll want to reduce the salt.

I highly recommend my homemade salsa in this one! We are officially addicted to that recipe. I canned 62 jars the beginning of August and we’ve already gone through 20. When I say we, I really mean my husband and my son who easily polish off an entire jar together in a single sitting. Thank goodness I’ve now got a back-pocket queso dip to share with them. 

A high-speed blender is a must for this, but you can also use an immersion blender. I love this blender and it’s a fraction of the cost of a Vitamix and just as good in my opinion!

You can omit the cashews if you want for a nut-free option, but I’d recommend instead using sunflower seeds or omitting all together. It won’t have the same creamy texture as this vegan cashew queso, but OK if you cannot have nuts.

Vegan Queso Dip

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does this last in the fridge?

This sauce should last about 5 days in the fridge.

How much queso dip does this make?

This dip makes about 3 cups.

Can I make this spicier?

Yes, you can use a spicy salsa or use a spicy chili powder or add in cayenne pepper. For a smokier flavor, you can add in smoked paprika.

How to store this vegan cheese sauce?

Place any leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. When ready to enjoy again, microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring each time, until warm.

Vegan Queso Dip

How to serve this Vegan Queso Dip

We love this one with tortilla chips! It’s a must for parties and football games. However, you can also stir in black beans for extra fiber and protein (if you like beans in your queso dip, then you must try my chili cheese dip!)

I also use this as a base for my vegan chorizo nachos with pickled jalapeños. We love that recipe!

Instead of salsa, you can also stir in canned green chiles. It’s also great as a dip for crispy tacos and taquitos.

More Dip Recipes

If you make this vegan queso recipe, make sure to come back, rate it, and leave a comment. I love seeing you make my recipes, and your feedback helps others. 

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Vegan Queso Dip

The Best Vegan Queso Dip

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: ~3 cups
  • Category: sauce, queso, appetizer, snack
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American, Mexican Inspired
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Vegan Queso Dip! This healthy queso dip is a must for tacos, nachos, burrito bowls and more. Dairy-free, vegan and ready in just minutes.


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: ~3 cups
  • Category: sauce, queso, appetizer, snack
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American, Mexican Inspired
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: ~3 cups
  • Category: sauce, queso, appetizer, snack
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American, Mexican Inspired
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons non-dairy butter
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped orange or yellow bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chunky salsa

Instructions

  1. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and add the garlic. Simmer for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  2. Add in the flour and cook, stirring 1-2 minutes, or until flour is cooked and lightly golden brown.
  3. Whisk in the milk and reduce heat to medium-low. Let cook a few minutes, until lightly thickened and add in the bell pepper, nutritional yeast, cashews salt, cumin and chili powder. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
  4.  Transfer to a blender and puree until creamy, or use an immersion blender and puree until creamy. Return back to the pot, then stir in the salsa. Taste, adding salt as needed. Also tastes great with a squirt of lime juice!

did you make this?

Tag @delishknowledge on Instagram and hashtag it #delishknowledge

This recipe was first posted in 2015 and updated in 2024.

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Chef, and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Porsha
      September 29, 2023 AT 6:14 pm

      I have made this Queso many times and I absolutely love that it’s quite simple compared to other vegan Queso recipes. I’m most recently, I used this for nachos and it was the perfect Queso for nachos—worlds better than using store-bought vegan cheese and *hoping* it melts evenly!






    2. Julie Nichols
      February 17, 2023 AT 9:23 pm

      Delicious and really easy!
      I used red pepper rather than orange or yellow (it was what I had!). I did add the cashews and processed it with my Cuisinart immersion blender. It took a couple of minutes so next time, I’ll either soak my cashews beforehand or break out the Vitamix.
      My husband who is not a fan of vegan cheeze, loved it.

    3. Heather
      May 31, 2021 AT 12:45 pm

      I tried making it with Sprouted Whole wheat flour and again making it with Bobs Red mill GF Flour. I actually liked it better with the GF flour!






    4. Rachel
      September 10, 2020 AT 4:42 pm

      OMG, this was SO good!!! Best vegan cheese sauce ever. I used half almond milk and half soy because I didn’t have enough almond milk; I also used white whole wheat flour (because that’s what I had) – it turned out awesome! Thanks Alex!!






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