Instant Pot Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower Dip

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This Instant Pot Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower Dip is a must-make for the Super Bowl, but also for any game day, picnic, or potluck! It’s spicy, cheesy, and creamy, and you’d never guess it’s healthy, vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free! Plus, it’s made with just 10 ingredients and everything gets dumped in the Instant Pot! *includes stovetop instructions*
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 35 mins

This Instant Pot Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower Dip is one of the best inventions ever. I don’t know if recipes qualify as “inventions,” but let me tell you, you’re gonna love this recipe SO much.

cheesy buffalo dip in a bowl surrounded by tortilla chips and beers

Why you’ll love this buffalo cauliflower dip

Easy

This might be the easiest recipe on my blog. All you do is dump 10 ingredients into the Instant Pot, give it a quick stir, and turn on the Pressure Cook setting. When the time is up, perform a quick pressure release, and add the contents to a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, and voila!

Seriously, that’s it. No hands-on cooking.

Quick

As you can imagine, this recipe is also quick. The only prep work involved is cutting up some cauliflower into florets, and chopping up half an onion and a few garlic cloves. This should take no more than 5 minutes.

And then the you pressure cook it in the Instant Pot for 7 minutes! Of course, it does take some additional time for the Instant Pot to build pressure, but since there’s minimal liquid in this recipe, it comes to pressure pretty quickly. And then you perform a quick pressure release (no waiting time there), and it takes a minute to blend.

That’s just 20 minutes, start to finish! And unlike many vegan sauce/dip recipes that use cashews, you don’t even have to soak the cashews in this recipe! The high pressure of the Instant Pot will soften those babies up on its own!

10 Ingredients

Yes, there are only 10 ingredients in this recipe, and nothing is an exotic or difficult-to-find ingredient!

Healthy

I know, something that has CHEESY BUFFALO in the title doesn’t sound healthy, but it is! It’s vegan, gluten-free, and even oil-free! It’s made with cauliflower, onions, garlic, and gets thick and creamy from a combination of cashews, cannellini beans, and plant-based milk.

Disclaimer: while this recipe is, in my opinion, healthy, it is fairly high in sodium, almost exclusively due to the buffalo hot sauce. If you are on a very low-sodium diet, this might not be the best recipe for you, or limit yourself to just a spoon or two.

Also, as I mention in the Tips section below, this dip is quite spicy as written, so you can always reduce the amount of hot sauce, and that will also reduce the overall sodium content.

Flavorful

I can’t even describe how flavorful this recipe is, but it’s basically a flavor explosion. Spicy meets cheesy meets creamy. It brings the crowd-pleasing flavor of buffalo wings with an irresistible cheesy twist.

Crowd Pleasing

I have served this dip at a few parties, and its always the first thing to go! People cannot stop eating it/talking about it/asking for the recipe. And unless you actually inform your guests, I promise you they will never guess that this Instant Pot Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower Dip is healthy/vegan.

dipping tortilla chip into a bowl of cheesy buffalo cauliflower dip

Tips for making this vegan buffalo dip

As I mentioned, this dip is *really* easy to make. You just dump everything in the Instant Pot and let it do all the work. That said, I do want to mention a few things

1. There is no added oil in this recipe, but the recipe does contain an optional step for those who aren’t strictly oil-free: lightly grease the inner pot of the Instant Pot with cooking spray or oil before adding all of the ingredients. This is helpful if you inner pot is worn down and not shiny brand new because it ensures that nothing will stick to the bottom of the pot, making for easy cleanup.

But if you are strictly oil-free, feel free to skip this step.

2. This dip is SPICY! To be fair, I’ve only made this with Frank’s Redhot Xtra Hot Sauce, so if you make it with Frank’s Redhot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce, it might be a fair deal less spicy.

But if you are serving guests who are sensitive to spicy food, use less hot sauce: about 1/2 cup instead of 3/4 cup. After blending, taste for seasonings. Since you’re using less sauce, you’re also using less salt, so you might want to add a pinch.

3. Frank’s Redhot Original and Xtra Hot Sauce are NOT the same thing as Frank’s Redhot Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce. Traditional “buffalo sauce” is made by mixing hot sauce with melted butter, so some buffalo sauce brands might contain butter and would therefore not be vegan.

