The Best Vegan Cashew Queso Recipe with Simple Ingredients

I was recently inspired to create my own vegan queso recipe after tasting the best vegan queso at one of my favorite local gluten-free and paleo restaurants, HG Supply. Sometimes you just have to experience how delicious something can be to become determined to make it yourself. That’s how this vegan cashew queso recipe came to life.

After some trial and error, I finally perfected this recipe for the best vegan cashew queso and I’m so thrilled to share it with you. The rest of my dairy-eating family agrees that this tastes just like the real thing. I hope you love it as much as we do! With just a few simple ingredients, you’ll be amazed how incredibly smooth, stretchy, and flavorful this dairy-free queso turns out. 

bowl of chips and queso
chips and queso

Versatile Cheese Sauce

This creamy vegan cheese sauce is incredibly versatile! Use it anytime you need a smooth and flavorful cheesy dip or topping. The possibilities are endless when it comes to ways you can use this vegan cashew queso recipe.

For a fun twist on loaded potatoes, try topping baked sweet potatoes with this decadent creamy sauce along with your favorite chili or BBQ pulled jackfruit. It’s also perfect drizzled over a veggie-packed burrito bowl. Take Taco Tuesday to the next level by spooning this vegan cheese sauce over vegan tacos stuffed with refried beans, lettuce, tomato and avocado.

This quick and easy dip is ideal for game day snacks and apps. Serve it alongside French fries, tortilla chips, pretzels or fresh veggies. No matter how you enjoy it, this flavor-packed cheesy dip is sure to be a crowd favorite! It’s the perfect plant-based option for Superbowl parties, barbecues, or anytime you need an irresistible creamy and comforting cheese alternative.


Refrigerator: This vegan cashew queso recipe will keep well refrigerated for up to 5 days.  Cover and store leftover vegan queso in an airtight container in the fridge after each use. The cashews and nutritional yeast may settle a bit overnight, so be sure to stir any leftover queso before serving to reincorporate them.  For the best texture and flavor, I recommend eating the queso within a few days of preparation. As it sits, it may thicken slightly or lose pourability. Not to worry though, simply stir in a splash more water or non-dairy milk to thin. This versatile vegan cheese sauce will likely get gobbled up fast in your home anyway!

Single-Serve Portions: Alternatively, storing this dip in individual single-serve portions allows you to make multiple meals out of this recipe. Simply scoop out portions into ramekins or small containers with lids. This is my preferred method since it makes snacking and warming so easy! 

Freezer: This vegan queso also freezes exceptionally well for longer term storage. Allow the dip to cool completely after blending, then spoon it into airtight freezer-safe containers or bags. Flatten bags to freeze the queso in thin layers for faster thawing and reheating later on. Properly sealed and frozen, this plant-based cheesy dip will keep for 2-3 months.

Thawing Out: When ready to enjoy, remove your desired portion of frozen queso and let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Give it a good stir once thawed and smooth. Adding a splash of non-dairy milk (almond milk, coconut milk, or even water) helps loosen it up too if it seems too thick after freezing. Now you can feel good dipping into this convenient vegan queso even when you don’t have fresh ingredients on hand!

ingredients for queso

Easy Vegan Cashew Queso

Using just 5 simple ingredients (6 if you count a little water), this creamy vegan queso comes together in just a matter of minutes.  To make this incredible vegan cashew queso recipe, you’ll need just a few simple ingredients that you likely already have on hand. 

What You Need to Make Vegan Queso

Raw Cashews – When it comes to the smooth, dairy-like texture of this plant-based queso, there is no substitute for raw cashews. Their creamy nature gives this cheese sauce its signature stretch and meltability that sets it apart, making raw cashews the magic ingredient that can’t be swapped out.

Water – Soaking the raw cashews for at least 30 minutes, is imperative for the best queso texture. This softens the crunchy cashews, allowing them to blend into a flawlessly smooth and creamy dip that truly resembles melted dairy cheese.

Salt – Don’t skip out on the salt in this recipe – it provides an essential flavor layer. The teaspoon of salt balances and enhances the other ingredients, bringing out the creamy, savory notes that give this cashew queso its cheese-like punch.

Fresh Lime Juice – The tablespoon of bright, tart lime juice may seem simple, but it makes all the difference. The acidity from the lime heightens the rich, cheesy flavors and adds the slightest hint of zesty citrus that cuts through the creaminess perfectly for a queso that pops.  I personally like the Tex Mex flare from lime juice but fresh lemon juice is a great substitute.

Nutritional Yeast – This is really the key ingredient, as it’s that magical ingredient that gives this vegan cashew sauce it’s cheesy flavor.  Without the nutritional yeast, this is really just a cashew cream.

Salsa – Some recipes call for a ton of ingredients like: canned tomatoes, green chiles, chipotle pepper, garlic powder, red bell pepper, onion powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper.  Rather than call for all of these ingredients, you can just use your favorite salsa.  For a mild flavor, use mild salsa.  Or for a medium heat queso, use medium salsa and so on.

Optional – If you like spicy foods, you can make this extra spicy by adding a few extra splashes of our favorite hot sauce.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Step 1: Place 1 cup cashews in a small bowl. Pour over 10 tablespoons of hot water to cover. Allow cashews to soak for at least 30 minutes up to 4 hours to soften.
  • Step 2: Transfer cashews and soaking liquid to a high-powered blender or food processor.
  • Step 3: Add the remaining ingredients – salt, lime juice, nutritional yeast, and salsa to the blender or food processor.
  • Step 4: Blend on high speed for 60-90 seconds, stopping to scrape down sides with a spatula as needed, until completely smooth and creamy texture is achieved. For best results, use a high-speed or high-powdered blender.
  • Step 5: Transfer queso to a small saucepan and warm over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until heated through to desired dipping temperature. Be careful not to boil or overheat.
  • Step 6: Transfer heated queso to a serving bowl. Enjoy immediately while still warm, or let cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating leftovers.
  • Step 7: Serve vegan cashew queso with desired dippers like tortilla chips. Sprinkle with chili powder if desired. Dig into this protein-packed, cheesy vegan cheese sauce!
bowl of vegan queso

The Best Vegan Cashew Queso Recipe with Simple Ingredients

Sarah Erickson
If you're looking for an easy dairy-free queso, look no further! This is made with a few simple ingredients and tastes like the real thing.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Resting TIme 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Mexican


  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 10 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup salsa


  • chili powder

Serve With:

  • grain free tortilla chips


  • Place cashews in a small bowl and cover with 10 tablespoons of hot water. Soak for 30 minutes up to 4 hours. Note: the cashews will just barely be covered. Stir once or twice in the soaking process to fully soften for that creamy texture.
  • Place all ingredients: cashews and their soaking water, salt, lime juice, nutritional yeast and salsa into a high speed blender.
  • Blend on high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy for about 60 to 90 seconds, scrapping down the blender occasionally.
  • Transfer the vegan queso dip to a small saucepan to heat, stirring frequently, being careful not to burn.
  • Pour into serving bowl and enjoy!
Keyword appetizer, cashew queso, dairy free, dip, paleo, queso, snacks, vegan

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