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If you’ve been looking for an easy vegan queso that works as a dip, a drizzle for nachos, and lots more, we’ve got the answer to your wildest dreams. We crave this stuff on the regular and can’t get enough.

dipping into a bowl of vegan queso with tortilla chips
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Why we love this recipe

Let’s start here: Although I’m trained as a lawyer, I wouldn’t want to be the mediator in a negotiation between cheese and veganism. There are strong arguments for both, and I love them both dearly. Yet they have a REALLY tough time getting along. For the most part, vegan cheese is all overpromise and underdeliver. BUT.

  • This vegan queso is flavorful, versatile, and creamy.
  • It’s got just the right consistency and balance of flavors.
  • Made with raw cashews and nutritional yeast, it’s full of good fats and micronutrients.
  • After soaking the cashews in water, it comes together quickly and easily in a blender. (We use our Vitamix.)
  • It keeps well in the fridge for a week.
  • It’s great warm or at room temperature.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • Raw cashews (not roasted, not salted). You can use cashew pieces rather than whole cashews if they’re less expensive, since you’ll be blending them anyway.
  • Diced green chiles, either mild or hot (we usually use mild)
  • Nutritional yeast has a super-savory, almost cheese-like flavor that adds depth and crave-ability to this cheese sauce, among many other great recipes.
  • My favorite boxed vegetable broth by far is Imagine No Chicken lower-sodium broth. It has a great flavor profile and none of the rust-colored nonsense that plagues many other brands.

How to make it

This is one simple recipe! You’ll just need a little time to soak the cashews, and a high-speed blender. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post. You will:

  1. Soak the cashews in water for two hours or so to ensure they’ll blend up nice and creamy. (You can do this the day before and soak overnight if it’s more convenient.) Drain soaking water, rinse cashews under running water, and drain again.
  2. Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender. If you don’t have one, you can use a regular blender. Just make sure to soak the cashews until they’re soft and scrape down the sides as necessary. Don’t stop until perfectly smooth.
  3. Blend until perfectly smooth and warm (1 1/2 to 2 minutes in a high-speed blender).
  4. Use right away, or store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.

How to use it

Here are a few of our favorite ways to use this creamy vegan queso:

  • As a dip for tortilla chips
  • As a sauce for veggie nachos (or totchos!)
  • On our favorite vegan tacos
  • To mix into macaroni for a low-key Tex-Mex mac and cheese
  • To dollop over rice and beans

Expert tips and FAQs

What kind of cashews should I use, and do I really need to soak them?

Be sure to buy raw cashews (not roasted ones) and don’t skip soaking them. That’s the key to creaminess.

What kind of blender do I need?

Use a high-speed blender if you have one. It creates perfect smoothness and heats up the cheese sauce a little bit as a bonus. If you don’t have one, you can make this recipe in a regular blender, as long as you’ve soaked the cashews properly.

Mild or hot chilies?

Use mild or spicy hatch chilies to create a chill vibe or a hotter one.

How should I store leftovers?

Vegan queso will keep, tightly sealed, in the fridge for about a week.

a bowl of vegan queso with tortilla chips

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dipping into a bowl of vegan queso with tortilla chips
5 from 5 votes

Vegan Queso

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Vegan queso is built around Mexican-inspired flavors. It's creamy, dreamy, and satisfying. A quick whirl in a high-speed blender makes it perfectly smooth and also warms it up beautifully. Use as a dip for tortilla chips, to drizzle on nachos, and more. 
Prep: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8
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Ingredients 

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 4- ounce can hatch chilies, mild or spicy
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon white miso
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Instructions 

  • Soak cashews in water to cover by an inch or two, for at least two hours. Drain before proceeding.
  • Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and process on high, scraping down the sides if necessary, until perfectly smooth and warm.

Notes

  1. Be sure to buy raw cashews (not roasted ones) and don’t skip soaking them. That’s the key to creaminess.
  2. My favorite boxed vegetable broth by far is Imagine No Chicken lower-sodium broth. It has a great flavor profile and none of the rust-colored nonsense that plagues many other brands.
  3. For additional heat, add a few slices of pickled jalapeño or a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce before blending.
  4. Use a high-speed blender if you have one. It creates perfect smoothness and heats up the cheese sauce just the right amount. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you can use a regular one. Just be sure to soak the cashews until they’re very soft, and to keep processing until the sauce is perfectly smooth.
  5. This recipe is 100% make-ahead friendly. Make it up to a week in advance and keep in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. Store any leftovers the same way.

Nutrition

Calories: 126kcal, Carbohydrates: 8.4g, Protein: 5.6g, Fat: 8.3g, Fiber: 1.9g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Sauces and Condiments
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

5 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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