Say hello to the vegan queso of your dreams! Once you try this queso, you’ll want to make it weekly and pour it over everything.
With only eight ingredients, this recipe could hardly be easier. All you need to do is soak your cashews, blend them with the remaining ingredients, and voila! A bowl of the most addictive cheesy, spicy vegan goodness known to man.
It’s like a party in your mouth with its rich and creamy texture that perfectly complements burritos, quesadillas, tacos, and nachos. And the best part? It’s made with wholesome plant-based ingredients, so you can indulge in your cravings without any of the guilt!
Table of contents:
1. Why you’ll love this recipe
2. Ingredient notes
3. Step-by-step instructions
4. Tips for making this recipe
5. Frequently Asked Questions
6. Serving suggestions
7. Recipe card with notes
Note: This recipe contains cashews. If you’re looking for a cheese sauce recipe that does not use nuts, check out my nut-free vegan cheese sauce!
And for even more options, check out my complete guide to vegan cheese! It covers the best vegan cheese recipes to use for every situation (including my Vegan Feta and Vegan Cashew Cheese) and reviews the best vegan cheeses you can buy at the supermarket.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Ridiculously easy. There are effectively only two steps in this recipe. Step one, soak the cashews. Step two, blitz everything in a blender. How easy is that?
Minimal ingredients. This recipe requires only 8 ingredients, many of which you probably already have in your pantry.
Wholesome but indulgent. This queso brings a decadent cheesy creaminess to your burritos, quesadillas, tacos, and nachos, but it’s made with wholesome plant-based ingredients.
Make ahead. Many readers report making a big batch of this on a Sunday as part of meal prep and using it in several different ways throughout the week. It stays good in the fridge for at least a week and you can even freeze leftovers if you have extra.
Cashews. The base of our vegan queso. They add creaminess and body but have a mild flavor.
Nutritional yeast. For those cheesy vibes.
Coconut yogurt. A good coconut based yogurt gives our vegan queso some tang without contributing any coconut flavor. My favorite brands are Culina, CocoYo, or GT’s. Can’t have coconut? Kite Hill makes a thick Greek Almond Milk Yogurt that could also work. A thin yogurt just won’t work here!
Salsa and pickled jalapeños. We need some heat and these two work perfectly together. The pickling liquid from the jalapeños give the queso a mouthwatering tart flavor that will keep you coming back for more.
Spices and nutritional yeast. Chili powder, cumin, and paprika add flavor and depth while nutritional yeast provides cheesy vibes.
Soak the cashews in hot water for 15 minutes.
Add the drained cashews and all the remaining ingredients to a high-speed blender. If you’re using a food processor, see the Tips section for how to soak your cashews.
Blend until thick, creamy, and smooth, scraping down the sides as you go. Taste for seasonings, adding salt as needed.
Tips for making this recipe
How to soften raw cashews
There are a couple of different ways to soften raw cashews, depending on how much time you have and how high-powered your blender is.
- If you have a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, you can soak the cashews in boiling water for as little as 15 minutes.
- If you don’t have a high-powered blender, soak your cashews in cool water overnight.
- Regardless of what blender you have, you can also add your cashews to a saucepan, cover with water, and boil for 15 minutes. Boiling is the quickest option and works great to fully soften the cashews.
As spicy as you like
I think the recipe is perfect as-is; it has some spice but it’s by no means overwhelming. However, I also recognize that spice tolerance is deeply personal.
If you love spicy food, I suggest using a hot salsa and adding more pickled jalapeños to taste. If you’re sensitive to spicy foods, you can try adding fewer of the pickled jalapeños and choosing a mild salsa.
Note: It’s easier to add additional heat to this recipe than take it away, so if you’re not sure, add fewer jalapeños than you think you need initially. You can always taste the queso, then add more later if need be.
Frequently Asked Questions
While the easiest way to make vegan queso is with a Vitamix (affiliate link) or similarly high-powered blender, it is possible to make queso without one.
The key is to make sure you cashews fully soften. For the best results, boil your cashews. Simply add your cashews to a sauce pan, cover with water, and . You can also try soaking your cashews overnight, though they might not pulverize quite as easily.
Vegan queso can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
If you are serving the queso as a dip, it’s even better served warm!
All you need to do is add it to a small saucepan and gently heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. If it seems too thick, add a splash of plant-based milk or water and stir to incorporate.
There are so many ways to use this vegan queso!
It’s also the star of these epic loaded vegan nachos.
And if you want to keep it more casual, you can always use the queso as a dip with tortilla chips. It’s something we do not infrequently in my house!
Okay, that’s everything. If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram – I love hearing your feedback.
- 1 cup (~130g) raw cashews
- 1/2 cup (~112g) vegan coconut yogurt (unsweetened, plain)
- 1/2 cup (~120g) of your favorite salsa
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Several cracks of freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeños + 2 tablespoons of the pickled jalapeño brine
- Kosher salt or sea salt to taste
- Add the raw cashews to a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Drain the soaked cashews. Alternatively, you can soak the cashews in cool water overnight.If you have a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, you can soak the cashews in boiling water for 15-30 minutes.
- Add the drained cashews to a high-powered blender. Add the yogurt, salsa, water, cumin, chili powder, paprika, black pepper, nutritional yeast, pickled jalapeños, and pickled jalapeño brine. Blend until thick, creamy, and smooth. Taste for seasonings, adding salt as needed.Note: the pickled jalapeños are decently salty, so I don't add much salt, but if you skip them, be sure to add salt (1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt).
- To serve warm, add the queso to a small saucepan and gently heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. If it seems too thick, add a splash of plant-based milk or water and stir to incorporate.