Frank’s Redhot Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce is made with “natural butter flavor” that the company says is not actually butter and is dairy-free and therefore vegan-friendly. I haven’t tried this recipe with this particular sauce but it would probably work just fine (note: this sauce does contain oil, in case you are oil-free).

4. I recommend allowing the dip sit for 15-20 minutes before serving. This rest period allows the flavors to meld and cools down the heat of the hot sauce. If you taste the sauce as soon as it’s done blending, you might think “WOW, this is spicy,” but once you let it cool down, it’ll taste less spicy.

5. This dip is super easy to make in the Instant Pot, but if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can still make it. It just requires some more steps. I’ve included stovetop instructions in the recipe.

dipping tortilla chips into Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower Dip

How to serve Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower Dip? 

To serve as a dip, pair with tortilla chips or other relatively neutral-flavored chips. Or crackers. Or for a healthier option, serve with celery sticks, carrot sticks, and other crudités.

Use as a spread. Slather it on toasted baguette slices for a slightly fancier appetizer/game day snack. Or as a spicy sandwich spread in lieu of mayo. It’s especially good with smoked tofu and pickled onions.

Dollop it onto roasted broccoli or cauliflower and get your kids (or yourself) excited about eating veggies!

Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower Dip in a bowl with baguette

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make this buffalo dip nut-free? 

To make this dip nut-free, simply substitute the amount (in weight) of cashews with Russet potatoes. Follow the rest of the directions as written.

Can you freeze this dip?

Yes! It freezes quite well.

Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower Dip in a bowl with tortilla chips in background

Watch! How to make Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower Dip

That’s all you need to know about this Instant Pot Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower Dip! If you make it, be sure to leave a rating and review below, and tag me with your recreations on Instagram!

Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower Dip in a bowl surrounded by tortilla chips and beers

Instant Pot Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower Dip

5 from 3 votes
This Instant Pot Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower Dip is a must-make for the Super Bowl, but also for any game day, picnic, or potluck! It’s spicy, cheesy, and creamy, and you’d never guess it’s healthy, vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free! Plus, it’s made with just 10 ingredients and everything gets dumped in the Instant Pot! *includes stovetop instructions*
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cauliflower, dip, gluten-free, no added oil, soy-free
Serving size: 16

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup (140-150g) raw cashews
  • 1 3/4 cups (440g) cooked cannellini beans, or 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups (160-170g) cauliflower florets
  • 3/4 cup (180mL)* Frank’s Redhot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce or Xtra Hot Sauce**
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika***
  • 3/4 cup (180mL) unsweetened plain almond milk or other nondairy milk
  • 1/2 cup (~30-45g) nutritional yeast****

Optional Toppings

  • Chopped cilantro and/or green onions

For Serving

  • Tortilla chips or crackers

Instructions

Instant Pot Directions

  • Lightly grease the inner pot of the Instant Pot with a bit of oil or cooking spray. This is to make cleanup easy, but it’s optional. Feel free to omit if you are oil-free.
  • Place the chopped onions, chopped garlic, cashews, cannellini beans, cauliflower florets, hot sauce, coconut sugar, paprika, almond milk, and nutritional yeast in the inner pot of Instant Pot and stir well to combine.
  • Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook/Manual setting and set to high pressure for 7 minutes.
  • Once the 7-minute timer has completed and beeps, perform a quick pressure release by switching the Pressure Release knob from Sealing to Venting and open the pot.
  • Open the pot and, and carefully transfer the mixture to a blender. Be sure to remove the center cap from the blender lid to vent steam, but cover the hole with a kitchen towel. Blend until the dip is smooth, thick, and creamy. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender, but it will take several minutes, and the texture will be chunkier and not as smooth.
  • Allow to cool for at least 15-20 minutes before serving.

