This vegan white queso simply is the BEST! And it is so cheesy and creamy, you won't believe it's made with potatoes. The ingredients are very simple and this dip comes together within 20 minutes. It's a perfect cheesy topping for Mexican dishes or an evening healthy dip for tortilla chips. Plant-based, easy to make and so tasty!
Not eating dairy products often makes me dream of delicious creamy white sauces. I make these cauliflower Alfredo and primavera garlic cream pasta dishes to satisfy that craving, but what was missing is a simple plant-based cheese sauce to drizzle over meals.
This vegan queso sauce is perfect to replace all the melted cheese sauces I have used before. Actually, it is one of my favorite recipes I have ever made for the blog and one that my fans keep raving about too! I have updated the text of the post since the first time I posted it, but the recipe remained the same.
We must be making this vegan queso monthly for just about anything. I often make it simply to dip in tortilla chips: it is SO flavorful and has that amazing cheese texture we cannot get enough of. Actually, this is my go-to recipe for movie night snacking or game night events. It is a hit every time! Even non-vegans LOVE it and ask for the recipe.
Hope you like it! ❤️
Origin of queso sauce
Also called "chile con queso", a queso sauce consists of melted cheese (Monterey Jack, Velveeta, cream cheese, etc), chile peppers and is normally served with tortilla chips as an appetizer. It can also include more ingredients such as pico de gallo, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, etc. It is a warm dip with a gooey melty cheese consistency.
It originates from the northern region of Mexico (mostly in Chihuahua) and more often served in Tex-Mex restaurants in United States. A queso sauce is believed to be inspired from the classic Mexican "Queso Fundido", which typically only includes a combination of melted cheeses that are turned into a saucy consistency.
This vegan queso recipe is fully plant-based, which means completely made without cheese. But fear not, it REALLY is as satisfying as the classic cheese sauce and tastes like a real queso!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Very easy-to-make and fast
- Only requires 6 ingredients
- Healthy + lower-in-fat and calories
- Can be made ahead of time
- Completely dairy-free (and easier to digest!)
- Versatile cheese sauce
- Ultra flavorful and very cheesy
- SO creamy!
Secret ingredient to make this vegan Mexican sauce so creamy
The secret is in the potatoes! When blended with a little bit of liquid, the texture of cooked potatoes becomes very creamy and even a little stretchy. This is perfect for a cheesy vegan sauce! Combine potatoes with a few cashews and the texture will blow your mind.
Using potatoes as a base also means that this dairy-free cheese sauce is lower in fat, packed with healthy carbs and filled with good-for-you fiber. Such a win-win!
What you'll need
- Raw cashews: choose unsalted and non-roasted.
- Potatoes: works well with Yukon gold variety, but Russet is fine too.
- Lemon juice: freshly squeezed juice is better than store bought lemon juice. Could swap for a touch of vinegar if you don't have any lemons, but start with less and add more as you go.
- Nutritional yeast: important to add a delicious cheesy flavor.
- Red bell pepper: for a nice crunch, color and added flavor.
- Canned green chiles: choose mild or spicy, it adds an amazing flavor, so try not to omit.
How to make a vegan queso
You will have to soak the cashews overnight in fresh water OR in boiling water for 20-30 minutes. Then, drain well.
While the cashews are soaking, cook the potatoes in plenty of water until tender, about 20 minutes.
To a blender, add the softened cashews, cooked potatoes, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt and water. Blend on high until very smooth. Take a break or two to scrape the walls of the blender and blend for longer if you don't have a high-speed blender. You are looking for an ultra silky smooth consistency.
Finish up and garnish
Add the green chiles and diced red pepper to the sauce and stir to combine. I usually do this right in the blender, but be sure not to blend them in! Also keep some extra aside for topping at serving if desired.
Then, pour the vegan queso in a serving bowl and top with the extra garnishes. You can also add some cilantro or diced tomatoes over.
Serve right away while still warm with tortilla chips or drizzle over Mexican-style dishes. If you want the queso warmer, then use the microwave or the stove.
