The Best Vegan Queso You’ll Ever Eat

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An addictively good yet extremely easy vegan cheese sauce that tastes just like queso. Less than 10 ingredients and everything happens in a blender. Use it in burritos, quesadillas, tacos, or nachos, or warm it up and serve as a hot queso dip with tortilla chips!
Prep 15 mins
Cook 5 mins
Total 20 mins
5 from 121 votes

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.

I originally developed this queso as a component in my vegan buffalo chickpea quesadillas. When I read the comments on that post, I noticed y’all were going crazy for the cheese sauce:

Kellie Quinn says: “I use the nacho sauce on everything. Thank you for yet another amazing recipe Nisha!”

Vallie says: “The sauce is wonderful! There are so may different ways to enjoy it!”

Marcie says: “The cheese sauce is now my go-to recipe for any recipe where I want some queso, its so much better than the store bought stuff and ridiculously easy to make.”

With that in mind, I thought this queso deserved its own standalone recipe, so here we are. Read on to learn all about how to make vegan queso.

vegan queso in a jar

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.

Step by step instructions

Gather your ingredients.

Soak the cashews. See the “Tips” section for details for more information.

Add the drained cashews and all the remaining ingredients to a high-speed blender.

Blend until thick, creamy, and smooth, scraping down the sides as you go. Taste for seasonings, adding salt as needed.

queso in blender

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 to your liking if need be.

How to heat up this vegan queso

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.

Serving Suggestions

There are so many ways to use this vegan queso. For starters, you can try it in my buffalo chickpea quesadillas, vegan crunchwrap supreme, or breakfast burritos.

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.

Vegan Queso Sauce

5 from 121 votes
An addictively good yet extremely easy vegan cheese sauce that tastes just like queso. Less than 10 ingredients and everything happens in a blender. Use it in burritos, quesadillas, tacos, or nachos, or warm it up and serve as a hot queso dip with tortilla chips!
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Mexican-inspired
Diet Vegan
Serving size: 8 (2 cups)

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Calories: 113kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 160mg | Potassium: 200mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 222IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 2mg

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97 comments on The Best Vegan Queso You’ll Ever Eat

  1. Deb

    5 stars
    Excellent queso. My fmaily loves this and so it has gone into my menu rotation. Every 2-3 weeks, I top a plate of quinoa, black beans and roasted veggies with this.

    1. Hannah @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Deb, I love to hear when one of our recipes is added to a rotation! Sounds delicious, thank you for taking the time to leave a review.

  2. Sabina

    5 stars
    I’ve made this a few times and I love it! Even my husband who is not vegan or vegetarian said he liked it a few times! He said it made him feel better than “regular” nachos. Thank you!

    1. Hannah @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Sabrina, thanks so much for taking the time to write such a lovely comment! This is one of our favorites too, so glad your husband’s stomach gives it a thumbs up too!

  3. Gabby L

    5 stars
    SO. GOOD. !! By far better than any store-bought vegan queso. I use Kite Hill vegan sour cream instead of coconut yogurt and it’s really delicious. It’s super easy to make and I use it as a substitute for cheese for several different mexican meals.

  4. Laura

    5 stars
    There are so many vegan cheese sauce recipes out there; this is one you want to make and keep making. I even made a sweet variation with peach puree instead of salsa and sans spices. (Tasted like a peach cream cheesy spread). Great template for a delicious consistent cheese spread. I’m going to make a ‘ricotta’ next time for vegan lasagna next week!!!! Love it!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Oooh how interesting! Thanks for sharing, Laura! :)

  5. ange

    4 stars
    First off I would like to say thank you. I have made many of your meals and they are all amazing. I do have one problem that I do not know how to solve. I am allergic to nuts. How can you make this recipe without cashews?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Ange, unfortunately this recipe requires nuts. We do have this nut-free vegan cheese sauce recipe we suggest you try out though!

  6. Mary

    Best vegan cheese recipe I’ve come across yet. I feel like most cashew cheese recipes usually taste just a little too nutty, but this one is the perfect queso. Could easily eat half the batch with just chips!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Mary, we’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  7. Angie Q

    5 stars
    The only vegan cheese queso that actually tastes good! Tried this recipe over the weekend and absolutely love it!! Will be testing it dairy lovers and see what they thing, but I have a feeling they will love it!

    Thank you Nisha for all your wonderful recipes. Love your stuff and how excited you are about the dishes you create. The potato salad recipe is next on my list! :)

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Angie! Glad to hear you’re a fan of the recipes. We can’t wait for you to try the potato salad :)

  8. Ryley W

    5 stars
    I had some of this hanging out in my fridge and decided to improvise. I threw some oatmilk into a sauté pan, added a few spoonfuls of the queso, and whisked until it thickened. Threw some cooked pasta in at the end and had a decadent vegan Mac and Cheese. You would swear it was made with a béchamel.

    Moral of the story, make this every week to have in your fridge, it can literally be used for everything ❤️❤️❤️

    Thank you so much for sharing this, it is literally changing my life 🤩

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Ryley, So glad to hear you love this recipe!

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