Stovetop Directions

  • Soak the cashews. Cover the cashews in boiling water and soak for 1 hour. Alternatively, you can soak them in cold water overnight or for 8 hours. Drain thoroughly and pat dry.
  • Sauté the onions and garlic. Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil or cooking oil* of choice. Once hot, add the diced onion and a pinch of salt and stir together for 1 minute. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add the garlic and stir frequently for 2-3 minutes to prevent the garlic from burning. Turn off the heat.
  • Steam the cauliflower. Bring about 1/4 inch of water to a boil in a large frying pan. Then add the cauliflower florets. Cover the pan and steam until very soft and tender, about 7-9 minutes. Drain any remaining water to prevent the dip from becoming watery.
    1. You can also steam cauliflower in the microwave or in a steamer basket. For the microwave.
  • Assemble the Dip. Place the sautéed onions, soaked and drained cashews, and steamed cauliflower in a blender. Add the remaining ingredients—drained cannellini beans, hot sauce, sugar, paprika, plant-based milk, and nutritional yeast. Be sure to remove the center cap from the blender lid to vent steam, but cover the hole with a kitchen towel. Blend until the dip is smooth, thick, and creamy.
  • Allow to cool for at least 15-20 minutes before serving
  • *If you are oil-free, sauté the onions and garlic in water instead.

Notes

*As noted above, if you are sensitive to spicy food or trying to reduce sodium intake, use less hot sauce, about 1/2 cup (120 mL).
** If you can’t find Frank’s hot sauce, you can use Cholula, Tabasco, or any hot sauce of your preference. Or, you can even make your own hot sauce (this is a copycat recipe for Frank’s hot sauce).
*** The smoked paprika brings a very subtle smoky flavor, but I’ve also made this recipe with regular paprika and it’s great either way.
**** If you are using grams, the reason for the variation is that there is variability between brands of nutritional yeast. For instance, some brands say 1 tablespoon = 5 grams, others say 1 tablespoon = 8 or 9 grams.

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32 comments on Instant Pot Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower Dip

  1. Josh Hersh

    G

  2. Josh Hersh

    This looks delicious!! My boyfriend is allergic to nuts and dairy. Since this is vegan, it’s great..but is there a substitute for cashews I could use? Perhaps seeds? Not sure if you have any ideas for alternatives to nuts. Thank you!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Thanks, Josh! A russet potato would probably thicken this up really nicely! You could try 1 medium russet potato, peeled and chopped. Hope that works :)

      1. Josh Hersh

        Oh perfect. I will try that. Thank you!!

      2. Josh Hersh

        OMG. This. Is. Phenomenal. I’ve never found a vegan queso that tasted this this good – both flavor and texture. Using a potato instead of nuts worked perfectly. Thank you!!!

        1. Nisha Vora

          Hi Josh, yay! So happy you love it, both texture and taste wise. So happy the potato was a good sub. I’ll update the blog post to include that as a nut-free option :)

          1. Sarah Mulholland

            I made it for superbowl. I misread the ingredients..only used 1 clove of garlic. I might ho 2 next time..but it was awesome. My din was curling his lips as I offered him a chip I watched my finiky son…get up a dip a few more!It was delicious as are all your recipes!Love u!!!Linda

          2. Nisha Vora

            Hi Linda, so happy to hear that the dip was a hit for the super bowl, especially great to hear that your finicky son enjoyed it too :) Thank you for the love and support :)

  3. Brooke

    Hi Nisha! I don’t have an instant pot and really want to make this dip. Do you think it could work in a crock pot if cooked for a longer period of time? Thanks!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Brooke, I’ve never used a crockpot so I have no idea, but the ingredients are all pretty simple and the only items that need to get cooked are the onions, garlic, cauliflower, and cashews – so if you’ve ever made a soup with similar ingredients, it would probably work here.
      That said, I can’t say for sure, but I did provide stovetop instructions if you’d like to use those :)

  4. Tried this over the weekend and it was oh-so-good! It keeps really well, and makes the best leftovers, too! I served it with some flatbread, sliced bell peppers, carrots and celery and it was a total hit! Will be making this again soon.

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Larissa, so nice to hear that you enjoyed it! I love the leftovers too :) I bet it is so delicious with flatbread, must try that next time!

  5. Barb

    Hi Nisha,This looks wonderful. Can it be made ahead without losing any of it’s deliciousness? I’d like to make it 1-2 days ahead. Also, I only have a 3 quart IP – should I make any adjustments? It seems like the full amount of ingredients should fit. Thanks!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Barb, yes it can be made ahead! leftovers stay good for a few days so totally okay to make ahead. The recipe isn’t too voluminous so you should be able to make it in the 3 quart without any adjustments. Hope you enjoy it!