Watch how to make it
Pro tips when making this creamy dip
- Be sure to peel the potatoes so the sauce is very smooth. Also, you will need to dice the potatoes in small pieces to have them fit into the measuring cup. That will allow you to get the right amount of veggies and help them cook faster too.
- I love a saucier texture for this dip. If you prefer a thicker mixture (for example, if you want to spread a few dollops on pizza...) then start with a little less water (maybe ½ cup instead of ¾), blend and add more as needed.
- Canned green chiles are essential! Don't skip them! If you really don't want to use them, then compensate by adding a tiny amount of white vinegar (or more lemon juice) to add that tangy subtle taste.
Need to speed up the recipe?
If you cannot soak the cashews ahead, then just add them to the pot of potatoes about 10 minutes before they are done cooking. Then, drain everything together and add them to the blender before mixing in the other ingredients. This will help soften the cashews before blending.
Personalize your vegan cheese dip!
Feel free to add other flavoring ingredients to your sauce, either adding them in the blender or after blended for more texture to create a chunkier queso. Here are a few ideas:
- Chili or chipotle powder
- Green onions
- Hot sauce
- Diced fresh tomatoes
This vegan queso sauce is SO versatile!
Our favorite way to enjoy this recipe simply is to serve as a cheesy dip with tortilla chips. Serve it warmed up in a bowl and be sure to garnish with extra green chiles, pepper and maybe chopped fresh cilantro for a nice presentation.
As a side note, when I make the dip right away after cooking the potatoes, then I find the sauce to be warm enough and I serve it right away. If you make it ahead or the potatoes cool down before you blend them, then simply use the microwave for a few seconds before serving.
Also, perfect to pair with any Mexican dish such as vegan chili, lentil tacos, quesadilla, burritos, nachos. OR, add a good drizzle on pizza to make it cheesy (after the pizza is cooked). Also, check out this lentil stew stuffed baked potatoes for a delicious way to eat it!
Storage and reheating tips
This sauce will stay good in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
When ready to eat the leftovers, simply reheat using the microwave or on the stove (on low heat) until warm (stir often). It tends to thicken as it is warming up, so add a splash of water until desired consistency.
You will have a smoother texture if using a high speed blender as regular blenders often have a hard time crushing the nuts into a sauce. If using a regular blender, then be sure to soak the cashews long enough and blend for a while.
You can freeze this recipe for about 2 months, although you will have to blend it again after thawed to make it smooth.
No, I don't recommend it. Soaking the nuts will plump them up and help crush them to a smooth sauce. If in a pinch, then simply soak in boiling water while the potatoes are cooking for 15-20 minutes instead of overnight OR simply boil the cashews with the potatoes.
More Mexican dip and condiment recipes
- Spicy peach salsa
- Cucumber pico de gallo
- Vegan avocado lime crema
- Mexican pickled red onion
- Vegan chipotle mayo
I hope you will love this vegan queso dip as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate this recipe to let me know how it was.
6 ingredient Vegan White Queso
- ¾ cup raw and unsalted cashews
- 1 ½ cup white potatoes - peeled and diced in small pieces
- 2 ½ tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 1 ¼ tsp salt - or to taste
- ¾ cup water
- 4 oz canned diced green chiles (113 g.) - mild or spicy
- ½ red bell pepper - diced in small cubes
- Soak the cashews in plenty of fresh water overnight OR in boiling water for 20-30 minutes. Then, drain well.
- Cook the potatoes in boiling water for about 15-20 minutes or until they are cooked through. Drain well.
- In a blender, combine the drained cashews, cooked potatoes, lemon juice, salt, nutritional yeast and water. Blend until you reach a very smooth texture.
- If you cannot soak the cashews, then add them to the boiling water containing the potatoes about 10 minutes before they are done. Drain the cashews as you are draining the potatoes and add everything together to the blender.
- Leftovers can be kept in an air-tight container for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave before eating and add a splash of water to thin out the sauce as needed (it tends to get thicker while resting).
- Feel free to add more flavoring ingredients such as chili or chipotle powder, hot sauce, jalapeño, salsa, pico de gallo, diced tomatoes, etc.