  6. Melanie

    I wish I could post a photo! Came out looking great. I made a board to take into work with this dip, flat bread (thank you Larissa for that suggestion), tricolor baby carrots, white and blue corn tortilla chips, bell peppers, celery, and cucumbers. My coworkers and I do tend to agree that the word “cheesy” really doesn’t apply, but calling it a buffalo cauliflower dip is more apropos to ingredients, taste, and consistency. It certainly was just as easy as it claimed to be. I feel like too many recipes will make lofty claims to the length of time required, and it takes me twice as long, but this was incredibly quick and easy in addition to vibrantly colored and very flavorful. Thank you for posting this recipe.

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Melanie, so happy to hear that you enjoyed it and awesome you got to bring it into your coworkers. I’m glad the buffalo flavors shone through. And yes, this is probably the easiest recipe I’ve developed. It really requires so little work! Cheers!

  7. Amy

    Just made this dip and it’s delicious! Great flavor and texture!

    1. Nisha Vora

      So nice to hear you think so! Thank you Amy! Enjoy it :)

  8. Maneesha

    AMAZING recipe!! You’re so right – this is such a delicious recipe, and you can’t even tell it’s vegan! I love the cheesy taste and also the kick from the hot sauce! Thanks Nisha!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Yay, so glad to hear that Maneesha! Thank you for stopping by and letting me know. I love the kick from the hot sauce too!

  9. Ramya

    Hi Ramya here,just came across your blog and videos in YouTube. They are just awesome. Your recipes are bursting with colours. Is there any link/video where I can access your hummus recipe?( the orange one).Thank you.

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Ramya, I am so glad you enjoy my videos and content :) Are you talking about the carrot hummus from my school/work lunch video? If so, it’s in the description box of this video under "recipe #3"
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q26BTWaBCg&feature=youtu.be

  10. Kristen Bryant

    Love this recipe! BUT Second time making it and having the same problem as I did the first….. the dang burn message! I’m following the message to a T and still seem to hit this speed bump. Last time I just ended up using one of the other settings so cook lid less (instant pot if that wasn’t obvious lol) Any idea how to correct this problem for the inevitable 3rd time make? :D

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Kristen, I’m glad you love it, but sorry you’re experiencing the annoying burn notice. The only thing I can think of is – are you adding a bit of oil to the bottom of the pot before adding the other ingredients? Instant Pots can be finnicky, and the longer you use the pot, the more it wears down and things are more likely to stick unless you grease the pot before pressure cooking. Another question – what kind of milk did you use? There’s some variability in the textures of plant milks (e.g., almond milk is thinner than coconut or oat milk), and while it usually doesn’t make a difference, it could be that your milk is quite thick and triggering the instant pot burn notice.

  11. Karey

    This is just awesome cannot wait to make it! I was wondering if you can freeze it? Thanks so much. Awesome recipes and blog!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Karey, I’m glad you like my recipes and blog :) I haven’t tried it myself, but based on the ingredient list, it should freeze well. I’d portion it into smaller containers and then defrost in the fridge. Or, heat it up on the stove or in the microwave and stir before serving. Hope it works out!

  12. Allison

    Hi there! First time trying this recipe but I am wondering… can you omit the cauliflower? What does this ingredient add to the recipe? I really hate the taste of it, so I am curious is there another veggie you could use?

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Allison, you really can’t taste the cauliflower at all – I promise! But you could sub it with an equivalent amount of peeled and chopped potatoes. It helps to thicken the texture.

  13. Ashley

    We are obsessed with this dip. Looking to incorporate more vegan foods into our diet and this is a great way to do it. Freezes great, btw. I’ve also used water when I’ve been out of almond milk and it’s still incredible. This dip is everything.

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Ashley,
      That’s so lovely to hear! So happy you love it. It’s a favorite around here too. Thanks for the tips on freezing and subbing almond milk with water :)

  14. Briana

    Loveeee this recipe! I have made it three times already. I’ve substituted the white beans for chickpeas at times and while it’s not as smooth, it’s still delicious!! My favorite part is how quick and easy it is to make.

  15. Diane

    As always amazing. I didn’t have cauliflower so used cooked butternut. Added a little salt and additional Franks hotsauce.You are a food magician.

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